Thursday, 15 March 2018

Pasta la vista, baby

Numbers have never been my friend.  If there’s a god of maths, he hates me.  I think I have dyscalculia as I find it hard to see groups of numbers more than four digits long, they sort of dance about and I’m likely to switch them around when writing them down, unless I’m very, very careful.

What’s that got to do with anything? I hear you cry, dear Reader.  Well, numbers controlled by Scales of Doom have had the power to ruin my weeks since time immemorial. 

Did I tell you I was diagnosed with diabetes about three years ago?  Well, my blood test result for my 2nd year showed that, with medication, I no longer had it.  I’ve just had my results for this year.  To put it in context – with medication they hope to get your blood sugar after fasting to 43 (no idea 43 whats).  Last year I was 40.  This year I was 100.  Shocking, eh?  Well, I was shocked.  I sat down and thought about what it might be: firstly, my diabetes tracks my weight (which is why my specialist is keen for me to have surgery) and I think I’ve probably put on a stone or even a stone and a half since last year.  Secondly, I have allowed carbs to creep back in.  I think the one that’s probably the biggest problem is pasta.  I like pasta generally.  I like rice but I’m a bit more fussy.  I’m even more fussy about bread.  I eat potatoes infrequently.  But pasta is so easy.  And two of my comfort food dishes are pasta – both made by P, carbonara and spaghetti with meatballs and spicy tomatoes.  I also make a pretty good crab linguine.  

Last year I did monitor my blood sugar levels with a kit I’d bought myself and was ticked off quite unpleasantly by the GP: I had no business doing this, apparently.  But if I had been able to carry on, as I told the (different) GP today, I might have spotted the rise in my blood sugar before a full year passed.  They’re still not keen but I probably need to do it, even if I buy the expensive testing strips myself.  People in the know say you should test first thing in the morning and then before and after every meal (two hours after each meal – but some people also do three hours!).  I’d whip through those strips alright.  And that’s if I remember to do this.  The fasting one is easy to remember – less so, the others.

In other numeric news, I lost precisely 0lb last week.  The last week I lost 1.5lb.  So my usual breakneck whipping through the numbers on the way down.  The site I use says I lose 0.5-1lb a month on average.

My life is governed by numbers.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Read all about it

Today there is a story in the Times about gastric sleeve surgery.  A London hospital has developed a way to complete the operation in a day in some cases.  Meaning the patient would be in theatre at 8am and allowed to go home, barring some complication, at 4.30pm.  The surgeon pointed out how much more pleasant and less stressful it would be to recover at home.  They carried out the first such operation in January.
I know a bit about the media and my advice and my mantra is ‘do not read below the line’.  But I did.  You do not necessarily get a better class of commenter in a broadsheet than, say, the Mail.  Okay, that’s not true.  But you don’t get a more considered post, that’s for sure.
Everyone had an opinion and the general consensus was that fat people are lazy and greedy, why should they (the commenters) have to pay for their surgery (presumably not directly) when it’s easy when you restrict calories.  Or follow Atkins.  Or go to the gym every day.  Or stop stuffing your face with fast food. Or Fat lumps could save up by not buying tons of pies, cakes, beer and chocolate” and pay for their own surgery.  One man commented that girls in the UK are too fat and men should demand more (not more girl, presumably).  He even commented that gastric bands should go around their necks.  Nice.  Better dead than fat, eh?
These are invariably accompanied by pictures of woman busting out of their jeans and/or eating a burger.  I have a horror that one day I will see myself there.  Because you can be sure that those women were not asked for their permission.
You can see why (if it goes ahead) I won’t be telling anyone except my husband and you, dear Reader, about my op.  My boss knows that I probably have to have an “embarrassing op” and we’ve agreed she doesn’t need to know.  I said I’d rather use leave to convalesce than have to discuss something so personal.  And my experience with Lighter Life has taught me how very unobservant people are.  No-one noticed anything until I’d lost a couple of stone.  And no-one noticed that I didn’t eat.  My boss now has more of a gimlet eye – she commented that I was eating my breakfast (Greek yoghurt, raspberries and carb free granola, fact fans) later than usual.  So maybe this will be trickier. But that’s the least of my worries – I have no idea what the waiting time is likely to be.  And I will have to make my case for a band, compared to the sleeve or bypass.  But before that I have an enormous form to fill out.  It must be 30+ pages.  No doubt I will put it off to the evening before.

Monday, 5 March 2018


I have written before about this but it’s a consistent problem for me – in many ways.

  1. Special events: we went to a black tie party at the weekend, to celebrate friends’ recent wedding abroad.  I found this so traumatic that I was actually shaking.  I had a dress that was about as good as it was going to get for me – but a) it was gold and full length and b) well, it was on me.  I prefer to be better camouflaged but just generally, having to dress up is really stressful.  I wish I could enjoy it but I don’t.  I look forward to things – right up until the moment I’m seized with panic about meeting new people and having to dress up.

  1. Lack of clothes: I have many clothes in different sizes (almost all smaller sizes than I am).  And I continue to be an idiot optimist: every time I pack away seasonal clothes, I tell myself that maybe next year they’ll be too big for me.  They never are, they are only too small for me.  I have things with the tag still on that I intend to downsize into (is this only a housing term?  Well, I’m the size of a house so…).  I never seem to learn from my own history

  1. Dressing differently: as above with the gold dress, I caught sight of myself togged up for the “snowmageddon” . Skinny jeans so I could wear my leather wellies and my parka (and obviously a thermal top, jumper and two pairs of socks).  I looked unbelievably dumpy and distinctly bag-ladyish.  

  1. Being a wuss:  I order things and then I don’t try them on.  Which, of course, means I don’t send them back.  I’m just too afraid they’re not going to fit and will look awful so I put it off and put it off.
I think it’s partly that I have learnt to get dressed and even put on make-up without looking at myself in the mirror.  Something that breaks that trend, forces me into looking and really seeing - and it’s upsetting.  I feel like I should carry a card to give to people – or a banner – to apologise for polluting their vision.  That’s how bad it’s got.

Also, I am beginning to find more and more that being in public is stressful.  I can deal with being at work (just), but even going out for supper with my team I find really difficult and upsetting.  And I go home feeling awful about myself.  P asked me if I thought I was becoming reclusive and more and more introverted.  I can see his point.  I am okay with maybe one other couple (and even then it depends where, eg I went to a club (not the dancing kind) in trendy Shoreditch a couple of years ago and found it so upsetting I cried silently in a taxi all the way home.  

Clothes are my enemy – but obviously the other option is even worse.  I want to buy something that makes me happy – but I’m a few stone off that.  I need this op and quickly.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Mind the Gap

July 2017 – February 2018: that’s quite a gap.  Apart from trying and failing to lose weight, in this time I have had a holiday to North Cyprus (not at ALL what I expected – lots of men settling to escape extradition.  Chunky gold jewellery and moaning about the bacon/useless locals not being able to make Yorkshire pudding properly).  

Also: Qatar – just back from there.  We went for some winter sun.  Which we got, but there isn’t an awful lot to see and it is VERY expensive. 

I am a stone heavier now than I was in Cyprus in September.  My weight goes up when I stop being vigilant – and then I STS when I am being vigilant.  You’ll note that what is missing from this is the (cue angel choirs and streamers) losing weight option.  Oh, how I want the losses.  I think I’m losing on average 0.5 – 1lb a month.  I know this because I weigh most days and record it. I am a stone heavier than when I started LighterLife.  My confidence, self-esteem and zest for life is rock bottom. 

As Seren wisely commented, the numbers on the Scales of Doom have the power to ruin or make your week.  I would love to make peace with SoD and to have consistent losses.  This is what I’d hope to achieve by the band.  I put the work in, the band helps me and I get a reward from SoD.

You won’t be surprised to learn that there was no use of the expensive tankini I bought for Jordan in either Cyprus or Qatar.  I am not sure it would have fit but I certainly wasn’t going to find that out.  I feel sad for myself that I cannot, dare not, get in the pool or the sea.  I know physically I could – but I would be so distressed that, in reality, I couldn’t.  Sometimes I feel like the opportunities are slipping through my hands and I am wasting my life.  Sometimes I don’t care and just want to hide away and let the world pass me by.

Finally, Lana Bump – I have tried eleventy thousand times to respond to your comment but, for a baffling reason, it won’t let me.  This is what I typed:

“Thank you for your support – it means a lot.  And you’re quite right about that vicious circle, it’s, well…vicious”

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

The latest chapter

I am resuscitating this corpse of a blog.  Or, rather, an online diary by this point as I last updated it in July of last year!

I stopped posting as I was boring myself.  Same old struggles, same old lack of progress, same old heartbreak.  But now I have a reason to document the next year or so (I hope).

My specialist has been talking for a few years now about whether I’d be prepared to consider bariatric surgery and I’ve always said no.  Until May this year when I said I would (consider it).  I then went away and did quite a bit of research.

I was initially attracted to the bypass option – purely and simply because you lose the most weight that way (something like 78-80% of excess weight lost).  I talked to P about it whilst we were off on holiday last week (Qatar – tried using my Arabic but everyone in a service job was from other countries (mainly the Philippines)).  He was concerned about the irreversibility of it.  I took his point.  

So I started looking at the band.  It’s less invasive and I’d be back at work sooner.  Typically it says around 50% of excess weight is lost.  Tbhwhilst I’d like to lose a lot more, as the advert says, every little helps.  Plus, although it may sound trivial, I think you’re not supposed to drink with or after eating with the bypass - I didn’t take my wine exams to never drink again. I can give it up for a period of time but not forever. 

But it all depends – of course – on what the surgeon says.  I have two appointments in April.  One with the nurse (and I think – although it’s not clear) that that’s a series of appointments over the whole day.  Then a couple of weeks later with the surgeon.  There is a lot of form filling to be done before then – it is really depressing me.  It’s forcing me to remember all the lows (in mood rather than scales – although there’s certainly an inverse relationship there) – I’m struggling to keep myself above the sucking waters of depression as it is, this is pulling me down further.

I intend to tell no-one about this (if it does happen): just my husband and you dear (probably given up) Reader.  I do think there’s a concept of ‘cheating’ with it by people who haven’t given it much thought.  I read an excellent blog of a lady who went through this: she repeated what her clinical team had told her, which also chimed with her experience, that the band helps you by approximately 30% and the remaining 70% has to come from you.  It seems that you have an initial big loss (akin to Lighterlife you lose approximately a stone a month for the first three months) and then it’s 1-2lbs a week.  You see, that would be fine for me – working to lose maybe half a stone a month (especially after the bigger loss).  What has felled me in the past is when the losses just stop, despite the effort I put in.  Then it turns into a vicious circle.  When I’m getting results, I find it much easier to stick to.  I know that’s twisted. If I were more steely I would be all the more determined. I fear I am not a woman of substance. Although of course I am a substantial woman. 

Friday, 7 July 2017


Yesterday I was fat-shamed.  The tubes were crammed and I was late.  After missing two tubes because I couldn’t get on, when the third came along with an admittedly tiny space spare, I pushed my way on.  I don’t like doing this but needs must.  Two loud men were saying there was no room and the woman I tried to tuck myself behind had a massive rucksack.  I don’t know if the men were keen to chat this woman up – they certainly had a loud conversation the rest of the way (3 stops).  I had replied to them that I was sorry but I was late and had already let two tubes go.  Then they said loudly “Well, room for a little one, eh?” and guffawed with laughter.  Luckily my face was pushed against the corner and  I had my back to them as I’m pretty sure I went red, although they wouldn’t necessarily have seen the tears stinging my eyes as I concentrated on not being there.

I had been feeling a bit emotionally delicate in any case.  The scales seem to be heading in the wrong direction and although I’m doing well on the dieting front most of the time, the times I’m not seem to be keeping me up in a stone bracket that makes my miserable and self-conscious.  In the first two weeks of my pre-Cyprus diet I have lost a total of 1lb.  But if you count my weight today, I’ve put that back on as well as amassing another 1lb.  I am tired out by the relentlessness of it.  I want to hide away and not see anyone – or, more accurately not be seen by anyone.  Being out in the world feels like a constant level of hypersensitivity that feels physically painful.  It’s not just the anticipation of the holiday, it’s getting through pretty much every day.  We’re visiting friends this weekend – lovely people, but I just want to slink home and lick my wounds in peace without having to put on a brave face.

Feeling like this also stops me sleeping.  I can feel myself reverberating like a tuning fork or a struck wineglass with misery.  That sounds ridiculously melodramatic, but I can only describe it as a low-level constant, physically painful, humming vibration constantly thrumming though me.  I’m sure it must be a vicious circle – not sleeping makes me feel lower, which in turn makes it hard to sleep.

And I want to console myself with food – specifically sugary food.  I’m only too aware how idiotically stupid that instinct is and how it too plays into another vicious circle – feel wretched, give in and eat something only to feel worse.  It’s exhausting.

Despite all this whinging and whining, I have no intention of giving up.  It’s too frightening to even consider what would happen if I did.  It makes me feel panicky just contemplating it and the fear expands, seeming to squeeze my lungs into a smaller space.  It’s not an option.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Go Figure

I am not good at numbers – I took my GCSE twice to get my C grade and maths never made sense to me.  I actually failed my maths entrance exam for secondary school and it was only because my English and VR were so good that I was offered a place.  There was no concept of dyscalculia then – but I find I can’t look at a list of numbers greater than three digits or they all dance about on the page and the order of them can become twisted.

Numbers have become even more my enemy since they are bound up in my weight and thus my self esteem. 

The weekend before last, P was away with a friend and so I pulled everything out of my cupboards and wardrobe to sort.  I know that the ‘I have nothing to wear’ bleat is a common one (especially in bulging wardrobe) – but I really don’t.  The bedroom turned into a battlefield as I was quickly knee-deep in clothes.  It took me seven hours on the Saturday and three on Sunday so sort through everything.  Reader, I have FIVE sizes worth of clothes.  They range from my current size (at the largest end of the spectrum, sob) to those that just about fit or were a little small at my lowest, post LL, days.  And that’s not even taking into account the massive disparity within a single size.  Most of the clothes are from ebay but even so, they must represent a scary sum of money. 

I sorted all my clothes into (tagged) size and bagged them up with the largest two sizes hung and then the smallest the furthest away.  I chucked a lot out (it seems I went through a period where I was mad for appliqué and beads – no longer, shudder) – I had three big bin sacks of stuff to chuck and the world’s largest holdall stuffed to the gunnels with stuff I won’t wear (even taking account the sizing) that was so heavy I couldn’t lift it properly (and I’m pretty strong).  My wardrobe still doesn’t shut properly but it should be more coherent.  I badly want to be getting smaller and chucking as I go, streamlining both myself and my wardrobe in the process.  There are some nice things in the bagged sizes which I'd like to be able to wear, too.

And now we come to the other ‘numbers are the enemy’ aspect of my post: we’ve booked another holiday.  Well, I say we have, we’ve actually booked the hotel (as it can be cancelled) whilst we wait for my boss to come back from holiday to sign the leave off.  I’m 99.9% sure it will be fine but I don’t want to tempt fate with booking flights.  You remember how I shun beachy holidays because of the whole swimwear issue?  Yes, you guessed it, it’s beachy.  Northern Cyprus to be exact (dusting down my 70 words of Turkish even now).  There will be some trailing around archaeological sites (the photos of which from Jordan my boss said were “samey”!) because I love a pile of old stones – and I will go insane sitting around doing nothing for a fortnight.  That would be the case even if I had the sort of figure that meant I could wear a white crochet bikini (not that I’d want to – especially as a lingerie salesperson once told me that to get skin-toned underwear I had to look at white, rather than nudes or blushes.  She had a point).  

So here we are again, back in that loop where my number-befuddled brain has no problem in coming up with a number I want to see on the scales.  It’s 15 weeks exactly today; I want to say I can lose two stone (I’d settle for a stone and a half).  Even if it’s starting from the elevated post-Jordan place I am on the Scales of Doom now.  I want to believe it and I will certainly crack on with it with determination – and then I think about dinner with P tomorrow with all-you-can-drink champagne, my birthday, his birthday – and I fear how badly this could go wrong.  It’s that age-old teeter along the no-mans land brink of diets and life which I find hard.  And my progress for the last year or so has been 0.5-1lb a month.  Yes, a month.  It doesn’t bear thinking about.  But I don't want it to wreck my pleasure in anticipating the holiday - or from fully enjoying it once there.  I have a plan - not necessarily a winning plan - but a plan.  More of which later (any ideas you'd like to contribute to The Plan will be most welcome.  As long as they don't involve running - because did that and I hated it and it didn't work).