What is it about fat that makes it such a super-sensitive topic? If I had a septic toe that I was refusing to treat and it became life-threatening, no one would think twice about telling me in no uncertain terms to get it sorted out. Yet, when someone is quite visibly and obviously putting their health at risk by eating too much, no one says a word. Not even health care professionals. Every time I visit my GP, I expect him or her to say something to me about the elephant in the room (which I have at times closely resembled), but not one has ever even hinted that a change to my eating habits would have considerable health benefits. And to be fair, if someone did broach the subject, I wouldn’t react in the same way as if we were discussing my toe. I would likely be highly defensive and probably a bit angry or offended.

Fat is never straightforward. There are so many layers to the problem (excuse the turn of phrase there!) and often quite deeply seated reasons for it.

So, hats off to Slim Sister who was brave enough to bring up the subject one day and come right out and say that she thought I should take some more definite action with regards to my weight. This blog, and my slow and steady approach was sort of working. I had lost a bit of weight over a long period. But then along came Coronavirus and it all went to hell in a handbasket. Over the course of the first UK lockdown, I put on nearly 10kg!!! (No, that’s not a typo – 10 kg in just over 6 months.) I am not entirely sure why, because I continued to walk the dog every weekday and stopped eating out and entertaining, the latter two having always been high calorie activities for me. My alcohol consumption definitely went up (well, everyone was drinking, weren’t they, so why not me, too?) and I suppose I wasn’t running errands or doing anything like as much calorie-burning trotting about as usual. Those online exercise sessions that I was talking about in my last blog didn’t last because my dodgy ankle became so painful that I realised if I didn’t stop, I soon wouldn’t even be able to manage the dog walking.

So, I swelled. Alarmingly.

Fortunately for Slim Sister, when she brought up the subject, I had already decided that I was going to have to break my vow to never go on diet again. So I was receptive to her words, rather than defensive. I had already decided what to do. I could not bring myself to go back on my decision to never again PAY for a diet (if you have read my previous blogs, you will know about my discomfort with the notion of fat, over-privileged people paying to eat less while others starve). But with a little research and reading of reviews, I found a free calorie counting app and a free exercise monitoring app, and I was good to go.

That was on the 1st of September and now, two months later, I weigh 10.8kg less than I did then.

The app I use allows you to set a desired rate of loss, and I set mine fairly high at 1 kg a week. I wanted some quickish results to help motivate me and inspire me. But the main reason this has been successful is that I have adopted the same mindset that I used when I gave up smoking 16 years ago. I may have mentioned before that I achieved that (my one and only shining instance of really exercising self control) with the help of the Allen Carr method for breaking addiction to nicotine. I can’t really summarise everything he says about controlling one’s behaviour, but there were a couple of things that really struck me, and that I have been able to use again now, when it comes to food and booze.

Firstly, he asked the question, how bad are those feelings of wanting a cigarette really? Yes, they feel urgent, maybe uncomfortable, but they are not painful or overwhelming. They certainly are not as bad as say, having a really bad cold, are they? But if I asked you if you would be prepared to experience bad cold symptoms for two weeks and after that you wouldn’t crave nicotine at all, would you agree to it? Of course. It’s a very small price to pay to be rid of such a horrible addiction. Who really wants to be spending a lot of money to go around coughing, ponging of smoke, causing damage to the health of loved ones and oneself and generally being a bit of a social outcast?

Being fat has just as many unpleasant and damaging consequences as smoking. But being asked to “slightly reduce” one’s calorie intake and “slightly increase” one’s physical activity is really not such a big deal, is it? No one is asking you to starve yourself or actually go hungry. You are not even having to stop eating or drinking anything you like. You just have to fit what you consume into a framework of a certain number of calories a day. You are being asked to think about what you eat, and do a certain amount of weighing and measuring, but with all the fabulous technology we have at our disposal these days, that is really not much of an ask at all. I spend far more time playing Solitaire on my phone than I do working out how much and what I should eat every day.

The other useful takeaway from Allen Carr was the idea that the decision not to smoke was mine and mine alone. And if I did have another cigarette after I had said that I would never again put one into my mouth, then I had only myself to blame and I would have to live with the knowledge of my own pathetic weakness for the rest of my days. When it comes to diets or eating less, I am the QUEEN of excuses. My kids are giving me trouble – I deserve a nice glass of wine. I am stressed/exhausted/sad/in the mood for a celebration – bring out the ice cream. And on and on. This time round, I am taking ownership of my actions. EVEN IF SOMETHING REALLY, REALLY bad happens, it is not an excuse to make myself more unhealthy by overeating. Incidentally, I also can’t “jinx” my weight loss/diet by talking about it or looking forward to it with anticipation (a piece of weird superstitious nonsense that I find myself succumbing to). No one and nothing can “jinx” something that only I have complete control over, namely what I put into my mouth.

So, that’s the current state of play. I am feeling good – stronger and healthier and more focused. Even my ankle has stopped hurting quite so much now that the load it has to carry around every day has lightened a bit.

Onwards and upwards. Or, better still, downwards (the number on the scale) and inwards (my waistline).


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…

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)

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.

6: Disgrace – My Arse

I am so fed up with myself. I wish I could work out where I am going wrong with this whole thing. The week started off so well. By Friday, I had already written the blog in my head – it was going to be called “The Raisin” and was all about how wonderful it was to have stopped eating sugar and how sublimely sweet a couple of raisins in your porridge can taste once you’ve stopped eating other sugar. I was going to wax lyrical about the amazing life lessons I have been taught by this – be satisfied with less, enjoy what you have, excess is awful, blah blah blah.

muesli-Image by moerschy from Pixabay
Image by moerschy from Pixabay

What happened next, I can’t explain.

Fridays are generally a tricky day for me – I have to get my son to an appointment that he doesn’t want to go to, so it takes a lot of effort, patience and a certain amount of stress to make that happen. This Friday was no different, but I managed it and all was looking rosy. Then the phone rang. My mother-in-law was having some health problems and I needed to spend the afternoon with her. No problem. By now it was nearly lunch time and I was really hungry. So when we went through the Macdonald’s drive-thru to get my son his reward lunch, instead of just ordering a black coffee as I usually do, I ordered a veggie burger and chips.

In itself, I don’t see this as much of a problem. The odd fast food meal is perfectly okay in my book. In fact, I was glad I had done it, because it would be a long while before I finally got home and could have something to eat. But why, oh why did I need to buy that bottle of wine on my way home? And the slab of chocolate? And why, oh why did I need to drink and eat them in addition to a generous dinner? Okay, so I was a bit tired, a bit disrupted, and a bit in need of reward and comfort. But really. That was ridiculous.

But it wasn’t a disgrace. And it wasn’t the end of my dreadful weekend.

On Saturday I had to be up early to get down to the cycle track where my son’s club was holding a big fundraiser. I worked there until 2 pm after which I met my husband and daughter and hopped on a train to go into town to watch a comedy act at a festival next to the river. I completely failed to eat breakfast or lunch, so by the time we got there I was ravenous and had a slice of pizza as my first food of the day at 3 pm. And a big glass of wine, because the sun was shining and we were next to the river and it was all so lovely and sociable and blah, blah, excuse, excuse. Then, guess what? They let you take drinks into the auditorium. So, I had another glass. And after the show, we decided to have dinner, and I proceeded to order some really crappy and not very filling and another glass, and then we went home and this happened…

Disgrace (2)Disgrace.

Also, it turned out that one of the nasty, unhealthy meals I had inhaled during my day of badness had something wrong with it, and I woke with a churning stomach-full of acid at 3 am, and proceeded to throw up for an hour.

Double disgrace.

I just don’t understand myself. I really do want to lose some weight. I am already enjoying the benefits of eating more healthily. Why would I do this to myself? Am I just a pitiable weak-willed moron? What should I do next? I seem to swing from one extreme to another. And the minute I allow myself a bit of smugness at success (as in being pleased with myself for stopping eating sugar) I seem to need to sabotage my efforts. It is so damned frustrating.

I know that if I was reading this blog I would want to give myself a slap and say, “Don’t be so ridiculous. Just stop yourself. How can you say that you really want to be thinner and at the same time not be able to stop yourself putting fattening stuff into your mouth? It’s not rocket science. Are you lying to yourself? Is there a deep, hidden reason that you don’t want to be thin?”

Whoah!!! Just a minute. What exactly am I saying here? I consumed a slab of chocolate, a packet of biscuits and a couple of bottles of wine. So what?? Big bloody deal. I am acting as if I had murdered a small child. I cannot believe I have dived headfirst into the trap whereby my entire sense of self-worth and well-being is based on what I do or do not put into my mouth. Ridiculous. I completely reject this view. The only “bad” thing that has happened is that I am now feeling a bit sluggish and have shocking indigestion. I didn’t even put on any weight.

I have no idea what I am going to take away from all this and no idea what I shall be writing about next week. I hope I lose a bit of weight, but I do NOT want to lose sight of what I believe is really important in life – and that is definitely not the size of my arse.


  • Week six: No weight gain or loss
  • Total weight loss: Minus 3 kg (6.5 lbs)

5: Busy

I have been a busy bee this week. Far too busy to spare much time obsessing about what I eat and drink. This is excellent because not only has the whole food/drink focus become rather boring, but it is also, I believe, counter-productive.

Instead I have been immersing myself in the gigantic task of clearing out and sorting my daughter’s bedroom. To give you an idea of the extent of the mess in that particular hell-hole, think of one of the worst Marie Kondo houses and then times it by 20. The job has been one of those where things have to get a lot worse before they get better, and I am still a long way off finished. But it will be enormously satisfying once I’m done.

chaos-Image by levelord from Pixabay
Image by levelord from Pixabay

Food-wise I have been focusing on cooking really lovely, healthy food, such as my orzo and roast Mediterranean veg salad with feta, olives and a garlic lemon vinaigrette – hmmm. My love affair with sea bass (pan fried in extra virgin olive oil and a little sea salt) continues unabated, and I have discovered the indescribable joy of pomegranate molasses salad dressing. Why have I not known about this before? It takes salads to a whole new level. And apparently it is really healthy…!

roast med veg
Veggies ready for roasting for orzo salad.

Talking of salads, I actually ordered one when I went out for dinner on the weekend. Granted, it featured a sumptuous array of things like marinated artichokes and aubergine (eggplant) as well as a hefty wodge of melty chevre, but anyone who knows me knows that this is not my usual restaurant order. I noticed that Fat Fella, who had opted for a creamy seafood pasta dish, was eyeing it quite covetously.

So much for not thinking and talking too much about food.

I am being like one of those weight loss TV programmes that drag out the weigh-in-results as long as possible and then have an ad break before the big reveal. Did I or did I not lose weight this week? Is my journey to good health and a leaner body going well or should I just give up on the whole thing?

Insert ad break here….


  • Week five: 10 June 2019 – Minus 2 kg
  • Total weight loss: Minus 3 kg (6.5 lbs)

    emotiguy-thumbs up Image by SilviaP_Design from Pixabay (2)
    Image by SilviaP_Design from Pixabay


3: Cheating

I could write a whole book about the morally charged language we use when talking about weight and dieting. When things aren’t going according to plan, dieters routinely talk about having “cheated”, “sinned” or “having been bad” while on days when things are going well they will say they have been “good” and “virtuous”. Is it actually morally wrong to be overweight? And why do we feel so free to condemn, in pretty harsh terms, those who are fat? I think it is because fatness is what I call a “visible vice”. Please don’t tell me that every thin person you meet is a perfectly morally correct human being without a single vice. I simply won’t believe you. But their vices, unlike mine, are not wobbling around on their butt and tummy for all the world to see and judge. True, gluttony may be considered one of the seven deadly sins, but then so are wrath, pride and envy. If you have managed to get through life without doing any of those, well, all I can say is you must be a saint!

My thoughts have turned to the word “cheating” because I suppose that is what I am planning to do this weekend. On Saturday evening, a few of my girlfriends are coming round and I am going to have some wine while we sit outside around the fire chatting. It will be lovely. If this is “cheating”, bring it on I say. My decision to not drink was mine and my decision to drink is mine. I am not entirely sure who I am cheating by changing my mind on this occasion, but there we have it.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Of course, you could argue that this is just an elaborate self-justification for being weak-willed and having no self-control. You are probably right. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. In some ways I accept that I lack self-control, and yet in others, I could argue that I am capable of exercising great self-control. Fourteen years ago, after having been a heavy smoker for many years, I put out my last cigarette and I have never had another. I did this as a result of reading Allen Carr’s book on giving up smoking*. It was very useful to me, especially one part, which essentially stated the obvious point that I was entirely in control of what I did and I could just decide to never do something again.

“Oooh, I could never manage that,” say the fatties, the smokers, the drinkers. Well, they could, but they do not choose to. We all manage to not do things by choice. Most of us, for example, do not go around killing people who annoy us, sorely tempted though we may be. We generally don’t even give them a hard smack. Why? Not because we don’t really want to (at least as much as we want that tub of ice cream). No, we choose not to do it. We don’t want to suffer the consequences and the regret arising from these actions. If I succumb to a large burger and fries in a McDonalds drive-thru, the news is unlikely to be splashed across the front pages of tomorrow’s newspapers, whereas if I strangle my supremely annoying teenage son…


I am a bit disappointed in myself. I deliberately wrote the above paragraphs before the weekend. Mostly because I wanted to make it clear that my decision to indulge was a conscious one and not some spur-of-the-moment weakness. Sadly, the initial, planned occasion gave rise to a couple of further unplanned ones. Why is it so difficult to get this food and eating thing right? I really despair. All these decisions to cut and curtail various “bad” or fattening and unhealthy food and drink are like a tight elastic band. When I cut it, just a little, it pings wide open and all my good intentions come spilling out. When I tie it back together again, it is that much shorter and tighter and the desire to cut it and get a bit of relief is that much greater.

I feel a bit miserable about it. Instead of just enjoying some wine on Saturday and that being that, I found that in my relaxed state the need for a giant cookie became an imperative, and the following day the half-drunk bottle in the fridge needed to be finished. Then, as I was being “bad” anyway, I reckoned I might as well eat up the big bag of crisps (chips, to you non-Poms) so they wouldn’t tempt me when I was being “good” again. Just wind me up and off I go – chomp, chomp, chomp.

Photo by from Pexels

So much for avoiding Sugar, Snacks and Sauce (booze). This bright idea of mine of abstaining from the four esses is starting to feel like the wrong way of going about achieving my ends. But I really am at a loss as to what would work better.

On a brighter note, it was a lovely evening with my friends. Perfect weather, the air heavy with the perfume of roses and woodsmoke, a delicious meal, some fine champagne and great company.

Friends evening (2)


  • Week three: 27 May 2019 — Holding steady. No significant weight gain or loss.
  • Total weight loss: 2.5kg (5.5lbs)                                                                

    emotiguy-neutral Image by SilviaP_Design from Pixabay (2)
    Image by SilviaP_Design from Pixabay

* You can find out more about Allen Carr’s stop-smoking book here: