Monthly Archives: January 2016

My Own Worst Critic


I had a bit of a downer on myself yesterday, you know that way where you beat yourself up for not being good enough, or falling short of your own expectations? I think most of us do it to one degree or another, and don’t get me wrong, there are occasions where a self-administered kick up the bum does the trick.

But there’s a difference between encouraging yourself to go harder in pursuit of a stretching goal, and pouring scorn all over yourself for being rubbish. On reflection, I might have nudged a toe over the line yesterday. Or, jumped right over it as though I had springs on my feet…whatever, I was too hard on myself. Looking back, I know it and you’ve pretty much all jumped on me and said the same thing!

I think what prompted it was being faced with the reality of the cumulative exercise effort over the working week. You know, like nothing. Over the course of the previous month, each Sunday when I’ve totted up my activity I’ve felt mentally stronger as well as a degree or two fitter (except for the bits that hurt obviously, like everything south of my chins). This week I didn’t have any achy bits beyond the ones that come with age rather than effort, and that screamed lazy, plus a few other choice adjectives thought up by the Asshole voice who spied a name-calling opportunity and immediately got in on the action.

On reflection, I accept I could have tried harder last week but you know what I’m not lazy. And this transition from fully paid up couch potato to nimble string bean wasn’t ever going to be achieved overnight, right? I’m assured by various folk who consider themselves to be in the know, that eventually I’ll reach that tipping point where my body and soul crave exercise as a way to relax and unwind. As of right now, my armchair wins hands down in the relaxation stakes, and exercise is still firmly planted in FFS, again ALREADY???

I’m not making excuses, or trying to justify…I’m just digging around a bit to help me plan a route which diverts me around the tendency to regard my whole attempt at fitness with the words not good enough…that’s not helpful. And it’s not accurate either, when you look how far I’ve come.

I can walk four miles fairly easily. Just a few months ago I struggled to walk from the house to the car.  I remember a couple of years ago where one of the places I worked out of was a very long building, and the distance from my desk to the canteen was a good two minute walk…many a time I’d go without coffee because the thought of how much my back and my knee would ache by the time I got back to my desk was just too much.

I’ve run my poor boy ragged over the years, to my shame…will you just pop up to the shop for me? was a frequent request, usually because I was after something to push into my face whilst I was watching TV – or, will you be an angel and make me one of your special cups of tea..? There was no tangible difference between his cups of tea and mine, except his didn’t require me to get off my arse and move around. I was happy in my chair thank you very much.

So I need to remember that this sofa surfing physique has come about after years of inactivity and I can’t make the leap from zero to hero overnight. What I can do, is not give up. That’s completely within my power.

I’ve been doing twenty five minutes on the cross-trainer, and today I went for thirty. Only a month ago I practically needed oxygen after five. When I started focusing on getting fit it felt like an achievement when me and the dog made it straight across the crossroads and around the long block. Now we regularly walk four or five times further than that.

So I’ve had a few days out, because life and work demanded a greater than usual slice of the pie. So what? Nobody died. I need to try and minimise the chances of that happening, but you know what, I can be flexible. In the round, I’m doing fine. Better than fine. I just need to try harder with the way I plan my time is all.

See, I made it out of the doghouse 🙂

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Not Putting In The Hard Yards


I’ve been really rubbish this week in terms of keeping the exercise going. I could easily plead pressure of work, and I wouldn’t be telling an untruth, however that’s my life so if I’m going to make this exercise thing work for me, I need to get a grip and do better.

In addition to all the usual stuff that steals my time, there were a couple of days this week where I brought work home and worked right through the evening. I was up against the clock so even things like walking with the dog for an hour when I got home didn’t happen on those days. By the time I made it up the stairs at bedtime, doing 20 minutes on the cross-trainer was the very last thing I felt like doing. And at the back end of the week I was working away, so I couldn’t.

As a result of all that, the Asshole voice scored some easy victories this week. Ah you can make up for it tomorrow…of course, I didn’t…you’re not a machine and right now rest is more important. Now it’s the weekend and I’m sitting here reviewing the sum total of my exercise across the week…all I can count are three buttons and a bottle top. Shit. Somewhere, there will have been people even busier than me doing exercise, of that I’m fairly sure.

I don’t want to make excuses you know?  I saw a quote in one of my favourite blogs Totally Kathy this week which went along the lines of ‘every time I make an excuse, I am robbed of the chance to learn’. How true is that, and it’s been buzzing around in my head all week, dammit. What I need to learn, is how to make this exercise thing fit me.

It boils down to this…if something is important enough, I‘ll find a way. And if it’s not, I’ll find an excuse. If it’s important but I genuinely can’t do it, that’s a reason, and sometimes I’ll just need to suck it up. It’s time for me to carefully fold that black belt in excuses which I’ve owned for many years and hand it back for good because I don’t want that life any more.

Do you remember a couple of weeks ago, I was going overkill on the exercise, to the point where I was refusing to step off even when I was in pain? I think giving myself permission to opt out for genuine reasons has gone to my head a bit, and this week the pendulum has swung way too far in the other direction. So that’s the other thing I need to learn…finding balance, and making the right call.

It’s true, I was working away and overnighting at the back end of this week. And I didn’t get to my hotel until around 9pm after what had been an early start and a long day. But although it was dark out, and I was in a strange place, I could have walked ten times around the car park whilst I was waiting for room service to rustle up my dinner. Nothing hurt, I had no reason not to exercise…the Asshole voice just convinced me that I couldn’t be bothered. That’s an excuse, not a reason and I shouldn’t have listened.

I’m not going to be too hard on myself, because these lessons…well, they all count. It’s all part of the journey, right? 🙂

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One Million Percent Giddy

bandAt one minute past nine this morning, my email pinged with the news that our blog has been shortlisted for both the categories we entered in the UK Blog Awards, and I almost fainted. I mean, I hoped obviously that it had meant enough to enough of you that you would get behind me and cast your votes, but hope doesn’t come with a right to expect, so I genuinely had no idea how we’d stack up against all the other wonderful blogs. There were two thousand entries, and that’s a lot of words.

So when I got the news, I was working. Not in my usual office with my usual people, who are used to me having ‘moments’I’m that age where, let’s be honest, moments come as standard, right? Today required me to be zipped into my serious face and I’m here to tell you, that’s not easy when you’ve got a salsa band going hell for leather in your head and sunshine leaking out of your ears.

It was even harder on the train home not to sit grinning like the village idiot although the advantage is you do tend to get a double seat to yourself. Mind you, I stayed away from home last night and forgot to pack my hair mousse and my hair straighteners, so quite apart from my slightly manic grin I also looked like the wild woman of Borneo, which might have accounted for folk giving me a wide berth.

I’ve had to keep my total giddiness bottled up, all day. On the journey home the Asshole voice kept me busy – he was pitching for a chocolate muffin from the buffet car, on the basis that if I was going to this fancy awards night I’d better look fat or they might throw me out for being a fraud. So actually, best forget the diet between now and then, and start again on the first Monday after the awards. Take a hike dude, I’m going to be all over those size 20 frocks by then.

Anyway, I’m home now and I was finally able to celebrate by having a mad half hour with the dog, who clearly thinks I’ve lost the plot but doesn’t really care as long as it’s playtime and there’s a bonio in it for him somewhere along the line.

On a serious note, thank you. A million times thank you. I started the blog to keep my hands out of the biscuit tin, and to help me work through a bunch of stuff. The friendships and camaraderie which sprung up along the way mean the world to me, and your faith in me and my journey takes my breath away. I appreciate every single vote of confidence 🙂

So now we just need to sit back and let the judges do their stuff. I’m excited that they’re going to meet all of you through our chatter, and I hope they’ll laugh along with us. If you’re curious about the other blogs which made the shortlist, you can find them HERE…they’re all pretty special and I’m going to wander into all of them over the weekend and wish them luck!

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The Elephant In The Room


So I was involved in some interviews at work yesterday, and during the course of one of them, there was a fat incident. It’s testament to how far my head has come over the last few months that I was able to shrug it off without it sending me directly to the hobnobs, and in actual fact I ended up feeling more sorry for the bloke we were interviewing to be fair. He was mortified.

He’d prepared a piece of work for us in advance, in which we’d asked him to evaluate one of our stores, and call out some of the issues which he considered to be threats to our business. I work for a food retailer, and as part of his presentation this candidate had referred to the current furore about sugar, in relation to obesity and unhealthy diets. There it was, that word…obesity.

Talk about the elephant in the room, quite literally 🙂 He had a whole slide dedicated to the issue, so he couldn’t skip over it, and to add insult to injury he’d illustrated the slide with an image of the rear view of a very fat lady sitting on a fairly modestly sized chair. Spilling over it in fact, in a fairly spectacular fashion. And so there it was, in front of us on the big screen. And here he was, being interviewed by a lady with an arse every bit as big as the one in the awful photo he’d managed to dig up.

It was quite funny really, or at least it would have been if it hadn’t had one foot in tragedy. All the way, from reception where I collected him to the meeting room the poor bloke must have been thinking SHIT!!! The obesity slide!!! as my substantial arse led the way down his own personal green mile. And mid-presentation, when he got to that slide, well he clearly wanted to die on the spot.

As he tried his best to talk about how we might need to think about replacing lost income from sugary foods with healthier choices, he couldn’t quite bring himself to look in my direction. He talked to the floor, the wall, the window, and his fingernails came under almost forensic scrutiny.

His mouth had clearly gone dry but despite the jug of water on the table he decided not to pause and have a drink, I’m assuming he decided that the longer the slide was displayed in all its obese splendour, the lower his chances of me forgiving him for addressing the fat lady on fat issues. By the time he moved to the next slide he sounded like he was wearing a mitten on his tongue.

He’s probably still sweating more than twenty four hours later. And me, well…I am rather well known for getting a fit of the giggles in the most inappropriate situations. It took every ounce of willpower that I could summon up not to collapse in a heap.

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, the whole situation would have been as unfunny to me as it’s possible to get. I would have been more mortified than him to the power of ten, and it would have affected my mood for days…not on the outside, but deep down where it really hurts. Yesterday, genuinely, I found it amusing, and I couldn’t wait to relay the story to you guys.

There are times when this unwavering conviction that I’m heading directly to Skinny Town acts as a protective second skin from any thorns that happen to get snagged in my fat suit. No torn flesh and no open sores…just a few more signs of wear on the shell I will leave way behind me when I cross the county line.

What’s the betting that our meeting yesterday makes it onto his top 3 most embarrassing moments list..? The story of me and my arse will live on in his memory for a long time, that much I’m sure about!


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Beyond The Wit Of Man

chuck it

So I’m just about at the end of my rope with the BOTSG subscription email. It’s like someone created it with the sole intention of twisting my melon you know? It works. It doesn’t work. Then it works again. Sometimes it says that it worked, by sending me confirmation that all my subscribers have had their skinny mail but really it’s a big fat lie, because I’m on the subscriber list and despite assurances to the contrary, mine doesn’t arrive. If I get mine, I know you got yours, right?

Take yesterday for example. Yesterday it said all the emails had been delivered. I stalked my inbox for a while, and nothing. I even roped my boy into being a subscriber as a double-check last time it fell over, and yesterday his didn’t come either. So, about twenty minutes after I published the post I went into the widget and sent a manual notification email to the posse. And still, my inbox contained only tumbleweed…no skinny mail.

I’m irritated by this point, right? It’s pushing my buttons because I hate it when things don’t work like they should. According to the widget history it had sent not one, but two manual emails as well as the automatic one. Great. My posse are going to either get no email like me, or three emails. Surely it’s not beyond the wit of man to make it work, I mean that widget has one job.

It’s been a tough week so far. I’d worked really late the night before and yesterday was a long day off the back of not much sleep. So I definitely wasn’t feeling the love, in fact the whole situation made me disproportionately mad. So what did I do..? I ate quiche.

Now, we all know that eating quiche is practically against the law if you’re on a limited food budget. It was only a small one, and I just about scraped through without dinting my food budget but once again, I’m repeating the same pattern over and over. Get mad, and eat.

For my own future reference, eating quiche didn’t make me feel better. As I took my second mouthful, the first skinny mail dropped into my in-box, followed in quick succession by two more. So now I had three skinny mails, and realisation dawned that not only had I more than likely pissed off the posse by bombarding y’all with multiple versions of the same email, I had no points left for the rest of the evening. Terrific. Damn quiche was the size of a postage stamp. Was it worth it..? No was it chuff.

To my subscribers, I’m sorry about the  emails…I’m going to look for a new widget this weekend 🙂

Yesterday wasn’t a good day, but I made it. Just.

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