The Fatslayer Chronicles

Apr 7, 2007 at 14:56 o\clock

I've moved to Blogger...

Please follow the link to here.




Apr 6, 2007 at 14:17 o\clock

So now let’s add moral degeneracy to the list…

Well it’s been a while, but instead of trying to fill you all in on what’s been happening with my life, I’ll just carry on as if I haven’t been missing in action for almost a year.


All you really need to know is that I didn’t fall off the wagon as soon as I stopped posting (though one of the wagon’s wheels did get a bit wobbly at one point and nearly derailed the whole shebang). Although other things moved up the priority list and pushed weight concerns further down the list, I didn’t totally lose sight of my health, weight loss and fitness goals, and kept plugging away at them though with perhaps a somewhat reduced intensity.


So, in summary, I still have some way to go to reach my final goal, but I’m over half way there and feeling pretty damn good about my fitness levels. On my better days I even feel that this lifestyle may have already become an ingrained habit - hey, I’m cured - but then on other days I know better. The pit and the pendulum are still there, I’m just getting better at avoiding them.


I’ve been keeping myself motivated by a combination of scaring myself with dire health projections, and beating myself up for having been a self-indulgent glutton in the first place. As motivational methodologies they leave a lot to be desired because both of them make me feel like shit, but it has to be said that they ARE working.


I always knew that losing weight to look good wasn’t a big enough motivator for me. Hell, I could write the book on fat-denial, and even when zips wouldn’t meet and buttons threatened to ping off and take out someone’s eyes at thirty paces I still managed to convince myself that “I don’t look that bad”. In a world populated by skeletal women feeling suicidal because they’ve eaten one slice of cucumber too many, and Braille-reading their hipbones to see whether it’s turned into fat already, I happily ignored my expanding waistline and turned a blind eye to the emergence of yet another double chin. In fact, I went one step further and managed to convince myself that worrying about something so shallow as my external appearance was shameful, self-indulgent and vain.


Hah, that’s sort of ironic now, given how I’ve been mentally beating myself up these past few months – but more about that in a little while.


Anyway, to keep driving myself forward on this journey, I’ve needed to draw on other sources of motivation to keep me interested and to stop me from falling back into my bad old ways.


My dad’s diabetes was the first main driver for me. When he was diagnosed with type 2 in 2005 it was a bit of a wake up call for me, and motivated me enough to get me started on this journey. In the early days, when I was still trying to break the carb cravings, every time I felt tempted to reach for a biscuit or a slice of cake I imagined it being the food item that would flip my diabetes switch from OFF to ON, and that was enough to make me turn away from temptation. I deliberately scared myself by reading up on diabetes-related kidney failure, amputations, blindness etc, and as a motivator it worked a hell of a lot better than imagining myself in size 12 jeans.


Lately, though, the Fear-Of-Diabetes-Driver has been joined by the You-Are-A-Moral-Degenerate-And-Should-Be-Ashamed-Of-Yourself-Driver, and for someone with my type of personality this one is a real doozie.


Firstly, to explain my type of personality, suffice it to say that I’m an off-the-charts ISFJ and that I display two personality traits that I particularly dislike about myself, which are a) a tendency to be judgemental, and b) a tendency to asceticism.


For some unfathomable reason I’ve always WANTED to be a self-indulgent, coke-snorting, perennially late, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, irresponsible party animal type of woman, but the reality is that I’m just about the exact polar opposite of this. Let’s be honest here - I probably won’t feel fully satisfied with myself until I’ve stripped away all the surface fluff in my life and am living in a nun’s cell with only the (plain and homely) clothes I’m standing up in, and eating only dry bread and water.


Did I mention that we have lots of puritans in the family tree? Heh, but you may have guessed that already, right?


It’s difficult to reconcile this type of personality with being clinically obese – I’m only surprised it took me this long to make the mental connection between being fat and being a Bad Person.


[By the way, this is a personally applied view only. I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT BELIEVE that fat people in general are Bad People – but for some reason I have the sort of mind that says what is okay for the rest of the world is not okay for myself. In less enlightened times I’d probably have been some wild-eyed mad nun wearing a hair shirt and flaying myself with a barbed whip. Now, I just flay myself mentally, which I guess is progress.]


I started thinking about how I’d gotten fat in the first place, and whilst I’d have liked to blame genetics or dodgy glands or being cram-fed food against my will like a pate-de-fois-gras-goose, I had to acknowledge that in the past I just used to eat too much, and not just too much, but too much of the wrong things.


Not the worst crime, maybe, but big enough to turn into a big stick to beat yourself up with if you’re at all that way inclined.


So when I watched a TV show just before Christmas showing the plight of some villagers in some famine-blighted part of Africa, you can probably imagine how I reacted. I looked from their emaciated frames to my own fat rolls, and I felt a revulsion and disgust at myself that was nothing to do with my cosmetic appearance, but everything to do with my feeling about myself as a person.


So yay, lucky me! I’ve found myself another good motivational tool, as if the diabetes one wasn’t enough! I recommend it – start thinking like me and you too can feel personally responsible for kids starving to death in Africa just because you gave into temptation and ate a doughnut. It does wonders for your self esteem…


May 2, 2006 at 18:07 o\clock

Reclaiming the Wasteland

Today's Weight 166lbs


This will be my last entry for a while – maybe my last ever. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, and I have some pretty drastic lifestyle changes to implement – and there’s no time like the present to have a complete life overhaul. Big changes are afoot, and writing this blog is an indulgence I simply can’t afford at the moment, since other things have elbowed their way up the priority list.


The catalyst for all my recent navel-gazing was the suicide a fortnight ago of my oldest, closest friend. His death hit with the force of a brick wall and stopped me completely in my tracks. He and I have known each other since kindergarten, and the thought of life without him is almost intolerable. I guess that people kill themselves for a whole mixture of reasons, but it seems that his main impetus was the problems that he’d been having at work with a difficult boss and a high pressure schedule. He just gave up on ever thinking things would get better.


This is the third suicide in my close circle in the past three years. The first was my only brother, who took his own life during a period of blackest depression in November 2003. The pain of his loss in still raw two and a half years after the event. Then in November 2005 my sister’s ex fiancé – who we all still had fond feelings for - stabbed himself six times in the chest, also in a bout of severe depression. In his case his despair was exacerbated by his worsening schizophrenia, which makes his actions perhaps more understandable, though still heartbreakingly poignant and sad.


This latest suicide, though, is almost the hardest to understand, since my friend wasn’t especially depressed, and yet he just decided that life was too shitty to carry on. His problems at work just drained all the fight out of him. I guess a bad job can do that to a person.


Anyway, his loss has made me take a long hard look at my own life, and man, it’s a wasteland.


For the past four years, practically all of my energy and time has gone into my job, and it’s become a blood-sucking vampire. Every other important thing in my life has been squeezed into the tiny portion of my day that’s left between coming home at around 7.30pm and going to bed at around 11pm.


My priorities are seriously screwed.


On an average day I get up at 4.30am, leave the house at 5am, get to work at 5.30am, work until at least 6.30pm. Then I drive home, eat dinner, talk to Kim a little, try and do a little exercise if I have the time and inclination, watch a little TV and then stagger off to bed.


Often I work all weekend, so this becomes a seven-day-a-week yoke.


I do all this for a boss who used to be a friend, but who in the past 12 months has transformed into a power-abusing tyrant, who makes the atmosphere for everyone in the team hateful and intimidating. She’s insatiable in her desire to get more work out of us, and would literally have us working 18 hour days if she could legally swing it. It’s like being in a fucking meat grinder.


Yes, it’s a highly paid job, and yes the quid pro quo of that is that it involves high pressure and high responsibility – which I knew when I accepted the job - but lately it’s gone beyond a joke. And I’ve decided enough is enough.


Unfortunately I can’t afford to turn drama queen and quit my job, but I can start showing a little backbone and working more decent hours. And from today, that’s what I’ll be doing.


In fact, I started earlier than today – I started last Friday, after the funeral. Instead of going back to work, I took some personal time instead. I didn’t go in to the office over the whole of the Mayday weekend at all. Instead, I planted out my tomatoes and my courgette, cucumber, and bell pepper seedlings into the mini-greenhouse. I baked loaves of bread and made batches of oatmeal raisin cookies and almond chocolate biscotti. I sanded down a wall, and cleaned out the garden shed. I mowed the lawn and washed the windows. I dug a flower bed and planted lilies.  I read a book (the whole thing, in one day – I haven’t done that in ages and ages) and I picked up my own sadly neglected novel-in-progress.


And I decided there and then that I was going to start writing regularly again, and that I’d finish this novel by the end of the summer, even if it half kills me.


So from now on I’m going to be writing. I’ve made a commitment, and now I’ve got to stick to it – otherwise the last 60,000-odd words are never going to get written. With the schedule I’ve set myself I’ll be too busy to write blog entries, but it’ll be a positive busy, not a wasteland busy. I’ll be using my free time when I’m not writing to go for long walks with Kim, to create life-affirming things (homemade food, homegrown veggies and flowers) and to nurture myself and my loved ones. This is a turning point for me, and I’m determined to make changes whilst I’m still fired up enough to make them stick.


I won’t be quitting my healthy lifestyle, but I guess I won’t be writing about it either – you’ll just have to take my word for it that even without the blog updates, things are on track. I won’t backslide, or take my eye off the ball – it’s just that I’ve been buried in the dust for so bloody long, and I’ve just got to dig myself out of the hole and start rediscovering all the things I’ve been missing.

Apr 13, 2006 at 20:06 o\clock

Bitch Update, and a sad story about a woman and a sofa

Today's Weight 169.5lbs


Wow, it’s hectic at work at the moment – working 14 hr days with little spare time to write blog entries. Thanks to everyone who commented on my last entry though – it’s reassuring to know that I’m not imagining things or being a paranoid idiot. And I really, really appreciate the kind comments and support!


Fortified by that encouragement, I tackled my colleague about her comments on Monday, and as I expected, she said I was being oversensitive and over-reacting. I was calm and collected, and said that even if it wasn’t her intention to be rude, I found her remarks offensive, and that she should learn to moderate her language and think before she spoke.


Luckily she played into my hands by being immediately hostile – she said I was up myself’’, and that by being so fat’’ I’d made myself fair game’’ for comments and speculation.


I said that these comments were just the sort of remarks that were offensive, and that they were in contravention of the Trust’s Code of Accepted Behaviour, as well as its equality and diversity policy.


[By the way, I know this makes me sound like a pompous prig, but what the hell WAS I supposed to say? This is the first staff problem I've ever had to deal with - all my other staff are lovely - and I'm a novice at this telling off business. I'm sure I handled it terribly...]


I asked her why she thought that denigrating overweight people was acceptable, when denigrating people on the grounds of race, sexual orientation etc wasn’t…and she replied that in her opinion there was nothing wrong with a little “good natured banter’’ about race or sexuality either, and that people like that’’ should learn to toughen up, and stop getting their knickers in a twist over something so unimportant.


“I believe in calling a spade a spade” she said, “and if people don’t like it, that’s their problem. I’m not doing anything wrong. You get treated like a criminal if you’re white, slim and straight these days…”


At this point I began to realise that in my desire to be fair and reasonable I'd given her the impression she could get away with murder. Time to toughen up a bit!


Obviously, she’s going to be a tough nut to crack, and this is going to be just the first of many conversations. I said that I wouldn't hesitate to invoke the Trust’s formal disciplinary policy if she didn’t modify her behaviour after being told so clearly to do so, and she said that in that case she’d probably start looking around for a better job, as it was political correctness gone mad to discipline someone just for expressing an opinion.


She was being so rude that I almost expected her to launch into a Nazi salute and a display of goose stepping à la Basil Fawlty at this point, but she settled for muttering a stream of expletives (loudly) under her breath instead, at which point I lost my rag and gave her a formal verbal warning there and then, which will go on her permanent file.


With a bit of luck she’ll cop enough of a strop to quit, and it’ll be good bloody riddance…but if she doesn’t, and she doesn’t alter her behaviour either, at least I’ve got the ball rolling re getting rid of her. The wheels of the health service move slowly, but it’ll only take a couple more formal warnings before she gets the boot – and judging by her behaviour since our conversation, it’s a matter of WHEN not IF she earns herself another black mark.




Anyway, enough of this.


Did anyone see the story in the Daily Mirror this morning about a 20 stone woman who died of neglect after her mother failed to call a doctor when she (the daughter) wouldn’t – and eventually couldn’t – move off the sofa for 4 months?


This is a link to the article, which may be exaggerated since the Mirror is a tabloid, but which presumably has nuggets of truth since it’s based on what came out at the inquest.


That is the saddest fucking thing I’ve heard about in a LONG LONG time. That poor, unhappy, depressed woman…her state of mind must have been awful...


To be treated with such apparent lack of love and regard by your nearest and dearest is just plain pitiable...I'll never complain about my parents again!

Apr 8, 2006 at 17:52 o\clock

Help - Am I Being Paranoid?

Today's Weight 169.5lbs


OK, I'm going to rant. One of the women in my office really pissed me off yesterday - in fact she's been pissing me off for while now - and it's finally time to vent!

This woman is the same age as me (40) and is really skinny (7 stones / 98lbs). She's always been skinny, and has never dieted a day in her life, though she eats crap all day long. Doughnuts, cold pizza, sweets, pasties, eclairs - it's all she ever seems to eat, and she never gains a pound.


Only (half) kidding. Heh heh.

Lately she's taken up running, and she now acts as if she's Paula fucking Radcliffe...but I guess that's not important re what I'm talking about today. But Bitch! again, just 'cos I feel like it!

Anyway, what's getting my goat is the fact that instead of resting on her own skinny-arse laurels, she's developed an annoying habit of constantly making snidey comments about my weight.

She says things like:

"I suppose you've given up the diet now, haven't you? I expect you don't have much willpower or you'd have done something about your size before you started blocking out the sun.."; or

"I would've thought you'd have quit by now, 'cos it must be hard when you're naturally a bit greedy"; or

"was it Kim who encouraged you to lose weight? I expect he was ashamed to be seen out with you when you were at your fattest. I can't say I blame him. But he must be really proud of you now...", or

"it must be so hard fighting against that natural impulse to just stuff your face all day, that made you so big in the first place. I really admire you!"....

All her comments are said with such apparent innocence that it's hard to pick her up on the hidden insults, and I'm beginning to wonder whether I'm just being paranoid, and she's not really having a dig at all.

Yesterday she was complaining about lethargy during her runs, and another colleague (and fellow runner) advised her to eat a banana an hour or so before running. He said that a banana is a naturally low-fat source of carbs and potassium, and then added that a small banana contained only about 100 calories. 

"Oh I wouldn't know anything about that sort of thing," she said, with a glance at me, "and I wouldn't care even if I did know. If I like a food, I'll eat it even if it has a thousand calories. If you ask me, only Billy Bunters (another glance at me) and anorexics worry about calories - they've got nothing better to think about. Look at me, I've never had a weight problem and I've never counted a calorie in my life! People should forget about counting calories and just stop eating like pigs..."

Man, I was so furious I could have killed her! I don't know if she timed her comment deliberately, because I had a meeting at my desk and therefore couldn't retaliate. By the time my visitors had left she'd gone home for the weekend, and I never got a chance to tackle her about it.

But I know that even if I do say something, she'll give me the saccharine treatment, and tell me I'm being paranoid and oversensitive.

So - am I being oversensitive?

I can't tell - I need a neutral opinion!

I don't want to confront her about her attitude on Monday if I'm just imagining things...but on the other hand, if she's meaning to be insulting, I don't want to give the impression I'm a spineless doormat.

She's my most junior staff member, and I don't want her to think she's got me on the ropes, but I'm also afraid of overreacting...

Help!! I'm seriously in need of an impartial viewpoint!

Mar 29, 2006 at 19:10 o\clock

Clean Habits

Today's Weight 172.0lbs 


Spring is here, and it’s a beautiful day today! I walked for an hour on the beach before work and again at lunchtime, and I’m going to try and walk for 3 hours each day (as often as I can - I'm not promising miracles!) for the rest of the summer.


I'll be working so many hours hunched at a computer screen that it'll be beneficial to break the day into chunks, and 3 hours in the fresh air will do marvels for my spirits. I do love me some walking in the great outdoors.


I reckon that if I supplement my usual lunchtime hour with extra hours before and after work I’ll really start to see the benefit, and it will fit into my schedule better than trying to get in gym-time or something more purely cardio-based.


Kim usually walks with me after work on summer evenings, so that will hardly seem like something onerous. As for the mornings, getting up an hour earlier will be a drag, but it’ll be more than compensated for by a lovely breezy beach walk, so I’m sure I can develop the habit and establish a good routine.


And besides, as I said above, I love walking, especially at the beach. Three hours per day will be a doddle. An enjoyable doddle, even!


Another bonus is that in doing that much walking, it won’t be so imperative that I get much more cardio done. If I do a couple of hours hard off-road cycling each weekend, and squeeze in the odd weekday session on the rebounder or turbo trainer that should be enough. More than enough even - as I said in my last post, I'm not aiming for perfection, just to be heading in the right general direction.


Woohoo, I’m all set for a fit summer.




I’ve been eating a bit ‘cleaner’ since Monday, not just because of a rebound from my bad vacation eating, but also because I’ve noticed my healthy habits are starting to slip.


The catalyst for me getting my act together a year ago and changing my lifestyle was my dad developing type 2 diabetes. I realised that I was in a high risk category for developing diabetes too (one of my parents has it, I have polycystic ovarian syndrome, and I’ve got insulin resistance).


The ‘rules’ of my new healthy plan were to centre my diet around core natural foods – whole grains, fresh fruit and veggies, quorn, fish, pulses, nuts etc. I’d allow myself treats, but they’d have to be ‘healthy’ treats, like bitter 70% cocoa solids chocolate (for its anti-oxidant properties), red wine (ditto with the anti-oxidants), salted peanuts (for the protein) etc. I vowed that even if I had enough calories left over for ‘treats’, I wouldn’t waste them on foods with no nutritional value or benefit.


The way I figured it, every biscuit (cookie), cake or sweet was like a diabetes bullet – and I was through with playing Russian roulette. So just because, calorifically speaking, I could afford to eat that crap, I was simply not going to because of a potentially higher hidden cost.


Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans…For around 10 months I kept to this regime, and felt a whole lot better for it, but since Christmas things haven’t been so good. I’ve been keeping my calories down but including more and more crap in my diet, which means that I’m eating less and less of the good stuff.


The week before I went on vacation my average daily calorie intake was 1300 calories, but only 800 of that was in proper food. Insanely, I was condensing my main meals, so that I could accommodate up to 500 calories of treats every day.


Admittedly the 500 cals were usually not absolutely nutritionally dire (a skinny cow, 25g of salted peanuts, a few squares of bitter chocolate, a couple of lemon bonbons, a glass of wine), but I was having this combination most days, rather than one treat each day. And to accommodate this level of snacking, I was eating dry breakfast cereal for breakfast, having another bowl of dry cereal with a banana and an apple for lunch, a tablespoonful of sunflower seeds mid-afternoon, and then coming home ravenous to a veggie-based dinner. Now I LOVE dry Weetabix Crunchy Bran - couldn't live without it - but c'mon! Enough is enough!


Not good, not healthy, and not clever!


But now I’m reformed! Since Monday I’ve reverted back to my old good habits – I’m eating proper, nutritionally balanced and filling meals, and cutting out most of my wriggle room for treats. I obviously can’t be trusted to behave myself, so I have to practically cut them out completely.


Now I’ll just have to get Kim to finish the packet of Lemon bonbons so that I’m not unduly tempted….

Mar 27, 2006 at 18:25 o\clock

A Case of the Blahs

Today's Weight 172.5lbs 


I’ve been slacking lately, and I’ve gained 3lbs. Shame on me! It’s always the same when I’ve been on holiday – it takes me a few days to get back in the saddle. I have a few measly bad days and suddenly my fat cells wake up from their hibernation and grab hold of all the extra calories with a death-grip, and my taste-buds start to remind me how much I like eating chilli-burgers and chocolate brownies, and how tired I’ve become of bran-flakes and mung beans.


Holidays are always my undoing…I start eating crap and stop exercising, and within a couple of days I feel like a beached whale. A mere 10 days ago I was feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed, now I feel like road kill. It shouldn’t take a doctorate in particle physics to understand the simple concept that if I eat crap I’ll start feeling like crap, so when am I going to learn that lesson?


If someone offered me the options of a) feeling energetic, invigorated and virtuous or b) feeling sluggish, bloated and ashamed of myself, it would be an easy choice, wouldn’t it? So why do I persist in thinking of appetite indulgence as something pleasurable? Eating chilli burger and fries – on top of all the other crap I’ve eaten lately - might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but it just isn’t worth it in terms of the blah feelings that come afterwards. And man, the guilt just does my head in – you’d think I’d been drowning barrelfuls of puppies, I feel so damn guilty and ashamed of myself.


Just to underline my feelings of inadequacy my friend has just come back from vacation, and she was telling me that she didn’t eat or drink a single naughty thing the whole two weeks she was away. Two weeks in Italy without pasta, pizza, red wine, ice cream…what the hell’s wrong with her? Instead she ate undressed green salads, grilled chicken and sparkling water, she ran and swam every day and did press-ups and crunches in her hotel room – and she LOST two pounds.


In Italy!


Damn, it’s not fair. Losing weight on an Italian vacation is practically illegal! It shouldn’t be allowed. No one should be that perfect and self-disciplined – it’s simply not normal.


I don’t even ASPIRE to being that perfect – I’m willing to accept a few flaws if I’m generally heading in the right direction.


With self-discipline like this it’s small wonder that though she’s 5’7” tall she’s never weighed more than 8 stones (112lbs). Honestly, I’ve seen more fat on a spare rib. If I had a tenth of her self-restraint I’d probably be at goal by now. I wish she was horrible and nasty so that I could hate her with a clear conscience! Heh heh.


As it is, I’m forced to like her despite myself. She’s a dead ringer for Courtney Cox and yet she’s really lovely and good natured. It’s obscene. If she was just ten stone heavier she’d be perfect. Heh heh. Maybe I should start injecting liquefied lard into her celery sticks and carrot batons just to even the playing field a little.


But enough of her, and back to me. I need to haul myself back on the wagon so that I can be in better shape for my own Italian vacation which is now only 17 weeks from today. That’s not that far away, bearing in mind I wanted to be at 150lbs by the time we go. I’ll need to lose a consistent 1.33lbs per week to make it, which is more than I’ve been averaging recently (even without the 3lb gain). I probably won’t make it unless my metabolism goes into overdrive, which it’s never obliged me by doing in the past.


I guess I’’ll just have to start trying harder. As an accountant my busiest time of year is approaching – from 1st April to 30th June I’ll be working at least a 12 hour day as standard, so I’ll have to be ultra-disciplined with my exercise. I’m planning to do 2 hours exercise each day (split into pre-work, lunchtime and evening sessions), and I’ve worked out a schedule as follows:


4.30 am – 5.00 am      Exercise

5.00 – 6.00 am           Shower and drive to work

6.00 – 1.30pm            Work

1.30 – 2.30 pm           Brisk Walking (to de-stress from morning)

2.30 – 6.00 pm           Work

6.00 – 6.30pm            Drive home (playing de-stressing music REALLY LOUD)

6.30 – 8.00 pm           Dinner (prepared by Kim) and relaxation

8.00 – 8.30pm            Exercise

8.30 – 10.30pm          Relaxation

10.30 – 4.30am          Sleep (…zzzzzzz……)


If I can’t haul myself out of bed half an hour earlier than normal to exercise before work I’ll have to do an extra half hour in the evening. It sounds like an onerous schedule, but 2 hours exercise out of every 24 isn’t a lot (8.3% of the total) and I’ll just have to force myself to make the time. I don’t want to, but I have to.


I’ll have to get Kim to poke me with a sharpened stick if I start to slack. Heh, he’ll probably enjoy that.


I envy those Superwomen types who somehow seem to hold down a demanding full time job, rear and home-school a brood of adorably well behaved children, have twenty rewarding (and community enriching) hobbies, delight their husbands by being slutty in the bedroom and chic and charming outside it, and maintain a 20 point BMI through their hectic schedule of marathon running, shark-wrestling and limbo dancing.


How the hell do they do it?


And if they can do it, why can’t I?

Mar 23, 2006 at 17:17 o\clock

The Acetic Life...Not!

Today's Weight 170.0lbs 


I'm back from six days of visiting friends and relations on the South Coast - six days of eating out twice a day, six days of hardly getting any exercise, six days of having no routine, six days of feeling I have to make excuses for not getting as drunk as a skunk, six days of not being able to arrange my day, and of having to dance to someone else's tune instead.

It was a good break, but it's lovely to be home!


I wish I was one of those totally disciplined people who can go away on vacation and still follow a strict calorie controlled diet. For me, the break in my routine always acts as a green light to relax the reins and to let things go to hell for a few days. I make poor choices in restaurants, start snacking between meals, break my promise of taking long walks before breakfast...and end up coming home feeling jaded and under-par, with a craving for the simple things in life - fresh fruit and veggies and long tall glasses of cold water.

I guess there's no harm in falling off the wagon occasionally if the digression only reinforces my desire to live healthily the rest of the's just that I'm always afraid that I'm gonna fall off and realise I like just rolling around in the dirt, and never want to quit rolling. It's a scary thought.


I realised something about myself when I was on vacation - that intellectually I'm drawn to an acetic life, but I can never quite measure up to that in reality.

I was reading a couple of novels, one set in Constantinople at the time of the Ottoman invasion in 1453 and another having a backdrop of monastic life through the ages. They sound dull but they were interesting, honestly!

In the first book there were lots of passages about the life of splendour and luxury that the Byzantines enjoyed in Constantinople at the height of their power, and the equally ostentatious life enjoyed by the Ottoman sultans when they seized control of the city - the splendour of the buildings, the luxury of the harems, the sumptuous food and wine etc.

In the second book there were quite a few passages descibing the simple life of the monks, about how they rose very early for prayers, ate a simple breakfast, prayed, worked hard all day, prayed some more, had a simple supper, prayed a bit more and then went to bed (after a bit more praying, I suspect).

I'll paraphrase two contrasting passages about food and eating from the two books...

In book one, there was a description of a feast, where a minor Ottoman official is entertaining some guests from Venice. The participants are shown reclining on couches and divans festooned with gold and crimson velvet coverings, eating from a vast array of dishes.

There are gold plates piled high with spit roasted lamb, rices cooked with creams and spices, flat breads dripping with oils and herbs, vine leaves stuffed with salty cheese and olives, flaky pastries filled with a paste of almonds and sultanas, rich stews of lamb and game cooked in red wine and cream, candied nuts and crystallised fruits, sugar dusted cubes of rose and violet flavoured turkish delight, rich sweets made of honey, nuts and marzipan, attar of roses stirred into sweet water, dishes of chicken and nuts dipped into honey, wine and bowls of local brandy, hot coffee and sweet pastry.

The diners are described greedily cramming the food into their mouths, tearing off great bites of bread and meat, picking through the delicacies with pudgy, jewel-bedecked fingers, swallowing mouthfuls of wine, wiping lips and fingers greasy with oils onto embroidered cloths, taking three or four sweets and pastries at a time and letting the sugar crumbs and flakes of pastry fall onto the precious fabrics of the sofas and couches.

By contrast, the other book describes the monks sitting at a rough hewn oak refectory table, saying grace, then eating simple fare, and in modest amounts, from pottery and earthernware plates. They were served rough oatmeal and cold water drawn straight from the well for breakfast, a hunk of coarse bread and cheese for lunch, a simple stew of mutton, herbs and vegetables for dinner washed down with more water or a small glass of home brewed beer.

The monks believed that gluttony was an affront to God, and that simplicity and restraint in the pursuit of their appetites was the key to happiness.

I read both books, and intellectually I was drawn to the ascetic life, rather than the rich indulgent one. I thought how spiritually uplifting it would be to live on coarse bread and simple homely stews, and how nice it would be to break the chains of gluttony and the inordinate hold that food has in my life.

THEN whilst I was still contemplating the appeal of this modest, acetic life we went to London for the day, and our friends took us to the most fabulous patisserie I'd ever seen.

The shelves were groaning under the weight of the most heavenly pastries and cakes, and the shop was a veritable paradise of earthly delight. There were tortes and cheesecakes, brioches and croissants, pain au chocolat and pain au raisin, strudels and Mille Feuille and eclairs and tarts and petits fours and baklava and macaroons and babka and every other fine and delicious thing you could possibly think of...

Suddenly I saw that I had more in common with the greedy Ottoman official than the self-restrained and spiritual monk, as all thoughts of denial and restraint vanished like snow before the sun. I'd like to say I turned down the pastries and had a hunk of bread and a glass of water instead...but hell, you just know I'd be lying!

Mar 14, 2006 at 19:51 o\clock

A Year in Review

Today's Weight 169.0lbs 


It’s a year since I embarked on my new healthy lifestyle, so I figured it’s time for an annual review.


The Measurable Stuff:

In the past 52 weeks I’ve lost 61lbs and 4 dress sizes. I started off in a size

22, and now I’m in a size 14 (US size 10).


I’ve had 40 weeks of losses, 10 weeks without movement, and 2 gain weeks.


I’ve had 335 sub-1500 calorie days, and only 17 days when I’ve exceeded my 1500-a-day limit. The highest amount of calories I’ve eaten in one day in the past year is 2200. The lowest amount is 980 (bad girl!).


I’ve exercised for at least 45 consecutive minutes on 229 days, which means that I’ve averaged over 4 exercise sessions per week. I’ve also lifted weights regularly, started Pilates classes and done over 10,000 crunches.


I’ve lost 26.5% of my starting body weight, and my BMI has dropped by 11.5 points, from 43.4 to 31.9.


Another 11lbs and I’ll be officially only ‘overweight’.


I have 37lbs to go to reach 132lbs and a ‘normal’ sub-25 BMI, and another 7lbs to go after that to reach my personal goal of 125lbs. Hence I’m 62.2% of the way to being ‘normal’, and 58% of the way to my personal goal.


The ‘Haven’t I Been Here Before?’ Stuff

So far this ‘diet’ has outlasted any previous dieting attempt by 11 weeks. I’ve lost 5lbs more than I’ve ever lost in any previous trial run too.


The rate of loss has been slower this time, because each pound has hung on like a limpet and resisted my efforts to shed it. I don’t know if that’s because I’m older, because my metabolism is shot, or because I’m not trying so hard, but regardless of the reason, I haven’t got discouraged. I’ve dislodged 61 of the little buggers, and I’m damned if I’m giving up now.


This is the only ‘diet’ I’ve ever been on when I’ve successfully endured a rocky patch and not given up, backslid all the way to the bottom and undone all my good work. That’s the thing I’m proudest of, and the thing that gives me the most confidence that I can succeed in the long run.


The Stuff I’ve Discovered (Physically)

I’ve discovered I have bony promontories such as wrist bones and collar bones, and I suspect that as the rest of my fat recedes like a melting polar ice-cap I may find outcrops of ribs and hip bones under all the blubber. All the fat has gone from my feet (I had really fat feet!) and I can see bones and tendons that I never even knew existed. I’ll be wearing sandals a lot this summer to show off my foxy feet, and I’m already scouring the shops for a really vampy, whoreish red nail polish to draw attention to my lovely skinny tootsies. 


I’ve noticed that the fat distribution hasn’t really changed a whole lot – I’m still apple-shaped, and though I’ve lost a lot of inches from my legs and midriff, I still have a belly, as well as lamentably large boobs and fat upper arms. Because of this, I still don’t like to wear sleeveless tops because the flapping sounds made by my batwings scare small children and timid dogs.


I’ve been conducting Doppler shift experiments on my stomach, and I’m pretty sure that the fat on my midriff is wobblier than it was when I was 61lbs fatter. Before, my belly was solid and unshakeable like a side of pork, but now it’s all flob-a-lobby like a big pink blancmange. I almost prefer it the way it was, and I’m beginning to realise that all the dieting, crunches and Pilates in the world won’t give me abs like Gwen Stefani.


Because of that realisation, tummy and batwing tucks have moved from the realms of “not in a million years” to “hmmm, how much of a dent would it make in ten grand?” The only things holding me back from going under the knife are a) my low tolerance for pain; b) my stinginess when it comes to spending money on myself, and c) my Lutheran upbringing, which tells me that I should be less vain and more accepting of my bodily imperfections. Cosmetic surgeons will soon get wind of this change of heart and I’ll have to be firm and unyielding, and beat them off with a big stick.


Whilst my belly is still a cause of rueful regret, my legs are a triumph and a testimony to the benefits of brisk walking and kick-ass cycling. I can now walk around bare-legged without the dreaded thigh-chafe, and instead of jeans and trainers I’ll be wearing floaty little skirts when we go to Rome in July (and sandals, of course!) so that I can stay cool and comfortable.


I can cross my legs at the knee girly-style, and I’m grasping every opportunity that presents itself to sit all cross-legged-and-straight-backed-and-sophisticated, like Tippi Hedren outside the schoolhouse in The Birds. I just need the Chanel suit, the chignon and the cigarette and holder to complete the picture.


How else has my body changed?


I’m a lot more bendy, and I can scratch between my shoulder blades without the aid of a ruler and cut my toe-nails (and paint them!) without feeling that I’ll need osteopathy the following day to realign my vertebrae. I can almost hug my shins (damn belly still gets in the way), and I can bend from the waist and lay my hands flat on the floor without feeling as though my hamstrings are about to snap like cheap knicker elastic.


I can rely on having regular periods at 28 day intervals for the first time ever, and I can walk briskly for 90 minutes without feeling tired or uncomfortable. I can do a whole advanced Taebo workout, and still have enough energy for 40 minutes of turbo training afterwards.


When I take a bath I’m not wedged against the sides of the tub like a cork in a bottle – there is free-flowing water on both sides of me, and there aren’t sudden floods and dam breaches as I move my haunches and release a pent up avalanche of water from where it’s been trapped behind my huge backside. I can almost get the water level in the tub high enough to cover my boobs if I drain the tank fully, take a deep breath, fully submerge my head, and lie flat on the bottom of the bathtub – which is an improvement over a year ago, when most of me reared above the waterline like some hideous blubbery behemoth.


Oh, and I’m officially under the maximum weight limit (to ride horses suitable for people under 5’3”) at my local riding stables, so if I wanted to take up horse-riding I could finally do so without fear of being reported to the RSPCA.


The Stuff I’ve Discovered (Emotionally)

I’ve had weeks when it’s all seemed ridiculously easy and effortless, and weeks when it’s been a huge struggle to summon up any motivation or focus at all. I haven’t yet figured out why that’s the case, but if I do, you’ll be the first to know.


I’ve realised that it really is possible to have a packet of Chocolate Hobnobs in the house for two months, and not feel particularly bothered whether I eat them or not.


Gasp. I never thought I’d hear myself say that.


I’ve also realised, though, that when I’m having a REALLY shitty day, the urge to seek solace in food is still as strong as it ever was. What’s changed, though, is that I’m able to control the urge a little better, and sometimes even rationalise it away completely. So that’s definitely a step in the right direction.


I’ve learned that patience isn’t something you either have or you don’t have, like perfect pitch or a cleft palate. Nope, I’d never have believed it, but patience is a quality – like a muscle or a skill - that it’s possible to develop. Honest to God, it’s true. My previous efforts to get in shape have foundered on the rocks of impatience and frustration, but this time is better – I’ve let go of all that pressure and expectation, and I’m simply going with the flow. I’ll get there eventually, even if it takes me the rest of the damn decade. Heh, maybe I’m growing up at last.


I’ve learned that sometimes, with the best will in the world, nothing but chocolate will fix things.


But I’ve also learned that satiety is a state of mind, not of body, and that two small bites of good quality rich dark chocolate are at least as satisfying as a whole slab of cheap milk chocolate.


Allied to this, I’ve discovered that bolting food down in secret is wholly and utterly dissatisfying, and will lead to an orgy of gluttony later on in the day. If I have a craving which doesn’t dissipate if I try to distract myself with normal activities (reading, walking, working etc), then I have what I crave. Most importantly, I indulge my craving out in the open so that I can savour it and take my time over it and experience all the sensory pleasures of it – and when I can do that, I find that a little goes a long way.


I finally see a future free from sneaking bites of a custard doughnut (cunningly camouflaged in a paper bag) into my mouth on the way home from the shops – what a victory!


Oh, yes, and I’ve realised that people haven’t been lying to me all my life - exercise really does lift my mood and make me feel better. Why did it take me 40 years to see that?


The ‘What Does The Future Hold?’ Stuff

I’m beginning – cautiously and timidly – to really believe I might succeed, though I don’t like to tempt fate by saying it too loudly.


I’d be lying if I said this was as effortless and natural as breathing – it simply isn’t. I still worry that one day my gremlins will wake up from their hibernation and start sabotaging my efforts and undermining my resolve, but the longer I stick at this, the more my confidence grows.


And I really believe I’ve found a food and exercise regimen that I can live with for the rest of my life – as long as I don’t take my eye off the ball and get complacent.


As for getting to goal? Well, I’ve never done that before, much less maintained there, so this is all new and unfamiliar territory for me. Most of the weight I’ve lost in the past year is old fat that I’ve lost repeatedly in other dieting attempts. I’ve yo-yo’d through these weights for the past decade. Soon, though, I’ll be reaching virgin fat, and dropping to my lowest ever adult weight, and that’ll be a bit scary.


But scary is good sometimes, and I should try to have a bit of faith in myself, right?


After all, Kim has faith in me, and he really believes that this time I’ll make it to goal and join the ranks of the 5% of successful maintainers.


I just hope that the next twelve months prove that he knows what he’s talking about…

Mar 5, 2006 at 08:49 o\clock

Seize The Day

Today's Weight No clue - still dogsittting without access to scales 


I'm still dogsitting, but Kim's parents should hopefully be home this evening. I've kept up my healthy eating habits despite the change to my routine, but getting some exercise has been difficult. So I'm feeling sluggish and fat today, and I'll be glad to get home.

The guy whose funeral they've gone to dropped down dead of a massive heart attack on Monday morning. He and his wife were due to fly to Australia for a month long vacation today - as a couple it had always been their lifelong dream to go to Oz, and the poor guy missed the trip by less than a week.

They never took the trip before because his wife is a bit (not even a lot!) overweight, and she always felt inhibited about visiting new places. Like many overweight people, she procrastinated about doing many of the things she would ordinarily have enjoyed, waiting for the magical day when she'd metamorphosed into a skinny person.

What a waste of a life!

I know it's a waste, because I've wasted much of my own life in the same way. But not any longer! After Kim had his transplant I vowed I'd never again miss an opportunity to do something fun just because of my weight, because life is too precious to fritter the pleasurable opportunities away.

I'm sure if Morris's wife had realised that she was robbing not just herself, but also her husband, of their lives' dream, she'd have been on that plane before you could say CARPE DIEM. I'm sure she thought her weight and its inhibitory impact were only blighting her own life - it's so easy to overlook the impact that our outlook and the choices we make have on the people that love us.

Mar 3, 2006 at 18:01 o\clock

Fantasy Feast

Today's Weight 172.0lbs 


I had a bit of an epiphany last night, and to put it into context, I’ll need to give a bit of background.

I had over-protective parents who never allowed me to spend any time alone and unsupervised. I lived my life under the watchful gaze of not only them, but also that of my 4 older siblings (three of us shared a bedroom), and it seemed as if I never had a single moment of private and solitary peace in the whole of my first 15 years.

Because I was overweight from infancy, my mom also monitored the food that I ate, and I’m sure she thought – wrongly – that I was sneaking contraband food behind her back. 

I was 16 before they went out for the evening and left me in the house completely on my own. I think they went to some school prize-giving event with my sister, and since I hadn’t won anything I got left at home.

Yay, freedom at last!

The moment they drove away I dived straight into my mom’s worst nightmare. I started eating, and I didn’t stop eating for a couple of hours, until I was stuffed to the gills and feeling really sick. I may even have BEEN sick, in some worrying bulimic fashion (except I’d never heard of bulimia at that stage), because my stomach was hurting and I always hated the feeling of being full. It was the pain that stopped me in the end, but up to that point I was like a girl possessed.

This was my first episode of binge eating.

A couple of weeks later they trusted me enough to risk leaving me alone for a second time. I promptly launched into another binge eating episode, and then another the following week. The pattern repeated itself in every subsequent ‘home alone’ session.

A year later I left home for University, and the bingeing stopped. When I was in charge of what I could buy and eat, and no longer feeling like I was under dietary surveillance, the compulsion to eat everything in sight ceased. By and large I ate semi-healthy foods (lots of OJ and granary toast and marmite, if memory serves) in modest portion sizes, and I quickly dropped a couple of stones as a result.

Since then, bingeing episodes have been extremely rare. When I HAVE had them, though, it’s always when I’m at home for an evening by myself. And because I’m home alone so rarely, I seem to go a bit doolally, and suddenly start acting like a kid given free rein in a chocolate shop – I have no self-restraint or control at all.

Anyway, back to the present day, and last night I was ‘home alone’ at Kim’s parent’s house, dog-sitting while they’re in Scotland for a funeral. All day at work I daydreamed about the evening hours, and what delightful eating choices lay ahead of me. The possibilities were endless. I could buy pizza - or pizzas – and eat them to my heart’s content. I could stop for Indian or Chinese takeout. I could buy fish and chips. I could buy chocolate and Doritos. I could cook a huge batch of pasta and eat it with garlic bread. I could buy custard doughnuts or Danish pastries. I could buy plain chocolate digestives or caramel shortcakes. I could eat a whole tub of Ben and Jerry chunky monkey ice-cream…

But after a day of fantasising, guess what I actually did? I stopped at Tesco on the way to the house and bought a head of tender heart celery, a courgette, a couple of carrots, a couple of red onions, a yellow pepper, some red chillies, garlic, a can of organic pinto beans in a salt-free chilli sauce, a can of organic plum tomatoes and a box of six Mint Choc Skinny Cows.

Then I got in, fed the doggies, and cooked myself up a huge batch of veggie chilli bean casserole. I ate the casserole – which was DELICIOUS – with a tall glass of iced water, and then I had a skinny cow for dessert. Then I had a cup of tea and a couple of gingernut biscuits whilst I did the crossword, then I phoned Kim for a chat, then I read my book, then I jumped rope for twenty minutes, then I read a little more and then finally I had an early night.

Yay, what a breakthrough!

And, pleasingly, I didn’t even feel deprived at having missed my one solitary home-alone opportunity to throw caution to the wind and stuff myself with crap. I have no regrets at all, even though it’ll be months before I have another evening completely to myself.

I’m not ‘cured’ because I still had the bingefest daydreams, and the thought of eating all that crap still gave me an illicit thrill – just why is that, do you think? Even with all my knowledge of good nutrition, I fantasised about eating pizza and doughnuts, not something healthy like tofu and yoghurt – I’m obviously a hopeless case! But, when push came to shove, eating crap remained just a fantasy, but the reality was a whole lot different – not to mention a whole lot more tasty, satisfying, and good for my self-esteem.

Feb 27, 2006 at 17:38 o\clock

And the greatest of these is love...

Today's Weight 172.0lbs 


The wedding was fabulous! My sister looked radiant and beautiful, the groom looked dashing, the barn dance was a hoot and there was only one (mild) fight towards the end of the evening. All told, I’d call that a successful wedding.


After much reflection, I’ve decided to break the whole anonymity thing, and post a link to the photos on Flickr. It’s not as if I ever write anything horrible on here about my family, or say anything that would mortify me if any of my friends and family discovered this site, so where’s the harm? I’m so proud of my lovely sister, and I want to share with you all how beautiful she looked. The link’s here (and also on the sidebar) if anyone is interested enough to follow it.


I got a pleasing amount of compliments on my outfit, and how much weight I’d lost, and as a result I was feeling pretty swell all day. My confidence soared, I danced every single dance, and I was determinedly unselfconscious about how hot and sweaty I was getting.


Then I came home and uploaded the photos, and my self-satisfaction dissipated instantaneously.




I guess (and it’s nice to know!) that my family look at me through the eyes of love, whereas I look at myself through the eyes of negativity and criticism. They saw vast improvement since the last time they saw me, whereas I zeroed in immediately on how fat and hideous I look, and how far I still have to go.


So the photos dampened my mood a little, but by then it was too late to ruin my day. I’d had a fabulous time, thinking I looked bloody gorgeous, and I’m glad my bubble didn’t get burst until I was back home and it was too late to worry about it.


And that’s progress, right?




Feb 24, 2006 at 20:11 o\clock

Tomorrow's A Big Day

Today's Weight 172.0lbs 


Hallelujah, someone’s finally noticed that I’m losing weight! I was getting paranoid that somehow the loss of 58lbs (or 25.2% of my original body mass) was unnoticeable on my 5 foot 1” tall frame. But now, finally, I’ve had an “OMIGOD, you’ve lost a lot of weight!” conversation, and I feel pretty damn ego-boosted, if the truth be told.


It’s good to have a bit of an ego-boost today of all days, because tomorrow is my sister’s wedding, and the consequent gathering of the clan. 


I felt SO ugly and lumpy and unattractive at the last wedding I went to back in August last year, and though I know I look better today than I did back then I’m still woefully aware that I’ve a long way to go before I’ll feel properly comfortable with my size.


And photos – don’t even get me started on my dread of photos! I’m horribly non-photogenic, and manage to look even uglier in photos than I am in real life. Jabba the Hutt ugly, if I’m captured in an unguarded moment.




But hell, it’s my sister’s big day, so I won’t hide at the back of the group or put a paper bag over my head - I’ll take my place towards the front and smile my little head off instead.


Jeeze, the things I’ll do for my big sis!


Anyway, I did consider breaking my anonymity and posting a photo on here of me in my wedding outfit, but cowardice got the better of me so you just have to take my word for it that I look better now than I did 50 weeks ago, before I embarked on this weight-loss programme.


If you want to imagine what I look like in my wedding outfit, just fix a picture of Angelina Jolie in your mind’s eye, wearing a beaded, dark chocolate brown velvet skirt and matching cashmere top, and you won’t be too far from the truth. Heh. To be the spitting image I just need to grow around a foot, shrink around 70lbs and have a million pounds worth of cosmetic surgery work done – but that’s not much, right?


If the parental reports can be believed my sisters have engaged in much buying of stomach-control-Bridget-Jones-type underwear and other contraptions to corral their unruly flesh for the big day, but I’ve resisted the temptation to follow their example. The thought of having the breath squeezed out of me all day by boa-constrictor-strength knickers is too horrendous to contemplate. Instead I’m striving for serenity and body-acceptance, and I’ll hold my head high and try to be proud of my untamed (but much reduced) bulges. But what the hell, maybe I’ll do just a teensy bit of sucking-in-of-the-gut when the photographer tells us to say cheese.


The bride will look beautiful, I’m sure. Of all us 4 female siblings she’s the only really pretty one (she takes after mom, as mom never tires of telling us!), and she also has the best figure by far. Hateful bitch! Heh, heh, I’m only kidding. I couldn’t be more proud of her. She’ll make a lovely bride, and I can’t wait to see her dress tomorrow – apparently it’s a hand-stitched, hand-beaded ivory velvet gown cut in an Empire style (think of the dresses in Pride and Prejudice), so she should look stunning.


Awwwww, my big sis is getting married. Sob. Sniff. I can feel the emotions welling already…

Feb 20, 2006 at 21:50 o\clock

Yellow Bellied

Today's Weight 173.0lbs 


I dislike myself intensely today - I’m ashamed and disgusted at myself for being such a yellow-bellied coward.


I work in the finance department of an NHS hospital, and this morning I had a meeting with the Director of Finance and the Director of Patient Services. We were discussing the alert status of the hospital (we were on black alert, which means that things were very very dire with not a single bed available in the hospital and folks queuing in A&E for a place to lie down), and the conversation turned to demand management as the way to solve the capacity problem in the longer term.


The conversation went something like this:


Director of Finance (DoF):    One way to reduce demand would be to refuse to treat patients who smoke or who are grossly fat. It’s not fair that they block beds from more deserving patients when they’ve bought their condition on themselves.


Director of Pat Svs (DoPS):  Hmm, that’s a tricky one, because where do you draw the line?


DoF:                                Well, smokers should have to agree to quit before we commence treatment, and no-one with a BMI over 30 should be treated unless they’re classified as an emergency. Elective surgery just shouldn’t be an option.


DoPS:                              Isn’t drawing the line at 30 a bit extreme?


DoF:                                Not at all! You can’t argue with the facts, and it’s a fact that a BMI over 30 makes you obese. As a surgeon would you want to wade through someone’s wobbly fat before you could even see their internal organs? Ugh, it’s disgusting.


DoPS:                              But 30’s not exactly gargantuan, is it?


DoF: (with a shudder)         It’s big enough. I see them waddling round the corridors, wheezing and puffing and hauling themselves along to the orthopaedic department on sticks. It’s not sticks they need, it’s their jaws wired shut. That’d solve their joint problems AND our bed capacity problems, wouldn’t it?


The DoF carried on in this vein for some time, to the increasing discomfiture of both myself and the DoPS (himself not exactly snake hipped and lean). Her choice of words became more and more colourful, and she crossed the line from outlining a valid (if extreme) argument, into being gratuitously rude towards the obese.


She included words such as gross, wobbly and disgusting in her comments towards fat people, and generally belittled and derided them, without batting an eyelid or seeming to have any conception that her comments could be offensive.


I wanted so badly to say something, but I just sat there and tried not to look as if I was taking her comments personally, and I didn’t say a single bloody word. 


What a fucking coward I am.


Partly I kept my mouth shut because I felt humiliated, and partly because she’s my boss and she has a filthy temper, and partly because I didn’t want to sound like some prim and proper missy who took offence at the drop of a hat.


But hell, I WAS bloody offended!


I remembered her telling me when I joined the Trust that I would be held responsible for ensuring that my staff respected the Trust’s Equality and Diversity policy, and that I mustn’t let them get away with any off-colour jokes or comments that could be construed as racist, homophobic, sexist etc.


But it seems to be open season on fat people.


Presumably she wouldn’t have dreamed of making racist comments in front of a person of colour, or homophobic comments in front of a gay person, but (not for the first time) she openly insulted fat people in front of one of them (me).


I phoned K to let off steam, and he told me I should see her obtuseness towards my feelings as some sort of backhanded compliment, as it suggests that she doesn’t consider me to be one of the much-maligned obese brigade. Hmm, that’s small consolation. She voiced the same views when I had a BMI of 43, and it didn’t seem to make her pause or think that I might find her attitude and comments insensitive and rude.


I know I should have said something, and I wish I could turn back the clock and act with a bit more backbone.


I am utterly ashamed and disgusted with myself. Having missed the opportunity to say something at the time, I can’t decide now whether I’ve left it too late, or whether I should bite the bullet and raise the issue with her again.


Any advice, anyone?

Feb 19, 2006 at 18:53 o\clock

Tough Love

Today's Weight 173.5lbs 


Around 5 years ago my friend Angela left her husband because of his inability to tackle his severe weight problem.


He was only 34 years old at the time, but he was clinically obese – he weighed 30 stones (420lbs) – and he had significant co-morbidities (angina, hypertension, diabetes). His hospital consultant had warned him that he wouldn’t live to see his forties if he didn’t do something about his weight. He’d already had the toes of one foot amputated because of his diabetes, and he’d been told in no uncertain terms that his future would be blighted by further amputations, renal failure and blindness if he didn’t get to grips with his diabetes, and control his sugar intake.


The guy (I’ll call him ‘Dave’) was a lovely gentle man, who my friend loved deeply. However, she found it increasingly difficult to tolerate his complete disavowal of his health problems. He didn’t work because he was effectively disabled by his size, and she’d come home every evening and find that whilst she’d been at work he’s eaten a truckload of crap - a couple of McDs, a deep-pan pizza, a pint of ice-cream etc.


Then he’d cry with guilt, self-disgust and fright (because he knew he was playing Russian roulette - with food instead of bullets), she’d comfort him and reassure him that she loved him, he’d promise to try harder, and then in the middle of the night she’d wake up and come downstairs to find him eating a whole cheesecake or a whole box of chocolates, washed down with a few contraband litres of full-sugar Coke. 


She likened it to living with a junkie or an alcoholic – the sense of distrust because of the lies he told about what he’d been eating, the impotence about being able to make him see the consequences of his choices, the self-destructiveness of his behaviour.


The last straw came when she came home early on the day that followed yet another dire warning from his doctors, and found him sitting in his car in the garage, literally shovelling handfuls of chocolate into his mouth as fast as he could swallow it. The boot of his car was open and full to bursting with empty chocolate wrappers, pizza boxes, Coke bottles and take-out containers.


She stood there and forgot all about being supportive and nurturing. Instead, she shrieked her head off with anger and frustration, pelted him with chocolate wrappers and walloped him around the head with a plastic coke bottle for good measure.


She told him that he was selfish and inconsiderate because if he loved her he wouldn’t force her to witness his slow suicide. She said that if he couldn’t take care of himself he couldn’t expect her to keep on taking care of him, and that it would be nice if someone took care of her for a change. She said if he wanted to kill himself she wasn’t about to stick around to watch him do it.


Then she left him.


And stayed left, even though she was scared to death that he’d commit suicide or spiral down into an even worse depression or fry his brains with a diabetic coma.


Depressing scenario, right?  But wait – for once there’s a happy ending.


This morning K and I ran into him at a mountain bike race. He was competing, and he came third overall in his age bracket. He looked fit and lean and very, very happy. He told us in the five years since my friend left he’d really turned his life around and lost 17 stones (238lbs). He’s been following a low GI plan recommended by his diabetes consultant, which is controlling his diabetes without any other medication. He’s off his angina and blood pressure meds. He got remarried last year, and his wife gave birth to twin healthy boys in November ’05.


He’s never been happier.


I didn’t think it would be diplomatic to mention Angela, but he raised the subject of his old life himself. He said the kindest thing she ever did for him was to withdraw her tacit consent to his behaviour. By being supportive and loving she allowed him to pretend he was helpless victim of fate, and allow him to abdicate responsibility for his actions.


He said he’d never once seen it from her perspective and, when she flipped and gave it to him with both barrels, it finally dawned on him how much his condition affected her too. He had to take a long hard look at himself, and he didn’t like what he saw.


Ironically, Angela was the one who died (two years ago in a black-run skiing accident), but I think she’d be thrilled to see how healthy and happy he is today. She never stopped caring for him (even though she too remarried), and she was always fearful that she’d get a phone call from her former in-laws telling her he’d popped his clogs. Now it looks as though he’s got a good few years ahead of him, God willing.




Angie always regretted her outburst, and thought she’d been really heartless and cruel. He disagrees, and thinks she saved his life.


Maybe there is a time and a place for tough love, after all. It probably wouldn’t work for everyone – I’m not sure it would work for me, for example – but for some folks it may be just the wake-up call they need.

Feb 13, 2006 at 22:14 o\clock

The Wisdom of the Long Distance Dieter

Today's Weight 173.5lbs 


Check out the new number – I’ve lost 3.5lbs this week! In the end I couldn’t bring myself to raise my calories significantly so I compromised by having a couple of higher calorie days followed by a couple of lower calorie days, and it appears to have jolted me off my plateau. Now I just hope I’m not stuck on 12 stones 5.5lbs for the next 9 weeks…


I’m trying to see this set-back as a positive learning experience, because it’s taught me a lot about patience and taking a long term view. In previous weight loss attempts, a 9 week plateau would have derailed me completely and sent me diving into the Haagen Dazs. Now I’m taking a much more chilled approach, and trying to just stay calm and focused even when nothing’s going to plan. I’m damn proud of myself for not having been discouraged by seeing the same numbers week in and week out. I can tell that my clothes are getting looser, and I know I’m doing everything I need to do to get to my goal, so I just need to have some faith in myself and the process, and not get spooked into doing anything rash and stupid.




A couple of the guys in my office are around 100lbs overweight, and they’ve been talking the talk about getting in shape for the whole year that I’ve worked here. Lately, though, they’ve been talking more and more about fast, drastic weight loss, the sort brought about by liquid diets or gastric bypass surgery. They want to be achieving the 12lb+ a week losses that the contestants post on shows such as The Biggest Loser, and they’re simply not interested in losing the 1-2lbs a week that sensible medical professionals say is they optimal rate of weight loss.


One guy in my team is in his mid-thirties, and is both diabetic and hypertensive. He weighs around 22 stones (308lbs). A couple of weeks ago he was all hyped up about doing a very-low-calorie-liquid-meal-replacement-diet, because another colleague had told him he could lose 10 stones in 4 months. Then he watched a TV show which featured a woman who lost 15 stones in a year after having a gastric band fitted, and now he’s decided to save up his cash for that operation instead of going down the meal replacement route.


This is a guy who by his own admittance has avoided any form of exercise since he left school. He drives to work, though he lives less than a 15 minute stroll away from the office. He sends colleagues out at lunchtime to buy his newspaper for him, so that he can avoid the five minute stroll to the on-site newsagent. He laughingly admits that he never lifts a finger at home to help his wife with chores or looking after the kids, and that every night his armchair is surrounded by mugs and plates that accumulate through the evening until his wife finally walks them into the kitchen at bedtime.


His wife makes him healthy lunches which he leaves untouched, and he eats crap from the vending machines instead. He seems to be almost wilfully blind to good nutritional principles. He’s never kept up a ‘diet’ for more than two consecutive days, and he has no interest in healthy living or good nutrition. He’s adamant that he doesn’t want to change any aspect of his lifestyle, but he wants the body of a fitter, healthier person. He has no will-power or motivation whatsoever, yet he sees surgery as an easy option (!) and thinks that the weight will drop effortlessly off him with no appreciable change in his behaviour, and stay off, transforming him into a fit and healthy person in the twinkling of an eye.


His reasoning is that a gastric band will miraculously suppress his appetite, so that he simply won’t feel like eating, and that this will negate the need for willpower or effort on his part. And he argues that through eating less he’ll lose weight, with no need for exercise or modified behaviour.




Call me sceptical, but I’m fundamentally suspicious of quick fixes, and I don’t think they deliver much by the way of long term results. Sustained weight loss depends on fixing the mind as much as it does fixing the body, and the mind-fix comes about through navigating through the whole process, not by taking a shortcut to the finish line.


Don’t misunderstand me - I’m not saying that weight loss surgery is an easy or ‘cheating’ option at all. On the contrary, I’m sure it’s much, much harder than regular dieting, and I’m always amazed when people see it as an easy option.


But I do think that any methodology that delivers astonishingly rapid weight loss in some way robs the recipient of something precious and vital, which I think of as the wisdom of the long distance dieter.


Long distance dieters have a world of experience under their (much tighter) belts by the time they even begins to approach goal, and that experience will be invaluable when it comes to negotiating successfully through the tricky terrain of maintenance.


They’ve learned how to cope with setbacks and disappointments, how to retrench after small gains, how to avoid being discouraged by the slow rate of the losses. They’ve learned through weeks, months and years of practise how to make the wisest food choices that they can make on that particular day and at that particular meal – which may be wiser choices on good days and less wise (or downright foolish) choices on bad days.


Long distance dieters have learned what combination of exercise regimens they can live with for the rest of their lives, and which activities they wouldn’t do unless their lives depended on it. They’ve given up pretending even to themselves that they’ll ever be Olympic athletes, but they’ve learned what works and what doesn’t and they’ve arranged their lives to accommodate that level of activity.


They’ve learned to curb their unreasonable expectations of attaining perfection, or of achieving a 5lbs a week losing average. They’ve learned to be tough on themselves when they need to be, and to cut themselves some slack when life is shitty. They’ve learned to take the rough with the smooth.


This experience – earned over months and years - is the foundation and cornerstone of keeping the weight off in the long run, and I suspect that if you lose your 100lbs or 150lbs or whatever in three months of lightning-speed losses, you don’t develop this foundation. For fast losers the wisdom isn’t as deep rooted as it is for those people who have chipped away at their losses for months and years, and who have a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw on in the years ahead.


These are just my thoughts on the whole fast-vs-slow debate, and maybe I’m just trying to denigrate the experience of the fast losers to justify my own snail-like progress. After all, on some level I’m decidedly envious of those people whose weight drops like a stone.


But I’m confident that for me the slow-and-steady approach is the right choice. I’ve undergone fundamental changes in the past 11 months, and I’m beginning to really believe that I’ve turned a corner and will never revert back to the worst of my old bad habits. I’m not saying I’m ‘cured’, or that I won’t ever make poor choices or have setbacks, but there are some things I simply can’t conceive of ever eating ever again, simply because they’ve lost all appeal and temptation for me.


I suspect that if I’d reached my goal in just 3 months, I wouldn’t have changed so deeply and so permanently, and so I’d be less confident of my ability to maintain my weight loss over the long haul.


Will some kind soul please remind me of this when I’m stuck on the next plateau and screaming with frustration…

Feb 1, 2006 at 20:51 o\clock

Drastic Measures

Today's Weight 177.0 lbs 


I’m fed up of stepping on the scales every morning and seeing it flash either 12st 9lbs or 12st 9.5lbs – I want to see a new bloody number!


At the weekend when the scales showed 12st 7.5lbs and 12st 8lbs I thought I’d left the realms of the 9s behind me for ever, but yesterday and today I was back up there at 12st 9lbs – which means that my weight hasn’t budged at all since the middle of December.


What’s all that about?


Why the fuck does my body just refuse to play by the laws of physics? Create a deficit between the calories you consume and the amount you burn, and you WILL lose weight, right? Isn’t that what the experts tell us?


So why isn’t it quite that straightforward and predictable?


Every day I write down every morsel (of food or drink, heh) that I put in my mouth. I never cheat. I never lie. I weigh and measure almost everything, and keep a close eye on my portion sizes. I keep my calories between 1200 and 1400 per day. I’m back on the exercise bandwagon, and for the past fortnight I’ve done some form of cardio work for at least 40 minutes a day, and some form of resistance work (crunches, press-ups, weights) at least 3 times a week.


I follow my own bespoke high fibre, low-fat, medium-proteins-and-carbs diet, making sure I eat plenty of fruit, veggies and whole grains as well as lean protein and complex carbs. I never add salt to my cooking or to my food. When I snack, it’s on fruit, unsalted nuts (weighed and measured), pumpkin and sunflower seeds (ditto with the weighing and measuring), and (very occasionally) 70% cocoa-solids bitter plain chocolate (two tiny squares only). I drink at least 2 litres of water a day, and only a couple of cups of tea or coffee.


I hardly ever indulge in ‘empty’ foods that offer no nutritional benefit. Everything I eat is chosen because it helps me reach daily goals – it’s high in fibre or protein or calcium, it’s crammed with vitamins, it’s low in fat, it contains anti-oxidants etc. Balancing all the requirements feels like a full-time job sometimes – it’s all so damn complicated, and for once it would be lovely just to eat something unthinkingly, without worrying about bloody targets all the time.


I’m being so damn good it hurts!


So what the fuck am I doing wrong?


I’ve decided it’s time to try something radical. I’ve had a good hard think about the kind of lifestyle I want to lead when I get to goal, and I’ve realised that I don’t want to have to live on supermodel rations or exercise like an Olympian in order to maintain a healthy BMI. That just seems way too restrictive a lifestyle to maintain for the rest of my life.


So, since I don’t want to have to survive on 1200 calories a day or take up marathon running, I think it’s important that I don’t do anything foolish at this critical stage to fuck up my metabolism even more than I’ve done already.


I have this theory (it may be crackpot, but what the hell, it’s MY theory) that if you starve yourself to get thin, you have to continue starving yourself to stay thin. I think that your body adapts to the harsher regimen, and eventually becomes so maladjusted that it will gain weight on what anyone else would consider a normal-to-low daily calorie allowance. And once that maladjustment’s happened, I reckon that it’s difficult-to-impossible to reverse.


I’ve decided that even if drastically reducing my calorie intake for a few days would probably catapult me off this plateau, in the long run it would probably be counter-productive.


Soooooo, I’ve decided to be daring and reckless, and to try a completely different approach.


From today, I’m raising my calories to between 1500 and 1600 each day. I’m going to eat a lot more protein and a little more fat, and I’m going to make sure that I have at least one pot of yoghurt every day (because I read somewhere that yoghurt actively aids fat burning).


It doesn’t sound particularly radical in comparison to what I’m doing already, but mentally it feels radical, because my natural inclination is to do the opposite and cut my calories to try and provoke a loss. Raising my intake makes me feel daring and impetuous. It’s thrilling to be such a rebel.


Heh, what a sad person I must be.


I’ll try it for a week and then take stock. If I’ve lost weight, I’ll report back the happy news. If  I’ve gained weight or stayed the same I probably won’t report back, because by then the scales will have driven me insane, and I’ll be rocking in the corner of a padded cell somewhere.

Jan 30, 2006 at 20:07 o\clock


Today's Weight 175.5 lbs 


I’ve had a couple of pleasant surprises on the fitness front this past few days, and it’s a real ego boost to suddenly realise that I’m not as unfit and out of condition as I’d feared.


Firstly I went - drum roll, please – to my first Pilates class on Friday, and I loved it! Yes, loved it – will wonders never cease?


It helped that the instructor was a lovely lady, really down to earth and non-intimidating, and she made me feel really welcome and comfortable.


As for the ego-boosting part, I didn’t find the class hard at all, and I was able to easily keep up with everyone else without any difficulty.


The colleague I went with (who is stick thin) told me that she really struggled for her first few lessons, and she still sits out many of the challenging moves, despite three or four months of practice. I’d fully expected to be collapsed in an ignominious heap by the mid-way point of the lesson, so to get to the end without any problems was a huge bonus.


Either I was doing it all wrong and wussing out on the hard bits, or I’m stronger and bendier than I gave myself credit for.


The second pleasant surprise came today, when my daily lunchtime walk on the beach was hijacked by a couple of my co-workers, who tagged along and ruined my customary tranquil vibe.


Normally I stride out (as well as I CAN stride given that my inside leg measurement is a stunted 27 inches!) and do the entire circuit in around 48 minutes, but because I was forced into sociability I took a slower pace, and finished the walk in 53 minutes.


By the halfway point, my two co-workers were totally knackered, dragging their heels and pausing for little breathers ever 200 metres or so. They bitched and whined every step of the way, and said they’d never come with me again because I set such a gruelling pace.


I did feel a bit bad about maintaining a pace which had them visibly struggling, but it wasn’t as if I’d dragged them along against their will. I’d warned them before they tagged along that I like to walk fast, and they’d promised to keep up, so it was their own damn fault.


Both of them are 5-10 years younger than me, and both are in pretty good shape, but I kicked both of their arses without even trying. In fact, kicking their arses was the last thing on my mind – my only concern was getting the most benefit from my limited exercise time, and I’d have been much happier if they’d kept up with me – or even whupped MY arse if it had made me go faster.


So whilst their lack of discomfort made the walk less enjoyable, it did have the benefit of opening my eyes to my own improved fitness. I felt comfortable within my own skin, and I was exercising well within my comfort zone. I could easily have walked faster or further, and it was revelatory to me to find that I was the one not only setting the pace, but also finding it a breeze. Hell, I felt almost Amazonian! Heh heh.


Whilst I’m not deluded about my fitness – I know I have a long way to go and that for my age I’m woefully unfit – it was still a bit of a boost. I guess I should try more often to see how far I’ve come, rather than how far I still have to travel.


After all, one of the (very few) benefits of a lifetime of obesity, is that it tends to give you increased physical strength and endurance.


Have you ever noticed that?


These tree-trunks I call my legs have had to support and mobilise up to 230lbs of bulk, and they’ve performed that function impeccably for 40 years. The joints are probably shot to hell, and I may suffer problems further down the line, but for now at least my legs are strong and dogged and resilient.


I can walk the legs off the average skinny-Minnie, and cycle the legs off the average gal too – not because I’m fitter (usually I’m not), but because I’m simply stronger.


And because I’m stronger, my stamina is better, and I can just grit my teeth and plod on and on, keeping going when skinnier girls have fallen by the wayside.


It’s the same with swimming. Have you ever noticed that when you go to a public swimming pool, it’s always the big gals who are lapping length after length after length, whilst the skinny gals do a few fast laps and then quit?


I tell ya, we big gals can whup the skinny gals at just about every endurance sport out there, and we ought to take a bit of pride in that strength and staying power.


I’m not built for speed, but just set me on my feet and point me in the right direction and I’ll plough on relentlessly until I get to where I need to be.


Hell, that’s why my sister nick-named me Tank Girl when we were kids – it wasn’t just for the hell of it, you know – a nickname like that (intended insult nothwithstanding) has to be bloody EARNED!

Jan 26, 2006 at 20:02 o\clock

Self Acceptance

Today's Weight 177 lbs 


I’m really trying hard to embrace the ‘Self-acceptance is the key to long-term weight loss’ philosophy. The self-loathing philosophy failed to get me to goal for my first 40 years, so what the hell. I’ve got to try something new, and a bit of self-acceptance is no bad thing. And if it works, so much the better!


Changes are happening, and I realised last night that I'm beginning to accept myself, and finally developing a long overdue sense of perspective. I went out with some colleagues for a quick drink after a seminar in London, and the conversation in the train on the way home went something like this:


Colleague #1:           Didn’t that woman in the pub look hideous.

Me:                              What woman?

Colleague #2:          Omigod, yes! She must have been at least 20 stone! It should be against the law to flash that much flesh when you look like that.

Colleague #3:           Yeah, true – but her mate was no oil painting either, was she?

Colleague #1:          Omigod, that’s right! She looked like a Twiglet, didn’t she? What a bloody contrast. I’ve seen starving villagers in Africa that looked fatter than she did,

Gales of laughter from all three colleagues.

Me:                              Which women are you talking about?

Colleague #1:          The ones sitting at the next table to us, who both got up and started dancing when that bloke put ‘Don’t You Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me’ on the jukebox.

Renewed gales of laughter from all three colleagues.


I wracked my brains for the whole two hour journey home, and yet I still couldn’t visualise the two women they were being so nasty about. They simply hadn’t registered on my radar screen at all.


That’s how come I know I’ve changed.


Previously, I was always fixated with the shapes of the women around me. I was always comparing myself mentally against them – I’m fatter than her, her bum’s bigger than mine etc. etc.  This obsession intensified when I was ‘dieting’, but it never went away entirely. I used to drive K crazy asking him whether I looked bigger or smaller than this or that woman – and I knew it drove him crazy, but I couldn’t stop doing it.


Good job he loves me, huh?


I got home last night and asked K if he could remember the last time I asked him the ‘Am I fatter than her?’ question, and he thought about it for a while and then said he didn’t think I’d asked him that since the summer. He said it made a nice change! Heh.


My outlook has altered so radically that at the moment I couldn’t care less what other women look like. I don’t know if it’s a temporary or permanent attitude adjustment, but that bitchy internal monologue seems to have switched off, and I feel much more chilled and happy as a consequence.


If I do notice someone’s body, I don’t feel that insecure compulsion to compare it against mine and give us each a comparative score.  It just doesn’t seem important any more. Every day I’m surrounded by women – some are older, some younger, most are thinner, a few are fatter, some are in great shape, some have boobs and bellies dragging on their kneecaps, some are gorgeous, some are ordinary.


I’ve stopped seeing them as rivals, as if we were all competitors in a beauty pageant, and started seeing them as just other women instead, and it’s so liberating!


The self-acceptance part means that I’ve finally seen that although I’ll never be the youngest or the thinnest or the fittest or the prettiest it really doesn’t matter!


I’m beginning to feel comfortable with myself, for the first time ever. I know I’ve got boobs like spaniel’s ears, and a belly like a deflated beach ball. I know that I’ll never be a runner or a gymnast or a ballerina or a supermodel. I’ll always be short, and I’ll always have curly hair, and I’ll always be short sighted, and no amount of walking or cycling is going to turn my chunky legs into slender willowy ones. I’ll probably always bite my nails, and I’ll always know my hair turned grey whilst I was still a teenager, and I’ll always have the scar bisecting my belly from my navel to my pubic bone from when I had my cystectomy (which is why K calls my stomach my ‘front bottom’. Heh heh).


None of that matters.


I’m a hell of a long way from perfect, and I know I’ll have days when I feel like the bride of Frankenstein, but I’ve finally stopped feeling innately ugly and inadequate, and it feels bloody fabulous!

Jan 24, 2006 at 17:52 o\clock

Death by Chocolate

Today's Weight 177 lbs 


What would you do if you won a decade’s supply of chocolate?


I pose this question because towards the end of last summer my friend won first prize in a promotional competition run by one of the local stores, which specialises in making and selling its own luxury handmade chocolates. Boy, she was SO thrilled!


The prize is a weekly delivery of a luxury hamper, containing two 1kg boxes of handmade continental chocolates, a 1kg tin of bitter chocolate shavings for adding to hot milk, a 1kg slab of hand poured milk chocolate with whole hazelnuts, and a 1kg carton of chocolate dipped fruit (usually strawberries, cherries and orange slices).


This hamper has arrived like clockwork for the last 20 or so Wednesdays, and will continue to arrive every week until the year 2015.


Which brings me back to my question, what would you do with that much chocolate?


For my friend, the prize has become something of a poisoned chalice. She’s single and childless, so there’s no one at home to help her to eat it. She can’t feed it to the dog because it upsets his stomach. And since she works from home, she doesn’t even have an office-full of greedy colleagues who can rally round and help her get rid of it.


She’s given quite a lot of it away as gifts to family and friends (it came in very handy at Christmas!), but recently a lot of the beneficiaries have embarked on healthier lifestyles and are becoming reluctant to take it off her hands.


She tried offering it to the local care homes and to the children’s ward at the hospital, but received polite refusals from all parties.


The competition rules prohibit her from selling it because any income would be pure unadulterated profit.


So in a mere half year she’s built up her very own EU chocolate mountain. Only another 10 years of weekly deliveries to go…


So, as a last resort, because she feared being buried under the weight of the accumulating boxes, she’s started to eat it.


…And eat it….and eat it…..and eat it…..


Last night she came round for dinner, and I scrupulously avoided making anything chocolatey for dessert, figuring that she’d be sickened to the stomach by the mere thought of eating another bite of the damn stuff.


What a miscalculation! She said that since she started eating so much chocolate, averaging between a quarter and half a kilo a day (or 0.5lbs to 1.0lbs a day for you non-metric folks), her life has been made a misery by the unrelenting intensity of her chocolate cravings.


If she attempts to cut down on the amount of chocolate she’s eating she gets blinding migraines and feels physically sick. She’s started to sleep badly, and has to get up in the night for a chocolate fix to see her through until the morning. She’s started adding the chocolate shavings to her breakfast cereal, her coffee, her peanut butter sandwiches…she’s totally addicted to the evil brown stuff!


Before she won this prize, she was a totally normal mid-thirties gal. She exercised regularly, though not as much as she thought she ought to, and she ate reasonably healthily, though again not as well as she thought she should. She had the odd chocolate craving – usually when it was her time of the month – but most of the time she could either take chocolate or leave it.


Since she won the prize she’s gained a stone (14lbs). She’s still not fat, by any means, but given that she didn’t start tucking into the goodies until November, it’s a bit of a worrying development. What’s worrying her more, though, is that she’s noticed that her overall tastes are changing, and that she’s developing an increasingly sweet tooth. She never used to take sugar in tea or coffee – now she does. Most of her eating vices were previously on the savoury side – cheese, peanuts, cheese, crisps, cheese, pretzels, cheese, cheese straws etc. – now she’s more likely to eat (chocolate) biscuits, (chocolate) cake, (chocolate) ice-cream.


It’s taking over her entire life!


At this rate it will be truly a lifetime supply, and she’ll have died of chocolate poisoning long before the year 2015. In her case the old adage is definitely true - be careful what you wish for, because your dream-come-true prize might just turn out to be a bit of a nightmare…