The Fatslayer Chronicles

Nov 29, 2005 at 19:49 o\clock

14,400 hummingbirds to go

Today's Weight 181.5 lbs 


I woke up this morning to find that I’d gained 2lbs overnight, and I immediately felt massively fat.


I told myself that having only eaten 1300 calories yesterday there was no earthly possibility that I’d gained two pounds of actual lard, and that it was obviously fluid, or scale malfunction, or the Gods playing games with me – but it didn’t make any difference.


Logic flew out of the window.


Psychologically, it felt as if I’d regained every single one of the 50lbs I’ve lost so far – and more! I felt fatter than I’d ever felt in my whole life. I felt as if I’d been invaded by fat, in some insidious dead-of-night blubber coup. It was as if my body had acted as some sort of fat Hoover, and somehow sucked up every fat cell in the universe.


Fat, fat, fat, fat, fat, fat, fat.


Now I know I’ve written posts before about how fine I am with the weight fluctuations that go hand in hand with daily weigh-ins. Usually I am. But two pounds!  A gal can cope with a half-pound gain, or a pound – or even a pound-and-a-half…but two pounds!!!


Two pounds is two average weeks of weight loss. Two pounds is 7000 calories of effort and denial. Two pounds is a pretty hefty weight, when you come to think about it.


If you had a two pound cyst you’d know about it. [Trust me on this one – I had a one pound ovarian cyst removed a while back and it was the size of a grapefruit. I could even feel it through MY fat midriff.]


Babies have survived with birth-weights of two pounds.


The average adult guinea pig weighs two pounds.


576 average size hummingbirds weigh two pounds.


32 human adult eyeballs weigh two pounds.


Two pounds is a LOT of weight!


There are serious emotional upheavals involved in any serious weight-loss endeavour. When the scales refuse to play ball it can feel like the end of the world. In reality, of course, I’m no fatter today than I was yesterday, but psychologically I feel like a blimp today. The irrationality of that perspective drives me crazy!


What I need to realise is that if it takes 576 hummingbirds to make a two pound weight, it takes 14,400 hummingbirds to make a fifty pound weight – and that’s what I’ve (really) lost so far.


That’s a whole host of hummingbirds.


And the twenty five guinea pigs it would take to make up a fifty pound weight is a lot of guinea pigs. A glut of guinea pigs, enough to feed some South American tribe for a month!


Fifty pounds is the equivalent of 6.25 average adult human heads.


Fifty pounds is the equivalent of 5.5 cremated average sized adult humans.


Fifty pounds is double the amount of weight that the average woman gains in a full term pregnancy.


Fifty pounds is the equivalent of SEVEN average weight human newborn babies.


Fifty pounds is the average weight of dung produced in one day by an adult elephant.


Now that’s a hell of a lot of poop!


It’s amazing to think that I’ve lost the equivalent of seven full term babies! Imagine how knackering it would be to walk around with them strapped about one’s person in baby slings for a day – and yet I used to carry around twice that amount of excess weight. No wonder I never had any energy!


The buoyancy of the human spirit is amazing. Having reminded myself I’ve lost the equivalent of a day’s worth of elephant shit I’m now feeling positively cheerful – not to mention quite svelte and foxy!

Nov 28, 2005 at 19:47 o\clock

Fat Blue Stockings

Today's Weight 179.5 lbs 


Within my extended family there are several fat women.


[Incidentally there are NO fat men – that only just occurred to me! I wonder if that’s significant…I’ll mull on that for a later post.]


All the fat women are intelligent, academically bright and professionally successful. 


The rest have ‘jobs’ rather than careers, and have navigated through the choppy waters of life with varying degrees of success or failure. So far (thankfully) there has been no drug abuse, no violence, no family scandal bad enough to make me want to flee the country and change my identity.


On the other hand, there has been much successful (and loving) child-rearing, much uncomplaining toil for little pay and less reward, much dedication to home and family life.


In the early ‘60s my family experienced its very own baby-boom, and 5 of us girl-cousins were born between 1962 and 1966. Me, my sister J, and my cousin Janet were the ‘brainy ones’ and my other three cousins (Tracey and Debbie) were ‘the thin and pretty ones’.


We were predominantly plain and nerdy and gauche, while they all had boyfriends by the time they were twelve, had gotten laid by the time they were fourteen, and were knocked up by the time they were eighteen.


Man, we envied them! And boy, how they mocked and tormented us!


My cousin Debbie died in her teens, but even at 40+ Tracey is still jaw-droppingly gorgeous. It's difficult to differentiate her from her equally gorgeous daughters and their already frighteningly well-developed (though still pre-pubescent) granddaughters. They constitute three generations of skinny, foxy head-turners.


The last time we got together at a family party, J, Janet and I sat together with our respective husbands/partners and talked about diets and work and diets and work and diets and work and …well, you get the picture.


None of us danced – at a family party! – and none of us wore anything sexy and revealing (in our defence we hadn’t realised it was that sort of get-together), and most of us didn’t even do any flirting – except possibly with our own partners.


But we were now mature women, right? Confident, poised and self-assured, right? No longer those fat little geeks wistfully wishing we were pretty and popular, right?




It was like being transported back to the agonies of teenagerhood! I felt as fat and inadequate at forty as I had done at thirteen! All of their taunts and barbs came flooding back – because as teenagers they were cruel in the way that only gorgeous girls can be cruel.


If there was envy on either side, if was definitely emanating from the fat corner. Despite our successful careers and (mainly) successful marriages, there was a general feeling of inadequacy and yearning. OK, so we might earn better salaries and have more stable relationships, but we’d sell a kidney to be that sexy and that attractive!


Meanwhile, you could tell from their sneers that the skinnies might envy us our spending power, but they wouldn’t swap roles with us for a heartbeat.


It made me wonder what our lives would have turned out like if we’d been prettier and hotter. Our pretty cousins were no less intelligent than we were as children, but as soon as adolescence hit, they had no time for anything except boys. They skipped school, played up in classes, stayed out late every night, failed their exams, and left school at 16. Whilst J, Janet and I were studying for our A levels and choosing our respective universities, they were struggling to raise their firstborns in grotty council high-rises.


By the time we left university at the threshold of our careers Tracey had a couple of kids and all of her career opportunities had been wasted.


Yet, on some really deep level, we envy her, not vice versa. We probably wouldn’t go so far as to change places with her, but we’d certainly choose some of the more palatable aspects of being her.


It’s called having your cake and eating it, I think.


It makes me wonder - if we’d been pretty and slim would that have been our destiny too? Would we have been strong enough to resist the lure of teenage testosterone?


How many dynamite careers have turned into duds because some teenage Romeo turned the (previously studious) head of a bewitching Juliet? Maybe all that boy-attention would have been our undoing!


If so, we have our fat to thank for making us successful career women.


That’s a good thing…right?

Nov 25, 2005 at 15:19 o\clock

We Are Borg

Today's Weight 180 lbs 


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I’ve got to start applying some guerrilla tactics in order to win this fat war. I reckon a frontal onslaught is doomed to failure, and that I’ve got to out-adapt, out-manoeuvre and out-wit my fat cells if I’m to stand any real chance of success.


Fat cells are like MRSA bacteria – they’re resistant little bastards! It doesn’t matter what tactics you use or what weapons you’ve got in your arsenal – they’ll simply mutate and whip your arse as soon as your back is turned. To win you’ve got to be smart – you’ve got to keep one step ahead of them and downwind.


Fighting fat cells is like fighting Borg drones (apologies to non-Trekkies who haven’t a clue what the hell I’m talking about) - they can’t be beaten in a straight fight with conventional weapons. You get one or two kills and then you have to choose a new weapon…and then another…and then another.


Adapt or die, that’s the key.


So I’ve got to learn to vary my exercise – one day turbo training, one day upper body weights, one day rebounding, one day lower body resistance training, one day sitting on the sofa pressing the buttons on the remote control…


You get the idea.


Food, too, has to be an ever-changing weapon. One day lower calories, the next day higher, one day heavy on the protein, one day high on the carbs, one day high on the fibre, etc. etc.


Confuse the hell out of the little buggers!


I’ve been stuck in a familiar rut for the past couple of months, eating the same stock of (healthy) foods day in and day out, keeping my calories religiously below 1400 per day, (though admittedly doing less and less exercise with little or no variety in how I move my body).


Now the chickens have come home to roost, and it’s plateau-ville around here.


I’ve been reluctant to change a previously successful formula, but things have started to slow down more than I’d like. Things ain’t working like they used to, and weight-loss is no longer a predictable part of the equation.


Doing what I’ve always done is no longer good enough. It’s time to be a bit braver and bit more daring, and to go out on a limb a little.


Adapt, adapt, adapt. That’s the secret - and resistance is futile!

Nov 23, 2005 at 10:22 o\clock

A bit of controversy on a Wednesday morning...

Today's Weight 180 lbs 


Would you want to be considered disabled, just because you’re fat?


A woman is threatening to sue the NHS trust that my best friend works for, under UK disability legislation, for violating her civil rights because she was a) counselled by an anaesthetist to lose weight before having knee surgery; b) not permitted to take a bath before the operation was performed, but was forced to take a shower instead; c) not provided with surgical stockings after the surgery; d) humiliated and distressed by the above alleged ‘fat discrimination’.


On the face of it, all of this sounds fair enough, but if you look at it from the Trust’s viewpoint, it paints a different picture.


The woman is 57 years old, and weighs 34 stones (476lbs). She has diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and emphysema. She smokes a pack and a half of cigarettes a day.


To address each of her complaints in turn:

a)     There was a very real possibility that she would have problems under a general anaesthetic, not just because of her weight, but also because of her associated health problems and her smoking. The consultant anaesthetist was acting in her best interests by informing her of this, and advising her to lose weight before submitting to a non-emergency procedure.


b)     The hospital bathtubs are more than twice as large as the average domestic tub, but were still not sufficiently wide enough to accommodate such a large lady. Nor were the hoists able to support her weight - they were only supposed to support weights below 30 stones (420lbs). Attempting to bathe her would have been dangerous to both her and the nursing staff. Again, in my opinion, the nurses were acting in her best interests. 


c)     The hospital supplies department contacted the manufacturers of the stockings directly to see if they produced stockings in such a large size – they didn’t. The risk of a surgery-induced embolism was high, but too-tight stockings would have exacerbated the risk, not reduced it. Again, the decision was made in her best interest.


d)     I guess I can’t speak for her state of mind, and I expect she DID feel humiliated and distressed – which was obviously not in her best interest…but was that entirely – or at all - the fault of the hospital?


This woman said – when interviewed on local radio - that the Trust had an obligation and duty to offer people with disabilities the same treatment and facilities as were offered to other able-bodied members of the public. I agree with her – but is the analogy correct in this case?


An ‘able-bodied’ person would also be counselled not to have non-emergency surgery if there was a significant likelihood that they would die under the anaesthetic.


With regard to the bath-tub, is the Trust acting in a discriminatory manner by not providing bathing facilities large enough to accommodate every conceivable body shape? Should they provide a super-sized tub just in case they get either a patient that’s seven foot tall or a set of conjoined twins who need to bathe together?


That would be overkill, right? The complainant’s body size is exceptional – so is it ‘discrimination’ to fail to cater for the exceptional? The lady admitted she hadn’t been able to fit into her bathtub at home for over twenty years – why did she feel it was her ‘right’ to be accommodated in hospital?


The hospital did it’s best to meet her special needs – they hired a super-strength pressure-relieving bed so that she would be comfortable, and brought in one additional nurse per shift so that she could be turned regularly in bed to prevent crud collecting in her lungs and helped onto the commode etc. Wasn’t that investment in her welfare enough?


Frankly, that knee-jerk reaction to head down the litigation route really sticks in my craw. The hospital did it’s best by her, and to my mind, the woman has to take some responsibility for her predicament. The hospital told her to lose weight before surgery and she refused – that was her choice, and surely she has to live with the consequences?


I’m not saying she’s to blame for being morbidly obese – there may be factors beyond her control, and who am I to judge anyway? Similarly, implying that she’s less disabled because she wasn’t born disabled or because she didn’t become disabled through injury (as said in one of the local newspapers) smacks of rampant judgmentalism to me – a way of saying she’s less deserving because she ‘brought it on herself’. The same people sitting in self-righteous judgement said that AIDS medication and treatment should only be offered to ‘innocent’ victims of HIV (haemophiliacs etc) rather than those that had brought the illness upon themselves through their ‘bad habits’. I HATE that kind of hypocrisy and smugness.


But whether we like it or not, the world is tailored to ‘normal’ people. And though disability legislation has quite rightly made companies consider the needs of non-able-bodied customers, they must be able to draw the line somewhere, surely?


Otherwise where will it end? King sized beds as standard on hospital wards? Bench-wide seats as standard on public transport and in theatres and cinemas? A constant fear of being sued if one fails to cater for every contingency?


I would imagine that many fat people would be horrified and appalled at being considered ‘disabled’. There’s enough of a stigma attached to simply being fat, without attaching the disabled label too. So in some ways I think this lady is doing fat folks a disservice by piggy-backing on the disabled legislation.


But when does obesity cross the line and become disability? Is it when your weight becomes so huge that you start to have physical problems (walking etc), or is disability also a state of mind?

Nov 22, 2005 at 14:26 o\clock

Talking of Poo and Taking the Piss

Today's Weight 180 lbs  - yay halfway!


I've been having - ahem - a 'number two' problem lately , and have been on the lookout for foods that are a) high in fibre b) low in calories c) tasty and filling. Every day I eat the very delicious Weetabix Crunchy Bran (dry - it's horrid with milk) for both breakfast and supper (23.8g of fibre and 290 calories per 100g), and that seems to do the trick, but I've been looking for high fibre things that I can eat for a quick lunch. Eureka - I've found a fabulous new product! 


It's Sainsbury's Chunky Vegetable Chili Soup (found in 600g plastic tubs in the chiller cabinet) - and it's DELICIOUS! And not only delicious, but each 600g tub has only 332 calories and 19.2g of fibre. Yowzer!


I think you're only supposed to eat half the tub but I was hungry (oink oink!) so I ate the whole 600g - and man, is it filling! I sprinked on 10g of golden linseed (41 cals/2.8g of fibre), and had a wholesome, high fibre (22g!), reasonably low cal (373 cals!) lunch.


Now, my bowels (sorry - too much info?) will be happy, and if they're happy, I'M happy  !




There is a hell of a lot of fat-fighting ‘literature’ out there, and my friend has read just about every wacko theory that’s seen the light of day. Last night she was telling me she’s starting a new diet that she’d read good things about (and which apparently her daughter has been doing for the past fortnight with astonishing success). The diet is based around drinking 100mls of fresh urine (preferably one’s own) first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and before every meal. This is supposed to [quote] ‘clear your system of impurities, and utilise the body’s own powerful fat-burning by-products to heal it and permanently alter its metabolism.’ [End quote].


My friend is an intelligent woman, and not normally prone to believing a load of bollocks, but where diets are concerned she’s as gullible as a two year old. And as mentioned in previous entries, she is suicidally desperate to lose weight, and therefore prey to every snake-oil salesman in the weight-loss market. She is frantically searching for a dieting holy grail.


I pointed out that urine is called a waste product for a very good reason, and that using waste to ‘purify’ is illogical and nonsensical. Like any evangelical new convert she was unconvinced, and she starts the new regime tomorrow. Even if she loses a stone a week, she won’t be able to convince me that this is the one true path.


I’ve decided that the crazier the idea, the more it’s likely to appeal to fraught fat folks everywhere. I may change career direction, and start making up bizarre new weight loss concepts for a living. Hell, why not earn tons of money preying on the wretched and vulnerable?


I thought it might take me some time to come up with a new ‘lifestyle’ diet, but hey presto, I’ve thought of one already, and it doesn’t even contain eye of newt or tongue of bat. To succeed with The Fatslayer FormulaTM all you have to do is make up an infusion of pomegranate juice, apple cider vinegar, liquorice root, linoleic acid, flaxseed oil and my ‘patented secret ingredient’, and take two teaspoons a day half an hour after every meal. There’s no need to do any exercise or deprive yourself of your favourite foods, and your fat will melt faster than the polar ice-caps and you’ll be skinny within a week.


Do you think it’ll catch on and make me a fortune?


Alternatively, you could just do it the hard way with fruit, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, complex carbs and regular exercise – but what’s so appealing or get-rich-quick about that?

Nov 17, 2005 at 19:07 o\clock

The sins of the parents...

Today's Weight 181.5 lbs (sigh...)


If there wasn’t such a thing as calories or fat grams, and if every food item in the world was equally as good (or bad) as the next, I reckon I’d still follow a reasonably healthy diet.


On a good day, anyway.


I don’t mean that I wouldn’t eat more sweets and chocolates and pastries and stuff like that, because I know I would. On the other hand, though, I’m pretty sure that after a while I’d start to crave ‘real’ food - squidgy wholemeal bread, veggies, fresh fruits, wholegrain cereals, protein, pasta, and other proper nutritional stuff.


After all, woman cannot live on chocolate and Danish pastries alone.


My colleague weighs around 7 stones (98lbs) and in the year we’ve worked together in adjacent desks I’ve never seen her eat anything even remotely healthy. This morning as an example she sat at her desk at 8am and ate a cold-cheese-crust-pizza-and-deep-fried-onion-rings-white-bread-sandwich for her breakfast, followed by two chocolate filled doughnuts.


She never gains an ounce.


I hate her. Heh.


She told me (somewhat proudly, it seemed) that her son eats nothing but McDs, crisps, sweets, cakes, biscuits, fizzy drinks and chocolate. Apparently he’s never tasted a fruit or vegetable, never eaten a proper dinner, never tasted yoghurt, never drunk a glass of water, and never even eaten a plain and simple sandwich.


When I laughed (I thought she was joking!) she assured me she was telling the gospel truth. He went straight from breast milk to burgers without a morsel of bread or banana along the way – and at the grand old age of 13 he has a mouthful of rotten teeth, a figure like the Michelin man (he takes after his dad), and a face full of zits and pimples to corroborate her testimony.


Just wait until he discovers drugs and alcohol, she said, laughing.


I was horrified.


I asked her why she doesn’t ‘encourage’ her son to follow a healthier diet, and she said that his eating habits were none of her business, and that he had the right to choose his own diet. Ditto for his 4 year old brother, who apparently subsists on a diet entirely comprised of Cheesy Wotsits and Tizer. She’s hopeful he may branch out to eating French fries and ketchup when he starts ‘big school’ in January.


I was doubly horrified. But then I figured the kids didn’t stand much of a chance since their parents eat crap all day long, and by her own admission neither she nor her husband have cooked a proper meal since they got married in 1987.  


As a kid I hated most veggies - Brussels sprouts and cabbage in particular - and mom would pile a big serving of them on my plate, and then not let me leave the table until I’d eaten at least a few forkfuls of the green stuff.


Gradually over time my loathing became dislike, then neutrality, and one day (ok, so I was an adult by now – I’m not pretending this happened overnight!) I realised that I actually LIKED veggies. I enjoyed eating them cooked or raw, and knew I’d miss them from my diet if I was prevented from eating them regularly.


So mom’s perseverance (or sadism) paid off in the end, and my health is the beneficiary of all that maternal wisdom. Yay mom!


Giving myself the benefit of the doubt, I’d probably have discovered the joys of veggies in my own sweet time anyway, with or without my mother’s not-so-subtle encouragement. But her intervention probably speeded up the process and also ensured that, whether I wanted to or not, I did get SOME vitamins in my developing years.


God only knows what state I’d have ended up in if my mom had adopted a laissez-faire attitude towards my diet, and left me to my own devices. I’d probably have been en route to a coronary by the time I hit puberty…

Nov 16, 2005 at 19:41 o\clock

Jogging and Jiggling

Today's Weight 181.5 lbs


A couple of days ago I watched two people run from opposite directions for the same bus.


The first was a man who I’d have guessed was in his mid-to-late thirties. He was a bit on the tubby side, and didn’t strike me as the especially athletic type. He was wearing a suit and overcoat, and carrying a briefcase, a couple of newspapers, a large bottle of water and an umbrella. As soon as he saw the bus he put his head down, picked up his heels, and literally sprinted to catch it.


The other person was a woman who I’d guess was in her late twenties. She was slim and toned, and gave the impression that she worked out regularly. Maybe that impression was given just because she was dressed for the gym, in Nike sweats and trainers – I judged by appearances, I suppose.


Anyway, fit or not, she wasn’t carrying anything except for a wallet-sized rucksack, and unlike the tubby, laden-down guy, she looked primed and ready for action.


When she saw the bus, though, she took a quick glance around her, and then she made a half-hearted attempt to break into a trot, barely lifting her feet an inch off the pavement.


He caught the bus easily, with time to spare, whilst she missed it by a mile.


After it had pulled away, she unleashed a volley of swearing in its wake, and then kicked the bus stop so savagely that it’s a wonder that she didn’t break her toe.


I was intrigued.


If she was that concerned about catching the damn bus, why didn’t she make a bit more of an effort to catch it? She was a young, slim, fit-looking woman in the prime of her life, yet she didn’t feel willing or able to run twenty yards.


What was all that about?


I thought about it a lot, and watched more people run for the bus (the stop is right outside my office window), and eventually decided that breasts have a lot to answer for.


I came to the conclusion that if we women had boobs like a couple of overcooked fried eggs we’d be a lot less inhibited and a lot more sporty. Every single woman running for the bus seemed inhibited to a greater or lesser degree by the jiggling and the joggling of her breasts. Women ‘ran’ with their arms crossed, with their bags pressed against their chests, with their coats wrapped around them like mummies’ bandages.


And every single one of them took a precautionary look around to see that the coast was clear (of what, exactly? Leering men? Jeering boys?) before they even attempted to break out of a walk.


It was a sad spectacle.

Nov 14, 2005 at 22:28 o\clock

Chaos Theory

Today's Weight 181.5 lbs


I’ve hit another plateau and despite my best efforts I’ve not budged an ounce in the past two weeks. It’s a good job I’m taking a sensible long-term approach to this healthy-living malarkey, or I’d have sawn off a leg by now just to see some movement on the damn scales.


Psychologically, it helps that I’ve been watching The Biggest Loser UK, and have seen empirical evidence that weight-loss is a perverse and capricious phenomenon, which doesn’t obey any of the normal laws of physics.


Every day those contestants work out for five hours in the gym. They eat a sensible, balanced diet. They drink their water. They get plenty of sleep.


Yet despite these efforts, they each experience weeks when they don’t lose an ounce, or when they even gain weight.


It just doesn’t make sense, and the crushing sense of disbelief and bewilderment is etched on their faces. They simply don’t understand what’s gone wrong, and why the scales have cheated them out of their well-deserved reward.


The experts tell us that it’s the inflamed muscles retaining water, or muscle weighing more than fat, or hormonal imbalances causing fluid retention, or the body storing it’s available energy stores, or any one of a hundred reasons why action doesn’t lead to an equal and opposite reaction.


Whatever the reason, the conclusion is clear – where weigh-loss is concerned, it’s not just a simple case of cause and effect, and action and reaction. It doesn’t necessarily follow  - although it SHOULD! - that if a person consumes less calories than s/he burns, s/he will lose weight, guaranteed.


That simplistic view is just a load of bollocks!


The body is senseless, illogical, unpredictable, and untrustworthy. It lies. It breaks the rules – not to mention the heart! Eventually, and over a considerable period of time, it WILL knuckle down and start playing by the rules, but in the short term it’s stubborn.


 I know that if I was pitched into the middle of sub-Saharan Africa in the middle of a famine, the chances are good that even with MY stubborn metabolism and erratic fat-burning track-record I’d be thin eventually. Starvation would eventually whittle away even my impressive fat-stores.


So yes, the laws of physics apply – but only in slow-motion and over a long time frame (though maybe it wouldn’t feel so slow if I was actually starving to death. Perspective is everything!)


For those of us not (thankfully) living in near-starvation conditions in the African wastelands, weight loss is going to be slow and haphazard and unpredictable.  There are going to be days and weeks – maybe even months! – when there’s no tangible or obvious reward.


At those times it just comes down to patience and determination, and trusting in the natural laws. Mother Nature may be slow and work to her own timetable, but she does always win the fat battle in the end.

Nov 6, 2005 at 14:12 o\clock

Deferred Pleasures

Today's Weight 181.5 lbs


Yesterday K and I cycled the singletrack at Thetford forest for a couple of hours, and came home covered head to toe in mud, having had a fabulous time.

In the shower afterwards, I washed my hair with my Jo Malone Amber and Lavender shampoo and conditioner, then scrubbed myself in the Amber and Lavender shower gel.

I dried off and then slathered myself in Amber and Lavender body creme, before spritzing with a generous splash of Vintage Gardenia cologne.

I smelled good enough to eat, afterwards, and felt sexy and gorgeous.

The reason I'm telling you all this is to illustrate that even though I was only putting on sweats and curling up on the sofa for the rest of the day with a good book (Seven Types of Ambiguity, by Elliot Perlman), I used all my poshest and most expensive toiletries, rather than just any old cheap rubbish.

I never used to do this.

The first time K bought me a bottle of Jo Malone cologne, I "saved it for best" and used my much cheaper scent on a daily basis instead. Every day I would look longingly at the Jo Malone, but it never seemed a special enough occasion to justify wearing it. When I eventually had a special enough occasion, the scent had soured in the heat and humidity of the bathroom, and I'd missed my opportunity (and wasted K's £60 into the bargain).

I never made that mistake again. Now, if I have lovely things, I start using them immediately, rather than "saving them for best." I get pleasure from them straight away, and only use my second-best stuff when the lovely things are worn out or used up.

I figured that life is too short to defer my pleasures, especially when they're just sitting there under my nose waiting to be enjoyed.

It's the same with food.

Until a year or so ago, if I ate a meal I would always save the best bit until last. I'd force down the less tempting fare, and only allow myself to eat the most delicious parts when the grottier bits were gone.

Maybe this was the legacy of being told over and over again as a child that I couldn't have dessert until I'd eaten all my veggies, or maybe it was just my weird way of approaching food, but whatever the reason, this was the way I ate every meal.

One day it struck me that this was a really crazy way to live and eat. What the hell was I playing at?

For one thing, I was eating my favourite part of the meal when I was at my fullest and least able to appreciate it, rather than when my palate was fresher and my stomach less full.

Secondly, I was always eating eating more than I really wanted to - past my "feeling full" limit - because, hell, I still had the best part to eat and I couldn't leave that bit, could I?

So I'd force "the best bit" down - not really enjoying it by this stage - rather than just declining it because I didn't really want or need it.

I think it was one of the reasons I got so overweight in the first place. Even if I was full, I was loath to leave something on my plate, because it was the nicest part!

Now, my attitude has changed completely. I eat what's on my plate without artificially saving something until the end - if anything, I eat the things I like towards the beginning, so that I don't feel deprived if I leave something uneaten. I think it's helped me to control my portion sizes, and I've realised that my natural appetite is actually quite modest, and that I get full quite quickly.

I was forcing myself into bigger portion sizes than I wanted, because I didn't want to forego a deferred pleasure.

I don't know if I'm the only person who had this "deferred pleasure" mentality, but personally I think I've been a lot happier in general, and had a healthier attitude to food in particular since I stopped thinking that way.

Life has so few pleasures that it's silly to defer them for a second longer than I need to. So what if I'm nearly out of Jo Malone...Christmas is just around the corner, and I've been a really good girl all year - cross my heart!

Nov 2, 2005 at 20:34 o\clock

The rules of attraction

Today's Weight 181.5 lbs


I don’t know what it is about office-nights-out, but sooner or later (is this a peculiarly English phenomenon?)  the conversation always turns to “if you had to shag one person in the office at gunpoint, who would you choose?”


This conversational topic fills me with dread and foreboding, and has always been one of the many reasons why I’ve cultivated an anti-social demeanour and always declined such allegedly team-building invitations. Maybe if I was drop-dead gorgeous and constantly beating men off with a stick I’d take pleasure in such conversations (though somehow I very much doubt it), but sadly that isn’t the case, and I find myself squirming in embarrassment and pretending not to care in the slightest that the memories start flooding back of always being picked last for playground team sports and sitting like a wallflower at parties.


I don’t need to be reminded that people always pick the fattie last – I know it already! Can we please just change the subject?!


Last night, though, I though I’d be safe because it was a girls-only night out. No room for embarrassment, humiliation and shame, because at best we’d avoid the topic completely, and at worse we’d only be taking the mickey out of the (absent) male contingent.






Unfortunately two of the women (both heretofore dyed-in-the-wool heteros) have recently become an item, and the evening soon became imbued with L-word overtones. There was much discussion of the would-you/wouldn’t you/have you/haven’t you variety, and one by one everyone ‘fessed up, pinned their colours to the mast, and stated which side of the line they sat on.  (We were 88% straight (laced) in case you’re curious.)


Then, with a hideous inevitability, someone posed the question “if you had to sleep with one woman in the office, who would you choose?”


It’s a miracle I didn’t groan out loud.


You know, somehow I’d always assumed deep down that women were less shallow than men, and wouldn’t choose purely on the basis of face and figure. Men – the poor things – are so ruled by their willies that their brains can’t function properly– I guess I expected women to be more discerning.


But guess what – I’m no more of a babe-magnet than I am a man-magnet. Nope, no beating chicks off with a stick for me either!


One after another they all chose the same two gorgeous gals, and the rest of us never got a look-in. The two gorgeous ones looked pretty pleased with themselves (bitches! heh heh), whilst the rest of us just knocked back the tequila slammers to numb the pain of another rejection - heh.


Such is life for the less than beautiful ones, I guess.


And dammit, that’s another illusion shattered.