Monthly Archives: January 2017

Fabulous Is A State Of Mind

This weekend has been a tough one in a lot of ways. I’ve been spending time with my Godmother, who sadly is approaching the end of a long and very privately fought  battle with cancer…she didn’t even tell me she was ill until the back end of last year. She’d have my hide in a sling if she caught me feeling sad, mind you.

Her perspective, shared yesterday as she lit up her ever-present cigarette and poured herself another very large slug of whisky, was that we’ve all got to die of something, and at eighty two, providing she can depart this world on her own terms she’s had a bloody good life and she’s done fighting thank you very much.

Her Ab-Fab attitude to life has always been utterly infectious. She’s a big lady – even now, her doctors are scratching their heads at why she’s not losing weight when every rule in the book says she should be. We did chuckle at that yesterday, especially when we unearthed a pair of vinyl-clad bathroom scales from the bottom of her wardrobe which were the size of suitcase…a proper throwback from the 1970s. And several kaftans from the same era, which she insists were the reason she got fat in the first place – you could get away with murder under that much fabric, so she did.

As we systematically set about clearing out cupboards, with her directing operations from a distance we talked, I mean really talked, about her life. It’s been a life lived in technicolour, no doubt about that…she and my mum have been best friends from the age of three or four years old, but where mum was always a real homebird, ever since I was a little girl I’ve known my Godmother as the glamorous auntie who used to breeze in, dolled up to the nines and dazzle me with tales of travel to faraway places. I think that’s where I get my itchy feet from to be honest. Funny thing is, I never remember her being fat.

I said as much to her yesterday, which made her snort with laughter. Well my darling, being fat never defined me like it has done you…

Fuck. That stung a bit. A killer line, delivered in a way which was devoid of any malice, just completely matter of fact. But as soon as she said it, I knew exactly what she meant. Being fat has defined me, or should I say my weight has defined me, for pretty much my entire adult life. Hers never did. Looking at those kaftans yesterday which were loud and exotic and certainly not designed to let whoever wore them blend into the background, it was obvious that it would never have occurred to her to feel apologetic for being fat. Nor should it have.

So why do I? I mean, it’s less of a sharp and pointy feeling these days but it’s definitely still there…given a preference I’d still much rather blend into the background in the hope that nobody notices that I’m fat. I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be wearing the sort of brightly coloured garments which could probably be seen from the moon…and yet. Two of those kaftans came home with me yesterday.

On the basis that I’m the wrong side of fifty now, I’m allowed to look a bit retro, dare I even say eccentric – it’s practically the law – so I figured it would be a nice homage to my aunty if I adopt the fuck you attitude to being fat, on the odd occasion when I’m feeling brave enough. It can’t hurt to try it in for size, right? I have a holiday coming up in around a month, so it’s a perfect opportunity to be loud and exotic.

Watch this space…there may be pictures 🙂

By the way, there’s a very thought-provoking new post on our Thoughts From The Posse page today…one of you lot, doing what you do best and making me think! Enjoy 🙂

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A Bona-Fide Badge Of Honour

I might have mentioned before that when it comes to exercise I’m all about the gear. The number of times I’ve been fully kitted out in the right gear for this activity or that is ridiculous, only for said equipment to quickly find itself out of favour and stuffed in the back of a cupboard, where it’s usually stayed until the point I admit to myself that my dalliance with whatever it was had lasted for just a brief moment in time, and now the gear is surplus to requirements.

I’ve always been the same, you know? I like to look the part even if I have no idea what I’m doing. In my early teens when I was learning to ride horses, I’d leave the house looking like I was about to put in a clear round at Olympia with my pristine jodhpurs and hacking jacket finished off with shiny boots and a blue velvet riding hat. I must’ve stood out like a sore thumb at the stables, where I was surrounded by lots more teenage horse-lovers, happily milling around in their mis-matched tops and bottoms, usually finished off with a pair of wellies caked in horse-shit and a shapeless old pullover.

I was the fat one that never broke a sweat, although to be fair my reluctance to join in with the mucking out of stables was more born out of a decision on my part not to bend down in jodhpurs. They’re not the most forgiving of garments, and my hormonal teenage self was already regularly locked in dialogue with the Asshole voice about what I must look like from behind. Conscious even then about the size of my arse, I felt that I looked the part, if I could just stand still with my back to a stable door and sort of…pose.

Looking the part has always seemed quite important. Fast-forward a number of years, and I had to go to court to support a friend of mine who’d witnessed something dodgy. She was giving evidence and I was fascinated by the pomp and ceremony of it all, but utterly distracted by the very tatty robes worn by counsel. I remember thinking to myself that surely if I was earning that much money I’d get myself down to the robe shop for some new ones immediately. I’d want to look the part.

Incidentally, I tapped one of them on the shoulder and pointed out that his robe had a big rip in it, I thought maybe he’d trapped it in the car door or something and hadn’t noticed…he gave me a death stare and walked off. How was I to know that ripped robes are a thing amongst barristers, because shiny new robes scream novice, and experience is measured by the number of rips in your frock? Weirdos.

I’ve certainly never worn any kind of exercise gear often enough to wear it out, in fact this is the first and only time I’ve managed to wear something in. My friend on the other hand has just worn out her first pair of trainers. It’s a big moment…like me, it’s only in the last year that she’s come to appreciate the whole exercise thing, and she wouldn’t mind me saying that like me she’s also spent her life going up the scale, and down again.

As we sat on the cool-down mats earlier this week after an hours’ worth of boxing, we collectively admired her big toe, which was all but poking through the top of her trainers and we basked in the pride which came from slaying them. She was proud, and I was proud by association, I mean worn-out trainers are a bona-fide badge of honour, right? They’ve been worked. And as much as my OCD demands that I look the part, in her shoes – busted up as they are – I don’t think I’d be hot-footing it down to buy new ones either.

Sadly, there’s no sign of my trainers getting ready for that big fitness studio in the sky just yet. Work to do then, eh? 🙂

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Popping My Own Balloon

It’s funny you know, the vastly different perspectives you gain as you look at your weight-loss journey from a number of different viewpoints along the way. Having emerged from the sugar haze otherwise known as Christmas, I can clearly see that’s exactly what I was surrounded by over the holidays…a sugar haze. If I have to give it my best guess, I reckon a good half of the food in my house over the festive season contained a small mountain of all the wrong things.

Now, I’ve got to take accountability for putting that food in my cupboards in the first place, I know that. I was accompanied on my Christmas food shop by the Asshole voice, like some  naughty child running amok and threatening tantrums left and right unless the trolley filled up with naughties.

The scale of my muppetry was significant…bear in mind that my boy was only off work on Christmas day, my mum is the size of a sparrow with an appetite to match and I’m on a diet. The supermarkets were only closed for one day and yet despite all the above, by the time I’d unpacked my booty I struggled to close my floor-to-ceiling fridge and my cupboards were bursting. All because I lost control on that one shopping expedition.

It wasn’t even bad planning. I’d intended to write a list and stick to it, somewhere around 3am on the night before Christmas eve. I always do that given that our supermarket opens 24 hours a day and at that time it’s usually just me and the people who work there filling up the shelves ready for the last-minute onslaught. There are no crowds and checkout is painless…it’s a stroke of genius and I’ve done it for at least the last 10 years.

Except this year, I called in at a different supermarket the day before my planned trip, on the way from taking mum to a hospital appointment. I hadn’t even written my list, and I’d intended to pick up one specific item. The aisles were surprisingly free of people, the shelves were full and they were playing Christmas music…before I knew it me and my mum were in full swing, ooo’ing and ahh’ing over anything that looked tasty and gleefully lobbing it in the trolley. And it was all downhill from there.

I don’t want to re-hash the food disasters all over again, we’ve shut the door on Christmas 2016 now and it’s a shiny new year…I’m using the example only to illustrate how looking back now, from my New-Year-new-start perspective I can clearly see where the wheels came off. And on some level, whilst I must have known it spelled D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R, not to mention disrespecting all the effort I’d spent losing pounds over the preceding months, I didn’t care. In the moment my perspective was very different.

I’m going to pick at the concept of self-sabotage in a bit more detail as I make my way through January. I remember way back in the early days of my diet writing a blog post called Part Woman, Part Ostrich which resonated with such a lot of you when you read it. I don’t think it would hurt me to look back on some of the posts from around that time…I was doing a lot of writing – and reflecting – and it helped. I have form, in terms of getting so far down the road then popping the balloon of my success with a fucking big pin and watching it blow away in the wind.

Not this time…this is day 10 folks, and it’s all good 🙂

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The Ground Beneath My Feet

You know I’d forgotten how good it feels to have solid ground beneath my feet. I walked into the bathroom yesterday morning ready to face the Shitbird Scale and I was bordering on excited to see the number…it reminded me of being in school and walking into the classroom to take a test that I’d studied for, as opposed to my usual adolescent approach of winging it and hoping for the best.

As a child, I was naturally bright which is a double-edged sword in a lot of respects. Deploying half an ear in the classroom whilst daydreaming about Duran Duran, and a cursory flick through my exercise books the night before an exam usually saw me scrape through with middle-of-the-road marks and a could do better on my school reports but hey, a pass is a pass, right? I didn’t learn to apply myself until much later in life but I have to admit, much of the last year has been about winging it…the last 3 months in particular.

Last week – with the exception of Sunday’s false start – saw me really colouring inside the lines. I pointed everything, wrote it down and added it up. I didn’t buy any naughties when I did the food shop so there’s been nothing in the cupboards to tempt me. I ate clean – well, with the exception of one Chinese takeaway which I chose carefully so I could stay within points – and I planned well. Shitbird Scale handed me a 2.5lbs loss, which when you consider that I had to write last Sunday off as a disaster and had only 6 days to shine wasn’t half bad. Worth an A on the old report card for sure.

The process of photographing the number on the scale as I stand on it then posting it on here is working beautifully, because there’s nowhere to hide. It’s about as accountable as you can get, right? Honestly, I hate that it’s out there, I mean even skinny string beans mostly like to keep the actual number a secret, but by the same token I’m finding it’s a great way of focusing the mind.

Better than that, yesterday morning I found myself deciding what I wanted to weigh in at next weekend, and I even wrote it down…I’m hoping the thought of that mini-goal will help to add another layer of gatekeeping to support the cause this week. Every little helps, and it goes right back to the concept of the article I shared with you back in the early days on the aggregation of marginal gains…it might be just a little thing, but lots of little things gather momentum and make a big difference.

I feel happy, positive and incredibly upbeat as we go into this week. I’ve gotten over last week’s Diva moment, where life felt unfair because I was being forced against my will to pass up food opportunities which should have been mine for the taking. In hindsight, I made wise choices. I can look back and celebrate my self-control, instead of regretting my decision to give into the need for short-term gratification. I laid in bed last night thinking about the lunch I’ve carefully prepared to take to work today, and the big plump grapes which are washed and ready to eat, and I felt almost euphoric.

May I be so bold as to declare that I’ve reclaimed my place in the sweet spot..? I know I’m taking it one day at a time and today is only day eight… but already, the ground beneath my feet feels more solid 🙂


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The Myth Of Straight And Narrow

It’s the sole topic of conversation right now, this dieting malarkey. Just about every bit of small talk and chatter I’ve overheard relating to the festive season has involved folk exchanging war stories about the obscene amount of food and drink they’ve consumed, and how they need to drop the additional pounds now it’s all over. I’ve got to say,  most of the people I know don’t actually look any different despite pretending that they ate as much as I did. Me, well…the party going on in my pants tells its own story.

Its also impossible to dodge the multitude of programmes on the telly about this diet or that fitness regime, to the point where normal people must surely be getting pissed off with it all. I know from experience that fat classes up and down the country will be bursting at the seams for the next few weeks, and gym regulars will be muttering under their breath as the latest batch of fatties adjust their brand-new-out-of-the-box fitbits and form an orderly queue for the exercise bikes. There’s definitely more traffic than usual on this road to Skinny Town.

What I’m beginning to realise, is that this isn’t the long straight road I’d imagined as I embarked on this journey, you know? On the 17th August 2015 I set off thinking there’s no reason why I can’t achieve a steady loss of 2lbs per week, so that’s… *screws face up, thinks for a minute then gives up and reaches for a calculator* …175lbs too heavy divided by 2lbs per week is 88 weeks, and 88 weeks from now takes me up to…15th March 2017. Ta Daaah!

That’s the day I’ll shimmy into my skinny jeans and sashay down the road with my neat and tidy tushie, right?

Hang on a minute… *looks down at buddha body still encased in elasticated waistband* …that’s only 10 weeks from now. Fuck. How did that happen? To get back on track I’ll need to lose 12lbs per week every week between now and then. Yeah, good luck with that, Dee. Way to go.

So maybe there were some weeks where I didn’t lose two pounds…yeah, like the last three months where you’ve been fannying around and regained a bunch of weight. Theres been a distinct absence of solid 2lb losses in recent times, in fact most weeks out of the last twelve I’ve either clung on by my fingertips and maintained, or I’ve hurtled backwards at an alarming rate of knots. I didn’t account for that when I was doing my calculations.

Still. I am where I am but you know what, I refuse to get down about it. I could so easily have been sat here, dying a little bit inside and polishing the wing mirror on my mobility scooter with a tear-stained sleeve as I saw only failure behind me and reflected on the fact that I was now 70lbs heavier and knocking on the door of 400lbs because the 22nd August 2015 was just another false start that went nowhere, you know? My dieting life is peppered with false starts that went nowhere.

But that’s not where I am, is it? I ended 2016 around 60lbs lighter than my starting point and I’m still fucking hanging in there. So what,  I might be only one third of the way towards my goal instead of almost there but shit happens and the important thing is never taking your eye off the end game and getting up when your feet get knocked out from underneath you.

I’ve already clocked the tiger waiting for me when I’ve clawed my way out of this valley, I suspect he’ll actually come in the shape of my forthcoming holiday. And beyond that there appears to be shark-infested waters and the odd cyclone but fuck it, at least life won’t be boring, right? I’ve got you lot to keep me company, and it’s all good.

Come on then, let’s crack on 🙂

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