Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Vital stats

Number of days of cycling - 1 (with 3 being the aim if I manage tomorrow and Friday)
Number of Circuits of Hell - 1 (hoping to do it again tomorrow. Should do it 3x....)
Number of days of 'good' eating (aka dieting properly) - 0
Number of unplanned chocolate incidents yesterday - 4
Number of work skirts I can squeeze into - 3.5
Number I look good in - 0

It's not good. What's my mojo, Claire? Is it a chewy sweet? Because I'm up for that, sadly. And Ish, I'm so chubby that I probably would bounce - if I fell down.

Which is reassuring for cycling I guess. It was SO hard last night. My neck ached, my shoulders ached, my thighs ached, my lower back ached so badly I thought my period had decided to make its presence a weekly event. But I didn't mind the fact that it was dark - I'm so cautious anyway. I had today off but I'm back in the saddle tomorrow (assuming that it's not raining) and I'm going to try for Friday too. I guess I was fitter than I thought just before my holiday too(although not, as you'll note, slimmer).

I did have a sulky look on ebay for some size 'cough' 18s but there wasn't much and what was there was going for quite a bit. So I'm stuck with (and possibly stuck in) the larger end of my current wardrobe. I kind of feel that any cutting in of waistbands is a punishment I deserve - I know that sounds a bit self-flagellating but it's true. And there's also the issue that I can't bear to think that I need a larger size - I have to get down, not settle for going up or where does that trend end? Admittedly, this tactic doesn't seem to be working too well at the moment. I actually ate three bits of my chocolate orgy yesterday to 'clear it up' so I wouldn't be tempted now and would have a clean sheet (from today). Errrr, total calorie intake the same, chocolate doesn't increase in calories like interest on your credit card statement the longer you leave it.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Normal service will resume shortly

I cycled today. I couldn’t see from our flat’s windows that it was drizzling – we overlook a park and grass looks the same whether it’s dry or wet. I found out when I actually cycled out of the garages. Had I known, I don’t think I would have cycled – I don’t like the way that the rain makes the roads more skiddy, especially with all the fallen leaves at this time of the year. And I don’t like the way the drops cling to my cycle glasses, making the world dangerously blurry. The whole way in I was chuntering in my mind about this. And it was tough – I’ve not properly cycled for about 5-6 weeks what with the holiday and the being ill. But you just can’t knock the 1200+cals that it apparently burns.

Thank you everyone who commented – I still feel a bit sheepish and guilty that I dumped all that down. I’m very much of the ‘bottle it all up’ school. But I do appreciate your support; I think it makes me a very little stronger as I try to do the things that will make me less fat and resist the short term satisfaction of eating the ‘wrong’ thing. (Btw, I had been having The Big Purple One (giant Quality Street filled with caramel and hazelnuts) as my chocolate ‘treat’ as I love them – yesterday I found out that one has 189cals so that’s the end of that). I may even reluctantly look at a few size 18 clothes on ebay. But oh, I don’t want to go back there. Except I’m already there, in 18-land, just in 16 clothes, aren't I? And to think my 14s were all getting quite roomy last summer (as in 2008, not the one just gone). I could cry. I have cried. But now I have to get on my bike and DO something about it. And no, eating chocolate doesn’t count. If only my head could rule on this – always the feeling that it will make me feel better, that I deserve it wins. Even though I know that in the long run it will make me feel much, much worse.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Whirling blog (aka the whiny post)

I met up with my PhD friend on Thursday and we discussed blogging. I told her I hadn't blogged for a bit because - yes, I'd been busy - but mainly because I felt so down and didn't want to sound negative and miserable in case I annoyed people. "Why don't you give it a whirl anyway?" she said, reminding me that this is supposed primarily to be for me. And so I am.

Every day I get up feeling fat, and I squeeze into clothes that despite being the biggest in my wardrobe, don't really fit. I am wearing a knackered old bra because my usual lingerie is so tight that I have got scars where the sores formed at the sides of my breasts - and even this one occasionally stabs me uncomfortably. I worry about what to wear - all the time. I feel like a scruff - all the time. I am, in all truth, pretty scruffy anyway, but being dumpy and frumpy seems to exacerbate it. I feel like apologising for taking up space (in the world) - I try and remain inconspicuous in the background but that's harder when you're bigger. And the only thing that makes me feel better is eating something sweet or chocolatey. Just while I'm eating it of course, and then the guilt and the panic sets in that I'm not losing weight. And I'm trapped in this vicious circle and I feel too miserable, too low, too tired and too weak to fight my way out. And I don't know what to do to make myself feel better that doesn't have a calorie implication attached.

I did Circuit of Hell twice last week - and that's the most I managed to do to escape this state. I am still not well enough to cycle - this is not an excuse. I had 2 days of reasonable eating and then the stress cranked up at work and I mainlined sugar for 3 days. I've not been good this weekend either. The good choices I've made are heavily in the minority.

Last Wednesday I put on 4 things in a frantic rush to get out and two were missing buttons, the skirt had a badly ripped lining and the third top looked beyond awful. I went in a missing buttoned top which I safety pinned on - of course by the time I got to work, the button had gone. As had my gold and pearl necklace that I shoved into my bag to put on when I got there to try and look a bit more elegant. Bf bought me that necklace. I wanted to crawl under my desk and cry and cry. Instead I had to go to a function where I - honestly - looked like a bag lady and everyone else was dressed up. Then I shot back into the office to try and squish a day's work into 20 mins during which time I steadily ate Love hearts from the bucket on the desk behind me.

What do I do? Give in and buy bigger clothes? Or carry on squeezing into, looking awful and actually breaking my current wardrobe. Okay, pretty much everything I own is from ebay so wrecking it shouldn't be a disaster fianancially but it feels wretched. But then buying bigger stuff would feel like defeat.

And I can't talk about this - I can't articulate this even to people who I know would be sympathetic. I can't find the words and I'm afraid that if I said this aloud, I might start crying and never stop. I say a few things to my closest friends and pathetically I sort of hope that they might guess the rest - fill in the huge blanks I've left unsaid. And it's not fair to look for someone else to make this better, that's not their job.

The fear that grips me is that I can - very slowly and very painfully - lose a little weight, probably. Then I go away and it piles back on - worse then where I started. This means that the trajectory is up. Say I manage to lose weight now; at the rate I manage this, if I'm lucky, I will be back to where I was when I went on holiday by Christmas. This, you may remember, was half a stone heavier than Easter, a stone heavier than the end of LL and a stone and 10lbs heavier than my lightest ever. And just over a stone from that weight where I felt less panicky, less desparate about my weight and appearence. I was still overweight but I felt I could take my time, do it right, do it healthily - and if it were slow, I could live with that. But that's two stone away from here. Here is desparate and here is really miserable.

So sorry for quite probably being annoying, for definitely being negative and for definitely being whiny. I know there's a way out but I can't see that glimmer of light and hope from down here. Not yet. Soon, please.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Still lurgified

I am at home again today. I felt shivery, spaced out and hot and cold all of yesterday. It's annoying that the only time you have to do stuff is when you have a day off like this - but when you have a day off like this you can only listlessly move from sofa to bed and back again. I guess that's why I'm not at work! Otherwise it's called skiving....

On the food front I did well in the end yesterday. I had porridge with 4 walnut halves for breakfast, then I had some sweet sesame peanuts I brought back from Turkey (bad) and to make up for that, had no snacks all day (I'd usually have a cereal bar and some yoghurt)! I had half a carton of onion soup for lunch with a small homebaked wholemeal roll (about the size of a satsuma) with low fat cream cheese and 2 satsumas, then I had 2 figs drizzled with a tsp olive oil and a little more pomegranate sauce (again something I brought back from Turkey - it's like balsamic really) and 4 slices of parma ham and a mango. Another day like that (which is what I've planned) and I'm hoping that when I'm back in clothes that my bras at least won't cut in so much - it also gives the sores there a chance to heal up. But of course I'm not actually burning any calories as I'm not moving at all. I kind of feel I should do Circuit of Hell today but I'm not sure I'm up to it - we'll see.

Thanks for your well wishes!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


Sick in mind and body, that's me at the moment!

I feel really rough - my boss took one look at me as I came back from my lunchtime wander yesterday and said I should go home immediately, that I had no colour (I don't often but she knows this so I'm guessing I was even paler than normal). My legs were like cotton wool and I felt shaky and spaced out and altogether odd.

Sod's law of course meant that I was supposed to be seeing Fame last night with a group of friends - I was really looking forward to it and it was a mark of how rough I felt that I cancelled it and went home. And I was supposed to be out tonight with a friend - I was really looking forward to that too and needed words of wisdom from her. Grrrr.

It's only a cold and I know you feel worse at the start of one so I'm sure I'll be feeling better soon - but too late for my nice social things. Today I still have a very sore throat and feel dazed and tired but am starting to get snotty which will mean I can start getting better (I think!).

Sadly, I am one of those people who feels the need to eat anything and everything when I'm ill. I think in some sort of twisted way, I see this as indulgence, kindness, as looking after myself. I'm trying to fight this impulse too (as well as the lurg) as I know I don't want to be even fatter at the end of this. But I do wish I was the sort of person that stopped eating entirely when they felt ill.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Ups and downs

Some good advice from Beth and Ishmael. Which I will try and follow.

I guess I had mixed success (failure) over the weekend. I had a sensible breakfast on Saturday morning - and then I ate some cookies. Lunch at the pub was nigh on impossible - I tell you, there were NO healthy choices. I dithered over roast partridge or a steak baguette and went for the latter. Which came with chips. And it wasn't really what I wanted - I wanted a ploughmans but figured all the cheese would be too calorific. I turned down pudding but later that day had a chocolate biscuit cake at teatime - but I cut it in half and gave the other half away. Then I had a frugal supper. I was worrying about the fact that bf had bought sticky toffee pudding for dessert and wondering if I could get away with eating a third rather than a half - and then he got stomach ache and didn't want any supper at all so that answered that. I didn't eat any of the pudding - I'd felt morally obliged to join in with it but was fretting about the calories. I know, I know, I can say 'no'. In theory. In reality I'm hopeless at this.

I just had some yoghurt and granola for breakfast on Sunday and then didn't drink with lunch as I'm not keen on alcohol during the day (it always gives me a headache) and thought it would off-set the blackberry and apple crumble cake (which was gorgeous). Then I just had half a melon and some chestnuts for supper.

I feel that I ought to have done better. I actually have sores on the sides of my breasts where my bras are cutting in so deeply, post weight-gain. And I'm not convinced that I have enough outfits I can fit into for work this week. And I'm frightened to try stuff on and see.

Today I managed to get up in enough time to have breakfast and do the Circuit of Hell. I didn't leave in enough time to do the full walk in to work so - gasp - compromised and did a shorter walk! This was not an all or nothing action! Perhaps there's hope for me yet....

Friday, 9 October 2009

The road to hell is paved with good intentions apparently...

Which seems sort of mean to me, I mean, at least you were trying, right? And I have good intentions in spades.

It seems to me that dieting has a few key underlying 'musts' without which it's impossible. Or impossible to me, anyway:

1) You have to plan ahead - you have to know what you're going to eat/choose. Spontaneity leads to poor choices for me.

2) You have to be organised - you have to set time aside to make those plans, to consider when you can exercise and to have a plan B. I find Plan B has to be employed with bewildering frequency

3) You have to be disciplined - just to put those plans into action. Making the plans is the easy part....

And it all went wrong for me this morning. I'd checked the weather last night and it's supposed to rain this afternoon/evening. I hate cycling in the rain anyway but with the addition of slimy leaves - well, no, not a chance, not for a scaredy cat like me. So I thought I'd walk c2.75 miles along the Thames path on my way in to work to compensate. That was my plan - together with Circuit of Hell and breakfast (porridge) at home. Thinking about this now, it was not a well-thought out plan - I would have had to have got up at 5.40am - 5.50am I think in order to fit all that in which seems inhuman, but I also had at the back of my head that I could do Circuit of Hell tonight. And, as you have guessed, my plans went awry. Firstly I got up too late (6.30am) for Circuit of Hell and/or breakfast but was still in time to walk in. Except. I'd not factored in the utter uselessness of the London transport system and all that extra time I'd allowed for was swallowed up waiting for - and being unable to get on - tubes. I barely made it to work on time in any case, let alone with the 50 mins minimum walk in.

That is the random factor - the unforeseen, the unpredictable, the random that can kick your best laid plans into oblivion.

And as Lesley astutely pointed out in her comment on yesterday's post, I have an unfortunate tendency to be all or nothing. Once a plan fails I tend to crumple and give up generally. I definitely find that with one failure a mindset kicks in that leads with "oh well, you've ruined today you might as well...". And the 'might as well' is inevitably eating something fattening. And that compounds the feeling of despair so it spirals. I really have to fight this. The problem is that I feel defeated and fed up at that point which is where fighting is difficult and feebly giving in is much easier. But I have to, have to fight this.

I can practise this weekend. We have friends coming for lunch on Sunday (menu if you're interested: field mushrooms stuffed with leeks, bacon and blue cheese followed by chicken and chorizo roasted in sherry with stuffed squash and then apple and blackberry crumble cake with clotted cream - all pleasingly seasonal) and I'm going out for lunch with bf and his friend on Saturday at a pub from their youth. That is enough to make me feel that I've "spoilt" the weekend and, blow it, may as well have exactly what I please. What I please being large quantities of fattening stuff of course (the three Cs - cakes, cookies and chocolate). But I'm going to try my darnedest (a word I've never written before!) to use my remaining meal choices to make healthy choices. To make choices to make up for those decidedly off-diet meals even. In fact, I bet I can find a relatively healthy choice for lunch at the pub. And then it's only Sunday lunch and I can balance that with a healthy breakfast and a small supper that day. Can't I? I'm certainly going to try.

But how to tackle the Random Factor? I guess not to let it affect the rest of that day's choices - to accept that there will be times when you cannot do the right thing but to put those times behind you and move swiftly on. I don't think that's easy - not for me in any case. Practise makes perfect I guess...

Thursday, 8 October 2009

A human experiment

Fired up by Mrs Lard's progress with Potatoes not Prozac, I thought I would buck the habit of a lifetime and have breakfast before I left home this morning. I had a half cup of porridge oats (50g) with a half cup of semi skimmed milk and one of water with a large tsp of honey, loads of cinnamon and 6 half-walnuts - does that sound a reasonable breakfast? I guess that the problem with being on LL, Diet Chef etc is that when I'm not following a specified plan, I'm a bit in the dark about what constitutes a good choice. And I know that this is a healthy breakfast - but is it a good calorie choice? Anyone know?

It was a much nicer breakfast than I could have at my desk, despite having to get up even earlier to have it, but my concerns about doing this were:
a) I have heard that exercising on an empty stomach forces you to burn fat reserves and that always sounds like a good thing
b) I was worried that I would still be hungry when I got into work.
Well, I don't know about a) so if anyone has any inkling, please do let me know. As for b), well, yes, I was hungry. I don't think it was just habit either. I had to have my mid-morning snack of 100g of 2% Greek yoghurt with 2 dsp of compote by 10.15am as I was so hungry. So I'll try it for a bit longer but will have to see how I go.

And then I cycled in. It has been almost 3 weeks and I certainly felt it. I don't know whether it was the colder air, the length of time that's elapsed or the extra weight I've packed on but my lungs were sore (if you know what I mean). I hope to cycle tomorrow too (and do the Circuit of Hell) and carry on like this so that when I next weigh myself (next Friday) I can be perked up by some loss. I squeezed into my next largest skirt today but I'm not sure I have 4 outfits for work (we can dress down on a Friday) at this weight. Even my bras are uncomfortably tight.

And I didn't do well yesterday. A combination of circumstance (also known as sod's law) and weak willedness. Breakfast was a small pot of instant porridge and a very small skinny cappuccino. Mid morning I had 6 Haribo, 2 Turkish Delight and a low cal cereal bar. At lunch I met bf for a coffee (semi skimmed cappuccino) at which point I was so hungry I started getting sweaty, dizzy and faint. He had a wodge of granary bread in his bag and I ate that. Then I went off in search of soup for lunch. Then I got very shaky and faint - I know this is a blood sugar problem, I've had it before. Reader, I ate a packet of peanut M&Ms. They did the trick but I couldn't enjoy them as I was despairing of the calories even as I rammed them - shakily - into my gob. Then I couldn't find any soup. It was ridiculous - I'd looked at the Eat website to choose the best calorie choice and they'd run out. So had the next 3 places I went to. I ended up with a Moroccan Chicken soup from Pret (eek! 309 cals I just checked) with a mini Artisan baguette (with proscuitto, basil and pecorino - 318 cals! It was tiny!) and about 8 Haribo. I had 100g 2% Greek yoghurt with 2 dsp of compote late afternoon and then went home to homemade squash soup (large butternut squash, soup and a little chorizo). Then a slice of helva and a pear - and then in a rage because I couldn't find my cycle lights, 4 Roses chocolates. It wasn't a good start.

But as Yazz and the Plastic Population wisely say - "the only way is up". Today is another day. so far I've had my porridge and my yoghurt mid-morning snack. Lunch will be soup - not sure whether I dare include a hunk of bread with it (probably not) and 200g plums. Mid afternoon - a low cal cereal bar. Tonight - a prawn stir fry with noodles and a few cashews, a slice of helva and a pear. And I'll have cycled for 2 hours and walked for half an hour. That has to be good, right?

Wednesday, 7 October 2009


That's Turkish for 'hello'! Kurdish is Hroj Bosch (phonetically)! We added to our Turkish vocab whilst we were away and now have a few words of Kurdish too. It was a lovely holiday - the place was a bit brash so it was a shock at first, but once you can ignore the restaurants serving 'chicken luggets', fishfingers, egg on toast, English breakfast (in a Muslim country!) and 'lorry driver's menu' (I'm not kidding), there were some lovely places to eat. And the scenery was gorgeous and the people friendly, thrilled we spoke a little of their language and keen to debate politics with us. I even have a faint tan... Bf has a convincing tan. And he was lovely all holiday - it was all very loved-up which was particularly nice after his crotchetiness of late.

I didn't do much shopping (there was alot of tat but not much else) but brought back a 'little' something in the form of 10lb of unwanted extra blubber. Usually in that time I'd put on over a stone so I guess I have to be thankful for small mercies but it still makes me heavier than I've been for a long time - nearly 2st heavier than the end of LL and 2st7lbs heavier than my lightest weight last summer. And critically, 2st heavier than my freak-out weight (the weight above which I can no longer be rational about weight loss and my appearance generally). So, now I have to address this. I tell you this tough, I am not going on another holiday that is spoilt for me because of fretting about my weight. As it was, you'll remember the swimsuit trauma before I left and I can say I actively avoided wearing it whilst I was there - only swimming twice because of feeling so dumpy and frumpy. That would make it c£20 a wear. That's not good sense on any level.

I did have baklava (oh god I love baklava) or an ice cream every day I suppose, but the actual food out there is pretty healthy - no creamy sauces, no mountains of chips - and they'll tell you if you are ordering too much. In fact, if you get chips you get about a dozen which I think is really good - it's enough to enjoy but not an absurd amount. Of course you often get this with mash (which I always left) or rice (which I always ate) AND bread (sometimes I did, sometimes I didn't - it depended on the bread).

So, I did my Circuit of Hell today (before I weighed in actually), having checked the weather forecast and decided that cycling would not be a good idea (and I can't work out how to put my light on at the back). And I'm starving! Part of me is thinking that I'll try to diet without the calorie counting but I don't know if that's really a good idea as it does make me sneak in extra stuff, 'subliminally'. But this is my plan and please, any advice is SO SO welcome.

Food -
During the week:
breakfast = porridge,
lunch = soup mainly and fruit,
dinner = pick 5 low cal evening meals and rotate (I'm thinking: prawn stir fry, omlette and salad (one whole egg, one egg white), fish and veg, soup (again) and one ready meal). Piece of fruit and square of chocolate
snacks = cereal bar mid afternoon, 100g 2% Greek yoghurt with 2 dessert spoons compote mid-morning (during the week)
Weekend (will have to be a bit more fluid):
breakfast/brunch = scrambled egg, baked mushroom, baked tomato, slice seedy bread OR peanut butter and wholemeal muffin for breakfast and salad/soup/cottage cheese for lunch
evening meal = healthy but more relaxed with a couple of glasses of wine. Probably stewed fruit for pudding (I love this, weirdly) or Skinny Cow ice cream bar

Exercise - well, cycle as much as I can, walk where I can otherwise (including fitting something in at the weekend wherever possible and weather allowing) and Circuit of Hell 3x.

What do you think?

Of course, I came home with helva and Turkish Delight so my weekday pudding will be a slivver of helva until that's used and then 2 cubes of Turkish Delight - all instead of the chocolate square.

My loosest winter work skirt is decidedly tight - it was a struggle to get it on today.