Friday, 28 April 2017

Going swimmingly..

And so it goes on.  I’m down a pound on last week – and was down half a pound then on the previous week.  Lest this sound like any kind of progress, from the start of my ‘lose a stone before the holiday’ push, I have put on half a pound.  We are flying two weeks yesterday. It’s not looking promising!

This weekend we’re staying with friends in the middle of nowhere.  They are good cooks and I know it’s going to be hard to be as rigid as I could really do with.  I just need to be frugal where I can be.  It's one of those instances where I wish I could just enjoy it, but instead I feel anxious about too much food and wine.

I’ve got to the point where I lie awake at night, worrying about what I’ll wear on holiday (mostly so far cropped jeans and linen/cotton tops – but I don’t have enough for 11 days...).  I can’t even make myself think about swimwear – and no, I’ve still not plucked up the courage to so much as open the packaging for the tankini (albeit that it’s a long top – so it should look like a swimsuit but allow for easier loo trips and hopefully a doubly reinforced layer to hold the flab in.  A bit) let alone try it on.  I’m so torn: one the one side, I’d like to get in the sea – especially the Dead Sea, but on the other, well, the thought of being seen.  Or even feeling like I’m seen.  Yes, even by P. 

Yesterday I saw my specialist.  I wasn’t terribly prepared as they’d rescheduled the appointment so many times, I just assumed it would be moved at the last moment.  It’s always lovely to see him because he’s so wonderfully eccentric, but I’ve rather given up on it leading to any solution.  He wants me to try another type of drug – if my GP will prescribe, which is always something of a lottery.  Then he says we’ve reached the surgery point.  It underlined how much of a failure I am that I just can’t do this to the point where he’s advising something that drastic.  All I can do before I see him again (and who knows when that will be) is grit my teeth and give it my best shot and see where I am then.  Whether I’ve achieved anything by that point, with or without the new drugs.  I also need to do some research on the implications of the op.  Like Hermione, if in doubt, I go to the (virtual) library.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Uncomfortable in my own skin

It’s a 'down day', admittedly, but that’s how I feel.

If you’ve read this blog for any time, you’ll know that I am painfully (and I use that word deliberately) self-conscious about my weight/size.  But now I have additional uglyfying things to pull me down too.  There’s a reason all this has hit me at once and I’ll come to that in a bit.

I was pretty lucky with my skin as an adolescent: only a very few, occasional spots.  But I’m making up for it now.  I’ve had psoriasis for about 15 years – mainly on my scalp.  Psoriasis is when skin grows too quickly, forming silvery or red raised scaly patches – that’s not a scientific explanation but my best approximation of it.  That means that, on my head, you don’t see it but you do see what can look like enormous lumps of dandruff.  I also got it behind and in my ears.  Of course I’ve been self conscious about that, but have told myself bracingly that it’s not so bad.  Then I started to get patches on my legs.  This mostly happened in the winter when I was wearing opaques nearly every day and when I had bare legs in the summer, it would clear up pretty quickly.  Until it didn’t.  Now I have multiple patches on my legs, mostly angry red.  My husband thought I’d been badly bitten at first, but I have some very large patches.  I’ve seen the dermatologist and had various creams prescribed but they don’t get rid of it totally, just sort of fade the patches and new ones form frequently.  It will soon (hopefully) be bare leg weather but I don’t want to bare this.  I’m trying to find longer skirts to wear to work, but clothes are tricky for me at the best of times. 

Then at a foundation trial at a beauty counter, the assistant asked what I do about the ‘redness’ on my face.  Reader, I hadn’t really noticed it much, but I had a close look at my skin and there is was.  Because of the way I feel about myself, I have become adept at applying make-up or drying my hair without actually looking at myself (because I find that distressing).  I mentioned it to the dermatologist and she said it looked like rosacea and gave me (another) cream.  It doesn’t seem to have helped and the condition seems to be worsening.  If I have a drink, particularly, I flush up massively.  I’d told myself that although I could feel it, it probably didn’t show.  Until I was at a work drinks last night and it was commented on.  I went to the loo and I was glowing like some sort of neon sign.

Now, I don’t have it particularly badly – I knew someone once whose cheeks looked like they’d been grated and I know you can get pustules with it, whereas I just get a few spots.  But the cumulative effect of my weight, my skin (legs and head (and arms to a lesser extent)), and my scarlet face just feels too much to bear (or bare).  Like psoriasis, rosacea isn’t ‘curable’.  And it deteriorates with time so it’s only going to get worse.  I’ve got my first thread vein on my face – the first of many more to come.  It’s a particularly bitter realisation, as once I got past the teenage years of wanting to be tanned like everyone else, I’ve never minded being pale (I am very pale!) and have quite liked my skin.  There are so few things I like about myself that I feel pretty rubbish that this has been taken away.  In fact, I can’t think of anything else I do like about myself.  I like the colour of my hair but nothing else about it, for example, and that’s the only other thing and it’s with rather a lot of qualifiers. 

In an attempt to focus on silver linings, I had thought I would find aging easier than most.  Because I haven’t been attractive (except for a very brief time which spanned ages 16-19), I didn’t think I would feel aging as acutely as someone who has been pretty or beautiful.  I hadn’t calculated that I too would deteriorate – just from a much lower starting point.

I guess it’s the same as the strategy I have for my weight: damage limitation is probably the best I’m going to manage.  And just because I don’t achieve much, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try or that I should give up entirely.  All this is making me increasingly introverted though: I really don’t want to go out with anyone other than my husband or my closest friends.  A work social occasion is very difficult for me, increasingly so, I dread them and feel terrible about myself at the end of them.  There is nothing so lonely as feeling alone and the misfit in a group.  I suppose that the latest one has taught me something: don’t drink any alcohol, no matter how tempting.

In not entirely unrelated news, I am at my halfway point in my ‘stone off in 2 months’ campaign.  Admittedly tomorrow is WI day so I’m predicting a maximum of 2lbs off.  Quite a long way off the 7lbs I’d hoped for.  You’d think I’d be used to this, but I’m not.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The clothes line (or razor wire)

I had a random day off this week.  It was a starve day – no coincidence as I find it much easier to do this when I’m home.  Not just because there aren’t any sweets but the day is shorter (because I get up late) and I can absorb myself in other things.

This week I – in a fit of Spring-like optimism in a panic over clothing now that the weather seems to have changed (please everyone take a moment to touch wood here), dragged out my summer clothes.  Now, at this point in the year (and again in the Autumn) I have the same thoughts going around my head: 1) what on earth did I wear last year? and 2) oh look, lots of clothes that are too small for me (sometimes combined with putting stuff away vowing that they won’t fit me next year).  Last year in an uncharacteristic fit of decisiveness, I chucked one and possibly two work skirts away as they were getting too tatty.  This has magnified my dilemmas on what to wear by possibly 2000%.  I then tried on a selection of things that I’d bought from ebay for the holiday-to-Iran-that’s-turned-into-the-holiday-to-Jordan. 

Is there any worse feeling than trying stuff on (stuff that you own) and finding it’s too small?  A lot of it was frumpy and I’ve resolutely bagged it up to go to the charity shop.  But it doesn’t make me feel any better and it does leave me with a clothing problem.  The only long linen skirt (of four) that I tried and it kind of fitted was so frumpy that, in meeting my natural propensity for frumpiness, it was magnified into some frump supernova that could have destroyed the world.  I had to ditch it.  For the good of mankind and my fast dwindling sense of self-esteem.

It was a starve day, as I said.  I had a positively exemplary starve day, fuelled by misery and fear – and I lost ½ lb.  Last week I put on 1lb.  This is going badly.  Not that I’m about to give up, definitely not.  But in not-altogether-unrelated news, I could not bear to try on the tankini I bought.  I thought that might finish me off.  It’s not the sort of tankini where you get a peek of skin between the top and bottom part – most seem to be like this which shows utter ignorance about what women want, in my opinion, if you’re going to have a roll of chub, that’s where it will be and surely no-one wants to highlight that.  I bought it as I thought the double layer of top over bottom part might hold me in more.  And allow me to use the loo.  Most bra-sized swimsuits are hideously difficult to get in or out of.  And that’s just the chirpily above the surface bit of that particularly nightmarish iceberg.  It sits in the corner of my bedroom, haunting me.  Not sure when I’m going to be brave enough – and certainly not whilst Scales of Doom are taunting me with my own inadequacy.  

Monday, 27 March 2017

Lard be scone

I had a plan.  An ambitious plan, sure, but an achievable one.  Or so I thought.  My aim was to lose a stone before our holiday in May.  I had two months (8 weeks, to be exact)  to do that.  Now I have seven weeks.  The first week went okay.  I’m doing my bit – but SoD is not pulling his weight.  I’m sure the Scales of Doom are male – surely any female inanimate object would be more empathetic?

To put this in context, I’m freaked out by this morning’s WI.  And, other than Easter, this was likely to be the most challenging weekend so I need to try not to panic (or, fatalistically, give up) just yet.  We cushioned our filial duties this weekend by gin, wine and tapas on Friday and a bottle of fizz last night.  Last night’s bottle (no supper) was, frankly, medicinal.  But I still had alcohol three times – normally I would only allow myself to have it once.  And we had three meals out.  Still, that doesn’t explain the reason that little git said I’d put on 5.5lbs since Friday morning.

Today is a starve day so I’m hoping that extraordinary gain will be tempered by a larger loss than usual (6lbs would be a start). I’m certainly hungry enough to merit some pay back.  And I’m still shooting for that stone.  To be honest, even a stone won’t help me feel less self-conscious on holiday – and the thought of the beach makes my heart rate speed up and my shoulders tense up.  It won’t get my into my nice summer skirts.  But on the basis that every little helps, I’m hoping that it will make for a slightly less anxious holiday.  At least I’ll have done my best.  Like my wedding, I know, hand on heart that I really, really tried; the fact that I was still fat and didn’t look great, was not because I didn’t put the effort in, and whilst that makes me sad, it doesn’t make me angry with myself.

Apart from the odd evening meeting up with friends, the only hurdle to manage in the next seven weeks are some friends from the US coming over and being in London the Easter weekend.  In an attempt to cram as many quintessentially British food experiences in, P has drawn up a schedule which includes lunch at a rather lovely pub in Kent (I’ll be driving so at least no booze for me), a cream tea at our place and a roast dinner (beef).  I need to practice both Yorkshire puddings and scones – both of which I’ve had problems with in the past.  My Yorkshires determinedly solder themselves to the pan and my scones are rather biscuity.  The latter is particularly weird as I make (though I do say so myself) rather spectacular cheese and sweetcorn scones.  Maybe it’s the rolling and cutting that causes them to refuse to rise.  Anyone got any advice or idiotproof recipes?

Anyway, all this food chat is making my stomach growl ferociously and I’d better stop before people think there’s a rabid dog on the loose.  Actually, I’m slathering a bit too.....

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Previously on munter to minx....

I’m not sure I’m back yet.  I left because I thought I was being irritatingly moany and morose and that you, dear Reader, deserved more.  By deserving less of me.  Well, I deserve less of me too – more of which, later.

I am tip-toeing back and dipping that toe into the water.  Has anything changed?  No.  I’m still at roughly my pre Lighterlife weight.  I am still doing two starve days a week, mostly with success that never quite translates into anything encouraging on my old pal, Scales of Doom.  Nothing lasting at any rate.

I’m also back to low-carbing – essentially because I have now pretty much exhausted all the diets so am on a second (or third or fourth or...) pass around.  And because I felt best on it.  And that has worked in that my blood sugar levels are pretty damn exceptional.  But I cannot rejoice in this until it also means a steady downward trajectory on SoD.

Not least because we’re going on holiday in May.  We were going to Iran which, pleasingly, would have required me to be covered from wrist to ankle.  And whilst that had a set of problems, they were generally ones that could be answered with a bit of patient ebaying.  But, you know, Trump, and a couple of other things that made us pull out.  We had paid a deposit though and rather than lose it all, we transferred it to another holiday (there was a £60 fee because OF COURSE there was but at least we didn’t lose the lot).  So, we’re going to Jordan.  It’s as part of an organised group because that’s what this holiday company offers (and Americans, Canadians and Brits have to go to Iran as part of an organised tour) and so the itinerary is set for us.  It’s 11 days and it includes not one but TWO beachy bits: the Red Sea and the Dead Sea.  Reader: nothing makes me so clammy and terrified as swimwear.  So much so that when we went to Cape Verde last year, I deliberately didn’t take a swimsuit so that I didn’t ruin the holiday for myself in anxiety.  Yes, I would have loved to have gone in the sea but given the choice, it was no choice at all.

I will use the excuse that Jordan is not as westernised as all that – I’ve read that most women there would swim with a t-shirt on at least, sometimes shorts too.  But we’re staying in Western hotel chains so that’s somewhat flimsy.  I suspect there will be swimsuits and bikinis everywhere.  I only have to think this and I quite literally feel panic.  Panic anyway and then when SoD smugly refuses to shift down.  I had horrible food poisoning and that caused a leap downwards – I was flickering just above the next bracket down – and then it leapt back up.

I have nine weeks before we go.  If I could lose a stone I’d still be obscenely fat but it’s a stone better than where I am now. I ought to be able to say that I can set my mind to losing 2lbs a week and then I’d be at the lower point of the next stone down.  Admittedly at a pound a week, I am unlikely to notice any difference.  I know this numbers game is utterly self-flagellation, but I can’t not do it.

And I have two really nice skirts that I bought last summer (work skirts) that were just a smidgeon too tight.  I never wore them.  And I was a bit slimmer then.  HA!  I was not any gradation of slim –I was less fat than now.  I’d really like to wear them this year.  Every year I put off buying things – or even dry cleaning a couple of work skirts as ‘by next year they’ll be too big’.  I’ve thought this for years.  I’ve been wrong for years.  But I can’t quite bring myself to replace them or clean them.  There’s a winter jacket (duvet coat) in the sales that I like but I don’t want to be this size next winter.  I bought a mac at least three or four years ago that I thought I’d wear for a bit and then flog on ebay.  I’m still wearing it and it is looking sad and droopy (like its reluctant owner).  One of my best friends and my husband would tell me to accept that this is the way I am.  But I can’t.  I just can’t.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

I kind of understand why the Catholics have confessional- it's someone who'll listen to you. I don't have that. Nor do I have the sorts of friends that I can go to - dearly though I love them. And in any case, I wouldn't know where to start or even how to voice it. But things are tough at the moment - and yes, that includes my weight and the feelings of loathing and failure that that brings. It's not 'just' that, it feels like life is just too tough at the moment. All my energy is used to keep putting one foot in front of the other and to keep a bright, normal facade. Sometimes it gets too tiring to keep the mask there.

Anyway, what this means is that I don't have the energy to write attempted entertaingly from the coal face of weight loss. I don't know when I'll be back. But sure as sure, whatever life chucks at me I'll be fat and trying (unsuccessfully) not to be. So maybe. I still think that a lot of my problems would be lessened by being slimmer. I've lost my way though.

If any of you are left, I wish you joy and success in every aspect of your lives. Thank you for listening

Friday, 2 September 2016

Still here - more so, in fact

I know.  Radio silence for – well, ages.  So what’s up?  Well, the first thing that’s sodding up is my weight.  I have been going nowhere for ages and then a week’s hiking (in which I walked almost 50 miles) combined with my birthday and the stress-eating caused by being in a smallish tin box with my mother for a week.  Reader, I put on 4lbs.

My initial goal was to get in not the next stone bracket down but the one below that before we flew off on holiday; it didn’t seem too ambitious but more realistic.  Then when it became clear that I had absolutely no chance of meeting that goal, I revised it to a half stone heavier.  Then when it became clear I wouldn’t reach that, I amended it to just tipping down into the next stone bracket down.  I have no chance of meeting that.

I feel as if I have to pick myself up and carry on regardless too many times.  But what else is there to do?  I certainly shouldn’t be surprised about the exercise not making any difference – I have proven this again and again.  Why do I do the same things and hope for a different result?  Because – and that question was largely rhetorical dear Reader (if there are any of you left! (and I wouldn’t blame you)) – what else can I do?  And yes, because I’m stupid. 

But I can’t think what else to do.  All my plans now are versions of things I’ve already failed at.  So I’m doing the 5:2 (still) and trying to cut my carbs right down because I know I felt better on that and hey, I’ve not done that one for a while.  And I’ve also noticed when I’ve had quite a bit of sugary carbs I get a emphatically dodgy stomach (as in function – obviously form is and has been dodgy since, well, time immemorial).  This is something that has recently clonked me on the head, revelation-wise. 

Of course, my latest incident could also be exacerbated by an unpleasant evening with my mother.  She’d obviously saved up quite a bit of resentment and anger about P and decided to hit me with it.  I wasn’t expecting it – I’d gone over for a birthday meal as she’d not bothered to buy me a present (she couldn’t think what to get, apparently).  Then she was indignant that I was so upset: “Well, I hope you’re not going to let it spoil the evening.  We’ll have to draw a line and get on with it”.  Um.... my evening WAS spoilt – I didn’t even want to eat (I KNOW!) but had to because she’d made a stir fry thing and lemon meringue pie.  P does needle her, but he is also generous with both his time and money and support and she doesn’t deal with it very well.  Either way, I didn’t want to bear the brunt of it.  And I can’t see how we can move on from it – I don’t want to put P in that situation or myself.  And since we’re the only ones who host her for Christmas, I’m not sure what we can do.  I’m trying not to think about it.  Which is always a great tactic for dealing with anything.

Anyway, that was a VERY long winded way of saying that I’m down.  I’m really struggling in fact, humiliating as it is to admit it.  And although I’m looking forward to our holiday in a fortnight’s time, I can’t help but think of all the things that last time caused me to swear that I would be thinner this year – and I think I’m fatter (a few lbs but in the wrong direction).  Okay I won’t be mountain hiking or white water rafting this time (as far as I know!) but there will be plenty of opportunities for me to feel like I look wrong – as there is in everyday life already.