Tuesday, 28 February 2012

When carbs attack

I know, I know, radio silence = spectacular falling off the wagon, right? Well I’m still mooching along on my wagon, being overtaken by arthritic snails and sauntering tortoises. It’s just that work has been so unspeakably busy that I’ve been working all hours and without even time to go to the loo.

So, in the 10 days since my last confession, I mean update, what have I been up to? We had our weekend staying with friends which was lovely. Not entirely sure what carb-free diet my friend was on though as breakfast was buttermilk pancakes, fruit bread, cereal and sourdough toast. Determined not to be a nightmare fussy guest, I had 2 pancakes with the merest, smearest of lemon curd, a piece of fruit bread and butter and some strawberries. I expected to feel very hungry very quickly but I had NOT expected to have the sort of violent hypoglycaemic episode I usually only get after a really intense sugar binge. I thought I was going to pass out (in Waitrose - oh, the middle class horror!); I was shaking, confused, clammy and my heart was going like the clappers. The silver lining of this was to bring vividly home to me that even if a carb-free diet isn’t causing me to lose weight as I’d like, it is much healthier for me. I was astonished that non-sugar could cause this sort of reaction.

What with that and a very restrained 2 pancakes (teeny bit of sugar, a LOT of lemon) on Shrove Tuesday (no ill effects other than watching P eat every mouthful of his in the manner of a greedy Labrador), I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that it was a STS on the old Scales of Doom on Wednesday. Not surprised but always disappointed.

This weekend I went to the National Wedding Show with my lovely friend and bridesmaid, R. She gave up a day with her very beloved son for this and I’m truly grateful. She made me engage with dresses – as you know, something I seem to have become almost phobic about - and was generally very encouraging and helpful. I had a very intense one-to-one session with Charlotte from Rock My Wedding where I came within a hair’s breadth of crying all over her as I confessed that I didn’t feel ‘good enough’ to be a bride (mainly thin enough but I’m also too short and too old to really fulfil what I think ‘a bride’ ought to be. And more, what I fear wedding dress designers think I ought to be). Charlotte was lovely and very reassuring and has come up with a couple of contacts to smooth the process for me.

And after a 5.20am start to the working week yesterday and me only managing 2 ½ hours sleep Sunday night as a consequence, I now appear to be succumbing to a cold that I’ve been successfully fighting off for weeks. My throat feels like it’s been attacked by a cheesegrater and the 10 minute walk from the tube to the office was exhausting and interminable. I have to pull myself together as we’re off to Devon with friends this weekend and I want to enjoy every minute.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The big fat wedding update (and silver linings)

We’re getting more and more wedding stuff sorted. Or at least begun. I've now been to 2 wedding fairs (or, as Seren points out, could be fayres) - one with P and one with one of my bridesmaids, R.

At the former I was able to probe P on his seeming enthusiasm for the red dress. It turns out that – quite sensibly – as he’d never seen me wear white, he didn’t really see why I’d want to. We looked at the difference between white and ivory and he agreed that ivory did suit my skin tone. I also confessed some of my fears around wedding dresses and he was really useful, instantly turning into a less camp version of Gok Wan. He made me put on my only dress and try a sash in various points – and to fold the skirt into more of a pencil – and took photos. Amazingly, the pencil shape looked better. I have always thought A-line but now I will try a fishtail. Apparently he was paying attention when there was a talk and this was recommended for an hourglass. Although I had to explain that although I’m hourglass, it’s a fat hourglass so a bit different (alas).

My friend R made me look at and touch dresses and I can see what I like and what I don't (the latter chiefly rhinestones, frills and the sort of skirt that could whisk a small child to its death if I were to turn too quickly). She also gave me one of her brisk, no-nonsense talks about getting a grip which led me to actually start putting dates in the diary - and even making an appointment - for the end of April. Eeek.

We also think we have found a cake-maker – or at least have two to decide between. P met one on Saturday; one of his talents is instantly making connections with people and he got chatting to a German lady who makes cakes. So we're auditioning her and another one - oh, the sacrifice!

And after some money and effort, I realised that I simply can’t make the invites without it looking like something from a 1980s Blue Peter episode. So we’ve started looking for those too. And we’re hoping to go and see our potential band this weekend although this seems to involve furtively hanging around a room in an hotel whilst they play someone else's wedding!

I also threw a bit of a strop at finding out that our venue did not, as we had thought, cover the charges for the registrar in their (frankly large) fee. DO NOT GET MARRIED IN KENT; they charge (alongside Rochdale, wtf?) the most of any county. In fact, double what most counties do and double what Naughty R paid for a Catholic - well, I think it was a cathedral but I'm not sufficiently down with the pope to know, an Oratory anyway...

Talking of strops, I found myself a silver lining after yesterday's oppressive stormcloud collected over my head and pelted hail at me: I may not be achieving anything but there is no doubt in my mind that I've been trying and trying hard. If I get to my wedding day as fat as I am now, I will at least be spared the 'what ifs' and 'if onlys' of self-recrimination - it's not from want of trying. I can hold my head up about that at any rate. And thanks for the comments - it means a lot to read the nice things you say.


I was very pleased with myself; I devised a cunning, diet-friendly yet delicious Valentines’ Day dinner. We were having lobster mayonnaise, then chateaubriand with celeriac chips, mushrooms and stilton leeks, then strawberries and cream. We bought a very nice bottle of wine. I kept waking up in the night, feeling bleurgh – the way you do when you have a hangover. I woke up with a dreadful hangover. Which is odd as I only had a glass and a half of wine. I felt quite resentful – and light headed, dizzy and sort of swollen. I felt even more resentful when I consulted SoD – ¾ lb on since last week and 1 ¼ lb on since Monday. Admittedly I don’t feel right but the official WI is what gets written down – and so I show a gain for the last 2 weeks. Which is Not Fair. I wish I were made of the sort of characterful stuff that used this to spur me on to a super zealous week but actually it makes me want to collapse into a small, snivelling puddle and eat chocolate.

And we’re with friends this weekend. Although bless her, my friend V emailed and said she imagined I’d be on some sort of diet so what could she cook that caused minimum stress. It turns out she’s carb-free as well at the moment so it should be okay. Fingers crossed.

I read that you need to eat breakfast within an hour of getting up to convince your body that it won't be starved. So I'm actually getting up early to try this in the hope it will make a difference since this whole fat-burning rather than carb-burning approach works on this premise. I am not a natural early morning breakfast eater. In fact, breakfast, unless it is waffles/pancakes, does not fill me with joy. But it does currently fill me with eggs.

Friday, 10 February 2012

The Bride phenomenon

SoD is living up to its name and continuing to creep up, inexplicably(another ½ lb on since Wednesday). I’m trying not to be all doom-laden about it as it’s not the Proper Official WI, but it’s not helping me feel positive. I really need a decent result on Wednesday to keep my spirits and pecker up (both of which are sadly drooping).

A couple of recent things in blogland have got me thinking about the whole wedding thing. I think that I’d somehow got into my head that because I am getting married, I would somehow be transformed into what I (and possibly society at large) thinks ‘a bride’ should be. I thought I’d have to do some work (ie losing weight) but it really would happen because of being ‘a bride’. The fact is that I’ve been trying really hard for 5 years to lose weight and all I’ve done is maintain. The fact is that I see a metabolic specialist for a reason: I’m not the only one but I’m part of a select band of people who are, through evolution gone mad (and WRONG), genetically predisposed to put on weight and hold on to it. A ring – no matter how pretty – is not going to change that. No matter how much I’d like it to. It’s also not going to make me 10 years (at the very least) younger or taller, leggier, more bountiful of hair and cash. Sadly. It’s not going to create the perfect family with a father glowing with pride, delivering an affecting, emotional speech and with a fund of cash to cater to my every whim. Nor a mother who will sob when she sees me in a wedding dress (actually she might cry but so might I – and it won’t be for the right reason) and want to coo over every detail. Nor will my brothers be proud, jovial loving and supportive. I very much doubt that P will be starry eyed at my beauty (overly endowed as he is with common sense and honesty) and be caught gazing at me with love and holding me tenderly and photogenically for every picture. An engagement ring – even one as pretty as mine – is not going to work magic. Sad but true.

Funnily enough, a friend of mine has just got engaged – she’s in her early 30s I think, daintily slender and blonde with a very proud and generous papa and an adoring brother. Humph. But still, I wish her joy

P showed a curious enthusiasm (for him) in some photos of a bride at our venue in a red dress. I need to explore this. He did demonstrate some incredulity that I was going to get married in white (words like ‘ivory’ have little meaning for men I find), pointing to a van and asking “like that?”. No, not white-van-white. Admittedly I never wear white. And I only have one dress (no, it’s not white, it’s blue). But if I don’t wear a wedding dress, I might regret it. Of course, if I do, I might regret it (see above)!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Plan B

Okay, normal service will now resume. You might take issue with the word ‘service’, as indeed do I, but you know what I mean. Normal meandering rubbish will now resume perhaps!

Sorry about the self-indulgent post yesterday. A blog is a funny thing, it’s not a diary but sometimes I treat it as such. And I shouldn't. All those thoughts and feelings are normally damped right down, repressed into a small kernel inside which I ignore. But sometimes the kernel sprouts (to continue a poor analogy) and its shoots wrap around me and choke me.

The only thing I should whinge about on here is weight, right? So here we go!

I put on 1 ¼ lb this week. That, dear Reader, is worth whinging about. It brings my loss to 2lbs in 5 weeks. I think I am going to have to accept that I will be a fat bride. I can honestly say I’ve been putting the effort in but clearly I’m having my usual ‘success’. It means that getting a dress will be hard, being able to look at myself in said (very expensive) dress will fill me with disappointment and self-loathing, that the photos are likely to cause me pain and humiliation. And I’m going to have to get on with that and get some tactics in place to deal with it as best I can and without dragging anyone down into my unhappiness.

I need more than a few hours of sleep to come up with anything though (and when I did sleep, I had nightmares about the dress – and that was before the WI). But I will.

PS Thanks Gabby and Seren: but really it is me. I bet you P's forgotten all about this now - it's a fresh day for him; he's annoyed about something, says so unequivocally and can admittedly be a bit of a git, is off with me and then moves on. I agonise over it like a melodramatic Victorian heroine.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Midnight of the mind (and body)

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And I have said myself recently that we are our own worst critics. So perhaps I shouldn't be surprised that when P and I have had a row, I feel really, really ugly. I'm not a pretty girl - neither pretty nor a girl any more indeed. I think if I were slim I'd be average, unremarkable. Being fat tips me into the munter camp. But never is this more evident to me than after a row. Right now I feel as if I cannot hold my head up in a public place for fear of seeing contempt on people's faces

I say 'after a row', but the truth is that I'm not sure it is 'after'. It started as something so trivial (to me) that I am not going to attempt to explain it as I don't think I could give P's views a fair representation. I avoid confrontation - I am cowardly this way. When I feel aggrieved or irritated, my inclination is to swallow it, to put it behind me and move on. P is not like me. He thinks I should be as open as he is - tonight makes me feel more than ever that he is wrong. Nothing is worth feeling like this.

It took about half an hour to explain myself to him tonight; he said he understood, I said I realised what I'd done, I thought that the row was over - he said it was over. But when I went to cuddle up to him and apologise for being a disappointment to him (invariably in these instances I am), he didn't want me near. I asked him to come to me when he was ready. He said he would. He's not. So he came to bed and turned on his side away from me and said he didn't want to discuss it. I wouldn't be surprised if he tries to leave tomorrow morning before I'm up. And he's out tomorrow night so we're looking at Thursday evening earliest before I'm forgiven - or not.

I expect he's asleep now but I can't sleep. My heart is pounding as if I've run somewhere fast, I feel hot and cold, my throat is sore with the effort of keeping the misery in check and adrenaline is coursing through me. I need as close to 8 hours sleep as I can get to function tomorrow and I won't get it - so tomorrow I'll feel physically and emotionally dreadful. I don't want to think about Thursday.

It helps to get this out, here. No matter if it's absurdly self-indulgent. My book - Jane Austen's Emma - is not going to be able to distract me (and indeed may torture me further if I get towards the ending). I know my expectations of life have been warped by fiction - I'm not a silly woman and I try to damp down any unrealistic romantic expectations (I know I'm not heroine material!) but somewhere, somehow I am still holding on for that 'happy ever after'. This isn't it. And, like an Austen woman, I'm left, powerless and passive, waiting for and hoping for this to pass.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Pizza my mind

You know the idiom that says that an eavesdropper never hears anything good about themselves? That appears to be true of unofficial WIs (and possibly the official ones too but let’s not go there just yet. At least until Wednesday). I had a sneaky peak at Scales of Doom today and found I’d put on 2lbs since Wednesday. Pause for gasps of horror. I wish I was one of those positive people who was spurred on by disappointment – but I seem to collapse like an undercooked soufflĂ©.

Some of this will be because of the dinner with friends on Saturday night. Of course, they didn’t know about me no-carbing it – I don’t like to talk about dieting anyway and I hate to be one of those high-maintenance women who squeeze all the joy out of an occasion by laying down the law about what they will and will not eat. I was determined to make the best of it, graciously and thankfully. But my heart sunk through the floor when I realised the main course was home-made pizza. I had the smallest pieces I could get, but clearly the bread there was not going to be a good thing. I left some of my fruit crumble (but didn’t get the opportunity to ask for a small bit – it was just delivered to me) which is not easy for me. And I’m afraid I had 3 glasses of wine (1 more than I meant to). So for some of this at least, I can only blame myself.

I’m hoping that the effect of the carbs (in that having carbs encourages the body to retain water apparently) explains the sudden weight gain and that it will come off as easily but that has never been my experience. And my period is due this week which would conspire to mean a poor result on the scales is looking increasingly likely this week. I will be content (not happy of course) with a STS – but any gain after a good week with 1 innocent and 1 guilty blip would be unfair. I begin to fear that I am going to be as useless as last year in losing weight – only this year is the most critical year of my life in terms of weight. I feel sick with fear when I think that I need to look for a wedding dress the month after next.

But the prospect for the week ahead is pretty good. (I’m trying to look beyond the fateful WI on Wednesday...) I only have one social occasion to negotiate – a lunch with P’s family on Sunday. The hotel his parents insist on going to is not great – and, serendipitously, the puddings are so grim that I am never even remotely tempted (think Bejam frozen ‘gateaux’ with fake cream). We are going to a wedding fair on Saturday and there might be wedding cake to taste (really, we’re going to specifically look for cake – amongst other things) but it won’t be more than a morsel and may not be anything at all.

And I suppose there’s Valentines next week. Well, we never go out – an article where a chef described his brethren around the country blowing the dust off rusty, heart-shaped tins pretty much did for us. We’ll have something nice chez nous – and it will be carb-free. Hmm, what about a chateaubriand....

Friday, 3 February 2012

Snow joke

Week 4 finished with a whimper - and that whimper was mine. 3/4lb off. Which brings my loss to 3.25lbs over the last 4 weeks. You can see why I was whimpering, can't you? I thought I was being stoic to not break into an outright wail or howl. And - worse - since then, my unofficial WI has shown that 3/4lb has gone back on. And that was before I ate at least 12 dark chocolate covered brazils (having told myself I could have 3). I don't know who it was who decided that one would be satisfied with less dark chocolate than milk but I, for one, am sceptical that this is true. I almost have to practice resistance - once I've had a type of chocolate I can control myself a bit but that first excitement seems to erode my self-control to, er, nothing.

So, after a super-strict week where I loss the gobsmackingly insignificant 3/4lb, we now have a week where it's going to be a bit tougher. Forget the brazils (believe me, I'm trying to), we have dinner with friends on Saturday night and it's our first time at theirs so I don't know what sort of food to expect. But the chap is one of those hollow-leg types who thinks that unless you're eating half an animal and several types of carbs, you're having an itty-bitty snack. And his wife is a great and enthusastic baker. It's turning what should be a pleasurable evening into a source of anxiety. But I will just handle it as best I can, be gracious - and hope like hell for the SoD to be capriciously benevolent on Wednesday. I know...

Other than that, our weekend is full of wedding chores - we're visiting our wedding venue to talk to the new co-ordinator, seeing a couple of B&Bs/hotels to be able to recommend them to our guests and going to a wedding fair (snow permitting). The friends are worryingly keen we get snowed in at their flat - but they are young, bless them. And I don't fancy either a) shivering on their sofa all night or b) playing games and drinking all night (something my friend seems to view as a great opportunity).