“There is a small, competitive part of me that gets annoyed from time to time that I didn’t ‘finish’ Weight Watchers. Not just because I crave a sense of completion, not because I once had a burning desire to be on the cover of the magazine; but because I wanted to be a Gold Member.

That’s what you become when you reach your goal weight. And they give you a GOLD CARD. You could carry it around in your wallet and whip it out at any time to prove that you’d WON weight loss! 😛

While I never became a Gold Member, I once stood beside a gold member at the Museum of Sex in Copenhagen – see picture below. That’s not too bad a consolation prize, I reckon.”

Copenhagen, Summer 2004

Copenhagen, Summer 2004

I wrote the above about five years ago, saved it to my draft posts and forgot about it until yesterday, when I cracked open those cocoa nibs and one of them was shaped like a tiny penis. This amused my juvenile mind and I thought, I should write about this cocoa nib development! And that made me remember the old Copenhagen Willy post.

Last night I worried that some people might find that poor taste and never read the blog again. But then I remembered a recent conversation with the incredible Sas about how trying to please everyone is futile, especially everyone on the internet. It’s physically impossible, for one; plus it can get in the way of you being the real you and that leads to all sorts of unhappiness.

So I thought, dang it, I’ll go ahead and post it, as a tiny step towards writing more fearlessly. As you can see there were no deep, profound thoughts lurking behind the inner censor. It’s all chocolate and male appendages.

. . .

I feel very sad looking at that photo from eight years ago. It was the first day of our Russia-Scandinavia tour and I thought I was the most humungous, ugly blob. I’d lost a shitload of weight but had little appreciation of how far I’d come. I felt huge compared to my tour mates, though looking through the photos all these years later it clearly wasn’t the case. I was so scared of gaining weight on that tour. My whole self-worth was attached to the lard busting mission and I felt like I was one Finnish chocolate bar from it all spinning out of control.

With such unsustainable and unkind motivations I can kinda see the inevitability of everything that happened in the following years. Today, properly large again, I’d be chuffed to be the size I was in that photo (minus the dodgy hairdo and maudlin clothing!). But I don’t want that old headspace.

I hope, and quietly believe, that there exists a middle ground where my knees, vanity and mind can all find peace. I’ll keep working on it.

Monthly Check In: September 2012

We’re 75% done with 2012. Time for another monthly plan update.

First of all I must report that I spoke too soon about the laundered Fitbit. It is officially deceased now.

. . .

In case the hyperactive witterings didn’t give it away, September was ace. On the lard busting front, I was happy with how I did in the USA and ended up maintaining on the scale machine. As per the recent travel pattern, the days were so full of grooviness that I didn’t really think about food.

I did guzzle vats of iced coffee, however. Now back here in Scotland, a sultry 8°C/46°F, it seems hilarious that anyone would ever get the urge to put ice cubes in coffee.


. . .

Now here we are at half-October and I’m getting back in the groove after an extremely shoddy start to the month that involved excessive amounts of chocolate. I could say, “I don’t know what came over me” but I know exactly what happened and I was even aware of it as I was doing it.

After feeling shitty and sugar hungover and doomed for a few days I got re-organised. I find the week after travel to be the danger time. You’re back to reality, you’re tired, there’s no food in the cupboard; your suitcase has vomited its contents all over the bedroom floor.

Now I’m back to my usual routine. What else can you do but get up and crack on with it? I’ve been walking. I made a big thing of wholesome soup. I did some pretend kickboxing with Jillian Michaels. I caught up on the washing (no gadgets were harmed this time).

I choose to kick arse for the remainder of the month. Stay tuned!

. . .

Finally, about these Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa Nibs. They’re so crunchy and earthy tasting and come in a dinky little tin that’s fun to rattle. The hinged lid is very satisfying to flip on and off. I feel like an eccentric old lady. My pills! I need my pills!

Anyway, it hilariously says on the tin, 1 Calorie Per Piece. I wonder if anyone ever says, “Oh just one for me, thanks”. They are the size of a mouse dropping. Or maybe a rat? Or a Tic Tac, let’s be classy.

I bought three tins on my travels. Since I don’t live in the USA I’d planned to ration them out, one dropping at time for the next few years*. But thanks to these past choctastic weeks there’s only one left.  Let’s see how long I can stretch it out!

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Nibs

This pic was my 2011 stock. It didn’t last very long either!

* Not really.

Friday Link Feast #20

This weekend I’m hanging out with The Mothership! She’s been pootling around Europe these past few weeks enjoying her retirement, and now we’re meeting up to exchange Cherry Ripes for iPad lessons before she heads back to Australia.

Here is some Friday arvo reading for you. In the parlance of my mother, may your weekend be a little ripper!

  • I wrote about my North Carolina blogger-meeting adventure. I wish I were nimble enough to rob a bank so I could spend the rest of my days visiting every corner of the USA.
  • Pink of Perfection: Against Reflection
    Sarah is on my all-time favourite blogger list and this post – reflections on not reflecting – is just beautiful.
  • Brooklyn Active Mama: That One Time I Cried at Zumba
    “First let me say Fitbloggin is a trap. I thought I was going to come here and learn about weight loss, meet some bloggy crushes and workout! I did that. But I also did so much more.” – Nellie’s post is a fab example of how crazy emotional and lifechanging Fitbloggin can be.
  • Mostly Eating: Simple spinach, cottage cheese and oat pancakes
    Remember those blueberry pancakes I posted earlier this year? Sophie has turned them up to eleven, savoury style. I am thinking pancakes for dinner.
  • Sas’ Magical Mystery Tour: Purge
    “… opening my wardrobe to find a load of clothes that are too big for me, was beginning to feel like I was waiting for this to end. For the time when I return to the place of unconsciously unloving myself.”
  • William McInnes: Remembering Sarah Watt
    “I miss having someone to argue with, miss having someone to tell me to pull my head in. Miss having someone to be the filter for my early-morning opinions. This happens in all relationships. You know, the person through which you run some mad thought or opinion, some stupid idea that you think is clever. Over a morning coffee or tea, lying next to each other, you let rip with some idiocy and she would say, ‘I think you should just leave that one inside the house.'”
  • Susannah Conway: The Permission Slip
    “You are allowed to unfollow the people who make you feel bad,
    the ones who curate their lives like interior design magazines,
    whose day never seems to be filled with the
    dirty dishes of your reality.”

Don’t try this at home

Things learned today: while it has been previously established that an iPhone does not survive a 40°C/104°F wash cycle, it appears that a Fitbit pedometer thingy comes through fine and dandy.

This is a Fitbit

And the journey through the washing cycle is apparently equivalent to 2061 steps, or 1.53 kilometres.

Fitbit statsWhy did I not heed the wise words of The Mothership? Check your pockets first, Shauna. Now check them again!

UPDATE: I spoke too soon! It’s completely dead now. Oh dear. I tried the Bowl of Rice trick, too.

Ah ha! That explains it nicely…

Tree outside a B&B in Wilmington, NC

My friend Nikki posted a link to this recent Lifehacker article “To Succeed, Forget Self-Esteem”. It talks about the difference between self-esteem and self-compassion, and sums up in that typically succinct Lifehacker style what I’ve struggled to articulate re: being kinder to yourself doesn’t mean giving up on yourself or weight loss etc. I reckon self-compassion might be a better term for what I’m attempting to practice:

Self-compassion is a willingness to look at your own mistakes and shortcomings with kindness and understanding—it’s embracing the fact that to err is indeed human. When you are self-compassionate in the face of difficulty, you neither judge yourself harshly, nor feel the need to defensively focus on all your awesome qualities to protect your ego.

I also liked this bit:

“…it’s important to understand what self-compassion is not. While the spirit of self-compassion is to some degree captured in expressions like “give yourself a break” and “cut yourself some slack,” it is decidedly not the same thing as taking yourself off the hook or lowering the bar. You can be self-compassionate while still accepting responsibility for your performance. And you can be self-compassionate while striving for the most challenging goals—the difference lies not in where you want to end up, but in how you think about the ups and downs of your journey.”

The article goes on to say that self-compassion is powerful because it takes your ego out of the equation and, “You can get a realistic sense of your abilities and your actions, and figure out what needs to be done differently next time”.

Interesting stuff. Thanks Nikki!

Update: I hope I’m not freaking anyone out by writing about this stuff lately, but this article really has me thinking. So often I say or think really shitty things about myself, and I don’t find it helpful to look in a mirror and say YOU’RE AWESOME to counter that. But a little compassion, on the other hand, is something I feel I can work on.

Fitbloggin 2012: The power of “me too”

“Empathy is the antidote to shame. If you put shame in a petri dish it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgement. If you put the same amount of shame in a petri dish and dose it with empathy it cannot survive. The two most powerful words when we are in struggle: “me too.”
– Brené Brown

Mara, me and Karen. Photo by Susan.

It took about two minutes to go from worrying that no-one to would get up to the mic at our Self Acceptance and Weight Loss discussion to wishing we could keep going all afternoon. It was a moving, magnificent tear-fest!

This live-blog post (thanks Kim!) gives you a feel of the session but for the full effect, just imagine a gigantic lump in your throat and an overwhelming urge to hug stranger-friends 😉


I don’t think it was just my overly-emotional brain but this year it felt like there was more curiosity about and embracing of the idea of self-acceptance. It’s easy to get tangled up in semantics and definitions, but from the stories I heard and conversations I had, so many of us are done with the whip-cracking, bullying approach and are being kinder with ourselves as we make healthy changes.

As Mara said at the time we didn’t want to leave everyone “on the edge of the cliff” after such an intense session, so we created a free e-book called Self Acceptance 101. We also wrote it so there’d be something for those not at the conference.

In the book we each address the questions posed in the discussion, including:

  • What does self-acceptance mean?
  • How can you make peace with your imperfections?
  • Does self-acceptance mean you’ll never lose weight?
  • How can we cultivate a community around love and acceptance instead of negative self-talk and comparison?
  • How can you begin to develop a blueprint for your life – that works for you – even when it doesn’t look a bit like anything you see anywhere else?

Many of my answers are things I’d meant to blog about but never quite managed to put into words. Nothing like deadline to put a fire under your butt, eh?!

You can download the e-book here. Hope you enjoy!

Huge cheers to everyone who came along to our session and to Roni Noone for the bold idea of ditching the traditional conference panel format, which resulted in a great space for a kickarse conversation.

Finally thank you to my buddies Karen Anderson and Mara Glaztel. I confess I developed huge crushes on them after last year’s conference, so to work with them on the e-book and discussion was one of those warm fuzzy I can’t believe this gets to be my LIFE! moments.

P.S. Just a warning, I have about ten posts brewing about this USA trip. Brace yourselves for unbridled enthusiasm!

Show me the Monet

Last year at Fitbloggin I thought to myself, I must get more organised with this blogging caper. Get myself an “editorial calendar” and schedule posts in advance like the pros, so there’s no tumbleweeds every time I skip town for a few days. But here we are sixteen months later and I’m more slackarse than ever!

Speaking of professional blogging, whenever I see the word monetizing I always think of the legendary Impressionist. Monetize your blog, yo! Add some brushstrokey lillies and watch the dough roll in!


Yesterday on the train ride to Baltimore I was fretting about our Self Acceptance and Weight Loss discussion. All these fears and disclaimers were running round in my head:

…. is there time to get a t-shirt printed that said Yes I’m Fat But I’m Feeling Good About Myself And Actually Losing Weight In A Slow And Mindful Way, Thanks.

… also, I don’t know what to wear.

… to be honest, I should have just stayed at home.

… who’s dumbarse idea was this?

Then of course I worried about having so many non-self-accepty thoughts. Who am I to faciliate a discussion on this topic?

But I finally remembered that this freaking out cycle always happens before any public event. Accepting that made it easier to sit back and let the emotions run riot for awhile, then get back in the present.

Susan Ito of Food Food Body Body fame did a brilliant performance piece last night that included her own freakout about coming to Fitbloggin a few pounds heavier than last year. She too had contemplated not coming. I got all choked up thinking about how common these feelings are; how we feel like we’re not good enough the way we are. These feelings and fears can be genuinely paralysing. Which makes it all the sweeter that so many wonderful people find the courage to show up anyway. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being real, Susan said.

Here’s to showing up in all our imperfect glory and havin’ a good time!

Meeting Old School Bloggers And Their Cats Tour

Hello! I’ve been in North Carolina for the past few days with my longtime blog pal Denise on a wee Meeting Old School Bloggers And Their Cats Tour (Jennette, Lori and Marla) before we head to the Fitbloggin conference tomorrow. It has been bloody awesome but the jetlag has turned me into a jibbering fool so will just leave you temporarily with this pic of a cute little Venus fly trap from the botanical gardens today. I was so excited as I’d not seen one before and called Gareth later to share my joy but he was all, “yeah I’ve seen them at Dobbie’s Garden Centre” or somewhere, like it was no big deal. Pfffft!


Hello good people!

 Can you hear me out there? I think we’re all moved over now!

This is the last of my blogs to be migrated to WordPress and it’s a big relief. Since the archives are so old and creaky and moving from Typepad is notoriously painful I invested in help from Foliovision. If you have a huge, messy archive and are looking to escape I can highly recommend their Typepad to WordPress service.

If you spot anything weird or broken, please give me a shout. Woohoo!

Blog move and a heads up for RSS readers. Plus, Paralympics and Andy MURRAY!

Me and Andy in 2009 dreamland

Me and Andy in 2009 dreamland

Exciting news for absolutely no one but me: tomorrow this blog is moving from Typepad to WordPress. So there may be a little bit of weirdness for a couple of hours, my apologies in advance.

If you read this blog via a feed reader, this is the feed to subscribe to, to ensure you get a seamless continuation of service!

You can also follow the Facebook page for news of new posts. Fingers crossed for a smooth move. Eeep!

In other news how bloody amazing were the Paralympics? On a scale from one to ten, 11 billion at least. I started compiling an epic, overly emotional post full of highlights clips for those who didn’t have huge gobs of TV coverage but I can’t lose another day to YouTube so here is one particularly excellent clip of Richard Whitehead in the T42 200m. Prepare to pick up your jaw from the floor.

Also, ANDY FREAKIN’ MURRAY! He won the US Open at about 2am our time this morning. Yes the whole nation busted out the bagpipes and shortbread and shot a few wild haggis as our hearts were so full of joy and disbelief. Seriously… so so soooo chuffed for him!

We don’t have Sky TV so were listening on Radio 5 Live. Have you ever listened to a tennis match? Those commentators deserve a big trophy and giant cheque themselves. It is a feat of speed and endurance, trying to comment on a rally, you can’t get the words out fast enough!

Anyway I turned off the radio after Djokovic went up the double break in the 3rd set as I feared we’d jinx him. I dozed off for a long stretch then switched the radio on again then he WON! Ahhhh. Ever since I played against him with a teaspoon and he yelled at me, back in that dream of 2009, I knew he had Grand Slam in him. So aggressive and determined y’know? 😛