Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Blame Game

Dieting is tough.  Or at least, I find it tough.  I always find myself grinding my teeth at those feature stories in women's mags where some svelte girl smirks that she "just" gave up junk food, multiple sandwiches and snacks, snacks, snacks and "the weight just dropped off".  Bully for her, would that I could be her, but that has never been my experience.  I work very hard and get little in the way of results.  I've almost come to terms with that.  Almost...  But I find that I can only cling on to this if I am able to focus on dieting.  Times when life feels just too damn hard - well, dieting is just intolerable.  Times like now.

Work is hideous again.  It's insanely busy and that, coupled with the ever-present blame culture, is absolutely energy-sapping.  And I'm so tired and so fed up about it that the effort and energy needed to diet is just not there- especially with the additional burden of my January navy-blues.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still dieting but it just feels like such a slog.  I really need to see some reward and soon.

And I need to find some additional energy somewhere to apply for a job via the beast of all application forms.  But it's the only way to escape my present situation - I don't want to work somewhere where blame is delegated.

Anyway, this weekend we're staying in a country pub and - application beast aside - a weekend away will be lovely.  I've been caught in my fug of fear, anxiety and unhappiness and I want to spend some time out of that, enjoying P's company.  My inclination and instinct is still to curl up on the sofa and not move or see anyone or anything - but some fresh air and a change of scene might perk me up.  As ever, roll on the weekend.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Plodding along

I have been doing my 3 starvation diet days for 2 weeks now.  With a further 2 days as pretty strict dieting - low-carb and a bit more relaxation at the weekend.  That relaxation translates to half a bottle of wine over the course of the weekend and a couple of hot chocolates.  With marshmallows and squirty cream.  I feel simultaneously naughty and defiant - I have to have some treats!

But having said that, I don't think I'm losing weight.  My clothes feel as tight.  And I had ordered a skirt from ebay; when it arrived I thought it looked enormous and would be a wasted purchase.  But oh no, it fit.  Good news, bad news!  At least I now have enough skirts to get through a working week (albeit not in style). 

Today is a starvation day.  They're not fun but if they work then it'll be worth it.  To give you an idea, I had a large coffee for breakfast and an apple, a tub of cottage cheese and a chicory bulb for lunch, a yoghurt mid-afternoon (hungriest period) and stir-fried veg tonight.  I pretty much have the same for every starvation day.  An in-between day would be yoghurt, berries and seeds for breakfast, soup, a piece of cheese and a piece of fruit for lunch, some nuts mid-afternoon and fish and vegetables in the evening with some dark chocolate and a decaff with some cream in it.  This weather is not conducive to dieting!  I just want (more) hot chocolate and cheese on toast - or similary buttery, carby badness.  Still, with cottage cheese and chicory ahead, best not to think about that!

I need to be on here updating more but work has been insanely busy.  Will try to do better next week. 

And on the bright side, we are now more than halfway through January!

On my lonesome

This post has nothing to do with dieting.  I’m keeping it separate so you don’t have to bother with it – it’s essentially cathartic for me to get this off my chest.
I’m feeling really lonely.  I am sure it’s the January Blues tingeing everything sad, but I just need to vent. 
I am a lucky girl; I love my husband and have a good time with him, he’s enormously fun.  But woman does not live by man alone (much as that will come as a surprise to them).  I have lovely friends but I rarely see them – some have busy lives (okay, all have busy lives) and some just live very far away.  And at work it’s worse really.  I’m the oldest person in a young industry.  I have had friends at work but they’ve all moved on and the girls that I chat with tend to arrange stuff to do without me.  Today is just the latest example of where I have been asked to ‘man the fort’ while they all go off for lunch together.  It makes me feel very sad and excluded.
I need to pull myself together but I need a plan.  How do you find friends at this age?  People my age are usually preoccupied with young families and socialise with similar people.  Where are the childfree women of my age?  Perhaps I am an endangered species.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Pulp Fiction.

Thank god the first full week back is over.  It’s been a corker and the outlook is similarly corky.  I’m absolutely shattered and the urge to hibernate is almost overwhelming.  And there's plenty more January left.
For me, hibernation is essentially holing up and reading.  And when I say reading, I don’t mean the sort of thing where you can say (with a smug flick of your hair) “Oh YAH, I was so impressed with the existential handling and the gritty and unflinching grasp of the characters and their flaws –(s)he absolutely deserved that Booker prize”*.  In fact, if a book has won a prize – or even was shortlisted – my natural inclination is to shun it.  I have quite enough grit and flinching in my real life, ta very much.  No, I indulge in the sort of tripe that is (gasp) entertaining.  I know it’s a dirty word and I should be challenging myself or improving myself (and god knows, there’s plenty to improve) but actually, I just want some escapism.  I want to read the sort of thing that makes me miss my stop on my commute (this has happened on several occasions).  Although I draw the line at ‘clogs and shawls’ and ‘sex and shopping’ genres – or anything with very shiny lettering on the - usually black – cover (who says you can’t judge a book by its cover?!)  The seam that I’m currently mining is called Young Adult.  Which makes me feel like I should be peering over my half-moon specs as I say it.  YA fiction doesn’t seem trammelled by the same constraints that make adult fiction feel that it has to be realistic and gritty, which makes for unabashed entertainment.  I am literally gorging on this at the moment and will be sad to return to the Old Adult world when my seam runs dry.  It should take a while because although I can woof it down, P thinks it’s anti-social to read for the length of time I would – and let’s face it, he’s right. 
Talking of gorging.  I’ve been very good on my diet – essentially 3 days ‘starvation’, 2 days moderate (low carb) and 2 days somewhere in the middle (frugal low carb).  It’s a starvation day today and I am indeed starving.  But my clothes feel no different and clearly I’ve been far too chicken to brave the Scales of Doom.  P – who I would say is being less strict than me although still being v good – has already noticed more comfortable waistbands.  I’d always thought the only things to envy men for were peeing standing up and the speed at which you can get ready, but now I’m adding rapid response to dieting to that list. 
Transferring all my dates to my new diaries I came across a very depressing set of stats; I had recorded my weights for the last 2 years there.  Admittedly I don’t think I came across a weight reading before the end of February but the evidence is stark and there to see:
Heaviest – Porky.11, lightest - Porky.5
Heaviest – Porky.13, lightest - Porky.4
That means with 2 years of pretty consistent and focussed dieting, I have achieved.... well, practically nothing.  As I said, I suspect that I have shot through the entire range of Porky into Fat and quite possibly into Very Fat.  It’s difficult to feel that there will be the reward I’m looking for from all this effort, based on my experience to date.  But I would very much like to be proven wrong.

* I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about natch.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

A new year, new resolutions

Why is it that the time of year when there are sales on is also the time of year when you are at your lardiest and least confident which makes buying anything both soul-destroying and futile? It seems a cruel twist of fate. Of course I mean I am at my lardiest and least confident, I am sure, dear Reader, that you look radiant and gorgeous in anything you try on.  But I've ordered and sent back two dresses, five jumpers/tops and a skirt.  It's not good for the confidence or the wardrobe.
Which brings me on to resolutions. I genuinely think that my NY resolution has been to lose weight since I was about 12. Even when, looking back, I really didn’t need to. So it goes without saying that that needs to be a resolution for 2013. It’s just I’m trying to think how to frame it so that it’s a bit more meaningful and so that it sticks and feels a bit fresh and different. I think that it needs to be something like...

Resolution 1: I want to finish 2013 in the stone bracket lower than I’ve spent the last two years in. In my own slightly opaque way, I would call this stone bracket Chubby. I’ve spent the last two years ricocheting around the Porky bracket and am currently either up in the Fat or Very Fat bracket. Cowardice prevents me knowing exactly where I am. Obviously I am going to have to actually heed Lesley’s advice and bite that particular unpleasant bullet. Soon.

In dress size terms I am an 18 at the moment I think (admittedly mostly wearing 16s) and I’d like to be a small and consistent 14 by the end of the year. I’d actually really like to be a small 16 by the time we head off on honeymoon at the end of May but I’m not sure if that’s possible. Scratch that, I NEED to be a small 16 by then. Hmmm. A normal person could easily lose 3st by then. I am not a normal person.

Resolution 2: I want to get some decent hiking gear. Sound simple? I have no idea what that might look like. On New Year’s Day I was out in particularly unattractive fleece joggers, a fleece top and – guess what – a fleece jacket. I felt like a bag lady escaped from a care in the community centre. Hell, I probably looked like one too. I like the padded gilet over a hoody look for a top – but as a woman with more than enough ‘natural’ padding, is this a good idea? And what to wear on my bottom half (which is, as it goes, overly endowed with bottom). Jeans are the only trousers I normally wear as they’re structured enough to hold the jelly bits together but are no good for hiking because if they get wet they’re awful. And the top needs to cover arse and belly. Any ideas? Has anyone found a way to look good(ish) in this scenario? I keep seeing women in leggings, big hoodies and gilets but am not sure I can pull this off.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

January gloom and doom

I hate January.  I hate it with a passion.  After the sparkly, spangly hedonism and excesses of Christmas comes this grey, dreary, miserable, mealy-mouthed deprivation of a month.  For January is all about absence; an absence of food and money principally.  But as much as I hate it, the absence of food in particular is a necessity.
I feel horrible.  As horrible as a wet January morning.  But, erm, fatter.  I reckon that I’ve gone up two stone brackets since the wedding.  I was in the mid range Porkies – too much and some of the wedding photos make me wince – but I reckon I’ve streaked through the rest of Porky, ballooned into Fat and am now festering in Very Fat.  If I’m very unlikely I’ll be in Obese – which is where I started LighterLife all those years ago.  I don’t think so though – that was a couple of dress sizes bigger than I think I am even now. 
Of course, it’s all just conjecture as I CANNOT make myself get on the scales.  I’m just too chicken.  That would be chicken force-fed with crisps, chocolate, chocolate log, hot chocolate, sandwiches, mince pies, roast pear and butterscotch trifle (yum!) and booze.   
But my stretchy jeans are stretched to bursting point – I can only bear to wear them for a few hours – and they were comfy before.  And I have two identical skirts – I was just in the smaller size before Christmas but now I’m filling out the larger size.  I reckon I have very little in my wardrobe that will actually fit me.  My coat is too tight, my walking coat won’t do up and I can only just squeeze into an old, larger coat (I really need to stop buying fitted stuff.  Or wire my jaws shut.  Or both.).  The only thing I’ve felt comfortable in is some VERY unflattering fleece trousers that I am embarrassed to even wear hiking.
And the carbs definitely don’t suit me – apart from the astronomical amount of blubber, I have spots and a perpetually upset stomach and savage shakes from carb-withdrawal.
It’s not even as if I went mad; I wasn’t perpetually stuffing my face.  But I did go to bed most nights feeling a bit too full for comfort – and P actually groaned ‘I can’t wait for January and dieting’ once and has formulated his own dieting plan.  Which involves no booze.  Stunned silence here.
To be honest I’d be thrilled if I could continue life by having a lunch that consisted of a sandwich, a handful of crisps and a piece of chocolate log.  To have pudding after every supper and wine with dinner (and an aperitif).  But I can’t.  This all has to stop.  Now.
Today I have been carb-free.  I’ve eaten more than I’d like but motivated by hunger rather than greed or boredom or self-indulgence.  I need to get my blood sugar levels back on an even keel before eating less so I don’t get the shakes and have to grab something sugary to stop feeling so ill.  I can’t be too gung-ho and extreme or I’ll fail before I’ve begun.  But I’ve made sure that my meals and snacks are the right type of food (a yoghurt or a handful of nuts).
And as P and I discussed, none of this can be a diet.  I’m actually signed up for that.  I LOVE carbs but they make me feel ill so they need to be an occasional treat rather than a dominant staple.  I can’t let the odd occasion where I know that I will be off-diet turn into an excuse to abandon the diet altogether.  I have afternoon tea with a friend for her birthday next week (and I didn’t want to duck out- can you imagine how hard it must be to find anyone to do anything nice with for an early January birthday?) and we’re going to go away at the end of January for a night on a deal as we can’t visit our tinhut until March now.  I need to be able to deal with these sort of things calmly without allowing them to totally derail me; because that’s life.  If I’m to have a life that is.  And I do rather want one!
But I need to stop feeling as uncomfortable in my clothes.  And to be mindful that we have our honeymoon at the end of May where, amongst other things, I need to be able to wear evening dresses on the boat.
Tomorrow: resolutions.