100 pounds

I’m near this monumental number in terms of weight loss and its taken since April to get here.

One of the images which has kept me going, and anyone who follows me knows I use many visual motivators, is this one.

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This is a picture of what 100lbs of fat looks like. I used this picture after 50lbs loss to spur me on to do the other half of the image and now I’m almost there I’m stunned by how easy it has been to rid myself of the second half of this huge mass of crap I’ve been carrying around.

The first half was a struggle the second wasn’t because I got into some good habits, I learned to love myself, I began to accept help and advice, I started to enjoy being me. The work that went into the first half put me on the crest of a wave and helped me ride that second half in.

I still have a way to go, I still need to shed another half table load of fat at least but I know I can do it, I have no doubt. It will be slower and there will be more struggle ahead as I really put my shoulder to the wheel and get those last pounds off but what I wanted to say was, look at it, look at what I have carried around inside me and know that without starting, without losing that first chunk of fat I would never have cleared this table.

Each one of those chunks was shed one by one. One at a time. Each one of those chunks was my goal and the table just filled with them until this was my achievement. Make your goals small but keep your focus big. You can do it.

If I could lose 50 pounds I could lose 100 and if I can lose 100 pounds I can definitely lose another 5 and so the next phase begins, piece by piece, step by step, just like the beginning.

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Nothing so bad as being almost there…

When you think about it, there is nothing so disheartening as being almost there and not quite making it, getting distracted, cheated, caught in the act, injured or just running out of time, resources, energy. Nearly getting there and not quite making it sucks big time. I’m sure we can all think of one experience we’ve had (Rob, don’t tell us we can imagine :P).

So why then do so many of us, I’m talking to my fellow yo-yo’ers now, stop short of slim or target or goal or whatever we call our ideal weight? Why do we do it?

I have a couple of theories and as always welcome any comment or other ideas.

Theory 1 – Fear

This theory is based on the fact that we feel comfortable, familiar or just normal in our fat bodies. We understand ourselves, we can excuse ourselves most things, we can avoid relationships, we imagescan avoid socialising, we can avoid trying for a promotion we can avoid learning or working, we can be dependent on somebody else… we can hide basically. We can hide in our fat bodies cocooned from the world, the vulnerable us and all of our fears and anxieties, our unworthiness and lack of confidence can be zipped up in our folds. We know ourselves and we’re not challenged, we’re safe, we’re content and we actually fear a slim, new us who will have nothing to hide behind. Slim equals exposed. Slim can’t live like a fat person.3d abstract security person with green shield

I believe that some fat people use their fat as a shield, it keeps people at a distance it gives us control. Without it we’re terrified. But we’re not happy and we want to get out so we diet and when it looks like we’re going to actually become someone else we run scared straight back to that biscuit barrel and dig that takeaway menu out from under a pile of books where it’s been hiding for six months. We dieted, we denied ourselves, we restricted ourselves, we beasted ourselves in the gym and yet we’re not happy, we don’t see what others see. We did it way too quick, way too fast we didn’t address the demons in our head, we didn’t even think about why we hurt ourselves like this, how can we stop from hurting, we didn’t talk about the pain, the sad2011-11-17ness, the bitterness that makes us eat to the point of sickness and lie in a self loathing blob of misery.

Now if we’d taken this slowly, made it about health and lifestyle, addressed the physical and mental issues along the way, we may not have feared our slim self quite so much, we would have gotten to know him/her along the way and we would have started to like ourselves, to love ourselves and to want to live longer, want to be healthier, feel worthy of everything our fat self is denying us.

Theory 2 – You Know What? I’m Done

“Hey you look amazing, you’ve lost so much weight you look wonderful you don’t need to diet anymore”

“Hey you don’t need to lose more weight you’ll look too thin, you are looking so healthy”

“My aren’t you pretty, just look at you now, wow you’re looking hot since you shed that weight”

You have the new job, you have a new man or woman, or the one you had is getting a better deal from you now, you do more with your kids, you passed that course, you go to the gym every day, you fit into regular sized clothes, still at the upper end but you can buy things off the peg more easily, you feel good and healthy, you go to the salon, you treat yourself more, you socialise more, you wore your bikini on holiday…

But you’re not at target, you’re still ‘chubby’ or ‘chunky’, you’re not in that normal BMI, you’re not quite loving what you see in the mirror naked, you know there is more to go but you stop.You’re still 30lbs over weight, still 30lbs over the upper end of ‘normal’, you gain 7lbs and it doesn’t matter, you just lost 80lbs you can soon lose 7.

You gain 14lbs, those new clothes you bought, you’re glad you got elasticated waists and stretchy fabrics and your jacket looks fine undone.

Abrams34You gain 21lbs and you have to dig around for those old clothes, which you really liked anyway and like old friends they go back on and you can get back on track from Monday, you lost 80lbs, what is 20lbs to a hero like you? Except in your heart you know it’s 50lbs and 50lbs seems like a big number, 50lbs is going to be hard, maybe you’ll just stay as you are, you’re happy, at least you’re only 50lbs over weight, this time last year you were 110lbs over weight, you are still more than half as much less than you were last year.

You gain 20lbs, oh Lord, how did I find the strength to get started on that diet back when I lost 80lbs, I’m determined not to regain everything I lost, I know where I can get fat pants, let me dig out that plus size clothing brochure again, I’ll sell my exercise equipment it’s not like I use it and I’ll get myself some new clothes, I’ve got a gym membership, I’ll start going again on Monday.I’m never going back to that weight I was at before. As long as I keep under that I know I can lost 80lbs, I did it in 6 months and I wasn’t that good, I could try harder and it could be off again in 5, by Christmas I’ll be back where I was, I’ll have lost 80lbs and then I’ll only  have 40 to go, I can do that, if I can do 80 I can do 40 because 40 is half of 80 and I can lose 80 no problem.

You’re feeling down, you don’t move as much, you don’t feel as happy, you stop going to the salon, you stop weighing yourself, you tell yourself you were happier when you were fat anyway and the next time you get on the scale, after that twinge in your chest that you thought could be a heart attack, you’ve regained your 80lbs and an extra 10, now you’re 120lbs overweight and there is a mountain in front of you, why did you give all of those lovely clothes you had to charity, you really could do with them now. You eat to mask your misery but it grows and so do you.

Lost-Final-Season-Poster-All-Characters-lost-10838110-1024-768My theory is, you never get slim so you never stop being fat, you settle, you become one of life’s satisficers instead of one of life’s optimisers or maximisers, whatever you want to dress it up as, you’re a loser. You gave up, you didn’t get to the end and because you never got slim, it was OK to get a little bit fat again and a little bit fatter and a little bit fatter. You backed so far away from that goal that half way down the path you just turned your back on it and started to run away from it, you even slammed the door on it and still kept running. You’re so far off the path it’d take a miracle to even find it again.

You were doing so well until…you make up every excuse in the book, but the truth is, you were doing well until you gave up and felt that this would do, you would settle for this because this is better than that, everyone says this is good, so it must be, I’m done.

Now if you actually allowed yourself to reach your goal (and I’m just hypothetically speaking here because I’ve done all of theory 1 and theory 2 but I’ve never got to goal, the only time I got skinny was when some psycho starved me – but hey at least I know it’s possible and I’m not one of life’s ‘big boned’ people) if you allowed yourself to reach your goal you would be slim, you would be ‘normal’ you would have accomplished everything you set out to accomplish and if you gained a pound you would lose that pound because you would be firmly at the goal, you would be one of life’s winners, you’d be a finisher, a champ and there is no way on Earth you would let yourself go back. You would not have a stretch item in your wardrobe, if you gained an ounce your fitted suits and dresses would strain and you’d lose that ounce the next day, you would maintain and control and remain slim.

I don’t know if I’m talking crap, it’s just my take on things or we could go with the last theory…

Theory 3 – Survival of the Fittest

Some people are born slim and can’t gain weight, we accept that, they are naturally thin. They’re the people we hate who can’t put weight on and let you know it. Why can’t we accept that some people are naturally fat?

I was born fat, I was fed the same diet as my siblings yet I was the only fat one, my parents weren’t images (1)fat and nobody else in my family was fat. Why me? I was very active as a child. What if I can’t get to goal because for me goal IS overweight? What if my healthy is 200lbs? If there was a sudden famine, fat people would last longer, fact. We contain more water, more reserves, who is to say that some people are not genetically engineered to be fat so that when/if there is a sudden famine there is more chance of the species surviving.

I know this depends on having a fat guy and a fat gal in the same tiny village back in the day but you know that’s not such a crazy idea. Many indigenous tribes saw fat as attractive, and still do, a sign of being a good provider and of being well provided for, someone who can milk your babies and the rest of the villages’ if need be long after the food ran out. I’ve traveled I’ve seen it and heard it.. the stories going back as far as time. What if eh? What if we’re fighting to wipe out the very people who were engineered to keep the world going? What if we should give up fighting nature and just be who we are, saviours 😀

What Do You Think?

So which one are you going for or do you have one of your own? Or do you think I’ve gone slightly mad and missed the mark altogether? Would be interesting to hear if anyone can self identify here.

Fat lit

I came across this Kindle book and thought I’d give it a whirl. I’ll review when done to throw in my two penn’th.

I reckon it might be interesting to read something from the fat person’s perspective rather than about how not to become one or remain one for a change.

Available on Kindle here Fat Labels at the moment for a bargain price of less than 3 USD. I’ve had a ‘look inside’ and want more.

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Forward Planning, the Darkness is Coming

39541275.DarkWinterDayI’ve mentioned this a few times lately, how I don’t get along well with the winter and it’s on the way. The nights are already setting in earlier and the sun is struggling to get up before me. Soon it will be wake in the dark, leave the house in the dark, come home in the dark and rarely set eyes on daylight other than through a window.

 

I remember lines of nappies from all the big neighbourhood families when I was a little girl, it used to smell fabulous
I remember lines of nappies from all the big neighbourhood families when I was a little girl, it used to smell fabulous

In some respects I do love the changing season from sunny warm to dark and cold, I love the smell of people coming in from the cold, or of washing that’s been blown about in a cold wind. I love autumn colours, I love the chill air and the way it tightens the skin and makes everyone look younger and how we all glow rosie cheeked and bright eyed when we get into the warm. I love closing the curtains early, having the fire on and snuggling down with blankies and soft lighting. I even find the bleakness of winter uniquely beautiful.

I used to love being able to hide my fatness under a big coat somehow thinking it had magical properties like Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility and no one would notice me hiding in it and a big hat and scarf and gloves, I would feel anonymous.

I don’t like getting out of bed in the winter and I like getting into bed really early and I don’t feel too positive in winter, I get a little bit gloomy.

stewanddumplingsI also love hot chocolate, cakes, stews with big stodgy dumplings, creamy soups, hot fresh baked bread, steamed puddings with custard, pies, creamed potatoes and thick onion gravy, Yorkshire puddings, toad in the hole, shepherds pie… oh gosh what am I going to do?

Right I’ll tell you what I’m going to do I’m going to plan so that I don’t fall off the wagon. I know this is going to be tough, I’m being real about it and so I can fore-arm myself. there is no use me finding myself in March having undone all of my hard work planningand bleating about the winter having being hard for me, I know that now, I don’t need to wait for March to discover that so I have to think now while we still have light and warmth about how I’m going to manage this.

First of all … exercise. I’ve decided to switch my exercise around, instead of gym and Darren in the mornings I’m going to go to him in the evening straight after work. In the morning I’m going to either ride my bike to work the long way round if it’s not raining or walk. This will take planning in itself as I’ll have to try to make sure I don’t have tons of ‘stuff’ to cart to work and back. But I have a plan for that and it involves being super organised something I can do. I’ll also have to try my best to keep work to the office and not bring it home so much. My earlier arrival at work each day should give me opportunity to do more of that as long as I’m left to it which I should be at that time.

I’m going to Darren after work because I don’t want to go home, have dinner too early and then sit wanting winter snacks all night. This is where my food planning links in too. I’m going to have breakfast at work, keeping cereal there and milk and some flax, I’ll OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhave my range of drinks and mixtures before I leave home but the main meal will happen once I get to work. I’m going to go right back to the basics I used when the kids were little and I had no time to do anything and spend Sunday cooking and portioning up meals for the week for myself and the growing lad.  I have gathered wholesome soup recipes, vegetarian blogs are great for winter warmer recipes that are tasty, nourishing and low in the bad stuff… salt, sugar, fat.

So I’m going to cook up batches on a Sunday and freeze in portions to warm up at work02-13-133 and also continue with my mountain of fruit in my office.

I will also have a snack before I leave for the gym which will be something like a rye crisp bread or a pitta with some tuna or cottage cheese.

In the morning I will have popped something into the slow cooker, meat and veg, casserole of some kind, pot roast, veggie chilli maybe, sometimes I will have the growing 771-8362_PI_TPS1972084lad pop jacket potatoes into the oven as instructed so that when I get home from the gym starving I can shower and eat something good and filling. I’ve sought out recipes for alternatives of my favourites too and I’ve tried out an apple crumble type affair with a fat free custardy yoghurt which was delicious so that’s on the menu and an apple pie with only a thin bottom of pastry, just healthier variations on things I like so I’m not denying myself those tastes altogether. By the way, please please please feel free to add any links to recipes, blog posts or anything which will give me and anyone reading this more ideas for more healthy winter warmer options.

After dinner I’ll be busy with so many things, courses, blogging, planning, reading and if I get hunger pangs I’ll do a quick dance as distraction therapy and then take myself off to bed. I’m also gathering all manner of bubble baths and soaks and face masks and hair masques (must be with the que for some unknown reason) foot soaks, nail polishes so that I can also give myself a spa treatment at home, soaking in a nice hot bath, breathing in sweet smells, burning candles, music on… anything that will make me feel great and stop me wanting food.

As we obviously haven’t moved as was planned and this house is too big I have begun to turn one of the spare rooms upstairs into a dressing boudoir, gosh I love that word far too much. It’s one of my Hyacinth Bucket words see below for the lady herself in action.

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The boudoir won’t be somewhere I sleep but I love the word and I’m going to make it my little luxurious, opulent over the top space where I get to indulge myself. It’s going to be all mine and after sharing your home with people all of your life you kind of get to a point where you deserve your own space. It shall be the home of my pampering products028_LHS03_velvet_1, complete with comfy recliner chair salvaged from the lounge clear out and soft lighting salvaged from my daughter’s bedside tables. I thought giving myself a room to go to and relax in and feel shit in if I want to where there is no food allowed might help, it works in mental health wards to calm patients so it might work for me.

ecomproducts-img1-3132I have installed an anti-SAD lamp in my office at home so that I can expose myself to some pretend daylight while I spend time in here blogging or whatever.

I think I’m ready. I have a few trips stacking up too this side of Christmas with my kids to keep the weekends and half term busy. I reckon those things should help keep spirits high and with the food and exercise planning I really hope that I can get through the winter having continued to lose weight or having at least not gained any.

Planning to avoid or avert danger is so important for me, keeping busy, keeping active, images (2)keeping happy are all going to be integral to success and once we get past the winter then I reckon as the sun starts to shine earlier and later again I might be at a point where a good run over summer should see me doing really well in terms of reaching the end goal, I may have smashed a few more targets.

I was reading today about women usually gaining weight in the summer due to BBQ’s ice cream and more alcohol but summer’s always been an easy time for me to lose weight, that’s why I think I started at just the right time and gave myself a long run to get this  new lifestyle embedded. I really do not want to lose the plot now.

Get planning for those danger zones, whether they are seasons, holidays, weekends, events like weddings or birthdays, parties, pregnancy, recovery from operations/illnesses. I’m hoping that at the end of all this to maintain myself I will have a folder of contingency plans at my disposal to dip into when something tricky is approaching, because this will never end, it will always be a battle and I don’t know about you but I always want to be winning and the best warriors have the best plans.

Feeling invincible

I feel like I can achieve anything right now.
I feel strong in my body and mind.
I feel content with who I am and aware of my potential for the first time ever.
I don’t see myself as a drab sack of uselessness, I see a glossy brochure filled with talents, experience and  knowledge.
I have hope.
I feel alive.
I love myself.
It’s a great day.
I’m happy.

Two tips for healthy lifestylers

A couple of things which I’ve learned this week.

Tip number one: if you have to bake something delicious for a school fete or fair or (as we did for a charity event) either make it something healthy or if you don’t want to be a party pooper make it something fatty and sweet and sugary and creamy and sticky and stodgy but don’t make something that you would serve as individual bakes. Make a whole pie, flan, quiche, cake, tart, loaf or whatever that way you won’t eat any before you make your donation (unless you are totally shameless of course). Doing this helped me to survive a baking session my daughter suddenly remembered a promise to donate to on Friday just as we were about to head off on our trip. It nearly killed me but it was so much easier not to eat anything. If I had made individual cup cakes or tarts or biscuits I would have stuffed several for sure. I’m not that strong and probably never will be.

Tip number two: enlist people who will push you out of your comfort zone when it comes to exercise (remember exercise is movement it doesn’t have to be what we would consider formal exercise, it can be any movement that you are capable of doing without injury or discomfort). This can be a trainer or a friend or a child… my kids were awesome on this trip at really pushing me. When I had had enough and really thought I could not walk another step they encouraged me, they didn’t let me stop and sit down where I was, they coaxed me another step and another and set me goals and challenges and every hill I conquered was another huge triumph for all of us. They would let me rest at the top but until the top there was no giving up. My son said “If it’s just aching muscles or tiredness you’re keeping going if you can’t breathe or are about to die we’ll let you stop”. It was always aching muscles and tiredness so I had to keep on going. They used all kinds of tactics including the favourite – telling me to imagine they were at the top of the hill injured and asking if I would just give up on them or keep going. They are hard task masters but it worked, they pushed me and made me feel proud of myself and that was the intention.

If you really have nobody to do this then don’t just say you have nobody, find it in yourself to do it for yourself, you have to let your desire to be fitter, thinner, healthier, to live longer, or whatever it is push you further than you feel you can go. I’ve learned from Darren that it’s when we really go beyond our boundaries that we burn the fat, that we find our true strength and that we start to have more faith in ourselves. It works in more ways than the physical.

Ouch!

Camping with no camp bed or inflatable lying more or less on the ground is not very comfy. I feel like someone has been jumping on me wearing football boots. However I slept well because I was so exhausted every night. We walked miles and clambered over fences through hedges waded through swamps … OK so a couple of creeks but you know, luxury this was not!  However, fun it most certainly was! I don’t think we’ve laughed so much as a family ever and we laugh a lot as a family.  I don’t think we ever felt so close either, it was beautiful just being out in the middle of nowhere walking and talking no technology, just each other and the scenery for company.

The time passed too quickly and I ate a jam and cream scone. Thought I would sneak that one in. Mostly though we ate soup, tasty cartons of nice soup low in everything and given some substance by following it with lots of fruit. I was hungry quite a bit so I think I might have a good weight loss this week as I imagine my calorific intake and volume of food was rather lower than it has been of late.

Today we left my daughter to enjoy her own space again and we returned home ready to start back at work and school. It’s been a tremendous summer break, I have loved every minute of it even though now it all seems like a dream and as if it passed in a few moments. Only the heap of laundry, a mish mash of salty sandy beach wear and muddy wind blown camping gear,  bears testament to the past couple of weeks having been a reality.

Tomorrow I’m only in work for a couple of hours,  our students are back next week but there is prep to do for those first days when we’ll be putting the new intake through their paces, enthusing and orientating them. Even though there have been induction days already, there are many who haven’t attended and who will be in need of some familiarisation, so now starts the political mine field of ascertaining who is going to do what. I’m easy I’ll do as much as I can possibly fit in, it’s all very much worth it. It helps settle students and helps with building an early rapport both of which help tremendously with classroom management and engagement.

My son is back to school the day after and we swung into town before we left my daughter to pick him up a new uniform. I had to leave it until the eleventh hour as he’s been growing at a crazy rate this summer, if I had bought it at the beginning of the holidays he would be going to school looking like Bruce Banner after he’d been made angry.

We had a nice journey back by train which I spent responding to work emails and my son spent arranging his social life. His pre-start back excitement has begun with friends all busy messaging one another arranging meet ups and trying to coordinate buses and journeys. He’d missed out on some of it as we were technology-less while we were camping and so he had lots to come back to and I think that added to the fun. He also helped arrange a final summer holiday day out tomorrow for a big group of them so he’s looking forward to that and the weather promises to be good for them too. This will be his last full year at school, even though they have raised the age of compulsory participation in mandatory education in England now to 17 (it was previously 16) and his is the first year it affects, he will continue at college for his A levels. His next academic year is cut short as those who are taking their GCSE’s (General Certificate of Secondary Education) have their final year (year 11) cut short as most teaching is done and exams sat by the Easter break or not long after. Time flies once the kids are in school, it’s that breaking up of the year into three chunks that does it I think, it feels like only yesterday when I headed off to take him to school for the first time in the snow when he started one cold January morning back in 2004.

Nick’s going to come and visit at the weekend all being well. I had a few texts from him when we arrived back with civilisation. I assured him we’d survived and then had a good catch up chat this evening. We had a takeaway this evening for dinner. I was too tired to start cooking and so we had what I’d seen in the Times newspaper a good few years ago the takeaway which was voted the most healthy by far, a chicken shish kebab with salad. It was lovely and I avoided the chips and garlic sauce and opted for some chilli and a big glass of kambucha to get my system flushed with the stuff again. I’ve not had any for ages and I do feel less ‘bright’ without it. I do feel it is a real tonic for me if nothing else. I also downed a big glass of kefir which had my gut rumbling like an old washing machine within about half an hour but it settled and I’m sure it’s doing its thing.

Both of the cultures survived neglect just fine and at least now I know that I can leave them unattended for a while with no damage (it’s like having pets culturing food). My wheat grass had been harvested before we left so I’ve set a new batch now and my veg patches are ready to be harvested of spinach and lettuce so there will be lots of green salads going on this week.

Back to Darren tomorrow, I was supposed to go today but just had zero energy when we arrived home, it was all I could manage to do the laundry so it’s been a very lazy day for me but back at it tomorrow. I think I deserved a rest day that hill walking was gruelling, I’m not sure I was fit enough for it but I did it, it was tough though but a challenge I’m glad I accepted and didn’t back down from.