Tag Archives: goals

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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Persona Non Grata

I was in text conversation with the God of Pain yesterday morning – he’s one step ahead of all of us you see, and he makes us book our sessions in advance. It scuppers the chance of any of us coming down with a case of can’t-be-arsed-itus, you know in that moment when you step in from work, tired and hungry after a long day and the prospect of pulling on your exercise pants and doing a 360 out the door again is just too grim?  Once you’ve booked your sessions for the week, the thought of having to explain to his nibs why you’re not now going doesn’t exactly make you feel warm and fuzzy inside and is best avoided…when you’ve committed, you pretty much have to follow through.

To be fair, I reckon that’s why I’m still going, ten months after I started…I need that kind of discipline. A big anonymous gym where nobody would even notice, much less give a shit if I didn’t turn up would play right into the hands of my Asshole voice…come on Dee, you’ve had a long day. Sit down, take a load off and have a hob-nob. Go tomorrow instead. We’ve all been there, right? I’m sure it’s not just me. However, there’s bugger all chance of that happening on his watch, and I’m more grateful for that than I can even tell you.

Anyway, as I was booking my session, I happened to mention that I was on day 79 of my food sobriety, and on Sunday I’m due to graduate from his 3 month clean eating programme. Not only that, but according to his scale, last weekend I was only 1lb over the lowest weight he’s ever logged next to my name. And of course that’s made me extra extra extra determined to get under that number by my next Kingdom of Pain weigh-in.

When I said as much to him, he pinged a text back and warned me not to starve myself, and I just stared at the phone in disbelief…I mean, come on, has he met me? I wouldn’t be capable of doing that if my fucking life depended on it.

Or, would I..? It’s an interesting question.

Does anyone ever set out to get to that place where the exhilaration of flying down the scale pushes the desire to eat off their radar altogether? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not likely to be teetering on the edge of anorexia anytime soon, but I wonder whether the folk who are ever intended to end up in a place where hunger becomes their best friend and the thought of food tips them over the edge.

As I laid in bed last night kicking the tyres of what I wanted to write about today, I remember feeling a bit of a thrill as I realised I was peckish…I’d had a decent supper when I got in from my class, but I’d gone to bed with some of my food budget left on the table and God of Pain’s words jumped up and bit me in the ass, you know? Don’t go starving yourself…

I’ve spent my whole life avoiding hunger pangs. God forbid one might sneak up and catch me unawares. I’ve rarely been more than three feet from an emergency snack, and whilst I appreciate hunger pangs don’t hurt exactly, I’ve always avoided them in the same way I’d avoid a dose of the clap. Hunger pangs are definitely persona non-grata in my world.

And yet. There I was, feeling my concave stomach – alright come on, I know I’m shaped like a buddha but cut me a bit of creative license here – embracing the hint of hunger like a kind of badge of honour. I could’ve gone back downstairs and had a crumpet, but I didn’t want to. I wanted to lay there enjoying the skinny experience and get jiggy with my hunger pang.

What’s that all about?

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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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Not Giving Up. Ever.


I’d love to give you an update on my weight loss, given that I’m six days into season two with my head fully back in the game but you’ll never guess what…the bitch in my bathroom has conked out. Kaput! I’m not exactly heartbroken, in fact if I’m honest that scale was in the bin before I’d even finished doing my happy dance. I had a cheeky little mooch around Amazon, and there’ll be a new bitch in town by Wednesday.

So I thought I’d continue with my jungle tales this week – I was planning to anyway, but something rather extraordinary and totally unexpected happened on Friday (for those of you in the know, shhhh in the thoughts thread!) which I don’t want to tell you about until I’ve shared with you all the highs and lows of the trip.

Can you believe I’ve been home from Cuba for six weeks and I’ve still only gotten around to telling you about the first two days? It’s ridiculous how time flies, but I’ve been somewhat preoccupied by the power struggle raging between me and my asshole voice. I’ve had a handful of emails from folk in the posse eager to hear about the rest of the trip, so I’ll pick up where I left off in Hiking In Rollerskates, which saw us marching into our second camp.

I cannot even begin to tell you how awesome that place was. The camp on our first night had been very pretty, and we’d had a great night as we all started to get to know each other but the facilities were a bit hit and miss, and if you didn’t like beer, your only other option was water. I’m not being funny right, but when you’ve drunk three fucking litres of the stuff during the day, it’s never going to be your tipple of choice when you’re trying to kick back and relax, you know?

This camp was different. Still pretty, still rustic and still very basic, but it had a proper bar. And better than that, when we arrived, hot and sweaty and wiped out from what had been a really tough day of walking there were ice-cold drinks lined up on that bar waiting for us. And they had coke! I mean it wasn’t exactly coca-cola, it was their locally produced version which had at least a tablespoon of sugar in every mouthful but in that moment it was like nectar. Especially when it had a large slug of Havana Club thrown in for good measure… 🙂

They’d pulled out all the stops with a hog roast, and that night will stay with me for a very long time. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much. I was one of the first to bed at around 11pm, even though I desperately wanted to stay up…I was knackered. My Cuba Libra tab at the bar was already flirting with double figures, and no way could I have managed day three with a hangover so I turned in, and fell asleep smiling in my tent to the sound of raucous laughter floating on the breeze. I think the more hardcore contingent were up till around 4am. Hats off, right?

Our guide, the pint-sized action man who still wasn’t convinced that fat old women had any place on the trip was busy multi-tasking as I emerged the next morning, doing one-armed press-ups outside the tent of our lady doctor (who was young and very attractive) whilst simultaneously ogling her bum as she bent down to tie her laces. I barely registered on his radar as I walked past, which amused me no end…even his peripheral vision was tuned into her impressive norks.

After a breakfast of rice and green beans and yet more prison bread washed down with great coffee, we walked out of camp and almost immediately went underground into some caves. We walked for maybe 500 metres through the tunnels, passing lots of bats and the resident owl. It was a really tight squeeze in some parts, and we had to crouch down and walk bent in two but I fitted in all the tight spots and didn’t get stuck, not even a little bit.

I didn’t feel like a fat girl…I was doing it, just like everyone else and I couldn’t stop grinning. Me, in a cave with a head torch and everything, I mean this was verging on extreme sport, right?

Day three wasn’t bad at all. There were some challenging climbs of course, and some descents but nothing quite as steep as day two, and it was a bit less muddy so the walking was a little bit easier. And I think we’d all started to acclimatise to the heat too, and find our rhythm. The folk up ahead at the front of the pack set their own pace, and stopped every couple of kilometres to wait for those of us at the back.

When we caught up they’d set off again, and repeat. They walked with pace, and had several rest stops, where me and one or two others at the back walked steadily but hardly stopped at all beyond a couple of minutes here and there to have a drink, or take a picture, so we must have looked like a big unwieldy caterpillar as we made our way through the jungle.

We trekked for maybe five or six hours, and then met the truck, which took us to an amazing place for lunch, a restaurant with tables open to the elements on one side and incredible views across the valley.  And although you don’t much feel like moving when you’ve had a good lunch, we weren’t quite done. The truck dropped us back at the edge of the rainforest and we trekked for another couple of hours…this is the point that I had my second wobble of the trip.

It was towards the very end of day three, when we were almost at our hotel and the going got really hard. We were out of the jungle by this point walking on roads which were so steep it was hard to catch a breath. It was raining but still ridiculously hot, and the hills were relentless…for maybe 45 minutes or more it was just one after another after another. On the very last one I remember thinking that’s it, I’m done, I’ve got nothing left.

Ever since the start of the trip, the guides had said day four was the hardest, so I’m walking up these hills, utterly spent after two uncomfortable nights in a tent with hardly any sleep, hot, wet and fighting the urge to cry, knowing that it was going to be even harder than this tomorrow and wondering if I had enough in reserve to complete the trek…it was a real low point and I started to really doubt myself.

But then I started thinking about my dad, and what a fighter he was, and I thought about all the people who’d supported my journey. How much belief every single one of those folk had that I’d cross the line, and that somehow allowed me to tap into my reserve tank, you know? I was able to dig deep enough to push on because when I thought about all that stuff, I knew right there and then that I’d never give up. Never. When the hotel finally came into sight, with its hot showers and air-con and beds and pillows and better still all our main luggage lined up in the foyer I let go a few big fat tears out of sheer relief.

Day three of five, done. You don’t need me to tell you how awesome that hot shower was, or how comfortable the bed was…let’s just say that was the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had, and leave it there. And funnily enough, by the time I woke up the next morning I was full of optimism that day four’s ass belonged to me.

Hard? Maybe…but so am I 🙂

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