Attack of the Blahs

Just in case anyone has developed Gap Envy vis-a-vis the last entry, it’s only a tiny wee gap. Like the size of a pound coin. Probably smaller than that. A half-inch peephole at best! So don’t despair anyone. It would only look like a gaping chasm to me 🙂

Today I weighed in at 83.5 kilos for the fourth freaking week in a row. It’s handy and dandy to know I have the skillz to maintain my weight. But alas, this is something that I don’t need to be doing until I shift another bloody 8.5 kilos.

What also sucks is how slight the difference is between Maintaining and Losing. In order to maintain I would have liked to think I could have fit in a 100g bar of Green and Blacks chocolate or a whole block of feta cheese. But nooo, maintaining is one fun size Kit Kat and a home baked jammy biscuit. Where’s the fun in that?

But seriously. This is not a plateau, nor is it me focusing on the scales too much. I just need to take things up a level. I know that overall I am on the right track. I have developed consistent good habits. I have exercised consistently and I’ve not binged. I have written down every single freaking thing I’ve eaten every day this year, something I have not done properly since the heady days of 2001.

But at this stage of proceedings I need to do more.

I am not doing enough cardio, for example. I am barely managing twice a week lately. The pilates and weights are going great, but you gotta move your butt if you want to move the blubber. And these Monday Afternoon Avocado on Toast feasts must stop. I don’t know why I am always so ravenous on Monday afternoons. But it seems an extra two bits of grainy toast and avocado today is the equivalent of a Family Block of Cadburys bender five years ago. I simply don’t need as many calories now. D’oh!

It’s been a pretty blah kind of week, really. I’ve been really blah and I would elaborate on the blahs, yet feel too blah to write about it right now. But I need to let it all out so I will come back tomorrow. Apologies for the blahness of this entry but I just wanted to update since it’s Wednesday and all.

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!

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.

The Awful Truth

In the spirit of honesty and disclosure, here are some of the excuses I used for eating extremely poorly over the past six weeks or so:

  • My sister is leaving, we'll never go out to [insert name of any number of restaurants] together again, so what the hell!
  • It's the staff Xmas party so I'm having a bacon roll for breakfast with the rest of the guys!
  • Soon I'll be moving into Bagpipe's place which is twenty miles from the Fancy Chocolate Shop so I am going to buy two bars and scoff them down even though I'm about to go out for a boozy lunch with friends
  • It's my mate's farewell dinner so must celebrate with triple vodka and cranberry and handfuls of chips
  • It's Christmas Night and I just worked all day and now I'm in an empty house so I deserve a Thai Takeaway
  • It's our Belated Xmas dinner so I will make this huge Heart Attack In A Bowl Butterscotch And Banana Trifle even though I could easily half or third the recipe since it's only the two of us eating it and we'll end up sick on the leftovers.
  • It's Xmas and it's cold outside so I will have another glass of port (and so on until I had drank the ENTIRE BOTTLE over six day period)
  • Poooor me at work on New Years Day and the shops are closed so I will have to eat these chocolates/ cheeses/ mini quiches/ samosas/ cookies that they're offering me, then go back for more when noone is looking!
  • Bagpipes is in the bath so I will sneak a handful of Cadbury Roses chocolates from the giant tin his Mum gave him even though it's rubbish chocolate coz it's THERE and he'll never know if I stash the wrappers in my handbag!
  • My future is sooo uncertain and this situation is sooo stressful that I may as well have cheese on toast for dinner and a block of chocolate for dessert!
  • I just got engaged so I'm having the scone with butter and jam for breakfast, bringing in cakes for my colleagues and THEN go out for a three course meal with more wine.

The diet books always want you to pinpoint your triggers, to figure out the reasons for your poor choices. But I seem to cover every single one of them. Loneliness, boredom, frustration, anger, extreme anxiety, happiness, mindless intoxication. Secret eating, boozy eating, lazy eating. I've done it all, baby.

All I know is that it started with a couple of tiny Celebrations chocolates, you know those seemingly innocent mini versions of Mars Bars and Maltesers and other cheap, sickly candies. A colleague gave me a box as a gift and I opened them and told everyone in the office to go for it. I stayed away all of half an hour til I thought, "Maybe a little tiny Milky Way would go down nicely…"

Once the cravings were kicked off by those crappy chocs, all I could think about was food, more more more, I craved the textures and the feeling of it. Once again, I just lost that ability to stop and think. All my steady, consistent gymming and sensible eating went out the window. I just didn't let up for weeks and weeks. I just stopped thinking about what I was doing, completely. The voice that knows a whole tub of Ben & Jerry's is not a dinner had fallen silent.

Needless to say I felt like shit. Not only had I been consuming a truckload of fat and sugar, my body was also trying to deal with alcohol, something that had never been a problem for me before. I kept laying on the couch at SC's place (after yet another bowl of leftover trifle), so bloated it was bordering on painful. No energy, no self esteem left. Moaning out loud, "WHY am I doing this to myself? Why don't I stop?!". I kept postponing the "Back On Track" date as different opportunities to eat crap food came up. It got so bad that when SC put his arm round me as he slept, as he does very often, I had to move coz it felt like a log had fallen on me, all heavy and painful on my tortured gut.

So yeah. My eating has been atrocious. On Wednesday morning I decided it was time to face up to reality, so I hopped on the scale. I weighed 95.9 kilos. In the morning. In the nude. Last official weigh-in posted here in November, I was 92.4 in clothes and heavy gym shoes!

Good lord.

I'm a disgrace, kids – this I know. And you will probably be disappointed especially if you have looked up to me as some sort of weight loss success. But now that I have definite plans for my future, goals and dates, I am SO over it, all that anxiety and stress and excuse-making. I ready to move forward. I have done some damage but this past week I did a lot of writing and planning and goal-setting and got ready to rock.

SO, the first thing I did was to sit down and work out my motivations.

I've never, ever felt so shit from a period of bad eating before. Maybe it's the contrast from normal eating/exercise and shock to the body, coz when I was 150 kilos I don't remember ever feeling so ill and in actual pain. Headaches, stomach aches, bloating, insomnia, moodiness, crying from feeling so miserable.

Diabetes is rampant in my family, and I am petrified I will end up with it if I keep doing this. So I am back on track for my health, both physical and mental. I will also go get a diabetes test just to make sure, it's been two years since the last so it can't hurt.

A wedding is the mother of all vanity goals! And looks like I'll be having a few of them. Weddings, that is. There'll be a shindig in Scotland and then a wee party in Australia – we're planning to visit in early October. The Australia one is what really has me motivated. I'll have all my friends and family in the one spot, and most of them won't have seen me for anywhere between two and five years. COOL! So I have nine months in which to be looking my foxiest. Never mind showing off the new husband, I want to show off ME! Dietgirl's Triumphant Return To The Homeland!

Ha ha! But seriously, can you blame me for wanting to be dazzling? Short of landing at the party in a helicopter on top of a red carpet, the most spectacular entrance I can think of is to just be looking sexy as hell and actually having some freakin' confidence, instead of being the occassional-joke-cracking wallflower they remember. As added motivation, I've lined up a photographer already. One of my favourite Aussie photobloggers has agreed to do the shots! I am so excited as I love their stuff to bits. It may be a couple years before I see my friends and family again so I want photos to remember the day by, and it wouldn't hurt if I was looking decent in 'em!

So yeah, I gotta say, the vanity motivation is strong.

Insane Competitive Streak
I want to be at my goal by this time next year. The Five Year Plan, baby. I like things to be wrapped into neat little packages. So I will be going hell for leather in 2005 and tie a big red freaking ribbon around the whole project by 2006.

Next entry I'll write about my specific goals and methods for the fat busting. But for now, a BIG FAT LARDY thanks to the stacks of groovy groovers who commented or emailled about me and Bagpipes getting engaged. I had no idea there was so many people reading, and you were all so funny and genuinely happy for us, it really made my day. I have saved every single comment notification emails in a folder called ENGAGED! and printed out all the emails and put them in a file called WOOHOO. This is the sorta shit you look back on in fifty years and think, ahh, humanity rules.

Serenity Now!

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

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

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

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

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

Her reply, "So don’t do it!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Well, no."


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well I Talk About It

So I had that caramel shortcake yesterday. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. You know in those magazines, the Top Diet Tip articles? Right after they give you earth-shattering revelations like Drink Water and Do Not Eat Whole Blocks Of Butter, they always suggest you can avoid temptation from Foods of Satan™ by having alternative, healthy food on hand. So I’d armed myself against the Dark Prince with a banana and some walnuts, which are both delicious and healthy — even more delicious if you break off a chunk of nana and squish a walnut into it and enjoy the gooey nutty mess in one bite with a cup-of-tea chaser.

BUT as soon as 3 o’clock rolled round and I heard the pitter patter of cellophane ripping open, and noted that yes indeed it was THE Marks & Spencer Caramel Shortcake, well I just wandered over to the table, with the logic that, "Well how often does someone buy the quality M&S ones?". Ahh, so easily you can justify these things to yourself. It would have been reasonably reasonable thinking too,  if I had not done the same thing at the Cakes session the day before. With a three-Chocolate-Mini-Bites chaser.

But you gotta move on (on on on on) as Pseudo Echo said in their 1980s classic cover of ‘Funky Town’. I knew I had to move to a town that’s right for me, and keep and moving and grooving with some energy. So I went to my Body Jam class.

Ahh what a shmozzle. I couldn’t help sinking into a blue mood due to my continued inability to grasp the concept of "just this once". If you say "just this once" or "one won’t hurt" twelve times a week, that quickly adds up to added pounds. My dance moves were 100 times more crap than usual as I was trying to learn some very complex new steps while simultaneously trying to analyse my issues with food. It seemed so stupid to be flinging myself around the gym, my Enell sports bra all slick and icky with sweat, if I was just going to negate that effort by eating so much rubbish.

I have said this time and time again – my great periods of success have been when I went cold turkey on the crap. Not to long ago was on this streak of about two weeks sans junk food and had eradicated those wild sugar cravings when I thought, "Well I have been doing well, things are under control, and I am bored with fruit and seeds for my afternoon snack. I reckon I might buy a Fry’s Turkish Delight, it’s only 3 grams of fat" (or whatever it is). This would have been fine if it had not led to another chocolate and a pile of buttered toast that evening.

I am tired of writing the same entry over and bloody over again, but it’s been three and a half years, people! I am so sick of myself! I have changed a lot of things but I cannot seem to change this fundamental problem. IF I am not obsessing about being healthy (religious journalling, exercising, COMPLETELY banning cakes and choccies), I will just obsess about food instead. And not good food either. One bit of chocolate makes me think, righto chaps, where can I get my next bit? What shop will I go to? What magazine will I read while I mindlessly scoff?

It’s not as if I don’t have other things in my life, it’s not like food is the only thing I am passionate about.  It’s not like 1999 when I was alone, unemployed, sitting on the kitchen floor in a sobbing depressed heap, eating because I quite literally had nothing else to occupy me. Now I stuff my days with travel and work work work and friends and the gym and my sister and the Scottish Companion.

I just seem to have these slightly extreme tendencies whereby if I am not 110% cold turkey devoted to the Fat Fighting Cause, I will instead be heartily energetic about eating rubbish. This entry is not me moaning about that one wee caramel shortcake I ate yesterday. It’s just me trying to come to terms with a pattern of a lifetime. I’m confused, I tells ya.

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I have added a Search thingy to my sidebar.  Now you can see the disturbingly high number of times I have written the word ‘chocolate’. 

I’ve been working this weekend.  In fact I’m at work right now, bad Dietgirl.  11am – 7pm Saturday and Sunday.  Then back to my other job in the morning.  That’ll be 13 days in a row when I finally get my day off next Sunday.  I am planning to finish this weekend job at the end of September after I’ve earned enough to pay for our next trip, and it won’t come a moment too soon. 

I’ve just realised today the terrible toll it has taken on my health.  Tacking a couple of shifts onto the end of a normal Monday to Friday job really seems to screw up my body clock.  I didn’t get up til 9.30am yesterday, missing my schedule run, and then when I got home from work at 8pm I slumped down to watch the Olympics.  The only productive thing I did was to get my laundry done.  Today isn’t looking much better. Well I remembered to book in for my Body Pump class, that’s something!

After fantastic week of healthy choices, my eating has been ordinary this weekend.  We were out of salad ingredients and since I slept in I didn’t get time to replenish our supply. So it was ham on toast for lunch.  Not ideal.  And Thai takeaway for dinner, non-greasy but not the best choice.  I was so proud of myself for resisting the giant box of chocolate biscuits, but then had two tiny Cadbury Heroes chocolates.  I have been trying to take a Quality Not Quantity approach and only having sparing amounts of lovely dark choc, this was just being sloppy today.  And that led to me adding butter to my toast when I had my break, then eating an Aero Chocolate Mousse.  Someone had left a six-pack of them in the fridge with a sign, Please Take One.  I scoffed one then nearly had another, just because it was there.

This really disturbed me, how quickly one sliver of chocolate can lead to a series of poor choices.  But as a brilliant reader wrote to me yesterday, "If you bite it, you gotta write it".  So it all will go in the journal, and I will know that I cannot have one little Cadbury Hero without it triggering off that craving.  You gotta learn from these things.

I cannot bloody wait to reclaim my wekeends. I was gazing rather pathetically out the bus window last night, looking at all those carefree folks enjoying the Edinburgh Fringe and wondering why the bloody hell I wasn’t out there living it up. Roll on September…

Forgive me if I sound a little flat today, blame the sugar or the fact that my lovely Boy is off gallavanting across the countyside again.

It seems all we ever bloody do is skip the country.  You may remember me bawling in February when he went to Canada for two weeks.  Then I went away for a week around Scotland when my mum visited.  Then he went to Romania for a week for work.  Then I went to Russia for three weeks.  Now he is off to France on his motorbike for two weeks driving round the Alps and down to the Riviera.  After that, he is back for one day before I go to the Baltics (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) for two weeks.

(Btw, it may sound ridiculous and indulgent, all this travel.  But as you know I am here on a Working Holiday Visa, and the idea is to see Europe while you’re living on the right side of the world, hence my crazy working hours to pay for it. And he just bought his bike and is off with his mate to celebrate finally finishing his PhD.)

If you add all that up, that is almost three months apart out of the ten we’ve been together.  All this saying goodbye is exhausting.  This time I managed to hold my shit together, unlike when I left for Russia and cried for a good two hours. Hehe.

He just sent me a text message from the ferry to say he left his camera at home by mistake.  Which is *my* camera, incidentally.  How can you go on holiday without a camera?  He is so bloody disorganised.  And he just texted again to say, "Look out the window, the ferry is going past Edinburgh".  I cannae see you, dear, but hope you’re having fun…

What did I say about holding my shit together this time? Ummm…


I guess I am just all too aware that I only have 7.5 months til my visa expires.  What will become of us? O for shame! Star-cross’d lovers, and all that wank.  I still find it bloody amusing and baffling that I even have a boyfriend, let alone this whole Immigation Department Will Tear Us Apart palaver.

My Friend the Mars Bar

The wastepaper basket in my room was a disgrace last week. I am not ashamed of the cotton buds or the credit card bill envelope or the Durex wrapper, it’s more about the shiny slippery papers that once covered chocolate-related products.

The collection ran into double figures.

What the bloody hell came over me last week? It was one long, unthinking, barely-tasting chocolate binge. I kept wandering to the vending machine at work, stopping at the corner shop on the way home. And again, it was all secret scoffing. I kept walking back and forth to the office fridge to discreetly break off chunks of Mars.

I can’t even blame it on PMS, it was pure piggery. Monday night I sat there reading the King Size Twix nutrition information and realising I’d just eaten 20 grams of fat in five minutes. I looked across at the overflowing basket and said out loud, what the hell are you doing?

And it’s such an insult to my body, after all the effort I’ve been putting into Julia’s running program. The first session was fun, I went out with my sister who’s decided to train with me. It’s mostly walking at this stage, you must remember I’m a slug who took the past six weeks off exercise (lifting a shotglass full of vodka to ones throat doesn’t really constitute a bicep workout) and has never run before. The second session was even better because we set out at 6.15 AM. The early morning sun was beautiful and the park was empty aside from us, so I didn’t feel all embarrassed about moving around. And I felt all energetic and smug all day, since I’d got the exercise out of the way already.

Monday’s session was fantastic. We walked along the canal, something I’ve not bothered to do before, so now I’ve discovered a whole new part of town. It’s so brilliant being outside, talking to my sister, getting some fresh air. I am trying to take it slow to start with, my muscles are tingling in all new ways and places, but in the good way. I want this to be a long-term project, not some fad I get sick of after a month.

But all that effort is pretty pointless if I am going to eat like a pork. I was so weak and sluggish on my Saturday and Monday sessions. My concentration was non-existent. One is not meant to eat a pound of chocolate in a week.

I am forcing myself to stop and think about what I am doing. This week I’m tracking my food, something I’ve neglected to do since March. I’m drinking my water and I ignored all the cakes sitting across from my desk here at work. I have left all my cash at home so I can’t use the vending machine. This week I am aiming for baby steps in the right direction.

I am still trying to figure out what prompted my binging.  I was so deliberate and calculating about it. Do you ever feel like you’re so eager to be skinny and tap into the sexy clothes and supple flesh, but part of you is afraid of missing out on something if you don’t stay fat?

Up and Down and Back Again

You’d think after three years that this ‘healthy lifestyle’ would be an intrinsic part of my life; a natural habit that I don’t have to think about. But it is never that way. For me it is a continuous struggle. It scares me how easily I fall off the wagon, how easily I can stop thinking about what I eat, how easily I lose my focus.

Why have I fallen off again? It started as festive overindulgence. Or being too daydreamy and loved up to bother with the gym. Or working 6 or 7 day weeks thus not making time to plan healthy meals.

There’s also complacency. When you’ve lost a shitload of weight, the equivalent of an average woman, it’s so easy to think you’re on top of things, that the weight will surely keep coming off. But there’s still another twenty kilos to go. I just stopped putting in the effort. I stopped thinking of my weight as an issue. When there’s suddenly this someone who likes you for who you are, you start to think you’re not so bad and put the thought of those last twenty kilos to the back of your mind.

Now here’s where it gets strange. While I’ve never felt so happy and cared for, there’s another part of me that has felt dark and miserable. There’s been this anger quietly simmering, frustration at having to work two jobs to earn so little, crankiness from being so tired all the time. Then there’s my first British winter. When it gets dark at 4 o’clock, all I’ve wanted to do was crawl into bed and hide when I get home, rather than bounce off to the gym.

The problem is, it’s taken me so long to see this unhappiness and return to bad habits. As ridiculous as it sounds, I’ve been so busy and/or tired to notice how I’d stopped taking the stairs at work, how household tasks like laundry and cleaning were too overwhelming to tackle, how I kept stopping at the corner store on my way home to get a Mars bar.

Finally on Sunday it came to a head. I actually had the day off for once, and when I was in the blackest mood. Have you ever just woken up and loathed yourself? Just felt like your whole being was nothing more than a huge puddle of flesh and a tiny paranoid brain? The Boy was there and trying to talk to me but all I could do was scrunch over one side of the bed and hope he wouldn’t notice me. All day long I proceeded to make stupid little irrational comments. Like making breakfast, there were only two pieces of bread, I insisted he eat them. He asked why, I pointed to my body and just shrugged, "Well, come on!".

He shook his head, totally bewildered, "Why do you say things like that about yourself?"

And of course I just started bawling because I didn’t know why I was saying all this hateful stuff about myself. I couldn’t even blame it on That Time of the Month. I hadn’t thought such negative thoughts for years, let alone actually say them aloud.

I guess it just hit me that morning that I didn’t feel in control of my life. I thought of how I’d had to run around my room before The Boy arrived, ferreting out all the chocolate wrappers. My jeans weren’t tight because they’d shrunk in the wash. For the past two months I’ve just been living in this bizarre combination of bliss, stress and fatigue. Only now I was realising my good habits had come unstuck.

Monday night I dragged myself back to the gym after a 3 week absence. But not before I scoffed a ‘final’ King Size Mars Bar and a 150g packet of sweet chilli crisps. First I got on the scales and found I’ve gained 3 kilos (6.6lb) since 6 December. Not as bad as I thought, but as soon as my Body Pump class started I knew I had lost a lot of muscle. I was so weak and shaky I almost gave up.

But the more I squatted and lifted, the more I felt the positive vibes creep in. I have gotten off track before in this journey. I know how to get back on again.

I decided to set some tiny goals this week, achievable so I don’t get overwhelmed. Don’t take the lift at work. Drink more water. Walk a longer route to the bus stop.

So far those little goals have been fine. But the food thing is proving tough. I cannot stop thinking about food. All day at work today I was daydreaming of muffins. First banana, then chocolate chip, then chocolate chocolate chip. I could taste them so clearly. I could feel the crumbs stuck in my teeth, the bits that cling to the roof of your mouth. It was almost painful.

Why the bloody hell am I so obsessed with food? How did I get away from that place where I wasn’t continually thinking of my next meal? I’ve also lost that voice in my head that forces me to think before I eat. Now I just see food and grab it, I don’t stop to think. This afternoon I ate three M&S Chocolate Mini-Bites before it occurred to me, "Maybe I don’t need to eat these."

To gain 3 kilos might not seem much when i’ve still lost 65 kilos overall, but it’s not so much about the number but what that represents. It represents a loss of focus and control, a step backwards, a kick in the guts for the ol’ self esteem. I need to find a way forward again.

Dodgy Motivations

The time is prime for whine! I’m so tired. Working six or seven days a week is taking its toll, and in addition there’s too many late nights chatting away to that lovely boy I mentioned. I manage to get through to about 10am before I’m ready to nod off.

There’s alarm bells clanging in my head. The more I work and less I sleep, the more slack I become in other areas. I’ve only been getting to the gym once or twice a week, and I know that’s not enough for what I want to achieve. I used to spring out of bed on Sunday mornings and do two classes, but most Sundays these days I’m at work.

My eating has been slipping too. My sister and I used to go shopping at the same time each week and plan our meals. But we work such different hours sometimes we’re ships in the night. Too many times I’ve eaten toast for dinner or bought lunch at work instead taking my salad. Then there’s all that chocolate…

I’m not writing enough either. I’ve got pages and pages of ideas for stories and blog posts about my UK experiences, but every time I sit down to write the screen is a blur. And this in turn makes me cranky and frustrated, because I supposed to be over here for fun and adventure but all I end up doing is working coz we need the extra job if we want any hope of travelling further.

Bloody hell. I just stopped writing this for ten minutes and fell asleep here at my desk. My professionalism is astounding!

So, something has to change. We are both feeling so listless and cranky. We will just have to MAKE time to get organised. I know if I can get my eating right, I will be more motivated to exercise. And when I exercise, I am more motivated to do everything. I’m just way off-balance right now.

My mother called last night and dropped a wee bombshell. She’s coming over to visit! All the way from Australia, good lord. She’ll be arriving on April 15, which is four months from Monday. Now I know they always say that you can’t use other people as motivation to lose weight, but come on. It’s my Mum! When she arrives it will be over a year since I’ve seen her. I’ve already dropped a size or two since our tearful goodbye at the airport, so it’s too delicious to not want to  put in a bit of extra effort and look just that little bit more smaller than April 2003.

Well I’m needing a kick up the arse in terms of motivation, so that’s going to be something that spurs me on, dodgy or not. I just want her to see how I’m managing to look after myself on the other side of the world, in spite of lack of finances and creature comforts and the prevalance of lard in the Scottish diet 😉

I’m trying hard to sort out my issues with Getting My Gear Off™. The other night I crashed at his place after we’d been out to see some bands. My top was reeking of smoke, and I’d forgotten my PJs. We’re laying there in the dark and he says, "Man, the smoke from the club is really clinging to me tonight!" and I piped up that it was actually my clothes. He offered to go get me t-shirt to sleep in. I quickly refused.

"But why?" he said. "It’s no trouble really, you shouldn’t have to sleep in your nice clothes."

"It’s fine, don’t worry. I’ll just sleep without my top on."

"Well that I don’t mind, but it’s freezing."

"It’s okay, honest."

I could see him half-smiling half-puzzled frowning in the dark. "I demand to know why you’re refusing to wear my crappy clothes!"

But of course I just laughed and took my top off and told him not to worry about it. This is how ridiculous I am – I would rather sleep and freeze with no top on (well it was dark and under covers) than risk him getting me one of his t-shirts and not being able to fit into it.