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.


12: State of Play

There are only two people who know I write this blog. Fat Fella, obviously, and one of my sisters. I’ll call her Slim Sister to differentiate her from the sister I mentioned in a previous blog – that one is Skinny Sister, the one whose high cholesterol level produces a shameful frisson of schadenfreude in my fat heart.

Slim Sister may be slender, but she has to work just hard enough at staying slim to be able to understand and relate to the trials and tribulations of lard arses such as myself. She is also probably my biggest cheerleader, and I know is very keen that I should do well on this particular journey. And not for any other reason than that I should be happy and well and satisfied with how my body looks and feels. She’s a good egg, is Slim Sister.

She also has opinions on what I write, and one that she expressed recently is that it is perhaps a mistake not to include a weekly weight report. She felt that it was a good “hook” to draw in readers, along the lines of Bridget Jones’s Diary etc.

I am sure she is right, but I fear that a weekly weigh-in is a dangerous thing for me. I get so influenced by the numbers, both positively and negatively. Looking at weight in numbers also reinforces the problem I have with externalising the whole issue and not feeling it from within. Somehow I have to try and get my heart to agree with my head that the number on the scale is irrelevant and it is what I look and feel like that counts.

But I am not there yet. And today is the day that I leave to go on holiday. The holiday that I was aiming for when I started this blog. The one that would mark the end of the “No Sugar, No Snacks, No Seconds, No Sauce”  rule that I had imposed on myself. If you have followed this blog, you will know that I have altered course since I set out. I ditched all those absolute prohibitions because I felt that they were traps that I was falling into. Traps that would, in the long term, result in my failure to achieve what I really wanted – a healthier body and a happier self-image.This feels like a good time to reflect a little and sum up what I have achieved so far and consider what I might do to keep myself going.

I have lost some weight — 4.3 kg (9.5lbs) in total. To my mind that is a miserably small amount and a figure that would normally do nothing to inspire me to continue. I need much more dramatic results to motivate me. Yet, that is exactly the sort of weight loss that I should be aiming for.

Even slower would probably be better. It shows how making small, but permanent changes to one’s diet will, over time, have the desired result. And I won’t suddenly start packing on the pounds once I am “finished”  because I never will be. They are forever changes and not based on a number deadline. Just as I have been a non-smoker for 14 years, I now need to see myself as someone who consumes almost no sugar, doesn’t drink much alcohol, only has snacks once in a while in social situations and almost always says “no” to second helpings.

My future mealtimes? Not bloody likely!

Sadly, I was not that someone last weekend. I was at a party at Skinny Sister’s house. She is a marvellous cook, so I not only had seconds of the sumptuous lunch, but I also tucked into a generous helping of pudding. I found it almost too sickly sweet to finish. Not because it was particularly sugary, but because I am really not used to sugar anymore. Later though, when I got home, I started craving a sweet treat. I had awoken the sugar demon, and it wanted more. Fortunately, there was nothing tempting in the house and sugar demon has gone back to sleep for now. But it is worth remembering that, like nicotine, it is a craving that is always lurking, ready to pounce, and I feed it at my peril.

Giddy weekends aside, I am not doing too badly. I have seriously weakened the grasp that sugar has on me. I no longer routinely eat second helpings and I am drinking far less alcohol. I would prefer to cut this particular one even more, and I probably shall once I get back from my holiday. And as for the last of the four Esses – snacks – well, to be honest that has never been a major vice of mine. I added it in to make up the “Four Esses” rule. Still, it’s good to remember that snacks can be very tempting, especially when one is being so “good” about everything else. And I must also remember not to try to be “too good”, because I am in this for the long haul.

So, that’s the state of play. I fully intend to enjoy a fortnight of mild hedonism and will return to my “normal” life determined to carry on with this journey. Wish me luck.



Total weight loss: Minus 4.3 kg (9.5lbs)

7: New Resolution

Last week I caught myself chanting the following as a kind of motivational mantra: “Five weeks, five kilos, five weeks, five kilos.” Yes, you read that right. The person who is NOT on diet and is not trying to slim down for an arbitrary deadline is, in fact, doing both those things with a vengeance. No matter how vehemently I insist that this whole endeavour is primarily concerned with a change in lifestyle and an adoption of healthier habits, it is quite clear that I am fully immersed in the dieting mind-set of old, which, in theory, I utterly reject.

meal-plan-Image by Vegan Liftz from Pixabay
Image by Vegan Liftz from Pixabay

That dieting mind-set is the product of years of participating in the diet industry. Popular dieting clubs and programmes were first developed in the 1960s. By the time I joined up for the first time in the 1980s, they were well established and many of their features had become deeply entrenched in our dieting consciousness. The weekly weigh-in is a good example. Back in the day, you were weighed publicly and your weight loss or gain was announced to your fellow dieters each week.

Over time, the idea of shaming people into losing weight waned in popularity and the weigh-ins became more discreet. But in the big business world of dieting, they remained an invaluable tool, providing a boost to morale when the scales showed a loss, or a useful kick up the jacksie when they showed a gain.

I decided some years ago that paying someone to stop me from over-eating was an almost obscene concept in a world where so many go hungry every day. As a result, I haven’t been near a weigh-in or diet programme meeting for some time. Yet I still find myself very wedded to the idea of the weekly weight check. Since I embarked on this particular journey, I have been struggling to resist weighing myself too often and have been very affected by what I see on the scales – celebrating a substantial loss by allowing myself extra treats and responding to gains with depression and despair.

Inkedweighing-machine-Image by Spencer Wing from Pixabay
Image by Spencer Wing from Pixabay

I have also found myself moving the scales around the bathroom in order to get the “best” reading. How utterly stupid. I know very well that the number on the scale is not the point. But I bet I am not alone in falling into the trap of concentrating on numbers to the exclusion of everything else. I did a bit of reading on the internet about current dieting programmes and I see that Weight Watchers, for example, have rebranded their weekly weigh-ins. They are now marketed as “Workshops” with the emphasis on wellness rather than on weight loss. I wonder if the participants have managed to shift their mind-sets accordingly? I know, from my own experience that it is a lot more difficult than it seems.

The only time I have ever lost weight without thinking about it at all was just before my wedding. I was too absorbed in other stuff to spare a single thought to what I was eating. And interestingly, I am unable to tell you how much I weighed at the time. I simply had not bothered to check. In the photographs I look like a person with a healthy weight, but I have never again managed to be that unconscious of my weight – fatter or thinner, it has remained a big issue for me, front and centre in my consciousness.

So, I have had a big re-think and have made a few decisions.

Firstly, no more weekly stats. I am going to weigh myself once a month from now on and may eschew the scales completely if I am brave enough.

Secondly, I am throwing any notion of a timetable or a deadline out of the window. I did not, thank God, gain weight at the rate of a kilo a week, and it is quite mad to expect to lose it at that speed. I also know, from past experience that weight lost quickly as a result of a strict diet goes back on just as quickly once normal service is resumed.

trash-9Image by OpenIcons from Pixabay
Image by OpenIcons from Pixabay

Thirdly, I am sad to say that my original bright idea of saying “No” to sugar, seconds, snacks and sauce, must be abandoned. By this I do not mean that I am going back to gorging on all four of these things. But I am not going to attempt to give them up completely. Right now, I feel like I am at a reasonable level with all four. This week, for example, I had some wine on Sunday when we had a barbecue and I ate a meringue. That’s it, and that is just fine, I think.