14 May 2017

Been a long time...

...but I am still here, and still reading what you lovely people write, although things have been relatively hectic of late so I haven't commented too much. 

Hmmm, busy. Now some of that is probably down to working full-time again. Funny how it consumes such a lot of my time, eh? That said, a few months in, I'm still enjoying the 'new' job, although people seem to have been leaving in their droves since I started. Something I said perhaps? Nah, don't be daft. 

It's good, in part, because I'm still learning - every single day. It's keeping my mind active. I'm constantly problem-solving, and I've been a bit surprised that I enjoy the interaction with people from around the world, and the feeling of being at least 'some' help to a fair number of them. 

Having been a lady of (enforced) leisure for some months beforehand, it's been a bit of an adjustment. I am finding that I get fairly tired in the evenings, especially by the end of a week, so feel less inclined to write. Hey, do you think the fat lass could be getting older? You betcha!

Life has dropped a few worries my way too, but that's life for you. Nothing too horrendous, but you know what it's like at 2 a.m. when the bad thoughts won't stop and let you get a good night's sleep.

Another time-hungry thing, I'm still heading to the gym three times a week (for a fantastic 2 hour session at the weekend at my favourite bodybuilding/boxing gym, interspersed with two shorter sessions in the carpeted luxury of that workplace gym before work).

I am seeing gradual changes too as I am definitely stronger than when we first started. Now and again though (er, like yesterday) I do get a bit disheartened and feel like I'm not making sufficient progress - whatever the hell that actually means. 

On these days, which usually coincide with seeing beautifully proportioned, slim, strong young women doing, apparently quite effortlessly, something I struggle with, I feel ancient and useless. That's when I become super conscious of my saggy regions of excess skin, the remaining fatty deposits (around the belly and thighs in particular), and those 'oh so attractive' flabby bits. There may now be some muscle underneath, but it's masked by stuff it would take a surgeon's skills to uncover, dammit!

But, for when this does happen, I have a cunning plan. Yep, the fat lass still puts her 'cunning plans' to good use.

What I do is this. I stop, and mentally kick my posterior (only mentally as yet - I need yoga classes to get flexible enough to do it for real), then remind myself of a few home truths.

Things like the fact that I am loved, just the way I am. Such a tiny thing to say, but so very important. I'm loved by my darling lovely hubby, by the best sister a woman could have, by other family and by friends. I am so lucky.

Things too, like 'who' and 'what' I am these days, and whatever I may 'look' like, is the result of over 57 years of living, some of which (actually way too many) were lived being morbidly obese, inactive and in a fair degree of pain. You know that old saying about reaping what one sows? Well, I guess that's me. But, that was then... 

...and this is now. And I am 100% sure that 'now' is a very much better place. Yes, I remember the way things were and, although I regret a lot of it, it generates a deep sense of gratitude. 

I may not have a model's body (never did and never will), but I have a body which works pretty well in the circumstances. It hasn't failed me and it keeps trying to make things better for me. It's lighter than 'before' (at around the 55kg mark still). It's stronger than before. It's healthier than before (I think - no, I'm certain of it). It gives me less pain and, when clothed, I am content that it looks quite reasonable.

You know what? I'm going to keep on treating that body kindly. I will continue with the weights work to keep the prospect of muscle-loss and osteoporosis at bay (and I may even look up a yoga class to get a bit more flexible). I will give it good, wholesome food to eat, and clean fresh water to drink (with the odd scotch, I'll admit). I will remember to appreciate it.

Hey, does that remind anyone of anything? Yes, I am becoming more and more like my darling my Mother, and counting my blessings. Now if that isn't a good thing I don't know what is!

Onwards, and holding that gratitude like a beacon, ever upwards...

05 March 2017

An interesting week

It has been quite a week. As ever with life, there have been some ups and a few odd downs, but simply beginning, and knuckling down to get on with it, is the only way forwards.

I'd say the most positive part of the week was starting my new job (albeit I was scared stiff on my first day), and deciding that it was indeed the correct choice to have made. Did I mention that I'd been offered another job, on the day I signed my contract, which I turned down?

I think this one offers me stability and a fair bit of scope for the future, but isn't utterly overwhelming to start with. The journey is fine and the people (I'm part of a team of eleven) really do seem to be as nice, and friendly, and supportive as I'd hoped too.

With everything that has happened in the last few years I really appreciate landing something like this that doesn't send my tentative, much-shaken confidence running for the hills. Yes, I have a LOT to learn (serious understatement), but I feel supported, not simply left to flounder!

But that wasn't the only positive bit. I went to the gym yesterday, after recovering (mostly) from the cold and sore throat which had kindly broken out just in time for my first day at work - typical, eh? When I woke up I still wasn't feeling 100% so didn't expect much more than a gentle, let's get back to it session. Indeed, I took it easy and dropped a couple of weights to begin with. But that was fine, and seemed too easy, so I soon reverted to my 'usual' weights... until I got to the compound row.

By now I felt pretty confident so set the weight a shade higher. For the first time ever I used the 56kg setting on the stack. It might not sound that big a deal, but that's more than I actually weigh! Progress is definitely being made - the fat lass is getting stronger.

Oooh, I forgot to say - there's a gym where I work too. It's fairly small, so slightly restricted with the equipment on offer, but it does mean that even if I can't make it to my beloved boxing/bodybuilding gym more than once or twice a week I have another option. It even has carpet on the floor - what luxury. Now that's what I call work benefits!

One down side was passing on my grotty coldy bug to lovely hubby. He seems to have been hit rather harder by it, poor love. He doesn't feel good, though he's not sneezing quite as much, and still looks a bit pale. Still, it is only a cold and he will get better. In that we are blessed - all too many of our friends and acquaintances have a lot more to contend with.

I'm trying to look after him as much as I can - he deserves it. So, for dinner tonight I've slow cooked some chicken legs with mushrooms, celery, green pepper, onion, garlic, tarragon and a quartered lemon. Oh yes, there are a few bits of leftover Polish sausage in there too. It smells great and should be nutrient-packed to help him fight the bug.

I've also made a nice big bowl of red and white cabbage salad (plus a varied assortment of odds 'n ends of veg bits from the fridge) so I can take some for lunch each day this week, with cheese or eggs or cooked meat. The canteen at work is nice (airy and open, and subsidised too), but not exactly low-carb friendly.

The last two paragraphs probably indicate that I'm still trying to eat as healthily as possible, with good food and as much variation as I can manage, and am still a firm adherent to the low-carb way of life (I simply will NOT call it a diet!). This means my weight is holding pretty stable at between 54kg and 55kg.

You know what? My darling Mum was dead right about having blessings to count. Onwards, chaps...

20 February 2017

A rollercoaster day

After yesterday's good stuff, this morning looked set to kick off in decidedly disappointing vein. An email popped into the inbox first thing, to tell me that a planned interview (scheduled for tomorrow) was being postponed. 

That didn't exactly fill me with joy. Indeed, it did rather make me wonder whether the multi-coloured elephant from the last post had got the message. It dumped something on me alright, but that 'something' didn't quite feel like positive vibrations. 

Through the day, I also got pretty antsy awaiting the result of last week's interview. The longer the day went on, the more convinced I became that when the call finally came it would be of the 'thanks, but...' variety again. So much so, that I decided it was best to look for other jobs to apply for, found one that was worth a shot, and got stuck in to yet another bloody application.

However [drum roll here], I have good news to report.

I had a phone call mid-afternoon to offer me the job. In fact, it gets better. I was offered the full-time, permanent position not just the fixed-term contract I thought might have, maybe, perhaps, possibly be offered... at a push, if the wind was in the right direction and the stars were aligned in my favour.

Yep, the fat lass is happy. If truth be told, I'm even more delighted as the interview process threw up a few things I hadn't been aware of. There were just four of us to get as far as to be interviewed, after fifteen of us embarked upon a morning of 'assessments' which included 'group activities' and timed 'computer-based' tests. Whilst the assessments were not really 'difficult', they were certainly challenging. Me being me, and my confidence not being the highest these days, I didn't feel I'd covered myself in glory by the end of them... just sort of done OK. 

Now I'm pretty used to there being considerable competition for any job these days, but I was surprised to hear that this one had had nearly 200 applicants. Just getting to the final phase seemed like success to me. But being offered the job...? Yep, I'm very happy.

I will wait for the contract, for references to be taken up, and a 100% definite start date before I go out and paint the town red but it looks likely that I could start as early as next week. I really liked the team members I met last week. They seem a friendly and supportive bunch and I feel that once I get settled and used to the new role (it's always intimidating in the first few weeks) I could fit in with them and be happy and content working alongside them. I have every digit crossed.

Hey, maybe the elephant got the message after all. Whatever, thanks go to my pachyderm pal!

19 February 2017


Calling all positive vibes... come in, your time is up!

On the job front:

1) I'm waiting to hear back after an interview last week which seemed to go well... though you never can tell

2) I'm preparing for a second interview this week, and hoping for a good outcome... though you never can tell

I daresay I'll report back at some point in the week. Until then, onwards, and so on.

10 February 2017

Let's think about progress

Today brought yet more fun - another of the wonderful job application 'thanks, but no thanks' email rejections. I have to admit that it performed the usual trick of making me feel completely inadequate, ancient, worthless, a failure... [actually, you can choose your own words here]

So I really wasn't in the best frame of mind as we headed to the gym, first thing this morning, in the cold and snowy wind. Things didn't improve when we got there and lovely hubby slipped going down the metal stairs as the soles of his shoes were wet. Thankfully, though he cut his hand a bit (and doubtless dented his pride), he didn't really hurt himself too badly - but it shook us both.

This meant that as we started doing our usual set the fat lass was cold (for some reason they hadn't put the heaters on), definitely grumpy, a bit tearful and decidedly unmotivated. Even a stint on the rower (usually my favourite) didn't do the customary magic of making me feel better.

But, after a little while, in fact when I got on the machine crunch thingy (you know, that one designed by Torquemada), I realised something. When I first used it, back in mid-November, I did so with no added weights and found it quite a challenge (understatement!) as abdominal strength has never been my forte. Well, I've gradually added some weight over the last couple of months, and while I don't know what the weight equates to I'm now using it on weight No.5 in the stack. And it's a similar picture with everything we use. The weights have increased as I've got stronger and gradually, as they become manageable, increased again - progress!

Great, eh?  But what I wasn't really aware of is what has been happening to my body. Trouble is I don't 'see' any change and so tend to focus on the number I see on the scale to decide whether I'm on track or off the rails. In fact I've been feeling pretty bad again as my celebrated 54kg seems to have been quite a short-lived phenomenon. When I weighed at the weekend I was horrified to see that I was back to just under 55kg.

But there's been progress here too.

What informed me was getting dressed in my smartest clobber for an interview on Wednesday (this time for a job I'd really like - one for which I have the chance of a second interview). I pulled out my trusty grey trousers and popped them on. Now last time I wore them they fitted me perfectly. This time I had an 'ooooh' moment. They are now too big in the waist! No problem though - even if there was an initial panic - a long sweater covered the waistband up nicely.

Another marker of progress comes from my volunteering, this time not on the physical front. Though I haven't been there all that long I'm being trained to become a shift supervisor. Given that it includes the responsibility of cashing up and closing the place at the end of the day that's really quite a compliment.

So, you horrible Black Dog - take that! Try as you will, you are not having it all your own way after all.

Right, onwards....

25 January 2017

Good health

Hey. Let's celebrate!

The fat lass is feeling better. Much, much, MUCH better in fact, and if she'd had to make yet a third trip to see the GP (thankfully two was quite enough!) this is probably what the response would have been.

Better, as in this morning saw my first attempt at going to the gym and weight training for over two weeks... and it went a lot more easily than I could have hoped for.

We had planned to go on Monday morning, and set the alarm ready to do so, but I woke up still feeling fairly rough. This was probably down to having been out for a walk on Sunday (only two hours for goodness sake) which flattened me again and led to more of those bloody blisters popping up in my throat in the evening. Hmmm, we decided discretion was the better part of valour and postponed it.

So... today. Reckoning it all up, I'd say I did about 70-80% of my usual stuff, all told. Well OK, I dropped most my regular weights down a notch (but only a little way and it won't take too long to get them back up again), and as a precaution cut down the number of reps this time around, but I used every machine I normally do (and did the cardio and floor exercises) and feel really happy to have managed it. Already planning to go back and do more on Friday.

Yes, I will admit that I'm feeling quite tired now after going, but this is nothing really and a nice omelette for breakfast and a sturdy cup of coffee will sort that out. The bug that I had - even if I still have no idea what variety it was - made me feel absolutely exhausted and incapable of doing anything much for near 100% of the time while I was fighting it, so this is a huge improvement. Boy it feels good to be back on track!

The nasty buggy beast did do me one favour, I suppose. The scales tell me I'm back at 54kg again, and have been holding steady for a few days. That is right where I want to be so I'm actually pretty pleased in a 'rather it hadn't been by this method' sort of way. I did drop right down to 52.5kg after three or four days I wasn't eating, not even soup or yoghurt (hurt too much), but I knew that wasn't 'real' and would pick back up when food was an acceptable thought once again. Thankfully, my darling lovely hubby is an excellent soup chef so I've had all sorts of 'goodness' (as my Mum would have said) in liquid form.

So, cheers me dears. Today I'm counting my blessings, of which good health is one of the greatest I can count, and it's onwards ever...

13 January 2017

Not the finest start

I know things could be worse, but the beginning of 2017 hasn't exactly been ideal.

A rotten throat bug wouldn't have been my No. 1 choice to kick the year off. Ten days on and two trips to the doctor later, the second to get the results of a throat swab (not bacterial so probably viral), this bug is finally starting to relinquish its hold. I still feel like a limp dishrag (and still ache too) but actually possess rather more of a voice today - something almost totally absent for a good three days. Mind you, according to my lovely hubby and his kooky sense of humour, I now sound like Fenella Fielding.

The doctor also gave me the results from a panel of blood tests I had before Christmas for another little worry. Thankfully, all reported back as 'normal', barring one. That's one of the clotting factor tests and probably explains why both my big toenails started to go black for no discernible reason (bleeding under the nail) for the festive season. Oooh, how pretty! Also, why I seem to have picked up a raft of unexplained bruises and why minor nosebleeds have been a regular aspect of the last few weeks. The doctor isn't particularly concerned though, so I won't fret unless things don't settle down.

Then today, a further joy. I had not one but two emails to tell me that my applications for the latest jobs aren't going any further. I won't type the words that popped into my head. Nothing like kicking the fat lass when she's down, eh?

Oh well, can't change it so just get on with it girl. Here goes - onwards and all that jazz. Things have to improve...don't they?

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