The Fatslayer Chronicles

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…

Jan 23, 2006 at 20:40 o\clock

The Incredible Shrinking Man

Today's Weight 177 lbs 


I walked past a colleague from another department in the corridor last week, and it wasn’t until he called after me (“Hey, are you ignoring me..?”) that I recognised him. He had changed almost beyond recognition through losing a phenomenal amount of weight in a really short space of time.


At first I thought he must be seriously ill - literally dying of cancer or something – because the change was so dramatic. I was at a loss for words – how can you comment on a previously obese person’s weight loss when it might be due to some horrendous underlying illness rather than planned dieting?


Luckily he initiated the conversation. He grinned and patted his stomach and said “What do you think about my new figure?”


“Wow, what a change! What have you been up to?” I said. This was the most neutral thing I could think of to say. I didn’t want to say “You look great” because it would’ve been a lie. Conversely, it seemed rude to tell the truth and say he looked sallow and drawn. So I opted for the conversational equivalent of the colour beige.


He launched into his story, how he’d been on a liquid diet since the end of October last year (2005!) and had already lost 9 stones (130lbs).


Yes, you read that right. 130lbs in 12 weeks. No wonder he looks ill.


He said that he’d gone on holiday to Florida and been mortified when he couldn’t get on all the fairground rides with his kids because the safety bar wouldn’t fit over his stomach. This is a guy who is around 5’6” and who weighed around 25 stones (350lbs).


He said he came home and went onto the liquid diet straight away, and he hasn’t had a bite of solid food since 27th October. He plans to lose another 4 stones (56lbs) by the end of February and then he’ll be done.


I didn’t really know what to say. I WANTED to say “Man, what you’re doing is DANGEROUS!!” But I didn’t, because I had an inkling that it would fall on deaf ears. He’d think it was sour grapes or jealousy. I did venture to say “Is it safe to lose weight that quickly?” but he ignored my interruption and simply kept on yammering on about how great he felt and what benefits he was seeing. All the time I was thinking, “Wow, talk about royally screwing up your metabolism and fucking yourself up. Doesn’t this guy know anything about safe weight loss and the dangers of crash dieting?”


But obviously he DIDN’T know anything about those things, or he was wilfully ignoring what knowledge he did possess. He wanted fast, fast, fast, results and he was blind to the long term consequences.


After about 15 minutes of singing the praises of his liquid diet, he suddenly cocked his head on one side and gave me an appraising look. My heart sank, because I knew what was coming. “You’ve lost some weight, haven’t you?” he said. “How much, and how long has it taken you?”


I mumbled my reply and he immediately launched into a hard sell of his liquid miracle diet. “You should try it! You could be at goal in 30 days!”


I said I was doing it slow and steady, and wasn’t in any rush to get to goal because I needed to learn the secrets of maintenance, and the longer I took to get to goal the more I’d have learned. He looked at me with incredulity, as if I’d said that Martians were beaming down from motherships on nightly excursions to microwave our brains and steal our DNA whilst we slept.


Then – I couldn’t believe it! - he started to lecture me in a really hectoring manner about how bad it was to be overweight and that I ought to do something about it quickly because time was of the essence and every day I was overweight was a day wasted. He said that conventional diets didn’t work, and that my body needed ‘a liquid cosh’ to jumpstart it into rapid and permanent weight loss.




This was a guy who used to sit in the hospital canteen eating TWO fried breakfasts every morning and fried crap for lunch. But now he’s lost all that weight drinking milkshakes he’s suddenly a weight-loss guru.


Give me a fucking break.


I stood there in the corridor whilst he harangued me, wishing I was the kind of person who could harangue back and speak my mind. I wanted so badly to tell him that I thought he was being really foolish and jeopardising his health, but I didn’t want to be rude. How crazy is that? Damn my upbringing and its emphasis on good manners!


To make matters worse, this morning one of my team mates returned to the office after a meeting, and suddenly announced he was starting the same liquid diet. “You’ve been talking to the IT manager!” I said (accusingly). He nodded. “Yeah, talk about a walking advertisement! If he can do it, I’m sure I bloody can too…”




I’ve sat opposite this team mate since 14th March, eating my healthy lunches, going for lunchtime walks etc., and it’s had no impact on him whatsoever. Periodically he bemoans his size and his type 2 diabetes and the fact that its getting harder and harder for him to run around after his kids (he’s got 4, and because he weighs 22 stones – 310lbs – they run him ragged), but he’s never had the motivation to do anything about it. And patently my example has failed to inspire him. Now after just one corridor conversation with The Incredible Shrinking Man he’s an evangelist for liquid diets and thinks if he drinks shakes for 2 months he’ll be ‘cured’ and will never need to worry about his weight again.


Yeah, right.


I was SO tempted to get on my soap box and try to put him straight, but the sheer magnitude of the task defeated me so I just kept my mouth shut. It’s his prerogative to race off like a hare if he wants to, but as for me, I’m taking a leaf out of the tortoise’s book, and getting to the finish line at my own sedate, boring pace.

Jan 20, 2006 at 19:02 o\clock

Roman Holiday

Today's Weight 177 lbs 


I’ve got 26 weeks to shift as much of my excess blubber as possible, because K and I have decided to go on vacation to Rome for a week - but, insanely, we’re going in July, for Chrissakes!


There’s a good reason Romans desert the city en masse in July and August and head for the coast and hills – because it’s bloody sweltering, that’s why! And as fat folks everywhere can testify, sweltering temperatures and excess poundage don’t exactly constitute a match made in Heaven.


But due to work commitments I can’t take vacation from April 1st until the middle of July, and K doesn’t want to go in March or October because he thinks it’ll be too cold. Yeah, right. Oh, and hotels in September are horrendously expensive. So July it is, and I’ve got to shed as much weight as possible before we go because I categorically refuse to lumber around on those unforgiving Rome cobblestones under a blazing sun carrying fifty or so excess pounds of fat.


Rome is a sight-seers paradise, but in order to see those sights properly you have to trek around on foot. Ergo, I need to get into training so that I’m as twinkle-toed and nippy as possible.


Even if I don’t lose another pound, at least I’ll be smaller than when we went to Rhodes and I thought I was going to die of heatstroke hauling my fat arse up the hill to the Acropolis in Lindos. These ancient places of worship and revelry weren’t designed for modern lard-arses – you need to be part mountain-goat to scramble up some of the slopes to the hilltop temples, and I’m more fatted calf than mountain goat at the moment.


But at least I have 26 weeks to get fitter and skinnier. I won’t be at goal by July, but I can be well on the way there. If I’m able to walk around barelegged in a summer dress without the dreaded thigh-chafe I’ll be a happy, happy woman.


It’s at times like these that I’m so glad that I got my arse in gear and started doing something positive about my size, and didn’t let the scale of the problem overwhelm me and put me off from even starting. It’ll be so much more pleasant going to a hot country when I’m only 20lbs overweight, than in would be if I was still 100lbs overweight.


In the past, I always wanted instant results, and the long-term timescale of getting to goal was too depressing to contemplate. Instead of thinking of healthy living as a work in progress – with benefits evident almost immediately – I had the mindset that I wouldn’t be fit and skinny until I actually got to goal – and that seemed like an impossibly long distance away. I’d start dieting madly a few weeks before I was due to go on holiday, but of course I’d always left it way too late to make a real difference. So I’d still be obese when we left to go on vacation, and then I’d come home and promptly abandon my weight loss attempts because there was no longer a pressing incentive (getting into a bathing suit!) to keep me motivated.…until the time came to book the next holiday and I was in the same miserable fat state as I’d been in the previous year.


When I started this journey last March, I tried hard to take a longer-term view of the situation. I knew I wouldn’t be skinny for summer ’05, but I thought I had a decent shot of being skinny by summer ’06..or summer ’07…or however long it took. What I tried to keep in mind was that I might not be skinny any time soon, but I sure as hell could be skinnier. That was good enough for me!


And lo and behold, 10 months later I’m over half way, and I have a real fighting chance of spending my first ever summer vacation NOT hot, NOT sweaty, NOT fractious, NOT miserable, NOT unfit, NOT mad at myself, and NOT swaddled in layers of clothes in a futile attempt to deflect attention from all my blubber. This time will be different. By the time we head for Rome I’ll have been eating healthily for 16 months. I’ll be at least 70lbs lighter than when I started back in March 05. I’ll be within shouting distance of the finish line.


The long term strategy is beginning to pay dividends, and I’m just so pleased! Its days like this, when I realise how far I’ve come and what positive effects this new lifestyle is bringing about, that make it all worthwhile…


If anyone out there is just contemplating whether to start on a healthy lifestyle, I have just one thing to say - YES, just do it! You'll never regret it!

Jan 17, 2006 at 18:36 o\clock


Today's Weight 177 lbs 


I’m thinking about going to a Pilates class, mainly because I can no longer ignore the fact that I have the flexibility of an octogenarian, and unless I take some serious steps to make myself a bit more supple I probably won’t be able to bend over and tie my shoelaces by the time I’m 50.


I’ve heard good and bad things about Pilates, the good being that over time it gives you abs and posture to die for, and the bad being that it’s horribly, torturously hard work, and that when you first start going to classes you get your arse whupped by hard-core pensioners who are as bendy as pipe-cleaners.


Just thinking about going is a very significant development for me, though, and if it leads to actual attendance at classes it’ll be a minor miracle. If I do go along it will be the first formal exercise class that I’ve ever attended.


The whole 80s aerobic phenomenon passed me by so completely that it was barely even a blip on my radar screen. I never climbed aboard the Fame/Jane Fonda bandwagon and rushed out to buy a pair of leg warmers, and I’ve never been the proud possessor of a sweat-band or a hi-cut leotard. My sports of choice have been swimming, cycling and walking, and I’ve never joined a class and done circuits, step, spinning or yoga. I’ve never done ballet, jazz, latin or tap dancing. I’ve never Cored or Pumped my body (both of which sound nasty and painful). Nor have I ever done kick-boxing, karate, judo, tae-kwando or tai-chi, nor boxercise, salsacise or jazzercise,


Patently, I’m not a joiner. The whole organised exercise thing is linked inextricably in my psyche with school memories of doing ‘music and movement’ in only my vest and pants when I was 5 (pretending to be ‘a tree’ or ‘a breeze’), through inadequacy-inducing ‘dance productions’ and lung-busting cross country runs as a lumpy overweight teenager. All, of course, conducted against a backdrop of communal showers and jolly-hockey-sticks camaraderie. To me, school gym classes were an Orwellian nightmare of enforced socialization.


It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that the whole concept of being corralled into a gym or dance studio with 50 other women, playing follow my leader with some hideous Rosemary Conley-esque Barbie doll, is anathema to me. If I had to choose between a) formal exercise classes or b) having electrodes attached to my genitals whilst being flogged with a knotted rope, it wouldn’t be a foregone conclusion that I’d choose option A. Yes, I hate the thought of formal exercise classes that much!


Not only would it be unprecedented for me to do this sort of thing, but also I’d be going with a work colleague, which would also be a first for me. Doing things en masse isn’t really my style, so I’ve never gone down the girly-bonding route, complete with joint gym memberships, going to the toilet together, co-ordinating your binge/purge habits or synchronising your menstrual cycles. I’m far too anti-social and reclusive to do anything in company – so tagging along with a colleague would be a real behavioural change for me.


So for the moment Pilates is a ‘thought in progress’ and between now and Friday I’ll probably chicken out and scurry back into my hermit hole. But for the time being I’m enjoying the warm glow of thinking about doing some exercise – it’s making me feel virtuous and energetic. If I could just find a way to sustain the glow without actually going to the classes, that would be fantastic.

Jan 14, 2006 at 19:33 o\clock

I'm back...

Today's Weight 178 lbs 


I seriously considered deleting this blog because it was beginning to feel more a chore than a pleasure to write, plus I was becoming self-conscious and paranoid about how boring the entries are. I went through a bad patch, when on top of feeling like a dieting failure, I started to feel like a blogging failure too. I decided to go cold turkey on writing entries for a week, and see how that felt.


But what the hell, I’ve missed it! I’ve missed being able to write my thoughts down this past week, and I’ve missed feeling a part of the blogging community. Weird, huh? Anyway, I’ve decided to carry on updating for a while longer and see how it goes. If over time it just turns into another stick that I use to beat myself up with, I’ll quit, but while it’s still serving a useful purpose - giving me an outlet to whine and moan, ha ha – I’ll carry on with it for a little while.




Anyway, since this is a diet blog, I guess I’d better talk about how the fatslaying is progressing – or, more accurately, not progressing.


The good news is that I’ve been back on track for a week now, keeping my calories below 1400 a day, and eating healthy, balanced, nutritious food. I feel sort of proud of myself for having got over the hump and refocused on my goals – stepping back from the abyss is something I’ve never, ever managed to do before in 30-odd years of yo-yo dieting, so I’m considering that to be a mini-breakthrough and a bit of a victory.


Yay me.


The less good news is that I seem to be stuck on a plateau. I’m hovering around the 12 stone 10lbs mark (178lbs) - which means that I’m still not back to my pre-Christmas lowest weight – but I’m trying hard not to get hung up about the numbers, so I’m (almost) cool about the whole plateau business. As long as I see progress by the end of January, I’ll be fine and dandy.


And the bad news is that I’m still struggling to get back on the exercise band wagon, despite all my pep-talks and self-nagging. I guess I AM beginning to have longer periods of feeling that I ought to exercise, though, so maybe that’s a step in the right direction. The exercise part of the equation is still the bit where I’m getting my sums wrong.




Yesterday the one person at work who has noticed that I’ve lost weight commented on how skinny I was looking. “Surely you must be at goal by now?” she said. I shook my head, but since I didn’t feel up to the usual “I’m only halfway…” sort of conversation, I merely said “Oh, I’m not there yet. I want to drop another size or two before I stop…”


“What size are you at the moment?” she asked. (Nosy cow!)


I squirmed. “Um, a sixteen, I think.”


She half-laughed, and said “You’re never a size 16! With hips like those! Never!….”


I blushed beetroot, feeling mortified that she was thinking I was lying about being a size 16. I was tempted to pull down the waistband of the damned skirt and prove to her that I was a fucking size 16! And hell, I’d bring in the size 14 skirt I’d bought the previous weekend, and show her that that fitted too! Fucking bitch!


Then she continued…“You can’t be bigger than a size 14! I’m a 14 and you’re definitely no bigger than me. I can’t believe you’re a 16. I’m amazed…”


My face was probably a picture. I’d been feeling really defensive, and I’d jumped to the instant assumption that she was being bitchy and rude, when actually the opposite was true. Shame on me!


But it was such a knee-jerk reaction to feel embarrassed and defensive when questioned about my size. I’m still at that stage where I’m taking size 20s and size 22s into changing rooms, and then having to send K back out into the store to fetch me 14s and 16s instead because the 20s and 22s are too big. Deep down I still feel really obese (I AM really obese!), and I find it hard to conceive that I no longer have to pick up the biggest size in the shop. It’s hard to get my head around. Logically, I know that as a 5 foot 1 in tall woman, I am still obese at 178lbs – but lately, I’ve been fitting comfortably into a size 16, and I’m heading towards a size 14.


With 50lbs to go, I didn’t expect to be in those sizes for another six months or so.


Not that I’m complaining – it’s great – but it just doesn’t feel real to me at the moment. I really and truly thought that her “with hips like those!” comment was a less than subtle insult – it never even entered my head that she might be paying me a compliment, even though the comment was made in the context of a conversation about my weight loss.


What's wrong with me?

Jan 6, 2006 at 18:30 o\clock

Baby Steps

Today's Weight 180 lbs (TOM)


Can the person who stole my mojo please return it, because I need it back immediately! I’m reduced to eating chocolate for breakfast at the moment, so have a heart and send it back to me, OK? I’m becoming a desperate woman…


Man, it’s depressing to be the only one who’s not back on track yet. Every other blogger seems to be remotivated and reinvigorated after the festive break, but I’m still floundering and failing miserably. I’m not doing horrendously badly, but I’m nowhere near back to my conscientious best. Despite numerous pep-talks to myself I still haven’t got my exercise groove back, and, ominously, the eating is also beginning to go off the rails.


But I bet you guessed that by the chocolate for breakfast comment, huh? Hmmm, I thought that might be a bit of a giveaway.


I guess I should have listened better to the Christmas midnight mass sermon, which was all about pride and arrogance coming before a fall. Well, I guess I’m living proof of that at the moment.


From March to December ’05 I was so damn stoked with myself! I prided myself on having iron discipline, and taking this diet malarkey in my stride. Weak-willed? Not me! Finding it tough going? Hah, it’s a breeze. Having feelings of blind panic? Of course not…


So it’s humbling to see that I’m hopelessly fallible after all.


Humbling and horrible! I hate feeling like such a failure.


I was seeking perfection - a flawlessly orchestrated shedding of the blubber, with a spotless track record of saying no to temptation and becoming an uber-athlete into the bargain - and now look at me! It hurts to admit how far I’ve fallen short of those high-falutin ideals.


A perfect ten? Hell, I’d settle for a less than perfect seven or eight at the moment, ‘cos if I was scoring my recent performance, I wouldn’t give myself anything more than a mediocre five.


And I’ll tell ya, when you want a ten, a five just doesn’t cut it.


I have the kind of personality that hates to show weakness or to admit failure. In many ways, that’s been a positive force in my life, driving me to higher achievements. But the downside is that I’m always wound up really tight, and I don’t cut myself much slack when things start to unravel.


Which it feels like they are at the moment, all those neatly knotted ends unravelling inexorably into a big, woolly mess.


The rational part of my brain tells me that I’m still doing OK – I’m keeping my calories below 1800 a day, and almost everything I’m eating is healthy and nutritious. But the irrational, perfectionist, wound-tight part tells me that that’s not good enough.


Nothing but perfection will suffice.


If I can’t be perfect, why bother at all?


Jeeze, those are nine DANGEROUS little words.


When everything was going swimmingly back in the summer and autumn, I kept marvelling at how and why I’d gotten so big in the first place. I wondered why, if I could achieve such discipline and control now, I’d been incapable of being disciplined and controlled then.


It was a question without an answer, because I just couldn’t understand it.


Since then, I’ve done a bit of navel gazing and realised that I tend towards extremes of behaviour – I either address an issue head on and make a full-out effort to tackle it, or I wipe it off my radar screen completely and don’t bother to tackle it at all.


My dieting history tells the tale – it’s a master-class in doing all or nothing. A classic feast and famine cycle (almost literally). Initially there’s a total refusal to acknowledge that I have a weight problem at all. This is followed by an extended (but ultimately doomed) period of ultra-controlled, take-no-prisoners dieting/exercise. My resolution eventually falters, precipitating a landslide fall from grace into another period of total denial (accompanied by a refusal to follow even rudimentary healthy-living guidance). No half-measures for me, because if I can’t diet perfectly, why bother dieting at all, right?




It’s time to break that cycle.


It’s about time I learned the lesson that I don’t need to be perfect to get to goal. The approach doesn’t have to be flawless – it can be as bumpy as hell as long as I get there in the end. I don’t have to stride towards the finish line like a colossus, leaping skyscrapers in a single bound. Perfection isn’t important, but persistence is.


I need to get it through my thick head that a slip, trip or fall isn’t the end of the world. Falling short of perfection isn’t a good enough reason to throw in the towel completely. Imperfection doesn’t matter. If I stop trying so damn hard to do this perfectly, maybe I’ll stand a better chance of actually succeeding, even if I have to limp and stumble every step of the way.


Hell, even baby steps are better than no steps at all.

Jan 3, 2006 at 19:19 o\clock

Stay Away From The Light!

Today's Weight 180 lbs (TOM)


Well I think its official – my neighbours aren’t going mad and we ARE living next door to Spook Central!


K and I went for drinks to our neighbours’ house, alert for any signs of otherworldly activity. The cat did look like it had alopecia and the wife was as jittery as the husband - though not as skinny - but there wasn’t blood running down the walls or blobs of ectoplasm materialising out of the ether, so I just figured they’d both been hitting the bottle a bit too much and indulging in some mass hysteria or shared hallucination.


For the first hour we had a couple of glasses of wine and tried to make light conversation – which isn’t easy when your hosts look as jumpy as frogs on a hotplate  – and then all hell broke loose. One minute the cat was snoozing calmly on the radiator, and the next moment it leaped ten feet in the air and started hissing at the blank wall with all its remaining fur standing on end, for no fucking reason whatsoever. It was going demented in front of a blank wall, just like the dog in the Poltergeist movie. Very creepy.


Then the lights flickered and dimmed and the CD player turned itself off. Then the temperature suddenly plummeted like a stone. Finally the ceiling lights started to sway from side to side, (as if they were being swung on by invisible imps or something! Heh heh).


It was truly a weird experience.


K’s jaw dropped and his eyes were like saucers – he’s a Most Haunted fan, so he was primed to believe ANYTHING – but even though I was trying to be The Sceptical One, I have to admit I was pretty damn impressed.


I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was a paranormal experience, but it was pretty freaky. And it could explain why, in the 13 years we’ve been living in our house, the house next door has been bought and sold 6 times. Hell, we thought it was just because we were crap neighbours!


K is convinced our neighbours’ house is haunted and, by extension, our house too, because originally the houses were part of one bigger one which was simply divided into two sometime in the 1800s. Parts of our house date back to 1590. Witches were burned in and around the village right up to the mid 1600s - spooky, huh? - and if the village records are correct the house opposite ours was the location for one of the local trials. Although our village is now tiny, it used to be much bigger, and had its own Great Hall, cottage hospital and almshouses. We live in one of the converted almshouses.


K has been telling me for years that he keeps seeing an elderly woman in the kitchen (which would have been part of the old kitchen scullery in the original house) washing cotton sheets in a big copper drum filled with boiling water, but I keep telling him this is just wishful thinking and that if he wants me to do more housework he should stop dropping hints and just tell me straight! Bloody hell, maybe he really has been seeing old Ma Reilly or someone similar. Luckily he tells me she’s nice and friendly, quite the grandmotherly type, and nothing to be alarmed about. I just hope it IS bed linen she’s got bubbling away in the cauldron, not some noxious brew made of eye of newt and tongue of bat.


We could have our very own resident ghost, and I’m just too insensitive, non-spiritual and dense to see her. K, on the other hand, has a history of ghost sightings – his parents used to own a hotel which was considered one of the most haunted old coaching inns in England, and they regularly had guests leave in the middle of the night because they’d been scared witless by the ghostly shenanigans. This is nothing new for him, and he pretty much takes it in his stride.


For me, this is all pretty unprecedented. Not scary as such, but certainly a little on the weird side. I’m definitely intrigued and curious.


I’ll let you know if my spiritual side has been kick-started by the trip next door, and if I start to lose shed-loads of weight as a result of paranormal interference. If being haunted is truly effective as a weight-loss method I could turn the house into a bed-and-breakfast guesthouse, and tout for guests at weight watcher meetings!


Our neighbours have decided for the sake of their health (and that of their kitty) to put their house up for sale, so if anyone wants to move to East Anglia and live in a bona fide haunted cottage let me know, and I’ll send you the details.