Tuesday, 29 October 2013

In which I try to motivate my future self

I was pondering the other week whether or not I should write a post for Future Me to read when (as inevitably happen) it all goes off the boil, the numbers on the scales start going in the wrong direction and I come on here and go something along the lines of: “It’s so HARD, why is it so HARD, I am going to eat nothing but DUST forever and still look like a TELETUBBIE.”

Because (as I think I commented on someone else’s blog the other day – and if it was yours I hope I didn’t sound like too much of a smug bitch because I promise you most heartily, that was not the intention) when it’s going well, it’s easy. I would assume this applies to any sort of eating plan, albeit for different reasons. For me, when I’m following WW properly – by which I mean when I’m actually being organised enough to plan and cook, I find I can eat well for my alloted points; my fruit and veg intake naturally rises which means I feel healthier overall and I’m lucky enough that my body tends to respond reasonably well and not cling on to the flab too desperately (and gosh I hope that sentence doesn’t come back to bite me in the arse!) My mood improves, my anxiety symptoms decline and even my dark circles look slightly less impressively bruise coloured. I don’t tend to feel deprived; my appetite naturally decreases and I derive greater pleasure from the treats that I do allow myself to have - so why, why, why would I ever do anything else?

Is it the planning and the tracking that becomes too arduous? Actually, I find planning and putting thought into my food means I eat a far greater variety of yummier dishes – look back on posts from a few months ago and I was generally subsisting on sandwiches and toast. Last night, I had a salmon fillet, smeared in mustard and wrapped in bacon with garlicky roasted potatoes and tenderstem broccoli. And I track on my iPhone which is always to hand do I don’t even have to flail around for a pen.

Future Me, for goodness sake, you have every single tool you need, every single motivation in the world and it’s NOT EVEN THAT HARD. Put DOWN the pizza slice and the gin bottle and remind yourself, in the words of La Cole that you are, indeed, worth it.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Reasons to be cheerful

Reason #1 - another 4lbs off at weigh in this week. That's a stone in 4 weeks. I'm quite shocked by it really, I think all I managed to say when I got on the scales was "Oh". It's an excellent start but there is plenty still to go and the rate of loss will likely slow down to a snail pace soon enough.

Reason #2 I passed my latest exam! Three down, six to go until I become the proud owner of a BA in Taxation Studies. Yes, that is a thing.

Reason #3 My brother's second baby is arriving today! My adorable nephew, little D, is going to have an even littler brother or sister. I am such a proud auntie!

So even though I have spent some of the week full of cold and grumps I am going into the weekend determined to be happy in the face of all my myriad blessings. Have a fabulous time whatever you are up to!

Monday, 21 October 2013

MPM: 21st October 2013

When in doubt, buy stationary. I recently invested in a meal planning pad to stick up on the fridge which fills my covetous little heart with great joy. The first page is looking pretty sparse though - two nights home alone where prick and ping is the order of the day, while on Saturday we are off to the York whisky festival and Sunday will subsequently find me curled in a ball vowing never to drink again.

Still, that leaves three meals to be written, very neatly, in the appropriate boxes for the world (me and D) to see. And said boxes say:

Pasta pesto with peas and roasted tenderstem broccoli followed by Bakewell pudding and cream

Roasted spiced duck legs with vegetables stir fried in five spice and soy

Sausages and mash with onion gravy

Hop over to Mrs M's for more meal planning fun.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Food for thought: compassion all round

Earnest Ross and I have been talking about compassion recently. Specifically, the idea of being compassionate towards oneself. It’s the kind of thing that sounds like it should be a no-brainer. But I’ve been shocked by the amount of resistance I’ve felt towards it.

“It feels,” I told him today, “That if I accept the need to be more compassionate to myself then I am giving myself permission to act or behave in a negative way. That I am excusing myself. It feels like weakness and failure.”

But, he countered, is showing compassion always an easy option? To be compassionate is not necessarily to excuse so much as to accept and not apply moral judgments. To be compassionate requires you to face difficult things head on. Nothing easy or weak about that.

Perhaps part of the resistance lies in the fact that we are all programmed to find fat distasteful. Just this week I saw this article on the Guardian website about NICE telling doctors that they should treat overweight people with respect. Exsqueeze me? They have to be told? Doctors, who I fondly imagine to be the most compassionate of people (with the possible exception of nuns), need to be actually told by a clinical institute that fat people should not be sneered at but offered realistic and practical and non judgemental advice? What hope is there for the rest of the society if our medical professionals need to have this spelled out to them?

I have been remarkably blessed in my dealings with doctors. The GPs I have seen in the last few years have been absolutely lovely and supportive and never made me feel as if every little niggle, from a cough to an ingrown toenail, was related to the fact that my BMI was over 30. But I understand that I am in a minority with this experience. Actually, I have been remarkably blessed full stop in that I have never encountered any major discrimination or bullying or unpleasantness related to my size. Perhaps that is one of the reasons that I am so much more critical of myself than anyone else could ever be.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

The sound of silence. And a weigh in.

So, from the lack of any update on this blog, you may be forgiven for thinking that after last week’s stellar result at the scales I proceeded to upend myself into a vat of chocolate Baileys (has anyone tried this yet? Report if so, I have very high hopes!) But, no, despite consuming slightly more wine than was good for me at York races on Friday, I have kept on keeping on. I have even been restrained in the face of cheese which, dearest Reader, is a victory in itself.

The scales’ verdict tonight? Another pound off making ten in three weeks. I am closing in on the one stone mark - once I'm there I think I'll really believe I am doing this!

I had all these high hopes that once the Annus Horribilus was over then things would all spring back to normal, but the truth is, it is taking a little time. And it was na├»ve to ever expect otherwise as both D and I are going through a period of transition. I’ve moved in to a new house and am still finding my feet and trying to get over feeling like a guest in someone else’s environment; he, meanwhile, is having to deal with his space being invaded by an individual with a propensity towards mess and clutter. We have two houses worth of furniture to amalgamate and sort through. Plus, I’ve had weird working patterns the last couple of weeks as I’ve been preparing for an exam. So all in all it is little wonder that we haven’t yet had the chance to get into a properly established routine. I have started to actually cook meals though, which is good, and there is fruit in the fruit bowl and milk in the fridge and I’m learning to lunge for the teapot rather than the corkscrew when six o clock comes round, so all the pieces are coming together. When you see a Meal Planning Monday post from me, it is then that you will know that I’m there.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Oh, frabjous day!

I toddled along to my weigh in last night past a large group of young women wearing police hats. Yes, it is apparently freshers' week here in Leeds. I have nothing against students apart from the obvious pangs of jealousy at their youth and good skin, but goodness they are very loud.

Anyway, to the scales. You may recall that this was a two week result - but also that my hopes were not overly high given my (relatively) packed social calendar. The gods of WW however were clearly in a benevolent mood and I clocked in a nine (yes, nine) pound loss. Get me!

D has promised me a bottle of fizz if I can shift another five this week but, to be honest, after a start like that - which I think is in part down to luck rather than judgement - I'll be happy with any slight downward movement. Onwards, comrades!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Pimms o'clock

Winter may be fast approaching (today I am wearing a scarf in honour of this; still no coat though, I keep that until the temperature really starts to drop) but Saturday saw us comfortably installed in an upper room at the Leeds Living Room enjoying a Pimms tasting of all things.

I mention the seasons because for me, as for many other people I suspect, Pimms is the quintessential summer drink. Take the summer of 2000; I was in my third term of university, the object of study was the Bard himself, the sun seemed to shine every day and my college boasted the oldest bowling green in Europe. What else can you expect a load of English students to do but lie out on the grass, propped up copies of The Riverside Shakespeare and sup Pimms all day long – sometimes with a shot of gin to turbo it, and us, up a bit. Happy, happy days.

The prospect of a Pimms tasting session was, therefore, too good to resist, chill winds and autumn leaves notwithstanding. And what a session it was! I would say that it left me with a new found respect for the beloved liqueur – but it is perhaps more accurate to say it left me feeling slightly queasy on the way round IKEA the next morning. This was NOT one of those tastings where you feel short changed. The first drink was poured within five minutes and it didn’t really stop flowing for the next hour and a half.

Pimms was originally created back in the mid nineteenth century as a more palatable alternative to gin. Although gin based, it also contained ingredients such as borage and citrus – the exact recipe remains a closely guarded secret to this day. This gin based fruit cup is the Pimms no 1 which is still produced. Over the years five more variants were created, each based upon a different spirit. Most are no longer easily obtainable, although Pimms no 3, which is the brandy version, has been rebranded as Winter Pimms and occasionally surfaces at Christmas.

And so we drank. We drank Pimms with gin, lemonade and coriander – an unusual herb but one designed to pick up on a particular botanical of the gin. We drank a Pimms whisky sour both with and without ginger beer (absolutely delicious – destined to become my Christmas cocktail of choice). We drank Pimms with spiced rum, fresh ginger, lime and mint. And we finished with a Pimms Royale – Pimms with orange vodka, strawberry and basil mixed with a combination of ginger ale and lemonade. In between, we had tots of the individual spirits (so we could taste them in isolation you understand – purely scientific) and sampled a supermarket own brand fruit cup (verdict: lacking the depth and complexity of the original but perfectly serviceable when mixed with lemonade and fruit and one third of the price). There was cake as well.

All in all, a delightful way to spend a Saturday afternoon. The website for the Drinks Workshop, which offers classes in a variety of different spirits can be found here although I am not sure what locations are on offer outside of Leeds. Still, if you fancy coming to up here and spending a few hours getting tipsily educated and eating cake, this is highly recommended.

Friday, 4 October 2013

In which I am frightened of melting

After all that lovely support on my last post I was eager to come on here this week and post my weigh in result. HOWEVER. I missed my meeting! For those of you who don’t live in the frozen North, the weather has been woeful for the past few days so I decided to book a taxi rather than walk for half an hour in the rain. And then the taxi didn’t turn up on time and the man from the taxi office got quite affronted with me for pointing out that a) not turning up on time and b) not letting me know they were not going to turn up on time was pretty piss poor customer service.

My bathroom scales, usually pretty reliable, have me well down but I am going to take them with a pinch of salt and wait until next Wednesday for the official scores on the doors. In the meantime, remember how I said that I had lots going on in October? This week I’m out for a curry to welcome some new starters at work, a Pimms tasting and a game cookery demonstration. In between, I will mainly be eating dust…

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Sometimes there’s never a good time

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a dieter in search of a successful diet must commence said diet on a Monday. Preferably one that falls on the first of the month. And if there is a full moon at the same time, then so much the better.

So imagine my consternation when my friend texted me the other week to say that she was joining a WW meeting on a Wednesday evening and would I like to come along with her.

There were so many reasons to say no. For a start – Wednesday? That is soooo not the right day to start a diet. And the first meeting fell at the end of September – my new start was going to be October. And I was moving that week so meals would be up in the air. And, come to think of it, I had commitments throughout most weekends in October which would mean I’d never get a clear run at things and everyone knows you should always start when you’ve got a clear run so you can get some good losses under your belt before real life starts to kick in so perhaps I should hold off until November to get going.

Dear reader, I’m ashamed to say that all of these thoughts and more went through my head when I got that text.


I’m proud to say that I managed to push them all to one side and go along with her. And yes, this last week it has not always been easy to stay on plan. I’ve had some good days where I’ve managed to track accurately and some days where I haven’t, which has made me a little twitchy. I no doubt earned some activity points packing and humping around boxes which I have proceeded to consume in lovely, lovely post-move wine. And the thought of stepping on the scales tomorrow is making me a little bit nervous. But I reckon when the universe sends you a sign, even something as mundane as a new friend sending a text, you have to grab it and give it your best shot.