Friday, 22 April 2016

Love is....

Remember those saccharine sweet cartoons? I'm not sure whether they created the phrase or whether they illustrated an existing phrase, but I'm pretty sure that there's an almost infinite number of answers to 'love is...'

Fat is...? Maybe there are as many answers but to me 'fat is..' always wondering whether life would be less difficult if I weren't - and whether if I weren't, I would attract more forgiveness and less condemnation.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Seeing red

Something happened on the tube the other night that gave me pause to think.  Often I try not to think on my commute in case I run screaming into the open air, shouting that it’s unbearable.  I was standing on the tube (obvs) by two girls in their early 20s.  Despite being immersed in my kindle, it became obvious that they were talking about me as one would look at me, turn to the other and say something, then they’d both look at me, then the other would say something... It went on for a bit and my heart sunk.  I started to feel really uncomfortable, unhappy and defensive.  In true passive-aggressive British style, I gave them a hard stare.  Then one said “We were talking about you – about your hair, saying what a lovely colour it was and how much it would suit a friend of mine”.  I guess they must have been hairdressers as they were then saying something like “oh yes, an 897 – maybe with a dash of 278”. 

I have a bit of an ‘issue’ with my appearance at the best of times.  At the worst of times it causes me quite a lot of distress and anxiety.  I guess it’s bubbling up to the surface recently – partly because there’s a lot of pressure to have my photo on my work’s website and partly just because.  I really hate photos btw – I think I look even worse in them that in real life.  But this incident on the tube reminded me that actually, just because I think the worse, it’s not necessarily the case.  If that girl hadn’t said anything, I would have got off that tube, beating myself up mentally for my ugliness and feeling very upset.  It would have ruined at the least my evening, if not my week.  I’d have spent countless future moments obsessing over it again and again (I know this as I’ve had certified bad moments dating back quite some time and I still think about them occasionally).  I can’t, hand on heart, say that it will cure my paranoia, but I will try to remember this.

Still not getting back into a successful chub-reducing mode.  I’m seeing small dips on SoD but my overall stats for the week were 2lbs on.  I had a jump up over the weekend and it’s been steadily – if not very quickly – dipping down but, as I say, overall up.  I’m not letting it derail me though.  At least not yet.  And actually, overall, although I haven’t done very well, I don’t give up, I do just adjust my approach and relentlessly carry on. 

So, outlook for the next week is good – up to official WI day.  No pesky social life to interfere with dieting.  And the following week is looking less good so I really need to make hay this week.  Metaphorically speaking.  Next week I have a pizza evening planned with office pals, and cocktails and dinner (a posh Italian. Restaurant not person) for my stepson’s birthday.  But there’s a whole other WI before then so I won’t fret about that just yet.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Straightening out the spiral

I admit it, I’m struggling at the moment.  Even when I feel like I’m doing the right thing, it’s not translating into progress.  I find it hard to break out of one of these cycles – usually I spin downwards like a spider down the plug hole, despite struggling.  Not this time.  Somehow I need to break out of this. 

So first: the story so far.  I lost 1lb last week and I put on 2lbs the week before.  Maths is not my forte but I’m going in the wrong direction.  And since then, the unofficial WI has shown a tear-stinging 4lbs on.  Despite a wedding where I drank mineral water.  For 9 hours.  Which is WAY longer than a non-sober 9 hours FYI.  And didn’t eat all my main or pudding – and spurned the sweetie table (sobs quietly to self) and evening buffet.  I totally deserve a big loss after that, right?

So instead of going down below the half stone mark and towards the next bracket down, I’m heading, terrifyingly, back up to the one above.  This makes me feel dreadful – physically, but emotionally even more.  So it needs to stop.  I need to break out of the pattern before I drown (yeah, I’m totally flogging the analogy – but it works for me at this point).

This is my action plan:

1. The only thing I haven’t abandoned is the almost daily weighing so continue with that.
2. Oh and the 2 x starve days.  Still doing them, still hate them, still get some result from them.  So keep those.
2. Blog more.  I think I don’t because the apathy has got me – and I don’t like saying the same thing when the same thing is the ‘oh I’m not getting anywhere’ thing (I’d doubtless be delighted to continuously drone one about losing steadily).  So twice a week I think (you’ll be sick of me).
3. Be really strict about things creeping in.  Yes, even mini, low cal things.  It all adds up to chubbsville.
4. Delineate the 3 phases of my diet – Mon and Wed = starve days (or 2 convenient non-sequential days).  Other weekdays = dieting but only semi-starving and weekend is not a licence to go mad but to allow for one night with an aperitif and wine – and to eat healthy evening meals with P.
5. Find a replacement for Jane Plan (for semi-starve days) when I finish those packs (still got quite a lot – and not just because I’m avoiding eating the soup.  I am now throwing those away).  Maybe simple, boring calorie counting (although will have to decide what the calorie limit is).

Today has been a normal dieting day: I’ve done okay.  Not brilliantly because I had half a Millie’s cookie.  Which is better than a whole one but not as good as no cookie.  I had an inordinately long internal dialogue, trying to justify eating the other half though – oh how I wanted to – and managed not to, so that is positive.  I definitely think that sort of restraint ought to be rewarded with an instant lb off (see also: sweetie table, wedding cake (nope, none of that either) and evening buffet).  That should take me to 4lbs off for good behaviour.   Hmmm. Tomorrow is a starve day.  Let’s see where that takes me to on Thursday (official WI day)

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Eggstreme behaviour

Obviously I had to get a seasonal pun in there.  But now that crack is out of the way, let’s just get straight to the numbers, shall we?  Like ripping off a plaster: quick, decisive and painful.

Post-holiday WI said I’d put on 5lbs – it’s never good to put on, I was dreading weighing myself but this was for 3 weeks and I firmly told myself to suck it up and get working. First week back on the diet I lost 2lbs.  This is sounding like a happy story, right?  Then came Easter.  I put on a staggering 4lbs.  Yep, in a weekend.  A long weekend but essentially it’s 1lb a day.  Since I am currently comprised of 40% mini eggs, 30% other chocolate egg, 20% hot cross bun (slathered in butter) and 10% wine, this ought not to be the shock it was.  I don’t even like Cadbury’s chocolate but I swear they put crack in mini-eggs, I just cannot stop at a couple.  The only thing that makes me stop is running out.  So, it’s cold turkey for me on mini-eggs.  I can eek out the rest of my eggs in a normal, moderate and rationed (not to mention rational) way.  I am firmly back on the wagon, nose to the grindstone – and every other hackneyed phrase you can think of.

It’s not easy.  Even in 4 days, I got used to having something to eat when I was peckish – but no longer.  Today I’m on a Dieting Day Type 2 (Jane Plan packs) as I thought going straight into a starve day would be just too brutal.  So that, dear Reader, is something to look forward to tomorrow L.

I won’t be doing Jane Plan again – the dinners and the breakfasts suit me very well, but the lunches!  Ugh.  Seren asked how you could make soup unpalatable – well, it’s a good question.  I think they bung a load of starch in them to fill you up – but the taste!  Oh dear.  I’m still feeling intermittently queasy from the flu (or possibly mini-egg overdose) and just couldn’t face the soup today.  This happens quite a lot with their packs – kind of works as I end up just skipping them, but this is not the idea at all.

I do want to get back to proper, focused dieting.  We have a family wedding in a couple of weeks and I know what I want to wear.  No, OF COURSE I’ve not tried it on – I’m far too chicken for that.  Equally, I know I need to so I can make plans.  Luckily I think we’re not close enough family to be in the pics (it’s P’s nephew) so that’s one bullet avoided, but I find these things traumatic.  At least I’m around 2st lighter than I was at my cousin’s wedding a year ago.  The photos from that still haunt me.  Not that I look a whole lot better but at least it’s something.

After the wedding, the next thing to focus on as a goal to have shed more blubber is our holiday in October.  That’s our probable holiday at the moment – a few financial question marks before we can say with confidence that we’re going back to Canada, but we’re hopeful.  I’d definitely like for less of me to go away: the question is, what can I realistically achieve in 6 months.  I’d like to say 3 stone but my history would cast doubt on this: maybe another 2 stone?  I’d still not be into the zone where I’m not constantly self-conscious and only a social occasion away from a full freak-out, but any progress would help.  If I could lose 3 stone, I would be into the less-freaked-out zone – I’d still need to lose, but I wouldn’t be quite so distressed about myself.  Well, let’s see what I can do now I’ve stepped away from the mini-eggs.

So, Easter – did you have a good one?  Four days off work, chocolate and hot cross buns make for a pretty damn amazing public holiday in my opinion.  Until you hit up SoD that is and pay for your transgressions.  We had one fairly feeble hike – about 6 miles – since we’re still suffering post-flu fatigue and this was the only opportunity to get out without being soaked, pelted by hail or blown over (possibly the extra egg/bun ballast would have prevented the latter). 

P seems to be getting a 2nd dose of the flu – or at least the tiredness and a nasty, dry cough.  I’m hoping I don’t copycat him this time around, the flu was ridiculously debilitating and led to flopping about exerting no energy and eating toast and marmite.  Not a way to get to that 3 stone goal.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Le grand return

So, here I am back from a fortnight's holiday which included a week in sunny Cape Verde.  And I feel awful.  Holiday is clearly not good for me..... Reader, I caught a flu bug on the plane (P is also struck down) and it really was flu, not a bad cold.  Every inch of my skin is super-sensitive, I ache everywhere and have no energy.  Now I'b getting the coldy bit too.  Sniffle.  So I'm not at work - something that looks highly dubious after leave - and feeling very guilty.  Possibly only fractionally less guilty than I'd feel if someone caught this bug.  It's clearly very easy to catch as I got it from P and I think this is only the 2nd time in 20 years that we've caught something from the other (for the inquiring reader, the other time was Norovirus.  Ah yes, what a Christmas that was...)

Still.  A shot of summer in dreary winter comes highly recommended - and we seem to have come back to spring so I'm hoping that my winter blues have been sent well and truly packing.  The sea out there looked like I'd taken an amazing photo - and then put an utterly unrealistic filter on it.  But it really WAS that beautiful.  Obviously I only paddled because, dear Reader, I did not take a swimsuit. Yes to that sharp inhalation of breath.  I started trying them on, my anxiety and self-loathing rocketed and I decided to just shove them back in the drawer.  It's not ideal but it was the most sensible way - for me - to deal with the whole issue.

I haven't weighed yet.  I ate very well in CV - not a lesson in restraint but rather that the food was not great.  It was okay but not great.  Not a single pudding passed my lips.  But then, a lot of pina coladas did I'm afraid.  And since the great flu woe (AND I had the flu jab this year, grrr), I have eaten mainly bread and chocolate.  Not together.  Clearly toast should only ever have marmite on.  But that's a whole other culinary story.  My jeans still fit and I can get my engagement ring off but I fear that there's no way I can escape extra lard.  So, as soon as I can shed this lurgy, I need to clamber back on that wagon and knuckle down again.  I still have quite a lot of Jane Plan packs so will use those up and then consider.  I reckon I can duplicate her plan with more palatable food - it's just the discipline of keeping rigidly to that and not letting extras creep in.  Ha, you can spot the tricksiness in this plan, can't you?

Back to CV - would I recommend it?  Yes, with some small print: the weather, sea and beaches are spectacular.  The food isn't great (excepting breakfasts, weirdly, as normally I don't like breakfast).  There is NOTHING to see and do apart from walking on the beach, swimming and sunning.  It's all big all-inclusive package breaks,  so the flight is horrendous (thanks Thomson) and there are plenty of Brits letting the side down - you know, the sort that moan that the tea and bacon in their daily fry up is `not like home` (yeah, well nor is the weather mate), who see the all-inclusive as a challenge to eat ridiculous quantities of food, all the time (god knows what the locals think - who generally have very little), all with chips, and who are generally a bit yobby.  I think we were pretty much the only people who made the effort to learn a bit of Creole to chat to the extremely nice staff - and the only ones without huge tattoos.  Admittedly I am a bit biased against tattoos and I suspect that is is entirely possible to have something artistic and tasteful.  These were not those tattoos.  Think huge EDL style knights carrying St George's flag or the sort that look like they were done by an amateur whilst in prison.   Or both.  We also saw people starting on the lager at breakfast and those who got so drunk they were falling over - yelling profanities.  Anyway, you should all definitely go there to redress the Brit balance.  Just be warned that the bacon and baked beans are not 'proper'.  Apparently.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Skirting the issue

Sorry it’s been a while – work’s been long and crazy and I’ve had little time for anything else.  I knew it would be like this so it’s not a surprise.  And it’s coming to an end.  This week is likely to be the last high-pressure, high volume week (for a while) and then of course I’m off for a fortnight. 

Dieting is particularly tricky when work is like this – a shortage of time to do all the prep required for the discipline of dieting and more sugary snacks about to derail me.  And very long days too.

With that as a backdrop I’m doing okay – but it’s a bit wobbly (not the only thing about me that that is true of!).  The first week I lost 2lbs.  Then last week on WI I had put on 1lb which was upsetting.  But the next day I’d lost that.  Even so it’s somewhere in the realms of 0-1lb+.  And I had bread and wine over the weekend which has sent me soaring up 3lbs.  This WI is the last one before my holiday – I will fail to reach my target (again) but I’d like to have a solid loss behind me to keep me going.

Not least as I’m in that tricky ‘in between’ stage with dress sizes.  My usual skirts are way too big but the next size down is just a tad too snug.  I had the horrific task of going through summer stuff over the weekend to try and find stuff to wear on holiday.  There is nothing good for the ego about going through bags and bags of clothes that are too small.  Most of it has been bought from ebay but even so, it represents quite a sum.  The good news is that if I continue to lose weight, I have plenty of stuff to wear.  The bad news is that it varies from ‘almost/just about’ to ‘you must be joking’ in terms of fit.  At the rate I lose weight I have enough to wear for years – once I get into the larger end of my clothes mountain.  There are some very nice things – most of which I have never worn or only worn briefly.  It makes me sad.

Two of the three skirts I dragged out to take on holiday are of the ‘just about’ variety.  They’re tight but I can get them on.  I’m pretty scared that they won’t fit by the end of the holiday though and I’m not sure how good they look.  I have got very good at not looking at myself in mirrors – or looking just to do make up, but managing not to see myself.  I don’t scrutinise myself in the way that I was doing yesterday – for the good of my mental health.  As I seem to have next to nothing in the next size up the two snug skirts are coming.  But you can see why I’d like to lose as much lard in advance.

In my head, I intend to be pretty good on holiday – I think salads, fish and fruit are perfect in hot weather.  Albeit not for breakfast.  It’s the booze that worries me – especially on an all-inclusive.  Mind you, I read on a review that the wine is pretty awful and since I don’t drink beer and would never drink a cocktail with food, it’s only aperitif time I need to worry about.  After all, it would be handy if things still fit when I got home, obviously!

Quick update on Jane Plan: the evening meals are fine, the breakfasts are fine, the lunches are vile.  Who knew that soup could be so unpleasant?  I’ve heated up two different flavours (leek and potato and vegetable and bean) that were so nasty I ended up chucking them away after a wary mouthful (the smell was grim).  Possibly good for weight loss as I try not to buy a second lunch, but not ideal.  The mushroom one is fine.  I recall that tomato and butternut squash were bearable if not actually tasty.  The only other option are salads in boxes – remember these are ‘ambient’ – I’ve tried the bean one and would rather not do so again, I’m yet to try the tuna one and salmon one.  Unless I can find 3 lunches I can bear, it’s a deal breaker for me.  They are good at swopping meals you don’t want – apparently: I’m yet to put this into practise – but I need to find something to swop for.  

Monday, 8 February 2016

Just a girl, standing in front of SoD....

At least that’s January out of the way.  February is grim but at least there’s pancake day.  Admittedly, not good for weight but very good for cheering up purposes. 

Which brings us on to....

Yeah, I did okay last week – I lost 2.5lbs.  The reason I’m not jumping in the air, punching it in the manner of an 80’s rawk god, or indeed a grey politician (yes, Mr Duncan-Smith, I’m looking at you.  Although trying not to.) is that SoD is busily informing me that ever since that point (and indeed slightly before it), my weight is going in the wrong direction.

As of today, I’ve put 2lbs of that back on.  Sigh.  I hope that by Thursday (next WI) I can turn that around as I have two starve days in between now and then (today and Wednesday) but sandwiched beautifully in between those two days, in a somewhat ironic juxtaposition, is pancake day.  I had thought we’d be having Shrove, er, Friday as I was due to meet a friend, but work is such that I’ve had to pretty much cancel all social occasions for the month. 

Of course, I could skip pancakes entirely (whimper) but you know what?  I don’t want to.  I hate this time of year and this is pretty much the only bright spot in a desert of grimness.  A dessert in the desert, if you will...  I am a pancake purist so it’s only heavy on the lemon, light on the sugar rather than drifts of cream, buckets of nutella or the like, but we all know that there are no diets which feature pancakes.  Or do we – if you know of one PLEASE tell me stat.

The thing is, I need to accept – ideally not begrudgingly – that it’s not what you don’t eat that counts when you stand before (or indeed on) SoD.  As is reflected in my stats so far this week.   Intuitively I feel that every time I don't eat something that I want to, that there should be a small commensurate downward movement on the scales as a reward. Thursday was a charity cake sale at work.  Now, this is, in some respects a tale of virtue: I had two v small slices and chucked a 3rd away after one bite as not worth the calories (it was a wrench even so).  For this I forewent breakfast and lunch.  But clearly that is not enough.  Again, we were away for the weekend so I was v cautious in other meals and tried to minimise damage but dinner with friends at their house was the most difficult to negotiate. 

All this caution is against the backdrop of a tricky time at work with a ready supply of chocolate – it’s not easy.  I do keep reminding myself of the holiday though.  At the WI I thought I was in with a chance of hitting my target pre-hols; now, not so much.  Anyway, let’s see where 2 starve days, pancakes-by-exception and discipline takes me.  It’s got to be better than where I am now, in any case.  Pancakes notwithstanding. 

I’m still finding the Jane Plan lunches hard.  The breakfasts are more than I’m used to and tasty too, dinners are quite meagre but mainly palatable (I’ve had meatballs – really nice, and tuna pasta – okay but rather tasteless) but the lunches are small and at best tasteless (broccoli and cheese soup – smelly, and bean salad – not pleasant).  But they’re not horrible like Lighter Life bars were so it could be a lot worse.