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.  

Cutting Remarks

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Love it or loathe it your hair is possibly the one thing designed to capture the attention of anyone we meet. Whether it be for good or bad reasons there is no doubt your crowning glory will not fail to gain attention in some way or other. You can guarantee should you be having a bad hair day you will not fail to bump into everyone you ever knew to see it for that is just the way karma works.

 For as far back as i remember, beautiful models have swished their glossy flowing waves across the tv screen. Cooing seductively they entice us to believe that on purchase of the product we too will have glorious hair worthy of any Hollywood starlet. So dutifully i oblige and dream of shiny tumbling hair, show stopping enough to halt traffic as i pass. Of course as i dream my merry little dream i am actually frantically trying, and failing,  to tug a hair brush through my unruly ‘just got out of bed’ hair. Glaring resentfully at the ever present curls in the front and cow lick in the back i grumble to myself under my breath and seriously debate chopping the whole lot off. Only imagined look of horror from gorgeous boyfriend causes me to persist in my efforts since i do not think a Sinead O’connor look alike would be at all well received.

My hair dresser, of course, enthuses frequently about how lucky i am to have such thick hair that will take any style.

Really?

As i line up the profusion of hair products and brandish the hair straighteners i really do not actually FEEL that lucky. A much straightened curl rebels for yet the third time and i am growling madly whilst pasting it to my head with straightening balm but it still refuses to behave. This is nothing new and should one section lie down you can be sure that another will not. On a bad day i often decide that should they ever decide to remake The Brady Bunch i should indeed look very much the part. I bet Penelope Cruz doesnt have this much trouble with her hair!

But today some small miracle has occurred and i for once have smooth, perfectly behaved hair.Not a curl or stray hair in sight and my cow lick is lying uniformly along with the rest. Typical then that it has forecast rain and Ewan Mcgregor is nowhere in sight to witness my small victory. Still im actually considering calling l’oreal and asking if i can skip madly across the screen swishing my hair for a much treasured moment of posterity.

Tomorrow no doubt i shall emerge looking like my usual hedgehog resembled self but until then i shall resort to smugly flipping my hair every time i pass a mirror or shop window.

After all….i am worth it!!

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

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. 

The Panda guide to packing

Do you struggle with packing? Do you constantly arrive at your destination with all the wrong clothing and end up wearing the same items over and over again? Then follow the Panda guide to packing and you will always be covered for every eventuality…

1) Make sure you have a suitcase big enough for your needs, if in doubt try and fit your whole body into it and if you cannot then it really is not big enough. This also doubles as emergency aid to getting rid of dead bodies should the need ever arise. Be sure to buy a suitcase with wheels thereby enabling you to trot elegantly with said suitcase in your wake. 

2) Start by packing towels and shoes at the bottom to avoid crushing any clothing you pack afterwards. This also gives you the added bonus of being able to hide totally inappropriate shoes away from sight and therefore avoid having to justify taking them.

3) Pack enough pairs of knickers for your stay then add the sexy ones, the no vpl ones, the hold in your tummy ones, the incase i get run over by a bus ones(with matching bra of course) and just for good measure add a few more anyway. Follow the same advice with regards to bras and sexy lingerie. At least if your case gets stolen nobody will focus on your Bridget knickers, they will be too busy leering at the little black lacy number.

4) Decide exactly what you wish to wear on each day of your trip and set aside a travelling outfit. Then add another outfit for each day just in-case you change your mind about each choice.This is a womans perogative and completely reasonable.  Follow this with clothing to cover extreme cold weather (you dont want to freeze do you?) ditto with outfits to cover sudden extreme heatwave (cmon how silly would you look boiling like a lobster in your big jumper?)

5) Survey the contents of your half full case and throw in more shoes.Shoes are good, you really cant ever have enough of them so this is a perfectly valid action.

6) Disregard earlier point about packing shoes at the bottom as it really is too tedious to remove everything and repack it all again.

7) Empty the contents of several jewellery boxes onto the bed and spend a happy half an hour co-ordinating accessories with your outfits. Remember to add belts and scarves!!

8) Pause in writing blog as you realise you HAVE actually forgotten to pack scarves!! Run upstairs to rectify the error immediately.

9) Fill every space space with toiletries, cosmetics and fragrances then heed caution and unpack them all and repack in plastic bags to avoid explosions.

10) Lean your whole bodyweight onto the suitcase to ensure a tight fit and zip it slowly closed. If it refuses then further assistance will be required. Gather up stray children, pets and passing neighbours and balance safely upon the offending suitcase, therefore allowing you to zip it closed and tuck in any stray items poking from the sides.

11) Ponder madly teetering case and debate whether you have in-fact packed enough clothing. Decide that in an emergency you can always borrow suitable items from your boyfriend (lets face it who doesn’t look cute wearing their  guy’s clothes huh?) 

12) Have mad burst of inspiration and pack sunglasses even though the weather forecast says heavy rain and wind. Add another pair incase the first get broken in transit then sit smugly on the floor confident at your practical packing methods.

13) Put camera, ipod, kindle and mobile phone on charge and leave in plain view to be packed later.

14) Begin organisation and packing of Mary Poppin’s style never ending handbag, just as important as the suitcase itself.

15) Congratulate yourself on a job well done and ignore mental images of boyfriends look of resignation as the back wheel of his car buckle due to your fabulous packing. 

There you have it, the Panda guide to packing. Follow these simple rules and you will never be caught unprepared again. Happy holidays!!

In an alternate universe

Recently i have been sent a request to join a group for former pupils of my senior school by a few people so i decided to accept and take a walk down memory lane. Now unlike most people i loved school, i was the most incredible SWOT (a well used label in my formative years) and quite liked the idea of catching up with my peers.

Unfortunately such SWOT status left me firmly on the outskirts of school society, most definitely i was not one of the popular crowd but, like everyone, you find those like you and friends are made. I guess things really were not helped by the fact that until aged about fourteen when i blossomed i tended to resemble an anorexic boy, tall skinny and pale. Whilst my contemporaries were living the 80’s with big hair and wild manner of dress, i was more conservative more likely to be at home in an episode of The Waltons.

Parents are fantastic aren’t they? Little comprehending the importance of conformity mine blithely dispatched me out to be ridiculed and bullied as only children can be and in this part at least i had a dislike of school. Children can be very cruel at a time when you are most vulnerable and more likely to take it to heart than at any other time of your life.

So my boys shoes, frumpy clothes and i struggled our way through those teenage years bolstered by an assortment of non-conformist friends and a love of learning that has never left me. Still these many years later i was curious to see how my peers had turned out and wondered whether time had been as kind to them as it had to me and i happily accepted the invitations to join the group. Hunting through the groups to find the Class of 85 i scrolled the names hoping to find those i recognised, and scrolled, and scrolled some more. Frowning i double checked the name of the group and then finding it correct i scrolled again.

I DIDN’T RECOGNISE ANYONE!!!

Of all the names in all the groups i could not recognise one single solitary name. Certainly my old friends were not on there but surely i should remember the names of some of my classmates right?? I have an incredible memory, i rarely forget anything yet when i sat and thought about it and tried to remember the names of someone, anyone from my classes i cannot remember a single one. Perhaps i dreamt school?? Perhaps some alien conspiracy left me thinking i had attended school when i was younger when infact i had not. Perhaps i had gone to school in an alternate universe which bore no resemblance to this one?

WHY COULD I NOT REMEMBER??

Perhaps more likely the fact is that apart from those close few with whom i had great friendship and those teachers who were so kind to me in my school years i have simply forgotten all the things that made it unpleasant. Sometimes the mind has a funny way of blocking out things that it does not want remember, yet how curious i have memories far worse than these than linger with me. Certainly though it seems some of those people remember me (i imagine i probably i did their homework for them) yet i remember nobody at all. Nevertheless i decided i  shall stay in the group for part of me does hope that my real friends might join in time and it will be good to catch up with those who were important in the hardest years of my life. 

Perhaps it was an alternate universe after all.

Mirror Mirror

Like any woman i like to shop from time to time. Don’t get me wrong i adore clothes and shoes as my bulging wardrobes will bear witness to but lately i have leaned more towards the internet side of the retail world. Poor postie he plods up my driveway with a resigned expression, holding out packages as he queries

”Shopping again?”

Ummmmm guilty m’lud take me away! Actually the reality of shopping puts me off even though the idea of it is all fine at the time. Imagine the scenario…

Arriving at the shopping mall you make a beeline for your favourite store, grinning happily as you select item after item you know will look fabulous on you. Arms bulging you stagger to the changing room to be greeted by the requisite overly made up female attendant complete with air of boredom and nail file which she produces at intervals to emphasise her disinterest. 

”youre only allowed five” she says deadpan and monotone

Okay your smile fades somewhat until you espy token friend or partner dragged protestingly on your mission and you thoughtfully thrust the remainder of your items into their arms and rush happily for the nearest cubicle. Now you cannot have failed to notice the lighting in these places, that grim artificial fluorescent light that is far from inviting but ah well youre only here to try on clothes, its not like you have to actually LIVE here right?

Item number one you haul over your head and frown as it seems to be a funny shape and gives you a figure reminiscent of the mornings overfilled rubbish bags and you pull it off swiftly cursing badly designed clothing. Well it looked good on the hanger!! Item two seems to be a better fit and you turn in the mirror trying to judge how big your bottom looks in it. What can i say we’re girls, it matters not if we are size 6 or size 26 we still have the idea our bottoms look huge in….well everything!!

So as you mutter those immortal words

”Mirror mirror on the wall, does my bum look big in this at all?”

Suddenly the mirror in all its badly lit fluorescent glory suddenly looms up and shrieks

”Hell no but girl…….. where DID you get those bags under your eyes??”

Well trust me that’s it!! You no longer have a large booty but youre peering in dismay at the previously unseen black hammocks hanging under your eyes and you let out an unearthly wail. Hastily you purchase the dress that actually DOES make your behind look like the retreating end of the Titanic and hurtle full speed towards the nearest chemist for copious amounts of eye bag cream. 

Its all a conspiracy!!!

Its all part of some secret organisation and dastardly plan conjured up by the beauty industry in general to make you buy badly fitting clothes and expensive miracle creams that you do not need!! Millions of pounds are made every day as evil mirror influenced people rush to purchase remedies for strangely illuminated flaws that vanish in the light of day. Me i’ll stick to internet shopping for the most part for not once has my computer shouted

”What, youre going to buy that? with YOUR ass??”

No it stays silent, i stay bag free and i resort to making my own judgement on the size of my posterior. Really though, does my bum look big in this??