28 December 2011

Weight Gain Nil? Er, not quite.

Oooh, wouldn't it be lovely to report that no weight was gained at all over the Christmas period? Unfortunately, that hasn't quite happened over this year's festive season although we've been 'fairly' sensible so the damage isn't too excessive.

We spent Christmas with my darling Mum, who is in her nineties, and had a wonderful time together. I do wish we lived closer to her as we both love spending time with her, taking care of her and doing what we can to make her comfortable and happy. Ah well, I guess it could be worse - at least we're only a few hours drive away (unless you count the time spent in that 'car park' which is the M25 London Orbital!).

As ever, whilst we were with her, part of our strategy was to find a variety of appealing and high-calorie foods to tempt her. Keeping sufficient weight ON her tiny frame is a major headache! That meant our meals too were not exactly a picture of weight-loss ideals. And, aside from running up and down stairs and generally looking after her and her surroundings, we didn't get a great deal of exercise either.

Still, we both made the best choices we could (most of the time) and watched our portion sizes. That's not to say we didn't nibble the odd treat, especially if it meant we could get Mum to eat a little more too, but we did keep it to a minimum. This means the good news is that both lovely hubby and I came home carrying only a pound or two more flubber (between us) than we set off with. All in all, not a bad way to approach the New Year, methinks.

Speaking of the New Year and resolutions and so forth... we have both come up with the same plan. This is to get our bottoms moving rather more than we have done of late. To heck with waiting for January 1st 2012 though - we've started already! Both of us have been pretty active today, I'm intending to get out and about in the (mild) winter air tomorrow and on New Year's Eve we plan to go for a good long walk together.

Next comes the rower! Now that the recent health issues seem to be taking a back seat (at long last), it's high time we got back to our morning rowing stints. So, we've made each other a firm promise that we'll get back to it. We won't go crazy though, we'll start slowly and gently and work our way back up to our full sparrow-cough a.m. sessions again. We've missed it. Given our history of obesity and slothfulness, how lovely it is the to be able to start a brand new year saying that !

23 December 2011

OK, we're at the very gates of Christmas...

So I just want to say to everyone that it's now down to us. We can either say 'to hell with it', overindulge and regret it in January, or we can do those little things for ourselves and our health which help limit the damage while still enjoying the festivities.

I'm going to try for the latter...

Have a great Christmas and see you in 2012... which I just know is going to be a GOOD year.

13 December 2011

Food, festivities and coping strategies

Ooooh, it's that wondrous time of year again. The eat, drink and be merry brigade are getting into full swing and exhortations to have 'just a small mince pie' are coming along thick and fast. However's a fat lass to cope, eh?

Well, I never was a boy scout (for some fairly self-evident anatomical reasons) but, these days, I do believe in 'being prepared'!

In the bad old days, this joyous season would begin and, well in advance of any actual event, my inner child would excitedly plan what she was going to be able eat, and drink, and treat herself with, and induldge in. She looked forward to all the foodie delights she could imagine (oooh - crisps, little savoury pies, sherry, mixed nuts and a whole tin of Quality Street to nibble - wheeee!). She'd also very carefully avoid even the slightest consideration of potential horrors to come in the New Year, when the scales reported just how enthusiastically she'd embraced the festivities. After all, this was Christmas!

Not any longer! I've finally learned that the 'moment on the lips, lifetime on the hips' statement can and does apply to me too, not just to a nebulous 'someone else'. I also keep reminding myself of just how hard I've had to work to claw my way down to my current weight from my previous unhappy obesity.

So, before the season gets fully under way, a Baldrick-style cunning plan is required, and it has to have several components...

First is that whole 'awareness' thing.

It's oh so important to really 'think' about what is on offer. Whatever it is, what might the benefits of consuming it be? They might be nutritional I guess, but more often they can be social - fitting in with a peer group, e.g. workmates, can be pretty important. But.... don't forget - 'social compliance' can still be achieved, you can just choose your own terms.

Benefits are only one thing though, The other side of the golden foil-wrapped chocolate coin is the downside. So, cultivating a keen awareness of just how many calories there can be in the usual Christmas offerings can really help. An example - that single 'small mince pie' can deliver a whopping 260 calories! (some of these derive from up to 40g of sugars.and nearly 9g of fat)... and that's before we even get to the brandy butter! And as to some of the other common seasonal specialities - be prepared ahead of time. Look 'em up.

Then there's excuses, excuses! With those downsides in mind, I also get my 'oh, no I couldn't' phrases off-pat and well practiced in advance. It's so much easier that way than getting caught on the hop, completely unprepared. The little excuses can vary, from 'oh how lovely, but I've only just eaten' to 'I'd love to join you in a glass, but I'm driving', to... well, I'm sure you can come up with a few more.

So you find that you can't avoid an event based around food? Well, another thing I try to do, when I know about it in advance, is to reduce the temptation to stuff by not arriving at Christmas 'do's hungry. An apple and a glass of water about half an hour before I set off can reap rewards!

Then, once I set eyes upon the tasty treats on offer at the inevitable buffet, I employ another little strategy. I try to pile up my plate with the veggie decorations (e.g. salad leaves) first, to leave less room for the calorific stuff. There's no need to refuse absolutely everything but, for keeping those portions well under control, this is a big, big help.

And if, like this week, it happens to be a sit down multi-course meal, I'll adjust what I eat for the rest of the day (or days either side). A smaller breakfast and minimalist lunch, and a brisk walk wherever possible, will all help a bit.

This one's not the easiest thing for me to do but... socialising a lot and engaging in witty conversation to keep my mouth and brain occupied, and to cut down the available time for indulging myself, is on the cards too. Dance, if there's a chance to do so, fat lass. Enjoy that party in a positive way. This is not a time to sit in the corner and act the wallflower.

Something I've been told but not consciously tried out yet (although this week will see the trial!), is to wear something which is just on the fringes of uncomfortably tight around the middle. That way you should be less inclined to fill your tummy with unnecessary food and drink and less likely to sit down and munch (keeping moving, even if just a little, is a good thing). To this end, I'll be wearing a velvet dress with a closely-fitting boned (not stretchy!) bodice later this week.

So the season will be jolly and I'll still enjoy it. I won't go mad and I will try to help myself  wherever I can. This January (unlike some previous ones) may not see the screams and howls of absolute horror when I step onto the dreaded scale, but if I do still put on a pound or two, so be it. One thing I do know now - I'm quite determined that it won't stay there for long!

06 December 2011

There's no escape...

Oh hiss, spit, pooh, wobbly bottoms and other rude words of choice.

I thought I was managing to evade the dreaded seasonal bugs really well, given that:

  1. lovely hubby was off for a few days with a really grotty bug, and is still up at night coughing like heck
  2. my colleague (who sits next to me) has been off for almost a week (with something snotty, feverish and similar)
  3. any journeys on public transport at the moment sound like a day's outing for the consumptive society, echoing to the jolly sound of coughs, sneezes and nose-blowing
Unfortunately, and despite trying the usual manic hand-washing, scarf over face ploy and trying a 'cold defence' nasal spray (a.k.a. 'a bit of a con'), the damned thing has found me.

Felt OK (well, mostly) up until last night, although there were signs that something was going on - a fetching set of cold sores, mostly. Immune system's fighting the good fight, but not entirely on the winning team, eh?

But... those little men with hammers set up in my head overnight, and then joined forces this morning with the chappies who sandpaper throat linings for a living. The crew responsible for turning a fat lass into a human waterfall turned up late this morning so it's a case of Kleenex 'r us at the moment. Dontcha just love the 'Rudolf' effect of constant tissue use? Ever so Christmassy, it is. Bah! Humbug!

The silver lining (and believe me, I've really had to hunt for this) is that nothing, nope, not even my beloved chipotle chillies, tastes right through the lovely coating on my tongue, so my interest in comestibles is nearing zero. Yeah, yeah, I know all that baloney about 'feeding a cold', and I'm not starving myself, but overindulgence on seasonal treats holds no appeal right now. Ah well, I guess it helps out with maintenance.

Onwards and...

01 December 2011

Aaaah, the dressing up box!

I'm sure you'll know the one I mean. That box at the back of Mum's wardrobe stuffed full of old clothes for 'pretend'. Beautiful colours, luxurious textures and a pair of Mum's old stilettos which, although way, way, way too big for you, made you feel like a princess teetering along in them. Wasn't it a fabulous feeling to try something out of the box and feel great!

Childhood days came to an inevitable end and, especially in my fattest days, I quite lost any sense of delight in trying on clothes. To be frank, no matter what the garment, however luxurious, in my mind at least, my obesity overwhelmed it. I cannot remember looking in the mirror and feeling pretty, or ladylike, or fun, or anything positive at all. No matter if lovely hubby said 'you look nice', I felt inadequate, and usually like a big, unsightly lump.

You know the worst part? I kind of thought that was just a pretty normal thing in life. Yep. I thought it was 'normal' for a woman (me) to try on/buy clothes and feel unattractive. Sure I knew that my weight did me no favours, and tried to hide/mask/disguise it in lots of ways, but I couldn't see past it (yeah, quite literally sometimes!) to the fact that this wasn't the case for everyone. Somehow, a simple pleasure in life was missing and I didn't even see that.

There have been lots of positive reasons for losing the weight I have done, and I've mentioned a fair few in the past. Still, and always, the biggest benefit of all has been to my health, but I'll now add another one....

I have regained a little of that childish delight in the dressing up box. I now find pleasure in trying on clothes once again. Some of them look nice, some truly hideous, but the pleasure in trying on 'something new', even when I have absolutely no intention whatsoever of buying it has returned. That's really, really nice, and it can give me a little boost when things get tough in other ways.

(and yes, I used to dress up my doggie too - he was very patient, bless him)

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