Kick and Scream

Wednesday Weigh-In Week 252 — 0.4 kg lost. That’s 72.9 kilos gone in total. Which means I’ve blasted 86.72% of my excess lard, with 11.3 kilos to go. Beware of the StatsDork!

Life has been boring lately, and that’s just fine by me. It’s been a chaotic year, what with that ridiculously short engagement, moving house, running off to Vegas, Home Office wrangling, forays into running, media whoring and all those silly weddings. And of course that came after two years of madness with moving overseas and becoming a travelling bum. So it’s a pleasant change to slip into a  predictable-days quiet-nights boring married person routine for awhile.

Not that I intend becoming a boring married person and surrendering to middle aged cliches – I’m too used to adventure now to ever allow that to happen. But I am using this break from Excitement to tackle the steaming pile of neglect that has been my Everyday Life. I made a list of all the mundane tasks that I’ve been avoiding for years and have been slashing through said list like a madwoman. The Scottish Companion caught the same bug so together we have completely blitzed our little flat and now it’s really becoming a cosy home.

We have sorted out every single cupboard, wardrobe, drawer, shelf, cardboard box, suitcase and hidey-hole. I can now find towels in the linen cupboard, and know the whereabouts of all my socks and undies thanks to a new chest of drawers in the bedroom. The cutlery is sorted in an organiser tray, instead of being randomly shoved into the kitchen drawer in a tangled pile of metal. My shoes are in a shoe rack thingy. My coats are on hangers instead of the Towering Chair Pile of Doom. All the DVDs are on the shelf, together at last! The old magazines have been recycled. The bank statements have been filed. Two years of recipes and exercise articles and crappy holiday souvenirs have been sorted into smug little folders with dividers and labels and plastic sleeves. The study is still tidy and I have room for my Reebok step and weights so I can do some lifting without the barbell clonking into the walls. I can even lift weights naked now because we finally have some curtains up. Huzzah!

Oooh just stepping inside the flat after work these days makes me shudder with multiple geekgasms; there’s a place for everything and everything’s in its place! I can flop down on the couch knowing I won’t get a remote control stuck up my arse because they’re safely nestled in the designated Remote Control Bowl. Joy!

It may sound like I am exaggerating the positive effect of a good spring cleaning, but it really has put me in a positive, productive frame of mind. I feel calm and sane, it’s great not having to waste so much energy on domestic minutiae. This mood has carried over to my Lard Busting Mission, where I’m still chugging along nicely. I did all my exercise last week and ate well. The scales showed a small loss, but my clothes are fitting like a dream and I have loads more energy. I am desperate to blast the last of my blubber but I am not going to set deadlines or crazy targets. Consistency, focus and hard work over time without extremes – that is best for my body and more importantly for my mental health.

Dude, winter! It sucks.

Well, it has its advantages. Like hiding under layers of clothing. There was a total of one day this summer that I had to Get My Legs Out in public. One DAY it was hot enough for a skirt. 26 bloody degrees. You almost forget you even have legs living in Scotland. Of course, you get the skanky types that put their pale and mottled pins in a mini-kilt in January, but if you’re a shy thing like me you can get away with jeans all year round. It wasn’t til I was back in Australia that I remembered how loathsome and doughy my thighs are. It is much easier being fat in a cold climate.

One disadvantage of winter is that the sun doesn’t rise til 9am and it sets about 4pm. I leave for work at 6.30am and get home at 5.30 – 6pm, so I live in a world of darkness. You can see how this sucks if you want to be a runner. Especially when the local council doesn’t turn on the lights in the lovely big local park and running on the pavement makes your knees hurt and that’s if/when the pavement isn’t bloody icy. I still have the weekend, but that’s not enough. I need to add in some treadmill runs. This worries me though as my knee still isn’t 100%. Despite my beautiful new running shoes my knee has resumed with the crunchy noise and never feels quite right when I run. I could do 75 RPM or Body Combat classes and not feel a twinge, but after one or two runs the knee protests again. I need to revisit the exercises the physio gave me and worker hard on my leg strength. I wasn’t consistent enough with it before. Bad me.

I was ranting about the winter weather dilemma in an email to the amazing running guru Julia, and among her repsonse she said, If you’re not that into running it’s really difficult to get any enthusiasm up for it during the winter.

This really got me in the guts and I’ve been thinking about it all day. I so desperately want running to work for me. Why? Just the memory of that 5k race and how the months of effort culminated in that amazing feeling of achievement. I love how running is about self-discipline and gut-busting effort. I love how I hate most every step of a running session but get such a thrill when I’ve finished it. But am I really into it?

I’ve been going back to Body Combat classes lately, and while I enjoy the kicking and punching, I don’t hate it like I hate running. And that is disappointing. I don’t get that feeling halfway through the class of, "I can’t do this! I am going to die! It’s too much!". THAT is how I measure a good workout these days – whether or not I feel that perverse physical and mental pain. Body Combat feels a little girly now, to be honest. On the other hand. I hate my RPM (spinning) class just as much as running. I watch the clock during every song, feeling my quad muscles prickle and scream, glaring at the instructor and wanting to cry. It’s only 45 minutes but you can push hard and make it burn like hell. I loathe it, but that is what I love about it. Does that make any sense?

So we’ve established I like the idea of pushing yourself to physical and mental limits, which is something I discovered via my forays into running. But I don’t know if I am into running or just the idea of running/ being a runner. I loved the whole process of learning about it — being virtually trained by Julia, the planning and routines, the magazines and books, the web forums and shoe guides. But the actual running? The long-suffering Scottish Companion could attest to my tedious bitching about every single step, which almost overshadowed the post-run euphoria. And with this on-again off-again knee problem, I question my commitment with my reluctance to spend money on physio or orthotics or whatever it would take to get it sorted. And I know if I was really into running, I would buy some crazy winter snow-proof running shoes and thermal pants and strap a torch to my forehead and go out running in the winter dark.

Am I just making excuses? Am I just not into it? Am I just a casual summer runner? Am I a whingey, lazy bastard or is it just not for me? I will have to get back to you on that one.

The Mantra

Wednesday Weigh-in, Week 251 — 1.1 kilos gone. Huzzah! 11.7 kilos to go.

I am still 2.2 kilos above my lowest weight this year – I was 84.5 for one magical week way back in June when I did the Grazia photoshoot, although that may have been me being so nauseous with terror that I barely ate. However, I can now officially say five weeks after returning to the UK I have finally lost the Australia Lard.

Next mini-goal is to get under the elusive 84.5 and finally be back in Virgin Fat territory.

I know I shouldn’t number crunch too much, but at this stage I need to focus on the numbers. The little details. I need to remember how little there is to go, compared to all that came before. All week I’ve been haunted by that stupid ticker with its cheery refrain, "71 kilos lost, 13 to go!". Thirteen to go, dammit. If I’ve managed to bust 71 kilos – a whole STURDY PERSON – then I know I can lose 13 more. That’s a chubby toddler at most.

I can do this. I can do this.

I was talking to myself all week. When confronted by cakes or gym apathy or admiring tiny jeans in the shops, I mumbled my mantra, "Thirteen to go!".

And now it’s Eleven Point Seven to go, so it must be working alright.

I am trying to frame things in a positive light, instead of mopey thoughts like comparing my weight loss progress to other people’s weight loss progress, or dwelling on my slow progress in the past six months (At least I have the ability to maintain, ha!). All this self-talk is helping, as I am staying conscious of my food choices and feel balanced again. I’m in control, and I feel that hunger is back – the hunger to achieve and push myself hard.

I could write more, but it’s snowing here in Edinburgh today and I just want to look out the window and squeal. Plus 75% of you readers are American and lazing on your couches in a turkeymarshmellow stupor so you won’t be reading blogs anyway, so I’ll save it for another day. Bon weekend, my pretties!

Wednesday Weigh In – Week 250

So I did a bit of number crunching and figured this is Week 250 of my lard-busting journey. I lost 0.5 kg (1lb) this week for a total loss of 71.4 kg (157.4 lb). Which means my average weekly loss over the past 4.75 years is…. 0.2856kg. Approximately 0.6lb per week.

Bloody hell! That is a depressing statistic. 250 weeks and still not finished. And most of that weight came off in the first year! Oh well. Can’t dwell on the numbers. Plus I have had a lot of fun while losing so slowly over the past four years, I can’t deny that.

I was slightly disturbed by my eating behaviour in Australia.  There were a lot of local delicacies I’d missed and it was inevitable that I’d eat them, but it’s the way that I ate them that’s not right. I feel weird confessing this, as I know the Scottish Companion reads this site now, but in the spirit of honesty I’ll press on.

It started with the packet of Arnotts Assorted Creams. I bought them to gloat to SC about the superiority of Australian biscuits – Shortbread Creams, Kingstons, Monte Carlos, oh my! SC, Mum and I sat round after dinner and had a couple each over a cup of tea. Deeeelicious as ever. Subtle and satisfying. The leftovers went into a Tupperware container on top of the fridge. That I proceeded to raid at any given opportunity.

If Mum was hanging washing on the line or the Scottish Companion went for a shower, I’d tiptoe into the kitchen and prise open a corner of the lid, snaking my fingers inside and plucking out whatever was in reach. I’d try and savour each bite, but most often the fear of getting caught had me shoving it into my gob and gnashing away, brushing crumbs off my boobs at the same time.

The thing is, I don’t need to do this anymore. My mother is no longer a Food Ogre. After years of Issues we have both reached a place of calm and sanity where I can eat whatever I like in front of her and do not feel one single skerrick of guilt or judgement. There’s no Pursed Lips of Disapproval anymore, no "Haven’t you had enough?" or, "You don’t need that!". There hasn’t been for years. Yet still I felt propelled to the fridge by some urgent compulsion, like, "Quick! Eat all the nice food while noone’s looking!".

At one point on our holiday I had a small bar of chocolate in my bag, and secretly reached in and broke bits off throughout the day. I guess I should be happy that it was just a wee 50g Cadburys, but why the need to hide it? SC was right there with me when I bought it. He knew I had it and planned to eat it that day. So why the need for cloak and dagger antics?

This isn’t so much a problem now we’re back home, as there’s nothing in the pantry that I want to stuff into my mouth with wild abandon. Carrots? Miso paste? Frozen broccoli and cauliflower? Maybe I just fell into my old role of sneaky little fat kid since I was back home with my family after so long. But I know I still do this from time to time, and I don’t want to panic every time there’s appealing food around. I want to look at a box of chocolates and think, I might have one of those, instead of, I might have one of those, then sneak a few into my pocket when noone’s looking.

I’ve talked about Secret Eating on here before, and always attributed it to leftover Secret Fat Chick behaviour that I hadn’t quite gotten over yet. But it feels more like a compulsion than about the food itself.

I’ve also vaguely mentioned my food fascist former stepfather. He presided over my mother’s dinner plate, passing judgement and making cruel comments. He was skinny, so this is how he got to make himself feel superior. His constant negativity was passed on to my sister and I.

So I turned sneaky. If we made cakes for a bake sale, I’d deliberately make too much icing so the leftover bowl would be in the fridge for me to dip into later. If we made an extra batch of cookies for the freezer, I’d sneak into the kitchen in the middle of the night, slip a few into my pocket then eat them frozen under my bedcovers. I’d spend any pocket money on chocolates, hide inside my wardrobe and eat them by torchlight. I’d sneak extra biscuits at my grandmothers house, sneak chips and chicken nuggets when I worked at KFC.

Once when I was eight, I saved up a bunch of two-cent coins and got a friend to buy me some chocolate buttons from the corner shop on the way to her bus stop. The next day she handed over the loot in a little white paper bag. I’d never been allowed lollies in a white paper bag before. Sweeeeeet. I hid in a quiet corner of the playground, scoffed them down then hid the bag in a tree hollow. My mother taught at my school at the time so I felt I’d gotten away with murder.

When I left home, as we all know, I continued to sneak. But since the sneakery went from the occasional spoonful of icing to two-litre tubs of ice cream or two Extra Value Meals, inevitably my weight soared out of control.

My mother is no longer with my stepfather. And I sorted my issues with Mum, with a series of screaming arguments about five years ago. I finally let fly with all the crap that had been bubbling beneath the surface and ever since we’ve had a great relationship – mature, understanding and honest.

I don’t think that my recent sneaky eating was so much Fat Chick behaviour as just leftover childhood crap. Sometimes I think my fat is just an unfortunate side effect of the past. When I’ve sneaked food it happened in a robotic trance, disappearing down my trap before I’ve even registered the taste. It felt like danger and rebellion. Most times I didn’t even have a particular craving for the food, I just saw it and felt compelled to snatch up the opportunity in case it never happened again.

What do you do with this knowledge? Do I call a shrink? I don’t think I need to go that far. I have long acknowledged how the past affected me and moved on.

But there’s still some pesky hangovers.  Just last week there was a huge bowl of Lindt truffles at my hairdressers with a Please Take One sign. I took one, but waited until noone was looking and quickly unwrapped it, scoffed it, then stashed the wrapper into my handbag. They were MEANT to be for the customers but again I felt the need to slink around!

I need to remember that I am not a child anymore. No one is watching the way I eat, noone is judging me, least of all my bloody hairdresser. So I don’t need to be sneaky. I don’t need to be a rebel anymore.

Mrs Feta

I don't want to write about Feelings and Issues today. This is not to say I have resolved all my Feelings and Issues vis-a-vis my blubber, in fact I've had a few dazzling Lightbulb Moments lately. But I am tired of the public introspection, and feel increasingly conscious that between my two blogs there's a vast portion of my brain archived on the Goog for the world to see. So right now I just feel like figuring things out in my head and quietly getting on with it.

Instead we could talk about porridge, and how I've become obsessed with it. I used to loathe the stuff, but then SC whipped some up last weekend and I discovered it was actually quite delicious. Now I'm zapping it in the microwave when I get to work each morning, the perfect antidote to half an hour's chilly trek to the train station. It takes about four minutes, with four pauses to stir. Sometimes I'll have it with banana, other times I'll chuck in a chopped up apple for the last minute of cooking. You can pretend it's apple crumble. I use chunky Tesco Organic Oats and all milk – no water, because watery porridge makes it feel like prison rations.

I've also been making a few old Weight Watchers recipes. When I say old I'm talking 1985 old. My mother used to be a WW leader, or lecturer as they were called in those days. (Lecturer conjures up lovely images of some dowdy old marm at the scales, wagging a finger at a poor woman who ate an extra orange or Imitation Bacon Bit). Mum was a brilliant leader, and often cooked WW recipes at home and brought them in to show the members – healthy cakes, slices, savouries. Sometimes she'd even do live cooking demonstrations. Once she brought in the electric frypan and showed the class how to stir fry without any fat. My sister and I were her able assistants. I still remember the smell of the hot carrots and gently toasting sesame seeds, and the scchhhhhhhhhhhh sound when I knocked over the huge glass jar of seeds and they scattered all over the floorboards. I remember looking at the ladies in their semi-circle of metal chairs. Did they want to drop to their knees and gobble up those seeds? Did they wonder how many Optional Kilojoules they contained?

Ahh, happy days. I think that's why Weight Watchers never hooked me years later when I became a member myself. The leaders never razzle-dazzled like my Mum.

Anyway, she had us cooking the dinner from about age seven, so dozens of ancient WW recipes are imprinted on my skull. Like Pita Pizzas, Balti Beef, and Pineapple Upside Down Cake. One old standard was the Spinach Pie. I wouldn't dare call it Spanikopita for fear of Argy hunting me down, it's hardly authentic Greek fare. But it's easy, healthy and delicous

SPINACH PIE

  1. Get a huge bunch of spinach (we often had silverbeet because that's what was in the garden) and chop it up into fine pieces. Or use a large pack of defrosted frozen spinach, but squeeze all the water out.
  2. Dump that in a bowl along with a finely chopped onion onion, a large tub of low fat cottage cheese, two eggs, and generous gratings of cracked black pepper and nutmeg.
  3. Get a big baking dish, brush it with skim milk then plonk down on a sheet of filo pasty. You know the drill with filo pastry – lubricate between layers! Traditionally you'd use melted butter or oil but Mum used skim milk and it works just fine. I use a canola spray if really lazy.
  4. Once you have a two or three base layers, spread the spinach mix over the top.
  5. Add a few more layers of filo. Don't forget the lube.
  6. I usually score the pastry at this point into 8 slices, makes it easier to serve later.
  7. Bake for about 40 minutes in a moderate oven or until golden.

I made this when I first moved in with SC after not eaten it for about 15 years. We had it so many times growing up that I vowed never to go near it again. But the need to find interesting vegetarian meals made me revisit. Now I use a smaller tub of cottage cheese and a 200g block of crumbled feta cheese, because I freaking LOVE feta and would leave SC and marry feta if it was socially acceptable.

You can do it without the pastry if carbs offend you. And you can add some chopped dill or parsley to give it even more flavour. I've also successfully made it with broccoli and cauliflower, because I accidentally bought 3 x 1.5kg bags of broccoli & cauliflower florets in a tragic online grocery shopping incident. You just steam up a whole bunch then chop it up finely and add to the cheese/egg mixture. Sometimes I even just stab it with my stab blender instead of chopping, because I am lazy and just like the stabbing action. Rarrr!

All hail the Scottish Companion! While I've been busy being lazy, he scanned that Cosmopolitan story for me. He's a good egg.

It's not the most bedazzling thing ever written but groovy all the same. It's also the same photo as the Grazia story as I am not the type of person that a magazine would fly to the other side of the world just to snap their picture, mwahah. ( Behold, Cosmo1  Page 1 and  Cosmo2   Page 2.)

The issue came out while we were in Australia, so I had the hysterical experience of seeing people reading it on the train or at the beach. On our last day in Melbourne we were in the queue at Safeway when SC poked me  – the chick in front of us was buying the magazine. I wanted to tap her on the shoulder as she flipped through the pages and say, "Hey, look on page 257. It's me! YES, me right here behind you, the chick who lost all that weight." Except I had two blocks of Cadbury's and a bag of Cherry Ripes in my basket.

Blessed Are The Listmakers

Righto. Let’s get on with it.

As always I’m squirming after writing such an emotive entry. Do you people realise how lucky you are? (Insert smirk here.) Because year after year I keep letting it all hang out for the masses, documenting every bad mood, every tantrum and ill-considered rant despite the fact so many people are watching, many of whom I know.

It’s a love/hate relationship with blogging. Each entry is a snapshot of a sliver of time in which you might not necessarily be at your most articulate. You put it out there then leave yourself vulnerable to all sorts of feedback. And quite often by the time you hit the Publish button, you’ve written yourself out of the crappy mood anyway.

Nevertheless, it’s invaluable to have a record of a rollercoaster journey. You can see the patterns of behaviour. For example, you can see parallels in my recent behaviour to how I felt two months after I moved to Scotland – bleak thoughts, overwhelmed, unmotivated, hopeless, teary, excessive self-pity… excessive self-deprecation to disguise the self-pity. Back then I quickly identified this as potential depression, going on my previous episodes. But because I caught it so early on, I kicked into preventative action right away.

The night I posted the last entry, I couldn’t sleep and was just lay there doing that crying-quietly-in-the-dark thing and wondered what the hell to do. I felt the fog was rolling in and I didn’t have control of my life or emotions. I considered going to the doctor and asking for anti-depressants. I wanted to wave the white flag and cry, Yep, I’m back down here again. Someone please help me back up!

But then I realised why I felt so goddamn awful. I simply stopped looking after myself. I’d let a few weeks of holiday indulgence drag on for another three weeks once I got back home. After that one jetlagged Body Pump class, I’d only done two more classes in three weeks. I ate a tonne of chocolate and toast and cheese and assorted crap. Yes, I was feeling so miserable to be back in Scotland and all the issues in the last entry — but I had exacerbated and prolonged the problem by letting my physical health slip.

That may sound simplistic to you, but this is how it works for me. My mental and physical health go hand in hand. After much trial and error I finally figured out that regular exercise and healthy eating were just as effective for me as the loony pills. Actually, more so. As soon as I am looking after my body and getting the happy chemicals flowing, I am able to cope with challenges. It clears the fog, instantly boosts my self esteem, helps me see solutions to problems, and gives me the energy to take action.

So I wasn’t going to surrender. I’d caught it early again and I knew what I had to do. The more you know yourself, the quicker you can fix yourself.

Sunday afternoon I went for a run with the Scottish Companion. Good lord, I was shite! I’ve barely run at all since the Race of Life 5k in June because of my knee injury. At 4.30pm it was already dark and freezing and they hadn’t turned the lights on in the park. But we walk/ran for fifty minutes, me huffing and puffing and trying to find the light button on my stopwatch. After awhile I was so hot, my skin burned and I had to take my gloves off. But it was fucking brilliant! Aside from an occasional dog walker, the park was quiet and empty. I just lost myself in the sensation of making my body do what it’s meant to do. Running is such a sensual experience compared to being in the gym with a squawky instructor. It’s all fresh air, trees, icy wind blasting your face, screaming muscles, and the amazing feeling and rhythm of your legs just striding out over and over.

And it totally worked. Fifty minutes and I felt like my mojo was back.

I’m determined to get things in order. For the past three years I’ve used small Moleskine journals as an organiser, writing down all my lists of things to do, goals, recipes, story ideas, overhead conversations, travel details, important numbers in one handy place. I’d just filled my third up last week, so I’ve got a brand new empty one. It’s all rather symbolic, yo. The last one covers August 2004 til now, including trips to the Baltic States, Spain, USA, Australia, plus 5k training notes, journalist’s phone numbers and three weddings worth of To Do lists. Looking back through my scribbles I know it was the most incredible year-and-a-bit of my life. As many of you commented, I have had some non-fat achievements. But now I have a new book and all those empty pages to fill with new goals, ideas and adventures.

On the first page I’ve already made a list of all sorts of things I want to do, both specific goals and lofty dreams.

It was an all-action weekend, really. We have been DIY-ing like mofos to turn our spare room into a study. The Scottish Companion works from home, but his office has been the couch. Which means there’s no separation of his home/work lives, leading to major frazzlement. And also, I’ve been longing for a quiet space to shut the door and do some writing when his pals are over. SO, we painted the walls, bought a desk and bookshelves and big leather executive chair that looks like the kind of thing an movie villain would sit in and stroke a fluffy cat.

The transformation wasn’t a quick process, especially when SC forgot the 5-litre paint pot was sitting on top of the step ladder when he moved it, launching Dulux Natural Straw all over the door, wall, ceiling and the one patch of carpet we hadn’t covered. Oh yeah, and on SC’s head and crotch (HILarious!). But the hard graft was deeply satisfying in a nerdly DIY sort of way. It’s finally starting to feel more like our home, instead of me just visiting SC’s Grotty Student Digs. Now I can’t to settle down and get on with my writing goals.

So things are looking up, huzzah!

Minor Identity Crisis

Dietgirl visitors were curious about the reactions I got back in Australia. I was approximately 20 kilos lighter and three sizes smaller than when I left in 2003, so it was a decent difference. Everyone was really sweet about it. I got a few "Oh my god look at YOU, you're so SKINNY!" kind of reactions which are always fun. I also got a lot of incredulous shaking of the heads and little smiles, "You're looking great, you know. Really really really great!" Which is a really polite way of saying, "Holy CRAP you were fat before. I didn't want to say anything at the time but I was worried you might explode! So what a relief to see you somewhat deflated!"

I was reunited with my precious gang of high school buddies at the Aussie wedding. It's now ten years since we left school, and we're scattered all over the countryside. It was incredible to hear what everyone's been up to, some of them have some really interesting careers. I hadn't seen many of them for five years or more so they didn't know what I really did for a living. I just sprouted some self-deprecating jokes about my glittering secretarial career. But then one of my closer friends piped up, "What about your writing? What about the Cosmo story?".

"Oh yeah," I mumbled, "That."

"You wrote a story for Cosmo?" said one of my mates, "Wow!"

"Yeah…"

"So what was it about?"

"Umm…"

Here's the thing. In the first five years after I left high school, I soared from a sturdy size 18 to bursting out of a size 26. During those five years I was one depressed/ depressing anti-social mofo, outwardly happy and jolly for awhile but then descending into full hermit-mode. I kept in touch via email and phone, but for the most part managed to physically avoid my old friends during my very fattest days. I hid away until a wedding in 2002, and by then I'd shrunk back into a size 18/20, was off my pills and was once again a functioning member of society. It was like the Dark Days™ never happened!

"Welllllll, this will be news to you all, but after we left school I got really honking hugely overweight!" I blurted. "And then I lost a shitload of it, wrote about it for a book, then Cosmo picked it up and asked me to write an article, and that's about it really!"

"Cool! That's fantastic!"

"Ah! Yeah."

That little incident has been stuck in my mind ever since. I can't stop thinking about the past ten years – all the things my friends and I had done, and the fact that my decade was dominated by my goddamn fat. I spent the first five years accumulating ridiculous amounts of it, then the next five obsessed with making it go away. Sure I had some interesting travels, and even had a decent career back in Australia — but when it came time to summarise a decade of achievements, the overwhelming theme was my bloody weight.

Then there's the writing thing. I've know since I was in kindergarten that all I wanted to do was write. And this year I amazingly got paid to write and saw my name in print a few times – the most incredible rush you can imagine. But again, it was about the fat. I am proud as punch to be published, but there's part of me that is both amused, frustrated and embarrassed that I had to become obese in order to find something to write about. That I had to lose half my body weight in order to write something publishable.

It feels so awkward when old pals ask, "Are you still writing? Have you got anything published yet?" and I have to explain this whole stupid saga about how I got fat and blogged ("What's a blog?") and blah blah blah. It doesn't feel like a legitimate achievement. I mean, I've always been uncomfortable to class losing weight as one of my "achievements". It only reminds me that as a pampered Westerner I had the luxury of being able to "achieve" obesity in the first place. And to earn some cash by writing about it somehow feels even more ridiculous.

Most of all it just makes me think, what the hell have I been doing for ten years? And all the years before that, even when I was six years old, when everything I said or did I was tainted by my weight.

All these questions are churning in my head.

What do I want to write about besides fat?
What are my hobbies aside from losing weight?
What do I want to do with my life?
What do I want to be able to say I've achieved when my friends meet up in another ten years?

Even though I moved to Scotland and had adventures, I still feel like my life has been too much about my weight. I must have buried my personality in the food I binged on, but I don't seem to have found it again as I've lost weight. While my husband is madly into his music and motorbikes and whatnot, I struggle to list any true hobbies of my own. Blogging? Body Pump?

What's most annoying is that while I am so fucking sick of my life being about my fat, I am still overweight and my jeans may just slice me in half  today. Almost five years and I've not finished the job.

The glaring absence of Dietgirl entries since I returned from Oz is due to me wallowing in this minor identity crisis; and generally being a sullen, dejected and apathetic little shite. Homesickness hasn't helped either. But I've realised I need to find a balance between getting to a healthy size and GETTING A LIFE. I need to figure out who I am and who I want to be apart from That Chick That Lost Heaps Of Weight. There is so much more to me than that, and it'll be fun trying to work out what that is.

Okay, enough of this navel-gazing wankery. Someone from work could be reading.