Tag Archives: muppet

Friends With Benefits

You know how sometimes, you listen to someone wittering on about something, and you want to shake them and turn the mirror round so they can have a good look, and see what you see? Usually that they’re talking shite and the problem is closer to home than they’re prepared to acknowledge, am I right?  Yeah, well that was me on Monday.

I don’t know what’s changed between Monday and now, but I re-read the post yesterday when I was catching up with all your messages, and all I could hear was one big whinge. Poor me, I’m such a victim, I’m trying so hard and it’s not my fault…holy moly what did I sound like. I never play the victim role, but I was definitely trying it on for size wasn’t I? Sorry about that, I feel suitably sheepish. In fact, I feel like a dick.

I’m haven’t really hit a plateau, have I? My recent inertia stems more from the two steps forward and four steps back school of muppetry. I had an email from a lady who suggested I was probably not being honest with myself about what I was eating, and after I’d swallowed my initial response – which may or may not have included a bit of salty language even by my standards – my indignation prompted me to hold the mirror up to myself and take a good long look.

Fuck’s sake. She wasn’t wrong. Looking objectively, I had to acknowledge a bunch of stuff.

There are some things I’m doing really well. I tip out all my thoughts and feelings, and pick the bones of them with those of you who are kind enough to listen three times every week, and that’s what’s helped me achieve longevity on this journey. No way would I still have skin in the game after six hundred and fifty eight days on a diet if you lot hadn’t lent me your ears. I feel supported, and I’d hope those of you on your own journey to Skinny Town feel supported in these pages too. So we got that down, right?

I’m broadly happy with my food plan. Well, as much as I’m ever going to be. Between you and me, I am bored to the back bollocks of counting points, but last week’s switch to No Count has given me a shiny new toy to play with and I’m doing okay. So I can tick that box too.

So, the basics then..? All those things that I know I should do to supplement both of the above, like drinking two or three litres of water every day, and counting points for the dressing I put on my salad, or the honey that I drizzle on my breakfast…huh, so about that… do I really use one level teaspoon’s worth…? I have no idea. I’ve never drizzled it onto a teaspoon, I mean who does that? I guess it’s probably about a teaspoon’s worth, and I count the points on that basis. That’s near enough, isn’t it?

Actually, it’s probably not enough. Not if it’s several times per week’s worth of guess work. As for water…huh. I don’t do that either. I forget, I don’t like the taste, it makes me wee a lot…blah blah blah. I rarely get even half a litre down my neck. I know I should, but I don’t. I have no excuse.

And don’t even get me started on gravy. Come on, I’m a Yorkshire girl, and gravy runs through my veins, in fact most of my meals revolve around it. It’s only since I’ve started following the No Count plan, and my points budget is much smaller,  that I’ve properly read the values again and realised that one point buys me only four tablespoons’ worth of gravy. You’re shitting me, right? I thought it meant four tablespoons’ worth of granules, so I’ve happily been sailing my food through a lake of gravy with every meal, for more than eighteen months. I want to bang my head on the table and wail.

That’s the sound of a penny dropping, right there. I feel like wearing a black armband today, since me and gravy won’t be seeing each other any more. Well, maybe from time to time, sort of like friends with benefits.

I was a bit rattled at the suggestion that I wasn’t being honest with myself, but once again I’m more grateful than I can tell you at the way you lot help me keep it real.

I’d better try harder to read the small print in future, eh 🙂

 

 

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A Question Of Perspective

I remember taking part in an experiment, donkeys years ago, at a children’s museum, you know one of those places where it’s all about experiential learning, and touching and feeling stuff? The experiment that stuck in my mind was in a room dedicated to the five senses, and there were all kinds of neat things lined up for little hands to touch.

I remember these three tubular steel bars, all fixed to the wall next to each other. The one on the left was really cold, the one on the right was really warm and the one in the middle was just at room temperature. If you grabbed hold of the middle bar with your right hand when it had been holding the warm tube, it felt cold. If you grabbed hold of the middle bar with your left hand after it’d been holding the really cold tube, it felt warm. It was all about helping little minds to understand perspective, right? A clever demonstration that something can feel different in different circumstances even when it’s exactly the same.

My perspective on the dirty number offered to me by the Shitbird scale this morning is different to my perspective on that same number last time it stared back at me from the little digital display. Then, I was hitting the number from a position of power. It was a smaller number than the week before, and you bet your sweet ass I felt skinny as I snapped the picture.

This morning, off the back of two or three dodgy days where my food plan has gone a bit off reservation, and I’ve felt horribly out of control to the point where my fingertips are shredded from where I’ve clung on so tight to my place in the sweet spot, instead of making me feel like a rock star, that same number was practically hollering fat bastard in my face as I reluctantly picked up my phone to record it for posterity.

And share it with you guys, obviously. Good, bad or ugly, at the end of the day, that’s the deal…I promised.

One number, and two different perspectives. I celebrated it last time, but right now, today I want to smash the fucking Shitbird thing with a big hammer and make the number go away, because it’s jumped in the wrong direction.  A lot.

Now, logic tells me that I cannot possibly have gained over four pounds from just two days of questionable choices. Sure, in the old days when I was power eating that might have been a possibility but I haven’t gone all out and had a balls to the wall binge. Not even close, but I have eaten too much. I know that.

Making the protein balls which contain nuts and dates and peanut butter and honey wasn’t exactly the brightest thing I’ve ever done, especially since playing around with my food plan had made me feel wobbly. I mean, talk about dangling myself right in front of temptation…? And I already knew at the weekend that my crazy work schedule and the revision I had to do for my exam meant I’d hardly be working out this week, so if ever there was a week where protein balls weren’t fucking needed in the first place it was this week. And yet, out came the blender.

I am such a dick sometimes.

Anyway, it is what it is. I’m hoping that this obscene number is an aberration, and when I reboot both my weigh day and my food plan on Sunday things might look a little brighter. At the very least I’ll have time to kick the Shitbird scale around every tile in the bathroom until it gives me something I can live with. For now, I remain pissed off to the max. The experiment is over, and I’m going back to my steady-away poodle down the numbers.

Bah 🙁

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Packing Away The Attitude

Well first of all, let’s have a resounding cheer for those amongst us who hit the new year feeling blissfully happy and proud at how well they coped with all the excesses of the festive season…yeee…what?

Ah. Not just me then.

If you did it, if you pulled it out of the bag then you’re my hero. Personally, I’ve been on the ropes a bit, in fact I’m not going to lie, sometimes I wasn’t even in the fucking ring. I was doing so well too. Even I can see that the timing was shit…after my major-league wobble I managed eleven straight days of clean eating, right up until the day before Christmas  Eve but then the wheels fell off my very fragile food sobriety once again and it’s been open season in the space between then and now.

I can only liken my Christmas to the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan, where some poor bloke is elbow deep in mud with bullets whizzing perilously close to his tin hat as he tried to navigate the battlefield and claw his way to the other side. Except in my case they weren’t bullets, they were chocolates and cookies and salty snacks. No cheese balls, in case you were wondering…I didn’t cross that line. Yey me. However, it was the single piece of restraint I managed to show, and it was more symbolic than waistline-friendly.

Well, I say fuck it…that was last year, right?

I’ve packed away my Christmas decorations this morning, and I’ve stuffed my Christmas Eating Attitude right down to the bottom of the box, next to the really shit baubles, you know the old tatty ones that get strung at the back of the tree where nobody sees? As I taped up the box for another year, it felt a bit like that Biggest Loser episode, you know the one where they climb a big hill wearing backpacks containing the equivalent amount of weight that they’ve lost and then they lob it off the top of the hill? They all cry and congratulate each other and then go home and hit the gym for last chance workout.

I had a false start yesterday. It was the first of January and it was a Sunday, so two new starts for the price of one…a new year and brand new Weight Watchers week. I made it ’till about 4pm and then I blew it. I was feeling really sad after a visit to my Godmother who is terminally ill. When she was first diagnosed the doctors said that they couldn’t cure her, but she’d probably be able to rub along for a good few years yet. Now they’re not telling her that any more. And I know it’s part of the circle of life, but it seemed like a good reason to eat everything that was left in my Christmas cupboard when I got home and then sit and cry about how unfair life is.

So today is my actual day one. I haven’t changed my weigh-day, and I’m not about to take the piss by insisting that I wait until next Sunday because otherwise it’s not a full week…today is it.

I know I have to make some changes. I need to get more accountable, you know? I mean sure, I already share with you my losses and my gains, but the overall pattern gets lost in the mix and I can hide from it too easily by cracking a joke here and there, so here’s the thing…I’ve been tidying the blog up over the last few days, getting ready for the new year and archiving stuff properly and as part of that I’ve made a new page – the Shitbird Scale now has a voice. And there, every Sunday, I will post a picture of our weekly conversation.

Shit the bed, did I actually say that out loud?

Well, it seems I did. And look at what the fucking hokey cokey diet has done to my weight loss…my regain was 15lbs prior to stuffing the Asshole back in his box before Christmas, and now it’s morphed into a 22lbs regain. I’m 22lbs heavier than my pre-Cuba weight. That means I’m 22lbs further away from my goal weight of 147lbs. All because I’m a muppet.

So the box is taped shut, my Christmas Eating Attitude is packed away and today, so far, feels like a new start. One minute at a time. I have 120lbs to lose and I’m going after it.

Who’s with me?

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Rebel Without A Cause

aaargh

Today’s a new day…it’s a good job, yesterday was shit. My operating system crashed and I was temporarily under the influence of the Asshole voice who was in fine form. I felt slightly bilious when I woke up this morning and it’s hardly surprising…I’m not sure whether it was the half pack of Jaffa Cakes which did it, or whether the two packets of cheese and onion crisps that came immediately before the Jaffa Cakes are the real culprit. Whichever way up you look at it, my diet went to hell in a handcart yesterday. I was bad.

I don’t know why exactly, although I’ve got to be honest I think the pressure of this trek is starting to bite – we leave three weeks tomorrow and it’s all getting very real. The application has gone in for my visa, and I’ve had the first three of six vaccinations that I need…the rest will follow on Thursday this week, next week and then on the actual day of departure, not that I’ve been putting them off or anything. MUCH. My medical form is signed, and I’m busy getting my head around the kit list. I’m really fucking doing this, and I’m standing in that place between excited and terrified, you know?

One or two of you have asked exactly what we’re going to be doing, so here’s a sneaky peak at the itinerary…

Day 1 – Friday 7th October we leave the UK on our flight to Havana, via Madrid of all places. They clearly went cheap option on the flight…on arrival, we meet our local guides and transfer to our hotel.

Day 2 – Drive to Santa Clara and to Lake Hanabanilla – Transfer to Santa Clara where we visit the Che Mausoleum. We continue to our hotel on the banks of Lake Hanabanilla.

Day 3 – Lake Hannabanilla to Guanayara – the trekking starts here. This morning we get the boat across Hanabanilla Reservoir to the southernmost tip of the lake, and then trek for 13km on jeep tracks along a finger of the lake and upstream above the Rio Guanayara. Trekking distance – approx 18km. I’d love to say that at the end of this day we’ll be retiring to a comfortable hotel for a hot bath and maybe a spa treatment but sadly all we get is a tent. With bugs. I’m so not feeling this.

Day 4 – Guanayara to Codina – A tougher trek awaits us as we climb from 380m to 750m. After a long walk yesterday and a night in a tent. Hmmm. Trekking distance – approx. 21km and then another tent. FML.

Day 5 – Codina to Topes de Collantes – Trek for 1½ hours through cafetales to an experimental farm. From here it is 45 minutes down to La Batata. We have lunch at Casa de Juarez followed by a short, steep climb to the hotel for a mid-afternoon arrival and rest. Trekking distance – approx. 14km. I’m liking the sound of this day a bit more to be honest…at least it ends with a mattress and hot and cold running water, right?

Day 6 – Topes de Collantes to Mi Retiro – The toughest but probably most enjoyable day of the challenge. Trek to Caburni Falls along a well-maintained path but testing nonetheless. A narrow path through the jungle leads to Vegas Grandes Falls. After lunch trek through villages to reach Mi Retiro restaurant for an early dinner and then transfer back to our hotel. Trekking distance – approx. 22km. Wow, that’s long.

Day 7 – Topes de Collantes to El Cubano – The day begins with a 20/30 minute transfer. We set off trekking for 2 – 2½ hours along a hillside path to Casa de Ignacio. We continue trekking to Casa de Fabian. Trek to the spectacular Caballero waterfall for a swim in the crystal-clear pool. Well, I say that…some of my fellow travellers might well have a swim but I’m here to tell you you’re not getting me in that water. Unless it’s got tiles on the bottom and no pond-life. From here 45 minutes to the finishing line over a suspension bridge at El Cubano. We then transfer to Trinidad to overnight in a hotel. Trekking distance – approx. 15km. At this point I will be crying with relief, hugging anyone who stands still long enough and taking selfies in front of anything that says Finish Line.

Day 8 – Trinidad and Havana – We have a free morning to sight see in Trinidad. Well, if I can still walk, obviously. Late morning we set off for Havana, having lunch en route in Cienfuegos. We reach Havana and have some free time before enjoying our celebratory dinner.

Day 9 – We are free at leisure until our transfer to the airport for our flight back to the UK.

Day 10 – We land back in the UK having arsed about in Madrid for a bit on the way back.

So, it sounds awesome, right? Yesterday I was convinced I wasn’t ready. Yesterday, I would’ve sold my granny for another six months’ worth of training and dieting before I had to set foot on Cuban soil…I had one of those days where the reality of exactly what I’ve taken on pushed me into a tailspin, and somehow eating crisps and Jaffa Cakes was supposed to help. It didn’t, in case you were wondering.

With today’s more logical perspective I can see I was rebelling…against what exactly, well your guess is as good as mine. I think the pressure got to me, and my sore arm after the shots I had to get tipped me over the edge. I went to an exercise class and then came home and ate my own bodyweight in crap. I am ready. I’ve worked incredibly hard, in fact I’ve thrown everything I’ve got at the preparation for this challenge…damn straight I’m ready.

Like I said, today’s a new day. I’m in deficit at this point on the week…work to do then. Come on, lets keep trucking.

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Spending What I’ve Earned *Cough*

icecream

So, I was telling you about my holiday…we got as far as Tuesday, and the first sign of wobbly wheels if I recall. It was fine, I mean nothing disastrous. I’d climbed the steps which would have counteracted some of the naughtiness at dinner that evening. Just not all of it. It might have brought me safely over the line of three courses. Maybe. But not five, and definitely not the cheese board.

That said, I enjoyed every mouthful, and the Asshole voice talked me into being okay about it with a fine selection of reasons why…the steps, the walking, you’re on holiday, everybody deserves a treat, you can’t expect your friend to eat alone, you’re doing a big hike tomorrow, you’ve deprived yourself for a whole fucking year and you deserve this…

And it’s true, I was doing a big hike the next day. Which seemed to offset a whole host of eating opportunities, in fact it would be fair to say there was definitely a bit of creative accounting going on. Let’s count them…you’d better have a good breakfast, you’ll need the energy. (Number 1) – Cue full English breakfast, on account of the fact that we were meeting for the hike at 12.20pm and wouldn’t be eating lunch. That’s plausible, right? Most important meal of the day and all that.

And after that big breakfast we had a busy morning…Wednesday was Geirangerfjord, a stunning village at the foot of the enormous mountain I was going to hike up in the afternoon on an organised excursion. My friend and I walked a fair distance as we explored, climbing at least as many steps as I’d done the day before only this time it was up the side of a waterfall. It was so pretty I forgot to notice how much effort it took to get up there you know?

When we got back down to the village there was a little cafe selling ice-cream, and Asshole logic suggested that a small snack might be in order whilst I waited for my tour group, seeing as I’d used up quite a lot of energy climbing the waterfall. I’m not sure three scoops in a cone the size of a small hat was absolutely necessary but hey, I was hiking up a mountain, so I’d burn that off in no time, right? (Number 2).

And then the hike…man that was hardcore. We walked about three and a half miles, to a height of around 650m and it was challenging walking, with a guide who must have been some distant relative of Usain Bolt. At one point I thought perhaps my lungs were going to explode, but I just pushed through it, and powered as I was by mint choc-chip, pistachio and rum and raisin ice cream I made it to the top, and the waterfall we’d gone to see was spectacular.

I’ve got to be honest, it was worth the climb. We were looking down on the clouds as they blew in and out, and when they cleared the views were breathtaking. And I felt genuinely on top of the world, it was certainly the most physically challenging thing I’ve done to date but I did it, and what’s more there were younger fitter folk who took longer to get up there than I did. It seems I have some grit when it’s needed…who knew? Coming down was tough on the knees and I was glad to get back to the valley, but all in all it was an awesome experience.

Before we went back to the ship they took us to a little farm nestled against the hillside where they served us coffee and big fat waffles loaded with jam and cream. I was going to say no thanks, but before I had chance, yes please came out. Fuck. But it was okay, because I’d just climbed a mountain, right? I’d earned that waffle. (Number 3)

When I finally got back on the ship, my friend had bagged a table in the pool bar out on deck at the very back of the ship so we could enjoy the sail-away from the best seat in the house, and we ordered a bottle of wine, which to be honest barely touched the sides as it went down. Shall we have another..? Oh go on then…be rude not to…things got a little jumbled after that.

I remember us deciding that since the scenery was so stunning we’d forget about dressing for dinner and we’d stay up on deck, grabbing something from the buffet to eat where we were sitting. Never a good idea when you’ve got a couple of bottles of wine under your belt, especially when you fancy everything on the buffet and you can keep going back for more. And double especially when you’ve climbed a mountain and feel like you’ve earned a bit of what you fancy, having conveniently forgotten that you’ve already spent anything you’ve earned twice over, on the full English, the whopper ice-cream, the fully loaded waffle and two bottles of wine.

And best not get me started on the rocky road dessert. I had at least one whilst we were up on deck and I seem to remember taking one down to the cabin with me when we made our way to bed much, much later that night. Actually that’s not strictly true, I don’t remember doing that per se but the empty dish was there when I woke up and there was a spoon in bed with me.

I shall complete my holiday memoir in the next post. For now, let’s just say I’m in the process of dealing with the aftermath..  🙂

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