Category Archives: In the here & now

A Pinch Of Common Sense

Monday was a really fun day. My work colleagues and I escaped from the office and spent the day hanging out together doing non work-related team building stuff, and as luck would have it, our day out fell on one of the hottest days of the year. I couldn’t help thinking, as we sat in under the shade of a big tree next to York Minster, just how lucky I was.

We landed in one of the local restaurants for lunch, and as I looked at the menu I could feel myself starting to get a bit anxious. I mean don’t get me wrong, it was a fabulous menu but there was no calorie details to be found anywhere. I even googled the name of the restaurant but despite scrolling through website after website promising nutritional details of every menu in the western hemisphere, I turned up a complete blank.

You know what I’m like…stuff has to be perfect. I’m either all in or all out and there’s no middle ground, so the thought of not being able to play by the rules of My Fitness Pal by logging the exact number of calories in my lunch freaked me out more than a little bit. I had to get over myself and navigate my food choices with a pinch of common sense, you know?

Garlic mushrooms for an appetiser, and don’t eat the bread or the sauce. Chicken for main, hold the fancy potatoes cooked in cheese and cream, and just give me green beans instead. I still had to estimate calories because I couldn’t weigh anything, but it was an educated guess based on the best food choices I could make out of what was on offer. And that’s just life, right? It can’t always be perfect.

I’m going to have to get used to it in any event, because I’m going on holiday tomorrow and I’ll be nowhere near a set of kitchen scales for the next week. My friend and I are going to Umbria in Italy, otherwise known as the land of pizza, pasta and ice-cream…I mean really, shoot me now.

As I explained to a very dubious looking God of Pain before my boxing session this morning, I am going to stick to some broad principles. There’s a gym, and my exercise gear will be coming with me so I can fit an hour in every day. We’re staying on a half board basis, and I don’t know whether it’s a buffet (in which case that’s fine I can make grown-up choices) or whether we get served whatever they’ve cooked (which might be a bit more of a challenge) but either way I am planning to remain refined-sugar free and go easy on the carbs.

I’m assuming there will be Wi-Fi…if not, since the hotel is an old restored castle perched on top of a hill there should be a decent phone signal, so I can continue to log my exercise and my food in MFP based on my best guess. It won’t be perfect, but I’ll work with what I’ve got.

I can’t wait. I’m going with my oldest friend, whose company is effortless. I’ve lined up a hundred books on my kindle, and I can’t wait for the views from our terrace, or the shady spot we’ll tuck ourselves into as we people watch and drink unbelievably good Italian coffee.

I’ll be back at the end of next week but as usual when I’m away, keep your eye on the Facebook page…I may get chance to share a few pictures. Have a great week everyone and see you on the other side…

Wahoooooooooooo….holidaaaaaayyyyyy!!!  🙂 🙂 🙂

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These Are OUR People!

You know when you find yourself doing something that you thought people like you just didn’t do? Well that was me at the weekend. I’m really living this life, and I have to keep pinching myself. My friend Nic and I set off on Saturday with our bikes slung in the back of her car, looking for an adventure. Yes, you heard that right.

There’s a vast network of forest cycling trails about ninety minutes north of where we live, and since our recent gentle bike rides have helped to acclimatise our respective backsides to the prolonged use of a saddle, it seemed like a great idea to take it to the next level and try something different.

Apparently, loads of folk had woken up on Saturday with the same idea because the car park was bursting at the seams with athletic-looking people on bikes. One barbie-esque girl who climbed out of a van opposite our car had it all going on in a tiny crop top and painted on leggings, although to be fair she seemed more interested in checking herself out in the wing mirror and posing for selfies than she did in her bike. Mind you, as we sat in the car watching her, we were equally pre-occupied with eating our packed lunch before we’d even unloaded the bikes, so we were hardly in a position to judge.

Despite the fact that our jaws were moving at the time, as we sat there, two reformed couch potatoes surveying all these fit families and middle-aged men in lycra, Nic made a sweeping gesture with her hand and said Dee these are our people…cue a fit of the giggles but what she was trying to say in between snorts of laughter was that we were like them, you know? We’d driven for miles to partake of stuff requiring effort, of our own free will, and we shared a moment of satisfaction about our own lycra, even though it didn’t look quite like it did on Toothpickarella across the way.

The forest had a colour coded system to mark out the various forest trails…green for easy, blue for intermediate and red for difficult. We studied the map carefully and tried to fit in by pretending we knew what we were doing. It seemed sensible to  start on a green route, and then maybe have a crack at blue, so we followed the signs out of the car park and set off on what we thought was the green route.

I think we must have cycled a bit of the green route when we first set off but after we’d been climbing for around a mile on a road that seemed to get steeper by the minute we started to wonder whether we might have gone just a tiny bit wrong. I mean, I know we weren’t experienced map readers and all, but the gentle green route which followed the river at the base of the forest hasn’t seemed to suggest you had to climb a killer hill first. We weren’t actually in the forest for one thing, which might have given us a big fat clue. However, on the off chance that this was the easy route, neither of us were going to admit defeat so we carried on going. And going.

So how were we to know that the little green tree on every signpost was fuck-all to do with the green route? It wasn’t our fault that the Forestry Commission’s logo happens to be a little green tree, right? An easy mistake to make m’lud. Anyway, those nice people from mountain rescue happened to pass us after seven miles and pointed us in the right direction and then happily, finally, we made it into the forest. And it was awesome.

Awesome, and hard. It was twisty and uneven and bumpy. Really narrow paths with sharp bends where the effort of controlling a bike on top of loose sandy stones makes your shoulders scream and arms numb and your wrists tingle. Going down was hard but climbing was even harder. Trying to get enough traction to keep going whilst dropping down multiple gears and holding the bike steady was really bloody tough. I’m sure it must be easier if you’re skinny. Roll on that day.

At one point going up and round a bend, I slowed almost to a stop, realised that I couldn’t get the right gear in time then toppled sideways in slow motion onto a log, which was fine until my handlebars jabbed me in the chest and the pedal attacked my leg. Mind you, I came off a lot better than Nic, who fell off spectacularly, twice on a couple of hairpin bends…we were well into the blue route by this point having bypassed green altogether whilst we were scaling the perimeter road. Duh

Despite all that, we were having such a great time we forgot we were exercising. It was hairy at times and really hard work but it was beyond fun and we barely stopped laughing all afternoon. We did about fifteen miles in the end, at least half of that off-road. That’s not bad going for a fat lass, eh?

To top off a brilliant weekend, yesterday, the Shitbird scale finally woke up and accepted that I mean business, awarding me 3lbs off this week. I worked bloody hard for that 3lbs, and I couldn’t be happier. This new regime is working for me and I’m more motivated than I’ve ever been.

Come on, let’s see what we can squeeze out of this week 🙂

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Destination Disasterville

I was supporting a training course yesterday at work, which was centred around strategic planning for some of our senior team. I love days like that, where you go along thinking you could probably recite the content standing on your head but end up learning a bunch of stuff in the process. You don’t know what you don’t know, right?

One of the exercises really captured my imagination. As a way to drive home the importance of proper planning, the facilitator asked the guys to imagine for a moment that they’d failed to deliver one of the key things they are accountable for. He wanted them to really think about what the consequences of that failure might be. Serious stuff, right? The scenarios they fed back included us losing customers, business, revenue, jobs…the full monty.

Now, I’ve not seen that exercise done before, and as I listened, I found myself participating from the sidelines and doing that thing where my mind anchors everything right back to what’s important in my world. So I set off thinking about my journey down the scale, and the fact that I’m the one who’s accountable for whether or not I manage to shift the extra arse I’ve been carrying around in my pants for the last few years.

Losing weight is the most significant part of my life plan, and has been for the best part of two years, but what would the consequences be if I failed? I didn’t need to imagine very hard, I mean I’ve been there for real more times than I can even count.

I see myself laid in my big fat reclining armchair, peering over the top of my belly at the TV as I watch The Biggest Loser, all the while shovelling cheese balls into my mouth, three or four at a time from the third family-sized bag that I’ll share with the dog in one sitting. Well, I say share…two hundred and ninety seven for me, one for him. Come on, I’m a responsible dog owner and don’t want him to get fat.

In my mind’s eye, I see myself heave three hundred and fifty pounds of lard off the chair and waddle it to the kitchen, so I can retrieve the Daim cake which is defrosting. It’s still frozen but fuck it, I’ll eat it anyway. I don’t mind it being a bit cold. 

As I shuffle back to my armchair with the whole Daim cake on a plate, I feel pissed off at the way my ankles and my knees hurt. It’s not fair. I’ve got an itch on my foot that I can’t bend down far enough to scratch because my belly gets in the way and I look like I’ve got three pillows of fat strapped around my middle. You don’t even want to imagine the rear view. 

I don’t wear anything on my feet that requires more of me than shuffling my foot forward in order to put them on, because fastening any kind of strap or buckle below the knee would cause my eyes to bulge like they’re going to pop right out of my head. Along with the grunting…that happens automatically when the fat I carry on the inside forces the air out of my lungs whenever I try to bend down. I live a vertical life for that reason, or at least I would if I could stand up long enough. Two minutes is about my max, before I start looking around for somewhere to sit down.

With a bit of luck there’ll be a chair without arms, because my arse struggles with the concept of a one-arse sized seat. Chair arms dig right into my legs and my skin will turn blue with bruises. If I do manage to find a seat without arms I’ll never relax in case it’s not geared up to hold an arse the size of mine…the thought of being a fat girl flailing on an exploded chair like a turtle on it’s back fills my heart with dread.

That’s what failure looks like to me, because there’s no middle ground.

Like the sound of needle scraping across vinyl, I woke up to myself in the present day when the facilitator brought the room back, and I almost cried with sheer fucking relief that I’m just fat. On a scale of fatness, I’m still right of the midline but I’m definitely not all the way over to the fat fat fat side. Not any more.

I can walk without pain, left knee excepted from time to time. Hell, I can circuit train, I can box and I can hold a plank for almost a minute. I swing kettle bells. I can cycle, and they even make padded cycling shorts in my size, which tells you that I’m on the fat edge of fucking normal. Move along folks, nothing to see here.

Fat isn’t limiting my life in the way that it did two years ago, and fat will never limit my life again. That’s the promise that I’ve made to myself and with every step I take, I can see that old life getting more and more distanced from who I am.

Failure..? Not on your nelly 🙂

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Getting Into My Groove

Old habits are hard to break sometimes, right? When I got back from the Kingdom of Pain last night after an hour of circuit training I was ravenous, and before I’d even climbed out of my sweaty togs I had my head in the fridge to explore supper options. I started fixing myself an omelette, but despite getting myself all set up first with kitchen scale and the ingredients I needed to weigh, I caught myself lobbing a handful of chopped pepper straight into the pan.

I mean, the scales were right there  on my production line, but my hands chopped the peppers and the only thing that landed on the scale was a swift fuck you as my auto-pilot messed up the system and bypassed that step without a second thought. My app was open right next to me so I could log the calories, but my head was still living in the world where peppers didn’t count.

Like a fully paid-up drama queen, I stamped my foot and acted like the world had ended.

Well that’s it Dee you’ve fallen off the wagon, you may as well go eat cake immediately because you’ve ruined it. You’ll never know how many calories were in those peppers now…

I must have stared at them sizzling in the pan for a good thirty seconds, fighting the temptation to fish them out piece by piece and weigh them after the event. Fortunately common sense prevailed before OCD could kick in, but I did chop about the same amount of pepper all over again just so I could weigh it. It’s currently in a bag in the fridge ready to be eaten later today so it didn’t go to waste, but I’m beginning to see how this could become a bit…obsessive.

The discipline of logging everything isn’t worrying me as much as I thought it might, but I’m becoming disproportionately fascinated by all the reports and graphs which analyse in the minutest of detail exactly what I’m putting into my body.

What do you mean I’ve eaten too much sugar??? (screams at smartphone) – aside from all the stuff that tastes of MDF because it’s busy being all high fibre and low fat, over the course of the day I’ve had a child-sized banana, a handful of grapes and a hundred fucking calories’ worth of cherries. I can’t possibly be over my sugar goal, I’m NOT HAVING IT!!!

I need to chill out a bit, and I’m sure I will eventually once I’ve worked out all the kinks. Exercise has taken on a whole new meaning since God Of Pain approved the new regime on the condition that I eat my exercise calories, because I’m working out and it’s important to properly fuel my body. And let’s be fair that means extra rations so I’m hardly going to argue.

I rarely have time to get to the gym before work because the office is just shy of fifty miles away, but I nipped out for a cheeky half an hour on my bike yesterday morning and then did an hour or circuit training last night…I’m getting adept at sneaking a look at my watch as I work out. Not to keep an eye on the time, more watch the calories rolling into my food bank…ooh look, I’ve earned another grape…

It’s not too bad you know, in fact I’d go so far as to say I’m actually enjoying it 🙂

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The Currency Of Calories

So, three days in to the new regime and I think it’s fair to say that I’m on a rather steep learning curve…I’m having to kick my handbrake on with every step to save me rolling backwards whilst I fanny about logging everything I eat and drink into My Fitness Pal. This land of calories is a whole new world and I feel a bit like a tourist, you know? After counting points for the last eighteen months, it’s like having a pocket full of pennies when everything’s priced in cents.

Friday, which was day one of my new regime, was the hardest.  I got busy logging my breakfast, and made and logged some lunch to take to work, and then almost had a panic attack when I realised that I’d accounted for roughly two thirds of my daily allowance already.  Whaaa..?  I wanted to hammer down the door of Weight Watchers and beg them to let me back in so I could cling to the tried and tested like a drowning man would cling to a life vest. I didn’t, and in any event I’d forgotten they don’t actually know I’ve gone anywhere yet.

Seriously..? There’s no wonder I haven’t lost any weight recently if this is what a calorie budget buys you. Talk about a wake-up call..!

There’s no such thing as free food when you’re counting calories, is there? Even when you’re talking about foods with a negative calorie value. I distinctly remember someone telling me once that your body expends more calories digesting a tomato than the number of calories contained in the tomato which strikes me as a bloody good deal but even so, according to MFP they have to be counted.

I’m missing the free shit. Grapes are a great example, right? When I eat grapes, which I do all the time, what I actually eat is a punnet of grapes, and before you tell me that’s not normal just like eating a whole melon at one sitting isn’t normal, it’s normal for me. And Weight Watchers used to let me do it.

The Asshole voice went into overdrive on Friday and tried to persuade me that I was actually going to starve. I was fretting as I put my work bag in the car along with my small boxed chicken salad and my one hundred and sixty grams of grapes, to the point where I had to run back into the house for a stress poo, so convinced was I that the world as I knew it was about to end. I felt nervous and a bit twitchy, like an addict with a restricted supply chain…oh, wait a minute…

Thing is, I’d put it out there hadn’t I..? I’d told the whole fucking world that I was going to count calories on My Fitness Pal and as I’ve said a million times before, the only thing bigger than my arse is my pride, which would never allow me to quit on day one no matter how quickly I was fading away.

I’d also committed to drinking at least two litres of water, so for the last three days by lunchtime my eyeballs have been bobbing around above the fill level, and I’ve spent every afternoon peeing like a racehorse.

All that said, I’m starting to get into the swing of things. The weekend has gone really well, you know? God of Pain cast his eyes over my plan on Saturday and gave it the thumbs up, and I didn’t even flinch when the Shitbird Scale took a pot shot at me yesterday morning by declaring a small gain. I suspected that was coming after all the No Count carbs in the early part of last week so I made a jaunty exit from the bathroom without dwelling on it, and imagined instead what the number would be next Sunday. That’s one I’m excited to see.

I have a really good feeling about this. And listen, if any of you do MFP and want to come knocking and add me as a friend, I’m logged as BOTSG_Dee and I’d love to hook up with you. We’re all in this together after all 🙂

By the way, one or two people have asked me why they weren’t able to leave comments on Nicola’s Shitbird page, and I hadn’t realised that the comments bit wasn’t enabled – all fixed now if you want to chat to Nic directly.

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