Wednesday, 27 February 2013

No jacket required

So the weekend before last saw me taking deep breaths of (of polluted air) on Oxford Street where I’d gone to try and buy a jacket for my interview.  I could literally feel the panic rising – a pressurised shopping trip is never my idea of fun.  But I had 4 hours, a sense of determination, a rough idea and an array of shops – it was all going to be fine, right?
Wrong.  Despite shopping til my feet bled (okay, ached) I found precisely 1 jacket which fitted me and it was over budget and didn’t go with anything I owned.  I glumly conclude that I must be an even more odd shape than I had realised.  Almost all of them were too big on the shoulder and too tight on the hip.  Now, I once had one of those expert sessions where they measure everything (not quite in between your nostrils as Harry Potter did for his wand but pretty much everywhere else) and analyse the data and tell you your body shape.  I turned out to be hourglass (obviously the supersized hourglass – don’t run away with the pleasant thought of me as some bombshell).  But my jacket experience suggested that I was more like a pear.  Or a Weeble if you remember those:

Although clearly I would NEVER wear pink.  (I hate pink).

It was a depressing experience.  I met P for lunch afterwards (Turkish – yum.  And yes I practised my Turkish on a very tolerant waitress.  Who was probably from Peckham) and he looked alarmed: “But what are you going to WEAR?”.  I told him that if they didn’t want me just because I didn’t wear a jacket, I didn’t want them either.  Such bravado.  And I wore very smart knitwear with my skirt.  Moreover, dear Reader, I’ve been asked back for a second interview (at which I will not be wearing a jacket).  I’m not sure if I want the job but I clearly didn’t put them off by not wearing a jacket.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Diet (con)fusion

So, dear Reader, let’s get this out of the way first: I put on 2lbs.  Yes, I’m heading in the wrong direction fast.  It’s not going well and I’m trying not to panic but to get a (preferably foolproof) strategy.
Over the weekend I decided that maybe the problem was that the ‘starvation’ days were just not, well, starvy enough.  I had a look at the serialisation in the Sunday Times and decided to use their recipes.  A starvation day is around 500calories and I was working from the Cancer Relief milk-based diet which came in too high I think.  So I had my two starvation days on Sunday and Tuesday.  Tuesday this was my menu:
Breakfast – a pureed Bramley apple with 100g of plain Greek yoghurt
Lunch – a salad of leaves, beans, peas, tomato and cucumber with parma ham and some vinaigrette
Dinner – a clear spiced vegetable soup.
It was enjoyable – and I’d say I was less hungry going to bed than when I have a vegetable stir-fry although the soup didn’t look much.
Two problems.
One – I weighed this morning POST my two starvation days.  Next week I would normally weigh on a Tuesday but will only have had one starvation day between now and then.  So, I’m wary of a third bad result.
Two – I think maybe I’m making things complicated by trying to adhere to two sets of diet rules simultaneously.  The thing is that the starvation diet is obviously about calorie restriction – there are mentions of low fat products, of artificial sweeteners.  But I really do believe in the carb-free, paleo-light way of eating that I discovered alongside the Harcombe Diet and Dr John Briffa’s diet last year.  Okay it’s not working for me in terms of weight loss but I feel tonnes healthier.  Even though I’m tonnes heavier.  Well, not quite but you know what I mean. 
So I’m trying to stick to that principle – no Muller lights for me.  It’s kind of doing my head in: having to recalculate.  And then, because I’m a scaredy-cat with a maths affliction, I check it a few more times.  And worry about it.
Still, I’ve ordered the Dr Michael Mosley book and I’m hoping to find a way to make this work for me.  He advocates 2 starvation days but I’m hoping to do three, being as I’m not normal, or at least most weeks.  Next week I want it to be Monday, Wednesday and Friday but Friday I am having a second interview so not sure this is the best day to be very hungry.  He also suggests two meals of 250 calories but I would rather have three smaller meals so again, it’s going to take a bit of working out.  I may just duplicate my menu above – although there were clearly errors there as they reckoned that two pureed apples, a 170g tub of 0% Total and a tsp of honey was 100 cals – and I reckon the apples alone hit that.  This is what I mean about worrying.
Since Tuesday I haven’t eaten very well – in that I had 3 gin and diet tonics on Wednesday night, a glass of wine and a pizza (someone’s leaving do), last night I had 3 glasses of champagne and today I’ve eaten appallingly.  Starvation days don’t balance out gorging days, only temperate ones.  I need to give it a proper go and that means eating wisely but not too well on non-starve days.
This week I’ve mostly been in one stage or other of applying for new jobs.  It’s not left me much time to blog and it’s definitely meant the sort of emotional turmoil that has encouraged lax eating.  Next week isn’t looking good either but I have another post burning away at me and I do want to do better.  I don’t have long til the honeymoon and we have a wedding at the beginning of April that I have no idea what I can wear to.

Friday, 15 February 2013

The Incredible Sulk

Reader, I have mostly spent this week sulking and eating.  The two are very much connected.  I fell off the wagon and I can’t even see it in the distance any more.
I had a pretty strict week last week, some of the little lapses that had crept in were eliminated and my starvation days were really, really tough.  So I reacted, ahem, badly to the Scales of Doom telling me that I’d put on 1 ½lbs.  Really badly.  Thursday was bad and Tuesday was very, very bad.  Given that a good week results in a gain, it’s really quite frightening to think what SoD will say this Tuesday. 
So I’m trying to claw my way back on today.  I was pretty sensible last night so the line has been drawn.  And today is a starvation day.  It’s already tough after a surfeit of sugar yesterday and a joyless day ahead.  And it’s made tougher by the fact that I’m not confident that this will work – I did the right things last week after all and I am actually fatter as a result.  This week I have been more bad than good so I shudder to think what SoD is going to bitch-slap me with on Tuesday.
I don’t understand why it’s not coming off.  But I will carry on, try to take it on the chin on Tuesday and try to have as good a week as possible next week and look for longer term trends rather than a knee-jerk response to one week where I throw:
a)      Myself around
b)      My metaphorical toys out of my pram
c)       The baby out with the bathwater (ooh, I’m rich with absurd idioms today)
d)      All the food down my gullet
Next week is going to be a real challenge though.  I normally have starve days on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Next week however Wednesday night is the night for my friend’s leaving drinks and I’ve promised to bring in my triple lemon cake to line people’s stomachs and on Friday night we’re going out with friends to their much-lauded curry house.  Neither of these work with starvation plans.  I think I’m going to have to either do two consecutive days of starvation on Monday and Tuesday (not appealing) or do Monday and two partial starve days on Wednesday and Friday (not efficient).  All of which would be more bearable if I thought that the following week might see my clothes looser and my pecker raised from the floor.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Feast and famine

In the calmer discussion, P said that he suspected I would be on some diet for the rest of my life.  Well of course I will!  I've long come to terms with this and it hadn't really occurred to me that he would or could think otherwise.  Or at any rate, I will have to carefully monitor what I eat for ever.  But at the moment, weight loss seems a long way off.

You may remember, dear Reader, how I finally screwed up my courage and approached Scales of Doom: I was Very Fat.2lbs.  I've been pretty good this week - not crazy but careful and at the least 95% super super-strict, so I thought I'd have a sneaky peek today since I know there are a couple of hurdles - aka sociable eating occasions - over the weekend and wanted a truer picture.  I have put ON 1/2-1lb.  I am mystified and battling not to be totally discouraged by this.

And I am not going to be as good next week.  Today we're going to an interesting new bar which specialises in craft beer - P is learning (and by this I mean drinking!) about US beer ahead of our trip there.  They also specialise in proper welsh rarebit - essentially they have an extremely limited menu of salt beef or cheese things with sourdough.  I love a crazily focussed menu and am looking forward to my rarebit even whilst I fear the bread.  Tossing up whether to have half a cider (artisanal natch) or whether that is a hedonistic step too far.  Then tonight we have Chinese food from M&S to celebrate the Year of the Snake.  Tomorrow I am baking mini cookies for a project (and will almost certainly want to try one), Tuesday is pancake day and Thursday is Valentines and I'm meeting a friend for lunch.  We're eating at home on Valentines night but it will involve wine even if the menu is cunningly low carb.  The following week is looking dicey too - will tell you more on a later post.

It's that age old dichotomy of trying to balance life and dieting.  I do not want to look back at a joyless desert of a life where I turn down every opportunity in  grim determination that dieting must rule all.  Nor do I want to be fatter - or as fat.  The middle path is not something I'm good at, plagued as I am by anxiety and fear and 'what ifs'.  Todays' sneak peek with SoD doesn't help.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday will be starvation days nonetheless and tomorrow can be very low carb.  I just hope that's enough to balance the pancakes and the wine.  I should be steady enough in my resolve and confidence that what I'm doing will ultimately get me there - but I'm not.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The Life of P

Firstly, thank you to you all for your support.  I write these things when I have no-one and no-where to turn to and it makes me feel so much more that I'm not alone.

It's possible that I wove a lot of disparate comments from an afternoon and evening of intermittent rowing together into a narrative that wasn't wholly fair.  I try to be fair but it's probably not something that I'm capable of in those circumstances.

We settled things a lot more last night.  It was hard to keep up the level of froideur I had been feeling though as I fell during the day, giving my ankle a nasty sprain (I assume, although I have now reluctantly agreed to get actual medical advice on this) and smashing my phone screen.  Smashing it so badly that I had to use tweezers to remove little bits of screen from my fingers.  Anyway, P came to my office to collect me and offer me his arm in true Jane Austen style into a taxi to take me home and deposit me on the sofa.  My ankle really does hurt and I'm hobbling like a nonagenarian - and if I get it slightly off deadstraight, it's really agonising.

But we had the talk regardless, having made polite conversation in the taxi in true Brit fashion.  Essentially our arguing styles are utterly incompatible: he flares up, says what he thinks and sometimes says some pretty nasty stuff that later he regrets and I avoid any confrontation for as long - or longer - than is humanly possible and am useless at dealing with it when it happens.  It means that we never have a 'civilised' argument.  By the next day when he's cooled down and I've thought of what I want to say, it's better but it means a day of misery for me.

And he has flaws which make my own worse - his use of the truth like a blunt instrument that he beats me with makes me very sensitive and incapable of listening dispassionately. He's very critical and this plays to my own lack of self-esteem - were I a more robust character I would argue back and I think he'd back down.  As it is I take every tiny comment to heart, brood over it and beat myself up about it.  He will always care about my weight (and I think secretly he fears I will end up on a Channel 4 documentary) but I care too.  I am not keen to have him over-scrutinise but if he doesn't say it, I know he's thinking it anyway so I'd just rather know.  Some women are with men who love them regardless: I am not and I know I'm not alone in this.  It's just the way it is.

But by last night he was calmer and apologised for the worst things he said (no, I didn't tell you those!) and explained the 'not bringing anything to the relationship' line which I still don't fully understand but didn't seem to be what I thought.  Or so he says now anyway.  Either way, that does not stand as an accusation.  I did stand up for myself a bit and made him realise he has to act too to improve our relationship - and he took that on board.  And we shall see.

One thing that did happen as a result of the row was that I finally got on Scales of Doom (SoD) yesterday morning.  I'd drunk a cup of tea so it wasn't optimum but somehow I'd got to the point where I had to know.  I was 2stone heavier than my lightest last year, almost 3stone from my lightest ever (LighterLife) and only a stone and a quarter lighter than my heaviest.  Not good at all.  No wonder nothing fits me.  I've streaked from Podgy, through Fat and tipped into Very Fat.  We're going to an evening bit of a wedding in early April (I think) and I really need to be able to wear the unflatteringly-sized Vivian of Holloway dress - which I suspect means losing 2st.  In 2 months.  It's never going to happen is it?  I do not understand why it's so quick on and so appallingly slow off.  At least now I'll know if anything is coming off.  WI day will be Tuesday.  As I was Very Fat.2lbs, I would like to see a Fat.anything reading on Tuesday.

Which is why, despite today not being a starvation day and despite every atom in my body (or in Lesley-speak, my chimp) telling me that with my painful ankle I REALLY deserve a hot chocolate with cute heart-shaped marshmallows and squirty cream, I am drinking a cup of green tea and feeling hard done by.  SoD - I am putting you on notice that you really need to help me out by acknowledging this with a decent drop on Tuesday.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: part 2

I have often wondered how much easier my life would be if I were gorgeous.  With more than a soupcon of bitterness I thought that the pretty people drift through life, gilded with blessings and lesser mortals buying them drinks and gifts and currying favour.
It may be true, but I’ve just been inducted to the dark side.  I have a pretty friend.  He’s very pretty.  When I first met him I was sure I’d dislike him as he would clearly be arrogant.  So, possibly the first disadvantage – prejudiced people like me will dislike you for no other reason than your chiselled cheekbones, big blue eyes and general attractiveness.  Anyway, I was proven to be wrong.  He’s as pretty on the inside and the least vain and arrogant person ever – he genuinely doesn’t believe he’s that good looking.  But we went for at least 3 months at work with most of the girls in the office giggling like 12 years olds confronted with a boy-band every time he opened his mouth.
None of that is the dark side.  The dark side is that one woman at work is pursuing him with the delicacy and determination of an unbalanced stalker.  She literally tries to grab him and kiss him, has propositioned him many times, told other people there’s something going on between then – and in a spectacular coup de grace, told his sister (who she’d never met before) that she didn’t care that he was married, she was going to split them up and “have him”.  I don’t know if she meant it in the Mills and Boons sense consciously but subliminally it’s clear what she meant.
She’s been so convincing that I even wondered if there was something going on.  And it really upset me.  We know and love him and his wife and I suddenly wondered if I’d got it wrong.  P calmed me down as I couldn’t get hold of my friend but in the end we talked.  And the whole sordid story came out.  I don’t often go to work drinks so I was oblivious to this until recently – when I tried to distract this girl from pursuing my friend like an exocet. 
He’s upset as she’s told half the office that there’s something going on between them – or implied it.  And he blames himself for some banter between them – although it sounds like inept parrying to her innuendoes to me.  He loves his wife; she doesn’t have the ‘glamma girl’ looks of our colleague but she’s a fresh-faced, outdoorsy blonde who is one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met.  It’s no wonder he adores her – and they are perfect together; no-one who saw them together could doubt it.  Luckily he’s leaving for a new job in a couple of weeks but it’s really been an eye-opener.
Would I take this over the problems I’ve been having?  I think so – but then the grass is always greener, isn’t it?

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

I've had a hell of a week.  In fact, the last three weeks have been hellish at work.  So I was really looking forward to the weekend.  Had I only known I might not have been quite so keen to get here.  As it is, if I weren't feeling so bruised and thus not tough enough for work, I might be glad that Monday is only a matter of hours away.

Today P and I have had our old argument.  The one I hoped we'd left behind for good.  It starts with him being decidedly frosty and denying anything is wrong right up until he comes clean.  And it's my weight again.  He is like a human Scales of Doom - seriously, he seems to register every lb (gained).  And whilst he was okay with my weight before the wedding, he very much isn't now.  Although we've kind of been around the houses on this one, he essentially doesn't find me attractive.  I think it would be easier if I felt attractive but that has never been the case - a father who persistently told me I was ugly probably doesn't help here although since his opinion weighs little to nothing to me, this may be an excuse.  And I have put on weight - a dress size.  I am still too chicken for the official Scales of Doon.

He also said he wasn't sure what I brought to the relationship.  He concedes loyalty but I get the impression he thinks this is from a lack of options rather than devotion.  Me pointing out that I'd made an effort and swallowed my January blues and organised fun stuff for us to do didn't seem to hold much water either.  And I admit I'm at a loss to know what else I do bring.  Prowess at loading a dishwasher is clearly not impressive.

It's weird because he is - and admits he is - overweight himself.  He'd like to lose some weight it's easier for him because I'm less fixated on his weight and love him and find him attractive regardless; I wish he could be like that but he says men are different and far more visual.  Maybe it's true.  I read a lot of blogs and on twitter about men who seem to love their women despite their frailties and insecurities and in fact love helping them see themselves differently and more positively; maybe that's the PR spun version and everyone has times like these.  Maybe only certain negative traits are loveable - and fat isn't one.

And I am a nightmare in some ways - I am absurdly sensitive and thin-skinned.  And I have low self-esteem.  I kind of think it's warrented - yes, I'm loyal and loving but that's no prize.  Or at least, it cannot be the be-all and end-all. 

He said unless things change, he can't see this marriage lasting.  He knows I try with my weight but says it's like the child at school who you know will never be good at anything so you have to say that it's good to try. 

So I must try harder.  The starvation days are tough but I'm allowing things to slip into the non-starvation days because I feel I've earnt it - these things have to go.  I know I would feel better about myself if I were slimmer - and if he loved me more and found me attractive, that would make me feel even better and clearly improve our relationship.

Funnily enough, I'm halfway through a non-weight post for here on how being beautiful isn't necessarily easy.  At the moment at any rate, I'd take it with all its downsides.