Tag Archives: determined

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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All Bent Outta Shape

It occurred to me on the way home from work yesterday that I didn’t have much food in the house. Or, to put it another way there wasn’t  much food in that I could actually eat, which isn’t necessarily one and the same thing. It was day two of my new year, and I needed to head off the can’t be arsed to cook so I’ll just eat [insert highly unsuitable foodstuff HERE] situation that I knew was brewing.

I was on a roll…porridge for breakfast, salad and couscous at lunchtime, and a blank canvas for supper. Oh, and absolutely no junk, which hadn’t exactly filled me with joy as I’d gone through my day. Walking down the corridor at work yesterday with my afternoon cuppa I would have sold my granny for something sweet to go with it, you know?

I’ve got to re-break all those habits that I’ve slipped back into, and it’s a bit like starting from scratch. There’s always food in the office and really, come on surely one cake bar can’t hurt if I count the points? Except it’s hard to have just one, they’re gone in a heartbeat after all and anyway how is it even possible that something you can eat in under half a minute can contain a quarter of your daily points? In spite of all that, just recently I seem to have had difficulty forming the word no.

To be fair, it was a bit easier to say no yesterday, because I’d had an email from God of Pain first thing in the morning inviting me to a post-Christmas weigh-in with the intention of helping me to review my goals…cue bowels turning to liquid. The thoughts galloped through my head like a fucking freight train. Oh my GOD he’s really going to freak out on my ass, I’ve gained another seven pounds since my last bollocking and now I’m going to get his disappointed face which is even worse than his pissed off face…

Actually he’s pretty understanding about the bingeing – he knows a food addict when he sees one. But there are limits and I don’t want to start pushing his buttons. So I ‘fessed up in my return email. I figured it was better to manage his expectations and give him time to wrap his brain around the fact that I’ve packed six months’ worth of dodgy food choices into the ten day holiday window, and I’m now carrying the results around in my pants.

So, as I hit the supermarket last night off the back of my second clean day, I was doing okay. Right up until I clocked all the reduced holiday food. As I poked around in the meat section looking for chicken, my eyes were drawn to all the yellow stickers which were practically screaming BUY ME!! Mini venison pies with buttery shortcrust pastry, reduced to pennies. Filo pastry parcels bursting with goats cheese and onion marmalade, reduced to pennies. Christmas selection boxes with all manner of goodies inside, reduced to fucking pennies. And I couldn’t buy any of it.

As I stomped back to the car clutching my chicken and vegetables I felt like howling with rage that I’d had to pass on a mountain of fat-girl-wet-dream food. It wasn’t fair, in fact at that moment life felt very unfair and I narrowly avoided having a full on diva strop right there in the car park as I raged about the fact that I was a) fat and b) on a diet.

I’ve still got a face on about it to be honest. It’s hard. Being good sucks. I went to bed last night and dreamed about mini venison pies. That said, I survived day two…and there are no points in mini venison pies if all you do is dream about them, right?

Come on day three, let’s see what you’ve got.

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Hiking In Rollerskates


So, thanks for your patience guys… I had to do a bit of head work over the last couple of blog posts, which created a delay in downloading my reflections on the trek. I couldn’t leave it all bubbling away under the surface because I was starting to feel really out of control you know? I’ve come to realise over the last year or so that facing directly into the things that are chewing at me really helps, and unpicking stuff takes away its power a lot of the time.

Anyway, shall we pick up where I left off before? My food sobriety still feels a bit fragile but I’m motoring along and the wheels seem to be turning okay. So far so good…resisting the Asshole voice is no longer burning up all my attention. I feel like I can multi-task without him gaining any ground and that’s progress at least.

So, let me think about where we got to…day two, heading into the jungle and seriously some of the hardest walking I’ve ever done. They’d said up front that day two was going to be harder terrain than day one, so we were expecting it and I can’t begin to tell you how nervous I felt setting off from camp, bearing in mind day one had nearly finished me off. I was feeling better though, and my voice was almost back to normal…the pills dispensed by our doctor the night before were doing their thing.

The truck dropped us off a couple of kilometres from the camp and from there we walked steadily uphill for a good couple of hours. We weren’t on the jeep tracks by this point, we were walking on softer ground and it was much easier on the feet. Well, I say that…bits of it were easier. The deluge of rain we’d had the night before really hadn’t helped and it was a bit hard to stay upright at times…I imagine hiking in roller skates would deliver a similar experience.

There’s a picture of me standing on what felt like the top of the world, grinning like the Cheshire Cat, elated that I’d got to the top of what had been a very steep climb…I felt like I’d done my hard work for the day. However, as we continued on after a brief photo stop we started to go downhill again and the penny dropped that despite feeling at the time like my lungs were going to explode, going up had actually been the easy bit. Coming down could only be described as some kind of extreme mud-surfing experience.

Our delightful local guide was a young bloke called Osmin – not the Tom Thumb-sized action man that I’ve referred to before, who glowered at me regularly for being old, fat and slow, but his number two. Osmin was awesome with me that day…he walked right in front of me on the steepest bits, planting his feet firmly and pointing his finger. Go heeeere Dee. Be careful, is sleeeeeepy…there were times where he put his arm out to steady me as my feet slid around in the mud, and I had visions of me and him rolling down the hillside, mashed together in some kind of giant mud ball, getting bigger and rounder with every spin. It was very sweet, given that my left arm probably weighed more than he did but he was looking out for me with every step.

It was slow, exhausting progress. At times we climbed, with every step propelling us around a foot higher than the last for what felt like miles at a time. We emerged from the canopy of trees onto a road at one point, and met the truck for a quick snack-stop before going back into the jungle on the other side and pushing on. I swear there were times when it felt like the mud was trying to suck the boots right off my feet. I’d take a step and the ground would squelch mud right up and over the top of my boots and then cling onto them as I tried to pull my leg out. And all this done in forty degree heat with outrageous humidity…it was hard. Really bloody hard.

Thing is, there was so much to see I forgot to find it hard. I saw coffee beans growing wild, and bamboo growing so high you couldn’t see the top. We trekked past wild pigs, and saw a snake curled around the base of a tree. We walked out of the jungle after the second leg and met up with the truck, which took us to visit a coffee hut where we ate our packed lunch of prison bread and sweaty cheese washed down by an insanely fresh cup of coffee, I mean the beans had practically been picked and roasted that day. It made the last leg of day two feel easier somehow, sort of like Cuban rocket fuel.

My walking poles were a Godsend, and I found myself getting into a bit of a rhythm. Right arm and left leg, left arm and right leg, sure even steps on the non-deadly bits, which felt almost graceful. I mean don’t get me wrong, I landed on my arse more times than I could reasonably count when the mud whipped my feet from under me. But on the whole I did okay…I wasn’t the fastest but that didn’t matter. I forgot that I was fat, and I just kept on putting one foot in front of the other. We walked for around eight hours altogether, and then as we got to the top of what must have been our fifth or sixth steep climb of the day, just as I was starting to wonder how much I had left in me, we emerged from the jungle and there, unexpectedly, was our camp for the night.

It was an awesome camp…I’ll tell you all about it next time 🙂


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So, Where Do I Start!


It’s hard to believe that a whole week has passed since I fell through the front door to a rock star welcome from my four legged fur baby and a bear hug from my boy – the whole week passed in a haze of jet-lag, and a busy work schedule. And best not forget the eight or so hours that I’ve been engaged in various chat room too-ing and fro-ing with people in a different time zone to me, who promised to fix my website.

Whether it is fixed or not remains to be seen….they tell me it’s fixed and that you lot can post comments again but to be honest I’m sceptical. They made the same outlandish claims on Tuesday and again on Thursday whilst the website was busy locking me out amongst wicked rumours that I too was a ‘bot’. Thing is, I was so banjaxed by the jet lag that I fell asleep twice clutching my laptop whilst I was on hold for web support and missed my chat window when it was my turn for someone at the other end to try and help sort it out.

Anyway let’s see how we go on. I’ve finally managed to upload all my pictures from Cuba…if you haven’t already seen them on our Facebook page you can click here …there are rather a lot, but even the pictures don’t really tell you the whole story. It was quite simply the most awesome experience I’ve ever had.

God of Pain knows his onions, I mean hats off to him you know? There can’t have been too many times in his life that a fat middle-aged woman has landed on his doorstep in ill-fitting exercise pants and thrown down a challenge to get her fit enough to trek 90km up a mountain but fair play, he knew exactly what to do. I mean sure, I know I was the one who put the work in, but he designed the programme and I’ll tell you what, it was bob on.

There were people on the trek much faster than me and much fitter from a cardio perspective – unlike me they climbed the mountain without once feeling like they needed an iron lung. Me, I was slower, and was invariably last across the line for whichever section we were doing but at the end of every day when lots of folk were struggling with tired legs, mine were okay…they were primed. I wasn’t fast, but I was ready and I was strong.

What I couldn’t have prepared for was the heat. On the day we started trekking it was around 40 degrees, and the humidity was running at well over 90%…I shit you not, it was like breathing in soup rather than air. I’d allowed myself to be lulled into a false sense of security as we set off on a boat across Lake Hanabanila…there was a gentle breeze and I remember sitting there enjoying the ride thinking this is wonderful, it doesn’t feel as hot as I thought it might. It took 90 minutes to cross the lake and it was stunning.

And then we got off the boat. The breeze disappeared as soon as my feet hit solid ground and we never felt another puff of air for the next five days. We started the trek as soon as we reached the end of the lake and within ten minutes I was hurting, but that was only the start. It didn’t help that I’d woken up that morning with a sore throat and a squeaky voice…not the ideal time to realise you might have a chest infection, right?

By the time we met up with the support truck, about 8km into the trek I was locked in conversation with the asshole voice, who was hell bent on convincing me that I’d bitten off far more than I could chew and trying to dream up reasons why I should spend the rest of the day on four wheels instead of two feet. I mean that was never going to happen, although I did find out later that our local guide was convinced I wouldn’t complete the first day. I don’t blame him, I’d probably have thought the same to be fair. I was right at the back, gasping for air and croaking my way up the hills, it can’t have looked promising.

I had to force myself to eat something at lunchtime, even though I’ve never felt less like eating in my life. I felt sick, and a bit shaky but I knew I needed the energy and once I’d forced a sandwich down my neck (I use the word sandwich loosely, given that the packed lunch had been provided by the Cuban equivalent of Fawlty Towers and the very sweet bread, chewy ham and plastic cheese combo was an interesting take on a sandwich as we know it) I felt a bit better.

We completed the first day in three sections, and the last two were a bit easier than the first. But I still found it really hard, and I was feeling like shit. Every breath hurt, my voice was coming and going and it felt like the flesh was melting off my body – I couldn’t decide whether that was because I was sick, or whether it was because I was old and fat and pushing the boundaries a bit in terms of what I was trying to do and the conditions I was trying to do it in. But I made it to camp, and even though I was hurting, I’d walked every step of the way.

As I laid in my tent that night, after a dinner of rice, beans and chicken accompanied by bricks disguised as bread rolls, on a mat which was about as thick as an after-eight mint, buried in my mosquito net with no pillow and throbbing toes, surrounded at every turn by the smell of deet, I don’t ever remember feeling quite so…accomplished.

I ached from head to toe. I was hot and sweaty with no prospect of a shower, there was a legion of ants marching around my sleeping mat and by this time it was pissing down with rain in biblical proportions but you know what, I’d done it. I’d completed day one. I could worry about day two tomorrow…




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I’m A Citreenie!


I felt a bit twitchy when I walked through the doors of the Kingdom of Pain yesterday because I knew that straight after Fat Furnace, somewhere around the point where I’d worn myself out doing two circuits of kettle bells and planks and power bags and reverse lunges, I was going to have to strut my stuff in front of a very solemn God of Pain who would be holding a clipboard and scrutinising my every move…my first assessment.

In our fitness studio there’s a bit of a colour vibe going on, and the colour of the T-shirt you get to wear indicates what level of torture you’re going to be subjected to when you walk into a fat furnace class. It tells people how fit you are, sort of like the belt system in martial arts, right? As a rookie, you wear one of your own T-shirts which is sort of couch-potato-in-training status. But once God of Pain thinks you’ve practised enough and got your technique down, you get formally assessed and providing he’s happy with what you do you’re awarded your first colour…last night, I got mine.

After four months of blood sweat and tears I’ve earned my yellow T-shirt. I’m officially a citreenie, and I shall wear my T-shirt with pride. It feels awesome, you know? Four months ago I didn’t know how I was going to survive my first week, and a T-shirt of any colour looked way out of reach…they were for proper people who deserved to be there and didn’t risk conking out every time they broke a sweat. But look at me, I’m one of them now…one of the gang.

You might have seen the picture on Facebook…admittedly it’s not the most flattering photo of me that you’ll ever see, with my purple cheeks and sweaty hair plastered to my face but I can pretty much guarantee that you’re not likely to spot a happier girl anywhere. It’s a flaw in God of Pain’s ritual, making you pose for a post-assessment photo in your new T-shirt when you’ve just done an hour of circuit training, but right at that moment I didn’t really care. Even the fact that he was going to tag me on social media and share my hot sweaty jubilation with the world wide web didn’t faze me…I’m a citreenie after all, and we’re well hard.

It’s funny, as I drove home dressed in yellow, my boy rang to see how I’d gone on. After I’d shared my news and had a giddy two minutes, he moved on to more important matters like when are you home and what’s for supper? before uttering those immortal words do you fancy a Chinese? and the funniest thing happened…I opened my mouth to say yes, and no came out. There’s a variation on a theme, right?

Saying no to Chinese food kills me…it’s one of my hardest things. I love it and to be fair I do still eat it, but I have to budget for it. And yesterday I hadn’t. Normally if an unexpected Chinese food opportunity presented itself I’d spend a good while doing a bit of creative accounting to try and find a way to make it fit, but before I had chance to start doing my sums, the word no sprang out of my mouth like it had the hounds of hell on its tail.

No dodgy accounting here…I’m a citreenie, but I can’t rest on my laurels, you know? Fire-opal I’m coming to get ya 🙂


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