Friday, 30 March 2012

Outlook: skinny

It's hard to believe that summer is about to come to a screeching halt. Or at least this lovely sunny weather that I've witnessed (obliquely) through the grimy window is about to stop now that I can actually get out in it. This is not funny. The temperature is predicted to plummet by 14o between today in London and tomorrow in Suffolk. So I'll be wrapping up warm for our 9 mile hike planned for tomorrow (not if it rains) and Lesley will have to put on her opaques and boots next week as we return to winter.

Apparently the cold will help me burn adipose fat so there's always a silver lining! Looking at the weather report, the next WI will be a triumph (of woman over SoD).

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Walk the line

I am taking the specialist and Gabby’s advice and upping my exercise by walking in – I managed twice in the last WI week (and twice the week before that) and this week should be 4 – and a hike this weekend, weather permitting. I’ve also changed my breakfast habits (again) so that I’m walking before I eat (on the way to work – not when we do an all day hike!), hoping that this means my body will be forced to burn fat. Of which it has an abundance.

Not noticing much difference so far (apart from achy ankles) – I had put ON 1lb and ¼ on WI day yesterday. I could put this down to it coming up to TOTM, or that I ate a homemade raspberry muffin on Tuesday (day before WI – and apparently having had no carbs, having some will mean me putting on glycogen/water weight) - but it’s all too easy to make up excuses as to why it will be different next week. Somehow it never is. Since Christmas I have lost 2 ¾ lbs of the 8 ¼ that I put on. It’s actually literally insignificant – almost like nothing at all. I am a stone over where I thought I could realistically be at this point (you know, if I were normal). I am gritting my teeth and carrying on and trying not to get too freaked out. Even if, with appointments at (apparently sympathetic) wedding shops booked, I rather want to hypoventilate when I think of it but am resolutely remaining calm and focussed. And maybe a little fatalistic.

P has generously bought us bikes to have up in Suffolk – hybrids with fatter tyres capable of dealing with forest/sandy tracks. He thinks this will help with the weight loss. I don’t but I do think it will be fun. All the diet stuff I’ve been reading/listening to suggests that the body is very clever; if you cut back too much or expend a lot more energy, you just force your body to conserve – mainly by not then, say, building bone density or fighting infection. I guess if I have a bit more food – protein and fat – when I cycle, it might work. And it should tone my baggy arse anyway. And I refer you to the bit where I said ‘fun’.

It’s made me consider cycling attire. When I cycle to work, I wear leggings, a short jersey skirt (to conceal thighs) and a t-shirt – and a cycling jacket usually. It’s not a nice skirt (it was a BHS job to wear over a swimming cozzie) – I really want some proper skater skirts that I could wear off the bike, in a pub for instance, without looking dreadful. Currently I actually look like a ragbag. The outfit has potential in theory, but in execution misses something. Mostly style. So I’m looking for proper skater skirts – shortish, full, and jersey – sounds easy; isn’t. And my leggings are sports leggings – perhaps normal ones would look better? I have bought a new t-shirt though. See, my usual t-shirts are not suitable for cycling. I don’t have a racer bike but I am still essentially leaning forward over the handlebars – and I’ve seen women coming towards me, looking like they’re about to pop out of their scoop necks and it’s not a good look. I do not want to/need to know the colour of your nipples, ta lady. So I need a higher neck than would really suit me when I’m upright. It’s a sartorial minefield – all advice gratefully received.

I’m also tweaking my diet to see if I can get better results. I’m essentially dropping dairy – or for at least the majority of the time – with the exception of yoghurt and some in cooking occasionally. I will miss cream in my coffee which I probably had – and really enjoyed - twice a day and the odd bit of cheese. Instead I get to have a few nuts which is pleasant (focussing on the positive). I’ll have to see whether this makes a difference.

I think if this doesn’t work I’ll have to cut the nuts and cut the dairy but it doesn’t look as if that should be necessary. You know me though, always ready to buck a trend.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Heavy metal

I got a bit carried away by the sunshine and felt an overpowering urge to varnish my toenails. Now, I don’t expect to be out of opaques and boots for some time yet but just on the offchance, I felt I must paint my nails. I imagine it’s similar to the same compulsion felt by birds to build a nest. I varnish my fingers mostly nude for the week (low maintenance) or dark red – with occasional forays into navy – in the winter and coral in the summer. But I always feel I can be a bit more outrĂ© on my toes. So I have on a shimmery dark teal – the sort of colour you imagine a mermaid’s rail would be. I bought it for my fingers but realised I looked as if I thought I was still 13. On my toes however it looks....faintly subversive. And I rather like that.

But the iridescent quality must be achieved with lead filings or something as, after a virtuous weekend, I had put on 1 ½ lbs this morning. This does not make for a cheery start to the week. Aren't Mondays hard enough without this sort of mindf*ckery? SoD had better sort out its act by Wednesday or no amount of sunshine will be able to lift my mood.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Let's face the music and dance

I went to see Singing in the Rain last night. I’m a sucker for an old musical and I still have a sneaking disappointment that in real life people don’t suddenly burst in to song and dance routines. The main male lead was amazing and ‘the number’ made the (very expensive) ticket price worthwhile all on its own.

But it meant I only just got to bed by midnight. Still, I hauled myself up in time to do most of a walk in – I’ve now done the best part of a brisk 3 mile walk 3 times this week so I’m hoping that SoD will acknowledge this on Wednesday.

This week was not as bad as it might have been I guess – ¾lb off. Which, when measured against the shock apparent 2lbs on on Monday, looks less of a disappointment. I’ve been ticked off on the Harcombe diet forum for eating dark chocolate (daily) and having a glass or 2 of red wine (weekly) – it’s weird because I’ve been listening to the Harcombe diet podcasts on my walk in (in itself a feat as my ipod has a stupid touch screen that doesn’t respond) and Ms Harcombe herself doesn’t appear to be as much of a zealot as some of the people on the forum. It almost made me throw in the towel in in the week but I think I’ll just stop using the forum. It was a real disappointment though as I’d been feeling pretty good at how well I’d been sticking to the diet – and the remarks of a couple of people on there made my motivation just drain away (like fake rain on a West End stage...!)

This weekend looks pretty innocuous – I have a dress rehearsal and choir performance on Saturday and I’m working on Sunday. It’s sad that we can’t go to Suffolk and enjoy the glorious weather though. I’ve just got some books of cycle routes for up there; none of them are great because they cover such a huge area (nothing Suffolk specific), but it’s still exciting to think about routes for when we get our bikes.

Monday, 19 March 2012


It was a blameless weekend- but SoD says I put on 2lbs... Now, either 1) it gave me a pity-reading on Wednesday and Friday (the same) or 2) my pretty exemplary eating somehow didn’t work out so well for me or (and this is the one I’m pinning my hopes on) 3) it was a mean, false reading. On a Monday morning – how horrid is that? Well, less horrid than it being option 2. Or 1, come to that. But we are NOT amused.

Having had a few lovely Spring days in London, of course when we got to Suffolk it poured with rain for the duration. So the 9.5 mile walk was well and truly out (wait: maybe SoD was taking that into account and then had to revise upwards...) so we did some shopping including a long and technical debate with an odd and geeky gremlin man in a bike shop over the merits of mountain bikes over hybrids. He’d clearly not left the bike shop for at least 50 years – it was like stepping back in time. But he knew his bikes and we’ll be back.

And the fresh air – sea air combined with post (or mostly during) rain air chased my headache away. It came back as we crossed the boundary with the M25 – maybe I’m allergic to London?!

Then I couldn’t get any egg white in the supermarket so the tweaking of my omelette has yet to commence.

BUT I did walk part of the way to work today – it’s a tad under 3 miles. Not impressive but hopefully, done at a brisk trot (for stumpy legs anyway – obv everyone was passing me!), is enough to get some lard shifting without pushing my hyper-hysterical body into concluding it’s another famine and it had better lay down fat quick. Note to body: I think we're stocked enough now to outlast a really l-o-n-g famine, stop with the stockpiling.

Tomorrow will be more of a challenge as I have to wash my hair so walking in means an unpleasantly early alarm call. I need to think of my official encounter with SoD on Wednesday and how I really need that reading to have gone down. From last week I mean, I’m not including today’s expletive.

Friday, 16 March 2012


I woke up today with a migraine. I am resolutely trying to look on the bright side – I’ve not had one for a while – but my head just hurts. I didn’t want any breakfast but I really, really wanted a plain bread roll or pretzel for lunch – there’s just no low-carb equivalent, is there? I had a salad; it did not hit the spot. And I’ve now had a bad headache for 11 hours – although the mental confusion has at least subsided. Or as much as it ever does anyway!

The opposite of the silver lining is that if my latest prescription drugs didn’t work, the next step was an injectible version, gulp. I’m a bit wussy about needles...

We’re back in Suffolk this weekend for the first weekend of the season; I’m hoping the fresh sea air will help get rid of the headache. I’m also hoping that the rain holds off for long enough to allow us to get in the 9 ½ mile walk we fancy on Saturday. Maybe that will persuade SoD to grant me a bit of a whoosh for Wednesday – even a whooshette would be very acceptable. Especially having resisted bread today under severe provocation.

And how unfair is it that yesterday was a beautiful day and Monday and Tuesday are forecast to be beautiful and yet the weekend will apparently be grey and rainy? There seriously ought to be a law against that.

Next week I will be incorporating a 45 minute walk into my morning commute (argh) and may well be trialling mostly egg-white omelette too – thanks for the suggestions ladies.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A matter of fat

Not a good morning. I went to see my metabolic specialist today. I didn’t in fact get to see him but a colleague of his. She was very nice and clearly does not subscribe to low-carbing at all. She told me that I was having too many calories in the form of fat in my diet – she particularly objected to my breakfast (a 3 egg omelette with cheddar and sunblush tomatoes). I’m now all in a quandary – I tend to think that if you try and follow all the diet rules for each diet simultaneously it all just becomes a) confusing and b) ineffective. But of course, I’ve only lost 3lbs this year so I find it hard to resist any glimmers of hope. Not that I allow hope to enter my dieting world any more – it’s just too hard when they wink out.

Of course, this diet is high fat and low carb – intentionally so. And I feel much healthier on it – no more sugar crashes, shaky/sweaty hunger induced incidents or frequent and intense hunger. But... but... but. She suggested I have porridge for breakfast instead. The problem with that is that I tried it and was starving by mid –morning – AND I really need some kind of sweetener on it (honey or splenda or (gasp) sugar) and that just causes the sugar-monster to roar back into life. She reckons that even if I had to have a snack mid-morning to compensate for the hunger, it’s better than my omelette.

Or she said to exercise more. Which makes me hungrier, which... It’s a vicious cycle. She then said low level exercise like a walk every day – I’ll try it but I can’t really see it’s going to make a difference when running 3 times a week didn’t.

I’m considering what I can change my breakfast to that is still low-carb but cheese-less (she was horrified by the eggs but I suspect the cheese is higher fat). And I’ll change my post-soup yoghurt to fat free rather than full fat. I struggle with breakfasts so I’m not sure what to do.

The worst thing was that despite me being quite matter of fact and breezy, she seemed to realise that I found the weight loss (or lack of) quite tough and I ended up in tears. And there was a student there whose eyes got bigger and bigger as I tried to conceal my weeping and turn off the waterworks. The doctor suggested CBT but (as I told her) there’s no psychological technique that is going to make me feel better about being fat. I also think it’s better to keep these things safely bottled up wherever possible – my bottle being a veritable pandora’s box.

I lost 1lb this week. Not bad given the morsel of cake and how harshly I am usually treated for any aberration. If only it could be a steady 1lb (or, greedily and ideally, more) a week I could deal with all this, but this takes my total pounds lost this year to 3lbs, I’m still 5lbs heavier than before Christmas and a stone heavier than my lightest (but still porky) weight. Who can blame me for a bit of humiliating blubbing? Well, apart from me.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Fear of SoD

In a weekend of 3 meals out and 3 beyond my control, I’ve done pretty bloody well. I had a very little extra wine than I would normally allow myself but made good choices and resisted pudding (not easy for me). I had slightly under a quarter of a roast potato and half a Yorkshire pudding but my only significant carby sin was a piece of my mum’s blueberry and lime drizzle cake. I had asked her not to make a pudding, but she thought it would be better than having one at the restaurant. Actually I would have found pretty much anything easier to resist than homemade cake. As I proved. I had a modest piece and have felt wracked with anxiety ever since as to the impact on the SoD tomorrow. I’m not feeling terribly hopeful – after all, it doesn’t measure all the things I would have liked to have had but didn’t, only what I did. And since I don’t lose weight when I follow the plan faithfully, any minor deviation is unlikely to do anything other than pack on the lbs.

I’ve just been reading severe warnings on the Harcombe site that you shouldn’t drink at ALL (or eat dark chocolate which I do almost every night) until you’ve reached your desired weight. HOW is that possible? I’ve been dieting most of my adult life – how can I do that without a weekly glass of wine or two or a regular couple of squares of dark chocolate? Wretched.

The weekend:
On Friday evening we skulked outside a firedoor outside a room in an hotel where the ceilidh band we were interested in for our wedding was playing (another wedding). I suspect we looked like bouncers but we got to hear them play two and a half dances and they sounded pretty good – heaven knows what they look like but that’s not important really. The hotel was also very nice and resisting their restaurant menu deliciousness was hard. I ignored pudding, passed over my bread and potatoes to P and was frugal with the wine (which I chose and which was delicious).

We took my mother out to dinner and P’s parents out to lunch as their Mothers’ Day treat; the former to a fish place and the latter to a pub. It was all very lovely but added up to a very packed and social weekend – we left our flat on Friday morning and didn’t get back until Sunday evening.

I also had a complete wobble about clothes. We had been told to dress smartly on Friday night to ‘blend in’. By the time I got to work on Friday morning I hated what I was wearing. I shot off to a (pretty poor) House of Fraser at lunchtime in a desperate attempt to find something, anything, that looked better. Reader, I failed. I tried on several things but they were also awful. Common denominator? Yes, me. Bodes well for trying expensive white dresses on in 43 days time. And counting...

Friday, 9 March 2012

Big, fat wedding update (and a silver lining)

Grrr - I tried to publish this yesterday AND today. It's the amazing vanishing post...

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.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

A bit too much

On the plus size, I mean side, I was exceptionally well-behaved over the weekend; I was quite proud of myself. And I’m sure no-one saw the ferocity with which my jaw was clenched to stop myself joining in to a temptingly boozy and intense debate on Saturday night. I was the only one without a hangover on Sunday but I did feel dull and sort of prudish that I wasn’t joining in on Saturday night. I had 4 glasses of wine over 2 nights – more than I’d usually allow myself (usual weekly maximum is 1 ½, very occasionally 2 if it’s 2 nights). And it’s not that I don’t want to – it’s just a weight loss thing. I also had a very small pudding (raspberry pannacotta - delicious) that my hostess had made. But I resisted all other carbs - even quietly and unobtrusively spurning a casual shared starter on Friday night when I was really quite hungry. SoD said I hadn’t lost any additional weight before I went from my WI – and then on Monday that I hadn’t put any on. That seemed reasonable and I was hopeful that my effort Monday – Wednesday would bring me a small result.

So now we come to the minus side: getting on SoD today apparently I’ve put ON that 1lb and ¾ I lost last week. Bringing my grand total to a 2lbs loss in 9 weeks. Every week I get on SoD and I force myself to bounce back, to hope for better things next week, to put my faith and trust in things working - soon. But today I can’t. Maybe it’s because I’m tired and ill – or maybe it’s because there’s now 9 months to the wedding. Maybe it’s all of these things. But today I want to cry. I couldn’t be bothered to put any lipstick on (very rare), I couldn’t hold my head up and meet people’s eyes. Hell, I can’t even meet my own eyes in the mirror.

And I don’t want to get married. That’s not true: of course I want to be married to P. But I don’t want to be a bride – I can’t be, not like this. I can’t even look at myself in a mirror, let alone try on dresses in front of people, let alone fork out an obscene amount on something that’s only going to increase my level of self-loathing and let alone have photos which I will not want to look at or risk a downward spiral of unhappiness that I simply cannot see how I can ever get out of. And what’s worse is that I KNOW this should be a joyful time – I am ruining this experience for myself just by being so fat and so incapable of being anything other than fat. I wish I could escape this pressure – it’s pressure that I thought would achieve me finally losing weight. But although I can say, hand on heart, that I put the effort in, all I ever seem to achieve is staying the same.

I wonder about LighterLife. Yes, I had a wretched time on it, didn’t lose like anyone else did and hated every moment on it. As did P. And yes, my metabolic specialist professor has literally begged me not to do it again as he blames the larger part of the suppression of my metabolism on that – but at least I did lose weight on it... Can I bear it? I’m not sure I could. And if I didn’t lose weight on it, I would be distraught.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

News from the Scales of Doom

SoD reluctantly told me that I'd lost 1lb and 3/4 yesterday. Initially due to my extremely dodgy maths, I thought it was 2lbs 3/4 and got quite excited; I may even have skipped. But I can cope with 1lb 3/4 - or, at least, I could if it were a regular thing (I'm talking weekly!). Actually this takes me to the distinctly unimpressive total of 3lbs and 3/4 in the last 8 weeks. And I'm still 5lbs heavier than before Christmas. I know I can only keep plodding away and try not to think of this or it will all seem unbearable and I'll freak out. Less than 2lbs a month is quite spectacularly rubbish and really doesn't reflect the effort I put in - and certainly isn't going to get me to the size where I can meet my own eye in the mirror, let alone strip to next to nothing in a wedding shop and be shoe-horned into dresses intended for the slender and pretty, highlighting all my inadequacies and broadcasting my shame. Still, that will be my lot next month and I've run out of time for avoiding it so will just have to take it on the chin (or paunch).

This weekend is a danger zone for dieting - we're going to stay with friends in Devon. We're eating at theirs on Friday and Saturday nights so it will be harder to avoid carbs than in a restaurant for example. And breakfasts always seem to be tricky. I know I will do the best I can because I've actually got pretty good at resisting things I shouldn't eat - I don't fear for my willpower but just for my ability to choose. I will not be a picky guest though, I will appreciate all the hard work that will have been put into entertaining us with good grace. And then face SoD all over again.