Tag Archives: motivated

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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Under The Hundred!

halfway

I can’t imagine that there would be too many folk doing a happy dance at the prospect of being ninety eight pounds over their ideal weight, but it’s all about perspective isn’t it? I lost a solid two pounds this week, which means that for the first time in years I have less than one hundred pounds to go before I can officially check into Skinny Town and unpack my bags. And you bet your sweet ass I did my happy dance.

I’m halfway towards beginning the rest of my life as a person who lives in a body that’s nurtured with all the things it needs, and I’m starting to get curious now about what effect that’s going to have on me as I get older. I’ve abused my body for years, with little or no exercise and a volume-rich-nutrient-poor diet. You don’t have to look very far before you come across statistics which suggest that’s not particularly compatible with old age…once you get the wrong side of fifty it seems the ice upon which we all skate gets very thin if you live on a diet of cheese balls.

I used to be very blasé about it when I was younger – sure, I’m bigger than the average bear but I’m as healthy as on ox. I’ll be fine. Except, somewhere around my late forties, my stamina disappeared faster than a puff of smoke on a windy day, and shit started to hurt. And somehow, despite people who knew about stuff like that the world over declaring it to be inevitable, I was naive enough to believe that it would never happen to me.

I can’t help wondering whether there are things on the inside of my body that I can’t see which have taken a proper battering as a result of me yo-yo dieting for the vast majority of my life. I mean, there’s plenty of evidence on the outside…one look at my bingo wings and it wouldn’t take Sherlock Holmes to deduce that they’ve been fat and not so fat and then fatter again on an endless loop for the last forty years. I wave my arms and there’s immediately a tsunami going on in my sleeves.

It’s not pretty, but I doubt it will kill me. Same with the dimples in my knees…unsightly, but harmless in the grand scheme of things. There’s probably a bloke with a scalpel somewhere who would happily suck nip and tuck the evidence away for an appropriate fee and who knows, if I win the lottery I might choose to walk that path. To be honest though, I find myself more pre-occupied with what’s going on inside.

I remember reading once that if you stop smoking before you’re forty, by the time you’re fifty your lungs will look like you never smoked. No residual harm. I quit one month before my fortieth birthday, so by rights my lungs should be as pink and healthy as a baby’s bum by now. I wonder how long it’ll take all my other bits and pieces to forgive me for subjecting them to a lifetime of food abuse…? They surely must be more battered than those in the body of a fifty-year-old lifelong skinny string bean.

I wish this epiphany hadn’t come so late in life, I mean I’m not old old, but if I’d got the measure of my Asshole voice much earlier I can’t help thinking that my engine room would be looking a little less tarnished as I bump into my middle years. I’m just grateful that the lights are all on now. I’m doing better.

I know that cheese balls aren’t a food group, and that making healthy choices is much easier once you’ve built up a head of steam. I know that using the remote to switch TV channels doesn’t constitute exercise, and I’ve learned that even a knackered old body will respond given the right sort of encouragement.

I feel strong, actually. I had a great walk yesterday with a bunch of good friends…it wasn’t hard, even though there was a lot of going up and down. It was just enjoyable you know? I didn’t really think about the walking, I was too busy looking around at all the beautiful scenery and watching Charlie dog having a ball jumping in and out of the river. I could have been doing this years ago, and it pisses me right off that I wasn’t.

But I am now, and that’s what matters, right? 🙂

 

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The Spider In My Pants

spider

I’ve got to be honest, it wasn’t just assessment nerves that made me twitchy as I went through class on Tuesday – ridiculous as it sounds, I was convinced there was a spider in my exercise pants. There wasn’t of course, but I swear I could feel something tickling me as I worked my way around. There’s not a whole lot of room inside those pants for stray threads so I pretty much convinced myself that a spider must have crawled inside them in my drawer before I put them on.

The whole time I was obsessing about the non-existent spider in my pants, I was working my way around a circuit training session and for once I didn’t think too much about how much it was hurting because my head had found something new to worry about. My mind joined the dots between the imagined spider in my pants and my forthcoming trek, where the spiders and bugs will be mahoosive. Before I knew it I was obsessing over what would happen if something really did get in my pants, like when we’re camping, you know?

I’m going to be a complete basket case in that jungle, I just know I am. Even in my post-assessment euphoria, as soon as I got home the first thing I did was to run upstairs and make utterly certain that all my walking pants have ties around the ankles so nothing can shimmy up my trouser leg when I’m not looking. I’ve spent hours scouring the internet for deet-infused accessories, and as well as bug spray and bite cream I’ve bought wristbands and anklets which allegedly keep bugs away, and even a mosquito net tailored to fit over my head. Yes, really.

Thing is, to biting insects I’m seemingly very tasty. I don’t know what I’ve got that other folk haven’t – well, apart from considerably more flesh to go at – but they make a beeline for me. None of my fellow trekkers will need to worry about getting bitten because even surrounded by a fog of deet I’ll still be the decoy of the group…mozzies form an orderly queue, your fine dining experience starts here.

I had a very weird dream when I went to bed on Tuesday, about needing a wee in the jungle in the middle of the night, and getting attacked by a legion of bugs when I switch my head torch on and emerge from the sleeping bag. I imagine this marauding band of flying teeth just waiting for me to drop my pants before going in for the kill. I know I’m being a bit of a drama queen but even so…I’m dreading that.

Shall I tell you what I’m not obsessing about though..? The physical elements of the actual trek itself. I’m totally cool with that, in fact I’d go so far as to say I’m not really thinking about it much at all. I mean, of course it’s going to be challenging, and I’m sure there will be plenty of times over the five trekking days when I’m hot and knackered and out of breath with sore feet and aching limbs but you know what, it’s going to be fine. I’ve worked hard and I’m ready. Let’s be honest, in every Fat Furnace class there are moments where I feel like chucking the towel in.

But I never have. As God of Pain would say, going for another second in those moments where you think you can’t is what gives you the shape. It’s every bit as much about mental resilience as it is about physical ability, and I’d like to think that I’ve developed my mental muscles a little bit over the last few months.

We’ve got a practise walk this weekend up in the Lake District…I’m going all out with my new rucksack and my walking poles, not to mention my new Tilley hat which is awesome…two weeks today I’ll be in the air and heading out for the adventure of a lifetime. I can’t wait.

Sod the bugs, right?

 

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Getting My Shkit Together

list

As I walked into the house on Wednesday evening, having been to the outdoors shop after work with one of my colleagues who’s also doing the trek, my boy did a double-take. I was wearing my brand new trekking hat, and a backpack bursting at the seams with all manner of stuff including a rolled up sleeping mat and walking poles. He found it utterly hilarious…fucking hell mum, have you joined the SAS? Cheeky knacker.

Earlier that day I’d worked my way through the items on my kit list, ticking off all those that I already had…walking boots and socks, check. That was it, the full extent of my trekking-related accessories. Never one to miss a shopping opportunity, when my friend mentioned he was going to get kitted out I jumped at the chance to tag along.

First stop backpacks. So I have a backpack which I’ve used when we’ve done some of our practice walks, but what became apparent as I stood at the head of the backpack aisle surveying acres of bright colours and bungee cords was that mine wasn’t really a backpack at all. I’d thought maybe I could get away with using it, you know surely if it carries stuff and you can sling it over your shoulder it’ll do the job, right? The fact that it’d come free with my laptop was a minor detail.

When I read the bit in our itinerary where it said that for the first three trekking days we don’t have access to our main luggage, and we have to trek carrying everything we’ll need for three days and two nights including a mat to sleep on and a sleeping bag, the penny dropped that perhaps my laptop bag wouldn’t be quite big enough.

I picked out a beautiful bright red one with black webbing and lots of cool gadgets, and it was all going really well until I tried it on and realised that I couldn’t make the straps fasten. Clearly it wasn’t a backpack designed for fat girls, no way were those hip straps going around my midsection…for fucks sake, I’ve been dieting for a year and I can’t fit into a backpack, what’s that all about?

Several attempts later and with a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp I finally settled on a green one which had a more generous portion of strap…only just, mind. I’d better not eat any pies before we set off, that’s all I can say. Anyway that was that, and the backpack was quickly joined by a water bladder, sleeping bag, ground mat, walking poles, mosquito net, my hat, two pairs of walking pants, a couple of moisture-wicking tops, and some waterproofs – I had to buy blokes XXL waterproofs which didn’t improve my mood but at least I’ll be dry and fat if we hit a monsoon, right?

I nearly passed out when she totalled it all up – it’s an expensive business this trekking malarkey. Yesterday I added to my pile and stocked up on shit-stoppers, blister plasters, antiseptic spray, sting cream, anti-histamines…the list goes on, and don’t even get me started on having to spend upwards of a hundred and fifty quid on my rabies vaccination, which was a bit of a shock…the tetanus, typhoid, diphtheria and Hep A ones were all free but even so, if I don’t get bitten by a rabid monkey in the next five years I’m going to be well pissed off.

You know what, I’m almost ready. Three weeks today we leave, and I’m feeling organised. My visa arrived yesterday, and I’ve just got a few more odds and ends to buy…I know it’s been an expensive week but I’m still pinching myself at the fact that I’m actually doing this, you know? A year ago I could barely walk from my house to the car, and certainly walking more than a couple of hundred yards was impossible…now look at me.

Knowing I can do this is worth every penny, and knowing that I’m walking to honour the memory of my dad…well, there are some things you can’t put a price on, right?

If you’d like to read my dad’s story and understand why I chose the mental health charity MIND to benefit from every penny of sponsorship money raised, you can follow this link…and if you’re able to help by donating a couple of quid I’d be truly grateful 🙂

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Getting All Reflective On Your Ass

Can you remember what you were doing exactly one year ago today..? I can. It was a Monday – of course it was – and more than that it was the first Monday after my holiday. It was the Monday I started my diet. It’s been a year folks…I could get a bit choked if I tried, you know? It’s the day a new life came screaming into this world. My new life.

What I wanted to do was spend last night scrolling through some of my early posts and have a good old root about down memory lane. Somewhere around the six months mark I  read through loads of them, and I really enjoyed myself although it kind of felt like I was reading someone else’s diary, if you know what I mean. Was that really me? In the end I didn’t get chance to poke about in the blog because I was working until quite late – I only have two more days at work with a hundred things to do before I switch on my holiday out-of-office so I was a bit up against it to get some stuff finished.

It doesn’t really matter…I don’t need to read it to reflect on the last year. I can kind of feel my way through it by memory, to be honest. I mean sure, I’ll have forgotten some of the detail but if I had to do the elevator summary it goes something like this…Monday 17th August 2015, I started my diet. Like a muppet I decided not to get weighed on day 1, after chickening out of the come to Jesus moment on the scale. I knew the number would be horrible, so I gave it an educated guess instead and decided that when my clothes started to feel looser I’d know I was on track.

That theory works fine unless every garment you possess is made almost entirely of stretchy elasticated middle-agedness. No fixed waistbands on this body back then, so after a couple of weeks when I was very confident that I’d lost at least twenty pounds, I took the plunge and weighed myself…not a smooth move on my part I’ve got to say. I was a decent chunk of change heavier than I’d thought I might have been right at the start, and given that I’d definitely dropped some poundage, I’d obviously underestimated the starting number. Badly.

However, it didn’t throw me off course, when it so easily could have done. Would definitely have done in the past…thing is, I’d started to discover that writing down my feelings was way preferable to eating my feelings. It helped, to talk through what was going on in my head and by some miracle, you lot began to listen, and join in. And out of nowhere, this awesome and unexpected support system sprang up around me. It’s the reason I’m still here.

I don’t remember moving much in the very early days…that came early in the new year when I’d committed to doing the trek and I knew I had to start getting fit pretty much from the lowest possible base. Charlie’s walks got longer bit by bit. Then the hurt machine arrived…do you remember the first time I went on it, and five minutes on the easiest setting almost killed me?

I remember staggering downstairs on legs made of rubber and wondering whether being a fat knacker pre-qualified me to get a refund since it was clear that the relationship between me and that machine was never going to work out. But look what happened when I stuck at it…it became easier, and doing time on the cross-trainer helped me to walk further and further as the weeks rolled on.

In May I discovered two things…firstly I started exploring all the local footpaths and bridle ways which opened a whole new world of interesting walks for both me and Charlie-dog. It spurred me on to walk further. And my friend introduced me to the God Of Pain which was the point at which this shit just got serious…

Those first few weeks in the Kingdom of Pain were tough. But I kept my head down and cracked on…I wasn’t going to step a toe out of line, he was too scary, but I made some new friends who also started getting behind my determination to make it over the mountain. We made it over our own mountain in fact this very weekend.

And here we now are…you lot standing firmly at my shoulder, ready to steady me if I trip and keep me going if I’m running out of steam. My new friends giving up their precious weekend days to push me and walk beside me as I practise and practise some more in preparation for the trek.

I guess what I’m trying to say is if I hadn’t have taken that first step one year ago today, I might be sitting here forty pounds heavier instead of eighty pounds lighter, wishing I had. I’d be packing shapeless garment after shapeless garment into my suitcase ready for my holiday, with frequent stops to get my breath and most of all I’d be hoping that the scenery in Norway was so spectacular that nobody else on the ship would notice me, or how fat I was.

But I did take that first step. And it’s been one of the best years of my life. I’m having a ball. Happy birthday to my fledgling new life. One year down, eighty pounds off and another eighty to go. I’m halfway there folks, and that’s got to be something to celebrate!

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