The Old Block

Greetings, comrades!

Apparently this here blog and some other Fat Busting Blogs were featured in an article in the Scottish Herald recently. I did answer some questions for the journo but didn’t hear back, nor did I remember to check the bloody paper! Did anyone happen to see it? I can’t find it online anywhere. Also if you stopped by after reading it, be sure to say hi!

. . .

86.4 kg this week. Oooh, I ate so much rubbish! It started out like this whole The Husband’s Away So The Mouse Will Play thing. Then it was scoffing Free Food! at work then I raided the biscuits at home whenever SC wasn’t looking. Not good! So I vowed to stop and get back on track.

Then a box arrived from Australia. My mother had sent over: three packets of Mint Slice biscuits, a bag of each fun-size Cherry Ripes and Crunchies and two 250g blocks of Cadbury Marble chocolate.

WHY had she sent me this? I had not asked for it. She knows I am a dedicated fat fighter. However, she had bought all this stuff to send my sister for her birthday, but the parcel got to London but was never delivered, so it got returned to Australia! By this time mum had re-purchased all the goods to re-send, so she now had double quantities. Being on a roll with her own health kick at the moment, she wanted it out of her house. Instead of papping it off to friends or colleagues, she forked out $60 to send about $10 worth of crap to me! Don’t you love her logic?

Luckily I have lots of expat friends who’d dive on the stuff. I set aside some Mint Slices and the Crunchies for some pals, the Cherry Ripes and one Mint Slice for me and the Scottish Companion, then took the 500g of Cadbury’s to work for my glutinous colleagues.

Here’s where it got dodgy. I was all set to dump both blocks on the communal Free Food! table when I thought, "Dude! This is Cadbury Marble! And AUSTRALIAN Cadbury Marble which tastes much better than British. Your mum sent it all the way over and you’re going to give it all away!?"

So I only put out one block.

Sometime in the afternoon, when my colleagues had nearly polished it off, I serruptiously opened the second block. For the next couple of hours I’d break off a bit whenever I could discreetly reach down, grope around at the foil (rustle rustle rustle!) and snap a bit off. Ooh it was delicious. And slightly melty, since Monday was a scorcher.

But then I had a huge freaking scary mother of all flashbacks to the days of yore when I kept a giant stash of chocolate in my desk and I would feast away all afternoon thinking no one would notice. Did I really want to go back to the days of a drawerful of chocolate crumbs?

After work I headed straight to the gym. Once dressed for my RPM class I took the now half-eaten chocolate bar, scoffed a final two squares for prosperity, declared the binge officially over, then went to shove the rest of it into the trash can. Except it wasn’t a trash can, it was a NAPPY DISPOSAL! A giant wave of stink lept up and assaulted my nostrils. Why does baby shit stink so much more than non-baby shit? What are we feeding our children? So I ran out of the bathroom screaming and found a normal bin and finally disposed of the chocolate once and for all.

From now on, Cadbury’s Marble Chocolate will always be associate with the stench of baby crap, so I am hoping that has squashed that craving for good.

I have made a wee pact with myself. If I am going to eat anything Not Particularly Healthy, I am only going to do it in the company of others. If you took away all the shit I ate in secret last week, my diet was actually perfectly nutritious. So from now on, no sneaky solo calories. This is my new RULE, and a rule I must follow like I must show the conductor my ticket on the train; like I must drive on the left side of the road or not steal things or kill puppies. IT’S THE RULE!

Soo, RPM! I did go to my class on Friday, hurrah! I was so nervous I thought I’d vomit. My cunning plan was to leave work early and take the 5.15pm class, thinking that the Nubile Gym Bunnies would not yet have commuted home therefore not be there to intimidate me with their cool disregard and co-ordinating outfits. Instead the crowd turned out to be equally nubile school teachers! Of course, who else gets home that early? But then I reminded myself that I’d done that stinking 5k race that I never thought I could do, so I could surely handle this. Instead of my usual tactic of hiding up the back I marched up to the instructor, introduced myself and told her I was new. She helped me adjust the bike seat and soon we were off.

Holy crap, I loved it! The 45 minutes flew by. I was amazed that I kept up with everyone. It was actually fun! Not a big drag like that Spinning class I’d tried two years ago. Les Mills classes tend to have great music and RPM was no exception. The songs really suit the pace of what you’re doing, whether it’s a sprint or a "hill climb". And since the class is relatively short, you can really push hard with the resistance level on the bike. At the end of the class I was pleasantly knackered. The instructor said I’d done fantastic and it was obvious I’d worked really hard. I grinned and thanked her, then looked in the mirror and saw my beetroot glowing face. Obvious indeed. It was just as red as it goes after a run! HURRAH! This means RPM passes the exertion test. It was great to finally get in a good cardio workout – this was the first real challenge I’d really had since the 5k.

My bod was pleasantly hurty on Saturday, so I was all fired up to go back. I went again on Monday, post chocolate scoffing, and enjoyed it even more. It was a different instructor, she pushed us harder and had more to say about technique. I’ve decided I’ll need to be careful on the bits where you "stand up" on the bike to make sure my knee doesn’t cop all my body weight, but it’s been alright so far. And I dunno what I’ve done differently but my crotch didn’t get sore! I must have figured out how to arrange my butt on that seat better. Hmmm.

So there you go, another Fitness Fear conquered. Tonight I am going to the 7pm class before Body Pump, with all the Nubile Commuter Bunnies, so this will be another wee challenge in itself. I will get there early and hide up the back!

Come Ride With Me

Righto then. In attempt to keep myself accountable I hereby declare my intention this week to go an RPM class. On Friday. At 5.15pm. These classes are mega popular so I’ve booked in, there’s really no excuse.

Arrrrrrgh! Arrrrrrrrgh! Arrrrrrrrrrgh!

I did one Spinning class approximately two years ago, when I first moved to Scotland. And I hated it! It was like someone was assaulting my nether regions with a sledgehammer. The bike seats were not forgiving. Then I walked like a crippled cowboy for the next three days. Needless to say I never went back. But now I need to find a low impact exercise and swimming is not my forte and I bored of pedalling away or elliptical-ling away in the stinky gym. Not only is it dull as dog shit but I don’t get the same level of knackeredness. I keep seeing people post-RPM looking red-faced and sweaty so I need to get me some of tha action. Plus I like an instructor to boss me around.

But crikey, I really don’t wanna go. I feel so nervous about it that I want to spew, and it’s only Wednesday afternoon.

. . .

A wee gain of 0.2kg this week. I have learned enough about my fluctuating weight patterns not to freak out about it. It always seems to go: wee gain, wee gain, MEGA LOSS or similiar, so I find it better to look back over a four-week period and see how I went. Onward and downward, groovy people.

. . .

I got my knickers in a twist about some of the smug, classist comments accompanying this recent Skinny Daily Post which basically posed the question, "Do Americans need to be loaded in order to be healthy?".

I was all set to sprout off about it but Magnificent Meg has already done so brilliantly. In case you haven’t noticed Meg is my Blogcrush Du Jour. It’s a totally platonic thing, Meg, so don’t worry – I am not boiling bunnies (lean, trimmed of fat) on the stove! She is just one feisty and articulate chick and if you’re not reading her yet then get your ass over there.

Anyway, there’s similar issues here in Britain. From what I have observed in Scotland it is far, far cheaper to by poorer-quality food. You can rock on down to Iceland or Farmfoods, purveyors of all things frozen, and buy bags of chips and fatty lasagnas and dodgy "burgers" and megabuckets of icecream for just £1 or £2. Or you can go to the chippie and have chips and a deep fried black pudding for a couple of quid.

Yet venture into the supermarket and it is bloody pricey. My sister and I basically bought the same sorta groceries each week as we did in Oz, and it was around 1.5 to 2 times more expensive. This while both working two jobs that paid just a pound or two above minimum wage. It took months and months of hard graft to figure out how to forge a healthy lifestyle in our adopted country.

Now I am not comparing our plight to low income families. Please do not get me wrong. We worked two jobs so we could afford luxuries like travel and going to the gym, and of course we didn’t have kiddies. However, the experience really shocked us as to how expensive it was to be healthier. I couldn’t imagine how it must be for those with genuine low incomes plus a tribe of kidlets. Especially in the depths of the dark and shithouse Scottish winter. I consider myself to be educated about food and nutrition, but in miserable February I often struggled to ignore the siren song of convenience food! So I dunno how someone juggling jobs and kids manages to come home and find the energy make something healthy.

So some of those comments really got on my goat. Especially the implication that these po’ people just ain’t trying hard enough. A higher income gives you, as Meg says, "a bad-ass safety net" when it comes to losing weight. You can afford more tools to help in the lard busting process. I made room for a £35 Enell sports bra to squish my gelatinous boobs down, I juggled expenses to afford a fancy gym and running shoes. I have a cruisy job that allows me to research health and nutrition ideas.

This was especially important at the beginning, being morbidly obese and scared shitless – I could afford to have my hand held. Weight Watchers classes, personal fitness assessments at the gym, healthy cookbooks, etc etc. Yes, there’s no reason why you can’t lose a tonne of weight without forking out megabucks. HOWEVER when you’re starting out and it’s overwhelming and confusing and really fucking exhausting it sure is nice to have advice and guidance.

I dunno what the answers are here. I am not saying a healthier lifestyle is beyond the reach of some sectors of society – I am just saying, try and put yourself in someone else’s shoes for a bit.

. . .

Behold the wonder of Zara! She just kicked arse in her first 5k race. She too loathed running but came to like it. Huzzah!

. . .

I had the most freaky week last week, folks. Unfortunately I can’t tell you about it for a wee while but it was simultaneously exciting and crazy and traumatic and soul-destroying. And mega busy! So I still haven’t taken those bloody photos. Next time, Gadget. Next time!

Stacks On!

My motivations have subtly changed. In the aftermath of the Shitty Twix Incident, I was reassessing my reasons for wanting to bust the last of this lard. It slowly dawned on me that Busting Lard in itself is not enough motivation anymore. Fluctuating numbers on the scale no longer scare me shitless. The threat of not fitting into my wedding frock won't keep me away from the vending machine. The lure of a smaller clothing size isn't that strong.

These days, the above motivations are more likely to trigger internal dialogue like, "Who cares what the numbers say?" or "I can just buy more squishy-in undergarments" or "There's nothing wrong with being a size 16 anyway". Those motivations have sent me to the Hot Roll Man for a scone or to Marks and Spencer for some cakes. Those motivations had me thinking I can get away with being this size, and got me wondering how much crap I can get away with eating before I started stacking the weight back on.

(Incidentally, the Scottish Companion loves the Australian phrase "stacked it on". We were watching an old episode of Kath and Kim recently and Kath was telling someone that Kim has "really stacked the weight on". Now if I ask him should I have a chocolate bar or a bacon roll he'll say, "I dunno, you'll stack the weight on!". Hehe.)

This past week I have eaten absolutely beautifully and there was no stress or fuss about it. Why? Because I started looking at food in terms of how it would affect my health and fitness. I've been struggling with this Stupid Knee and I am desperate to maintain my fitness and eventually get back to running. So if faced with a plate of cakes at work, as I was FOUR TIMES this week, I thought, "Will this shit make me feel good?". And I'd think, well no. I'd end up with one of those awful post-sugar binge headaches then slink home and sit on the couch instead of going to the gym. THAT stopped me from eating rubbish, instead of thinking about the scale or my wedding dress. This was inspired a lot from something Julia wrote this week, incidentally.

I went to the physio last night and it's a confirmed case of worn-out overused runners knee. Plus my quads and glutes are quite weak so I will need to make them stronger. It is going to take time, patience and dedication. If I want to get back into the running I will need to be consistent and take care of myself, not just some half-assed stretches before bed. So this is my goal! To strengthen my bod! And eating well is a part of that. If the weight comes off, that's a bonus.

The closer I get to a healthy weight the more important I think it is to look beyond the scale. When I was pushing 160 kilos I had to look at the scale, because measurements didn't change that quickly and fitness was a non-event. That cursed contraption was the only guage I had of my progress. But now I have to think beyond that and decide how I want my life to be. What's going to work in the long term? Training for the 5k taught me that having a specifc non-scale goal helps me feel balanced and motivated to be healthy. And I think a lot of the commenters were right, the Shitty Twix Incident was about post-race I Deserve It-ness. But I quickly moved on and now I am focused on my goal of getting a stronger and run-worthy body.

I know this approach works for me, because while I've only lost a few kilos since I got married, I have shrunk. I went jeans shopping on Monday and got into size 16s in five different Skinny Person's Shoppes. I almost died from shock that I actually had choice and didn't have to grab whatever fitted. In the end I went for the ones that weren't so low cut that my arse crack showed when I sat down. Mwahaha.

Now after saying I'm not concerned about the scales, I will post my Weigh-In Wednesday results, just in case anyone's been following along at home!

Wednesday Weigh-In – Week Twenty-Two

last update: 15 June 2005

original start weight: 159.2 kg (351 lb) on 17 Jan 2001
original start bmi: 53.4

fresh start weight: 95.9 kg (211.4 lb) on 12 Jan 2005
fresh start bmi: 32.2

current weight: 84.5 kg (186.3 lb)
current bmi: 28.3

result this week: -2.2 kg (4.8 lb)

loss in 2005: -11.4 kg (25 lb)
total loss since 2001: -74.7 kg (164.6 lb)

initial goal weight: 75 kg (165 lb)
distance to goal: 9.5 kg  (21 lb)

I'm now below 85kg which is when I told myself I'd take a new progress photo. My mum recently emailed me some really bad Before Pics so I'll post them too so you can compare and contrast! As soon as I get round to doing the pics. Stay tuned, groovers!

Snap Crackle Pop

I have met some bloody brilliant people via this blog, and Argy is no exception. Ever since she first emailed me a year or so ago, I have always been besotted with her lush, sensual descriptions of her cooking, salads and fresh herbs. Every time she’d write about her dinner I’d ask her for a recipe. She recently sent the most killer wedding gift — a handmade recipe book. She also sent this kickass Tupperware container/salad spinner thingy that keeps your salads fresh for days and days. Then she bundled up some herbs that she’d dried herself – oregano, basil, sage, thyme, mint, dandelion – as well as homemade sundried tomatoes. Oooh delicious, I tells ya. The dried herbs you buy in the supermarket cannot compare to the ones dried by Argy on her balcony in Athens. And the tomatoes are so full of flavour, the Scottish Companion and I were just eating them straight out of the box. Thank you, foxy lady!

. . .

My wonky knee now issues a creaking, grinding sound and plain old walking is sometimes painful, so I’m going to see a physio tomorrow. It sounds like a textbook case of Runner’s Knee and a need for new shoes but I still want to get it checked out. Consequently I’ve not run since the 5k and have become antsy and worried my new muscles will dissolve overnight. For a non-impact workout I’m using the stationery bike at the gym which bores me shitless. I’d go swimming except I don’t have any swimming gear and OH YEAH, the small obstacle that I can’t bloody swim. I am thinking of trying an RPM class, the Les Mills answer to Spinning. I’ve heard it gets you truly sweaty. Can anyone vouch for RPM?
. . .

Dear Dieters of the World,

It has come to our attention that carbohydrates are getting all your attention lately. For example, if you fall into a bag of Doritos after work; or binge on a tub of ice cream or a family-size pizza, you have been referring to these incidents as a "bad carb binge" or "carb blowout" or similar. Sure, refined carbs are bad news but where there’s refined carbs there usually lurks US GUYS as well. It’s a team effort! Nine times out of ten we have had our finger in the pie and we want recognition for our role in keeping your ass fat!

Saturated Fat

. . .

Thank you for brilliant your comments on the last ranty ravey entry. And don’t be apologetic for any hints or tips, they are welcome! Deep down we all know that we know what to do to lose weight. Lord knows I should know that I know after four and bit gruelling years! But there are just some days when it goes tits up. For example, I know that I should stick to High Quality Chocolate, but sometimes I crave that sneaky interaction with the vending machine. I had the most brilliant, funny email from a girl named Rachel, who said on the subject of the sub-par Cadbury Twirl:

"By the time any of us has had the internal debate in our heads, no matter how good the chocolate, in those kind of circumstances it’s never going to live up to the ridiculous level of hype we have attached to it by that point. A Twirl will always be just a Twirl – not the route to world peace."

Damn straight. So what can I take from that experience?

  1. Accept that there is just going to be crazy days like that now and then.
  2. Vent about it on blog immediately afterwards. Demons begone!
  3. Get back on the wagon as quickly as possible

(I am pretty sure I have come to these very same startling conclusions on this site at least a dozen times now.)

So I am back on the wagon now. I have tied myself onto it with rope and stapled my mouth shut. I don’t know how I worked the stapler with my hands bound up like that, I guess I am more flexible than I thought. It feels good to be eating healthily. It’s this endless cycle of:

  1. Eat healthily
  2. Brief moment of eating rubbish, temporarily forgetting/ignoring how good eating healthy feels
  3. Remember how crap the rubbish eating feels
  4. Resume healthy eating.

But the upshot is the Unhealthy Eating phase get shorter and less damaging each time.

. . .

SC is in Libya til Wednesday for work. Libya! How crazy is that? I am surprised by how fiercely I miss him. Last year between his travels and mine, we were apart for about three months, but now we’re married and I’m mopey with him only away for just ten hours thus far.

I told him I was going to eat heaps of meat while he was away, all the lamb and mince and steak I’ve been craving during the past three months. Maybe I would just put a whole pig on a spit in the backyard. But now the Meaty Moment has arrived I’ve found I’m really not that fussed. I have enjoyed the vegetarian diet, it’s much less messy to cook and I am really, really lazy, don’t you know. Plus we eat fish at least once a week so it’s not proper vegie anyway.

Still, I often think of lamb. I saw a sheep in a field yesterday, snoozing in the sun, and I thought, "Mmm, roast lamb." Perhaps it’s time for some flesh after all.

Rebel Rebel

I just bought a Cadbury Twirl from the vending machine and ate it for No Bloody Reason At All. I am sitting here looking at the empty wrapper wondering why I did that. I didn't want it! I didn't need it. I didn't even enjoy it. I just had this urge to put the coins in the machine and get the goods. And this morning I had my healthy brekkie then ONCE AGAIN bought a scone from the Hot Roll Man.

I have so many good reasons to eat healthy and bust more lard. Two upcoming weddings OF MY OWN for starters. But it just doesn't seem to be enough to stop me from making these really stupid decisions. I gained 400g this week. Overall I ate healthily but just too much of it. But today, post weigh-in, I made two stupid purchases, that's 95p I'll never get back and about 600 extra calories and lord knows how much fat. I am trying to put my finger on this behaviour. Why why why?

After the disappointing gain I said to myself this morning, righto. I will not bring any cash to work so I can't buy any food. I will empty my wallet before I leave the house. But then I told myself that I didn't have time to empty it, otherwise I'd miss the train. By 9am I had talked myself into buying The Very Last Scone and from tomorrow onwards I would lead cashless, sconeless existence. It was good scone today. Fresh and fluffy.

Anyway I ate a perfectly healthy lunch of salad and leftoved pasta (with black olives and roasted veggies), some walnuts and an apple. You see, I have healthy snacks at work! Right now I have kiwifruit and Laughing Cow cheese triangles in the fridge, an orange on my bookshelf, a bag of walnuts in my desk. But I STILL found myself standing in front of the vending machine.

I was thinking, "Wow this is a pretty shit selection of chocs. None of these really appeal to me. Which is the best of the bunch?". There was a Flyte bar, which is a "reduced calorie" chocolate. But I refused to pay the same price for a chocolate that was half the size of the Normal ones. I mean, if you're going to go the vending machine you don't wanna get ripped off. Jeez.

So I bought this stupid Twirl and it tasted so ordinary. After the first finger I thought, Man, this is so ordinary. I don't even want this. But I ate the rest anyway. Within five seconds I was livid for ruining my Food Day with that shit. I mean, I slaved over my healthy pasta dish last night, I meticulously weighed out my museli and chopped up my banana for breakfast, I made my healthy salad the night before. I put so much effort into planning healthy meals and snacks, shopping for the right foods, including good fats and omega 3 and lean protein and slow burning carbs and whatnot. If I just ate what I'd planned I would have perfectly balanced, varied and delicious food each week with no need to feel deprived in any way. I really should have no need to eat anything else.

So why the hell do I engage in these random acts of sabotage?

What am I rebelling against?

With all my healthy meals and dedication to exercise lately, am I trying to see what I can get away with? How far I can push things?

Am I feeling "normal" coz I've been running and fitting into smaller clothes, therefore I'm feeling like I should be able to buy a choccie bar from the vending machine like Normal people do?

(I know Normal people don't do that all the time, but I harbour delusions that once you're in the Promised Land of a healthy weight you can just magically DO that kind of shit)

Is there some demented side of me that doesn't want to get to goal? That no longer feels any sort of urgency about the task? That doesn't want to look sexy hot when I go to Australia in October? That wants to languish in this semi-fat no man's land forever?

Do I feel some sort of rebellious glee by eating bad things at work, since I eat angelically at home when my husband is around? Even though I know I don't have to hide anything from him, but I seem to be assigning the same roles onto him as I did my parents (ie. They are the Food Cops, so I have to defiantly get my junk fix when they're not looking)

Am I just a big fat greedy guts?

It's probably a bit of all these things. Why can't it ever be a simple, clear-cut answer?

Step one tomorrow is NO CASH AT WORK.

Step two is to track my food and stick to my planned meals and snacks.

Step three is to talk to myself before I go to eat anything and ask, Do I need this? How will I feel about this when it's gone?

Step four is to lock myself in a room and just go ARRRRRRRRRRRGH! ARGH ARGH ARGH!

. . .

Have you heard about the Carnival of the Runners? It is:

"a weekly roundup of the best running-related blog posts". It’s here to interest, amuse, and hopefully inspire runners and non-runners alike who don’t have time to read 230+ running blogs each week."

I submitted my 5k race report in an attempt to take my running more seriously and sat it out and proud, etc etc. And huzzah, I made this week's Carnival at Seebo's site. Woohoo! You should go check it out, there's inspiration in buckets for runners and non-runners alike.

Incidentally, I may be full of rage today but this does not mean I was not thrilled with the comments on the last entry. I showed them all to the Scottish Companion and he was amazed by the kindness of internet people. I was chuffed that the story brought some tears to ears, coz I was crying when I wrote it! Hee hee. I wish every tear weighed a pound, really I do.

Going for Gold

Statistically, I seem to run best when it’s raining or a Sunday. Living in Scotland means there’s a one in seven chance of this happening. Yesterday was pouring, so I was optimistic that things would go okay!

I admit I felt a little overwhelmed and under prepared. I’d been training consistently for ten weeks, but little things threw me off. Like forgetting to bring my water bottle. Like waiting til the night to decide what to wear and finding nothing clean, thus having to wear whatever was the least stinky. Like not having safety pins to attach my race number to my t-shirt.

Who the hell has safety pins? My mum, my granny, my supremely organised sister: they have safety pins. I do not have safety pins. Do you think I could find any in the shops on Saturday afternoon? Nooo. I even tried pinning the number with some of those dinky rock band badges to no avail. Finally the Scottish Companion had the brainwave of stapling it on. This took around half an hour and our combined brain power to figure out. It is very difficult to staple a piece of paper onto thick cotton with a flimsy stapler; difficult to do it straight and difficult to avoid stabbing your boobs.

But it didn’t matter in the end. It was raining so steadily that I ended up my shitty waterproof jacket over the top so you couldn’t see the number anyway. The rain seemed to make the crowd even more loopy. It was a great atmosphere, no one was taking it too seriously. There were runners and walkers of all shapes and sizes; many with little pink signs on the back of their shirts with names of loved ones they’d lost to cancer. Every time I’d see someone with My Mum or Auntie Josephine on their backs I’d get a little teary. Except when I saw a wee girl with Kylie Minogue written on her back, I just cracked up laughing.

The rain came down even harder as we were lead through some warm-up aerobics. The water combined with 7000 women jumping up and down made big fat earthworms wash up to the surface. It was surreal. Then the race start was slightly delayed by a guy getting on stage to propose to his girlfriend. Creative, eh?

Finally it was time to line up. They had two big flags, one said Runners and the other Walkers. At first I thought there was going to be a middle-ground Joggers flag, but it was nowhere to be found. This sparked an existential debate with the Scottish Companion as to whether I was a Runner or a Walker.

“You haven’t been just walking these past ten weeks, have you?” he reasoned.

But I was having a last-minute panic and argue, “But I’m not exactly a runner, am I? I can’t run for longer than five minutes without feeling like I’m going to cark it!”.

He told me to just go join the runners and wished me luck. I gave him a kiss on his wet nose and scampered off. By then it was so crowded I ended up near the walkers, beside a girl dressed in a Batman suit. I was so bewildered by the crowd and the rain that I didn’t think to be nervous, just a faint notion that something exciting was about to happen. Somewhere in the distance the start horn thingy went off. It took five minutes to inch my way to the start line, then I hit the timer on my stop watch. Go go go!

It was then my trance broke and I panicked, What the hell!? What the hell!? What am I doing here?! Everywhere I looked there were legs and arms and numbers and puddles. I am not so good in crowds. Julia had advised me to start out slow so I wouldn’t fade at the end, so I did a very slow jog, ducking around walkers and water. Then the course headed up a hill and I thought Holy fuck. Bloody hills. Better not waste energy weaving around people. So I alternated fast walking with the slow jogging. Then I noticed that after that hill there was another, steeper hill. Bugger.

It was then I started to get cranky. Disclaimer: I was cranky already, my period arrived that morning. HOO-BLOODY-RAY for the feeling of piranhas gnawing your guts! So I was cursing the stupid hill and my stupid slow legs and the thousands of stupid runners cluttering up the road. It felt like it was taking forever. All I could think was, What’s so great about this running shit? Why do people rave on about it like it was so damn special? I recalled a comment Meg left on my last entry. She said I would love it! She said it changed the way she thought about herself forever. Well as I slugged up the hill I thought, YOU LIE, MEG! I DO NOT LOVE IT! It felt like I would never get up the top of that stinking hill, and furthermore I had seen no kilometre markers so I had no idea how far I’d gone or how far I had left to go. Bah!

Finally the course evened out and after a minute’s walk, I picked up the pace again. I began to relax. I acknowledged the view – a spectacular panorama of Edinburgh. Then some guy was shouting from the sidelines, “You’ve just passed the halfway mark, girls!”

Halfway?! Arrgh!

I looked at my watch and wasn’t too impressed with my time. Julia had told me not to worry about my time today, it was just about finishing the damn thing. But I felt slightly disheartened. It was then I gave myself a wee pep talk. Why are we here, Dietgirl?

  1. Because my excellent sponsors have given over £300 to cancer research and they deserve value for money.
  2. Because my husband trained with me all this time and I don’t want him thinking I’ve wasted his time.
  3. Because Mistress Julia has helped me so much and I want to impress her and make her proud.
  4. Because I have worked hard and I want to impress ME and make ME proud, dammit!

And I wouldn’t be satisified with taking forever to huff over the finish line either. I wanted to finish as strongly as I possibly could. I’d worked for ten weeks to get to this point, and it would never be My First Race ever again. I’d done some pretty half-assed runs in that ten weeks, so now I was going to stop the whining and bitching. No more bullshit! Just GO FOR GOLD!

I kicked up to a nice steady run. I reassured the lazy part of my brain that I could walk any time, but since the first half had been relatively slow I found that I had plenty of energy left. For the first time ever I really felt like I was cruising, that it was a perfectly natural thing for my body to be running. I found a steady rhythm and my breathing was good, not my usual desperate gasps for life.

The rained stopped and I wrestled off my crappy jacket, somehow tying it round my waist as I headed down the hill. I kept talking to myself, Just run one more minute then you can walk if you need to. But I just kept on running and it felt great.

And there was finally a sign – 500M TO GO. Holy crap! 500 metres! How far is 500 metres, I wondered? Ten laps of an Olympic pool. Ooh that sounds like ages, don’t think of it like that. Half a kilometre, that sounds ages too. Okay then. How about one and a bit laps of the running track. Hey that’s not so bad! I can handle that! So I took it up another notch. I have no idea where that energy came from but I’d never run so fast before. It felt fantastic!

As I approached the finish line I started grinning. I couldn’t help it, I would have giggled had I had enough breath left. I was just so surprised to be there. Grin grin grin. When I finally crossed it I suddenly felt a big sob sneak up to my throat. What the hell?!

I glanced at my watch – 35:15. I could not believe that time. Ten weeks ago I could barely run for one minute, yet I’d just run over half the course non-stop. I was euphoric. I, Dietgirl formerly of the Whole Pints Of Ice Cream In One Sitting, had finished a 5k race. It felt amazing! Meg wasn’t lying to me after all! Bless her cotton socks.

I got my goodie bag and scanned the crowds for SC, wandering around in a daze with trembling legs. It was the strangest mix of emotions I’d ever known. I began making these garbled, gulping, strangled chicken noises – this is what happens when you try and cry and get your breath back at the same time. It is physically impossible.

By the time I finally found SC I had my breath back so I was able to just sob uncontrollably on his shoulder. The poor bastard look very confused. Blame my hormones, blame relief and surprise and intense personal satisfaction, but I was crying for Scotland!

Later on I felt embarrassed by my hysterics. After all it was Just A 5k. It wasn’t even a proper race, it was a charity event. And people run marathons all the time, hell they run across continents or sail around the world blindfolded with one arm chopped off! I was all ready to downplay the whole day and dismiss it as a freak accident of nature and stomp out any sense of achievement. But as I’ve reminded myself countless times during my Lard Busting Journey, you can’t compare your achievements to someone elses. All you can do is compare where you’ve been and where you are now, and what you chose to do in between.

I also remembered a day back in January 2001 when I’d stood at the bottom of the stairs in my flat, trying to summon the energy to walk up the dozen steps to get to my bedroom. That had felt like an impossible task. Compare that to yesterday when I stood at the bottom of a FREAKY BIG HILL and running to the top seemed an impossible task. There’s no denying that 5k was a huge personal achievement.

I cannot express to you how amazing it felt to do something that I thought I never, ever could do. I am so grateful to Julia for helping me, to SC for patiently training with me, and to all you groovers for your encouragement and extremely generous donations. This may sound ridiculous but I am more emotional about yesterday than I was on my freaking wedding day! There is no better feeling in the world than to take your mind and body to some place you thought it couldn’t go; a place you thought it didn’t belong. You should all try it sometime.


The Race for Life is SUNDAY! Oh my blood gawd! How did that get here so quickly!?

After my usual grumpy start, I was euphoric at the end of Wednesday night’s running session. There was a 5k race in our park last weekend so we’d followed the race route to see if I was capable of making the distance. And I did! Sure it wasn’t much faster than if I’d walked the whole thing, but the ground had been covered. I was over the moon. We were just walking home when a swarm of Running Club people went by. Their leader suddenly jogged over to me and said, "Hi, I’m from JogScotland. We run clinics in the park all the time and in case you’re interested in some company, we’re starting another one next week."

"Oh, that’s okay, I’m – "

"Beginners are welcome! Even if you can only run thirty seconds! Or less!"

Chit chat, chit chat, and off he went. SC and I were in hysterics. Thirty seconds OR LESS?! I’d just done forty! This is what happens when your face goes flaming red when you run. Or when you’re snailishly slow. People assume you’re in dire need of help. Hehe.

Speaking of help, if you’d like to help the very worthy cause of Cancer Research UK, you may wish to sponsor me for Sunday’s race. You can donate online with a credit or debit card. Even if you’re outside Britain, one tiny little pound would be a huge help. It all adds up very quickly! I’ve raised £160 so far and it’s really helping to motivate my lardy arse. Thanks, groovers!

I gained 100 grams this week. As my old Weight Watchers weigh-lady used to say, "You could have peed that out!".

A week of healthy eating and exercise was blemished by Black Friday. I’d already eaten my yogurt, banana and seeds for brekkie; but for some reason I thought it would be good idea to buy a scone from the Hot Roll Guy at work. It was half-stale but I still ate 3/4 of it! What a pork! Then one of my colleagues brought in Cakes and there was the irresistible Marks & Spencer Caramel Shortcakes. I calculated I’d have enough calories and fat grams left to afford one piece. So I ate it, and I loved it. But then I had another one. And a chocolate mini-roll. Yikes.

Then Friday night the Scottish Companion and I went out with an old school friend of his and the friend’s wife. There must have been some residue of being nervous about meeting new people, because I slammed down a glass of white wine very quickly. A large glass. And I don’t even like white wine. Good lord, it went straight to my head. We headed to the pub where I proceeded to tackle another glass.

Then someone decided we should shoot some pool. My problem was I’d never played pool before. I may have been drunk, and I may be The New Dietgirl Who Doesn’t Care What People Think, HOWEVER having a big stick in my hand and being asked to do something sporty is quite a different story. I am bad at following instructions at the best of times, but while slumped over a green felt table makes it even more challenging. But I managed to sink a few balls. I was distraught coz I put a red ball in the pocket when I’d been aiming for the yellow. My teammate was cheering, I asked why? BECAUSE WE WERE THE RED TEAM, that’s why. Oh. Lucky fluke!

Anyway we went back to their house and it was suggested us ladies do that old WW chestnut, the white wine spritzer. Because clearly we needed to slow down. I was sent into the kitchen to get the tonic water. Only by this stage properly mobility had deserted me, so I had to crawl on my hands and knees. I was not thinking straight. Which could explain why I thought it was a great idea when the wife put some pizza and some crispy duck pancakes in the oven for a midnight snack. I had two pieces of pizza and three little pancakes. When I woke up Saturday morning feeling quite unwell, there were six Cadbury Roses wrappers in the pocket of my jeans. Good lord.

This is why I so rarely drink. Eurrrgh! Sure I had a fun time on Friday but I hated the fatty bloated stinky feeling that came afterward. Next time I will stick to my gin and tonics as I am able to stay conscious on those. White wine is the devils liquid!

So anyway, I ate and exercise angelically for the rest of the week which is how I managed to get away with a 100g gain.

. . .

I partially blame The Compliments. I can’t remember the last time someone noticed I’d lost weight, but last week it happened twice. I let it go to my head and I think it had a lot to do with my slackarse eating. First a colleague said something nice, then on Thursday SC was outside talking to the girl who lives upstairs. He soon came running back in, "Hee hee! You’ll never guess what just happened.". Apparently the boyfriend of the girl who lives upstairs had observed from his kitchen window that SC and I have been regularly trotting out to the park and he remarked, "SC’s girlfriend has lost a whore a lot o’ weight!".

I had to get SC to repeat that sentence about six times because I couldn’t understand the garbled Scots accent, it just sounded like hooraloddawheet to me. Apparently the guy also told her, "Whatever she is doing, you should do it too!" in reference to the size of her butt. This guy spends his life pulling apart cars and putting them back together again, so I must admit I was delighted that a slightly chauvinistic creature thought I was shrinking. It seems so much more valid if a beefy bloke notices, as opposed to a sensitive mother or considerate husband. Does that make any sense?