Monthly Archives: June 2016

It Sounds So Obvious Now…

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I was up and on the train at stupid o’clock yesterday morning due to work commitments a long way south of home, and you know what, I quite like being on the train these days, now my larger-than-average body actually fits in the seats.

I’ve got to be honest, it still feels like I’ve won the lottery every time I sit down and admire the gap between my arse and the armrest, or my belly and the table in front of me. I’ve even stopped bitching about having to travel in cattle-class, since I no longer hold an unshakable belief that the seats are made for munchkins.

So anyway, it was way too early to think about getting on with some work, and I found my eyes wandering about the carriage. I spent a lot of time admiring my new scarf in the reflection thrown back by the window every time we went through a tunnel. Let me tell you about the scarf…it was my non-food treat, awarded to me by me in exchange for achieving nothing.

I know…that’s a novel idea, right? I sort of bent the rules a bit, and tried to figure out a way of treating myself even in the face of weight-loss inertia. And hey presto, along came a genuine flash of inspiration.

Yes the needle has stayed put for the last three weeks, but I decided that a treat was appropriate anyway, for not going into meltdown about it. Fair’s fair after all, I mean in times gone by that would have definitely invoked fat girl rule #232 which clearly states In the event that things don’t go your way proceed immediately to the hobnobs and fill ya boots...

Truth is, I really wanted the scarf so it was a win-win outcome, right? It’s Alice Shirley’s Zebra Pegasus design, which I have coveted for the longest time so it seemed like a fabulous solution…take a shit situation and find something positive in it, thereby defusing the frustration by providing an excuse to indulge yourself with something you really want. I’m all over that as a concept.

So the scarf had its first outing yesterday and every time I looked down at it, or caught its reflection in the window it reminded me of the huge strides I’ve made in terms of the way I deal with stuff when it doesn’t go my way. It felt good, you know? And I think I just switched another lightbulb on in my head. Instead of beating myself up for not losing an ounce, I rewarded myself for dealing with it like a grown-up. For not losing focus, or worse still, hope.

That vortex of guilt and comfort-seeking that we can all get sucked into when we perceive that we’ve failed at something goes away as if by magic, when we get distracted from the failure by finding something to celebrate in the outcome. And given that just about every mistake comes with a learning opportunity, and every situation can be viewed with a range of perspectives I’m pretty sure the concept will work across the board.

Isn’t it amazing how something which sounds so obvious now has eluded me for the whole of my fat life? The important thing is, I see it now, and like all the other light bulbs which have illuminated the path to Skinny Town it means I’m less likely to stumble over whatever bumps in the road lie ahead.

Onwards into the light, right chaps? 💡

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A Marathon, Not A Sprint

marathon

I was speaking to a lady last night in passing who was bemoaning the fact that she’s put weight on recently. She’s starting a diet on Monday  🙂 so she can get in shape for her holiday in September, although she doesn’t have a lot of weight to lose…I’d estimate maybe fifteen or twenty pounds..? The thing is, I know it’s all relative and she has every right to be unhappy with her mini-muffin top, but two things struck me as we chatted.

Firstly, I’m not so sure that if I’d been standing there feeling fifteen pounds too heavy, chatting to someone who was clearly ten times heavier than me I would’ve been quite so quick to moan about how I hated looking in the mirror and seeing ‘all this fat’. To be fair, I imagine that when I get down to being just fifteen pounds overweight you’ll have a hard time stopping me licking my reflection, never mind avoiding it. But whatever, I guess she was just being honest.

The second thing that struck me was envy. Envy that she could start a diet on Monday with a reasonable expectation that in a couple of months’ time she would’ve fully reclaimed her bikini body ready to sizzle on the beach. Let’s just pause a minute in wonder at how that feels, to know that within a few short weeks, you could earn your hallowed string bean stripes.

I’ve been doing this now for ten months, and I’m still almost one hundred pounds too heavy for my frame. Sure, I’m on track and I’ve already lost seventy pounds which is awesome but digging in for the long term is a proper feat of endurance, you know? A marathon, rather than a sprint. It’s different, and it requires a whole bunch of stuff that a ten minute diet doesn’t.

I remember that first day, 17th August 2015 waking up with hope coursing through my veins…this time was my time and I was really going to do it…no, I mean I really was. Let’s be honest, there was no difference whatsoever between that time and the time before and the time before that in terms of what was going on in my head because the finish line seemed so bloody far away that the Asshole voice in my head was just laughing hysterically.

He didn’t even need to put words in my head, you know? I already knew that the odds were not stacked in my favour…my past was littered with false starts because every single time, once the initial flush of determination waned and the reality of how long this was actually going to take started to bite, I always found it really hard not to throw the towel in and head directly back to the land of cheese balls and Haagen Dazs.

It didn’t help that my first few milestones passed by un-noticed. Even when I’d dropped forty pounds, nobody noticed, and why would they? There was just so damned much of me it was hard to tell the difference even if you were looking for it. But I was so determined, and by some miracle I managed to hit that sweet spot where nothing was going to knock me sideways.

So how is it different to a short-term diet? I recognise and embrace tenacity…if you fall over, just get back up again. I’ve had to recognise and embrace patience (she says through gritted teeth) because until you make your peace with it, you’re shafted.

And now…well, now it’s different. Mentally, I’m dug in for the duration. Ten months, and I’m not even half way to Skinny Town yet but you know what, it doesn’t matter…I am more sure than ever that I’m actually going to pull this off. It’s stopped being about how long and now it’s simply about how. There’s no reason for me to think about how long it’s going to take because the foundations of my skinny life have been laid, and now all I need to do is keep on doing what I’m doing.

I’m not even halfway there, but it sort of feels like I’m over the worst, you know? Clear my mind of time, one foot in front of the other, and repeat 🙂

 

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Riding Without My Baby Wheels

 

stabilisers

Holy Moly it feels like yonks since we chatted…probably because I didn’t write a post on Friday, which is a day that I normally would have. I didn’t intend to go quiet on your ass, it just sort of turned out that way. I’d taken a few days leave from work at the back end of last week, and I’d enticed my best buddy away from her grandbabies for a visit.

Thursday was mad busy…after I’d been to vote we took my mum out for lunch and had a proper leisurely girly day. I’d intended to write Friday’s post when I went to bed on Thursday night like I usually do, but then I went and got caught up in all the EU Referendum TV coverage which I pretty much watched all through the night.

After very little sleep I had a dental appointment and various other errands to run, and my friend and I were still glued to the TV news in and amongst it all, as the enormity of the shifting political landscape kind of sunk in. It’s fair to say I was pre-occupied, and it didn’t feel like there was anything in my head waiting to jump out. so I decided not to write. And then I spent a while turning over lots of stones in my head to make absolutely sure that I was comfortable with that. And to my surprise, I was.

Which is all kinds of weird, right? A few months ago, not only did I post daily, I even obsessed over posting at exactly the same time every day. I mean seriously, it’s as if I thought the world would end if I was a few minutes late. I think maybe I was deluded enough to imagine that folk were sat waiting impatiently by their phone or laptop or tablet for my words to materialise, but I can see very clearly now that actually I was the one who needed that discipline, not you lot.

I was utterly convinced that writing my thoughts down every single day was the one and only reason I was managing to keep my feet in the sweet spot, so it became sacrosanct, you know? If I struggled to fit everything in and something had to give, it was never the blog.

The thing is, I can’t even begin to tell you how much the power of words has given me. Quite apart from the incredible support which has grown up around me, the knowledge that my own determined effort to unpick the spaghetti in my head was also helping some of you guys to work through your own shit was beyond awesome. That’s what kept me accountable, and focused, and it forced me to face into some of the really hard stuff. I couldn’t shy away from it, because you were watching.

And now, I feel like I’m in a really good place. All of the above has helped to keep me on this path, but I almost feel like I’m riding along without my baby wheels attached now, you know? In the first few months I clung to these pages like my life depended upon it, but as my confidence has grown and I’ve figured out a bunch of stuff I’m no longer quite so scared that I’ll fall over if I let go because if I do, I know how to get back up again.

I have a friend who used to wear his lucky pants every time he sat an exam. Which was fine when he was twelve…he was still wearing the same lucky pants as he sat his finals at uni even though they made him talk like a Bee Gee, and he’d had to cut the leg elastic to prevent long term damage to his nicki-nacki-noos but you know what, he was so convinced that they were the talisman which would guarantee good marks he probably would have bombed without them. Those of us who know and love him will of course take the piss until the end of time, but he still has them and he doesn’t care.

So I’m not going to blame my lack of words on Friday for the fact that still the needle hasn’t moved on the scale…week three of treading water. Except I’m not. Not even a little bit. My food plan is on track, I’ve not missed a single fitness session and I’m walking every single day…screw the number, right? Somewhere along the line all that effort is going to pay off, and I’m sure enough now in what I’m doing not to pick up a bruise on my confidence just because the bitch won’t play nicely.

Things really have changed, right? 🙂

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Getting It Wrong

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Did you know it was possible to raise a 26kg kettle bell to chest height using only the momentum generated by your bum muscles? No, neither did I. Even with an arse the size of mine it didn’t occur to me that that might be a possibility.

One of the exercises in my morning class requires me to propel my body upwards from a squat position whilst holding a kettle bell which somehow needs to end up at chest height, before dropping back into a squat, and repeat. Call me old fashioned but I had assumed that my arms might need to be involved in the equation somehow. It seems I’d misunderstood the brief, and worse than that, given God of Pain the impression that I was doing it right so he upped the ante in this morning’s session with a heavier weight based on the fact that my arse was doing such an awesome job.

It became apparent very quickly that I had in fact not got the hang of it at all, as the burning sensation in my arm took hold…shit the bed it really hurt. My arm went from grumbling a bit to shrieking like a banshee as I tried to pull 26kg up my body, after my arse (having completely missed the point of the exercise) handed responsibility for the kettle bell over to my arms somewhere around my midriff.

I kept going for a bit because saying I quit doesn’t come easily to me, you know? Fortunately, common sense won out over being a hero although not until I was hurting off the scale. Once we established that I’d been trying to lift the weight with my arms not my arse it became clear why it’d all gone to pot, and to my frustration I had to wimp out of most of the other kettle bell exercises. I mean seriously, I wanted to weep like a proper big girl’s blouse.

Even the chopped banana on the end of my spoon felt too heavy when I came home and ate breakfast afterwards you know? So I’m dosed up with anti-inflammatories, and my hatred of kettle bells is now a thing.

I don’t know why I was so upset. Well actually that’s not strictly true, I can probably hazard a guess…I don’t like getting things wrong, and in that drama queen moment I felt like I’d ruined everything by doing it wrong and getting injured.

It reminded me of those dark dark days in the past where if I made a bad food choice and went off the rails a bit with my eating I chucked the towel in, with the Asshole’s voice ringing in my ears…what’s the point, you’ve blown it now, give it up and eat some pie. As I jogged on the spot towards the end of the session instead of throwing kettle bells around, with my arm throbbing like a bastard he gave it his very best shot…I told you you couldn’t do it. This exercise malarkey was always going to be too much for a fat old woman. You should stop coming here and just concentrate on dieting instead…

Thankfully me and the God of Pain have a plan…I’ll work with much lower weights and perfect my technique over the next couple of weeks until the hurting settles down. No drama, no quitting.

Fancy me getting a sports injury…there’s a bunch of words I never thought I’d utter. It’s all part of the adventure, right?

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Will I Ever?

zebedee

It’s funny isn’t it, I always imagined that if ever I established a regular exercise schedule and raised my base level of fitness a bit, from there on in I’d skip through life feeling energised whilst I glowed with vitality. As I watch the scene play out in my head, of the fit and healthy me going about my daily business, I don’t even look like a version of me I can recognise.

I’m usually wearing a dazzling white shirt, matched only in it’s brilliance by my dazzling white smile, and I’m tanned and wrinkle-free with hair that behaves itself. Oh yes, and I’m usually gliding along with fluid easy strides, collecting admiring glances as I go, at the way I’m dripping with good health. Hmmm.

Cue the sound of needle scratching across vinyl, right?

The reality is, pushing my body to reclaim a level of fitness which should have been mine all along means that most of the time, something hurts. At the moment, there is nothing graceful or fluid about my movements at all. Before I’ve even taken a step I wince in anticipation – for any of you who’ve ever suffered from Plantar Fasciitis you’ll empathise with that feeling of a constantly bruised heel which means the first few steps hurt – I have it quite badly in my left foot which gives me a bit of a lopsided gait every time I set off walking.

Once I’ve got the first few steps out of the way and my foot stops hurting quite so much, my legs kick in with a reminder of all the squatting and star-jumping and jogging on the spot which has become a regular part of their new normal, and especially after I’ve been sitting down for a while it takes me a couple of minutes to properly shake off all the stiffness and persuade them that moving is a good idea.

And right now, I’ve picked up a bit of a sore shoulder which is giving me hell. It started off as a small protest from the muscle in my upper right arm which was objecting to the new regime…lets face it, the only time it’d been required to lift a fat arm above my head in the last few years was when I went to grab a bag of cheese balls off the top shelf in Tesco. It’s hardly surprising that the kettle bells came as a shock, and now my shoulder has got in on the action too and gone into lockdown.

It amuses me no end to think that colleagues in the office who obviously know about my plans to complete a 90km trek up a mountain must look at me and think how the actual fuck is she going to pull that off when the trek from her desk to the printer appears to hurt so much?? 

When I’m out walking, once I’ve got the first couple of hundred yards under my belt, everything settles down and nothing hurts, not even my knee these days but I can’t help wondering will I ever get to the point where I can just get out of a chair and start moving without shuffling like a fully-paid-up wrinkly? I’m only fifty years old, although I guess in terms of the way I’ve abused this body over the years it’s probably older on the inside, you know?

I’m still clinging onto the fantasy in my head…I mean, I’m never going to tan, and as the fat in my face is slowly disappearing, what’s left behind has already started its slow descent south. I’m probably going to end up looking like a Shar Pei puppy, and as for having hair that behaves itself, well don’t even get me started.

But you know what, I’ll happily offer up all that in exchange for being able to walk with a spring in my step…that bit I’m hanging on to. In the short term, all this exercise malarkey is going to get me over that mountain. But longer term, I just want to walk like Zebedee 🙂

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