29 January 2010

Treading water and a treat

So much for the fat lass being scared of maintenance. That's just where I seem to be right now. Hmmm, my motivation still isn't truly back yet but, given what's going on at the moment (worries about family, mostly), I suppose I'm not all that surprised.

I am making some effort (albeit a fairly half-hearted one) on both the food and exercise fronts which means my weight is wavering up and down by a pound or so, but not actually decreasing, it seems. Ho hum, basically I'm just maintaining. That's good in a way, but not great.

I will not get downhearted. I'll keep chipping away a little bit at a time and hope that my hibernating motivation emerges, fully-fledged, with the first spring flowers. The nights are getting shorter, so any day now...

What I have started to do is be a little more adventurous with the fruit (and veg) I'm eating. Yes, I love my mid-morning apples but I think a little swap-about is a good thing now and again, don't you? To this end, I've been bringing to work a series of fruity substitutes - er, treats actually. Things like juicy cherry tomatoes, beautiful blueberries (while they're on offer!), sweet little ruby grapes, small and sparky but hard to peel semi-sweet oranges and, a huge indulgence this, the odd box of pomegranate seeds. I've also rediscovered the delights of Greek (or in my case, Turkish) yoghurt - yum!

It's been a very nice change and, by and large, it's saving me from heading in the direction of the bad stuff. So, this brings me to my latest treat, which is...

...a pomelo. A honey pomelo, to be precise.

You may not be at all surprised at my strange Southeast Asian fruit, and wonder what the big deal actually is here. But, I've never tried one before, and am not certain I've ever seen them, so of course I had to give one a go and duly bought this melon-sized monster of a fruit. My treat was the cause of much hilarity in the kitchen last evening.

I had a feeling there would be a thick pith so didn't fret too much about buying such a decidedly heavy, football-sized citrus. I kind of guessed, from the delicious aroma, that it would be grapefruit-ish. I thought I would like it. After all, citrus = tasty + refreshing, what's not to like? What I hadn't factored in was the sheer effort it takes to get into the things!

It started calmly enough. I dug in a thumbnail to start to peel it - no joy! I tried again... and again - no joy. I carefully split the peel with the tip of a shap knife - this got a little bit off, but only for me to be confronted by a dense white pillow of pith, all of which wanted to come off in tiny, fluffy white pieces. Hmmm, time for a rethink. Time for a break! Consulted YouTube for a clue and tried to follow the 'quick 'n easy guide' I found. Easy? Quick? Yeah, right!

Lovely hubby was fascinated by this point, grinning at my fruity struggles. Finally, and with only a small amount of blueish language, I got through the pillow-filling layer and hit paydirt (OK, segments, if we must be pedantic). Wow, but there's a whole lot of this fruit - those segments are pretty sizeable and there are a lot of them. This baby might last me a few days! But, on to the next problem - how do you get through the semi-translucent, but indisputably leathery, pouches to get at those tempting edible bits?

Fingernails are just not designed to handle a job like this. I decided against the nice sharp kitchen knives (visions of my outer covering suffering more than the fruit's) and chose a scissors to carefully snip my way in to the first segment. Yippee! Great! I'm almost there. I can nearly taste my first pomelo!

Er, no. Not quite, it seems.

There is the minor problem of getting those teeny little edible bits off the intensely bitter skin/pith to which they seem strangely attached. Some of them co-operate quite happily but others (the majority, it appears) would prefer to stay exactly where they are and hang on for dear life. Too much enthusiasm and the little beggars burst open, rather defeating the point since I want to eat the pomelo, not drink it. Funnily enough, the numerous tiddly-small seeds come out and fall on the floor easy as you please. Typical! The citrus origin of this luscious fruit is also revealed in that the juice, as soon as it hits any tiny cuts on your fingers, of which there are a few by now, stings like heck. Still, the fat lass will not be defeated by a mere fruit! Perseverance is the my middle name.

At long last, indeed nearly an hour later (and with only a small sigh of relief), I get the darned thing disassembled and ready to eat. I place a small fragment into my mouth and...

...bliss! This was worth the bother. There's a definite resemblance to grapefruit but the texture is firmer and more pleasing on the tongue and the flavour is divine. Similar to grapefruit (again) but the 'honey' in the name is spot on. There's a delicate, almost floral, perfumed honey sweetness, which is not cloying at all. It tastes fabulous and is strangely moreish. Just lovely.

So, will I buy another pomelo? Hmmm, that may be a job best left for when I retire!

14 January 2010

What did you really hate?

Well, I have managed to shake off those few pounds I put on over Christmas - phew! I'm very relieved about that as, otherwise, I'm not feeling terribly good about things right now.

I read Diane's entry from last week about maintenance and she quotes a very frightening statistic. The one which tells us that "95% of people who lose weight will gain it back within two years". Yes, I've seen this before and, going by my past history, I can see that this is spot on... after all, I've been one of those statistics too many times before.

Although I still have some lbs to lose before I get to my 'ideal' weight, I am moving closer to the stage where the weight loss part of my journey will be over and I face a whole new learning curve, that of keeping the weight off - so Diane's post was very timely.

I have to admit that the idea of maintenance scares me quite a lot. OK, I've come a long way, but feel it would be all too easy for me to become complacent about where I am now. All too easy for the pounds to begin creep back on and for my hard-won current fitness levels to creep out of the door. I don't know if it's the time of year (for this read post-Christmas slump) but, reading around, it seems I'm not alone in having lost a bit of my enthusiasm and get-up-and-go.

What really worries me is that my resolve and motivation levels seem to have plummeted since the positive mood of my post at the start of the year. Sure, it's been icy and snowy here and I'm fighting a delightful bug which makes me feel a good 15% to 20% below par, even now, and will not allow me to stay warm... whatever I do (as I write I'm bundled up like Nanook of the North!). Athough I haven't eaten horribly badly it hasn't truly been weight loss eating either. As for the exercise... oh dear, what a wimp. No excuses hold water. I'm just not really looking after myself at the moment. This has got to change - fast!

Thinking about strategies to a) lose the remaining flab, b) keep it off and c) get my fitness levels back up where I'd like them, and to quote dear old Baldrick, it's time for a 'cunning plan'.

I've read about the things people hate (or hated) about being overweight in many posts over the years. Pondering these has prompted me look back at the things which made me unhappy when I was at my heaviest... and why making the change and losing weight has been such a very positive thing.

So here goes, to remind myself about what each of these things were and take note because, by recognising and remembering why they were so hard to live with, they should stand as a firm reminder of why it is so important that the weight I've shed stays off - permanently!

I think I may just pin this on my wardrobe door.... maybe with a photo or two of the way things were.

You can see the picture a bit bigger if you click on it (I hope) so, in no particular order...

04 January 2010

January scales

Nope, I didn't mis-spell it! This is nothing to do with discounts and start of the year 'buy one, get one' offers. This is the moment for the annual confession and review, and there's both good news and bad to report.

OK, let's get the bad bit over first and admit to the number I saw on the scales this morning. It's a gain for the fat lass and I'm now right back at 64kg (just over my ten stone milestone). Having managed to keep those pesky lbs off in the run-up to Christmas, a drop-off in exercise and slightly looser control over my eating patterns during the period between Christmas and New Year (mostly when we were away) means that I'm around two or three pounds up. Hence I'm a wee bit more of a fat lass to start 2010 than I'd like to be.

But, there is actually some good news hidden away in these words too. This 'good' centres primarily on the fact that I've ONLY gained this much, as I didn't leap completely off the wagon and gain masses of weight, and that I'm still fairly close to that miracle ten stone mark. Looking back over the last few years, the progress I've made with my weight loss becomes much more clear. Hmmm, this blogging lark really does have some extra benefits I hadn't thought too much about before.

So, let's review things - around this time in January 2008 I was congratulating myself on my weight being down to an astonishing 85kg or 187 lbs (13 stone 5 lbs). That was a very big deal for me and I was overjoyed to still be losing weight steadily some six months, or so, on from my blinding moment on the road to Damascus!

Then, last January I bemoaned a gain which put me back at 75kg or 165 lbs (11 stone 11 lbs). That followed being 'relatively' careful, but taking my eye off the ball at the final stages of the holiday season. Even so, I could see the bigger picture and what a difference that year had made to me, and it made me happy and remotivated me.

As you'll have gathered my mental arithmetic is never the best, but I still make it an overall loss of 11kg over the last year, and that's not too far short of two stone of my hated flab that I've managed to shed. If I look right back to where I was when I began this 'change of life' I've lost somewhere in the region of six stone. Wow! Needless to say, I'm very, very happy about that. But that's just the weight side of things and the bathroom scales don't show the whole picture.

Let's look at 'scales' in another sense - balancing what was against what is now.

The improvement in my health is the cause of most of my rejoicing. I still carry the dreaded salbutamol inhaler in the depths of my handbag (lovely hubby calls it my suitcase!), but never need to use it. These days I rarely get totally breathless... unless I completely overdo the exercise enthusiasm! I don't even know where the horrible steroid inhaler is. My peak flow is something I'm now quite happy with. In fact, I no longer consider myself to class as 'asthmatic'.

What's more, I no longer fear the almost inevitable onset of Type II diabetes and coronary heart disease anytime soon. Their spectres may not have gone away for ever (I guess the damage I've done to myself over the years cannot be completely reversed) but at least I think I've managed to postpone them for a fair few years to come.

OK, my joints haven't made it to 50 in the best condition, and they crunch and crack and ache daily. But those joints have such a lot less to contend with now that they used to. Heaven knows what state I'd have been in by now if I hadn't done something to address the pressures they were dealing with. All in all, my fitness is generally better now than it's ever been - and that's still whilst I'm feeling a shade guilty that I've slacked off and gone slightly backwards!

'What' I eat has undergone a radical transformation and my tastes have changed to the extent that a lot of my old cravings actually make me react with an instant 'yuck' if I see them now. The 'plus' sized burger meal or a dripping cheesy, meat-laden pizza? No thanks! As I write I'm enjoying my morning tea with my customary crisp, crunchy Pink Lady apple. Delicious!

And, in my downsized fat lass world, the word 'fun' now comes before 'food' in my dictionary. I think that's a pretty big change, and one worth noting.

My appearance has changed dramatically too. I don't just mean my size, which certainly has altered, but the fact that I now actually care what I look like and try to make the best of myself, flaws and all. I've been told on more than one occasion that I've got younger and I 'sort of' get the point.

Because I now look pretty normal (to my eyes) and I don't try to hide away, my confidence has returned to a large extent. I feel 'womanly' again and dress more adventurously - this fat lass has moved far away from the baggy cover-ups and graveyard palette and now wears fitted clothes in pale shades and colours!

So, back to the review:

Has it been worth it so far?
No regrets at all - I only wish I had started this years ago.

Will I keep working at weight loss and lose those last few pounds in 2010?
I'm already planning to wear my next, smaller-sized, 'target' skirt (even though it means I may have to discard some current favourites) and am all set for salsacise and the gym to start again next week.

Will I keep the lost lbs off?
It won't be easy and I expect there'll be a lot of moaning and groaning along the way, but I will not go back to being the old fat lass. She is out of my life and I'm quite happy with that. It feels like I've rediscovered (well, regained actually) the old 'me' who got buried under my excess weight and seemed completely lost for ever. Amazingly, she was still in there somewhere - it's great to have her back.

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