Tag Archives: happy

Let’s Never Speak Of Them Again

There’s something about new clothes that makes you feel epic, don’t you think? I wore a new shirt for work yesterday, one of the ones that’s been hanging in my wardrobe for a while which hasn’t just quite fitted me. Until now all of a sudden it does. I bloody love that feeling. I got a compliment from two different people at work, and when I walked in the kitchen back home at teatime my boy looked up from what he was doing and said blimey, you look skinny today…I bloody love that feeling too.

It’s been a while you know…at one point towards the middle of last year, folk started to notice that I’d lost weight and were fairly generous with their compliments, but when I started going back up the scale again those same folk were gracious enough to keep their gobs shut. Well, most people do, don’t they? I can think of one notable exception in my circle of friends who thinks nothing of fat shaming where someone’s gained a little weight but she’s never been brave enough to call me on it. Just FYI I’ve got three dozen one-liners lined up ready in case she ever does, and trust me when I say whichever one I pick will be delivered with relish, possibly accompanied by a smack in the chops.

I can’t really pinpoint the moment where I started to care again, about what I looked like. When I was way north of three hundred pounds there didn’t seem much point in spending too much time in front of the mirror because no good ever came of it, you know? All it did was open the door for the Asshole voice in my head to wheel out one put-down after another, to the point where some days it was hard to lift my head.

I only had a handful of clothes, all of which I’d bought because they fitted me and not because I liked them. A few tops that I’d kidded myself made me look a bit smaller than I was. That’s the difference you know when you’re locked in battle with a fat body…you don’t decide what to wear because the colour suits you, or because something’s on-trend. You pick anything that you think makes you look smaller. In my head it was sole criteria, the only thing that mattered. I’d like to point out to anyone who actually knew me back then, that most of those hideous garments were not worn by choice and let’s agree never to speak of them again.

It’s different now I’ve evicted poundage from my pants. To be fair, there’s a lot more choice and I’m choosing things that I like. And that’s why it’s so lovely when people take the time to pay me a compliment…it’s nice to be noticed for the right reasons and it definitely spurs me on.

I have a little jar you know, where I store my compliments. I scribble them down on a scrap of paper and put them in my jar, and if I’m having a day where it feels like this fucking diet will never end and I’ll never reach my goal, I tip them all out and take a moment to bask in the sunshine, and it never fails to lift my mood. My jar has been gathering dust for a few months but it saw a bit of action yesterday, and it did me a power of good 🙂

 

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Choosy Is Good, Right?

So, I had two things to navigate yesterday. One buffet lunch straight out of the 1970s with no healthy options whatsoever, and then a working dinner with some colleagues last night. I did okay, in fact you would’ve been proud of me. At lunchtime I did eat half a rather greasy sausage and a couple of fat sandwich quarters, but really only enough to stave off starvation and see me through the afternoon. And last night in the restaurant, I watched everyone else eat their appetisers but because there was nothing suitable on the menu for me I didn’t order one. Yes, you heard that right…even though I was ravenous I said no. I would have had one, but I was choosy, and choosy is good, right?

I practised behaving like a skinny girl. Squid? Awesome, I’ll have that, I love squid…oh hang on just a minute, deep fried in batter with a garlic mayo dip? Nah not for me…what else…oooh look, mini ribs with homemade slaw…I’ll have that! Oh blimey, hang on a sec, that barbecue sauce is probably loaded with sugar, and there’ll be half a tub of mayo in that slaw…shit, move past the ribs, come on we’ve got this. So I ordered a big fat juicy steak for my main, and passed on the starter.

The steak was alright, I mean it won’t go down in history as the best steak I’ve ever had but it was okay. It wasn’t big, and it wasn’t even particularly juicy but to be honest by the time I’d watched everyone else eat their squid and their ribs I wasn’t about to send it back. I’d ordered a side order of healthy greens, and I carefully transferred all my fries into the bowl my veggies came in just to get them off my plate.

I did catch my hand reaching out a couple of times to grab one of the fries…I ate three in the end. Which isn’t going to kill me, so there’s no drama and it’s a hell of an improvement on other similar meals in my chequered food past, where no chip escaped unscathed. Not on my watch. Don’t get me wrong, if I was in diet mode and trying, I would’ve just as carefully transferred the fries off my plate in a great show of willpower but over the course of the meal they would have gotten eaten anyway and that’s not willpower as much as geography. But not last night.

I was waiting, you know for the all-consuming desire to kick in and press the override switch on my willpower, but…nothing. It didn’t happen. And I didn’t eat dessert, although I can’t claim that as a victory because nobody else did either so that wasn’t willpower as much as circumstances. 

Interestingly enough though, when someone said does anyone fancy dessert? and the rest of our party shook their heads, my usual visceral reaction of wanting to beat to a pulp all the crazy people who passed on pudding meaning I couldn’t say yes either was also conspicuous by its absence…I didn’t want dessert. And thinking about it, I haven’t eaten anything sweet for over a month now. Saying that out loud almost makes we want to run to the mirror and make sure I’m still me.

I’m taking some comfort from all the above, and feeling rather hopeful that I might continue in a similar vein on my forthcoming trip…not having to fight with the asshole voice makes dinner out with friends a much more enjoyable experience, you know?

Have a great weekend everyone 🙂

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Rediscovering The High

I drafted this post as I was laid in bed last night, reflecting on the day. I’m not going to lie, I was feeling very smug, having aced day twenty three of my new start. And yes, I know that smug is beyond irritating…I was even getting on my own nerves to be fair but there’s no other way to describe it really…I was smug. I can’t recall the last time I managed twenty three days on the bounce without sneaking in a single treat. Hell I earned smug, right?

It’s interesting to look back at the lifecycle of my diet. It’s gone through different stages over the last seventeen months and one week, which is exactly how long I’ve been on this journey. It’s already taken the crown for the longest diet I’ve ever been on, and it’s depressing to think that if I hadn’t pissballed around I could have been much further down the road than I am right now – let’s not forget that the pounds I’m losing at the moment have already been lost and then found again. Still, it is what it is.

Phase one was nailed on, feet planted firmly in the sweet spot and the thought of cheating on my diet would have filled me with horror. It was all about eating the right things in the right quantities, and slowly weaning myself off the armchair/TV combo. Phase two kicked in when I’d signed up for the Cuba trek and the hurt machine took up residence. The food plan still held firm and my weight-loss started to gather a bit of momentum…happy days.

Phase three was when I got a bit cocky. I’d upped the exercise but at the same time I upped my intake of food and carried on losing, just more slowly. In hindsight I was looking at it all wrong, you know? I sort of fell into the mindset that I was earning the right to eat more because I was working up a sweat and walking several times a week. Or, to put it another way, I was eating more and getting away with it. 

Phase four was when I met the God of Pain, and the exercise descended into torture on a regular basis. Cuba was getting nearer and I was working hard. And yet I was still eating my efforts…sure, there was a slow saunter down the scale but my losses weren’t especially impressive. Cuba came and went, and that’s when I bumped headlong into phase five, which by and large was a fucking disaster. My foot was completely off the gas, my food plan was peppered with binges, and reclaimed poundage moved back into my pants at warp speed.

So this is phase six, and I’ve come full circle. I’m back in the sweet spot and I feel unshakable…maybe because I’ve switched it up a notch. I mean, the diet hasn’t changed as such, I’m just spending my food budget more wisely and shopping like a grown-up. And let’s be honest,  the thought of having to take a picture of my conversation with the Shitbird Scale and show you if the needle has moved in the wrong direction is enough to bring me out in a cold sweat. It’s proving to be quite an effective appetite suppressant to be honest.

I’ve also rediscovered the high which comes with knowing I haven’t put a foot wrong. And I’m here to tell you that it hands down beats the high I get from a crinkly wrapper and a sugar hit. Any day of the week 🙂

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Nailed On

I looked like I’d swallowed a beach ball when I went to bed last night, but at least I hit the mattress knowing that I have five days’ worth of self-control safely over the line. I felt fat, but actually that was more to do with the mountain of vegetables (and the resulting alchemy) that I had eaten for supper with my chicken. I still feel bloated this morning and it’s a bit of a nudge in the ribs – there are some in here somewhere, I swear – to remind me that eating late isn’t such a good idea.

Thing is, I didn’t get home from work until way after seven, and I was knackered and starving in equal measure. What I should have done was to have a light supper and an early night, but having failed to talk me into being naughty with all the free cookies available during our meetings yesterday, no way was the Asshole going to be talked out of the planned dinner. Not when a light snack would have been higher in points than the huge chicken and veggie plate…it was never going to happen. Hence me retiring last night feeling like Shamu.

I’m properly going for it this week, and knowing that I was going to wake up skinnier today than I did yesterday meant I wasn’t remotely offended when I caught sight of my Buddha belly as it led the way past my mirror. Once upon a time, catching sight of that reflection would’ve made me want to gauge my eyes out with a spoon, but I’m a bit less offended by it these days…now it just feels like I’m wearing my body like a fat suit on top of the real me. The picture I posted on Wednesday – and your reaction to it – has given me exactly the boost I needed. That skinny girl is in there somewhere, trying to break out.

I’ve even treated myself to a couple of new tops for the festive season – I did good this week so far, you know? I figured I deserved a reward 🙂 I mean I know it’s only five days but this run of five days have been hard-won and I’m celebrating it, so there. It’s been a while since I did five days on the bounce.

I mentioned the free cookies yesterday…there were dozens of twin-packs of cookies thrown in with the cost of our meeting room at an off-site venue, and once upon a time, any we had left at the end of the day would have come home with me ‘for my boy’. After all we’d paid for them, right? The reality is they probably wouldn’t have made it home at all, in fact by the time I’d left the car park the mobile cookie party would have been in full swing. I dodged that bullet yesterday, and it feels great.

How I’ve missed that feeling 🙂

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Pulling It Off

achieved

I’ve been trying to find the words to finish off the tale of my epic adventure but just between you and me, those words have proved incredibly elusive this week…perhaps they’re off somewhere partying with my willpower, which has also been AWOL.

I suppose writing this final post about my trip to Cuba was always going to be as much of a challenge as the challenge itself, purely because I can’t recall anything ever meaning more to me than this has, you know? The whole thing sort of became part of me as I strode through 2016 without once taking my eyes off the big red circle hovering over the 7th of October.

Waking up on day five felt weird. Day four had been so tough, and it was hard not to feel a sense of anti-climax even before we’d finished the trek, after all, the hard bit was done, wasn’t it? Rumour had it that day five was a breeze, in fact to quote our group leader, it was going to be a gentle walk downhill with a lunchtime finish.

Which wasn’t exactly unwelcome news, but by this time I’d grown quite attached to feeling like a rock star as I smashed one challenge after another. I imagine Bear Grills would feel similarly deflated if all he was required to do was to jump over a muddy puddle instead of traversing a set of rapids in an upside down canoe with no paddle…gentle strolls downhill were for pussies, not proper explorers like me.

Anyway, we rode out from our hotel on the support truck, which dropped us a couple of miles away at the edge of the jungle, next to a bloke selling bananas by the side of the road. As our pint-sized guide puffed out his chest and prepared to negotiate a good deal, it all seemed a bit unnecessary since we’d had a cracking breakfast at the hotel and we were going to be eating a restaurant lunch. We were hardly going to starve during the next couple of hours, right?

However, the bananas were soon forgotten as all eyes turned to the two tarantulas which the banana man had evicted from his stock. They were pacing up and down in a box on the floor looking not a little bit pissed off. Sweet Jesus they were enormous. They had more hairs on their body than your average kitten, and every hair on my body – and that’s a lot of body – was standing on end just looking at them.

Holding my arm out and allowing one of them free rein to wander up and down it was not a plan that immediately sprang to mind, but seeing as everyone else was stepping up to the challenge and posing for selfies with these bad boys I figured what the hell…the day needed spicing up with something other than a gentle stroll and it was likely to be my only opportunity ever to face my fear of spiders in quite such a spectacular fashion. I’ve got to be honest, my smile for the camera was more like a grimace but I didn’t pass out and I didn’t shit my pants, and since both of those things were very real possibilities, I’m claiming it as a victory.

As it turns out, when we eventually set off walking the gentle stroll wasn’t quite as gentle as promised. I mean there was none of the insane climbing we’d done in the last few days but day five’s terrain brought with it its own unique set of challenges in the form of bushes that spilled onto the path and ripped leggings, scratched chunks out of legs and generally made life hard. The biting ants were out in force, and the carpet of stones under foot made walking very hard on the ankles. It was blisteringly hot, and humidity was very high…it was wretched.

I spend a good deal of time muttering under my breath about the person who’d written the itinerary and coined the phrase gentle stroll downhill, not to mention using those very words to lull us into a false sense of security. Eventually though, the walking got a little easier and we found ourselves following the trickle of a stream, which got gradually deeper and morphed into a river.

I remember smiling as someone took a picture of me by the edge of the water, in a spot under the trees where the colours were so vibrant it was one of those defining moments where you wonder whether you’ll ever be somewhere as beautiful as this ever again. It was magical. As the sunlight bounced off the water, and the leaves on the trees cast their dappled shadow over everything I imagined fairies under toadstools and mythical creatures hiding just out of sight. Time stood still for a while, and so did I…I just wanted to soak it all up, because I knew it was almost over.

It was probably only a few hundred yards past that spot where we came into a clearing, and right up ahead of us was a rickety old wooden suspension bridge over the river. And there it was. The end of the trek. I can’t even describe the emotions which hit me right in the solar plexus as my head started to process the fact that I’d actually done it.

I’d walked 90 kilometres in four and a half days.

Through the jungle.

Shit the bed!!!

It seemed fitting that I crossed the bridge last, in fact I even hung back a little and watched everyone celebrate at the other side so I could. I wanted to walk it on my own…well, me and my dad. It almost felt like I slipped my hand into his as we stepped out, and I walked into a wall of sheer emotion as I felt him right beside me.

My tears weren’t about the four and a half days, you know? They were about the nine months‘ worth of preparation. They were about setting a goal when it seemed impossible, and working every single day since then towards achieving it. They were about the hurt machine, and walking with Charlie-dog for miles in all kinds of weather, even back in the early days when everything still hurt. They were about the classes, and the effort, being supported and encouraged by old friends, new friends, and you lot, and just sheer dogged determination that I could make this fat old body climb a mountain to honour the memory of my dad.

And as he and I walked over that bridge together, I fell apart.

I was probably about halfway across when I realised that my fellow trekkers were stood on the other side of the bridge clapping for me. Some of them, the ones who knew my story were crying almost as hard as I was as I took those last few steps…I will never forget that moment as long as I live. Pure joy, enormous pride and a feeling of being truly connected to my body, for all its flaws. And love, you know? So much love for all the people who helped me get there…love for my dad, God rest his soul, and most surprisingly of all love for myself.

Who saw that one coming 🙂

 

The story of my trek came to you in stages, since I’ve been wrestling on a regular basis with my asshole voice since I came home. If you’ve caught the tail end of it and want to hear the rest, here are all the pieces for you to join together along with a link to all the photographs of those incredible few days…

PHOTOS

So, where do I start!

Cock-a-doodle-doo

Hiking In Rollerskates

Not Giving Up, Ever.

They Weren’t Kidding!

I’m beyond proud to say that I raised over two thousand pounds in my dad’s name to help support people struggling with mental heath issues. My sponsorship page is now officially closed, but for every single person who supported me with a donation I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart…your belief in my ability to pull this off surpassed my own and I can’t tell you how much it helped me!

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