Life Gets In The Way

Sometimes life just gets in the way of things we love to do.

It’s been totally crazy lately with my businesses both taking off in a much bigger way than I’d imagined. I took on a number of corporate clients and have been having huge fun working with them creating some gorgeous branding and packaging which I am totally enjoying but have now had to out source. That goes against what I originally set out to do but you know you have to move with the times and keep some free time to live a little and I was finding I wasn’t having much of that so I had to re-strategise.

I also started tutoring kids coming up to the end of their basic education and because I wanted to make that accessible to all I was a little overwhelmed with demand which, me being me, I couldn’t say no to. But we had huge success in this summer’s exams and so that was tremendously fulfilling, far more than teaching in a school ever was but could have been.

My kids go from strength to strength and have such busy lives which I want to be a part of still and so as long as they want me involved I’ve been making time for them and we’ve been having lots of fun. We’re all still shrinking although I think we’re all at a point where we’re in a normal weight for height bracket now and we just focus on keeping strong and healthy and trying out new things to challenge us physically. I still struggle with food demons but it’s so much easier a fight now. I even have had the odd wild binge when I’ve been super stressed and have had a couple of complete wipe outs but the  thing is, now I eat so clean and I exercise so much I seriously feel those binges. My liver distends, I get chronic head aches, raised temperature, palpitations, bloated stomach, my bowel has a breakdown and I realise just how bad all of that sugar and processed shite is for us so I really do quickly get back onto the path of righteousness immediately I’ve had a go at destroying myself. It’s not good and needs to stop altogether but it’s not a daily thing anymore, it’s a once in a blue moon thing but even so it needs to be a never thing and I’m working on that. I always knew this fight would be forever.

Nick and I are now planning our wedding which is fabulous and very exciting. We would have been married already if it wasn’t for me wanting to get married in a particular spot and us having to do more planning to make that happen than I realised, so next summer it is even though I don’t want it to be that far away but the desire to have my perfect moment over took the desire to be his wife immediately. I’ve written a blog post about this which I will finish soon but it talks about what’s the most important thing and it might sound selfish but having a perfect moment is something I feel I’ve earned and I can allow myself that without it detracting from my love for Nick. I kind of got muddled with the two being different things and it took a while to realise that they go together and one without the other wouldn’t work anyway.

I was proposed to in a very romantic manner and I shall go into detail on that at some point too if anyone fancies a romantic gushy love story, I cry when I recall it or recount it so writing it will be just as tear jerking for me as talking about it and I’ll try to put something of my secret self into it to help any readers understand why it’s such an emotional thing for me.

Nick’s been working more in London lately and that’s another reason why blogging’s been light on the ground as we’ve been spending lots of time down there and we’ve been taking in so much of the London scene and just enjoying the city so much, myself and my son have had a wonderful summer of bonding having spent a fair bit of it exploring. When Nick’s made it with us and my daughter especially it’s been even more wonderful but I’m getting better at accepting that she has her own life and I don’t need to be a constant part of it and it’s OK for me to enjoy myself without her. That part of letting go of my first child was so hard and I’ve started a blog post about it which I’ll get around to finishing now things have calmed down again.

Nick’s ex wife moved to the Caribbean a couple of months ago and so that was pretty awful for him to feel he was losing his two youngest children. Of course that’s not the case and fortunately he is in a position to see them often, not as often as he did of course but that’s the price of divorce. I don’t mean to sound flippant about it, it’s another reason I’ve not managed to finish a blog post. It was and is a pretty sad time for me too, to feel helpless to help him cope with that sense of loss and distance. All I could do was love and support him and just give him lots of time to talk and express his emotions which I’ve also started to write about but never finished so I’ll be on that too. His elder two are still in the UK studying so that is something and in some ways I think it’s made him put a little more into communicating with them. I’ve blogged about this but I think before he kind of felt as if he had a quota on the number of times a week he could contact them and now he’s much more spontaneous with it which is a good thing to come from so much sorrow. He’s also had to cope with the ex having a new man in her life who was moved in pretty quickly and who is definitely playing daddy to the little ones and I don’t think we’re being over sensitive to say that we feel there’s some enforced kind of competition and nastiness going on which I’m so glad Nick has not risen to in a negative way but has handled well even though it’s hurt him a lot. I’ve seen the other side of divorce, from the man’s side and I will be writing lots about that. Although of course no two cases are the same and my own case and experience with my children’s father is very different and has always been far less fraught than many I’ve seen over the years.

Nick also began trading over seas which has led to a number of trips that I’ve managed to tag along on, having a 16 year old means that they are more than happy to be left at home with friends for 4 days while you take off on a business trip and some times he’s come along depending on the location. I’ve not had my house trashed yet and I have been super impressed with the way the boy and his friends have taken care of the veggie garden and animals this summer, we’ve had bumper crops and tons of eggs.

The blog wasn’t the only thing which suffered when our lives got in the way of the things we enjoy doing, our allotment project, which is still going strong, now does so without our direct involvement although we continue to be financial backers and we do drop in when we can but the over eaters group have really made that their own and they are doing a fantastic job of it and have lost tons of weight between them as well as been able to offer each other vital support in their battles with food and the number of people in the group has grown too. They are talking about having a young over eaters side group as there are a number of young kids and teens who are getting involved and they have specific needs. It’s all great and so good that the professional counsellors and doctors are involved but letting the members lead the way and shape the group the way they want it to be.

I don’t have Darren, my personal trainer anymore, sorry if I already mentioned that. He’s now taking care of ladies in another part of the country and specialises in helping obese women now which is great. He really understands the psychological issues and the battle it is and I’m sure he’s going to transform many lives. I train more at home now and have a pretty straight forward training plan which takes one hour four times a week (that’s all about strength so is kettle bell swings, burpees, planks and resistance work) and then I exercise every day, walking, cycling, swimming, rowing, playing sports, dancing and just generally keeping active. I maintain a very low carb diet and more lately have reduced the amount of meat I eat too, so I have a couple of days a week where I’m a veggie and I continue to drink tons of water and have my cultured drinks each day and shots of goodness. Nuts and seeds are a part of almost every meal too.

Life is just settling down now into a normal pace again where there is less upheaval, less emotional stuff going on and more of a routine being established. I’ve missed blogging so much and have written so many posts which remain incomplete but I will be getting on with those now. I feel like life just went through a massive gear change, it kind of took off at full pace and we’ve had to work at bringing it back down to a nice steady trot again, but I feel we’ve achieved that now and I definitely feel less stressed and more calm. I feel like I’ve been on a crazy round the world trip, sleeping in a tent and at last I’m home, showered and in my own bed again.

Can’t wait to catch up on what all of my favourite bloggers have been doing 😀

Never going down again… struggling today like no one would believe

It’s amazing how horrible people are. I do not court praise for my achievements in anything. I’m a fat person I want to be invisible. I’m the award nominee who doesn’t go to the award ceremony and misses out on the experience too scared that I might just win an award and have to suffer people applauding me for doing my job or something I felt was needed. I don’t need noticing for that, it’s just what I do.

My trophies are in boxes somewhere while my kids photos and framed childhood indecipherable art works adorn my walls and interior decor displays. They are the things which make me smile and feel fulfilled and satisfied, the things which inspire me to be better and remind me I’ve done good.

I remain anonymous on my blog and never mention my weight loss journey anywhere else. I don’t talk about it in any detail other than to those who are integral to its success. If colleagues when I was teaching full time asked about my food or commented on my weight loss I kept it simple with a “I’m just eating healthily and moving more”.  When people who don’t usually speak to me comment on my weight loss I have to admit I more often than not look straight through them with the same blank stare they gave me when I was huge. I don’t want to speak to them now, I didn’t then either.

I don’t post photos of myself on social media and have asked my children and close friends not to do so either. I don’t want my life or myself to be defined by my appearance or size by anybody else. If I want to do that to me then I will but it’s not for anyone else to do that to me. I want to control my own image. that is important to me. I’ll tell you why…

Unlike a lot of obese compulsive over eaters who have struggled as a life time fat person I have had periods where I have been slim and where I’ve been somewhat aware of my beauty and attractiveness, not hugely so but somewhat. I’ve been aware of the pull beauty and a good figure can have on other people, how it can make you, your opinions, your experiences somehow more valid than a fat persons. I’ve been on both sides of the table I’ve been the fat person and the thin person at the boardroom table and I know the different ways I was treated as the same person. I’ve been chubster and glamour puss in restaurants and shops and bars and know the very different levels of service and attention I received as each persona. I’ve been dumpy job candidate and hot tomale legs to here blonde. I know how we are treated differently based on the way we look. I know how shallow people are and I know who I want in my life and close to me. I don’t want people defining me by how much weight I’ve lost, I don’t want people telling me I’m beautiful or that I’m doing well or asking how I’m doing it. I know that sounds weird when I write a blog about it but anyone who reads my blog knows what this is to me and I know the people who encourage and support me do so for genuine reasons.

I know how differently I behave as a fat versus thin person and when I was a sexy young thing I wasn’t very nice. I wielded my power like a weapon I was ruthless with the feelings of others I was selfish I was unkind and I don’t want my size to make me that person again. I don’t want to be adored to the point I lose my sense of reality. I don’t want that power in the way I had it before, I want only power over my own demons and I actually resent that the thinner I become the more valid as a person I’m becoming, the more popular I’m becoming. Seriously I get so many more invitations to things now than I used to and I know that the multiple facebook friend requests come from people who have heard that I’ve lost weight and who just want to have a look for themselves, so I ignore them all. Sometimes I wonder if this is why I’ve subconsciously wanted to stay fat because I know then that people around me act genuinely and like me because of who I am not because I fit aesthetically into their world.

I avoid being upheld as a role model for anyone other than my children. I don’t want to be a role model. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone else’s success or failure and I don’t want to draw attention to myself because I know how fleeting success can be. I don’t want that pressure on. I think half of the problem is knowing that so many people who feign interest in my success will be waiting for me to put it all back on again just like I always do and I just don’t want to hear those voices in my head or think about that day because it’s never going to happen.

I just want to be me. I want to know I feel great and look great for myself. to give me the courage to continue to love living my life before it’s too late and its all over. I want to feel healthy more than anything.

But this is a small town and the rumour mill and grape vine are rife and I know a lot of people. This couple of days I’ve heard how I must have had surgery, how I must be taking cocaine, how I must have had skin removal by now, how I’ve definitely had a face lift, how I’m doing something terribly unhealthy to have lost so much weight, how I’m starving myself, how I must have an illness I’m keeping quiet, how I’m going without food to keep my man. I mean seriously where do people get off?

Lots of it is coming from family and extended family and that is my main reason for keeping my blog anonymous because if one of them was to see it my journey would be over such is the negative power they have over me still. I don’t want them to know what I do or think or feel, they  never cared when I was one of them and if I ever let a chink of the inner me shine out they were quick to destroy it and turn it against me and it damaged me, it really damaged me and I don’t want to go there because I know if they knew I was writing this blog and doing so well they would want to destroy me and my happiness and success and I’m still not strong enough to shoulder that. There are too many of them and at the end of the day they are my weakness because I tried to love them, I tried to bring them together, I tried to be loyal, supportive, faithful and kind to all of them and they betrayed me, all of them, one by one or at times en mass and I can’t get over that just yet, it’s a massive barrier which I’m chipping away at. My real problem is that I don’t want to care about them, I need to learn to not care about them but I’m a caring person by nature and I find not caring very difficult and I’m incredibly loyal and there are engrained values which I can’t get out of my system wholly. So I live in this parallel universe with them on one side of the divide and me on the other and I try to not let them into my life or influence my life and it works but then I hear some stories from the rumour mill and all I feel is negative energy.

I just wish people were kinder and I wish people could be happy for someone else’s happiness and keep hate out of the picture. I just wish I wasn’t so influenced by other people and their perceptions of me but I’m working on that with my therapist, it’s a big one. I’ve always been made to feel so self conscious all of the time and I am working on not feeling that way and hoping that that will lead me away from this pressure I feel from other people which makes me want to hide away.

This post is all over the place and I might come back and read it later and make some sense of it myself but I wanted to thrash out my thoughts and I also feel I need to show that in spite of my progress with all things obesity related, there is still a whole long road to travel. We don’t win this over night, we can’t change everything that made us the sad person who ate to feel happy with a wave of a wand, it’s tough, it’s an ongoing battle and voyage of discovery and sometimes it’s not as easy as others. Today I really want to eat like I’ve not wanted to in months, I can taste mint chocolates, I can smell a big fried bacon bun, I am battling a physical compulsion to go to the corner shop and buy a couple of tubes of Pringles and a whole basket full of cookies and chocolate and salted nuts and cake and sit in a darkened room watching a sob inducing movie and stuffing it all down my throat.  Even though I know it won’t make me feel happy, I really feel that it will make me happy and therein lies the problem. It is only the true and absolute knowledge that I will feel like a ton sack of shit if I do it that I am managing to restrain myself. Diversion techniques are in full force but are not taking the need away, being home alone isn’t helping so I think I might just drop everything, get out of here and go for a bike ride and find a lonely old codger walking his dog on the sea front and strike up a conversation about anything.

I’m not giving in to the need to destroy myself and I’m never going back to where I was, never. I made myself a promise and I’m keeping it and no matter how much strength it takes to keep myself walking away from fatness I’m going to find it. I believe I have it in me and today I just need to dig a bit deeper to find it.

Sciatica Licked!

Just an update on the sciatica… it’s gone! Totally back to normal and must say that my natural (more or less) approach to combating it worked. Although I am aware that I’m fortunate in that I could get into comfy positions and stay there for a while without having to do stuff which would have reapplied pressure so I was lucky to be able to be a near lady of leisure while I allowed my inflamed bits to settle down.

I celebrated with a lovely  new hair cut and colour and was delighted when I picked my son up from school as a surprise to take him out for dinner when he told me that I look beautiful and like I’m getting younger every day.  What better words can a near 50 year old lady wish to hear from a young gentleman?

I think losing weight can sometimes be ageing in that the plumpness of the skin can be lost but I just think the healthy glow has compensated for that and also I do lots to ensure that my skin doesn’t dry or sag with me being aware of the huge amount of weight I have to lose I try  not to end up a saggy bag of skin, surgery is something I would love to avoid if possible, I did blog my research findings into fending off loose skin once upon a time if anyone is interested in reading it here it is. Water is definitely a must to keep the skin hydrated and supple and I do still follow my own advice. Some of this has to become habit and ritualistic if you want results.

My son by the way had a big juicy Aberdeen Angus burger with all of the trimmings including huge steak cut fries. I had a chicken salad but did allow myself two of his chips which I ate so slowly and savored so well that it felt like I’d had a whole portion. We had a lovely chat about school and work and the future and I just savour those moments with him so much, I’m aware that he is fast growing into a man and we are experiencing some of our last times as he transitions. I never miss a chance to ruffle that gorgeous hair of his while I can still reach it.

We both had a lemon sorbet for dessert which was yummy and hugely refreshing. After that we went to see Night at the Museum 3 and snuggled together, him sipping on his giant diet coke and me on my Earl Grey milkless tea.

When we got home he did his homework and then ran for an hour on the treadmill and drank about a litre of water so he could use up some of those burger calories and wash some toxins away. Fitness and a healthy approach to food and exercise rubs off on the kids so easily and I love that he makes such decisions for himself. I’m not going to stop him having a burger and fries now and then as a treat or having a coke at the cinema especially not when he makes an immediate choice to get the balance right again.

These are the knock on effects, the added value to living a healthy lifestyle, the way it sets a much better example to our kids, I’d hate my kids to ever struggle with obesity the way I have/am/always will. These good lessons are hopefully going to be part of their life and that helps me to carry on and not give up when I get to a sticky patch because I want to be a good example to them, they deserve it and they are so proud of me and what I have achieved, I really couldn’t let them down or more importantly myself down now.

Healthy Christmas A-Z Part 8

This is it the countdown is on, when I wake up in the morning, or rather later this morning, it will be Christmas Eve Eve – it doesn’t count yet as I’m still in Monday mode.

So the penultimate part of my Health Christmas A-Z of things I’m doing to keep me on the right track this Christmas time and things I’ve used in the past to help me stay healthy and fit and to maintain or even to lose weight during this time of temptation.

S is for Superfoods

If you do nothing else this festive period you can include some superfoods which will help your body to unravel the bad that the excess is doing and which will help you to at least know that you are doing some good amongst the bad. So this is a quick post as here is a link to a whole load of information about superfoods from Web MD and what I’m doing is challenging myself (I rise to challenges) to include at least 2, just two as a minimum in my daily festive diet.  Superfoods can do all kinds of amazing things for your body, reduce cholestoral, reduce high blood pressure, lower the risk of heart disease and cancer, clear your body of toxins and even improve your mood and energy levels. What’s not to like? What is more look at this list and then tell me that so far in this A-Z we haven’t mentioned a good few of those and how to incorporate them healthily over Christmas already:

  • Beans
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Oatsdownload
  • Oranges
  • Pumpkin
  • Salmon
  • Soy
  • Spinach
  • Tea (green or black)
  • Tomatoes
  • Turkey
  • Walnuts
  • Yogurt

You can get some of those in over Christmas each day you really can even if you take a few and stick them in a juicer or blender you can get three or four in one hit. Remember if you’re doing harm try to balance it out with some good.

T is for Togetherness

For those of us fortunate enough to be able to spend Christmas with loved ones, be they family, friends or even pets, there is nothing more fulfilling and relaxing than sharing time with others. Laughing over a movie, taking a walk, just touching one haiku_badges_find_happiness_in_button-rf12283bdc0194a40b5485a793ce852ab_x7j12_8byvr_324another (research shows that skin to skin contact is hugely important in relaxing people and is used effectively in the form of hand massage or just hand holding to soothe anxiety in people with dementia). If you can’t physically be with someone then take advantage of the fabulous technology we have and Skype them, phone them, message them. If you can’t do any of that or have nobody then volunteer to help out at a pensioner’s lunch or a homeless shelter and be with other people while you are doing some good also, charity benefits the giver as much as the receiver especially when it is a charitable deed or service. Show your community spiritedness and if you know neighbours are going to be alone come up with a really radical idea to lunch together or share an afternoon tea together, take round some Christmas goodies as an ice breaker, offer to walk someone’s dog, get out and socialise if you can’t stay in and socialise.

I reblogged a post the other day about how we need to be with other humans as a race and how we function better, feel safer and have less anxiety when we are in groups. It’s true, seek it out somewhere in my recent history and give it a read.

Lifting your mood, relieving anxiety and stress will help you to keep mentally healthy but will also help you win the fight with food especially if you are a comfort or emotional eater.

U is for Upside Down

At this time of year our routines and rituals can be turned upside down, we might be lucky enough to have some lie ins, we might find we are staying up much later at night at events and entertaining, we might find that we are doing way more than we usually do or way less. We might watch more TV, we might spend more time in the kitchen. So much can change at this time of year and many of us have lots of added stresses and some have to work too and manage children on their own! Believe me that is no mean feat I’ve been all things to everyone at Christmas and it’s draining.

So while your world is upside down there are two things you can do to combat the ill effects on your health which have worked for me.

downloadFirstly make some time for you – find a space where you can relax, get pampered or pamper yourself, go and lie on your bed with your Christmas glass of fizz while everyone else enjoys theirs, nobody will miss you if you have a house full of people. I’ve even managed to sneak away on Christmas day for an hour’s sleep between main course and dessert in the past and although I did tell some people nobody begrudged me it knowing I’d been slaving away on the meal and preparations for hours. Or just go outside and take some fresh air, go for a short walk, whatever, just set some time for you aside.

Secondly – don’t let your whole routine go out of the window, adjust it but don’t change everything, try to keep something as normal, even if that is your meal times. This is something I have done in the past which has prevented me from snacking, I’ve still had a good breakfast, a good lunch and a light dinner and kept the timing of my meals more or less as it would normally be. Your family will be used to this and guests will accept this, they are guests, they go by your clock. More and more gyms are opening on Christmas Day these days so if you are an early gym session person then go and have that session before you let the kids know santa’s been or get someone else to prep brekkie while you go and have your workout if your kids are older.

It is so easy to fall back into bad habits, far more easy that it is to make good new ones so be very careful and mindful of how many days you spend upside down and do try to keep something, even one thing from your routine.

V is for Verging on the Ridiculous

So much of what we do at Christmas is just this, verging on the ridiculous. We buy way too much food and drink and we consume way too much of it. We buy too many gifts for our kids that they don’t need. We become crazed loons who are intent on matching if not surpassing the Jones’s next door.

If you can, try to scale down the Christmas excesses in all aspects. The expense causes stress, the food makes you fat and unhealthy and so does the drink as well as making you want to die with a hangover.

download (1)Think about messages you are sending out to the kids, don’t you want them to appreciate people and experiences more than labelled, commercialised junk? I know it’s hard but it’s possible to make your kids appreciative of things other than the latest gadgets.

Think about the state of the world and ask yourself is getting up at 4am to try to beat the queue for turkeys really that important and stress worthy when there are people starving for want of a bowl of rice, people lonely, homeless, bereaved, queuing at food banks for anything, ask yourself is it all worth it?

Try to bring Christmas back to basics and make it about people and peace and giving of ourselves rather than of things. It will leave you feeling far more healthy than the modern alternative. I saw a Facebook comment on the site of a famous UK retailer today which made me think how ridiculous we are now when a lady was complaining that this company had “totally ruined my life, my whole Christmas is destroyed, everything I’d hoped for is gone because the box my 18 month old son’s train was in was split and it’s too late to get another and I’ve had to take it out of the box and wrap it separately”.

I read this and nearly wept. Really? Her life is ruined? Her whole Christmas destroyed because a child who won’t even know what is happening will be distraught because his train isn’t in a box… actually come to think of it he probably would be because we all know that the boxes are what kids of that age love about gifts. They try to tell us from an early age but we just don’t listen and keep on buying them stuff instead of boxes. My daughter spent her first two years being entertained by a cardboard box which I covered with a sticky backed vinyl and it was variously a hiding place, a stage, a car, a bus, a train, a sledge, a house, a kennel, a toy box, a bed, a dolls house… you’ve got it. Whatever was in it was barely touched and I soon realised that she just didn’t like toys, her mind was too active and her imagination way too fertile. I still bought her them though because I felt bad if I didn’t, it was only when she pointed out to me that my excessive spending at Christmas was to fulfill a need in me not her that it stopped. Wise daughter I have.

For the sake of your own health, wealth and happiness, try to keep Christmas real. I know people who spend thousands of pounds per child at Christmas and can never afford a family holiday and I think that the family would benefit so much more from a 50% reduction in Christmas presents and a nice holiday relaxing and having fun somewhere each year.

The same goes for food, we don’t have to stuff our faces just because it’s Christmas, we don’t need to fill our cupboards to bursting, the shops are open again the next day and feeling bloated, stuffed to bursting and sick is not really a good feeling for anyone and definitely not essential.

W, X, Y and Z finish this series off tomorrow.

The Simple Things in Life

I was really busy the other night and my son asked me if I would mind singing for him while he practiced his accompaniment for the school choir. Each year they hold a beautifully atmospheric concert in a little old church, it’s always packed to bursting and just the most important event of Christmas for us all. We’re not church goers but we find it grounds us, it prepares us in the correct spirit for Christmas. It’s when Christmas begins for us.

This year of course is the first that my daughter will not be there. We have attended each year since she used to sing in it and so this is our 12th year. We’re going to miss her so much that night.

I didn’t really feel like singing and I didn’t really have time. But I had a look at the list of songs and was already decided that I would do it of course, as long as we got it over with quick. For the first time in a number of years, all of the songs were traditional carols and I realised that this task was going to call for my best soprano which was rather rusty. I asked for a few minutes to exercise the vocal chords and to glug some warm honey and my son said that while I did that he would set up some recording equipment so we could send a recording to his sister. Glad he thought of that.

We started with Oh Holy Night and knowing what a perfectionist he is when it comes to these things, knowing that a bum note would cause him intense pain (I think he gets his dramatics from me sometimes) I feared I’d never achieve the power required going into the chorus and manage to hit and hold the appropriate notes. He said that he would forgive me this time. He had set up some accompaniment on his iPad and opted to accompany me using an electric guitar played through his wonderful iRig (great invention). I’m not sure what he does but it sounded amazing.

He began to play into the recorded track and I began to sing. It was going well, I was sounding good. I felt that beautiful heart swelling that you get from singing those timeless epic tunes and all of the memories associated with them come flooding in from somewhere in the recesses of your mind. For me, memories of singing with dad, memories of listening to choirs as kids, memories of family Christmas as a child, smells of Christmas, memories of my children being tiny snuggled up with mama in blankets listening to carols and hymns while having Christmas stories read to them, the wonderment of Christmas Eve, all of those wonderful carol concerts I’ve participated in and watched the kids in, all that and more.

You sing and that stuff comes thick and fast, flowing from your brain into your heart and it swells. Somehow that swelling lifts your voice, you hit and hold those notes because that full to bursting feeling in your heart takes over the control of your voice and you hear yourself singing without conscious thought to what you are doing.

At that moment I glanced across at my son, I’d been looking at the words (memory is not as sharp as it was) and I’d felt him looking at me. He was sitting relaxed on his guitar stool, the instrument looks like a natural part of him now, he wasn’t bothering with following the music, he knew it by heart already. He was looking right at me, his dimpled cheeks glowing red (he has yet to grow a whisker thank the Lord, I can’t bear that baby soft skin to disappear just yet) and he had a big smile on his face and his eyes were glistening with tears. We held one another’s gaze for the rest of the song and when we’d finished he came over to me and hugged me tight. “Mummy, you’re a beautiful singer. Well done” he let me go and I looked at him, my own eyes filled with tears now. “You’re a beautiful musician” I said and we had another hug.

We finally finished singing and recording music for my daughter at 1am. Nothing else mattered as much as those songs and making that precious memory with my son. It struck me each time I sang and that familiar heart swell came, how this very moment would forever be one of those heart swelling moments for each of us when we sang, played or heard these songs again for the rest of our lives. Something shared uniquely between us and through the recording which my daughter was delighted with,  perhaps for her as well.

Sometimes we make life too complicated. Sometimes we neglect wholesome talents and skills while we’re busy chasing around other things.  The simple things really are priceless.

This moment inspired my post earlier on my Music Blog too where there are three versions of Oh Holy Night to choose from, I haven’t included mine, I’m not that brave. But as I prefer male voices (I know I know so anti feminist) here is a fourth version by two of the very finest male voices. 

One One One… yes that’s 111 pounds GONE!

I am amazed and almost brought to tears of self pride, amazing good feelings rush through my body when I see how I am still making progress even though now this all mostly feels like normality to me.

I love myself for the changes I’ve made and continue to make. I love how good I’ve made me feel. It’s just fabulous. I don’t need any Christmas presents, I’ve given myself and my children the greatest gift possible ever, I’ve earned us more time together. I’m prolonging my life, my time to be their mother, their time to have their mum around to love and guide them. There is nothing, nothing more important or precious than life, just nothing. I’ve become one of those people who doesn’t stash away my treasures and trinkets in safe dark places, I get them out and use them and show them off and take every ounce of pleasure I can from them. My life is no exception. As my greatest gift and treasure I fill it, I use this body, I use this brain, I use this energy, this strength, this joy, this sense of fulfillment and I live my life, after years of being a fat, dying blob, I am living again and I can tell you, being alive never felt so good.

At this monthly-ish weigh in (I’m not very good with sticking to schedules with weighing days) I found that I’ve lost a grand total of 111 pounds! That’s fat gone, forever and it is never coming back and I say that with more sincerity than I’ve ever said anything in my life, I say it with more sincerity than I said my wedding vows.

I have gone from my starting stats:

24 stone 11 pounds        347lbs            157.4 kgs      11 April 2014

To today’s stats:

16 stones 12 pounds       236lbs                107.05kgs

AND I’ve shed 15 chunks of Tracey (see top right of home page).

I’m almost in tears of joy at my progress. I know it’s been tough this month as I felt I was at a plateau phase. I was aware that I’ve spent a long period of my life at various ages at 17 stones (238lbs) and for a long time it seemed that it was where I was destined to remain effortlessly but then I lost weight and that seemed to kick start the yo yo off again and I gained weight to the 19 stone mark and hovered there for a while and then lost weight and couldn’t get below 17 stones and then shot up to the 20+ realms where I said I would never go. So to get below 17 is a real significant achievement for me and to know that 15 is in sight within the next couple of months just makes me feel ecstatic beyond belief because then I will be within real sight of my goal, I will really feel that I’m on the long run in to the me of the future, the me who is never going to get fat ever again.

I was pretty sure my body didn’t want to shift below 17 as I didn’t feel that I was making progress, normally I can feel myself losing weight and the fat being replaced with lean muscle. Maybe it was all in my head, like most of this fat behaviour is.

That is another reason I’m happy about this loss as I know that lean muscle weighs more than fat and so I’m pleased that in spite of the exchange programme that’s going on inside of my body I continue to shed more weight in fat than I gain in lean muscle and that’s what my whole regime aims at. Keeping that transfer slow and consistent. This makes it healthier for me and manageable and also it means my skin is still not sagging so if I do need any skin snipping off at the end of this it isn’t going to be vast sheets of the stuff.

My PT has been so pleased with my progress that he’s unofficially re-branded himself as a PT to the obese and he has started working with some people who were in a very sad and desperate place and they are making great progress and I’m so pleased that he is doing this. He’s a super sexy young hottie and he gets my heart rate up there just walking into the gym, but he has taught me so much about my body and I have taught him so much about the psychology of an obese person. He makes me cry, he makes me hit him and shout at him and I get to call him horrid names, I’m telling you we’re borderline dominatrix and submissive male. But you know what? It works.

He hears me shout and cry all of the horrid stuff I feel and think about myself and my life and he learns, he gets a free, front row seat to look into the mind of an obese person who over eats out of an emotional need. He’s discovered with me, why I have been destroying myself all of these years and sometimes, I can not tell you how good it feels in those moments when I’m exhausted, when I think I can’t move another muscle, when he calls me out by telling me I’m weak, I don’t want this enough, I’m just going to stay fat forever because it’s easier, and I feel myself fill with adrenalin, with power and strength and energy and I cry and spit back at him that I’m not, I’m going to be slim because I don’t want to hate myself anymore, because I want to live for my children, because I deserve to be happy, because people have hurt me because they were weak not me, because it was never my fault that my family didn’t know how to love me, all of the things I’ve missed out on in life because I was fat are still there and I’m going to get them and then he tells me that’s enough and he lets me fall into his huge arms and he holds me snotting and weeping against his huge chest and he says to me “Well done, Mich, you’re a little fighter” I just feel like I can conquer the world and all of those bad things are gone and forgotten and I’ve beaten them out of my own memory and that big huge man hug makes me feel somehow safe and protected and it’s all I need to let all of that awfulness wash away.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve not got a crush on my PT, gosh I’m not that stupid but we have a really strong bond, it’s beyond a business agreement now, he’s my friend. A very treasured friend. He gets to see me in states no one else does and I’m glad he’s learned and I’m glad that he’s putting that to use to help other people like me. He’s in huge demand and so he should be. He’s good at what he does and I know he’s going to help hundreds of people out of this hell in his lifetime and I know that he’s not going to judge any of them. He knows the hell of obesity and he just wants to bring more people out of it. Sometimes we look to the heavens for angels, we imagine they will be waiting for us at the gates to heaven, we imagine they might take our hands and lead us from this life to the next phase yet we forget that there are angels on Earth with us, they walk among us every day, we just have to open our eyes to see them and our hearts to feel them. Darren is one of mine.

I’m still meeting with my counselor too and that’s much better now, it’s more pleasant and I don’t know if I need to go for much longer. The crying episodes are getting fewer there as they are with Darren. I’m starting to feel that the anger at myself, the self loathing, the bitterness I never knew I harboured, all of the crap is becoming more and more under control.

I’ve developed a lovely relationship with my mother who has told me so many things about herself and about me that I just never imagined I’d ever hear. She comes to visit me now regularly once a week and we sit and have lovely tea out of a china tea pot and our best china mugs and we bake some scones together (oh  yes I have scones, one a week with home made jam and clotted cream). So very English of us. We sit and crochet together with some old music playing. We’re making a blanket for my daughter, she wanted a rainbow blanket and we have been working on getting it finished. She’s taught me some fab tips and I’m becoming quite the domesticated lady. We have races to see who can finish that day’s squares the fastest and we talk, She talks to me like she’s never been able to talk to anyone in her life and I feel bad that she’s had over 80 years of never having had a female family member or friend who she could open up to but i’m glad that she has me now, before it was too late. We’re not too dissimilar me and my mother and if you’d said that to me a year ago I’d have been sick, but now I’m happy to be like her and I’m also happy that I am different to her in so many ways. I’m happy that I know she loves my daughter too and I am touched by the simple little heart felt gestures she was making to try to make amends with her. The blanket was a great idea to make her feel that finally she was doing something special and precious because she knows she will have it for always and ever. We’re both happy that I broke the mother/daughter incapacity to show love family trait, I’m glad I am different to her in that way.

Who would have thought it eh? That just losing weight would make such a difference to my life? That it would bring me for the first time since I was a tot into the arms of my mother without it feeling uncomfortable, who’d have thought that it would have given her the relationship with her daughter that she craved so badly and just didn’t know how to make happen? Who’d have thought that a few months on from the start of this journey, two ladies, one old, one middle aged sit side by side, making something for a third lady, still young, with the love they feel for each other and for her being sewn into every stitch? It’s magical, it’s a gift and I’m humbled to have received it.

Nick is sitting on the sofa working on something and he keeps looking up and asking if I’m OK as I sit her sniffling, my heart swelling with joy at the person I’m becoming. Eating to destroy ourselves is not good, it robs us of so much life, not just time, but it makes us fold into a world of self hatred and a world where we don’t trust, we can’t forgive, we become too defensive, we try to control, we try to compensate for our hatred of ourselves by putting up a shield that we just don’t need. I have never felt more vulnerable in my life than I do now and I quite like it.. But you know what? This vulnerability which means that I quite enjoy people taking care of me now means that my senses are open, it’s like my pores have been unblocked and because I am open, good things flood in. I feared without realising for so long that if I opened up bad things would come in and pieces of me which I guarded with my life would flood out but it doesn’t happen like that. If you close yourself down you miss the good things and I’m finding that even now in this modern world there are more good things going on out there than bad and if a bad thing happens well I’ll deal with it and I have people to help me now and I’m feeling good about that.

I’m so much better of a person now. I’m so happy, truly happy into my soul happy. I love so much more freely and openly. Nick said that he’s noticed how I’ve changed with him and he knows it’s not because we’re getting closer and more used to each other, I’m changing and softening and he knows that is nothing to do with the time we spend together. My children are happier. You know I didn’t realise it then, but now I see that they were worried, they had little stressy faces and they always used to look at me with concern and they don’t anymore. They just look happy, care free and alive like they should. They have confidence that I’m happy and that I’m alive and that has given them more than I ever anticipated. I saw a photo of them when they were in New York and that’s when it struck me. They were sitting snuggled up on the TKTS steps in Times Square, eating a hot dog or something and they took a selfie and when it landed in my drop box I was mesmerised by it, I couldn’t stop looking at it and Nick asked why that of all the photos was so special and I said “Because they look so happy, like they haven’t got a care in the world and that makes me feel happy because I know that they haven’t”.

We don’t just hurt ourselves when our finger is pressed down firmly on that self destruct button guys. We hurt so many other people who worry about us in silence. Who wonder when they’re going to get the call that our hearts have given up under the strain of hauling us around, when one of our vessels clogged with fat and crap has exploded and brought us to our end way too soon. If you’re doing this thing, keep on doing it for you and them and if you’re thinking you can’t do this thing, you can, you really really can and you deserve it, you deserve happiness and to love yourself and to see that same look in the eyes of the people who love you, that look of not having a care in the world because they know all is right with you.

We’re alive, now is the time to live, it’s the only time we get.

The Early Bird…

6.45am and I’ve already done an hour at the gym, had a shower, had second half of my breakfast and have my bag all packed for the ride to work. Lucky me, the weather forecasters say this is going to be a good week again so no excuse for lying in bed hiding under a duvet because it’s cold or driving because it’s wet or windy.

Just waiting for my son to finish getting his act together and we’re going to have a nice leisurely ride together until we’re almost at his school at which point he will speed off and leave me eating his dust so that none of his friends see him riding to school with his mummy and I’ll continue on to work.

I’m leaving Nick at home, he came to the gym but he’s going back to bed lucky fella and I’m just having one of those fat girl moments… please say I’m not the only one who has them… wondering if he’s going to rummage through my Bridgets while I’m gone.

I’ve tried to pull all of the nice undies to the top and shove all the sensible knickers to the back and bottom of the draw and he was there while I was getting dressed so I now have to ride to work in lace undies that will probably disappear somewhere up my backside before I get to work and be uncomfortable all day not to mention this push up bra that’s dealt me an uncool for school cleavage.

Gosh one thing I love about being fat is being able to wear comfie knickers up to my chest, that don’t sneak off up your bum crack or anywhere else, that don’t suddenly take it upon themselves to spontaneously roll down and wind up hovering around the hips with you hoping the rolled band won’t show through your clothes before you can get out of eye sight and haul them back up again.

Now what he would want to rummage through my knicker draw for is beyond me. The last time he came I made sure all my super plus size hangers had no visible tags or labels on announcing to the world that this top was size 24 or that skirt was a 22. I’ve been a label snipper before, when I was younger, I used to live in morbid fear of anyone seeing the size of my clothes and nothing had a label in it, these days I’m not so bothered, but clearly I’m still a teeny bit bothered by some of the “Look how fat I am” signs.

So now I’m going to be at work all day, lacey knickers chaffing at my flesh, possible taking off down around my hips without warning and worrying that he’s in my knicker draw laughing his face off at my Bridgets.

You have to laugh at the fat woman mindset sometimes, it’s far better than the alternative 😀

While I’m on the subject of Bridget I found an article, it’s a couple of years old but it’s about Bridget Jones and how the concept of ‘her’ is very outdated now, have a read see what you think. I tend to agree but then again,  I still think that in many ways she is relevant, the ‘real’ Bridget might have moved on but her struggles with love, weight, happiness, work are all still as valid as ever. I don’t think all single women find it so easy to stride out into the world as much as the author seems to believe and I’d argue that with age it perhaps becomes more difficult or at least more scary.