The Dietgirl Organisation

Hello faithful readers —

(or perhaps unfaithful readers. You’ve been reading other sites as well, haven’t you? I knew it! I saw the way you switched windows as soon as I came into the room, and there was panic in your eyes and sweat on your brow… well!)

— anyway. As you can see I’ve moved house. After slobbing around Trish’s domain for a couple of years, stuffing chocolate wrappers down the couch and belching far too loud, I felt it was time to get out into the real world and do my own laundry. Trish is a rockin’ lass and has always helped out when I forgot my passwords or done something really stupid, so here is a big public thank you to her for all her kindness.

It feels funny to have a proper domain name. I’ve always been a fan of the .org thing. It sounds rather official, like The Dietgirl Organisation is a Fortune 500 company or a network of spies. Alas it’s still just plain ol me.

I’m hella busy at the moment so I know I’ve got broken links and all sorts of mess around here, if you spy anything please leave a comment or email me at dietgirl AT dietgirl dot org.

. . .

I’ve been a slackarse, I know. I just let things slide while my mother was visiting. I felt compelled to sit there with her rather than computering, since she’d come 10,000 miles or so to see me. I had planned to lose a kazillion kilos before she got here, since it had been a year since we parted, but instead I had to be content with about a 14 kilo difference.

It seemed enough. Unless she was being overly polite. But she kept sqwarking, “Look at you! You look great! You’re so skinny!” blah blah blah. She brought over a bunch of new clothes from Australia and I was half elated/half devastated that they were all too big. I’d definitely be a size 16 back home now. Oh I wanted to cry when I saw the price tags! Ten bucks for a t-shirt. Twenty dollar pants. And here I am spending the equivalent of $70 on a shitty pair of track pants for the gym. It was almost enough to make me pack myself up in Mum’s suitcase and go back to Oz.

At one point I was trying on some shirts and I had my (naked) back to Mum and she crowed, “You’ve got a WAIST now! Wow!”. I couldn’t help grinning. Then she had to ruin it all, “But look at those freckles on your lower back. Or are they moles? Have you had them checked out? Have you noticed any changes in them?”

“No!”

“You should get them checked out. Take some digital photos and note where they are. Draw a map.”

“I’m not going to draw a bloody mole map!”

I think my fat isn’t the biggest change since I last saw Mum. I could tell she was surprised by my attitude change. She could tell I wouldn’t take any crap anymore, that I had a lot more confidence. The combination of moving far away and losing more weight has made me less needy, more independent. It really threw her for awhile. I’d catch her looking at me with a bewildered, sometimes envious look. I know she is struggling to get motivated to tackle her own health problems, and that was something we always had in common. And of course I was a lot bigger than her for awhile. The balance has subtly shifted in our relationship. I want to say more about this but will thunk it out better soon 🙂

. . .

This Sunday marks six months since me and my lovely guy got together. Holy crap, that went quick. But it also marks six months of me really going nowhere with my weight loss. Now that I’ve survived my first northern hemisphere winter and other crazy events, I really need to get my arse moving and quit the excuses. Nessajane left the most incredible comment on my last entry that really was the slap in the chops I needed:

DG, this is the time when a lot of people give up and make do…when they have reached a point in their weight loss when they feel that they are acceptably overweight and not grossly overweight.

You, my friend, need to re-visit some of your older journal entries and see how far you have come. Now is not the time for excuses, now is the time for bravery as this is a very courageous journey that you have embarked on.

So gather up all your courage and get on with the job so that one day you will find yourself coming out of the strain of the doing and going into the peace of the done.

I love that woman so much. She is right, I do feel acceptably, managably overweight now. And it’s easy to be complacent especially when you have the likes of your mother, sister and work colleagues telling you how nice you look, how very different.

But I know my body and the feel of my clothes and know I have not made much progress in the past six months. My efforts have not been consistent. A few weeks of full-on committment seems to be followed by a few weeks of slackarsed binging.

So I am not done yet and I do not want this to be the end. I want smaller, sexier clothes. I want muscle. I want to be fitter. So it’s time to get serious.

No Man’s Land

There was a moment on the weekend when I had a glimpse of what it was like to just have a body, as opposed to The Body, that Thing that I waste so much time and energy worrying about. I was with my gorgeous boy at a park, we’d had lunch with his family and were rolling hard-boiled eggs down a hill. I was watching some kids playing on the swings.

"I see you’re bursting for a go on those swings," said my boy with a grin.

"Me? Noooo. I don’t think that seat is designed for the likes of my arse."

"Of course it is! Let’s go!"

To my surprise, I fit on the seat with room to spare. The two of us swang back and forth, made lame jokes about always wanting to be swingers, tried to make our swings crash into each other and yelled at his parents like five year olds, "Look at me! Look at meeeeeee!". It was such a thrill to feel so active and un-self-conscious and… normal.

24 hours later, I was sitting there beside him on the couch, my feet up on the coffee table.

"I hate my feet."

"You shouldn’t hate your feet. They’re great feet. They do what they’re supposed to do. You shouldn’t hate any of your body. It gets you from A to B in style."

"Yeah yeahhhhh, you always say that."

"Don’t worry, the lecture is over!"

I never wanted to be one of those Does My Bum Look Big In This chicks. For the most part I’m not. I’m more of a, Don’t You Agree My Tits Look Good In This chick. But last night I was poles apart from the swinging chick. All I could do was think of my flaws and how much weight I still have left to lose and my seeming inability to lose it.

I’ve really been struggling for the past six months or so. I have been hovering around 90 kilos all that time and cannot seem to get any lower. I know that if I could just knuckle down and work really hard I could lose the 15 kilos I need to get to the top of my healthy weight range, perhaps by this time next year or even sooner.  If I could just tap into that determined, obsessive, all-or-nothing attitude that blasted away the last 60-something kilos, I know I could get there.

The thing is, the loss of that that passion/obsession for exercise and food has coincided with me finding, for the first time, just a passion/obsession for life itself. When I started this journey in 2001, losing weight was the entire focus of my life. It was pretty much all I had. I had withdrawn from my family and friends as I was so depressed about my weight, so when I finally decided to do something about it, it was a very private project with few interuptions.

But the more weight I lost the more confidence I gained, and I started to put together ‘a life’ of sorts. This past year, moving overseas has taken it to another level. I am just so excited to be here and to be experiencing so many new things. I have really come out of my shell and started to be more outgoing and adventurous, the person I always suspected I was under the lard suit. Some days I can’t believe I have a body that lets me be like this, the very same body that would hope her sister would pick up the mail so I wouldn’t have to walk all the way to the end of the driveway to the letterbox.

So yeah, I am just living it up now, so focused on friends and travel and love instead of losing weight being my entire existence. I know it’s a good thing to Get A Life, but as dumb as this will sound, there are days when I get frustrated at how I have let life get in the way of my weight loss. I’ve basically been maintaining since for six months – eating and exercising well for the most part, but eating out when I feel like it and only getting incidental exercise on the weekends coz I’m either working, sightseeing or getting cosy with the boy.

I can’t seem to find the right words to explain this strange mix of conflicting feelings I have about all this. It changes so quickly. There’s admiration and pride in myself and in body for all things it can do now because of my hard work, but it’s countered by frustration as I can’t seem to find the focus and determination to finish the job. One minute I am besotted with my new body and can’t stop staring at my collarbones in the mirror. A moment later I am cursing it, like my feet in yesterday’s case, which was just me indirectly saying "I am sick and tired of this whole lumpy mess of a body".

I know I need to take things up a notch if I want to shift more weight. I know I will need to focus. It’s just hard to do when for the first time in my life I have other things to be passionate about aside from losing weight. I am just stuck in this No Man’s Land, not dangerously obese anymore, not limited to elasticated pants, but still too big for my height and still unable to wear trendy clothes. Small enough to feel good about myself, but with the niggling knowledge that my jeans could be smaller than a size 18. I also think about the fact that a great percentage of diet bloggers have started their journey at my weight, or lower, yet here I am living it up like I’m already over the finish line.

And of course, it’s not just Having A Life that’s holding me back. There’s also fear. Fear that I won’t get smaller than this, fear because I’ve never been smaller than this in my adult life. Fear of actually getting off my arse and putting in the effort.

All that swinging and soul-searching has made me exhausted. That’ll do for now.

The Routine

I lose weight when I’m in The Routine. I’m in control and I feel good. As soon I deviate from The Routine things tend to go pear-shaped. They say you’re supposed to have variety in your weight-loss regime, and while I mess about with the ingredients, there’s an overall formula that is absolutely essential for me if I want to have any sort of success.

The Routine is a joint effort between my sister and I. For those not in the know, we’re living in the UK on backpacker budgets, working two jobs (6 or 7 days a week) in order to finance our upcoming travels. So we’ve got very limited free time and funds. We’ve found The Routine maximises our spare time and helps us to stay healthy and sane.

1. The Shopping
Everything hinges on the weekly shopping trip. We recently switched to Tuesday evenings – less crowded, more frequent buses, doesn’t waste our weekend. My sister and I catch a bus straight from our respective workplaces and meet up at the supermarket to save more time. She usually gets there first so she starts without me, which I like because I don’t end up putting chocolate bars into the trolley. We plan in advance what meals we’ll eat for the week and just whizz around the aisles collecting only what we need. All this means we’re all done and back home by about 6.30pm.

2.  The Salads
Every weekday we take a honkin’ huge salad to work. It saves buying lunch and guarantees at least one healthy meal per day! We make them the night before and it’s a bustling production line. All the ingredients are in the one spot in the fridge so we just grab everything and get to work. We dump a handful of mixed salad greens into two lunch boxes, add chopped up peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes. That’s pretty much the base of it, we just vary the extras each week – anything from a boiled egg to ham, chicken, avocado, homemade felafels, chickpeas, cold roasted vegies, sunflower seeds or lentils. My sister cleans up while I make us each some dressing – usually olive oil and vinegar, or oil/seeded mustard/ lemon juice and a tiny drop of honey – in two tiny screw-top jars so there’s no spillage and we just shake and pour at work.

Sometimes we make a little couscous salad for the side – just throw some wholemeal couscous in a bowl with a sprinkle of vege stock power, cover with boiling water. Leave for ten minutes or so, fluff up with a fork, let cool then chuck in some sundried tomatoes, fresh chives and a handful of chickpeas. Mmm.

All in all, it only takes about 15 minutes of effort each night. No matter what ends up in the box,  there’s something fresh and delicious to look forward to at lunch. Countless times we’ve had colleagues eyeing off our lunch as they devour a tuna mayo roll and say "Wow, what’s that?". "It’s a SALAD." "Wow, did you make that?"

3. The Dinners
When you are time and budget pressed it’s easy to end up eating crap for dinner. And the last thing you want to do when tired and/or cranky is spend heaps of time in a kitchen when you have 5 other flatmates to contend with. We manage to get away with cooking twice a week. We cook on Tuesday nights after the shopping and make enough to do another two meals. Last night it was chili con carne – as soon as it was ready we dished it out into two plates then into four containers. So that’s us sorted til Friday night. Then we’ll do the same Cook and Divide thing.

My sister and I are inherently lazy and have no problems eating the same meal three nights in a row. It also makes the most economic sense to cook in that way since it’s just the two of us.

4. The Snacks
I take a yogurt to work each day, as well as an apple or two, and/or sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. I gather up the little snack pile the night before so it’s ready to go. This is another essential part of the plan so I don’t go wandering off to the vending machine for chocolate.

5. The Gym
We are vigilant about phoning the gym to book our classes each week so we can’t use "the class was full" as an excuse. My sister has email reminders set up at her work then she’ll email me, "Have you booked us in yet?" and I will say "Whoops" and furiously dial. If the first four parts of The Routine are in place it is sooo much easier to get to the gym. If our dinner is already cooked for Mondays and Wednesdays, it doesn’t seem like so much of an ordeal to take time out for the gym.

Now before anyone emails me to say my routine is too routine and no wonder I’ve lost hardly any weight lately, blah blah blah, remember this is what works for my life. Without this kind of planning I wind up out of control and in another depressed episode – anyone who’s been reading for awhile will know my pattern.

And of course life gets in the way of The Routine sometimes. There’ll be some social event on a Gym Day or we get home late and don’t make The Salads – and it throws everything out of whack. The Routine often falls victim to fatigue (usually after we’ve done one of our 7 day working weeks), flu and PMS tantrums. I get cranky when the routine is disrupted. My mum arrives next week for a 10 day visit, and I must admit I am already looking ahead to when she leaves so we can get back on track.

Am I sad or what?