My Friend the Mars Bar

The wastepaper basket in my room was a disgrace last week. I am not ashamed of the cotton buds or the credit card bill envelope or the Durex wrapper, it’s more about the shiny slippery papers that once covered chocolate-related products.

The collection ran into double figures.

What the bloody hell came over me last week? It was one long, unthinking, barely-tasting chocolate binge. I kept wandering to the vending machine at work, stopping at the corner shop on the way home. And again, it was all secret scoffing. I kept walking back and forth to the office fridge to discreetly break off chunks of Mars.

I can’t even blame it on PMS, it was pure piggery. Monday night I sat there reading the King Size Twix nutrition information and realising I’d just eaten 20 grams of fat in five minutes. I looked across at the overflowing basket and said out loud, what the hell are you doing?

And it’s such an insult to my body, after all the effort I’ve been putting into Julia’s running program. The first session was fun, I went out with my sister who’s decided to train with me. It’s mostly walking at this stage, you must remember I’m a slug who took the past six weeks off exercise (lifting a shotglass full of vodka to ones throat doesn’t really constitute a bicep workout) and has never run before. The second session was even better because we set out at 6.15 AM. The early morning sun was beautiful and the park was empty aside from us, so I didn’t feel all embarrassed about moving around. And I felt all energetic and smug all day, since I’d got the exercise out of the way already.

Monday’s session was fantastic. We walked along the canal, something I’ve not bothered to do before, so now I’ve discovered a whole new part of town. It’s so brilliant being outside, talking to my sister, getting some fresh air. I am trying to take it slow to start with, my muscles are tingling in all new ways and places, but in the good way. I want this to be a long-term project, not some fad I get sick of after a month.

But all that effort is pretty pointless if I am going to eat like a pork. I was so weak and sluggish on my Saturday and Monday sessions. My concentration was non-existent. One is not meant to eat a pound of chocolate in a week.

I am forcing myself to stop and think about what I am doing. This week I’m tracking my food, something I’ve neglected to do since March. I’m drinking my water and I ignored all the cakes sitting across from my desk here at work. I have left all my cash at home so I can’t use the vending machine. This week I am aiming for baby steps in the right direction.

I am still trying to figure out what prompted my binging.  I was so deliberate and calculating about it. Do you ever feel like you’re so eager to be skinny and tap into the sexy clothes and supple flesh, but part of you is afraid of missing out on something if you don’t stay fat?

Running for Dummies

It took three attempts to get inside the door of the running store. The first time I sat on the bus as it sailed past, too nervous to ring the STOP bell. The second time I stood on the opposite side of the street, looking across, getting myself so worked up that I was in tears.

Why get so stressed about a pair of running shoes? It seems so ridiculous now, but I was a wreck last week. A few months back the lovely Julia from Italy (who you may recall kindly sent me a huge parcel of sporty clothes last year) wrote to me when I mentioned that I’d like to take up running. She trains people for running events and offered her help. Of course I was chuffed but got all caught up with my Russia trip.

When I got back there were no more excuses. But first, running shoes. My four-year-old cross trainers weren’t going to cut it. All I had to go was go to the running store, get my hoofs fitted and I’d be all set. Instead I wasted another week trying to psych myself up for the task. My main points of concern:

1.  I would be laughed out of the shop by skinny salesmen, because why the hell would a fatty fat guts need running shoes?

Well that was really my only point of concern. I just felt I had no right to go in there. You know what it’s like, people. That inferiority complex that comes from being fat. It is a paralysing, paranoid and unfounded fear that so often gets in the way of me achieving anything in life. No matter how much lard I lose, I still cannot shake this idea that there are things I am not allowed to do, places I do not belong, because of my weight.

All this was despite ample reassurance and encouragement from Julia, my sister and my boyfriend; who all insisted running was for everyone. You don’t have to be some freaky athlete to run, said The Boy, They’re a running shop, they’re there to help. Everyone’s gotta start somewhere. My fatty fat gut dollar would be just as welcome in the store as some string bean marathon dude’s dollar.

Annoyed into action by everyone’s logic, I made my third trip to the store last Friday afternoon. My heart was in my mouth. There was a sign on the door, We are closing at the earlier time of 5.30PM today. Sorry for any inconvenience.

It was 5.05PM. "Oh! Well," I thought breezily, my stomach sighing with relief, "May as well head home then. There’s four customers in there, they’ll never have time for me, tra la la la."

I was halfway up the street before I stopped and realised it was pretty dumb to leave work early and come all this way without at least going in the door.

"I’ll just stand here at the back of the shop," I told my fraidy cat self. "And if anyone notices me before the shop closes, we’ll take it from there."

So I slinked in, hiding behind a rack of Very Tiny Shorts while the staff sold some socks to a nubile blonde. Sadly the other people were just browsing, so before I knew it I was spotted.

"Can I help you?" asked the saleswoman.

"Oh, hello," I said meekly,  "I’m looking for some running shoes."

"Excellent," she smiled.

"I’m just starting out, you see," I said in a rush, "Well, obviously."

D’oh! Must stop feeling the need to justify my presence to skinny people. Why must I rush and establish, Yes, I’m Know I’m Fat, Beat Ya To It!

But this woman just focused on the task at hand. She asked me a bazillion questions, got me to take off my shoes and roll up my jeans (hello hairy calves!) and walk up and down the shop. She instantly spotted my wonky right foot that tends to roll inwards. She returned with a mighty stack of shoe boxes and asked even more questions as I tried them on.

All that attention made me squirm. All that attention on my body made me squirm. I am so used to being anonymous with exercise, hiding up the back of the class and muddling my way through. It felt strange to have someone treat my fitness so seriously.

"Okay, just have a wee run up and down the shop so I can see how your feet like those shoes,"

I froze. "What? Me?"

She smiled, "Don’t worry, no one’s looking at you."

"Oh man."

"I’ll just be looking at your feet, not analysing your technique."

"I have no technique."

I remained frozen for another 30 seconds before finally doing a half-hearted little trot up the store. My face was burning red.

I must have tried on ten different pairs. I kept blurting, "These are okay, yeah, I think these’ll do," anything to get her to stop paying so much attention. And wasn’t the store closing soon? But she was in no hurry. I was appreciative of her friendliness and thoroughness, but it made me feel so weird.

Finally at 5.29PM we found the right pair. She wished me luck and gave me an entry form for a Win A Trip To The Chicago Marathon contest.

"Maybe just be a spectator this year," she smiled.

I felt so relieved and so stupid as I walked home. I was so proud of myself for finally making the purchase, yet felt like a dimwit for making such a big production of it. After all, the hardest task was ahead of me – to actually get my arse out there and start running.

Seemed Like A Good Idea

About half an hour ago I was in Safeway and I spotted the 500ml tub of Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough icecream and I thought, wow, this is destiny baby, you were meant to be in my belly!

And now I sit here peering into a more-than-half empty tub and wondering what possessed me. When I arrived in the UK last March, Ben & Jerry’s was one of the first things I bought from a supermarket, simply coz it’s not widely available in Oz and I am a fool for anything cookie-dough related. Somehow I forgot today that I never really enjoyed it that much. And it took me half a tub to remember!? I’ve absolutely demolished it. You know you’ve eaten too much ice cream when the edges have melted away so you’re left with this sorta ice cream BALL that spins round and round as you dig and dig away at the tub.

I feel quite ill.

Wednesday night my Scotsman was here and we were reflecting on eight months of bliss, or rather how coincidentally we have turned into inactive slugs since hooking up. He has been flat out finishing his PhD and in times of stress neglected his mountain biking and turned to Hula Hoops instead. And I have just been so busy being besotted and travelling and working and just generally being a lazy arse, I have not made any progress. I go up and down, but the new jeans I bought for our first date are just as tight as they were back in November. Hmmm.

"So what can we do about this?" he mused. I said we needed to stop eating for leisure. It’s so easy to do though, coz it’s so nice to have someone to cook for, someone to try and impress. And my best dishes happen to be desserts. And I also have got him into baking, and goddamn he makes a mean hummingbird cake. And every Saturday night I stay at his place we chug down a bottle of Aussie red.

So we’ve both lost weight before, we both can do it again. He has dusted off his mountain bike this week, now I just need to scrape the cobwebs from my gym membership card and get my arse into gear.

I’m off to his place tonight and volunteered to cook coz he’s in the recording studio today with his wee band. So that’s how I ended up in Safeway oggling the ice cream. I got us some noodles and stir fry vegies, and fruit for dessert. But here’s the Old Dietgirl that still lurks within me — I actually thought to myself, "My sister is at work, I have a few hours alone. I could scoff that ice cream, noone will ever know, and The Boy will think I’m a legend for whipping up this healthy dinner!"

Oh how clever and crafty am I for concocting such a secret plan?! Not freaking clever at all, seeing now I feel like a whale and will no doubt be trying to surpress my gurgling stomach all night. How sexy.

I wish I could get over this whole, "Quick! Eat! While No One’s Looking!" mentality. There is always going to be plenty of shitty food for me to eat, I don’t need to scarf it down in secret. It’s always going to be there, it’s always going to be rubbish, so I am not going to miss out on wild pleasure and gratification if I leave it the fuck alone. And people will find out soon enough, when my gut and arse come spilling over the barrier of my pants. Will I ever learn!?

Blow Your Cover

I received a few emails this week, mostly of the ‘Found ya!’ nature. After three and half years, more and more people are stumbling across The Secret Life. How did you figure it out, dammit? I guess there’s not as many Australians living in Edinburgh who just went to Russia as I thought.

Those who’ve found me have been nice about it. Still, I feel awkward. It’s a hefty chunk of your life to hide away.

I worry if the folks who only knew me through my other site will think of me differently now that they know about The Fat. There’s a huge part of me that still feels like I am not worth being around, not pretty enough, not up to scratch, blah blah blah, until I get smaller.

Someone else emailled me to simply say that I saved their life. I won’t go into the details but I was gobsmacked and felt a little buzz that some waffle I put on this silly site could motivate someone.

Someone else (well, two someone elses) emailled to ask why I haven’t updated the photo page in ages. This would be because I’ve neglected to take any new photos. Below is one from December, approximately 93 kilos, drunk and grinning in the loos at my work Christmas party.

Dec2003

As you can see I’ve still got a lot of work to do. What to do about those thighs? And I continue to mask my eyes as I cling to the flimsy premise that Dietgirl is my super secret alter ego 🙂

Next entry I will get back to the Fat Bustin’, I promise.