Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Come fly with me..

You know the Orphan Annie song about tomorrow being a day away? Well that’s rather how I feel about WIs. I am always hopeful that the next one will bring me a side order of joy alongside a respectable loss. If you recall, I was hoping for it this week. But my sneaky side looks at SoD say I’m doomed to disappointment (I have unofficial WIs on Friday and Monday as well as the pukka version on a Wednesday). I’ll keep you posted.

It was rather a dreary weekend. I had to work (albeit from home) on Saturday and on Sunday we just walked the 2.5 miles to the supermarket and back. We have almost completed our photobook of our trip to the US though – just the captions to go. And this was quite a feat as it was whittling down 1000+ photos to an 88 page book.

But the highlight of the weekend was sketching out a rough idea for our honeymoon. Now, we’ve decided that although we’re getting married in November, we’re going to wait to do our honeymoon in May 2013. Otherwise we’re pretty much limited to yawnsome (for us) holidays on an identikit beach. So we’re going away for a few days after the wedding (I am not allowed to use the word ‘minimoon’ as it causes P to spontaneously projectile vomit) – hopefully to Norway to see the Northern Lights if we can manage it. Then we’re asking for contributions to our honeymoon fund as a wedding present. This is why we need to get it sorted sooner than we might ordinarily do so. I want to set it up as a present list so people feel they’re buying X trip or dinner on Y night or similar (note to self: this really may not be possible) as I think it’s nicer. So, this is our three week plan and if anyone knows anything about any of this, all travel advice is gratefully received:

1) Boat to New York (yes, I’m thinking the cruise liner in Anything Goes http://markgoucher.com/wp-content/uploads/Anything-Goes.jpg. More realistically it will hopefully be a dollop of retro glamour though. And apparently the approach to New York is breathtaking)
2) 2-3 days in New York. Emphatically not where we stayed last time – somewhere nice. I need to learn to love New York – and it’s a source of grief that we didn’t get to Grand Central last time so we can remedy that.
3) Fly to San Francisco (presumably). Do not loiter but (not necessarily in this order)....
4) Wine region
5) Big Sur
6) Yosemite
7) Fly to Boston (presumably from San Francisco), 2- 3 days there.
8) Back home.

Doesn’t that just sound AMAZING? I’m very excited – I do hope we get to do it.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Lost in Austen

I lost nothing this week. I was expecting it because of the wedding breakfast tasting, but that’s not to say it isn’t disappointing. That makes my total loss for January 2.5lbs (admittedly that’s only for 3 weeks) which is pretty pathetic. At this rate, I’ll only have lost the weight I put on for Christmas by Easter – and I’d only just lost the weight I put on in American by Christmas. There’s a pattern forming... It’s not a pretty one and it's not helping with Operation Wedding Dress.

But this week I don’t have any hurdles that I know of. Granted, I was out last night with friends but was able to eat completely compliantly. And that’s it for me this week. Let’s see what impact that has on the scales next Wednesday (and cross all digits).

In other news I have realised I am a perfume snob. I had severe misgivings about my current scent and only tried it because a friend whose taste I trusted completely urged me to do so. But I had it down as a ‘celebrity perfume’, the concept of which I hate. And okay it’s not Eau de Mariah Carey or Essence of Paris Hilton – being instead a relatively blameless Stella McCartney – but I was still very resistant. But I liked it, annoyingly enough. A couple of weeks ago, with all social niceties sandblasted from my soul by a particularly wearisome day, I was in the lift in the development in which I live with a neighbour I only very vaguely recognise; she smelt lovely and I told her so! She produced Vera Wang’s Princess perfume from her bag as an explanation. I snuck into House of Fraser to try it on yesterday: Reader, I liked it. But I can’t bring myself to buy a pink coloured perfume, in a heart shaped bottle, called something as simpering as ‘Princess.

In other other news: I have been gorging on Persuasion this week. It gives me the same slightly dazed, almost hypnotised, certainly mesmerised, totally immersed feeling that Twilight does. Jane Austen will now - justifiably - be revolving furiously in her grave at being compared to Stephanie Meyers. I finished the book on Wednesday and, with an evening when P(ookie) was out, I watched the BBC adaptation with Rupert Penry-Jones. I do not, as a rule, find blonde men attractive but he really was a most fetching Austen hero. It got me wondering who my ultimate Austen hero is. Obviously I grow up smitten with Darcy (although that smouldering moodiness can’t be easy to live with), but Wentworth does have his own appeal (I may or may not be influenced by Penry-Jones in breeches and boots) – I give you: “you pierce my soul”, SWOON. I started wondering who P(ookie) is most like – definitely a lot of Mr Knightley (strong held beliefs (maybe a bit tactless) and not afraid of telling you where you’re going wrong. And loving you anyway) with a dash of Henry Tilney (very practical and sensible – slightly bemused at falling for an over-imaginative, over-sensitive woman). Luckily I like Knightley too. Even though my friend calls him a “groomer” – 16 years ffs! There’s 12 between P(ookie) and me and I see nothing sinister in it! At least he's not an Edmund Bertram or an Edward Ferrars - nothing wrong with them, just... a bit.... wet.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Oat cuisine

Come on week 3! Actually I don't have very high hopes of week 3, despite the encouraging tale of it taking up to 3 weeks for one's body to start burning fat on a low-carb diet. And this isn't my Eeyore tendancies. This is for two reasons....

1) We had our wedding breakfast tasting on Saturday. We tasted 6 canapes (1 of each apiece) and then shared 2 starters, 2 mains and 2 puddings. Carb avoidance was not possible. And we nearly had a nasty moment when, having eaten my half of the chocolate fondant, I didn't want to pass the plate to bf for him to taste it. It was yummy, he could have trusted me on this! And besides, what if the other half tasted different? I am not quite oinking as a result of all this decidedly non diet nosh as not only did I relinquish the pudding, but I left bf all the ice cream (not bothered by ice cream) and I left the pastry from my half of a crab and clotted cream tart (again, not feeling the pastry love). So not really terribly self-sacrificial then. Then we went home and shared a bottle of English fizz.

2) A comment on the forum for the Harcombe diet pointed out that me eating 2 pigs in blankets a day (weekdays) for breakfast was probably not A Good Thing. Even if they were sausages without fillers or grossness. Damn. I struggle with breakfasts anyway - so tricky if you can't have pancakes or waffles or.... Anyway. So I thought I'd have a carb breakfast (Harcombe is essentially about not mixing, rather than being exclusively low-carb, it's just that's how I generally treat it). I had jumbo porridge oats with skimmed milk, a few blueberries and a spoonful of fat free yoghurt. No sweetener which is not easy for me. Zut alors, not only was I ravenous by mid-morning but I also had a vague stomach ache and was visibly bloated. Now, I've never heard of any intolerance to oats, and it was less bad this morning, but I will not be sowing any more oats in my stomach. The conundrum of breakfast continues however.

And the scales were alarmingly up this morning - 2lbs from Friday and 1lb from last week. Gaahhhhh. WI tomorrow.

PS Bf is hence to be known (mysteriously?!) as P. It stands for Pookie. (not really)

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Chewing the fat

From reading the Dr John Briffa book I am equipped with new nuggets of information. The one that I’m most hoping will be proven as true is that it takes up to 3 weeks after dropping the carbs for your body to start burning fat stores efficiently. Because I have to say I’m disappointed thus far: week 1 = 1lb and now week 2 is in at 1.5lb. It’s not what I’d expect when you contrast it to my fortnight wading happily off piste through avalanches of carby delights (overdo a metaphor? Moi?!). Essentially there are only two ways of going forward that will be acceptable to me:
1) For week 3 to prove that my body has suddenly turned into an efficient and effective fat-burning dynamo
2) For the pattern of loss to continue so week 3 is 2 ¼, week 4 is 3, week 5 is 4.5lbs etc
Or okay:
3) All of the above.

1lb a week is not going to get me where I want to be (or even within sight of it. Even with binoculars. Or the Hubble telescope) by April when I need to screw up my courage and go dress shopping. I want to be a 12/14 so I can slim into a comforatable 12 over the following 7 months. I am currently a 16. At best there are 11 weeks between now and then. If I lost 1lb every week I would be Chubby.12. I’d be a generous size 14 I reckon. But if I could lose 2lbs a week I would be Chubby.1 and I reckon I’d be a small 14 (but not a 12/14). You know this game, right? And whilst 1llb a week probably would get me to where I wanted to be by the wedding (42 weeks), more or less, of course it doesn’t work like that. You have to be mainly consistent in size or risk your dress looking rubbish (or, more specifically, you looking rubbish in your dress). And as we know, there are weeks when you don’t lose, despite deserving it and weeks where you put on and deserve it.

Between now and mid March (bf’s end of diet) we have a few potentially tricky situations to manage. This weekend we’re going for our wedding breakfast tasting. There will of course be carbs – including sugar – involved. I’m just hoping it’s in teeny portions Then we have two or three weekends with friends, a meal at friends’ house and a meal out with my mum (easier as I can just choose wisely). The meals at friends’ houses is the hardest thing of course as you can’t choose what you eat. And I know it’s a labour of love so I feel mean for agonising, bitching (internally only of course) and fearing it.

You know the saying that you can only do your best? What if it’s not good enough?

Amy: thanks so much for the offer, that’s really sweet of you. I basically like green jasmine tea though and I don’t think there is a decaffeinated version of this. I’m appallingly picky, I know.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Wh-WHITE out

Now that I can no longer legitimately say “oh, it’s ages away” airily when asked about the wedding, I’m trying to crack on with things. I suspect I’m doing a lot but achieving little - but it gives me the illusion of progress. This weekend I will be discussing a design for the invites, mocking an invite up and costing two variants. Then we have our wedding breakfast tasting next Saturday and I have a meeting with our on-the-day co-ordinator (something I won!) on Tuesday evening. We’re also going to a wedding fair next weekend to hopefully make contact with some local suppliers – although I’ve made very initial contact with two florists and a cake lady.

When I’m not doing that, I will be FINALLY putting together our New England/New York photo album with bf (who took over 1000 shots) – it might be a tough job that we only start on but we need to get going. Bf has really got an eye and a flair for photography and he’s taken some stunning shots, so whittling it down will be tough. I’m also working (on call) on Sunday and then there are the inevitable chores. Including sorting through my knitwear – I fear we have moths as I have found a couple of suspicious holes in two of my favourite jumpers. I’m at the ballet tonight with my mother and aunt. Other than that, sticking to the diet (bf’s made venison ragout for dinner tomorrow – YUM!. He’s having his in lettuce and I’m going for vegetable spaghetti), drinking down my vinegar and hoping for better things on the next WI. Oh and reading Dr John Briffa’s book – have you seen any of the excerpts in the Times? It’s similar to Harcombe without the carb option (which I rarely take), so it could be a useful/interesting alternative or complementary thing.

I was out with one of my best friends last night. It was lovely to see her anyway but she made a couple of comments about coming along for wedding dress shopping (eeek) when she can, coming to a wedding fair and organising my hen do. I had rather thought that, because she and my other best friend both have small children as well as busy jobs, anything other than moral support may not be possible – it’s a relief to find otherwise. More for the shopping than the hen do, which I’d be happy to organise myself to be honest.

Thursday, 12 January 2012


So, somewhere I read that a tbsp of cider vinegar in a glass of water, drunk first thing in the morning, speeds up your metabolism. So I’ve been doing that. It’s not as bad as you’d think – slightly sour but not unbearable. And definitely worth it if it works.

On which note.... I lost a measly 1lb this week. Given that it was:
a) my first WI post Christmas blow-out;
b) I’d been carb free;
c) I’d been drinking the cider vinegar; and
d) I’d lost 2lbs by Friday.
I’d rather expected to lose a few lbs (I was thinking 3-5lbs). But the morning of the WI I woke up feeling so bloated and swollen that I thought I might pop and it transpired that I was about to have an epic period (TMI?), I am hoping for Better Things in Week 2. Or I’m going to fail DISMALLY at my goal of 2stone down by the start of May.

In brighter news, I am wearing Skirt 4. I wouldn’t say I look a wowzer in it (ha!) and the fit is not great but it does up. Even when seated. I’m wearing a vest top under my cardy that keeps bunching up in folds around my waist: I don’t need additional folds, it’s very annoying and not conducive to a smooth fit.

I appreciate all your reassurance on my limited wardrobe resources but I actually think that it would notice if I wore the same one twice. I am in that curious minority group of people who won’t wear black. Know any others? Thought not. I’ve only ever met a couple of others ever (and one was my grandmother). It means that my skirts don’t quite fade into the background in the way that a more neutral choice might. Skirt 1 is teal, green, brown and yellow stripes (FAR nicer than it sounds – sort of coastal somehow), Skirt 2 is French navy with large polka dots of cream, lime, navy and cornflower blue on, Skirt 3 is chocolate, embroidered with rust and gold flowers and Skirt 4 is ruffled navy. I need more clothes – ideally ones that fit. What am I saying? Ideally ones which are flattering, a size 14 AND fit. I can dream, can’t I?

It’s more wholesome and reasonable dream than the one I had the other night where I met the actor Ciaran Hinds on a tour of a stately home in which he lived, married him and became stepmother to his FOUR young children, which included twin redheaded boys of 8. Where did THAT come from? I baffle even myself.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Skirting the issue

I don’t enjoy buying clothes. I don’t enjoy it because I pretty much always think I look awful (understand the wedding dress fear now?) and I buy most things from ebay – a habit I got into when on LighterLife when I knew my size would change relatively quickly. I am not sure if I were able to nail shopping, I’d feel less of a ragbag - but I digress.

I have 4 work skirts at any time (since we have dress down Friday) so anything that disrupts that pattern (a meeting on a Friday, say) is a disaster as there is no 5th option.

January is the biggest disaster of them all. I wouldn’t say any of the skirts fit well at the best of times: 1) rather too big so it swivels, 2) too big on the waist but otherwise fine 3) slightly straighter and snugger and 4) really quite small. I’d just about got into number 4 comfortably before Christmas but I will have to wear it on Thursday. Assuming it does up. And that goes for skirt 3 too. I only worked Wed and Thu last week so was fine in 1 and 2 but My. Time. Is. Up. Gulp.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Sloe progress

Lying in bed last night, bf said “Do you realise that in 10 months time it will be the day before your wedding?” I hadn’t. I felt fear. Not fear about becoming bf’s wife – after 17 years, it would be a little late in the day to have relationship jitters – not even about the amount of things we haven’t done on the basis that it’s “ages away” but about The Dress. Ah well, I’ve freaked out about this a lot as you, dear Reader, know. But I hereby warn you that there will be plenty more of that in the weeks and months (10) to come. I just think, if I don’t lose a significant amount of weight for this wedding, when will I? There was a very interesting post on Love My Dress on this though:
I like the last dress. I looked at the designers they recommend but the London one (Once Upon A Time Designs) is way outside my budget (beautiful though).

Bf has decided he’s going to do the Harcombe Diet too. He’s not actually reading anything but asking me lots of questions. He went through his Thai/Malaysian cookbook yesterday and drooped sadly when he realised most of the recipes include sugar (a strict no-no). I gave him an Indian cookbook to flick through to cheer himself up. I doubt he’ll be quite as strict as me on it (not least as I’ve not had the heart to tell him he can’t have his builders’ tea) but then men, irritatingly, seem to lose weight much more easily, don’t they? Of course, 98.5% of the population lose weight more easily than me! He wants to lose a stone by mid March – and I bet he does it too. I’d like to lose a stone and a quarter by then – let’s see which of us is successful (the sensible money is on him).

Anyway, we have made progress this weekend. Or I have anyway. I spend most of Saturday afternoon making sloe gin for the sloe gin fizzes we’re serving as an aperitif (there’s probably some coy weddingy word for aperitif). Do you have ANY IDEA how many sloes you have to prick for 4 litres of sloe gin? That’s 4lbs of sloes which are the size of blueberries and you have to prick them all individually a couple of times. I was so excited though, I kept going to check the jars to see if the gin had gone pink yet (they had, a bit)!

Hello Ms Kay (blowfly – ha ha!)! Yes, I’d totally recommend the Brazilian/keratin treatment. Be warned: it’s addictive though – you won’t want to be without. But I guess it depends what you want – it’s great for sheeny-shiny hair with no weather related frizzing but it does knock a bit of the volume out. And people have been disappointed to find out that yes, they do still need to style their hair! But once you have, it stays like it, no matter what the drizzly/fuggy/misty/sweaty weather is doing.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

January blues

I am forgetting my classical education (it was some time ago) – January is named after the god Janus who has two faces and looks back into the past and forward into the future. So I guess a bit of introspection is no bad thing as long as it doesn’t mar my determination to forge ahead with proper, significant weight loss. I carefully wrote all my WIs from last year into this year’s diary so I can chart progress. I don’t have the scores until mid April and by then I’m hoping to be a good stone and a half lighter than I was at that point in 2011. That would only just take me under my lowest weight ever after my second bout of LighterLife but I’d be a size 14 then.

As it is, I put on 8 1/4 lbs over Christmas! In two weeks! Eeek! SoD was resolute - it even threatened me with an extra 1/4 lb if I persisted in not believing it. It ought to spur me on but it's actually rather depressing. I don't know what I was this time last year - at least 1/2 stone heavier I think - but I don't feel I've achieved much in the way of decreasing myself in the last year.

Today I am battling with withdrawal from the evil of sugar. Twinned with the mild depression which January seems to induce every year and the boredom of being back at work (or is that tripletted?) it’s a tough one. I’m missing fruit, I’m missing constant nibbling, I’m missing bready stuff, I’m missing green tea (I know, call me a sybarite) and I’m missing chocolate/cake/sugar. Sigh. Compare and contrast yesterday’s menu with today’s:

Breakfast – fat free yoghurt with figs, almonds and honey. 3 Scotch pancakes with butter
Galaxy truffles
Lunch – prawn crystal rolls, 2 pieces shortbread with chocolate chips, mango.
Dinner – mini baguette with frankfurters and caramelised onions and ketchup (a posh hot-dog I guess), chocolate ├ęclair (eaten, inappropriately, WHILST watching the Biggest Loser).

Breakfast – 2 cold sausages wrapped in bacon, full fat plain yoghurt
Lunch – homemade celeriac and stilton soup with small piece brie
Dinner – (to be eaten in the car en route to choir) egg and ham mayo with chicory. Small quantity dark chocolate

It’s not that I feel deprived – I do like the food on this - but I miss the bready, sugary crap. And even more, I miss constant grazing. Grazing will turn me into the human variety of cow though – not nearly as cute and certainly not pretty in a wedding dress. Deep breath....

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

This is brought to you by the BBC

That is Booze, Bread and Chocolate - the unholy trinity that have taken up residence in me over the festive period. I have to face SoD tomorrow and it's not going to be pretty. But I'm getting right back on the Harcombe wagon and have spent my last afternoon of freedom preparing food for the next 3 days. If Harcombe is to be believed, after 5 days off the evil carbs, I should drop a chunk and then I can start cracking on with blitzing the bulge and getting closer to looking halfway decent in a wedding dress.

I want to lose 2 stone by the 1st May. I think it's an achieveable target for a normal person. But with my slowest-metabolism-in-the-world-EVER will this be at all possible for me? I just don't know. But I have to crack on with determination and dedication, assuming I can get there and working on that basis regardless. Two stone would make me a small 14 I think - it would mean I could buy a size 12 dress assuming that I could lose a little more by November... I'm getting married this year! Although marriage could be short lived as I keep reading that the world is going to end on 21 December. I think I'll still be buying Christmas presents next year just in case though.

I am proud of myself that December didn't turn into a food-fest - I really have only had 2 weeks off which is amazing for me (usually it's more like 6). But I've had more than I needed to to enjoy the break - and gone to bed feeling uncomfortably full a few nights. And I had some sneaky eating too - very unhealthy mentally as well as physically.

I hate January usually - a fat, broke, miserable month. This January is going to be different. I can't ensure good weather and we will be stuck in London til March but this will be the month of atonement - I'm looking forwards with determination not back with regret.