The Fatslayer Chronicles

Oct 31, 2005 at 19:49 o\clock

It's sport, not exercise.

Today's Weight 181.5 lbs


Did I mention that I treated K and myself to a new bike each? Well, I did (last week), and for the first time ever we’ve got front and rear suspension. What a difference it makes! Yesterday we went to Thetford forest and searched out the muddiest, rootiest, ruttiest, gnarliest single-track that we could find, and rode it for two and a half solid hours – and by the end of it I wasn’t the least little bit saddle sore. My legs felt like two strands of overcooked spaghetti, but my – ahem – delicate bits were just fine and dandy. Woohoo – what a breakthrough!


There was a race meeting on, and I did manage to go arse over tip in the start area in front of about 250 fit young guys when I couldn’t unclip out of my SPD pedals fast enough, but even that wasn’t enough to cast a cloud over my day. The sun was blazing, the bike was great, my bits were comfy and I felt fit and fabulous. What a difference a new bike and (almost) fifty fewer pounds of blubber makes! Just think how great I’ll feel when I’ve lost a hundred pounds!


There’s something primitively satisfying about hurtling down bombholes and getting covered in mud and scratches and nettle stings – it makes you feel so vibrant and alive! I had a couple of hairy moments when the terrain was a bit beyond my technical bike-handling abilities and I thought I was going to catapult myself over the handlebars and do myself a serious injury, but amazingly I managed to stay upright apart from the aforementioned face-plant and only came home with a few bruises. I’m already looking forward to next Sunday so that I can do it all over again!


Wouldn’t it be great if exercise was always that much fun? If instead of cycling on turbo trainers or running on treadmills, or using rowing machines or skiing machines at the gym, we could be out cycling hell for leather down alpine hillsides or running through sun-dappled tree-shaded country lanes, or white water rafting down turbulent rapids, or hurtling downhill on some off-piste black run. Suddenly it wouldn’t feel like ‘exercise’ – with all it’s negative connotations – it would feel like plain simple unadulterated fun.


My female co-workers and I were discussing what we did “for exercise”, and one of the guys chipped in and said “why don’t you stop doing all this ‘exercise’ and start doing some sports instead?”


Then he sauntered off with a smug grin on his face, in that really annoying way that some men have when they think they’ve just scored a point over the ‘girlies’.


It got me thinking though, I have to admit. Dammit, he had a point. Probably the people who are out there pushing themselves to their physical limits running up mountains, or competing in marathons, or doing 24 hours solo mountain bike enduro races, or cross-country skiing, or playing rugby or football, or pounding the hell out of each other at boxing or karate, or practising their ballet moves over and over again etc. don’t think of what they’re doing as “exercise” at all. If they give what they’re doing a name, they probably think of it as “doing sports” or “having fun”.


It’s like when I was a little kid and I’d be “out playing” for hours and hours and hours at a time, just riding round the neighbourhood on my bike, or roller-skating, or running round with the other kids, or climbing trees, or skipping, or swimming in the river. I was an overweight kid, but I never thought of what I was doing as ‘exercise’ – I was just doing what all kids do naturally without giving it a second’s thought. If someone had told me it was ‘exercise’ I’d probably have thought it was too hard for me to do, and gone indoors and read a book instead.


Now Shakespeare may have been technically right when he said “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet”, but there’s definitely something to be said about trying to change the mental terminology to think of workouts as “doing sports” or “having fun” instead of “exercising”. It may take a stretch of the imagination to think in those terms when I’m pounding the treadmill or the turbo trainer, but if I can manage it, it could make a world of difference to how I feel about this whole business of getting hot and sweaty.

Oct 30, 2005 at 20:10 o\clock

Fat Girls Swallow

Today's Weight 181.5 lbs


I love it when I get the chance to eavesdrop on a good juicy conversation, and the one I overheard today was one of the best I’ve heard in a long while.


I was at a mountain bike meeting, and two drop-dead-gorgeous teenage cycling groupies were talking about blow jobs whilst they waited for their boyfriends to cross the finish line in their 4 hour race.


It started with Girl #1 saying that she was pissed off with her boyfriend (‘Jase’) because he’d been avoiding sex for the past fortnight because he was in training for the race, but that he still wanted her to give him head every night.


Girl #2 pulled a face. “You didn’t do it did you?” she asked. “I mean, like, what was in it for you? What a cheek! You shoulda told him no way.”


Girl #1 shrugged. “I did it every, like, fourth or fifth time he asked me, but I made sure he knew I was doing him a favour,” she said. “But he knew I wasn’t enjoying it, and I didn’t swallow…”


Girl #2 pulled another disgusted face. “Eww, gross. Only fat girls swallow. Plus there’s, like, a zillion calories in it or something – there’s no way I’d break my diet just to keep some horny guy happy…”


They wandered away then, and I was left wondering whether girl #2's assertion that only fat girls swallow had any basis in fact – I mean, did they do a survey in Cosmo or something? Did they poll a 1000 women and find out that only those with a BMI greater than 35 gulp it down? How do these rumours start to circulate?



Related (a little bit) to the above, I was thinking about yesterday’s post, and I’ve decided that I was being a tad hypocritical.


When ‘Donna’ started crowing about how her best mate’s husband is constantly chatting her up, and how it’s only a matter of time before they end up in bed together, I was pretty appalled and disapproving.


Then (after I’d written yesterday’s ungenerous post) I started to think a bit more about how desperate for love and attention I’d been (not just as a teenager, but well into my twenties), and the less-than-elevated moral path that my massive insecurity could have set me walking down if I’d been a little less lucky.


There’s no denying I was hellishly insecure. All my friends were losing their virginity in their mid teens, and at sixteen I’d never even been kissed by a boy, let alone asked out on a date. 


By the time of my 18th birthday I was getting desperate. I felt like everyone in the whole world was getting laid apart from me, and I’m pretty sure (looking back) that if ANY guy had shown me the slightest bit of attention I’d have been up for anything that he’d have asked of me.


Where was my self-esteem? Where were my principles and morals? Where was my pride?


I guess I didn't have any at that stage of my life.


It's sad to realise this, but with hindsight I think the urge to feel attractive would have overridden every higher moral value. Feeling accepted and wanted was a stronger impetus at that time than loyalty, self-esteem, pride, decency and fairness rolled together.


Certainly if a guy had asked me to swallow, I’d have been there with my mouth open so fast that my damn jaw would probably have been dislocated. It wouldn’t have mattered whether he loved me, or respected me, or was otherwise spoken for, or was too old, or too ugly, or too married, or too mean and nasty…the fact that he wanted to have some form of sex with me would have been all that mattered.


Jeeze, how sad! And how dangerous, too! What if I’d come across a perverted uncle or lecherous teacher or some other hideous bottom-feeder? Who the hell knows what would have happened?!


Luckily more by luck than judgment I met and fell in love with a sensitive, kind, decent, unattached man – and so my introduction to the world of relationships and sex and male/female friendship was a lot less traumatic and cringe-inducing than it could otherwise have been.


So I guess I’d better stop being bitchy about Donna, because as the good book says, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones!




I guess the above ramblings are my way of saying that there’s probably some truth in the assertion that fat girls (read, girls with low self-esteem) probably do a lot of things that their prettier sisters wouldn’t do. Not because of an innate lack of morals or values, but because they learn early that beggars can’t be choosers, and that they can’t afford to rock the boat with guys if they’re ever to keep one.


How fucking sad is that?


With hindsight I should have had more self-esteem – shame on me! So what if that made me the world’s oldest virgin – what the hell’s wrong with that? Settling for second best or compromising your integrity is a far worse fate than being a virgin! But I guess it’s easy to see that when you’re 40 – it’s realising it when you’re 16 that’s the difficult bit!

Oct 29, 2005 at 17:53 o\clock

A Hidden Side-Effect of Weight-Loss?

Today's Weight 181.5 lbs


I had dinner last night with a friend who has lost 5 stones (70lbs), and I have to be honest, I was bored to tears and thoroughly depressed by the end of the evening.


I’ve examined my reactions closely to see if I’m suffering from jealousy or sour grapes (after all, she’s lost more weight than I have and is a lot closer to goal) but I truly don’t think I am. When my friend Maddy visited back in September (she of the 175lb loss discussed here) I wasn’t the least little bit jealous, even though she looks fabulous, lives in Rome, has pots of money, a fantastic job and a husband (who looks a bit like Andy Garcia) who absolutely adores her.


Jealous, moi? Not a bit of it. Bitch! You know what? I bet she had to have tons of lipo and cosmetic surgery to look that good, and you should see her cellulite…


Heh heh.


No, I’m just kidding. I had so much fun catching up with Maddy that it never crossed my mind to be jealous. On the contrary, I was sincerely and completely thrilled for her, so much so that I’ve decided I want to be like her when I grow up. She’s my fabulously inspiring dieting role model…


Last night it was different, though. The visiting friend (lets call her Donna) talked tirelessly for six solid hours about herself and her weight loss.


Now, lest I seem churlish, let me say that I can appreciate how proud of herself she must be, and how much her self-esteem must have improved since she started to look so good. And, frankly, she did look good. Gotta give her credit for that.


But I kid you not, in the course of the evening I heard at length about every size 12 outfit she’s ever tried on, every weight-related compliment that has ever been paid her, every chat-up line she’s received since starting her diet, every indulgent treat she’s denied herself, every second of exercise she’s endured.


I learnt about her daily food intake for the last 15 months, the length and duration of her workouts, and even the regularity and consistency of her bowel movements.


As if that wasn’t bad enough, all of this self-absorption was accompanied by the most red-in-tooth-and-claw competitiveness I’ve ever had the misfortune to come across.


It wasn’t enough that she was getting herself healthy – she seemed to have an obsession with being better than everyone else. She couldn’t stop gloating about how she was getting skinnier than her colleagues, getting chatted up more often than her sister, running farther and faster than her best friend. She said at least a couple of times “I’m the pretty one now!”, as if being prettier or slimmer or faster or fitter or more desirable or sexier than her friends and siblings was the most important thing in the world to her.


When she started telling me how thrilled she was that her best mate’s husband was constantly coming on to her sexually, I’d had enough.


Afterwards, when I’d finally got rid of her, I was thinking about the difference between her and Maddy. Maddy was funny and fascinating and fabulous company because her weight loss was only one part of her. It didn’t absorb her so much that it eclipsed everything else in her life – she had great stories to tell about her job, her family, her husband, her Italian in-laws. And all her observations were warm and witty and enormously generous in spirit.


There was none of the awful competitive one-upmanship and the spiteful sourness that Donna displayed. And it made me wonder whether losing weight had simply revealed an existing but previously hidden side of Donna’s personality, or whether the self-absorption required to achieve sustained weight loss had corrupted her in some way, and made her shallow and malicious.


I’m hoping she was always like it but never expressed her hidden side before, because the alternative is too awful to contemplate! If becoming that nasty is a side-effect of successful weight loss, I’d honestly rather stay fat!

Oct 24, 2005 at 20:54 o\clock


Today's Weight 183.5 lbs


Eagle-eyed readers of this blog may have noticed that I’ve gone back to the very beginning and edited out every reference (names, locations, photos etc.) that could identify me in any way to anyone of my acquaintance who happens to stumble across this blog.


In case you’re wondering why I’m so keen to be anonymous, let me explain.


A while back I wrote a post about my friend, and the struggles she was experiencing with her weight. Well, at the weekend she attempted suicide, four years to the day after one of her twin brothers took his own life. Though I’m relieved to report that the attempt was unsuccessful, it made me realise the huge burdens my friend is carrying at the moment, and it seemed suddenly unforgivably insensitive to write about her without her consent in a blog that could easily identify me – and through me, her.


Her daughter told me she’s been obsessing more and more about her size (which is the biggest it’s ever been), and spiralling deeper and deeper into depression. She’s started spending hours on the internet every day reading diet message boards, chatting in diet chat rooms, reading fat blogs etc. in an attempt to motivate herself into action. The fact that as a catalyst this isn’t working seems to have been the last straw.


It struck me that while the whole point of this blog is to be (sometimes painfully) honest about my own struggles and experiences, it isn’t fair to air other people’s struggles in a public forum. If my friend were to stumble across this site and recognise me, and the fact that I was revealing some of her most private, shameful secrets, she’d be absolutely mortified.


Consequently, I had to choose between a) trying to throw folks off the scent through anonymity b) locking/password protecting the blog c) quitting writing it altogether.


I chose the first one.


That’s pretty much all I’ve got to say today. I’d like to write something profound, but frankly I feel numb and sick to my stomach. My friend’s pain and unhappiness are so raw – and all the more sad for having at their root something so seemingly superficial and unimportant as the fact that she’s fat.


It shouldn’t matter, should it? It shouldn’t be important. It shouldn’t define her and crowd out all the positives in her life. It shouldn’t make her hate herself, or wish she were dead.


I feel so angry and upset and furious and sad and mad and just downright depressed that I live in a society where something as trivial and shallow as what you look like takes on such a weighty significance. Something is seriously wrong when someone would rather be dead than face another day being fat.


OK, that's enough for today.

Oct 21, 2005 at 21:20 o\clock

Living A Dog's Life

Today's Weight 184.5 lbs


My weight loss has slowed a lot this past month, and I’ve had to put my new-found maturity and patience into practise. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that I’ve only lost a couple of pounds in the past 4 weeks,  especially since I’ve been so committed and conscientious, but for the first time ever I’m not disheartened. I realise that I have no other choice but to keep plugging away at it, however long it takes – quitting is simply not an option.


I was looking at K2 as he lay beside me on the floor yesterday, and it suddenly struck me that K and I have looked after our dog’s well-being better than our own. K2’s a Labrador, and as any folks that have ever owned a Lab could testify, they could eat their owners’ body weight in food and still be hungry. Man, they are eating (and pooping) machines! K2 thinks about food – and schemes to get it – from the second his eyes open in the morning till the moment they close at night. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that he even dreams about eating. Left to his own devices he’d probably eat himself to death within a couple of days. 


K and I have seen our fair share of fat Labs, and we were determined not to let this happen to K2. We’ve ruled the poor mutt with a will of iron, and strictly governed his food intake. Throughout all of his 14 years he’s been just under the top end of his acceptable weight range - so he’s not starving, though he’d have you believe he is!  Titbits have been strictly rationed, we’ve learned to ignore his supplications, and have grown hardened to paddling in a puddle of doggy drool every time we sit down for a meal.


Whenever we’ve gone on holiday and K’s mom has looked after K2, we’ve come back to find a food-bloated, flatulence-riddled pooch roasting beside the Aga just in case she drops any more jam tarts or rock buns on the floor in his vicinity. She finds it impossible to ignore his apparently insatiable hunger, and feeds him constantly. She means to be kind, but if he were her dog and not ours I’m pretty sure he’d never have lived to the grand old age that he’s managed to achieve under our firmer regime.  Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.


I wonder why K and I have been wiser with our dog than with ourselves? In the whole of the past 14 years we’ve never once lost sight of the fact that K2 will live longer and stay healthier if his weight is within tolerable limits. If that seems so axiomatic where our dog is concerned, why haven’t we extended that simple truth to our own lives? Are we so self-indulgent that in order to make wise choices we need the equivalent of a concerned owner standing over us and refusing us the treats and titbits that we feel we deserve? Can’t we take proper care and responsibility for ourselves?


It would seem not...


I guess it’s easy to be good when someone doesn’t allow you the opportunity to be bad, but it’s not so easy to stay on the straight and narrow when the only person policing you is yourself. Being naughty is just so much more fun – and I’m not just talking weight management  !

Oct 16, 2005 at 16:32 o\clock

The Red Badge of Determination

Today's Weight 186.0 lbs


I’ve just had a two-part epiphany about myself and my attitude towards exercise and getting fit.


Part one happened on Friday night.


I got on the turbo trainer for my customary 45 minute workout and started pedalling away. Now, as any readers familiar with turbo trainers (or other forms of stationary cycling equipment) would testify, as a form of exercise it’s pretty damn boring. Its just me and the bike – no pleasant scenery, no fellow exercisers, nothing technically challenging, no interesting destination to strive towards, nothing to disguise the fact that it’s just me in my dining room on a bike turning the cranks and putting the pedal to the metal.


But it’s a good workout, which is the whole damn point, right?

On Friday night, about ten minutes into the workout, I thought “Jeeze, this is soooooo hard!” I wasn’t enjoying myself or having any kind of fun, and I’d have liked nothing better than to just make an excuse and quit. The thought of having to carry on for another 35 minutes before I could stop was torturous.


I gritted my teeth and carried on pedalling, and to try to make the time pass quicker I tried to analyse exactly what was so hard about what I was doing.


Were my muscles fatigued and trembling with exhaustion? No, they felt absolutely fine.


My lungs, then. Were they burning and feeling as if they were filled with shards of glass with every breath I took? No, they were fine too.


Did I have a stitch or muscle cramp? Again, no, my body felt comfortable.


So what the hell was I bloody complaining about?


After a while it dawned on me that the reason I thought it was hard was because my face was hot. That was it, plain and simple. My face was flaming, and I could see in the mirror over the fireplace that it was as red as beetroot.


And then the penny dropped. I HATE, HATE, HATE my face feeling like that. As soon as my face begins to flame it sends a signal to my brain telling me that it’s time to quit what I’m doing and run away.


A red face makes me feel unfit, even when I’m not. A red face makes me feel exposed and self-conscious – as if I’ve got a neon sign above my head saying “Fat Unfit Chick Trying To Exercise Here!”  A red face draws attention, elicits comments from strangers, and makes me stand out from the crowd. A red face is unflattering and embarrassing. A red face is to be avoided at all costs.


It’s the same with blushing. I’m very fair skinned, and have always blushed easily. Though it doesn’t faze me as much now I’m older and less self-conscious, as a child and teenager I lived in dread of that hot wave of crimson blood rushing up my neck to my hairline, making my face burn and glow. People would always comment about how red I’d gone, which would make me blush even more fiercely. And, as with exercise, I’d always want the ground to swallow me up, so that I could hide from the comments and the horrible, stomach-clenching attention.


So, realising that was a bit of an eye-opener for me. It’s not necessarily exercise per se that I don’t enjoy, but the sweaty red-faced huffing-and-puffing and LOOKING UNFIT that I dislike.


On to the second part of my epiphany.


This happened yesterday when K and I went to London to the Cycle Show. Between drooling over all the new ’06 MTB bikes and checking out the new kit, we took the time to watch a couple of mini duathlon races that were taking place in the arena.


Each heat had 6 competitors, and comprised a 5k race. Three minutes of cycling on turbo trainers hooked up to a virtual reality predominantly uphill mountainous 3k course, followed by a 2k run on the treadmill, followed by a return to the bike to finish the remaining 2k or so of the course. The fastest male and female competitors at the end of the weekend each won a £2000 bike.


I watched in absolute wonderment and awe as the competitors (some as young as 14, some as old as 65) pushed themselves to the limit to win their race. They had to go flat-out and non-stop for the whole 5k, and studying their faces I could see how deep they we were digging into their reserves. Some were red faced with mouths hanging open to suck in air, some were white faced and nauseous-looking, and ALL were – without exception – absolutely dripping with sweat.


I turned to K and said “Have you ever pushed yourself that hard?” and he looked surprised, and replied, “Yes, of course. Plenty of times. Why, haven’t you?”


And I had to admit that no, in the whole course of my life I couldn’t recall a single occasion when I’d pushed myself THAT hard.


I realised that when the going gets tough, I tend to slow down or give up. I’m not naturally competitive, so I’d rather fail or come second (or third or fourth or last) rather than push push push myself to the point of exhaustion. I hate being hot and sweaty in public (see above), and I’m not a huge fan of pain or discomfort, so when my face starts to burn and my muscles to hurt, I allow myself to ease back.


Hence my awe at these people, showing me what it’s like to be a competitor, and the grit and hard work and effort and pain that it takes to make yourself better and stronger and fitter.


Now, having had my two epiphanies, I need to consolidate what I’ve learned and try to develop a psychologically different approach towards exercise. I’ve got to try to counteract the negative connotations of sweat and a burning face, with positive associations of health and well-being, and pride at having pushed myself. I’ve got to develop a more gutsy attitude, so that I see challenges as something to be overcome, rather than avoided. I’ve got to learn that nothing worthwhile is achieved without sacrifice and pain and effort and determination.


I want to get over this exercise aversion. I want to be fitter. Most of all I want to feel proud of myself for having dug deep to go the extra mile.


I’ll let you know if I see any improvement…

Oct 14, 2005 at 18:23 o\clock

Sour Grapes

Today's Weight 186.0 lbs


I’ve been thinking a lot about my last post – and the thoughtful comments it generated – and having analysed my ambivalence some more, I have to admit that in part at least it’s down to old fashioned sour-grapes and jealousy.


Seeing those women acting so confidently makes me uncomfortably aware that I’m one of those overweight people who have allowed their weight to blight their lives.


I’ve not agonised over it constantly, or allowed my feelings of bodily dissatisfaction to metamorphose into self-loathing, but I’d be lying if I said that in a million and one small ways it hadn’t affected how I’ve conducted myself since very early childhood.


In my family weight defines whether you’re good or bad, attractive or ugly, a success or failure – everything is measured against it. I realised this, and internalised it, from a really early age.


I loved sports and dancing when I was a very young child, but as I became increasingly aware of maternal disapproval of my size, I gradually became more and more of a wallflower. Then the shyness and self-consciousness spread into other areas, until there were clothes that I would feel uncomfortable wearing (sleeveless, clingy, revealing etc), places I would feel uncomfortable going (nightclubs, parties, holiday resorts etc), things that I would feel uncomfortable doing (flirting, dancing, water sports etc)….and so on and so on.


I’ve never been uninhibited and unabashed and carefree when it comes to size. I’ve always been aware of feeling unattractive, undesirable – almost unworthy in some fundamental way because of it.


So when I see a whole new generation of young women acting as if they’re large and proud of it, it stirs up some uncomfortable feelings. Feelings of frustration and annoyance against myself, mainly. I see them enjoying themselves and having fun, and I get angry at myself for having spent my life being so damn hung up on shallow trivialities like what people (strangers!) were thinking about me. I just wish I hadn’t cared so bloody much, and then maybe I wouldn’t have let so many opportunities pass me by.


When I think of the summers I’ve wasted being hot and miserable because I wouldn’t dare wear gauzy sleeveless blouses or go swimming or wear shorts I could scream. So maybe to some people I’d have been an eyesore, but I’d have been a hell of a lot more comfortable. Why did I give those people so much power over me, and why did (does!) it bother me so much whether I gain their approval or not?


K’s mom is a lovely woman, who I love and admire with all my heart, but she has one flaw, and that is her predisposition to judge everyone – but particularly women – by their appearance. I’ve always deplored this tendency in her to determine a woman’s merits by the amount of designer labels she owns or by how slim and attractive she is, but I’ve always cut her some slack because I think that’s the sort of trivial worldview you develop when you’ve owned designer boutiques your whole working life and have steeped yourself in the covers of Vogue.


But really, when I come to think of it, I censure myself just as much as K’s mom censures other women. I rule myself with a rod of iron, and am not only my own worst critic but also my own judge, jury and jailer.


I’ve imprisoned myself my whole life in a restricting web of what I’ve judged acceptable for a fat woman to do and wear. I can’t blame anyone else - I robbed myself of all those opportunities, and that’s a hard pill to swallow.


So yes, when I see fat young women letting it all hang out, I have ambivalent feelings. Part of me exults in their freedom and wishes I was like them, but another (nasty) part of me wants to see their spirit broken so that they become like me and don’t act as reminders that things could have been different if I’d just had more courage.


I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s hugely important if I’m ever to stand a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming a nice person that I don’t let the sour-grapes side have the upper hand. Surely the goal is to break the bars of my own prison, not wish there were more inmates incarcerated alongside me!

Oct 5, 2005 at 21:44 o\clock

Fat Pride

Today's Weight 187.0 lbs


I’ve been looking at a lot of bellies lately, and I have to say I’m pretty ambivalent about this whole “if you’ve got fat, flaunt it” attitude. On the one hand, I sort of admire women who have the confidence to bare their fat, but another part of me is appalled at their lack of decorum and – dare I say it – self-respect. That inhibited, judgemental part wants to run up to them with big baggy sweaters and cover them up, as if I was some priggish Victorian father appalled at a glimpse of ankle or cleavage. That’s the part of me I’m fighting against at the moment.


It seems to be a fairly recent phenomenon, to see these hefty gals walking around with their untamed wobbly bits protruding in the gap between their shirt and their jeans. It’s caught on like wildfire – suddenly all this flesh has burst forth and multiplied like some kind of marauding chubster virus, and you can’t swing a cat on the average high street without it bouncing from one Buddha belly to the next.


Either this is due to some sort of widespread reverse body dsymorphia, whereby all these girls look in the mirror and see a Kate Moss physique rather than a Dawn French one staring back at ‘em, or its down to a fundamental change in their attitudes towards their bodies – they think they look great and they don’t give a flying fuck what anyone else thinks of them.


If it’s the latter, it’s refreshing – and intellectually I applaud it – but I’ve got to be honest, I’m struggling to actually find it attractive. I try to find it attractive - and I honestly don't turn my nose up at them for being that size and shape - but the thought of joining their ranks and letting it all hang out simply horrifies me!


I’m old school, you see. I’ve spent a lifetime covering up my batwing arms and my chunky calves, wearing marquee-dimension Tshirts that reach to mid-thigh, avoiding anything clingy or figure-hugging. I find it shocking that women with figures like mine have started to hit the beaches in thong bikinis, and to sashay down the street on an average Friday night wearing clobber that wouldn’t look out of place in a Rocky Horror audience. Fat girls aren’t supposed to show cleavage! Fat girls aren’t supposed to go clubbing in a basque, fishnet stockings and velvet cheek-skimmer hot-pants (like I saw a big gal wearing at the weekend!). Us fat girls are supposed to be discreet, understated and inconspicuous - aren’t we?!?!


The fact that fat girls in their droves are challenging this self-loathing world-view has turned all my preconceptions on their head, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m still Little-Miss-Inhibited, and it doesn’t seem to matter how many leg-of-mutton upper arms or Michelin-man waistlines I see, for me personally nothing would persuade me to strip off and throw caution to the winds. I guess forty years of discomfort with flashing my fat in public can’t be easily cast aside.


But there appears to be a whole generation of young women who don’t have the same embarrassment about their girth as I do, and they’re standard bearers for fat acceptance. I think that that must be a good thing. Certainly if it leads to big girls living richer, fuller lives, and throwing themselves unashamedly into physical activities with gusto and enthusiasm (sports, sex, dancing etc.) instead of standing on the sidelines like shy wallflowers  - and thus ensuring that they’re not only fat but also happy and healthy - it’s definitely a good thing.


Do I sound as if I've convinced myself...?

Oct 2, 2005 at 15:15 o\clock

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

Today's Weight 187.0 lbs


Is it just me, or does anyone else lie about how much they weigh to complete strangers or anonymous organisations who probably don't give two hoots anyway?

I've been reading up on mountain bikes lately, 'cos I need (well, OK, want)  a new one, and all the manufacturers seem to assume that just because you're 5'1" and want a 14" MTB frame, that you must weigh less than a dessicated gnat.

Because I'm so short with stumpy arms (don't ask!) I need the smallest possible bike frame, so as well as looking at the mainstream bike ranges, I've been ringing round lots of UK custom bike builders. Yesterday I was explaining my dimensions (height, inside leg measurement, arm length) to my 1st choice frame builder, and he was umming and aahing and saying he was sure he could sort something out for me (within my price range! I was sooooo excited!), and then he dropped a bombshell by saying that he thought lightweight titanium tubing and the Scareb fork would be the best options for someone my height 'cos they were awesome for riders under 130lbs.

My excitement evaporated, and my heart sank into my boots. Dammit, why does weight have to come into every bloody thing?! A pox on my porkiness! [sorry, I've been reading Shakespeare lately! His curses were so colourful!]

How much do you weigh? he asked.

Quick as lightning, I said "Oh, round about that, I think, certainly no more than ten stone-ish (140lbs)..."

Oh, in that case you'll be fine, he said. I'll pull you a spec and a quote together, and we'll take it from there...

I put the phone down and did some quick sums. Presuming I could afford his quote and stalled before placing an order, it'd be at least 6 weeks before the bike was ready. If I stalled some more before going for a test-ride of the finished bike I could stretch the moment when I'd actually have to meet him for maybe 8 weeks or so. That meant I only had to lose, oh, 6lbs a week or so, between now and then, and then I could go and pick up my new hugely expensive bike without fear of buckling the frame and destroying my new skinny-gal forks.

6lbs a week is do-able, isn't it?!?!

Then a bit of sense returned, and I decided I'd have to bite the bullet and 'fess up that I'm nowhere near 140lbs - six lbs a week was just impossible.

I phoned him back and was just about to come out with some elaborately convoluted explanation of how I'd just stepped on the scales and realised (how did that happen?) that I was 13st 5lbs not 10 stones and could he change his specs accordingly, when my mouth opened and I heard myself say that I'd changed my mind about going down the custom route after all, and that I was sorry I'd wasted his time, blah blah blah.

I sounded like a complete dithering idiot, and to say he wasn't very happy is a serious understatement! Mind you, I can't say as I blame him, given that I'd been on the phone with him for over an hour discussing everything from tyres to colour schemes.

So now I've made it impossible to go back to him - and he was my favourite frame builder! - and I'm mad at myself for not being honest upfront and saying I was "180+lbs but dieting", instead of reinforcing his assumptions that because I was small I must be skinny.

Damn, damn, damnit!!!!