Tag Archives: light-bulb moment

My Leaky Toolbox

I can’t believe the reaction that Monday’s post drew from you lot – it’s a while since my mailbox has groaned under so many ‘me too’ emails. And although it made me feel less isolated, it also forced me to really reflect on how flimsy our toolboxes are when it comes to keeping a hold of the things that could really help us along the route to Skinny Town.

If I’d bought a toolbox like this from home depot, I’d be standing in front of the customer service desk right now, complaining about how fucking useless it was, and how easily holes opened up and allowed stuff to fall out of the bottom. 

I’ve been writing this blog for almost two and a half years, right? And we’ve talked about all sorts of stuff. We’ve laughed a fair bit, we’ve celebrated successes and we’ve commiserated with each other when the wheels have come off, but mostly we’ve picked over the bones of stuff and pulled some proper golden nuggets of learning out of the shit we’ve waded through. The plan has always been to keep hold of those lessons and use them to drive us forward until we look for all the world like we’ve never met a single doughnut in the whole of our skinny lives.

What I’d really like to know, is where have all those lessons gone? It’s like we unwrapped them, exclaimed over them, wondered why it had taken a lifetime to switch the light bulb on, and then we tucked them away in the toolbox for future reference, safe in the knowledge that we’d never forget that new thing that was going to help us forever, now we knew about it. I can only speak for myself, but in an un guarded moment when my back was turned most of the things I’ve learned have fallen out of the bottom of my fucking useless leaky toolbox and nobody’s seen them since.

One of you even suggested to me a couple of weeks ago that I go back and read some of my early blog posts where I seemed to be switching on light bulbs all over the place, I mean my life was floodlit for months. I was flying, with the strong wind of all this learning behind me. I can’t really pinpoint the moment where my progress stalled and then started going backwards, but somehow I’ve ended up scrabbling around in the dark again, hoping against hope that I’ll find my way back. On reflection, I think I probably should re-trace my steps, I mean it’s the sensible thing to do isn’t it when you’re trying to find something precious that you’ve lost.

Shit. There’s more than five hundred blog posts and close to half a million words to trawl through, I mean that’s a bit daunting, right? It might take a while. And what if I forget them all over again?

I’ll tell you what – why don’t I make a new page, where I can call out the blog posts which have helped me the most as I rediscover them? I could call it the Skinny Lessons page, and as I’m working my way through my back-catalogue looking for inspiration, I could pull out some links to the ones which have switched on the brightest floodlights in my head. Y’all could do the same if you like, and signpost the ones that’ve helped you…having a go to page when we need propping up might at least solve the problem of that leaky toolbox if nothing else, right?

I’ll get on it this weekend when I have a little more time.

And yes, in case you’re wondering…I’m still on the naughty step 🙁


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All My Knobs Are At The Top

You know what, this week is shaping up to be an absolute corker, I mean I’ve had a couple of really cracking days. After all that sorting out at the weekend, I swear the last thing on my mind was going out and buying more stuff, but on Monday I tagged along with a couple of friends from work for a cheeky lunchtime mooch around a local retail park and I accidentally came home with two dresses, two tops and a jacket. Mainly because I really liked them but also because I could. I should probably feel guilty, but you know what, bite me 🙂

Then, I was out of the office all day yesterday on a course at the local University designed to help me develop resilience in the workplace, and I had lightbulbs going off in my head every five minutes. It was supposed to be a work thing, but there were more parallels than I could even count with this weight-loss journey that we’re all on, so I couldn’t wait to tell you.

One thing in particular really resonated, about mental toughness, and God knows those of us on a diet need a bit of that to resist all the pies, right? I’ve been trying to figure out how to explain it.

This professor dude talked about ‘The Four C’s’ of mental toughness, which are Challenge, Control, Confidence and Commitment.

Challenge is about understanding what the challenge is – what needs to be done and the benefit you’ll get if you do it. Confidence is about believing that you have it in you to pull it off. Control is about feeling in control of both your environment and your emotions and commitment is…well, as it sounds – it’s about committing to a goal or an outcome.

It seems you can pretty much write a cheque for success in any situation if all four of those things are present and correct. As he was talking, I was supposed to be applying the theory to a work context but in my head, my thoughts set off running like a hare in a meadow…I started thinking about my weight-loss journey, and I started to get very very giddy.

Because. I understand that I need to lose weight, and I know how much better I’ll feel when I’m skinny. I one hundred percent believe that I can do it and right now I’m in control of what’s around me, and what’s inside me…the Asshole voice is well and truly gagged. And I’m totally committed to my food sobriety.

Imagine a graphic equaliser. In case you’re too young to remember what one of those was, (get out of my blog immediately) they existed in an era before digital sound blew the need for manual twiddling out of vogue. They looked a bit like the picture I’ve stuck at the top, with knobs you could move up and down to isolate and adjust the different bits of sound when you were playing a record, like dialling up the bass or the treble.

Now think about one of those knobs next to each of the four C’s…right now, all four of my C’s are dialled right the way up. All my knobs are at the top and they have been since I gave my head a wobble in the New Year and rediscovered the sweet spot. They’re all up there on full volume, and yesterday I made the connection between all this lovely theory and what’s happening with me right now. My unbroken run of fourteen losses in fourteen weeks. Not a toe out of line where my food plan is concerned. It’s because all my knobs are at the top.

In the last three months of last year when I was climbing on and falling off the wagon with alarming regularity, my knobs were not at the top. Sometimes one or two or maybe even three of them might have been, but if just one of those four things is switched off, you are on the back foot completely and the chances are you won’t succeed. I’ve lived it, remember? I regained twenty two pounds in the last three months of the year. I’m telling you, it was like fucking Blackpool illuminations in my head yesterday when I made the connections.

Where are your knobs? It might be worth doing a quick recce, especially if you’re in that place where you’re taking two steps forwards and one step back…I guess understanding which one of your knobs needs adjusting might just make the difference, right?

On another note, I’ve changed my weigh-day. I decided that since I’m spending my weekly Weight-Watchers points on days three to five of my dieting week it would make more sense if those days fell on a weekend. So, my new weigh-day is Wednesday. Today. And to my surprise and delight although it’s only three days since my last weigh-in, Shitbird Scale offered up one and a quarter pounds.

Told you I was having a good week 🙂


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It’s Because I’m Fat!


Occasionally, when I throw some words out there in a blog post they come back to me like a boomerang, you know? My head sends them down through my fingertips onto the page, but it’s like a carbon copy of them gets stuck inside my head and that usually means that there’s another knot in my thought process which is demanding to be unpicked.

I made a throwaway comment the other day about blaming everything in my life that had ever gone wrong on the fact that I was fat. And that got me thinking. What am I going to blame when I get to Skinny Town if the shit hits the fan?

Yeah well that happened because I’m f…. oh.

The fact is, I’ve spent most of my life either putting weight on or taking weight off, so being fat was always within touching distance and therefore fair game where blame was concerned. My boy crush doesn’t fancy me..? Well there’s a surprise…it’s because I’m fat. Why did I marry this arsehole? Well all the decent blokes were out of my league, because I’m fat. I didn’t get an interview for that job I really liked the look of…yeah they were probably put off because I’m fat. They must have smelled it on my resume.

Isn’t that strange? I can’t think of a single other catch-all reason that would account for so many things going tits up where I wouldn’t have banished it from my life immediately – what a millstone to have around my neck, right? The omnipresent threat of failure, purely down to the size of my arse.  And yet, despite being utterly convinced that being fat was the root of all evil, I stayed fat. Got fatter, even. I mean seriously.

Unless. Maybe I secretly found it useful? If you think about it, I had at my disposal a well polished reason why I couldn’t do…whatever. Why something hadn’t worked out. Anything or everything, it didn’t really matter. I was fat, so no wonder…

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the first to hold my hands up and admit that there have been times where being fat has served a purpose…it’s been useful, you know as in it provided a genuine excuse not to do something I didn’t want to do. My boy wanted to zip-wire off a mountain in Wales a couple of years ago, and he wanted me to do it with him…yeah, right, good luck with that. Sorry love, I can’t…I’m too fat. And for once I was grateful for my extra arse.

I suppose it’s about taking responsibility isn’t it? Being accountable for stuff rather than blaming the blubber. I didn’t get the job because I wasn’t good enough. My bad. I married a dickhead because I was chasing a fairy tale and I was dumb enough to imagine that despite all the red-flag-waving-in-my-face warning signs, he was really a good sort. My judgement was off…more than once, as it happens. My bad.

Someone once said to me that when they got to Skinny Town after carrying a lot of extra weight for years, they were disappointed to find that everything in their life didn’t get better immediately. And I get that…being skinny doesn’t guarantee entry into some kind of charmed life where no shit hits the fan ever. I just need to be prepared to apportion responsibility for things not going my way in the right place instead of leaping by default to the because I’m fat bucket.

It’s all good…I’ve got a good year to practice that before I cross the county line 🙂

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It Sounds So Obvious Now…


I was up and on the train at stupid o’clock yesterday morning due to work commitments a long way south of home, and you know what, I quite like being on the train these days, now my larger-than-average body actually fits in the seats.

I’ve got to be honest, it still feels like I’ve won the lottery every time I sit down and admire the gap between my arse and the armrest, or my belly and the table in front of me. I’ve even stopped bitching about having to travel in cattle-class, since I no longer hold an unshakable belief that the seats are made for munchkins.

So anyway, it was way too early to think about getting on with some work, and I found my eyes wandering about the carriage. I spent a lot of time admiring my new scarf in the reflection thrown back by the window every time we went through a tunnel. Let me tell you about the scarf…it was my non-food treat, awarded to me by me in exchange for achieving nothing.

I know…that’s a novel idea, right? I sort of bent the rules a bit, and tried to figure out a way of treating myself even in the face of weight-loss inertia. And hey presto, along came a genuine flash of inspiration.

Yes the needle has stayed put for the last three weeks, but I decided that a treat was appropriate anyway, for not going into meltdown about it. Fair’s fair after all, I mean in times gone by that would have definitely invoked fat girl rule #232 which clearly states In the event that things don’t go your way proceed immediately to the hobnobs and fill ya boots...

Truth is, I really wanted the scarf so it was a win-win outcome, right? It’s Alice Shirley’s Zebra Pegasus design, which I have coveted for the longest time so it seemed like a fabulous solution…take a shit situation and find something positive in it, thereby defusing the frustration by providing an excuse to indulge yourself with something you really want. I’m all over that as a concept.

So the scarf had its first outing yesterday and every time I looked down at it, or caught its reflection in the window it reminded me of the huge strides I’ve made in terms of the way I deal with stuff when it doesn’t go my way. It felt good, you know? And I think I just switched another lightbulb on in my head. Instead of beating myself up for not losing an ounce, I rewarded myself for dealing with it like a grown-up. For not losing focus, or worse still, hope.

That vortex of guilt and comfort-seeking that we can all get sucked into when we perceive that we’ve failed at something goes away as if by magic, when we get distracted from the failure by finding something to celebrate in the outcome. And given that just about every mistake comes with a learning opportunity, and every situation can be viewed with a range of perspectives I’m pretty sure the concept will work across the board.

Isn’t it amazing how something which sounds so obvious now has eluded me for the whole of my fat life? The important thing is, I see it now, and like all the other light bulbs which have illuminated the path to Skinny Town it means I’m less likely to stumble over whatever bumps in the road lie ahead.

Onwards into the light, right chaps? ?

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Seeing Beyond What’s Hard


I went back to work this morning feeling so relaxed after a lovely long weekend – God of Pain is away, so there haven’t been any classes since Friday morning and I’m rather astonished to say I’m itching to get back to it tonight. Is that a bit weird? Not because I’m enjoying it in any way shape or form – I’m not there yet – but because every day I don’t go now feels like a day wasted. I’m on the clock, you know? I’ve got a mountain to climb. I’m focused. And you know what, I’m starting to notice that my body is responding.

Yesterday was such a warm and sticky day. I took the dog out for a walk, and I was in the mood to explore. We covered well over four miles on a couple of bridleways that I discovered by following a public footpath sign that I’ve walked past hundreds of times, and ignored. Turns out my curiosity paid dividends, it’s a lovely walk that I never knew existed until I followed my nose yesterday.

When I set off, I’d gone in a different direction than normal, and taken a route I usually avoid because it’s harder…it’s a lot more hilly. The first time I did it back at the beginning of the year I made a note to self along the lines of never again in this lifetime…I couldn’t manage it without feeling like my lungs were going to explode. Yesterday, I ate it for breakfast. It didn’t bother me one little bit.

And despite the muggy day and the long walk, I felt energised when I got home rather than knackered like I usually do. And that tells me something, you know? I didn’t find it hard, and I didn’t look for reasons to quit or find a short cut home like I would’ve at one time, because compared to what goes on in that fitness studio, it was quite literally a walk in the park.

Which kind of brought me to the realisation that it’s not even about what goes on in the Kingdom of Pain, is it? I mean it is, in the moment, when I’m there…but way beyond that is  the potential in this fat old body, which going there and hurting is unlocking.

Even a couple of weeks ago the walk I did yesterday would’ve challenged me, but every one of those torturous classes has made me a degree or two stronger, and what was difficult in the very recent past is now less so. I feel a tiny bit excited by the possibilities of where this might lead.

It is hard, going pretty much every day, but I’m looking on this as an investment in me. I’ve had quite a lot of emails about my new fitness schedule, in fact one or two of them have made me chuckle – they came from people who care enough to reach out, but they could almost have been written by my asshole voice. Be careful, don’t overdo it, you should have plenty of rest days in between…

I’ve responded to every one with appreciation, because I know they come from a place of caring and concern, and whilst the sentiment is similar, they’re a million miles removed from my asshole voice’s agenda of trying out of his socks to make me believe that I can’t keep the pace.

I promise you don’t need to worry…it’s working, under the close supervision of a professional athlete who retired from his sport and now spends his life whipping reformed couch potatoes into shape. He knows his onions, and I trust him.

Speaking of which, I need to get a wriggle on…it’s Fat Furnace tonight.

Kill me now 🙂

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