Scrag Fighter

I’m in loooooooove with the kickboxing. It’s all I can think about lately. And it’s only Friday today, why must Monday be so far away? That’s when I’ll wake up smiling, knowing there’sonly ten hours til I can kick and punch once more.

It usually takes me ages to get in the mood for exercise; I start out praying for power failures, earthquakes or similar catastrophes so I can go home. But at kickboxing class I’m hyper right away, smashing my glove into my fist with gleeful anticipation. The delirium lasts the whole hour, even when we do six kinds of push ups and torturous abdominal exercises. When I’m waiting my turn to mock-clobber somebody, I bounce on the spot impatiently. I look at the clock and ache to slow down time, so it never has to end. Afterwards, I go home and corner Gareth in the kitchen, then slap him around a bit to show him what I’ve learned.

All that said, I’m pretty rubbish at it. I have trouble interpreting instructions, even when the dude demonstrates the moves. We tried spin kicks last week, and I couldn’t grasp the concept AT ALL. Instead of one simple swivel-then-kick, I wheeled around and around like a discus thrower, not knowing when to let go.

There’s an advanced class after our wee beginner’s one, and those chicks look pretty hardcore. They’ve won proper medals and everything. I don’t really fancy getting that serious, but I’m determined to reach a higher level of bumbling incompetence. So please Santa, bring me a punching bag for Christmas!!)

I don’t know why I’m so hooked; I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly aggressive person. Perhaps, subconsciously, I yearned to be a playground scrag fighter and now I’m fulfilling my destiny. Maybe I can persuade the instructor to hold a class on a football field at the local high school. Someone will yell out “SCRAG FIGHT!”, then a big cloud of students will descend, forming a circle around me and a scrawny opponent. Fight fight fight! I’ll draw some tattoos on my arm with a pen; maybe paint my fingernails with Tippex, so I look extra tough.

(I don’t know what you call fighting chicks in your part of the world, but where I come from they were known as Scrag Fighters, which is just a delicious pair of words don’t you think.)

I was gushing about kickboxing to my friend Gillian at the pub the other night and she said how important it is to find the exercise that really floats your boat (she the QUEEN of cycling), then it doesn’t feel like such a chore. It does take a lot of trial and error – some activities are brief and heated flings (running), some become solid and trustworthy (weight training), some you tolerate even though they can bug the shit out of you (hillwalking) and then there’s the ones that make you feel like a silly teenager drowning in hormones. But persist, persist, persist, there’s something out there for everyone!

. . .

Thanks for your kind tolerance of the public panic attack in the last entry. Of course I felt sheepish the minute I hit “Publish”, but I never get to that point unless I do the crazy writing first!

Stayed tuned next week when I shall be announcing a Highly Exciting Contest which contains PRIZES that might happen to be 397 pages in length. Woohoo!

What’s The Story

Is it possible to train yourself to become a Morning Person? Being an Afternoon Person is not working for me anymore. I’ve pretty much always done my exercise after work but I finish work later now, plus I’ve got lots to do in the evenings lately. Result? Bugger all exercise aside from Monday Night Kickboxing and sporadic weight training, therefore feeling like a lumpy, grumpy old SLUG.

I don’t start work until 9AM now and I’m only 15 minutes walk from work. So there’s really plenty of time for me get out of bed earlier and get the exercise done first thing – instead of waking up at 8.15AM shrieking shit shit shit shit, throwing on clothes, throwing down some Weetbix then flying oot the door.

Back in 2001 I used to get up early and go walking before work, so the streets would be quiet and no one would see me wobbling round the block. If I did it back then surely I can do it now. It just takes organisation and a bit of effort!

. . .

I really, really need those endorphins right now! I don’t want to bore you all to death with Book Stuff, but I tell you it’s quite a wild, wild ride. It’s coming out in five teeny tiny weeks and I’m swinging between delirious joy and terror.

The book arrived in the post on Thursday morning. The REAL BOOK! I can’t believe it’s real. It looked so good I wanted to lick it. Even if you scored a proof copy, you may wish to consider the Real Thing! It’s got the sexy embossed lettering on the cover, it’s 397 pages, including 8 pages of colour photographs, and the typos are fixed and the text is formatted beautifully! I feel kinda sheepish that they all went to so much effort just to sandwich together my deranged ramblings.

The cover also now contains MORE GINGER! Sooo many of you (okay, ten of you) wrote to say the cartoon Dietgirl looked more blonde than redhead that we changed it! Feel your power!

So I showed the book to Gareth then took it to work to show my new comrades. I was grinning and teary and hiccup-y as I walked up the high street. I considered stopping strangers to say, Shauna Reid my book?

At lunchtime I went to a cafe, bought myself a cuppa and started reading, as if it was a proper book. I was totally chuffed with it and thought it how pleasant that there’s a wee book talking honestly about what a dirty bitch of a task it is, trying to lose a lot of weight.

But then yesterday I read more as I was coming home from Edinburgh on the train, in a bad mood. I wanted to shout at myself in the book, WHY DON’T YOU JUST STOP EATING SO MUCH BLOODY FOOD! Just stop it, you crazy fool!

And then I thought… Oh lord, what if someone buys this? What if they read it? What if they read it and agree I’m a moron? It’s bad enough putting your life out there on the internet where a few hundred people know you’re a moron, but to put it down ON PAPER for ever and ever? What was I thinking?


Gareth picked me up at the station and we went to the supermarket and I thought I was going to throw up. I prowled the aisles as he asked what I fancied for dinner. I froze in front of a shelf full of Quorn products and thought I was going to spew and spew and spew from sheer bone-rattling panic.

So yes. It’s a wild ride, luvvies! This blog has been a safe place, much like my excess weight used to be… comforting, reassuring, protective. Even though so many of you are anonymous and faceless, it feels cosy hanging round here. It’s rather nervewracking to have the Real World get involved.

But… I am determined to make the most of this experience, darnit! Besides, have I ever done anything new or worthwhile without the eleventeen requisite Fat Girl Freak Outs? Panic is all part of the process.

In the meantime, I’m going to attempt a morning workout and shall keep up with the kickboxing. An hour of sweat and mock violence always kicks self-doubt to the doghouse. POW!

Cold Hearted

Righto! Today I give you neglect, decay and minimal nutrition. The lovely Tanya of I Ate A Pie told me about her Show Us Your Fridge contest and I almost declined knowing the toxic horrors contained in ours. And because the fridge light doesn’t work.

Then I thought I could spend three hours cleaning, grocery shopping and artfully arranging and look like a right domestic goddess. Instead I’ve taken strategic pictures to hide all the gunk and dodginess.

Gareth bought this fridge freezer in 2004 and we just realised that it’s never been defrosted. I think of all the times the Mothership had me scrubbing the seals of her fridge with a toothbrush and hang my head in SHAME!


Here we have in the butter drawer thingy three packets of low fat mozzarella. It’s one of the few cheese I will eat in low fat form. We put a dollop of red pesto on a tortilla, chuck on chopped up onions, peppers, mushrooms and olives, tear up a ball of mozza then whack under the grill for lazy pizza. But even that seemed too much effort lately, so they are dancing towards the use by date at a rapid rate.


Out of focus jam collection! Each jar has a half-inch of dregs in the bottom. Gareth and I went through a phase of taking peanut butter and jam sandwiches on our hillwalking expeditions but now he’s totally "gone arf it", as they say in Scotland. I’m still into it though, especially the Meridian blackcurrant spread stuff on the right there, it’s sweetened with apple juice instead of sugar. I think it was Smaller Sue who blogged about fruit spread and light cream cheese on toast and got me hooked… looks revolting but tastes bloody fabulous.


Condiments! Ancient mayo and mustard plus neglected oyster sauce. Earlier this year I went through a tofu stir-fry obsession, painfully wholesome with ten kinds of green vegetables and marinated grilled tofu. Gareth never ever complains about my cooking but finally he begged me to stop, saying it he couldn’t face another "Communist stir fry".

In the background is a sample sachet of Fair Trade coffee that I got about a year ago. I’d sent away a coupon for a free sample of luxury of hot chocolate and they sent me a letter saying, "Sorry, we’re all out of the choc but have some coffee instead!" Despicable!


Token vegetables! Aging bag of carrots. Spring onions and tomatoes as we’re both going through an omelette craze right now, trying to recreate the gobsmacking delicious Mexican omelette we had at Elephant and Castle in NYC. It’s got guacamole and cheese in the middle. Phwoar!


And in the other butter shelf thingy, a block of feta cheese and an American Milky Way bar. I don’t know what it is about American Milky Way bars that sing to me. They’re like a Mars Bar, except milder somehow. These days I am a wee bit snobby about my choc and would usually choose Green and Blacks over the corny syrupy and palm oiled. But I dragged this souvenir Milky Way bar all the way back from New York. Tonight I enjoyed every one of those 260 calories with a cup of tea a few minutes after taking that photo 🙂


Finally we have two bottles of Williams Bros beer. Gareth has become somewhat of an ale connoisseur this past year and I can’t tell you how bloody elated I am about it. He’ll sit there on the couch with some fancy beer in a fancy bottle on a Friday night while I tuck into a sweet treat and all is right with the world. The relationship feels balanced. I am not a freak! For years I’ve seen his bemused and bewildered looks as I lusted over chocolate bars and bakery windows, but now he’s got an obsession that contains calories too!

Dear Me

Kickboxing kicked butt last night. I could roundhouse til the cows come home! I looked in the mirrors as someone was clobbering me and realised with alarm that my right thigh (saddlebag, more like) is wider than the left. Gareth verified this later on, and he’s a cool and calculating engineer-type so it’s not body dysmophia on my part. I guess that’s the legacy of 2.5 years of knee injury. Ha!

But the knee is doing pretty well. I still have to modify moves – jump kicks are impossible and knee push-ups still hurt, so I do step kicks and one-knee push ups! It also behaved at Spinning on Saturday. For the first time in so very long, the jumping-out-of-the-saddle bits didn’t hurt. The instructor was bloody brilliant – there were only three of us in the class so there was nowhere to hide and she reduced me to a beetrooty pulp. I think it might have been RPM actually, I recognised some of the songs from my old gym. Whatever it was, it was bloody hard work and a smug start to Saturday!

. . .


The Postcard from New York arrived the other day and I’m bewildered by my nauseating cheerfulness. What was in the air over there? I must have been high on bagels.

Click here to have a gander! Nyc

But still, during this crazy busy wacky week its a very soothing thing to read. I think I will send myself reminder postcards more often. Buy toothpaste. Don’t forget to go to work. Be more brave. Get to bed earlier.

What would you write to you, today?


I got the knee-high boots!

Well I don’t got them yet, exactly (me good English speak). But they’ve been ordered!

Remember I mentioned Duo Boots a wee while ago, purveyors of boots for all sizes? I went to their new Fitting Room in Edinburgh on the weekend. The shop is a nice oasis from the bustling high street. It’s bright and airy with all the shoes and boots along the walls. Immediately you are greeted by a Boot Wench (not official job title) who sits you down on a fancy couch and measures your gargantuan calves at their widest point. Then you tell her which styles you like and she traipses up and down the stairs fetching boxes.

They even treat you tenderly if you’re a Boot Amateur. I stuck my foot in, yoinked at the zip and wailed, "It doesn’t fit! I can’t belieeeeve I’m too big for your boots!" But the Boot Wench explained patiently that if I just stretched out my leg, even braced it against her if I needed to, then it would zip up just fine. OH.

I’ll never be a Girl Whose Legs Get Checked Out kind of girl. I’ve got big legs and they don’t ever seem to get smaller, just more… solid (trouser shopping is a nightmare). But I have to admit when I saw my sturdy calves wrapped in black leather I grinned and I grinned and I grinned. Oh baby. My posture changed instantly. I just felt… mrrrowr. It was like until that moment it never really occurred to me that I AM WOMAN!

Lately I’ve worried a little that I might be alienating you all with my random blogging – up and down like a yoyo, with moments of great lunacy and cheese. But would you mind if I be a cheesy loon just one more time? Don’t run away!

Anyway. There I was gawking and grinning in the mirror with my hand on my hip and my hip at a jaunty, hello boys angle when I had a sudden flashback.

I was nineteen and I was at Big W in Bathurst. Big W is like a poor man’s Target, if you’re not from Australia. I was in my second year of university and I’d outgrown all my shirts. It had taken me months to admit it – I’d started wearing the shirt unbuttoned with a t-shirt underneath, but then I couldn’t get my arms into the sleeves. It was a Thursday night, late-night shopping so there’d be less witnesses. My friends were all out at the university bar, I’d made yet another bullshit excuse for not tagging along. I was in the men’s section looking at flannel shirts, trying to find the one with the most X’s on the label. I remember putting on a red shirt and thinking I looked like a giant lumberjack. But I didn’t feel upset or angry or even, gee whizz I wish I could wear something smaller and sexier. I just felt numb and empty and quietly matter-of-fact that this was my life and this was what I had to wear and that was the way it was going to be. I bought the shirt then stopped at the supermarket for a 4 litre tub of Home Brand Ice Cream (student budget).

And now eleven years later here I was with impossible leather boots and a sudden desire to luxuriate in having this body; to dress it up nicely, instead of just pretending it didn’t exist.

The Boot Wench ordered my boots in brown (the ginger’s friend). They normally only take a week but mine were completely out of stock so it will be 4-6 weeks. Wah! I guess they have to hunt down some more cows to stitch together to get around my mega pins. In the meantime I want to try on every skirt and frock in the universe.

The best part of the Boot Experience was watching all the other chicks trying on boots. Duo don’t just do boots for big calves, they do narrow ones too. Basically the shop was filled with boot refugees of all shapes and sizes. All the sneakered masses who’d been cruelly turned away by so-called Normal Retailers for having legs too skinny, wide or muscley. I could have sat there all day watching them zip up their boots and squeaking with joy. The air was filled with elated murmurs, I’ve never fit into boots in my life. I can’t believe it. Look at meeee. Holy shit I’m so hott! One petite woman posed triumphantly in front of the mirror, winked, slapped her own arse and said, "YEE HAH!"

Who knew there were so many variations of lady legs out there, so many that had never known the soft caress of dead bovine. As someone who postponed her boot debut for so many years, I say to everyone out there… don’t wait! Whether it’s boots or lacy knickers or va-va-voom frock. Let’s rock what we got, right now.

Chop Chop

On Saturday night I was sitting next to Gareth, poking and prodding my belly and arms with my thumbs.

"I hate being bigger than you," I grumbled.

"Bigger than me?"

"Yeah. I seem bigger today. Taller. Wider. Blobbier all of sudden. Like I am lording over you."

"Like Kermit and Robin?"

"YEAH that’s it. Precisely!"


Then on Sunday I was making excuses.

"Haven’t got time to do weights today" I said to myself, "Gotta watch the New York Marathon."

Yes, too busy to exercise because I’m too busy sitting on my arse watching other people exercise on the telly. Similar to the entire month of June, when I snapped and foamed at anyone suggesting I go out for a walk. "I’m too busy writing a book about how much I love exercise to do actual exercise!"

But that bloody Paula Radcliffe put me to shame. She popped out a baby just six months ago and there she was leading the race. So I scraped myself off the couch around mile ten and went off to do my weights. I arrived back, muscles buzzing, just in time to see her dazzling victory.

Afterwards I was preening in the mirror, flexing biceps and purring, etc etc. How the bloody hell does that work? They were the same arms as the night before, but now they seemed rather svelte and cool.

So personally, skinniness seems to be just a state of mind. Not much to do with actual state of the body, and greatly influenced by endorphins 🙂

. . .

Last night I went back to KICKBOXING! Woohoo! I’d done just one class back in January as part of my New Year’s Resolutions but completely knackered my dodgy knee again. But this time I wore a knee support, modified moves that I knew would hurt instead of charging ahead and pretending otherwise. I had a bloody brilliant time. Oooh the pain! The violence! The good feeling! Rawk.

This time I was much less wimpy while holding the pads, too. I actually held them up steadily instead of throwing my hands over my head and cowering in fear. I was a bit slow due to the usual Left and Right Confusion – I took too long to make the "L" sign behind the pad so I got kicked in the wrist. Hehehe.

Today my back and arms and abs are sooo sore but the knee feels okay! Touch wood. I will need to be careful but hope to carry on. As much as I try to get excited about gym cardio, the kicking and punching REALLY does it for me. It’s something to look forward to and relish, as opposed to merely tolerate.

I also spied some new spinning bikes at the gym, looks like they’ve started spinning classes. WOOHOO! The Great Indoors suddenly looks quite appealing this winter.

Bagel Belly

Here I am back on British soil. Damp, dark British soil! But it’s nice to be home. While we were away, the leaves were busy morphing into even toastier shades of gold. Those leaves still left on the trees, that is. Bare branches against a grey sky are always a beautiful sight, anyway.

So, I LOVE AMERICA. It always shows us a good time. The people are glorious. I want to go back nnnnow! I can’t decide if San Francisco or Chicago or New York is my favourite city so far. I think New York has the edge right now; I still feel so hyper and exhilarated and grinny. It’s like those dizzy days when you first fall in love and everything in the world suddenly seems more colorful and sexy. What a town!

But now I’m thinking of all those other unexplored states. In my alternative lottery-winning fantasy life, I have jacked in my job and I’m driving around America for months and months in an obnoxious tank of a vehicle until the immigration people kick me out. Look out people. Toot toot!

. . .

In days of yore, I always came back from holiday and filed a report en blog re: What I Ate Abroad, often footnoted with loathing and remorse. But these days it seems I can be let out of the country without gnawing everything in sight. In fact I was so overcome with excitement and delirium (or drink?) in the first two days in New York that – gasp – I lost my appetite. We had dinner with a friend on the second night at an Argentinian place and I barely nibbled a third of my main course. Then when the manager presented us with a free mega platter of spectacular desserts and I all I could muster were a few idle bites. There just seemed to be too much else going on to bother with food. All those sights and sounds and craziness!

But by day four the stomach was back! I made my way through my Things To Eat In NYC list. Things I’d read about in food blogs, mostly, like famous cupcakes and pizza and burgers. But I was very modest and had just one of each of those things, instead of multiple sortees. A much better way of doing things, methinks.

(TANGENT: Every time I ate my lunch in a New York park, I would casually fluff my hair and look around in the hope of seeing the Elastic Waist dears filming an episode of Are You Out To Lunch. That’s where they ask random punters to guess how many calories are in their lunches. It’s my favourite thing on EW, and not just because the Nutrition Data Center guy is foxy. ANYWAY, despite sending ESP messages and thinking very hard about the calorie content of my Shake Shack burger and making sure I didn’t get it all over my face, etcetera, I didn’t see Sarah and her microphone. Hehe.)

ANYWAY, methinks I’ve gained a bit of lard. It is so bloody annoying how small my threshold is. Despite being choosy and walking a bazillion miles a day, I was still eating far more than I would at home. And a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast at the hotel each day is far more stodgy than I’d normally have. But bloody delicious, mind you 🙂

After five days of bagel brekkies I could feel my UK size 14 jeans clinging unpleasantly to my thighs and belly. This was the same day I tried on a size 10 US petite dress and it was too big… so that ego trip didn’t last long, mwahaha. (And I really liked that bloody dress too. I thought if I crossed my fingers and stared hard at it, the power of my mighty thoughts would make a petite size miraculously grow long enough to cover my podgy knees… WRONG!)

So now I am back home and faced with the task of getting back to normal. And all I can say to that is (Homer Simpson voice) – BORRRRRRRING! There is nothing more tedious than that Home From Holidays thing, where you realise the fun is over and you have to plan the meals and order the groceries and wash your skanky clothes and resume your exercise routine. Life… it keeps rolling on!

My exercise routine has been pathetic for the past few months – sporadic heroism of bike rides and mountain climbs with very little everyday grunt sessions in between. So I am going back to how I did things earlier this year – before I descended into Manuscript Deadline Hermit Hysteria – and that’s the good old Weekly Exercise Plan. It starts on Monday evening with a return to kick boxing class. I booked in this afternoon. I am committed! Woohoo!

This weekend may involve some walking and weights but mostly socialising because I turned 30 yesterday! I grow old, I grow old. But thirty feels good, I tell you. At the start of this year I was still obsessed with the idea that I had to get a certain number on the scales before I turned 30 OR ELSE I would be the biggest loser in the universe. But writing that darn book made me look long and hard at my life helped me let go of that freaky dieting mentality for good. So I say let’s dive into them thirties with a delicious sense of sanity and joy and pride and healthiness for living in this ol’ body of mine.

This entry was brought to you by the letter J for JETLAG!