Monthly Archives: May 2016

Seeing Beyond What’s Hard


I went back to work this morning feeling so relaxed after a lovely long weekend – God of Pain is away, so there haven’t been any classes since Friday morning and I’m rather astonished to say I’m itching to get back to it tonight. Is that a bit weird? Not because I’m enjoying it in any way shape or form – I’m not there yet – but because every day I don’t go now feels like a day wasted. I’m on the clock, you know? I’ve got a mountain to climb. I’m focused. And you know what, I’m starting to notice that my body is responding.

Yesterday was such a warm and sticky day. I took the dog out for a walk, and I was in the mood to explore. We covered well over four miles on a couple of bridleways that I discovered by following a public footpath sign that I’ve walked past hundreds of times, and ignored. Turns out my curiosity paid dividends, it’s a lovely walk that I never knew existed until I followed my nose yesterday.

When I set off, I’d gone in a different direction than normal, and taken a route I usually avoid because it’s harder…it’s a lot more hilly. The first time I did it back at the beginning of the year I made a note to self along the lines of never again in this lifetime…I couldn’t manage it without feeling like my lungs were going to explode. Yesterday, I ate it for breakfast. It didn’t bother me one little bit.

And despite the muggy day and the long walk, I felt energised when I got home rather than knackered like I usually do. And that tells me something, you know? I didn’t find it hard, and I didn’t look for reasons to quit or find a short cut home like I would’ve at one time, because compared to what goes on in that fitness studio, it was quite literally a walk in the park.

Which kind of brought me to the realisation that it’s not even about what goes on in the Kingdom of Pain, is it? I mean it is, in the moment, when I’m there…but way beyond that is  the potential in this fat old body, which going there and hurting is unlocking.

Even a couple of weeks ago the walk I did yesterday would’ve challenged me, but every one of those torturous classes has made me a degree or two stronger, and what was difficult in the very recent past is now less so. I feel a tiny bit excited by the possibilities of where this might lead.

It is hard, going pretty much every day, but I’m looking on this as an investment in me. I’ve had quite a lot of emails about my new fitness schedule, in fact one or two of them have made me chuckle – they came from people who care enough to reach out, but they could almost have been written by my asshole voice. Be careful, don’t overdo it, you should have plenty of rest days in between…

I’ve responded to every one with appreciation, because I know they come from a place of caring and concern, and whilst the sentiment is similar, they’re a million miles removed from my asshole voice’s agenda of trying out of his socks to make me believe that I can’t keep the pace.

I promise you don’t need to worry…it’s working, under the close supervision of a professional athlete who retired from his sport and now spends his life whipping reformed couch potatoes into shape. He knows his onions, and I trust him.

Speaking of which, I need to get a wriggle on…it’s Fat Furnace tonight.

Kill me now 🙂

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Eating My Efforts


So I’ve got about a week and a half of exercise classes under my belt, and despite continuing to fantasise about my old life in the armchair, the asshole voice in my head hasn’t really made any significant dink in my determination to drag this fat old body to a better place. Between you and me, I reckon we’re both a bit scared of pissing off the God of Pain. Who, by the way critiqued my food diary before the weekend and made it clear I had to do better…it didn’t pass muster.

Which made me think. I’d stayed within points. Sort of. Well I had, it’s just that I’d used up all my exercise points too, of which I’d earned loads because I did loads. So I ate loads. God forbid that all that effort should go unrewarded, right? God forbid that so much as one point to which I’m entitled might sneak by uneaten…not on my watch.

And, dammit, I realised that the asshole voice had sneaked in through the back door and presented a very compelling argument that since I was working so hard, all those extra points I’d earned could be spent on whatever I liked.

Which is how come my food diary was peppered with two sticks of chocolate here, and a handful of Pringles there…looking from the outside in, I can see why I deserved harsh words. It probably didn’t read like the food diary of someone who was determined to lose weight, you know? Viewed from an athlete’s perspective, my fat-girl thinking stuck out like a sore thumb.

And hands up, it’s a fair cop – the needle didn’t move on the scale this week. I ate within points starts to sound a bit hollow when I’m faced with the reality that I’m in exactly the same place that I was in last week – all that effort, and all those sore muscles just to stand still.

Even as I’m writing this, the asshole voice is busy being all outraged and trying to convince me that muscle weighs heavier than fat, and that I’ve actually lost weight and gained muscle…yeah, nice try dickhead, technically that may be the case but after one week and change I’m not buying it. I just ate my efforts, is the long and short of it.

The additional points that all my hard work brought home should’ve been points in the bank, but in exactly the same way that I’m hopeless at saving money, there were available food funds which burned a hole right through my pocket and I pretty much ate them as soon as I’d earned them, on the basis that I was allowed. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. Hmm…innocent face my arse, I wasn’t doing it right either.

So, lesson learned… time to regroup. God of Pain gave me a suggested diet plan which is all around clean eating and to be fair, it’s not a million miles away from what I’ve been eating, just without the crap that wormed its way in through the back door. I’m not going to stop counting Weight Watchers Smart Points, even though he doesn’t approve of diets…but, I take his point about when I’m eating and more importantly when I’m not eating. I can do better.

I’m going to go for a turbo-charged week. I’m going to eat well, space it out properly, carbs before a workout, protein after, and no crap…I refuse to tread water for another week because of what I’m putting in my mouth when I’m sweating my cahoonies off on a daily basis to support my journey. This week, I’m going to make every bead of sweat count 🙂

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Things Nobody Tells You About Lycra


I realised when I joined this fitness programme that I wouldn’t exactly look the part in my mis-matched exercise gear, in fact I can’t even really call it exercise gear since the term suggests it was bought for that purpose, and actually none of it was. Well, all except my new trainers of course. Anyway, before I got started, a good root through my drawers turned up a couple of pairs of stretchy pants that I’d bought for some holiday or other in the past which I thought might be fit for purpose.

One pair were three quarters length, but a size too big now, and the second pair fitted a bit better but finished just below my knee with a turn-up, which was totally in the wrong place for kneeling down, which I seem to have to do a lot. Pulling the hems up above my knees made me look ridiculous – trust me I tried – so it seemed that a little bit of internet shopping was required.

I soon established that exercise pants with built-in knee padding were as-yet uninvented. It’s definitely a gap in the fat-girl-exercise-wear market, you know? My knees have been so sore all week, in fact I even googled knee-pads at one point when I was feeling particularly sorry for myself. The only reason I didn’t whip out my credit card immediately was because it occurred to me that God of Pain would probably run me out of town if I dared to rock up with a pair strapped to my legs so I didn’t bother in the end.

I was surprised though, to see just how many options there were for roly-poly bodies on a fitness kick. Apparently, lots of fat girls exercise, who even knew? So there was a lot of choice but I’ve got to be honest, they were all modelled by women with the proportions of a toothpick so it was hard to get a feel for how these lycra exercise pants would look on a body like mine. Anyway, in for a penny and all that, two pairs of them ended up in my shopping basket.

They duly arrived, and I was a bit baffled when I took them out of the packaging…they looked like they’d fit a five-year old. Man those things have some stretch, I mean I put my arms inside the waistband to see how wide it would go, and it just kept on going, it’s amazing stuff.

So the first thing I learned about Lycra exercise pants was despite them looking like something from Barbie’s wardrobe, it is possible to squeeze the equivalent of two normal-sized arses inside one pair. But then under no circumstances should you go near a mirror. I tried them on, and…well, lets just say they didn’t look like they did in the pictures and leave it at that, right? They felt as light as a feather and very comfortable, but Sweet Jesus it wasn’t pretty.

I was a bit nervous about wearing them for the first time, you know? I imagined silence descending on the room when I walked in, as people took in the full horror of what they were seeing. These pants take no prisoners, and I’m not even kidding when I say once they’re on you can pretty much see the outline of every hair on my legs. In the event, nobody batted an eyelid so that was cool.

However. The second thing I learned about Lycra exercise pants is how perfectly they demonstrate that well-known phenomenon…

for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction.

Put simply, arms up, pants down. As soon as we got cracking with the warm up, it became obvious that Lycra exercise pants are pre-programmed to roll as far down your body as possible every time you move. I’m just grateful it wasn’t a boxing class, because with gloves on, the crotch would have been round my ankles within the first thirty seconds. I probably burned an extra hundred calories in the first ten minutes just trying to keep my pants under control.

Through trial and error I discovered that the only way to prevent the continuous downward march from happening was to pull every single bit of stretch as far up as humanly possible, so swathes of lycra disappeared between my bum cheeks. Think Rudolph Nureyev and tights, and don’t even get me started on how I worked that look on my size twenty backside, but at least finally they stayed put.

At one point I found myself in front of the mirrored wall, eighteen of my finest stones squashed into those Lycra pants, red in the face from exertion with dripping wet hair plastered to my face whilst I jogged on the spot. My bingo wings were having a party all of their own as my arms tried to keep up and I was sweating like a stuck pig.

The tune pounding out of the speakers at the time..?

Don’t ya wish your girlfriend was hot like me….  🙂

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Yesterday, I Laughed…


So, let’s have a recap. My first class was Body Blast, and I’ve told you all about that one. My second was Fat Furnace, and I’ve told you about that one too.  I haven’t talked about the third one yet. That’s not me being slack, it’s more that I’m still trying to get over the shock. When you’re no longer living a life where you can reach for a packet of Hobnobs to help you to process your thoughts, it sometimes takes a while, you know?

My friend had told me that I’d laugh, in this class. She said that it’s the most fun I’d ever have. And it had the word ‘lite’ in the title, so you know, I sort of thought that this one might be easier. I believed her. I mean, pick up any item in the supermarket with the word ‘lite’ on the pack and you’re pretty much guaranteed it won’t taste of anything…go on, tell me I’m wrong. It’s something, full of nothing. So I believed her when she said I’d laugh, I mean why wouldn’t I?

My friend lied. My friend’s a bitch.

So there I was, aching muscles and a body on the edge, walking into Box-Lite like a lamb to the slaughter. Session three of my souped-up fitness regime and for the first time there was no fear, just anticipation…I’d come to laugh. This was bound to be a walk in the park compared to Body Blast and Fat Furnace, right?

Right. It started to dawn on me during the warm up that perhaps I’d jumped the gun a bit, right around the time where we had to bounce on our toes whilst holding a squat position. That hurt like crazy, the muscles in my thighs were on fire and it certainly didn’t bode well for an easy ride. God of Pain demonstrated from the front, and made it look effortless, as if he had springs on the balls of his feet.

When we really got going and pulled on the boxing gloves, I learned how to throw a punch, in fact I learned how to throw four different punches. Imaginatively named one, two, three and four. Then I learned how to duck. Well, he called it roll, but thankfully there was no actual rolling going on. And punching and rolling were easy peasy lemon squeezy. I so had this. Except for my legs, which were required to keep up a continual bounce, on the toes…my calves were not happy. Unhappy calf muscles underneath burning thigh muscles isn’t a marriage made in heaven, if you want me to be completely honest.

I was partnering God of Pain so we could work on my technique. Not said through gritted teeth at all. Apart from my legs, I coped okay, or at least I did at first. When it was one, pause, two, pause, three, pause, four, I was fine. One, roll, two, three, roll, four…still fine. He introduced quarter turns and half turns, and all the time I’m bouncing and throwing punches onto the pads he was holding up in front of me. I’m fading fast at this point, and the asshole voice in my head was in overdrive.

That’s enough now. Why don’t you pretend you need a wee so you can at least go and have a sit down for a minute….this can’t continue, everything hurts and you’re on the verge of overdoing it. He’s driving you too hard, can’t he see you’re a fat old woman who shouldn’t even be here. Enough now, time out!

Quite apart from the asshole conversation going on in my head, things got a bit complicated when God of Pain started going faster with his instructions. And then he started playing dirty, I mean one, two, three, four is one thing…one, four, two, three messed with my mojo. I looked around and saw lots of people in fits of giggles as they punched and rolled and bounced their way through it and tried to keep up. I wasn’t laughing, in fact it was all I could do to fucking breathe. And with the best will in the world, my punches landed on the man mountain like feathers on a breeze.

Onethreetwofourrollquarterturnleftonetwofourthreerollonerollhalfturnleftfourthreetworollroll…shit. That’s torn it.

Having got nowhere at all with gentle persuasion, the asshole voice leap-frogged right over the chain of command and went straight to the director of feet, screaming FUCK IT !! THAT’S ENOUGH LADS, YOU CAN’T GO ON AND SHE’S NOT FUCKING LISTENING…TAKE HER DOWN!!

And they did. The next thing I knew I was lying on the floor looking up at several Gods of Pain, arranged in a very bohemian rhapsody kind of way above my head.

Scaramoosh Scaramoosh will you do the fandango…

I got up again real quick when I clocked the look on his face…clearly being tripped up by your own feet is for wimps. And so it continued, ’till it was done. And I survived. There were two moments where I genuinely thought I was going to throw up from all the bouncing, punching, rolling and turning, and several moments where I wanted so badly to quit and tell him where to shove his gloves, but you know what, no way. My legs burned for the rest of the day. But I was back there for Fat Furnace the very next day, and yesterday I did my second box-lite session.

I wasn’t partnering God of Pain yesterday…yesterday it was easier.

Yesterday, I laughed 🙂

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This Kind Of Sore Is Good, Right?


I don’t mind admitting that I’m a full-bodied wuss…pain is something I avoid like plague. Under any circumstances. Do you remember when seemingly all of womankind was banging on about the Fifty Shades of Grey books..?  I took one look at the concept and thought nah, not for me. Christian Grey would’ve received a swift kick in the clackers if he’d tried to pull any of that shit on me, no matter how well he filled his suit.

So, one of the things I was dreading the most about turbo-charging my fitness regime were the sore muscles that I knew were coming my way. I was probably dreading those more than actually flinging myself about in the first place. In the past, on the odd occasion where I’ve pushed myself physically I’ve been miserable for days afterwards with what felt like toothache in all my limbs.

Having said that, I’ve not really ever done anything like this before, under the supervision of someone who actually knows what they’re doing. The only guidance I can ever remember being given were the warp speed inductions at whatever gym I’d ventured into, usually delivered by a spotty teenager with a whistle around his neck who I never saw again, unless it was at a distance as he closely supervised a skinny string bean with buns of steel at the other side of the gym.

On Friday, with two classes under my belt, I was sore. I wasn’t as sore on Thursday morning as I’d been expecting, other than my bruised knees of course, but the second session was much harder and on Friday, everything ached. I had a long hard day at work, travelling to London and back with a fair bit of walking throughout the day. The first hurdle was actually getting on the train in the first place, I mean that’s a big-assed step up when your legs feel like lead. And pulling myself up on the door wasn’t really an option since my arms also felt like lead.

My arms hurt the most, I think. They’ve led a very sedentary life for ever and I’m acutely aware that I have no upper-body strength at all. Press-ups, even from my knees, not to mention planking and those dratted kettle bells had come as a shock, I’m not going to lie. I bought a coffee at the station before we set off and I’m only exaggerating a tiny bit when I say I looked at it on the table in front of me on the train and wondered whether I could get away with putting my head down and slurping it without actually picking up the cup.

At one point I sneezed, and without warning a really loud AHHHH shot out of my mouth immediately afterwards as my stomach muscles screamed in protest at the sudden need to tighten. You don’t even want to know how many heads whipped around in the carriage to see what on earth was going on, it must’ve sounded like someone was trying to murder me.

So, it hurt. But I couldn’t help thinking, that nine months ago the same schedule with trains and walking and stuff would have been equally torturous just for different reasons. At way over three hundred pounds, everything hurt. After just a few minutes of walking, my lower back used to hurt way more than any achy muscles I’ve experienced this week.

I actually used to worry that my spine was going to give way under the sheer weight of my torso, and quite apart from that, my feet and ankles would swell horribly, not to mention my left knee burning like there was a red hot poker through the middle of it. I could never get comfortable on the train, and if someone came and sat beside me I’d be so paranoid about how much space I was taking up I’d hold myself stiff and try really hard not to spill into their space.

Blimey. The weirdest thing just happened…I found myself getting a bit teary when I thought about how I used to feel. I’ve come such a long way since then. I mean, I know I’ve got a long way to go still, but genuinely, being fat doesn’t occupy my every waking thought any more. I am still fat, there’s no getting away from that. But it’s no longer the kind of fat which means I can’t do things that normal people do. And it’s only when I shine a light on the way I used to feel that I remember exactly what it was like. It was awful.

So this week I’ve felt the kind of sore that says I’ve worked for it, rather than the kind of sore that invades my body because of the tonnage I’m hauling around.

I’ll take that.

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