One thing I know: nobody knows what is going to happen next.

This post was going to be a review of some of the YouTube exercise videos that I have been bouncing around to recently. I have been amazed by the wide variety that exist.

You have your ageing gracefully “older lady” in her elegant home and 1980s Olivia Newton-John-style workout gear, bobbing gently about waving her arms and barely breaking a sweat.

Then there is the hapless woman in what looks like an underground cell doing seemingly random aerobics moves for nearly an hour with odd people walking in and out of the room (and in front of the camera) at intervals. She gives no warning when she is about to change moves, and doesn’t talk much, just grimly pounds on with no clock or timer displayed so you have no idea how much longer the agony will last.

Of course, there are the super slick ones with bright studios and every sort of timing device imaginable. The presenters on these ones tend to be quite chatty and have fellow exercisers who show different intensity moves. They are all obviously encouraged by the producers to “interact” with one another in a jolly and encouraging and “aren’t we all just having a ball?” way. This is almost as painful to watch as the exercises are to complete.

Almost all of them take great pains to insist that you should “go at your own pace”. Clearly (and understandably) trying to avoid lawsuits from the families of over-enthusiastic chubby bouncers who drop in their tracks while participating in their routines.

Lots of them purport to “really care” about you, the exerciser, and try different ways to encourage and inspire you to keep going and get fit and healthy. Some of them I even believe. They really do seem to be on a mission to bring a healthy lifestyle to the sluggish masses. I was working out to one of these the other day, and in amongst all the psycho-babble, he said some things that really struck home. Not necessarily because they were so profound, but because of something else that has happened in our lives recently and which is the reason I wrote that very first sentence.

A good friend of ours – a 50-something father of two with a larger-than-life, bubbly, positive personality, full of intelligence and enthusiasm and good humour – had a terrible skateboarding accident four weeks ago. He is still alive, but only just. He bashed his head and his poor brain started bleeding. He is still in ICU but, as of a few days ago, is breathing on his own again. He is not yet fully conscious and there is no way of knowing what long-term effects this terrible injury will have.

Nobody knows what is going to happen next. Not to our lovely friend, and not to any of us.

It was with this tragedy in mind that I really listened to and took notice of what the exercise man was saying. He was talking about how wonderful our bodies are to do all the things they do – how strong and able. Even just being able to stand up and move around is a precious gift. He was urging us to be grateful and to look after what we have. Needless to say, this has done my motivation for continuing with the new exercise regime the world of good.

And I am loving it. I am feeling fitter and stronger and even a bit more bendy, which is brilliant. It’s not always easy to get started, but I am always pleased once I have. In fact, I am writing this fully kitted out in exercise gear, ready to head over to the sitting room and do some serious leaping about.

You should be a fly on the wall. It is quite a sight, I can tell you. Captain Shoelace sometimes wanders in to have a giggle before I boot him out. But even his smirking won’t put me off. I will try to remember how lucky I am to be able to do it, and hope with all my heart that my dear friend will be up and bouncing about some day soon.

PS After my last post whining about not being able to write, the lovely Fat Fella has set me up with a nice speedy laptop, connected to our home network, and all functioning beautifully.

No more excuses.


Hoo boy, this lockdown is finally getting to me.

While I generally love having Fat Fella at home, it does mean that I don’t have access to the “big, fast computer” because obviously he needs it for work. This makes perfect sense, but I really miss it. It means that I haven’t been doing any writing at all for months and months. Not that I would have been doing much if I did have access, because I am a lazy slapper, but you know what it’s like – we always want most what we can’t have. Anyway, if I was serious about writing, I could easily have made a plan – we have so many other electronic devices that could be fit for purpose — but obviously I’m not, because I haven’t.

I have also put on a lot of weight, which is making me feel miserable and fed up with myself. While there has been no obvious reduction in my daily exercise routine – I still walk the dog 5-6 times a week – all those endless, unnoticed little daily physical activities, such as getting in and out of the car or carrying shopping and running errands, have just evaporated like smoke. Initially, I thought I might actually lose weight because I was doing a lot of gardening and house tidying and so on. But clearly, I was also eating and drinking a lot more. My extra-tight clothes and scary bathroom scales do not lie.

dig Image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay
Image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay

Recently, in an effort to get moving again, Fat Fella and I have been doing daily low-impact aerobics sessions in our sitting room. These are great. I have tried all sorts of different ones and so far am finding the PopSugar ones on YouTube to be really good. We haven’t been at it regularly for long enough for it to have had much of an impact, but hopefully it has improved our health and fitness a little already.

aerobics Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

It is no joke that we fatties are more at risk of dying from Covid-19. Suddenly all my blustering “I’ll be fat if I want to,” or “Being fat is not a crime,” or “I enjoy my life, what’s the harm?” is ringing a bit hollow. Of course, I have always known that being fat is an unhealthy and even life-threatening choice, but the current situation really brings it home to one with a bit of a thump.

That’s a good thing in many ways, but also hard to do much about, because it is the current situation that is making me feel low and lethargic and not inclined to diet or exercise in the first place.

And yes, the previous paragraph is merely a pathetic excuse. I know it. As with the writing, the healthy lifestyle could happen if I wanted it enough. Maybe I just don’t…


What was that I was saying about distractions being a good thing and wishing for some more? Well, I did specify that I did not want the sort of distractions that have me reaching for a bottle of wine at the end of the day. And the major distraction that we are all experiencing right now – the Covid 19 virus – is definitely one that requires wine and crisps and maybe even some ice cream. If I watch carefully, I can almost see my already enormous tummy expanding like a lump of bread dough in a proving oven. It really is quite worrying. Just how big can it get? Will it pop?

Joking aside, I actually feel ashamed of whining about how social distancing is making me fat. When so many in the world are struggling to eat at all, how dare I complain that I have too much? I am damned lucky to have the wherewithal to get fat.

But acknowledging my privilege does not make me any happier about my super-size. I still want to be leaner and healthier. So much so, that lately I have been tempted by the adverts for a “new” wonder diet that pop up on my screen every 10 minutes or so.

I took a solemn vow a few years back, that I would never again pay money in order to lose weight. To me there is, as I have already mentioned, something almost obscene about rich fat folks using their money to eat less, instead of using that money to help people who haven’t enough to eat to stay alive, much less get fat.

In addition, I am firmly convinced that while any diet will work in the short term, ultimately a diet is something you are “on” and when you go “off” it again, you get fat again. From personal experience, and from a number of accounts I have read, one not only gets as fat as one was before, but usually, a bit fatter. That’s why serial yo-yo dieters end up bloody enormous. I know. I am one.

So, while the new diet is quite enticing, I will resist its lures. Which is not to say, I haven’t read about it and had a look at the promotional material for it. This particular diet is taking the psychological approach. I suppose the idea is that you unlock why you have unhealthy eating patterns and then tackle the root causes rather than merely alter eating habits. This makes sense, certainly. They are selling it as a “brand new approach”, but of course it isn’t. I have been thinking and talking about why I eat too much for as long as I can remember.

All the thinking and talking made me reach the conclusion that I am a comfort eater. I eat as a way of making myself feel better. “Poor old you, you deserve something a bit nice to cheer you up”. I have been saying this to myself my whole life. But here’s the thing: for most of that life I have had absolutely no need of comfort.

Growing up, I was one of the luckiest people imaginable. No money worries, no health concerns, no disabilities. A gorgeous, loving and supportive mother and a busy, happy family life. Academic success, a great career, lovely home, lovely holidays and, if you can believe it, lucky in love, too – a really lovely husband. Yet with all this loveliness, while I certainly wasn’t as fat as I am now, I still ate to make myself feel better and I was always a bit tubby. Ridiculous! If I could, I would go back and give my chubby chops a good slap and make sure I knew and appreciated just how little I was in need of any sort of comfort.

It was inevitable then, that when the fickle finger of fate (or whatever it is that balances the universe’s books) decided to deal me an actual nasty blow, my desire for yummy comforting things to eat and drink would grow exponentially. And the real bummer with this is that even when you have coped with your blow, and your life is more or less back on track, or at least manageable again, you are left looking like someone has stuck a bicycle pump up your backside. And, as we all know, looking and feeling like an elephant is not the greatest feeling in the world. Poor me. Pass the bottle of wine.

elephant-Image by Tina Shaskus from Pixabay
Image by Tina Shaskus from Pixabay

22: Success!

It seems I was right. Being distracted and not focusing too closely on what I eat has actually resulted in my losing some weight. Hooray.

Since I started this journey, I have lost 6 kg in total. This has taken all of eight months, so not exactly a quick result, but I believe that’s quite a good thing. I managed to do it without any hardship or sense of deprivation. Essentially, all I have done is eat a bit less sugar, drink a little less wine and go for slightly longer, more energetic dog walks.

I hope I can carry on along these lines. After being quite ill before Christmas I have stopped swimming every week, which is a shame. Perhaps I can find a way back into the pool, especially if I work out a more convenient way to fit it into my week. I think this is the key to any change I try to make. There is no use vowing solemnly to walk the dog at 7 am so that I can be ready for a swim by 9 am. It might happen in the short term, while I am feeling strong and am carried along by the novelty of it all. But any bump in the path, will push me right off track because it is simply too difficult and narrow to negotiate comfortably. I have to find a more robust path — wider, more flexible and more realistic. That way I will carry on doing whatever it is, even if I do find obstacles in the way.

I have had a decent share of obstacles over the past few months, which is why I have not found time to do any blog-writing. Fortunately, as I mentioned, these have served as distractions rather than complete dead-ends. Now that things have settled down a bit, I am going to take another look at my road to good health and see what small adjustments I can make to ensure that in another eight months I can report a similar success. And if another bunch of distractions come along, I sincerely hope they are the interesting and exciting kind and not the ones that have me reaching for a bottle of wine at the end of the day

19: Shoelace and Oats

I have been having a bit of a rotten time lately. It seems my “mojo” has died a horrible death. I just can’t seem to get myself motivated. Not only am I not doing a lot of things that I really wish I were (my cleanerobics are now slotherobics – slow and not very efficient), but I am doing some things that I really wish I weren’t (eating a whole slab of chocolate – blush).

Having given it some thought, I have come up with a few reasons for this sad state of affairs. Firstly, we are having a tough time with Captain Shoelace. Life with him has never been straightforward, but at the moment he is causing both Fat Fella and me a lot of sleepless nights. Like most people, when I don’t get enough sleep, I get grumpy and miserable. I feel sorry for myself. I feel the need for a treat to cheer myself up. I feel that eating a slab of chocolate will do the trick. Of course, deep down, my sensible self knows that this isn’t true. It knows that eating a slab of chocolate is actually going to leave me feeling a lot more grumpy and miserable. But my sleep-deprived brain won’t listen to my sensible self. It just goes right ahead and gets what it wants for a bit of a short-term boost.

Sleep deprivation also results in discombobulation and disorganisation, which in turn leads to the second reason my “mojo” has expired. I have not been eating my oats for breakfast. Instead of scoffing that satisfying, cholesterol-reducing bowl of loveliness every morning, I have been going off for my dog walk on an empty stomach, returning home ravenously hungry and then eating far too much lunch, far too early. This leaves me starving again by about 5pm and needing something to tide me over until dinner. Bad habits are hard to break and good ones (like eating a healthy breakfast) seem as fragile as tissue paper.

The final nail in “mojo’s” coffin is the fact that I have not been losing any bloody weight. Even before the chocolate/no breakfast/ too much snacking incidents, that number on the scales would not budge. Running up and down stairs, swimming for kilometres, dancing while dusting – none of them made a blind bit of difference to the size of my lardie arse. I know I shouldn’t need the boost that losing weight gives me, and that I should be satisfied with better health, but I jolly well do, and I really am not.

Where does this leave me? Can “mojo” be resurrected? I suspect that some of the reasons for its demise are more intractable than others. For example, I think it would be frowned upon were I to attempt to get rid of Shoelace along with the sleepless nights he causes. But I can start eating breakfast again and in fact, that’s what I have been doing for the past few days. And yes, it has improved my mood to the extent that I have been able to write this. Another major plus is that I have carried on swimming and am really loving it. I feel stronger and fitter each time I swim, and if that doesn’t breathe new life into ole “mojo”, nothing will.


15: Onwards and Upwards

I have been silent for a while because it made no sense to me to try and write about a journey to better health, while feeling as lousy as I have been for the past few weeks. But at last I seem to have turned a corner. My chest is almost clear and the ear infection has gone and the nasty side effects from the antibiotics are waning.

In other good news, I was delighted when I weighed myself after a month of holiday hedonism and self-pitying indulgence to discover that I haven’t gained any weight at all. In fact, I may have even lost a little bit. Plus I have found going back to not eating sugar surprisingly easy, and I have reverted to having alcohol only on the weekends. I definitely plan to try and cut that back some more.

Now I think my next step is to think of ways of increasing my fitness. As I have mentioned, I walk my dog every day for an hour. I suppose I could simply focus on making those walks a bit speedier and sweatier.

woman-Image by Mabel Amber, still incognito... from Pixabay
Running instead of walking the dog could be a good option. — Image by Mabel Amber, still incognito… from Pixabay

But I think I need something more. I am considering taking up a completely new sport, or perhaps going back to something I have enjoyed in the past. There are so many possibilities and I need to do a bit of research to find something that will slot into my lifestyle easily.

A few things spring to mind immediately, but it is ironic that the very reason I need to exercise more (being fat) limits my choices. Many riding stables, for example, have weight limits for riders simply because they don’t have big enough horses to carry heavier riders. I used to be a keen runner, but I don’t think my poor old bones, muscles and ligaments would cope with the kind of pounding they would get from all that fat bouncing around as I jog. Someone I know has just started rowing and that appeals to me, but I reckon I’d sink the boat!

horse-Image by Charles Rondeau from Pixabay
A horse’s reaction to seeing me approaching wearing jodphurs. — Image by Charles Rondeau from Pixabay


Practicalities aside there is also the social awkwardness of being a big fat person trying to huff and puff and keep up with others, not to mention the difficulty in getting sports clothes that are not too hideously embarrassing. I think I should start a sports clothing company called “Fat Girls Run Too”. It would be great to find sports clothes that were roomy enough to be comfortable, but still shaped properly so you didn’t look like a shuffling circus tent when exercising. (Apologies if there is already such a company – I did a quick google and nothing popped up.)

As I write this, I have had an idea. I am going to investigate it a bit and tell you more once/if I start doing it.

Tomorrow, I discover if all that lovely porridge I have been eating has resulted in my cholesterol levels dropping. I do hope so.


Week 15 — total weight loss: 4.6 kg (10 lbs)

13: Good Times

As Kurt Vonnegut asked: “If this isn’t good, what is?”

We come to this little Balearic island every year for a couple of weeks in the summer and it never disappoints. The weather is glorious and reliable, and I spend most of my time floating in the pool with a book and a glass of white wine.A9E6EFF0-08D0-4DBC-AA16-D9AE66AB3A99

The food is also heavenly — luscious  Mediterranean tomatoes, creamy cheeses, dark, peppery olive oil, fresh seafood, crusty bread, perfectly salty olives, and on and on.

The little tapas bar at the top of the hill makes some of the best food I’ve ever tasted and I am seriously thinking of kidnapping the chef and forcing him to hand over his recipe for their patatas bravas sauce.

I had the very good sense to invite a dear friend to accompany us on holiday. Not only is she an excellent cook, but she is also an enthusiastic one and as big a fan as I am of shopping in foreign supermarkets. Somehow the novelty makes a boring everyday errand into a bit of an adventure.

Sumptuous salad courtesy of my cooking friend.

I have been eating and drinking whatever I feel like and I feel fabulous. Not one teeny bit of regret. Salud!

11: A Dog’s Life

pet-Image by Jose Antonio Alba from Pixabay
Image by Jose Antonio Alba from Pixabay

I am a volunteer for a charity called the Cinnamon Trust. We walk dogs belonging to people who are either too old or too ill to do it themselves. This is great, because it means they can keep their much-loved pets with them for as long as possible. Last week, I walked a “new” dog. I was chatting to Fat Fella about it afterwards and commented how awful it was to see a dog who was in such pain because he was so fat and arthritic. “I would never allow an animal of mine to get in such a state,” I proclaimed self-righteously. And, to be fair, that’s true. I wouldn’t.

I wouldn’t call any of my pets skinny, exactly, and I am not great at refusing them treats, but I do make sure they keep to a reasonably healthy weight. I wonder why I find it so straightforward and easy to do it for them, but not for myself? If my dog groaned and winced whenever she stood up, as I do, she would be on a diet so fast, her head would spin.

golden-retriever-Image by Barbara Danázs from Pixabay
This is a stock image of a fat dog for illustrative purposes, not the actual dog mentioned. — Image by Barbara Danazs from Pixabay.

Similarly, when my children were younger and I had more control over what they ate, they were both the picture of good health. Poster children for the benefits of eating a varied, yet balanced diet, heavy on fruit and veg and light on treats. I took such pride in their fabulous diets. Yet, I could not do the same for myself.

Nowadays things are a bit different as far as the children’s diets go. My son’s nickname of Captain Shoelace is well deserved. He is very tall and very, very thin. Not, sad to say, as a result of a healthy diet. Far from it. I firmly believe that the fact that he likes apples, and has got in the habit of eating one a day, is all that stands between him and a dose of scurvy. He lives on crap energy drinks, cakes, crisps and chips. The “shoelace” effect is simply the result of a lot of high energy exercise.

apples-Image by Tracy Lundgren from Pixabay
Image by Tracy Lundgren from Pixabay

My lovely daughter, on the other hand, is no shoelace. Captain Jellybean would be a better name for her. She is very well rounded these days. The first time she got pocket money and had an independent trip to the shops with it, she returned home with a shopping bag bulging with chocolates, biscuits and sweets. This was a child who took delight in eating as many as nine different types of fruit and vegetables in a single sitting. Tragically, her love affair with vegetables had, for the time being, come to an end.

carton-figure-Image by Michael Rühle from Pixabay (2)
Image by Michael Ruhle from Pixabay.

The situation with Captain Jellybean presents a tricky challenge for me. How do I tackle it? I don’t want to pass on my own lifetime obsession with weight, but I can’t completely ignore it, can I? She has a minor medical condition that would be improved were she to lose a bit of weight. Her doctor has told her that she needs to look at her diet and exercise regime and see if she can lose some pounds. I want to encourage her, but I really don’t want her to “go on a diet”. I truly believe that dieting like that ends up making you fatter.

Of course, we keep coming up with ways to get her to exercise more, and she is fairly cooperative. She loves the step tracker that her aunt gave her for her birthday and has started boxing classes recently. But if left to herself, she is completely inactive and, like many (most?) teenagers will just slump on her bed watching YouTube videos.

If only I could simply reduce the amount of kibble I give her and pop her on a leash for an extra walk or two every day! If only I could do the same for myself. Is it wrong to wish I were a dog?


You can find out more about the work of The Cinnamon Trust here:



1: Fat!

Image by photosforyou from Pixabay

So, here’s the thing. I’m fat. What does that mean exactly?

It’s a weird concept because we all have such screwed up ideas about fatness, health, attractiveness, thinness, intelligence, laziness, and how all these things fit together. 

If you were foolhardy enough to comment on my weight, I’ve got a whole range of defensive responses to choose from. Which one I’d go for would depend on who you are and how I am feeling at the time. So, I might say: “How dare you presume I’d rather be thin?”, “I am fat because I eat too much, so what?”, “I am fit and well and get plenty of exercise, what’s your problem?”, “ I love food and intend to enjoy it until I drop dead” (from a heart attack, probably), or “I love being big, it makes me feel powerful.”

button-withtext (2)

The thing is, while I truly believe in all of the above statements, none of them are true. In my heart of hearts, I hate being fat. I look at adverts for fabulous clothes and I dream about being thin enough to look good in them. I see people jogging past with lovely muscly legs and flat tummies and I really envy them. Some days every joint in my body aches from the excess weight I have to carry around with me.

You haven’t got a hope in hell of getting me to admit to any of these truths in person, though. They are my deep, dark secret. They are a secret because if I admit to thinking these things, how on earth can I possibly explain why I am not thin? I am not stupid after all. I know what and how much I should eat in order to be thin. But I don’t do that. While I have some ideas as to why not, the truth is I am bewildered by the silliness of it as much as anyone.

I have looked at very fat people on TV and wondered to myself, why don’t they just stop eating so much? The cheek of me. Surely I, if anyone, knows that it’s not quite as simple as that. 

If I sense someone is critical about me because of my eating habits (my mother-in-law springs to mind) I often want to ask her if she always does exactly what she thinks she should do or does she also make mistakes or do things she wishes she hadn’t? Surely everyone has some aspect of themselves that they’d like to correct, but somehow can’t? Or am I deluding myself? Do most people trot around feeling as if they are in complete control and is it just us fatties and addicts who seem to be at the mercy of our desires?

The other thing about fatness, is the disconnect I feel from my body. It is as if the big blob that I glimpse in the mirror from time to time, has nothing to do with the essential “me”. Maybe that’s why I can’t fix it, because in a way it’s not even real? I am sure a psychotherapist would have a field day exploring my disassociation and splitting (and if you have any thoughts on this, please comment below, it will save me a fortune in analysis).

Despite all this, I am determined to never go on diet again. I have been dieting on and off since I was 14, and I firmly believe that each time I lose some weight, I not only put it back on again, but that each time I add an extra 20%. This is how I have ended up being the lard arse I am today.

Looking back at photos of myself when I was young, I sadly note that of course I wasn’t actually fat. I can’t believe I listened to the bitchy girls who told me I was, and wasted all that lovely luscious youthfulness in worrying about the size of my tummy. Why couldn’t I have listened instead to that bloke who told me I had gorgeous big tits and legs that went on for miles? Because I am an idiot, that’s why. A fairly normal human idiot, but an idiot nonetheless.

My absolute biggest fear now is that in 10 years’ time I will look back at photos of myself today and think, well that wasn’t really fat, now I’m really fat. (Don’t forget to check back in a decade’s time. Although the truth is, if I get much fatter, the chances of my still being alive in 10 years’ time are the only slim thing around.)

So, in a last ditch attempt to stave off what I fear may be inevitable, I have recently taken myself in hand and am attempting my own version of a non-diet, which hopefully is going to have the result of at least a slight moderation of my excess weight. I have managed one and a bit weeks of this so far, and I am feeling good. The difficulty will be in keeping going.

I read an article* recently about Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) that said that a feature of people with the condition is that they are not motivated by any of the things that most “normal” people are – namely importance, rewards or consequences. Instead, they can only be switched on by “a momentary sense of interest, competition, novelty, or urgency created by a do-or-die deadline.”I am not, as far as I am aware, someone with ADD, but that statement is certainly true of me. At the moment, I am interested in what I am trying to do, and it is novel, but I do worry about sticking to the plan. I hope that the pressure of having to write this blog regularly, will help.

*Here’s a link to the article:

So, what is this plan? I call it:

The Four Esses

For 12 weeks, this is going to be my mantra:

  • No Sugar,
  • No Snacks,
  • No Seconds,
  • No Sauce (ie booze)

Food pic

Wish me luck, and watch this space.


  • Start date: 6 May 2019
  • Week one: 13 May – minus 1 kg
    emotiguy-thumbs up Image by SilviaP_Design from Pixabay (2)
    Image by SilviaP_Design from Pixabay