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.

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Introducing Katie Hopkins… you may not thank me for this

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The beautiful Katie and her happy, vibrant, healthy children

You may or may not have heard of British lady Katie Hopkins. I’m not too sure what she does for a living now but she is very opinionated and is probably best known for having strong views which could perhaps be described as “niche” in that the majority of people are offended by her or outraged by her or just simply flabbergasted by her comments. She shares these on social media but for some unknown reason is also given air time on national television all too frequently. I don’t watch the shows she appears on, it’s not the sort of TV I watch, it’s more the day time nothing better to do TV shows where Katie gets to peddle her particularly  harsh views. She clearly knows that having extreme views is shocking and that shocking behaviour gets people noticed. I hate to think what her children will turn out like, they look such a miserable bunch of souls.

She came to public notoriety when she was on the UK version of The Apprentice which during her season descended from genuine ‘get a high flying job with famous entrepreneur’ show to a reality show for wannabes looking for an easy way into the public eye where they could be adored out of some need to replace love and attention lacking in childhood.

Katie considers herself to be very posh and is perhaps deluded into thinking that sophisticated is its natural accompaniment, like a stuck up person’s BOGOF.  But Katie is far from sophisticated, sophisticated people are demure, reserved, intelligent, satisfied and confident. Katie is clearly fame hungry and in need of attention. Perhaps she didn’t have very good parents. Yes that would explain a lot. 

So Katie is known for bashing poor people and fat people among others. She has undertaken her latest publicity stunt highlighted in this article from a really trashy UK tabloid. To prove that fat people are just lazy greedy folk she has purposefully gained 4 stone in weight (56 pounds or thereabouts) so she can show how easy it is to lose it again.

This is how stupid this self professed intelligent woman is. The first thing she should understand without ever embarking on this attention seeking trip is that she has put herself in a temporary state of behaving out of the ordinary, by over eating and not exercising for a couple of months. She has temporarily changed what is normal for her. She’s had to change what is normal for her in order to gain weight and all she will be doing is what dieters have been doing for years and years and that is returning to what is normal to her and the weight will come off of course it will. Just like when a yo-yo dieter returns to what is normal for them and they regain lost weight.

We really must be more clever than Katie to realise this. Katie probably thinks that all fat people are stupid too, she thinks most people are stupid, including people who name their children after locations/places… her own child is called India.  

Katie cried because “fat people made her do this to herself” when she had to overeat and I was glad, because people like Katie with their ill thought out, vitriolic bullying of people who struggle with their weight makes them do just the same, eat and cry. Idiots like Katie Hopkins make people fat. It is good to hear she is having a taste of her own medicine, although nobody made Katie eat and gain weight, Katie chose to do it because whilst she is not hungry for food, she is hungry for attention and fame and money.

It’s not going to be difficult for Katie to return to what is normal for her, we stupid fat people know that. What would be difficult is if she had to continue to live in a way that was not normal for her forever, which is what dieters have to try to do in order to lose weight. They don’t spend a couple of months changing their lifestyle and everything is OK, they have to adjust to a totally new way of living forever.

The other thing Katie is missing of course, is that for many fat people, food is not consumed out of greed, some fat people actually eat healthy food but way too much of it, some fat people even exercise and are quite active and believe it or not fit and even healthy. Katie is too blinkered to be aware of these facts, they mess with her black and white, simplistic, prejudicial brain. She can’t see that for some people overeating is an eating disorder which needs more than a couple of weeks on a diet to overcome. In that sense, having some emotional hang up which makes her cleave to the modern day version of ‘celebrity’, she has more in common with some fat people than she realises. Whereas she uses a need for fame to mask her deep seated emotional issues fat people use food to mask theirs.

Katie comments that it is not nice feeling fat, so surely even her challenged operational brain cell can figure out that lots of fat people are not happy with the way they are and so remaining like that is hardly a conscious choice.

Of course what everyone is secretly hoping (some not so secretly) is that Katie struggles to lose the weight. That would be poetic justice, but that won’t happen as she is rich (as she keeps on telling us) so she can buy healthy food and she can go to a gym and have a trainer and spend time between writing vitriolic tweets (not sure she does much else) focused on losing the weight while someone else looks after her children and takes care of her home. As Katie also bashes poor folk, I’d be more impressed if she managed to lose the weight and provide for her family on a really low income, with no access to gyms and trainers.

Katie will not fail because she would look the fool that she is and the documentary would have proven nothing, so we should take it that she has succeeded in proving her point because Katie will not let her mask of confidence and arrogance slip, heaven forbid we should see the pathetic creature longing for love hiding underneath it all. It’s all a front masking a very weak, insecure woman who hates herself so much she has to be someone else, someone who even she doesn’t like. For that I actually feel some sympathy for her and wish she could just be happy and learn to love herself for who she is without needing to be famous and stop embarrassing her children who are going to suffer as a result of their mother’s campaign to be the most hated woman in Britain. If only she was sophisticated enough to understand what she is doing to them.

Katie might be what she considers attractive (a matter of opinion) but what happens in her mind makes her ugly, she is spiteful, vain and makes a living out of being horrible to and about other people when she really has no pedestal to stand on other than one she has imagined for herself. She has taken fat hating to another level, blaming fat people for what she’s done to herself. Fat people didn’t make her do this, or if they did then Katie has more issues than we initially thought. Her hunger for fame and money did this to her, not fat people.

But, it’s not all bad for people who struggle with eating disorders. She is doing something to help us and that is highlighting the issues faced by people who struggle with their weight and she is generating some supportive comments, not for her, but acknowledging that losing weight is not simply about returning to a healthy lifestyle for some, it’s about much more than that and her publicity stunt may have gained her more alienation from the public but it has also raised some awareness, sympathetic awareness of the plight many people face when they are battling an eating disorder or for people who are trying to recover from a health problem which caused a weight gain.

For further reading about the documentary she has made charting her weight gain and loss (more fame seeking… I wonder if I should make a programme about the mental issues of someone who needs to be famous?) here is an article from the Independent

Last day: sharks, pirates, boats, planes, control, fear, rebirth and more…

I’m having such a fab time if it wasn’t for the children I would find it difficult to leave but tomorrow that is what we shall be doing, leaving 😦

I’m so looking forward to seeing them again and hearing about their adventures and to heading on our little camping trip together which is going to be a whole world away from this experience in many ways but in others it will be similar, especially in a ‘bringing me closer back to nature’ kind of way. Perhaps more so as we are not camping in any parks but out in the wilds so we’re going right back to basics.

Setting the scene
Setting the scene

But back to where we are now. The past two days we spent on a hired yacht, well 24 hours from lunch time to lunch time yesterday but what a delightful 24 hours they were aboard our borrowed 70 foot floating villa. In some ways challenging as I’m so full of energy right now and being cooped up in a relatively small space is not good when you’re bursting with energy but I found ways to cope.

We swam. I finally laid my fear of shark attacks in open water aside and enjoyed it although tentatively at first.  I did an aerobic workout to some music on the deck and we did some middle of nowhere Tai-Chi twice. Once in the pitch dark and once as the sun was rising. We ate dinner out in the middle of a dark ocean. If you’ve never tried it it’s a bit scary I’ll tell you. You hear things, like splashes and can only wonder what made the noise and you see the odd light but nothing much else. We weren’t too distant from shore but distant enough for it to be a far off strip of light.

I wished I’d never watched Captain Phillips as I developed a sure and certain conviction that we were going to be boarded by pirates even though the modest crew assured us that was not going to happen.

It’s rather a primitive state of existence out there, it’s like someone switched the responsiveness of your senses around. You suddenly hear things you wouldn’t normally detect and you see things you really don’t notice… like the stars. Oh wow, the stars are something else when it’s pitch black on Earth. Electric lighting has robbed us of a veritable nocturnal spectacular for sure. I’ve not seen a sky like that in so long, maybe back when I plodded my way around bits of Africa.

I think focusing on the night sky finally enabled me to lay my fears and anxieties aside. We’ve done some snuggled down night sky gazing from our accommodation and from the beach but the spectacular really revealed itself out there that night with no light contamination from anywhere. I realised lying there that my irrational anxieties about being boarded by pirates, fear of what was swimming around us in the darkness, my feeling of helplessness on the sea were all born of my need to be in control. If you can’t see, if you don’t know where you’re going, if there’s nothing to listen to, if there’s no point of reference for much, then control is taken away from you. There’s not a lot left for you to actually take charge of, other than yourself.

I kind of had the beginnings of this epiphany while we were flying over to Miami, I hate flying and that is simply because I have no control, I can’t see where I’m going so I feel very much at the mercy of someone else. Realising this helped me to relax and enjoy the flight so much more. It was easier to this as the way we flew meant I did feel closer to the seat of control,  perhaps more influential, although in real terms of course I had no control at all. Just thinking of those things helped me to understand my fear, rationalise it and enjoy it taking a back seat for a change. It wasn’t gone but it wasn’t at the forefront of the flying experience like it normally is.

Back to the boat…I had nothing to do and no part to play in where I was going, I couldn’t see much and couldn’t hear anything familiar and it was beautiful but unnerving to the point where the beauty was in danger of evading me. It was only when I was made to look up, in fact I didn’t need to look up, the sky came down to meet us, but when I was made to look at it, it was only then that I really appreciated my insignificance in terms of time and space and I realised that I’m not really in control of anything anyway. I asked myself what do I control at the end of the day and do I need to be in control of anything at all? Does holding the reins really make me feel any better, does it serve any advantage or is it actually detrimental to my enjoyment of life? I’ve had a good chat with myself if nothing else.

I had a lovely talk with Nick about this too, about how much of what happens to us happens anyway and will happen anyway and so we may as well just yield to it and go with it, not fight it, not try to control it. It’s a place he’s already in and has been for some time and he laughed as I joined him there.  I thought about how I could see the stars but if there had been anyone near one of them they wouldn’t be able to see me, I’d just be lost in the darkness, nothing, invisible, unseen. I wondered if trying to control anything was not only pointless but put us in danger of enjoying the real delights the world has to offer which can only truly be enjoyed when we lay ourselves open, bare and without the shackles of what we think of as essential for life.

I realised eating disorders are all about control, I don’t have control issues because I have an eating disorder, I have an eating disorder because I have control issues. I’ve always felt like the world was against me, like I had to fight something for what I wanted, like I had to prove myself, like there was an invisible or even visible enemy always trying to thwart my attempts to achieve anything. That battle’s been going on since I was a cute little girl, it’s why I’m so feisty and always have been, I’ve been fighting my whole life for acceptance and I finally see that I only have to accept myself, I can’t control what anyone else does or thinks, I don’t have to influence their actions, it’s not my fault if other people are unkind, unhappy, uncaring, unloving, all of those ‘uns’. It’s not my fault and I don’t have to try to change them. All I need do is be myself and concentrate on making me happy. Funny thing is, the less I try the easier being happy gets.

I don’t know it all got very deep out there in more ways than one. I just felt an even more profound sense of relaxation on a whole other level. In short… I’m so insignificant nothing really matters, that could sound pretty morbid but it’s not, it’s far from it.

I’m going through some kind of awakening. I really feel that I’ve been in a mid life crisis for the past 5 years or so and this is my emergence as an ‘elder’. I feel like I’m shedding my youth skin and growing a new mature layer which is richer, more flexible, more comfortable to live in. I’m feeling very much as if I’m on about my fourth phase of life and that I have more phases yet to experience.

I think that I was unwittingly mourning my youth, mourning the woman I’d lost sight of, floudering in a world where I didn’t fit, I didn’t want to fit and I wasn’t sure of my place or what I could bring with me, but now it’s all clear, I know who I am and what I’m bringing, I know where I’m going and I know what there is for me to do there and I’m relaxed and happy to be on the journey, I’m not fighting anymore, I’m not worried about pirates coming to rob me, I’m not worried about nasty people coming to hurt me, I’m not worried about anyone taking anything from me, I’m not letting a fear of shark attack stop me from enjoying the freedom of swimming in the ocean, I’m opening up my doors and not worrying about who is going to come in, I’m just grateful for the light and air that can make its way through now.

It’s a great feeling. When I started out I saw this as a caterpillar to butterfly like journey and I thought that it was all about my weight and my  health but it has turned out to be about a catharsis so much more deep and meaningful than that, it’s been about my transition through the final part of the middle phase of my existence it’s been like a rebirth, like I was being prepared and this last bit is the squeeze through the canal into my  new life and I feel like I’m about crowning now and on the cusp of something wonderful, something I had feared and fought and didn’t feel I’d earned the right to yet and that is a relaxed, self indulgent, worry free middle age. I don’t need to be a kid to be happy. I don’t need to feel old to be a grown up. I’m a vibrant, beautiful, happy woman who has achieved so much and has so much yet to achieve.

I might not feel like that in the next couple of days out on the cold Welsh hills in a tent with a tin of beans but I’m going with it and whatever happens, happens, it’s a new experience and I get to do it with the people I love the most, my amazing children… something I undoubtedly did well in my life and have not celebrated anywhere near enough.

Writing

I’ve been writing a book now for a couple of years, I don’t write much, just now and then I have a flurry of inspiration.

I found that even though I didn’t want it to be about me, I have this awful habit of cropping up in it. My daughter has read it and said she feels like the two main female characters are the me I am and the me I should have been … I didn’t even see that but I think she had a point.

It’s a human tale of life, love and friendship more than anything and triumph mostly, triumph over adversity. There are so many Phoenix like arisings from ashes for sure.

I’ve never had the confidence to share any of it with anyone else and so today I figured as I’m in a happy brave mood I’d share a tiny bit of it, laying myself open and at the blogging community’s mercy with my first snippet. I chose this randomly by searching for a swear word and the first time it appeared in the roughest of unedited first versions I copied a few paragraphs to share here.

I don’t know that I’ll ever finish it or what I plan to do if I finish it, I’ll probably just have it bound and give it to my kids to read and save as an achievement of mine. But sharing’s good right?

I’m running off to spend a day in the sun with my handsome young son feeling nervous at even daring to put my writing out there… it’s different to blogging. Anyway its working title is Life As We Know It and this is from the first chapter called Linda.

“She had no glittering career, no discernible talents, no great intellect, she felt uncomfortable discussing social topics and felt that her first husband, nineteen years her senior, whom she’d married at the tender age of seventeen and divorced three years later had been correct in his description of her as “an ugly, useless, fat, thick fool”. She was pretty sure those were his words, maybe they’d been in a different order, the useless might have preceded the ugly, it was a while ago now, details sometimes blurred. Approaching her forty third birthday she had finally come to appreciate that this description of her, which was remarkably consistent with the description her family had slapped on her during her upbringing, was in fact almost totally inaccurate. She saw with a clarity of vision that had evaded her for years how the description had haunted her, lurked behind her every failure in life, prevented her from developing into the woman she should have been, held her back from achieving the things she had the potential to achieve. A self fulfilling prophecy sitting on her shoulder like a grotesque gremlin her whole life whispering into her ear that she was not good enough and never would be good enough for anything or anybody.

She hadn’t realized before how the gremlin had led her into every disastrous malfunctioning abusive relationship in her vast back catalogue. That it had kept her a prisoner in the overweight, uninteresting body she reluctantly inhabited and that it was the gremlin’s fault not hers that she’d abandoned everything she’d started unfinished. It was the gremlin’s fault that she’d never felt worthy of an achievement, that she had run away from happiness and it was the gremlin who had told her nobody cared so why bother, hissing it into her ear when she was awake, when she was asleep, when she was in company and when she was alone. Why try when nobody cares? In reality, she was able to conclude now, her only part to play in her disastrous life was not taking the gremlin from her shoulder seizing it by its ragged throat and stamping the little bastard to death under her size seven sensible walking shoes or more latterly piercing its heart with her four inch stiletto”

Sorry for the swearing but if you knew Linda, like I know Linda it was necessary here.