The road to hell

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It’s official, im doomed. I’m going straight to hell on the back of Chris Rea’s motorbike, one way no stops, no collecting £200 as i pass go but going full speed down to hell.

It all began with a cheese sandwich you see. Now i know youre chuckling or thinking i’m mad but this really is serious stuff here.  Hunting frantically through the fridge for something for lunch i had happily decided  on tuna, you know that nice healthy fishy thing i eat a ton of. The trouble was i only get a very short lunch break and glancing at the tuna and then at the clock i concluded, after wondering just how fast i could chew, that there was no way i was going to be able to make the darned stuff and eat it too.  Typically this just had to coincide with the day the supermarket was all out of my favourite roast ham so there was nothing else around.

”EAT ME”

Erm excuse me?

”I said…EAT ME”

Okay nobody believes me here but food really does talk to me, i mean do i look like a skinny person?  But really it does and right about now a bag of grated cheese was flexing in my direction and urging me in a rather sexy drawl to eat him. I wavered..really i did and loyally glanced back at the tuna i know i should eat. I’m on a diet you see and i really do have to be good since i have had a few extra pounds donated my way of late.

”EAT ME”

ohhhhh really?? okay i crumpled..i was hungry and time was ticking by so i crumbled and gave in much to the smug delight of mr cheddar himself. Believe it or not i am usually quite resolute once i am on a diet and can lose the excess quite quickly and easily but i have this awful no mans land where i waver.  If i am not in the zone it only takes a very small nudge at my resolve and i crumple to indulgent abandon. 

I’m a typical Taurean what can i say? We love to eat, alas eating does not always love us back. Many a battle with the scales will follow although in definitely much more on the winning side than i used to be. Still i did feel rather terrible giving in to the lure of the cheese and hastily smothered the urge to turn into Britney Spears and skip around the kitchen singing Oops i did it again. Of course i shall now feel terribly guilty for the rest of the day, never eat again and eventually die of total shame.

So there you have it. One minute i think im safe in my nice little kitchen and then one random act sends me hurtling to the underworld on a cheese coated road to hell.  They say you are what you eat and i dont know how true that is but if it is so then the next thing i eat will be a skinny person. 

Ah well nice lettuce, lovely lettuce….come to mama!

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The weight of desperation…

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As you go about your daily life it is highly unlikely that you will fail to see the obesity crisis rocking the western world in more recent times. Whether it be the huge increase of overweight people in general  or simply the ever increasing adverts screaming ‘LOSE WEIGHT FAST’ you would have to be blinkered indeed not to notice. We are a self indulgent society, there is no escaping from it and sadly it seems we only consider the consequences after the fact. Very far after the fact it seems for many and i myself have been no exception.

I am not one to take much stock of some aspects of social media yet i am amazed at how many people, my friends included, live their whole lives on facebook or its like. There is nothing too personal nor too private that they do not feel ready to announce to the world and i am ceaselessly amazed at some of the things i see and read. As a blogger i am happy to share certain opinions and amusing anecdotes relating to my life but i like the option of privacy and am selective about whom i share my intimacies of life with. Still i am not above browsing interestedly at the public announcements of my friends cringing or chuckling as the status may warrant. Today however, as i idly browsed i was struck by the number of weight loss adverts peppering many of the pages i viewed. Although all different brands and methods they all nonetheless screamed out the same message ‘LOSE WEIGHT FAST’  Perhaps the most alarming thing of all was not the presence of the adverts themselves but the sheer number of people flocking to them wanting that quick fix to their excess weight.

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For me it was a definite trip down memory lane and an almost Christmas Carol like visit to my former unhappy self. To say i was overweight would definitely be no understatement for the disgrace that i had become was almost double the person i am now. Yet it was all of my own doing and to a certain extent a deliberate attempt to obliterate the unhappy shadow that i had become. Never in truth did i consider the consequences of my actions nor did i have the foresightedness to realise that being big would not change the problems that had forced me there, it would only serve to be lessened slightly by the momentary comfort of some sugary treat. It is hard for anyone who has not experienced it to understand the comfort and solace that can be found in the arms of a bar of chocolate. If only the feeling lasted as long as the unhappiness but alas it does not and with it comes the crashing low of reality.

IM FAT!! 

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There may be those rare few who genuinely are happy being bigger and who do not feel the need to conform to a society ideal in order to feel attractive and loved. Sadly i like many was not once of those and longed to undo the damage that i had inflicted upon myself and be once again the slim person i had been before. But again like many i was daunted by the long road ahead and i failed to see the reality of the situation, it had taken years to become this large and it was going to take equally as long to take it away.

I wanted it now! 

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Therein we find the problem of many a dieter, once the decision has been made and the excess weight confronted we want suddenly to be slim overnight. This does not happen and even when the weight loss is rapid the effects upon the body cosmetically are not appealing as the skin fails to keep up with the speed of the weight lost. I have seen many a person embark upon some extreme weight loss programme only to be devastated by the resulting swathes of excess flesh where they had imagined some bikini body. Yet still they flock to these adverts willing to part with hard earned money for the illusion that this will be an overnight fix. I did it the hard way. I dieted, i failed, i cried, i sweated at the gym and i got right back on the wagon after every cheat and tried again. I threw many a tantrum and hurled many an abusive name at my reflection in the mirror but i kept on trying until i finally saw the results. In hindsight i think the stuggle in itself taught me more of a lesson than any quick fix ever could and even today i still carry on fighting the battle to keep from obesity. 

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I cannot help but feel a sadness for those who clamour around the quick fix for i was them once and i remember well the hopelessness and the desperation. The need to conform and the desire to be accepted and loved. Once you have been overweight you are never free from a diet for it is your curse to be susceptible to temptation and weaknesses that led you to where you were in the first place.Yet you learn in a way you never have before and you find a way to ignore the little voice reverberating in your brain urging you to give in and indulge.

I am quite sure i drive my boyfriend mad with my constant self criticism and shattering insecurities and that is my cross to bear. Yet thankfully he understands me and knows from whence it comes. He listens without complaint yet sometimes will reprimand me for slamming down any comforting compliment he may make. Perhaps the latter rather frustratedly for he knows at times that no matter what he says i shall not hear it.  But hear it i do although it maybe sometime later when it penetrates the sometimes self loathing i feel. It is a battle i shall continue to fight maybe forever but i’m winning…at least i am winning. Still i cannot help but feel sad when i see the girls i used to be, cannot help a wave of memories crash in, followed by the relief that i made it. Almost.

There simply is no quick fix. It is something you come to learn as you make the journey yourself, for the battle is as much inside as it is out. I made it on the outside, i was lucky and i do look good i grudgingly can admit this but it took someone else to open my eyes. The inside is something else and i shall carry on along the road with a supporting hand in mine.

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The weight of desperation.  

New Year Dread-olutions

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Yes its that old January time again and just the same as every year i ponder the resolutions i’m going to make. They rarely vary much and whilst i don’t exactly break them i couldn’t say i exactly keep them either. As usual on the top of the list is the inevitable post christmas diet which, were i to stick to my pre christmas vow, would not really be necessary. But as usual i ate too much,  wolfed down more chocolate than a cadburys taste tester and generally overindulged on a grand scale. After so many months of restriction it is rather reminiscent of offering water to a man in a desert and so rapidly the pounds piled on. Fortunately i know when to stop and as january rolls around i was once again haunting the aisles of the local supermarket avidly scouring labels. 

I am actually quite resolute once i actually set my mind to something and since i like being slim more than i like my beloved chocolate i wasn’t too unhappy about the diet at all. Until……

Sitting in the mall later that day i had forgone the greasy pasties my companions had favoured and instead had opted for a lower calorie salad sandwich. I had just taken a bite when a blur appeared infront of me and thrust a small plastic bag at me saying ”Here have a freebie” before rushing away. Rather startled i lowered my sandwich and peered inside, wondering what on earth she had given me. My expression changed somewhat as i pulled out a notebook, pen and shopping bag all emblazoned with the words ‘WEIGHT WATCHERS’

Now whilst i may mention dieting i am not infact obese, being 5ft 10 and a healthy size 10. I had certainly not considered myself as looking in need of Weight Watchers and to say i was rather offended was putting it somewhat mildly. Truth be told i seethed about it for rather some time afterwards muttering crossly to myself in the mirror as i tried to breathe in hard and look like a size 8. Eventually i had to breathe out and pondered for some time the positives and negatives of wearing corsets in the modern day world. Bridget knickers perhaps??

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So the New Year diet is in full swing and i sat today dolefully prodding at my cottage cheese wishing it were something a sight more interesting. I do not dislike Cottage cheese but it is one of those foods one would definitely not rush to get in line for. The kitten twitches its nose in the direction of my lunch trying to decide if i am eating anything tasty and i wave a forkful in her direction. ”Help yourself” i tell her generously, but she twitches her nose again and decides i am not eating anything palatable and stares balefully at me before settling back to sleep.

”No” i tell her prodding it again ”I wouldn’t eat it if i had a choice either”

Perhaps the cat has the right idea and next year i should bypass the chocolate, ditch the cottage cheese and make an altogether more exciting resolution.

Skydiving anyone??

A little bit of Thin-spiration

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Ask any woman in todays modern society exactly what they consider to be the perfect body and you can pretty much guarantee that the word ‘thin’ will be in there somewhere. Average statistics show that at any one time 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will be on a diet or weight loss program of some form or other. In an increasingly media driven society models of perfection are paraded as examples to aspire to and aspire to it we do. 

Despite an ever expanding population the diet and fitness industry continues its popularity explosion with companies like Weight Watchers pulling in a hefty $1.452bn (1) in annual revenue. Definitely no slim sum by any means and a clear indicator that the diet industry, in the western world at least, is definitely big business. As the media continues its glamorous promotion of those body beautifuls, we in turn fuel the trend and flock in our millions to buy into the illusion that they sell.

So much of a change from a small few decades past when icons and idols sported more ‘womanly’ curves. Glamour oozed from such well rounded starlets as Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot and the timelessly sexy Bettie Page. Yet it is a true indicator of todays media influence when many questioned nowadays truly consider those afore mentioned sex symbols to be overweight. Indeed on more than one occasion this writer has seen the beautiful Marilyn described as ‘Fat’.

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But how accurate is this media bandwagon and are those ideals of perfection really so perfect after all? Well on camera it seems so. Glossy celebrities smile those perfect smiles and flaunt those flaw free bodies across magazine covers the world over. Enviously we admire everything about them and hurl ourselves desperately in the direction of anything we believe will make us like our idols. Billions each year are spent on diet, cosmetics and now on an increasing trend of cosmetic surgery as industry cashes in on our need to be perfect. The ‘quick fix’ surgery solution has rocketed in the last few years with millions of us opting for an invasive procedure as a way to give us that which we desire so badly. There is no doubt that this growing trend will not be seeing a decline anytime soon and the industry sees set to boom to massive proportions. 

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Sadly many recent media revelations reveal that perhaps the perfection we yearn for so badly may not be such a reality after all. Articles galore adorn the internet screaming the reality of an illusion we are all to ready to buy into. It seems there is a route to perfection after all but it does not lie at the end of a surgeons scalpel, nor indeed as the result of any super hyped diet program. To achieve the body of your dreams it seems all you need to do today is get yourself airbrushed. Stars have been no doubt cringing in shame as the internet buzzes with before and after photographs showing the reality of alleged perfection. With a few clicks of a computer mouse the pounds are shed, cellulite banished and perfect wrinkle free skin glows with health. Not such hard work after all then and certainly a look we can all manage with ease. Amusing then that men are among those most easily taken in by the images fed to us. I have encountered shock and surprise from more than one gentleman when i explained the wonders of airbrushing to them for they really did believe such flawless beauty existed. There is no doubt that there are indeed many beautiful people out there but nobody is perfect. So as we embark upon yet another diet in our efforts to be thin and spend billions on anything we are led to believe will get us there, perhaps we need to be a little more realistic in our efforts. Maybe one day the media will step up to the mark and take responsibility for the monster that it has created. But in the meantime we will all try just that little bit harder and spend just that little bit more. 

Because you can be perfect……can’t you?

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(1) source – google finance

Who wants to live forever

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It has been a long standing joke in my house that i am going to live to be a very aged cantankerous recluse, with a spooky house full of cats that children dare each other to knock upon the door. Quite blase i would airily announce that i was going to live to the ripe old age of 103. I have no idea where this number came from or why i settled upon it, but 103 has always been my mantra. 

I cannot for one minute imagine what quality of life i should have at this age and being in my early 40s, which i consider very young in the scheme of things, i do not ponder it too much as to me it is a terribly long way away. Imagine the things i will have seen if i reach such a ripe old age!! Croakily announcing to the younger generation that i remember a time before computers were invented will no doubt make me seem incredibly old indeed. Much in the way that i regard with awe those older persons who were around in those historical times and witnessed the birth of monumental discoveries we nowadays take for granted. So i tell myself i shall be regarded for those changes having taken place in my own lifetime.

Perhaps, like many, i have been guilty of thinking too little about my own mortality and just taking for granted that i should be here for quite some considerable time….until recently. Being a member of an online fitness group brings me into contact with a diverse range of people and within this community i have made many likeminded friends. All of us dedicated to fitness and trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Gradually as you converse you learn the stories behind the people and those things that motivate them and in turn relate your own. 

Meeting a new friend recently of a similar age we happily swapped tales and when she declared herself impressed and inspired by my own success i volunteered to help her in any way i could. As she related her tale to me i was horrified and catapulted into a reality that, i for one, had not even thought of considering. This particular lady, although a year younger than myself, had suffered a heart attack only a year before. Granted her size had much to do with this but, as i reminded myself, i had also been considerably overweight myself and only luck and perhaps good genes had prevented me from being in her place. To say i was shocked was an understatement for i had not for one moment considered the fact that people at so young an age can, and indeed do, suffer from such devastating health scares. Thankfully this lovely lady did recover and is very dedicated to redressing all those factors that led her to suffer as she did. For myself i sat and thought for a while, for this really had made me think quite seriously about my life. one cannot deny that it is all too easy just to sail along complacently, imagining that we shall always be here and putting off until tomorrow those things which we should do today.

Life is a gift and we really should treat it as such. I have long realised that, were we to waste the time we are given ,you do not get sent back to have another try. We none of us know when our time will come and for some of us it may be far sooner than for others. I guess all in all its a case of living every day like it could be your last. No regrets and no what ifs. Reach out and grab those things you can while you can, and do not waste time being afraid or complacent. 

So easily i could have been her, but thankfully i changed my life in time to save myself….this time.

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Adventures with a Bionic Fatty

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Well you guessed it i’m still here. Like some homeless inebriate clinging to the last vestiges of warmth at the local AA meeting i’m still lingering on the fringes of diet land with nowhere else to go. Clocking in at the 150s (pounds not kilos!!) before christmas provided a small whoop of joy before my treat starved body latched itself firmly to a much anticipated tin of Quality Street. Welding with all the tenacity of a rock growing barnacle, i firmly ensconced myself upon twiglet boyfriends sofa and began a long denied trip to chocolate heaven. Whilst this definitely delighted me the squeals of dismay from my skinny self were  muffled into oblivion by the sounds of my determined chomping. No doubt a familiar scene as many of us indulged way beyond the sensible in true Christmas abandon and worried about the regrets as the chimes of New Year rang in. 

So 2013 blows in and i guiltily step onto the scales, peeking through my fingers to hide the inevitable weight gain. I confess with the amount i ate i was easily expecting 5 or 6 pounds but my gleeful shriek at 1.8lbs startled the cat and awoke my nemesis. I have an overdeveloped sense of hearing you see, much in the way that animals can hear sounds on a level that humans cannot, so can i. But it is not whistles and supersonic bat calls that reach my level of hearing, oh no! My bionic hearing is tuned to a pitch that perfectly picks up the tantalising cries of……the cookie!! Just when i think i am safe its sirens call will hypnotize me into the kitchen, force cookies into my resisting paws and lure me into eating them against my will. I am sure that were it not for my bionic hearing i should by now be the super slim size 8 i wish to be instead of languishing as a paltry size 10. 

I confess i should have been much more impressed had my super powers been more awe inspiring. I’m not sure they will ever write a book about the adventures of Panda and her talking cookie but you have to admit it would prove rather interesting. So as i hop up and down on the scales and will them to go lower i stick my fingers in my ears and loudly chant ”LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!” Fortunate for me that my neighbours are not passing by as i am not sure what they should make of a semi naked woman hopping up and down with her fingers in her ears talking to herself!!

Chewing doggedly on a plate of lettuce some time later i am mentally telling myself ”pretend its chocolate, pretend it’s chocolate” whilst dreaming of a lovely pair of new boots. Of course lettuce doesn’t taste anything like chocolate and in reality all it does is make you pee since it is mostly water after all. Good for you right?? 

One day they will start an addicts club and i shall stand up in all my shame and say ”Hi there, my name is Amanda, im a Bionic Fatty and a cookieaholic!!

How to have a happy New Year……….or not!

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So Christmas time has come and gone and with it all the hustle bustle and weeks of planning. January settles into somewhat of an anti-climax that leaves you sitting amongst piles of discarded wrappings gloomily wondering ‘Now What?’  Dismally we prod our post christmas weight gain and vow resolutely to sign up for the gym and turn ourselves into body beautifuls, quit drinking and therefore become wonderful people. Right?? 

Pretty much! Prodding my own post christmas tum, i have happily christened it my food baby and only the expected January diet has prevented it from growing into a full blown toddler complete with requisite tantrums. Actually in all honesty i’m exaggerating just a teensy bit here since Christmas weight gain was less than 2lbs despite eating enough for a family of 5. Someone up there must like me just a tad and i sent up a silent thankyou to those in the know as i wriggled into my size 10 dress. Partner in crime (twiglet boyfriend) is still bemoaning non existent stomach on the slimmest mans frame i’ve ever seen thus making us the most typical examples of New Years Resoluters going. Out of the window went any thoughts of portion control and to my shame i really did go on a see-food diet!! 

Lack of sunlight has robbed me of my lovely summer glow and my customary winter milk bottle skin blends me in to the bleak winter landscape, saved only by a splash of scarlet lipstick in total defiance at conformity. As is traditionally expected i sat, pen poised, ready to make my new years resolutions and winced as i automatically trotted out the age old ones written down by the population en masse. 

1) Lose weight (ah the old classic)….hmmmm i’ve been doing that most of 2012 and have very little left to go so we can pretty much scrap that one after march!!

2) Go to the gym ( but of course!)…. but ditto here too since i went most of last year, i just need to go back post christmas so lets scrap that one too!

3) Become best selling author and churn out books like post it notes. Okay maybe a little optimistic here but i have vowed to actually finish my book this year…..honest!! I just need a title, a plot, some characters and a beginning! Easy!!

4) Become total genius in 6 short months and make multiple appearances on Mastermind thus leading me to be invited to a dinner party with Stephen Hawking and other intelligent beings of note…

5) Become multi- lingual and annoy people by pretending to be from Sweden. 

6) Ride my bike without holding on to the nearest passing lorry, abiltity to turn corners would also be an advantage here so vow to work on that. Might consider removing stabilizers by Easter if progressing well.

7) Stop giving my wrinkles names and marking their progress off on height charts!

8) Learn the calorie content of every food on the planet thus saving large amounts of time in the supermarket. On the subject of supermarkets i will only slide down the aisles on my trolley when grouchy shop assistants aren’t looking

9) Will resolve to improve my aim when throwing stuffed missiles at rival team aka gorgeous boyfriend. Will also learn to duck faster thus scoring more points.

10) I will stop buying shoes since i have over 50 pairs and chances of ever leaving my room are being greatly diminished weekly. Maybe we’ll just tactfully ignore the 4 pairs i’ve bought since christmas *cough*

11) Buy new pyjamas and throw away ‘big enough for three people’ sized ones currently being sported by yours truly. Remind self constantly that having to hang on to your rapidly descending trousers as you walk is not a sexy look. Bum does definitely not look big in this!!

12) Be nicer to my ‘love me, love me’ cat. Will resolve not to miaow back at him from upstairs windows when he is frantically yowling to come in. Will also remind myself that comically surprised expression on his face when i do so is not actually funny.

13) Will resolve to have very uncharacteristic minor crisis at some point within the year, just to buck the trend. It just doesnt do to get stuck into a rut these days…

14) Stop annoying myself singing random songs that pop into my head especially when i dont know the words and have to hum half of it..

15) Be happy….just because life is too short and im too far along the path to go back and start again.

Happy New Year Everyone!!

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Happy New Year everyone!!

Who ate all the pies?

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Yes girls its christmas, a dieters dread and guilty delight. Usually by now i’ve stocked up on so much food that the local barracks are considering me as a siege base should we ever get invaded. This year i’ve been a little more restrained although there are plenty of goodies still in store, i’ll just be shoving more of it in the direction of super slim boyfriend and mentally wiring my own jaws shut. 

But its christmas right? You cant not indulge to some extent and after 7 months of dieting and a 42lb weight loss im more than due something nicer to eat than lettuce! So as i’m happily dreaming of mince pies and chocolates eaten watching a movie, my bubble is firmly burst with the advent of todays email.

Oh look, a diet email from Jenny Craig telling me i can lose lots of weight *twinge of guilt*

Oh look another lose 7lbs by christmas email! *bigger prod of guilt*

Oh and another on how to survive the christmas holidays without gaining weight AARRGGHHH!! Okay okay i feel guilty i’ll have lettuce with my turkey and i’ll only sniff the chocolate tin once or twice!! PLEASE don’t send the ghost of January diet future after me i promise i’ll be good!!

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Actually theyre getting earlier this time. Usually they at least wait until the 2nd of January! I’ll be sitting with mince pie in hand, happily ensconced infront of the tv when the letter box will rattle. Heaving up my christmas tummy i’ll waddle off into the hallway to retrieve the Slimming world leaflet from the floor. This is shortly followed by Weight Watchers, Shapes and a leaflet from the gym. By now im hiding under the stairs trying to furtively eat my mince pie whilst sucking in my stomach and clenching my buttocks, mentally muttering ”i’ll go next week ,really i will”.

This year oh no! This year its different they’ve clearly decided i’m going to gain weight before i’ve even eaten anything!! So this week despite being pretty much at  goal weight and a much slimmer size 10/12 i’m munching faithfully on a lettuce mountain trying to take off a few pounds to use as a buffer. Okay take me away guv i confess i done it, it was me *holding hands out for handcuffs* 

So post christmas whilst twiglet of a boyfriend bewails his non existant stomach i shall be firmly holding mine in, giving him doleful looks and envying his super metabolism whilst malevolently cursing my own. Don’t worry Jenny i will be back on a diet in January i promise…now where are those mince pies??

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An Apple a day

Picture a grey cold morning with the wind blowing its chilly little fingers around anything in its way and people hurrying heads down against the cold. Save one…ME. I was quite happily skipping along singing a mental duet with Matchbox 20. I’m not sure they’ve ever heard Our Song done in quite such spectacular fashion but oh i was good!! Play the guitar? Oh you bet i did that too and  on lead to boot. 

Imagination, the light of every creative persons life and definitely the light of mine. Even JK Rowling herself would be hard pressed to magic up some of the things that appear in this little noggin of mine. Noggin… i have to chuckle every time i hear that word for it reminds me of someone. Strange how the most random of things can suddenly take on special meanings just by association isn’t it? I’m sure i looked quite mad smiling away to myself but i don’t actually care. 

Anyway back to the cold and the awesome singing and i was happily skipping my way to our shiny new Health Center. We used to have a doctors, a regular few rooms with a few familiar faces behind the desks only a few steps up from a small town one doc room. Powers that be suddenly decided our lil ole town needed hauling very firmly into the 21st century et VOILA  the appearance of bright shiny space age Health Center. Not that i visit the doctors much, okay less than much but i do put in an appearance once or twice a decade to reassure them my national health number is still in circulation.

Okay we’re skipping again, right through the swishy swooshy doors to be confronted by….the electronic receptionist. Yup even the grim looking Matron from the front desk has gone all space age and turned into a touch screen ”hey guess what, i’m here’ recorder. Of course through another set of swishy swooshy doors there are the requisite receptionists but they’re less Matronly and more glamorous than their counterparts of old. Me, ah i decided to keep with the times and hit the touch screen firmly announcing my arrival. 

There are three patients before you in the queue, the screen brightly announced and i shrugged and headed for the coffee machine. Might as well fill the old tank, after all there’s nothing more interesting than wiggling on your seat and playing a game of will she buzz for me if i go to the loo. Little things amuse small minds right. So Mocha in hand i glanced around the bright colourful but HUGE reception keeping one eye on yet another space age screen that announced your presence was required and where. Last time i was at the doctors it was all harsh buzzers in a coloured board with all of the doctors listed upon it. The resulting silence would have been nice if it wasn’t for little johnny wailing for some sweets and the unceasing yowls of a small baby whose mother was more interested in her mobile phone. Shortly interspersed with rattling coughs from a gentleman half a dozen seats down who made little attempt to cover his mouth it resounded like some strange symphony. Yuk…shallow breathing through very small space commenced at this point and i groped in my bag for my antibac gel. I hate germs, especially other peoples!!

I really have to confess don’t actually like the doctors and avoid it at all costs unless i really have no option, like today. The problem with doctors surgeries you see is they are all full of sick people!! Yes i know that probably sounds a terribly blonde thing to say but the point is that you really should not be going out in public and sharing your germs and making other people sick!!  Actually i’m really not that harsh i do sympathise but you can guarantee if you aren’t actually sick when you go to the doctors you can be pretty sure you will be by the time you leave.

So as the time rolled by and i amused myself people watching and giving people interesting new identities the screen flashed and the Russian Spy got up and followed a pretty young nurse who smiled brightly at him and farmers wife sat down in his place. Snatches of conversation drifted my way and i surreptitiously touched every bit of wood i could reach as an older lady reeled off a list of ailments to a companion that would have made even Grays Anatomy need a sequel. OOhhh if ever anything makes me more determined to stick to my healthy eating and the gym its going to the doctors. 

To say i was glad when my turn to see ‘very nice doctor’ came was an understatement.Leaving a short time later i mentally vowed i was never going to get sick or infirm. Bring on the veggies i don’t care if i don’t like them i’m eating them anyway. So some short time later i jammed my headphones into my ears, washed in copious amounts of anti bac gel and renewed my determination to never get sick. If an apple a day really does keep the doctor away i’m eating the whole bag!! 

COUGH!!

How to tame your inner fat girl

Yet again this weekend sees me chained to Ebay, watching as auction after auction ends. Why?? Well those items. they’re all mine you see.

I blame it on my inner fat girl!

Very few of us have accurate body perception and women in particular will obsess about their most hated flaw until it reaches a tragedy of epic proportions. That extra inch on the hips and thighs suddenly becomes 10 and you no longer want to be seen out in public. You fixate and self deprecate until your perception of yourself is distorted beyond all recognition.

My weight loss journey has been shared on here and if i face reality i am a very acceptable 5ft 10 and size 10/12 yet most of the time i cannot see it. Several times lately i have had to return clothing to a store because habit see’s me purchasing size 14’s and L/XL when i am so far removed from this now. Then i find i am greatly annoyed when the coveted dress/jeans hang like a sack on my much smaller frame and i have the hassle of returning and reordering or,as i frequently do., throwing it in the wardrobe to hang forever unworn.

Sometimes. like today, i find myself overloading ebay with my wrongly sized purchases and i vow to buy things in my proper size next time but still often i never do. I still see the curvy girl you see. Only when confronted by a mirror do i actually see and register the transformation and i would be lying if i didn’t say that it comes as a shock every time. I guess the reality is how many of us actually look at ourselves in a full length mirror and actually SEE what we look like??

Not me that’s for sure.

Only recently after a conversation with my trainer did i acknowledge that i am no longer the girl i was and i should be proud of how dramatic a change i have effected in only 3 months. I can run, i’m slim, i weight train and i’m fit and healthy. Sheer hard work has gotten me here and i am not about to let it all slide any time soon. Maybe when i’m 80 i shall relax and eat chicken burgers and chocolate but for now i adore the gym and i love being slim.

”Start looking in a full length mirror every day” my trainer advised wisely ”There are plenty of women at this gym who would love your figure”

Really?? My squirming impulse immediately was to self criticise as i usually do. A fault i developed long ago to run myself down before anyone else could and it became a terrible habit. Any self confidence is well and truly trampled and you are the worst culprit for it, yet you do not see that. So upon his advice i started to look in the mirror and actually LOOK properly for a change. No i am not perfect but i look good especially for my age and i am starting to slowly accept that when my lovely boyfriend calls me beautiful it is because he see’s me as such. I do not believe he would lie but the inner me could never accept it and always brushed his comments aside blaming him as having bad eyesight. You see the instant self criticism??

So my inner fat girl and i we confront each other daily and i try on a pair of jeans that used to fit and chuckle as they instantly fall into a puddle around my feet. Then i stick out my tongue and tell her she isn’t coming out any more. She sighs but she knows she cannot win any more and so she is resigned to it. With tape measure in hand i confront myself with the inches i have lost and then i tell myself 

‘You look great, you have done fantastic and you are almost there keep going’

You can beat your inner fat girl you just need to face the truth. Buy a full length mirror and look, look ,look!! Give yourself the right to be proud of your own achievements and when someone tells you you’re beautiful? Just accept that to them you probably are and simply say thankyou.

Nobody is perfect, even those famous faces have something about them that they do not like. Beauty is after all in the eye of the beholder. My inner fat girl and i are off to the gym and we’re going to run and run, because we can. 

Aside

You gotta love her!!

Anyone who either diets or works out will no doubt heard of Jillian Michaels, biggest loser trainer and super cool fitness guru and i feel no shame in admitting i am a huge fan. Yup she’s tough and sure she takes no crap from anyone but she gets results and like most women oh boy would i die to look like that. Forget all your super skinny tinseltown celebs, she knocks them all under the table as far as i and many like me are concerned. Kicking it up in the gym as i have been i really was inspired by her philosophies and i really really LOVE one particular quote of hers…….

Yes i love this and yes i admit like many i have puked after a workout. I run because i want to run with my partner, he inspires me and he keeps me running but when i really want to stop this quote keeps me on there just that little bit longer. Strangely i don’t die but i do feel a mad sense of elation whenever i get just that little bit further. We all have our idols, even us grown up gals and Jillian Michaels is definitely mine. If i can inspire even a fraction of the people she has then i should be happy indeed. 

Until then i shall just keep going.

Run for your life

Not content with being a total gym addict and hitting the weights with all the determination of a G I Jane i recently decided that running would be a good next step for me. Now i have not run for almost thirty years when  a much younger me lined up to strut my stuff in the 800m and i was good, back then i was very good.

Today however is another matter and previous years have seen me doing a most faithful impersonation of Thomas the Tank Engine when subjected to any attempts to move at more than fast walk speed. Definitely some short circuit between lungs and legs leaving me with a decided inability to use both at the same time. But being as i am when i set my mind upon something i do not rest until i have won and this being my new focus of determination was to be no different to any other. I freely admit positive bolstering from more than one direction led me to believe there was no earthly reason why anyone could not run and i blithely skipped into the gym believing this was so.

Day one and treadmill selected i tentatively selected my usual fast walk hoping to naturally slip into a run with little effort but oh i was wrong. Yes…help im suffocating!! White flag was a waving and i swear my face turned an unbecoming shade of cherry as lack of oxygen shut down all essential parts of my body and i gasped for air like a landed flounder. Okay so those in the know said the first few minutes are the hardest so keep going..and like a litany a line from Finding Nemo chanted in my head like some ancient spell

‘Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. swimming swimming, just keep swimming…..

Actually perhaps here i am a little guilty of artistic license for i was actually coping rather better than i had hoped and was actually breathing rather well. Ten minutes sailed by and still going and if i had developed a rather fixed interest in The Alan Titchmarsh show on the big screen tv you can forgive me a little for i needed the distraction. Small prayer being sent up shortly after that the sound of clapping behind me was a fellow gym goer applauding my efforts and not infact the sound of my bottom cheeks clapping in their efforts to keep up.

Actually i was proud of myself as the girl who cannot run clocked up twenty minutes and as my feet flew i felt like Peter Pan for some brief moment in time. Unexpected the next day was unaccustomed aches as my legs protested with every movement leaving me feeling as though i had aged somewhat overnight and i hobbled wincing from my bed. Had i not known better you should never have thought i spend hours in the gym but it seems running reaches the parts that other exercise fails to reach. 

So wincing and groaning to the treadmill went i for my feet and i are most determined to fly.

Run run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me i’m the gingerbread man

So run i will and try and try for i shall not give up until i can run with the best of them. I close my eyes and i run and run….and he runs with me….so i run. 

A better sense of achievement

So for those of you who follow my blog and more specifically my weight loss journey today is a little bit of an update. Cue a drumroll as i announce that today i reached my initial weight loss goal that i set right at the beginning of this little sojourn of mine yet strangely having reached here it felt like somewhat of an anticlimax. I should be shrieking with delight and turning somersaults up and down the street but instead all this is replaced with a rather flat sense of ‘oh okay, now what’

I guess i could describe it rather like thinking you are going to New York for a holiday and suddenly finding yourself in a B&B in Clacton clutching a soggy egg sandwich and a bucket with a hole in it. Yes you have it exactly and i’d be most disappointed too, deflating faster than a well holed balloon. Perhaps though it is all just down to a sense of perspective and it was only when talking to a newly adopted young friend of mine that i actually realised how far i have come. Like many my young friend struggles with weight issues and self esteem and from the first i felt such sympathy that i took her under my wing and try to help her where i can.

Being the character she is she will listen often but also ignore advice i give then come to me with tears when she finds that she has failed but i do not mind this for she needs to make mistakes in order to learn. She is at this time where i once was a long time ago and i understand so well the mountain set before her and the feeling you will never get over it no matter how you try. Frequently she exclaims to me about the weight i have lost and the work i have had to put in to get here and it is only then that i actually realise just how changed a person i am.

How comical to think that at 43 i look younger now than i did 10 years ago at 33 and just over half the woman i was back then. Yet for all i reached my goal and am now slim and perfectly in the middle of my ideal weight range for my height i decided to reset my goals and aim for more.Yes i look good, i know this for i have worked so hard for it believe me, but i know i can look better and this spurs me on.  A gym addiction that i never could have believed leaves me with a fierce determination for an athletes body and the sleek definition of a weight lifter and i know i can have it. So 10 more pounds and lifting with renewed vigor and yet again i have a goal to aim for.

I have my eye on the ultimate dress for christmas, i know it will fit and look good already but i want amazing. Watch this space!!

Keeping hold of a ninja panda

Every good superhero has their alter ego and in this i am no exception. I have christened her Ninja Panda for trust me this is what she believes she is. Blame squarely on her shoulders for hauling me from my lovely warm bed and happy little dream world, forcing me to haul ass on the treadmill for what seems like an eternity yet no sign of relenting from her. I cannot help but envy her get up and go for who else would have the energy to dance upon a treadmill at the end of a 10k power walk? Well she would of course!!

Ninja panda has a mission, not content to let my once cuddly form find gleeful solace in some disgustingly sinful gastronomy she steals away my comforts in the night. Whilst i clutch hopefully at a stray donut and practise breathing in a little harder she skips around in gym clothes poring over skinny jeans in an online store.Skinny jeans really?? We don’t do skinny jeans!!

Really aiming high this Ninja Panda and boy do i suffer for it, were she and i not so close i think i could really hate her at times although a twinge of envy creeps in as she twirls in a pretty dress i never could wear. But she lands me in trouble every time and today yet again she has done just that. Okay i suffered her gym torture, 10k!! why do we need to walk that far, is there a Starbucks at the end of it?? Apparently not, yet as usual she makes me walk top speed every step of the way laughing as every muscle shrieks and i dehydrate faster than a fish in a desert. A most evil Ninja Panda indeed.

Not content with forcing me to a life of hard labour she now wants us to run, oh yes you heard right. Now something seems to have escaped her notice for pandas do not run, they are by nature quite lazy and like to sit and eat. Yes you heard me i said they like to sit and EAT!! No running, no exercise just blissful decadent eating in comfort as a true panda should. My alter ego and i?? No we’re going running, apparently. Not content with making my ample bottom move faster than it is used to oh evil one wishes me to do this in public, for 10k!! This made me chuckle for i am not sure quite how long they pay these people to hang around and wait for the stragglers to roll in, for straggler i definitely shall be whether madam ninja likes it or no. 

So as the tender ministrations of Herr Ninja sign me up to running lessons with the female trainer at the gym my face drains of all colour as one time military fitness instructor pipes up that he will train the ninja and i when his counterpart is not available. I’ve been good honest mom!!!  Now i know im not in Kansas any more but never did i dream that OZ would look like this. Time to get jogging down that yellow brick road then with Ninja Panda at my heels pushing me all the way.

Superheroes seem so glamorous dont they? Wouldn’t we all like to have an alter ego to turn us into the heroes of our dreams and to make us all the things we can never be in our less than remarkable lives. 

Yeah thats what i thought too!! Anyone want a Ninja??

Shopping With a Difference

Whilst in most ways i am very unusual i think in some ways i am a very typical girl, i love to look nice and have far more clothes than even the average shopaholic needs. What can i say i adore dressing up and looking pretty! I do not own barely a single item of slob clothing and would die rather than be seen in sweat pants and/or a hoodie. It is all down to personal choice i truly believe people should dress as they feel comfortable and this for me is what does. 

So having lost almost 2st recently i was pretty sure i was going to have to clear out most of my clothing or drastically alter as much of it as i could. Replacing so much clothing really isn’t an option right now and although i am really loving being slimmer than i have in decades i had visions of overly belted in clothing and a ‘sack’ effect that really wasnt a look to aspire to. I was actually not looking forward to parting with my clothes for i really do have some beautiful things that really suit me and a lot of favourites that i am very reluctant to part with. Reality tells me it is no good keeping things that swamp me but this does not make it any easier. I have never considered myself materialistic by any shape of the word but still i cling tenaciously to my pretties. 

Heading upstairs last evening i decided it was time to try on absolutely EVERYTHING and salvage what i could and donate or ebay the remainder. No small task since trust me i seriously am not exaggerating the amount of clothing i have. The first thing that struck me was the amount of clothing either still with tags on or things that i knew i had never worn and so this rather large pile went on one side(a very large pile too). Old favourites in another and long forgotten items in another. Jeans were the first to go, i have dropped from a 16 to a 12 so i pretty much knew there was no hope of salvaging any of those without looking like i was wearing my fathers clothes. Saggy crotches and baggy bums are really not a good look and not one i wish to sport whilst i still have a say in it. Tailored trousers i knew i could alter within reason so the more fitted ones have been sorted for resizing and the rest joined the ‘out you go pile’ About now i was thanking my optimistic streak for i have quite a few size 12 jeans and trousers that had accumulated over the years as i told myself i would slim into them but never had until now. Chances of having to walk around in pyjamas greatly diminished by the discovery of this stash as the back of one wardrobe.

So then it was down to the tops, dresses and jackets and i rather longingly smoothed the front of a beautiful fitted cream lace dress with a stunning beaded neckline. I bought this from YUMI quite some time ago and typical me picked up a medium since it was the only size left and i had fallen so in love with it. Clearly too small it had hung in my wardrobe still with tags on for me to aspire to one day. I was pretty sure i still wouldn’t be able to get into it but decided to try anyway and my shock when it slid easily on was visible. I really couldn’t help the screech of delight as i dashed off towards the mirror for a bit of a reality check. It fit!! Not only that but it was if anything a little roomy round the waist but being slightly stretchy it didnt show and even if i say so myself it looked amazing. I am intending to post pictures of my weight loss journey on here when i reach my goal and will take a picture of this dress to show you all.

Item after item followed and shock and consternation as each fit as perfectly as the last and i finally realised why i had only ever worn such a small portion of my wardrobe. They simply never fit!! I had refused to acknowledge the fact that i buy clothing that is obviously too small or tight for me simply because i did not wish to address the fact i had put on weight. Where earlier i had imagined having to discard most of my items i was infact drastically expanding the amount of things i have to wear. The icing on the cake was definitely the little black dress!! For a very long time i would only go out in trousers and wear dresses over the top to hide my very ample bottom and never would i dare actually wear just the dress itself. Not any more!! My beautiful little black dress looks amazing with just it and a pair of tights like anyone else would wear and i really am in unknown territory here but oh do i love it!! 

 

I am still a way from my goal, at least another 10lbs i think since i am still far curvier on my hips and thighs than i want to be but i have come this far and have no intention of stopping. All those early mornings in the gym have paid off and i thank my determined nature for making me go even on those days when i was so tired i just wanted to crawl under my duvet. Watch this space dear readers for a transformation timeline will be coming sometime soon and i should like you all to meet my beautiful little cream dress in person. 

Last night i went shopping and it didnt cost me a penny since it was all in my own wardrobe!! 

But it’s good for you!!

Well dear blog readers the panda has turned into a gym bunny. Note here i said gym BUNNY and not gym BARBIE!! 

My determination to lose weight and tone up has mutated into somewhat of an obsession and despite a minor back injury i have still been stubbornly hauling my butt down to the gym ( frowning is bad for you by the way it gives you wrinkles!). Perhaps this is some quirk in my nature but when i become very determined about anything i develop an almost crazy tenacity that keeps me going no matter what. Incredibly ,annoyingly stubborn, that is me. Imagine a 60lb Rottweiler with a bone and you would not be far wrong. Actually i confess i enjoy it yet had you said this to me three years ago i should have laughed like a hyena at the mental image it presented me.

So obsession in tow i have been hitting the protein bars to help along the weight training and give as much assistance to the gym body ideal i so aspire to. I have often seen the guys ordering protein shakes during and post workout and finding they were lower in calories i decided to give them a go and feeling rather gung ho i ordered one on my way home today. I was a little wary since i do not like milkshake and really was not entirely sure i would find this at all palatable but on assurance it did not contain milk i was rather mollified and decided to try it.

BIG BIG MISTAKE!!!

I guess the nearest way i can describe the taste of this is to imagine buying a banana milkshake from Mcdonalds and drinking all but a large mouthful in the bottom. Fill up the cup with water and shake it hard until you have a watery cloying banana scum and then drink it. Yup thats exactly the taste and consistency, watery with a chemical banana smell yet sickeningly sweet and i found myself gagging on the first swallow. A lot of people seem to like these ‘shakes’ and although i have never had an overly sensitive gag reflex, gag i did. Oh my it was SO gross!!!

Did i throw it away?? Well actually no, as i said i am stubborn and this is actually good for me so there was nothing for it but to hold my nose and tip it down. 

For those of you that do not know a fair portion of taste is not actually down to taste at all but infact is down to smell. Holding your nose while eating or drinking something unpalatable makes it often almost tasteless, try it and see. Unfortunately for me i also am possessed of an excellent imagination and whilst i knew i could not taste it my overactive brain was happily recounting the experience for me and waving a large banner reading  ‘ THIS is what it tastes like’

Memories came of being a small child with my mother holding my nose and shovelling in some disgusting concoction whilst cooing at me to open up because it was good for me. Really? YOU eat it then!!

How ironic that now as a grown up i am more willing to swallow the unpalatable simply because of being told that it will be of benefit. You would think that after childhood experiences i would be possessed of a stubborn refusal to ever consume anything that i had great dislike for again yet consume it i did.

MMMMMMMMMMm banana flavoured dish water!!

Oh trust me this really had better be good for me. Somehow i think i shall develop an intense dislike for that curved yellow fruit but in the meantime bring on the protein shakes!!

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