Serenity Now!

November is traditionally The Month That I Can’t Cope With The World, if you can call something a tradition after just two occurrences.

Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but I was miserable and confused this time last year and plagued by a crushing inability to write. I thought I would find the transition to the 4PM Darkness easier to cope with this time around but I’m just as bewildered. And tired. I feel like a little old granny that needs to retire with a cup of cocoa as soon as Eastenders is over. All I need is a cardigan and a small, yapping terrier to kick around.

It now seems a lifetime ago when I woke up in Spain and looked out the window of the World’s Shittiest Hostel and screamed "MY EYES! MY EYES!". What was this blinding light assaulting my irises? What was this strange warmth I felt on my skin?

So, how to get the body to cope with the lack of light? I keep meaning to step out for a lunchtime walk to but the times I’ve actually remembered this plan I looked out the window and it was raining. My other tactic has been to Exercise Like A Motherfucker in the hope of producing some happy chemicals in the brain. I’ve been managing a good three gym sessions as week (around 1.5 – 2 hours each) consisting of a Body Pump or Body Jam class as well as some running and/or some elliptical trainer and rowing machine. I’ve been so haphazard with my exercise this year, but now I’m in a routine I’m finally starting to see some results.

This has not, however, turned me into a beacon of sparkly happiness. Mostly due to me being a lazy whining bastard. Yesterday at 5pm I stood in the darkness outside the gym, bitching down the phone to my sister, "I don’t wanna go in. I wanna go home and sleep. Don’t make me go in there. I can’t do this today."

Her reply, "So don’t do it!"

"But I suppose I have to! I lugged my gym gear all the way to work and now I’m right outside the door. FINE, fine. I’m going in. GoodBYE!"

Even when I was standing on the treadmill, headphones in place, doing a warm up walk, I was still moaning to myself, "I can’t do this today, I just can’t." Fifteen minutes in I was whinging in my head, "This sucks ass. Why can’t I just eat chocolate?".

And then I was cranky all through the Body Jam class afterwards because I had my running shoes on and they are so bloody sturdy and determined to hold my feet in a forward direction. Fantastic for running but utterly useless for dancing. And just the week before I’d worn my cross trainers and had a Cranky Attack on the treadmill because of course the cross trainers give no support for running at all and I ended up having to walk coz it felt I’d do damage. I realised last night that I will just have to take both pairs of shoes. JUST GREAT!

Tangent: WHERE THE HELL can you buy cross training shoes in this bloody country? Every sporty shop here either has running shoes or stupid colourful trainers that are meant to show the world what a hipster you are, ie. not intended for sporting use at all.

I asked one pimpled teen at Foot Locker, "Do you have any cross trainers? What happens if I want to play tennis or do an aerobics class?".

"Oh we don’t really stock any of those. But look at these running shoes!"

"Are they suitable for anything other than running in a straight line?"

"Well, no."

"ARRRGH!"

I bought my cross trainers in September 2000, which happens to be the time I first went to a gym, and in the following four years as you know I have basically done more exercise than the preceeding 23 years combined. Thus, the shoes stink, are full of holes and have no tread left on them. I know for a fact that every bloody sporty shop in Australia has at least a dozen different cross trainers for me to choose from, even with my gigantor size 10 feet! Not so in the Motherland.

My sister, the lucky bastard, will be buying new cross trainers when she goes back to Australia in a couple of weeks. She has scored herself a job in London and consequently a work permit that will allow her to stay in the UK for years to come. Now please please please don’t email me to say "Why don’t you do that?" as I have a stack of rejection letters as testament to my attempts to do this. I will just say her industry (luxury hotels) is more open to taking on foreigners than in any field of mine. Work permits are all about proving to the UK government that they cannot find a native to fill the role, and my sisters new employers could not find a Brit as well-qualified and dazzling as herself.

Anyway, she starts in January and is off to Oz for a flying visit to see everyone since it could be a couple of years til she makes it back. And so, she will be able to get new shoes. And get them SO MUCH CHEAPER. I’d ask her to get some for me but it’s risky with my awkward, freakish hoofs.

One good thing is that she is cleaning out her wardrobe and has given me some suits that no longer fit her. Remember my Jacqui E suit from Oz that I finally fit into last year, size 18? Well now I can get into hers, exactly the same but SIZE 14 (US 12). Holy crap. I cannae do up the jacket yet, but give me time, mark my words.

I was close to tears as I zipped up those pants. Sure they were a bit too tight but crikey, I never ever thought in a million years that my flesh could be successfully arranged into a garment of such small size. The last time I had anything in a 14 was 1993. I thought it was a fluke coz the Jacqui E sizes aren’t particularly small, but sis gave me a skirt from Myer that also fits (just a bit too clingy on the arse). This certainly was a change from the week before when I almost kicked the mirror at H&M as I had to buy new trousers in a size 20. My sister assured me their sizes can be Euro tiny but still, ARRGH! I was raging and felt sure the United Kingdom was united purely to make me feel like a heiffer.

Well as you can see I am just full of rage in general today, aren’t I? I am just emotional as my sister will be in Glasgow two weeks from today, where she will fly to Dubai and then to Sydney in AUSTRALIA where it is WARM and mangoes are in season and all our friends and family will be there and they will have Christmas together while I am working at Geriatric Rescue on both Xmas and Boxing Day.

YES YES, I am still doing shifts at that evil place to pay off my stinking credit card. My sis and I had previously agreed I’d do Xmas and she’d do Boxing Day as it is triple time and we’d have our little Xmas dinner on the Monday instead. But then a few weeks later she got her new job out of the blue, and now this whirlwind trip to Australia. I tried to wriggle out of the Xmas shift, but ended up with another – my bosses begged me to do Boxing Day as no other staff can/will do it. HUMBUG!

So I will spend my Xmas Day feeling depressed as hell, as the only old people who call us needing help on Xmas Day are those old people with no family all alone in their cold houses and fall over and can’t get up or who have burned their Marks & Spencer Turkey Ready Meal For One and set their smoke alarms off.

But! Realistically, i’s not like I had anything better to do. And triple time, my friends. My credit card balance will be zero for the New Year. Woohoo!

Anyway, yes. I’m an emotional disaster. My sister and I are breaking up. We’ve been living together for four years. I know the time is right and we have to move on but it is scary. Everything is changing. Her future is sorted, now I have to figure out mine. And I can’t even bring it up with the Scottish Companion right now as his PhD exam thingy is coming up and is stressed out of his brain trying to revise his thesis and worrying about whether he will be upgraded to Doctor Scottish Companion or not. His boss has already printed business cards stating that he is. NO PRESSURE!

So of course I am trying to Be There, all supportive and patient, when all I want to do is scream at him most selfishly, "WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME! WHAT THE HELL ARE WE GOING TO DO!? I NEED ANSWERS!"

For once in my life, the only thing going well is the food and the exercise. How bizarre.

Thank you for letting me vent. You guys rule the school. I will be back as soon as sanity returns.

The Blahs

Just a quickie to reassure you that I am still here and still doing well. I am just tired as hell and lack the imagination to come up with an entry today. I have this big list of Things To Write About On Dietgirl but I cannae be arsed today!

I went to the gym three times last week and ate very well so it's all going very well. Feeling very motivated in that department. It's just the rest of my life I'm ever so slightly stressed about. The Future and other family thingies. It's just over four tiny wee months now til I get booted out of Britain. I am starting to get antsy. Tearful goodbyes or trying to organise a wedding in a week? Who knows?

So, anyway. Until I feel more energetic here's a small list of Things To Do With Quinoa.

Cook half a cup or so in water or vegetable stock according to the packet directions then toss with any of these combinations:

  1. Diced cucumber, diced spanish (red) onion and crumbled feta cheese
  2. Oven-roasted mushrooms, chunks of butternut squash (pumpkin) and zucchini (courgette), topping with a tiny sprinkle of parmesan if you're game
  3. Steamed broccoli florets, chopped cooked chicken breast, dollop of green pesto and juice of half a lemon
  4. Oven-roasted onions, green and red peppers and cherry tomatoes plus a handful of black olives

All good served hot or cold, always add heaps of freshly ground black pepper.

Oh! Almost forgot. A few people asked if the Scottish Companion discovered the site after I just about flashed it in his face. It seems he has not, bless his daydreamy unobservant soul!

It’s A Gas

So I was diligent about getting back on track following our Spanish jaunt. However, I chucked my Body Jam plans the night we got back when my lovely friends showed up with a cake just as I was due to leave. It was chocolate cake with cream and blueberries in the middle, and meringue on top. I ain’t no fool who’d turn down a home baked birthday cake. It was delicious. I’m a lucky duck.

We cooked up a alarmingly healthy batch of vegie chili on Wednesday night. The Scottish Companion was over so I left out the meat, resulting in a dish packed with fibre and vegie portions. One think I like about tracking my food with WLR is creating recipes. So I just put in every single thing I put in the chili pot and it will tell me the calories, fat, fibre for the whole batch. That way I figured out that I should get 6 decent serves out of it, so I set the recipe to "Serves 6" then dished up the goods into the right portions. Easy!

Only problem was that all those fibrous vegies combined with spices played havoc with my digestive system. By the time I got to the gym Thursday night I was brewing up some seriously toxic gas. I had the foresight to set up my weights and step at the back of the room, and the thumping techno music was sufficiently loud to disguise any self-generated soundtrack. But lordy! The squat track was torture! They always tell you to, "sit back, as if you were sitting on chair". Which I did, except the chair had a whoopee cushion on it. The squat is an exercise requiring you to spread your legs and stick your arse out, not something you want to do when trying to hold something in.

. . .

Here’s a sorry tale that I hope will bring home why I feel it is essential for me to keep planning and tracking my food at WLR. Yesterday we had bugger all food in the house, my sister and I having returned late Sunday night from a weekend in London. I manage to find a banana and some wholemeal bread for breakfast, so I was off to a decent start.

But at 9.30 when the Hot Roll Man arrived, I remembered my purse was full of coins and bought myself a scone for a Second Breakfast. It was wholemeal but still rubbish and laden with margarine.

Then the Lunch Man arrived at 11.30. He has about 15 varieties of filled rolls and every single one of them is laden with cheese and/or mayo. I chose Chicken and Sweetcorn – basically a white roll, chicken, corn kernels, a limp bit of iceberg lettuce and tomato all drenched in mayo. I could have bought an apple but instead of I got a pack of Thai Sweet Chili crisps.

Then later on in the afternoon I decided it was good idea to have a Mars Bar with my cup of tea.

Dinner was healthy and delicious (mushroom burger with salad) but my sister and I then split a block of Green & Black’s new Butterscotch chocolate. Which was incredible, incidentally.

Oddly enough, I didn’t log in to WLR all day. It’s easy to kid yourself. If you take Mars Bar in isolation you can say "ahh it’s just one wee Mars Bar". Just like the harmless scone and the innocent bag of crisps. But today I forced myself to log every freakin mouthful, and discovered I’d ate twice as much as I needed without really noticing. 3170 calories! 1509 over my recommended quota.

I had grazed all day long so never really stopped to think about what I was actually eating. THAT is why I need to stay aware. It all adds up so quickly. I can’t bullshit myself that the calories didn’t happen if I didn’t write them down.

Today, on the other hand, is going beautifully. I’m off to Body Jam tonight and not feeling in the least bit flatulent!

Pina Coladas

Last night my lovely Scottish boy and I were poking around on the internet, catching up on news while we had been away in Spain. At one point I closed the browser window and my email program popped up behind it. It was open to a Dietgirl New Comment Posted notification email. My heart nearly stopped as I saw him looking at it. I wanted to lunge for the mouse and close the window but how pathetic would that have looked? He was pretty sleepy so I don’t know if he took it in, the URL was there for the world to see.

Now I am at work and he is back at my place having a wee sleep-in. I am trying not to panic thinking of him cranking up my iBook and typing in www.dietgirl.org and seeing this site.

I don’t know why I never mentioned it to him, lord knows I’ve hinted a million times. He knows I submitted some chapters for Erin’s book but I never explained how I happened to become involved – he reads my non-fat blog and you wouldn’t see the connection from there. I just never got round to telling him about how far I have come with this weight loss caper. The other day I was totally out of clean undies and had to put on this old pair of size 22 ones that almost come up to my boobs, we were having a laugh at how silly they looked and I said, "These used to fit, you know." I told him I’d show him a Before picture sometime, but I conveniently forgot about it.

I found out the other day he weighs just 73 kilos (160 lb). I told him I weighed more than that and he wouldn’t believe me. Arrgh! I doubt I will ever weigh that much. I know he’s a lean mean machine and I am a curvy build by nature, but jeez! When I think about the twenty-something kilo difference between us I start feeling like a heiffer. Sometimes he’ll try to lift me up and I squirm away shrieking, "Nooo! You’ll break your back!" and he’ll say I’m being too harsh on myself. But little does he know!

It’s all completely irrational because he is the loveliest thing you could hope to meet and totally rules the school. He is always kind and supportive to me regardless of whether I am being all vigilant about healthy eating or ripping into a bar of chocolate. I am sure if he found this site he’d be just as proud of me as I am of myself. But I still feel funny about him seeing those Before pictures, my weight on the sidebar, years of archived struggles with depression and bitching and Issues. I think it’s coz I feel guilty for holding back on something thats been such a big part of my life, I have been quite sneaky and secretive about it all. I guess it just takes time to feel ready to share certain pieces of yourself.

Och well. If you’re reading m’love, HELLOOOOO!

. . .

Despite all I’ve said above, can I just say the following one more time. I am not obsessed with weight loss, I am not always preoccupied with The Fat. While I was away I received a few emails on this topic. It’s been suggested that if I took away the time and energy fretting over it, there would basically be nothing else in my life.

This is absolutely not the case. I have plenty of other things that fill my time. Must I list all my non-fat hobbies for you? I love travel, I love writing, photography, pina coladas and long walks on the beach. I have many friends that I spend time with and when we go out to the pub I do not shred my napkin into a million pieces coz I’m worrying about the calories.

This is weight loss blog. Thus the writing herein is largely on the topic of weight loss. If you bought a book about birdwatching, would you flip through the chapters and say, "Dude, this is just about birds! Is that all the author bloody thinks about?". Of course you don’t, it’s a publication with a specific purpose.

Writing these entries takes up about twenty minutes of my life, once or twice a week, or less. That leaves a shitload of days and hours and minutes full of life that is occupied by other things. It just happens to be that I like to write my way through the blur of thoughts in my head and this, thanks to the interaction with you lovely folks, has become my favoured medium for doing so.

. . .

Anyway, I am back from Valencia where I remembered what it felt like to feel sunlight crawl over your bare arms so deliciously. We did sooo much walking as our hotel was miles from anywhere. I also ate relatively well and enjoyed FRESH LOCAL PRODUCE instead of some shrink-wrapped Kenyan cucumber like you get here in Britain. Hehe. I have logged back into WLR and I’m ready to get back on track.

So how’re you doin’?