Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Z wishes she wasn't a shortarse

I've relaxed far more than I should have. I've just finished my lunch, which was a substantial sandwich. Wholemeal bread, lightly spread with mayonnaise, topped with roast beef, horseradish, tomato, cucumber, Stilton cheese and more mayo-spread bread. This would have been fine without the mayo and cheese, but that tipped it into badness. It went right over to unacceptable territory when I added a handful of Twiglets and a glass of wine.

I'd really quite like it if someone said 'pfft darling, that's nothing, I just ate a whole chocolate orange and three packets of crisps washed down with full-fat Coke'. But I suspect that won't happen. Well, it may, because there are kind people out there. But it won't be true.

I have been overeating, I can't deny it. I was so good last Christmas and didn't put on an ounce. Yesterday, however, things really went haywire. I ate a whole lot of Twiglets, two satsumas and an apple, quite a few marshmallows and a slice of Christmas cake. This is over and above meals, obviously. No, I know, none of it was awful and I didn't even eat any chocolate (not that I wasn't tempted, but I'd eaten two squares the day before) but I'm not taking any exercise at all and it's not the way to shed the rest of the weight I need to.

Thing is, of course, I'm older and shorter than you are. I need fewer calories and I'm less likely to burn 'em off. I haven't weighed myself since my triumphant nine and a half stone of a couple of months ago, which has gone beyond self-protective and into the territory of denial.

If only I were six inches taller, I could eat an extra apple with impunity. D'you know, the whole thing has made me so depressed that I've poured myself a second glass of wine? And eaten a jelly baby.

Oh really, pah. And gah. Not to mention bah.


The craving for stodge has been explained by the onset of a migraine. Huh.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Z prepares for an Afternoon Nap

Mind you, I biked in today and I could hardly get the sodding pedals round. I'm weakening, physically, by the day and I don't understand it. I still feel fine, I just have no strength. And the more I do, the less I have.


Monday, 22 December 2008

A fortnight to go before Z Toughens Up

In January, Al and his family will go away for a week and I'll look after the shop. I'm looking forward to it in a masochistic, what-doesn't-kill-you-makes-you-stronger sort of way. Unless the weather is truly filthy (this is not unlikely) I'll cycle in by 8 o'clock every morning, work for 10 hours and cycle back home again, on a bowl of porridge, a ham and salad roll and whatever raw fruit and vegetables I want to eat.

I need this to get myself back on track. Feeble though I've been for the last few months, I know I can pull myself up to the challenge. Two years ago, I was so stiff and aching that I couldn't get up unaided and, when I'd been on my knees stacking shelves, I had to crawl to the counter to haul myself to my feet again. That year, there was a strong cold wind every day and setting up the shop was frankly miserable, especially when it was wet. The outside display has to go up, because there's nowhere near enough room in the shop for everything and nowhere to put the shelving.

Last year, I wasn't so bad and had already started cycling, so I know I can do it. It doesn't matter if it's tiring, because it's not so over-taxing that it's bad for me in any way. I hope that, by the time it's over, I'll be so used to the exercise and the cold that I'll just carry on and not skulk indoors like I am at the moment.

Having said that, I've no excuse at all not to cycle into town today. The time has finally come for me to finish off the Christmas shopping. I've done all I would otherwise have to go to Norwich for online and the rest will be bought locally.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Z falls off the wagon

Big time. I made sticky toffee pudding for lunch, as a friend was coming over and well, blokes like a proper pudding, don't they? And I was going to be pushed for time in the morning, then out and not home until noon. So I made it the day before and as I was serving up the main course, I poured the sauce over, put it in the top oven and left it until we'd eaten our salmon with pea risotto (yes, containing butter and Parmesan).

I ate a pretty generous slice, but it was okay, it was factored in, as in I'll live on rice cakes for the rest of the week, so the wagon was keeping rolling along because I'd allowed for it.

This evening, every time I've been into the kitchen, I've eaten a bit. It's the toasted walnuts on top and the general sticky deliciousness. I think I've been doing quite well recently, I haven't been actually dieting but I've been eating very sensibly and moderately without needing to think about it.

I stopped myself eating pudding in the end, though. I cut a slice of Stilton and ate that instead.

Hey, maybe it's the Christmas whisky we broached this evening, but I feel perfectly okay about it. I may have fallen off the wagon, and I know I'll crave sugar for the next few days, but as long as I don't give in and eat any, it won't take long to get over it.

Unfortunately, there is still a lot of Stilton left. And it was a very good one. That, of course, was the Christmas cheese. I seem to be jumping the gun. As well as off the wagon. Hm. Is there another metaphor to do to death, I wonder?

Monday, 15 December 2008

Z wants to be alone

The rather miserable ending to the post I wrote the other day brought constructive advice from Badgerdaddy:- There's no point making yourself unhappy. Even going for a nice walk can be impossible in this kind of weather. Maybe on those days you could go up to the gym and either spend a bit of time on the treadmill (walking and playing about with the incline) or on the cross trainer, which is non-impact and great on the hips. Just a thought - there's alternatives out there for when the weather sucks or you just want to take the car!

It's good advice, and it can help to think about a different way of getting the same or a better result, and indeed I've spent several days trying to gee myself up to thinking I might try it. But I know in my heart it ain't going to happen. I think the only way I manage to get on the bike is to get somewhere. Once I'm halfway to Yagnub, I've got to keep going. I can see the possibility of my going to the gym if I felt all energetic and positive, but not if I'm fed-up in the first place. I really and honestly don't like 'exercise'. I find it boring.

I can enjoy playing a game - I used to love playing tennis. I could enjoy running, in a frolicsome, playing with the dog sort of way, for the exuberance of it - but just as the mood took me. I said some time ago that I used to really enjoy rowing, but that was proper rowing on a lake or river. I just don't see using a machine as the same thing.

I can see, at a pinch, using some sort of a machine if I had one right here. I can even see myself in a gym, once in a while. I might quite like it as a novelty. But i am the very antithesis of a joiner-in. I would not, under any circumstances, join a slimming club. If I did go along to try it out, I would disengage. This is not an attractive trait and I'm making no boast. If I'm not 'one of you' it's not because I see myself as better, worse, even different from you. Just private.

A blogger who writes really quite personal blogs says she's private. Ah, but *ahem, ahem* one can talk the talk without walking the walk (sorry. Really, really sorry. Put it down to verbal shorthand).

The first step is to want to want to. I'm almost there, possibly. But it may never happen that I will join a gym.

On the other hand, a whim may strike.

Possibly, not twice.

Oh, and does anyone know what a cross trainer is? I've sort of heard of it, but I haven't the faintest idea. I could google, sure, but where's the fun in that?

Sunday, 14 December 2008

badgerdaddy WILL be a puff'd and reckless libertine

...and I'll tell you why, and how this is possible.

One kind soul - well, a kind company - sent me a crate of assorted Belgian beers for Christmas. They usually send champagne, but I'm not complaining. We sampled six bottles last night, oone of which sadly went down the sink as it had both chocolate and coffee in it. It's hard to tell though, as not one bottle has any English on it. But I think chocolate is basically the same in Belgian (Flemish?), and 'gourmetkaffe' is probably 'posh coffee'. It smelled amazing, rich and dark, and would no doubt have sent my heart rate through the ceiling.

Anyway, it was all drunk in a gentle way, tasting each other's beers (myself and Trophy Wife) and having a nice evening. I had a little bit of cheese on oatcakes too. Not a lot, but enough. Cheese is a very rare thing for me to have – it just never occurs to me to buy it, but as TW had been out selling bags on an outdoor market yesterday, I bought her some very nice goaty cheese as a treat.

I digress. I am going to eat a lot over Christmas, but as the usual treats don't really appeal to me I'm going to have the things I do love – roasted parsnips, for example. A beer now and again. Very little wine, though. Too acidic for me to enjoy at the moment. Lots and lots of roasted vegetables, basically. I'm not enjoying fruit at all, and something in salad is disagreeing with me massively, so that's out momentarily.

I'm really rambling here, but I'm on a roll...

Ooooh, interestingly, I think the thing that disagrees with me the most is spinach. I adore spinach, really love it – though TW's herbalist/homeopathic/ dietary lady person reckons that you often crave the thing that is worst for you, or that affects you adversely. Which would make sense in this case, as it's honestly probably the only food I really crave.

Anyway, this year, I have decided I will take some time off over Christmas and new year. I never do normally – there's always a deadline. Well, my deadlines will largely be finished by December 23rd, and my next deadline is not until January 17th ish. I had thought it was the 5th, so I got everything kind of together for that deadline, but it's two weeks later which means I'm going to enjoy time off from the 23rd to January 2nd.

I can't remember the last time I had that much time off without being unemployed. And how shall I use it? Cycling, playing tennis, walking and working out. Oh, and running. Because I'll have the time to do that, and do housework, and do things with the ladies in my life, and have fun. hence I'm going to eat a lot, and I'm going to get as much exercise as I want without worrying about when I have to stop, or how much work I have waiting for me when I finish. All I have to do is my tax return online in the gap between Christmas and new year, and that's it.

I'm absurdly excited about this.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Z will NOT be a puff'd and reckless libertine

I've just poured myself a glass of wine. Well, half a glass. Guiltily, I looked over at Ro, who is presently talking to a friend on Skype or something similar. I'm immensely pleased to see that he's got a glass of Guinness balanced on the arm of his chair, so I need not feel guilty at all.

I'm back on track, but with difficulty. I ate another small piece of Christmas cake the day after the first, but fortunately the Sage and Ro had scarfed all the mince pies. On Thursday, I went to yet another Christmas dinner and ate pretty well all my helping of Christmas pud, but not the mince pie that followed, and I've been virtue personified since then. It's not easy at this time of year, because you eat out so much in a party-type atmosphere. it's easier in restaurants in fact, because there's no feeling of being a bad guest if you don't clear your plate and if there's a menu rather than a set meal, you can try to choose lighter dishes. Sometimes there just aren't any, though. Something that sounds light is loaded with cream.

I don't mind the thought of relaxing a bit over Christmas, but I know how discouraged I'll feel if I put on weight, so best not. So I must still follow the steep and thorny path, with the additional hazard of trying to look carefree about it and not harping on about being careful because I don't want to spoil other people's enjoyment.

The thing is, I know only too well that one can diet strenuously and successfully, but then get bored. And that's when you're vulnerable, because you have succeeded in losing weight, so you think that it doesn't matter if you put on a pound or two because you know how to lose it again, but it's not that easy a second time. And, because you're temporarily off the diet, you don't weigh yourself, so when you do you find you've added a good half stone and you are so filled with self-hate that you give up.

That is bloody well not going to happen.

The other difficulty is that my hips hurt and my right knee hurts and cycling is a complete bitch. I hate it, I'm miserable and I'm tired, and breathless after the gentlest hill. This is really taking all my self-motivation. I'm just about managing ten or so miles a week, which I know is rubbish but it really is the best I can do in this miserable weather.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Saved by the Sage

The Christmas lecture I went to today, there was coffee and mince pies beforehand and mulled wine and Celebration Anniversary Fruit Cake (Iced) afterwards. I had a cup of coffee and a glass of wine and, since there was food left at the end, several of us took it rather than it be thrown out. I ate my piece of cake on the way home - it was a small piece, but enough indulgence to stop right there.

As I was cooking dinner, I nibbled a dropping-off bit of pastry and it was very good indeed. I said as much to Ro, who agreed - he'd eaten one of the mince pies and said it tasted as if the pastry was made with butter and the mincemeat with brandy. Later, he said he'd put one in the oven. I asked him to put one in the oven for me to share with someone. "A quarter would be fine," I said earnestly. "A third, even half. But I mustn't eat a whole one."

I was on the phone when he decided they were ready, so he came back in with mine. As I was chatting to Dilly, I used my blood donor card (just in case it wiped a credit card) to cut it in quarters and then, when I'd finished the conversation, I hoicked a piece out and ate it. It was very good. Ro was drowsing. I ate another quarter. I spoke to him. He grunted, nearer sleep than wake. I looked at the rest of the mince pie. I picked up a few odd crumbs.

The Sage came in. "Would you share my mince pie?" I asked, passing over the remaining half.

I'll want another one tomorrow, of course. It's better not to succumb at all. But a small victory is better than none.

I am lighter. A bit, anyway.

And it feels rather nice.

I'm weighing in at a still substantial 102.2 kilos, but that's more than 6lbs (3 kilos) lighter than I was a few months back. I think I was... 106 kilos at my heaviest this year, which is about 16 and a half stone (233lbs, US Fat Fans); the new weight puts me at about 224lbs, or just a gnat's cock over 16 stone.

Last week I got in three days of lovely exercise, quite out of the blue, as well – tennis on Thursday followed by the gym two hours afterward, then a gym workout on Friday, and more gym on Saturday. All workouts were varied, all left me feeling fucked and pleasantly hungry, too.

Food hasn't changed much - still eating about half a ton of veg a week, hardly any red meat, and it's mostly good. Will be making a few changes soon – will swap pasta for wholemeal pasta, that kind of thing. But that's because running is going rather well, and myself and Trophy Wife have possibly identified a race we'd like to do next year, and it's only four months away, which means getting arses well and truly in gear. We can both run half an hour now, but we'd need to be running just shy of two hours before this one. Not impossible by a long chalk, but there's a lot to be done between now and then with work, living and the like.

Anyway, that's my news, which is pretty good. Am quite pleased; it's good to reach a target, even though hitting the next target will take longer (15 stone, or 210lbs, or 95 kilos) and will probably mean actually being quite committed to exercise... Mind you, last time I trained for this half marathon, I was heavier than this, had recently quit smoking and ended up weighing 206lbs after the race (about 14 stone 10lbs, or 93 kilos). And then I didn't have a great partner to help motivate me and kick my arse, so who knows what might happen this time?

Sunday, 7 December 2008

A chip on both shoulders. mm, chips.

I'm still not dieting and still mostly eating fairly abstemiously, but it's harder than dieting. It's not that I mind not having the biscuits and stuff, but that expectations are different when someone is dieting. If a group of us are out for a meal I could pass on pudding, saying I'm on a diet, but if I'm not then it looks as if I'm making a point of being virtuous. Agh. You know what I mean. There is a difference.

Also, the weather has been so cold and either it's frosty or wet, so I've only been on the bike a couple of times a week. The less I do, the less motivated I am.

There is good news. I mentioned a while ago a pink wool dress I have from when I was in my teens. It's a size 12, but in those days that meant 34-24-36/37. I put it on today and I could get it over my hips and zip it up easily. I won't say it fits flatteringly - not very forgiving to my unwasp-like waist - but I can get it on, fastened. I won't be wearing it, even if I do fine down a bit, because it's a bit moth-eaten!

It still surprises me that my hips measure 37" and yet I still weigh in the region of 9 1/2 stone because I'd expect to be a whole lot less than that. I know the reason of course - it's the overall distribution of fat; that is, my upper arms and back are more covered, my waist (as I said) is thicker and I'm a C/D cup instead of an A, but having grown up a pear-shape, it seems odd to be more balanced.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Oh, nuts

Whilst taking a break from trying to lose weight, I've been taking notice of weak spots in my overeating defences. I'm eating pretty well as I'll eat once I've reached the weight I should be and have not reverted to the chocolate biscuit habit. I've already mentioned the cheese thing more than once, which is something I'll have to watch, but there is another.


When it was fresh cobnut season and then wet walnut season, there was an excuse. They're around for such a short time. But now there are the new season chestnuts and walnuts, and Al has just got in a new bag of peanuts. I made the mistake of bringing home a mixed bag the other night. The Sage and Ro ate a few, but I ate more. I wouldn't have been tempted to eat anything after dinner if they weren't there, but as it was I chomped steadily through. It didn't add up to much, but it was unnecessary.

A friend proudly told me he kept a bag of nuts and raisins or some dried apricots in his car, so that he wouldn't eat sweets. Yes, better than sweets, but it's only a 40 minute drive home, why does he need anything at all? Better to wait and eat some raw carrots and celery while you're cooking dinner. I didn't say this to him. If he had been eating toffees, then of course the nuts are better. But WE DON'T NEED SNACKS.

When I was growing up, we didn't have snacks very often. Some people did - there was a girl called Sandra who seemed to have an inexhaustible supply of sweets, which she was very generous at sharing. I didn't get many sweets and longed for them (though rarely accepted hers, because I couldn't reciprocate). Even rarer was a packet of crisps. I remember once having a bad dose of flu and my mother making up a trayful of tempting little eats - a few grapes, some crisps, some tiny cheese biscuits, a few Midget Gem biscuits - and I stared at them longingly, unable to eat a mouthful. Once I was on the mend, it didn't occur to her to offer them again and I have regretted missing those treats ever since.

I'm best eating proper meals and in my thin days (8 stone-ish) it was good for me to have a small in-between snack to keep myself going, as I didn't eat much at a meal. For example, dry toast for breakfast, an apple mid-morning, a salad sandwich and a yoghurt for lunch, a couple of biscuits mid-afternoon, some crudités early evening before dinner. But they were balanced in with what I ate. These nuts the other night were extras. There was nothing wrong with them in themselves, although I ate rather too many, and they were delicious. But, being a healthy, if high fat, snack, it's easy to think they're all right. They are not. I mustn't do it again too often.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Which way?

There are several points where one can come unstuck in the weight-loss stakes, and I've reached one of them. I don't know if I will, however and will have to wait and see.

First, it's going from a wish, an intention, a need to lose weight to starting to do so. Then, after the first enthusiastic rigour, when you've lost several pounds quickly, it's not to give up or at least start to slip into old habits when it gets boring or you crave your favourite indulgences and you feel impatient because the weight loss has slowed, however hard you've tried. If you're doing a lot of exercising, you feel you should be rewarded by weight loss, but it takes a long time to burn off fat by exercise. It does speed up the metabolism and tone you, but actually losing weight with exercise but without dieting takes a long time.

I got through both those stages and now I'm on a plateau. This isn't exactly a dieting plateau, because I'm not trying to lose weight just now - in fact, I said a long time ago that I'm eating the way I need always to eat now, so in that sense I'm not doing anything 'wrong' in any case. But I'm not behaving quite as I have been - partly that's because it's physically more difficult to cycle as much as I did in the summer; but actually it's not as hard as it was this time last year. There are slopes I didn't attempt or got off half-way that now, if I find it tough, I just stand up on the pedals and slog up and wouldn't dream of walking. Partly, I admit, it's laziness. I'm finding it harder than I did a couple of months ago, so I'm less inclined to bother. Last November, I cycled nearly every day, come what may, but now I'm bringing home enough food for two or three days rather than fetching it daily. I can't let this last long, I need to get going - my hip needs the activity as much as anything else.

Of course, if I get going again and lose those final pounds, I'm not in the clear - will I ever be? Last time I lost all the weight (and a bit more) that I'd wanted to, I effortlessly stayed at that weight for several years. I became complacent. You can get away with quite a bit, once in a while. Trouble is, the odd chocolate biscuit or handful of peanuts, whatever your poison is, becomes a habit. And fat and sugar are highly cravable. And if you start to gain weight again, it seems almost impossible to stop.

As I was grating some cheese for a beetroot risotto tonight, I realised it would be the first cheese I'd eaten in at least a week. I've not been in to town on a Thursday, so haven't bought cheese at the stall (and have walked past the tempting deli) for three weeks. So, apart from cheddar for cooking (and for the Sage), I haven't had any in the house. For a week or two, I used it a lot in cooking, but last week it so happened that I didn't. So I've lost the craving - as long as putting it in the risotto doesn't bring it on again. I hope not, I couldn't actually separate out the flavour of cheese from the rest of it.

I've been quite hungry on a couple of days this week. One day, I hopelessly craved sugar. I didn't have any sweets in the house, or I'd have eaten a couple of jelly babies or wine gums. I had chocolate, sesame snaps and biscuits in the house, but instead I ate a couple of teaspoonfuls of the quince jelly I made the other week. I figured it wasn't so bad - fruit juice and sugar only. And one can't eat a whole lot of it.

And I've scoffed huge quantities of raw carrots. A bunch lasts two days - not sure how many that is, 10 or 12, I suppose. That's in addition to those I eat as I prepare them for a meal. I have to do more than we need of all vegetables. Sprouts, leeks, turnip, whatever - I steal bits from the pan before putting them on to cook.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Mystery solved

I think I know why cycling has been a bit hard the last few weeks. I went to give blood today and my haemoglobin level is too low. Not by much, and I'm only borderline anaemic, but it explains a lot.

So, why?

Well, I think I might always have had a tendency to a low level of iron in my blood. I recognise how I feel, and it's what I sometimes used to feel like when I was thinner. The only times I've actually been diagnosed anaemic, though, were when I was pregnant and then I used to feel awful and iron tablets, given out routinely in those days, were not enough and I used to have to have beastly iron injections and then follow up with double iron rations, if you see what I mean, to keep my iron level up to an acceptable amount - which for me is over 12. At present, it's 11.4. If it were about 10, I'd feel awful, so I don't want to get worse.

I suspect that generally eating a bit more has kept me going over the past few years. Mind you, I have been aware of iron levels, which is one reason I've been eating more red meat than I would have if I'd been trying to lose weight quickly.

However, I've been eating less meat in the last couple of months or so, largely because I've been eating more fish. I still have lots of vegetables, wholemeal bread and a generally good diet, but it's evidently not enough. So it'll be steak for dinner tomorrow and I'll up my consumption of eggs, dark green vegetables and such things. I will also take an iron supplement - Weeza recommends Floradix - until I feel right. I'll know when I am.

I haven't lost any weight recently, but then I haven't been trying to. As long as I don't put any on, I don't mind for a month or two.

Feeling groovy again

Well, I've been for a few runs in the last couple of weeks. I'm still struggling to get out of bed early to do them, and in fact I've only managed that twice; other runs have been on the gym treadmill, which I really dislike so it's the devil or the deep blue sea.

Anyway, the running is going well. I can now run 20 minutes quite comfortably, and tomorrow morning I'll have a crack at doing that on the road. I can usually run better and further on the road, but we shall see.

I am also doing my belt up two notches below the usual... Again. But it's comfortable now, especially so since a session on the gym ball on Tuesday. My weight is slightly lower than it was, but I think this might be down to losing muscle in the six weeks without exercise rather than anything else.

Diet's been great on the whole, not really eating any crap. Sadly though, on Saturday I fly to Vegas for a week. It's in the desert, but in the context of Las Vegas food, desert should mean 'a place without fruit or vegetables'. It is very, very hard to eat nice food there, so I suspect any sushi places I find are going to get hit quite hard. But I am taking my running shoes and all the gear with me, so it won't lapse while I'm gone. We have three days to chill before doing any work too, which could be amusing.

In short, it's all good here. Life's been quite tough the last few months, and continues to be so, but at least I now have the meditative salve of running to help put things into perspective. It really does help me deal with life, and makes me a happier person too. Yay running.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008


Maybe it's just the weather. I still feel perfectly well and am not lacking in energy, nor am I tired, but I hurt more than I did. Not more than I did a year ago - it hasn't occurred to me to take painkillers, which I had done whenever I expected to be busier than usual or, if I forgot, as a hasty result of it, and I haven't been kept awake by not having a comfortable side to lie on, and I don't have to crawl to a table to haul myself up from a kneeling position - so I am better than I was, but having been considerably better during the summer, it comes a bit hard to feel creaky and old again. Especially as I'm too proud to admit it. I've told people I'm loads better, and I am, so i can't go back on it. I'm still saying "oh pfft, I'll stave off this operation for years yet." And so I will. Well, I suppose so.

I do think it is the weather; colder and wetter, that is making the arthritis hurt more, but I'm bored and disappointed that cycling is such an effort. I feel that I'm starting from the beginning again, and I don't have the incentive any more. I do have the habit, though, and the stubbornness, so I won't slacken. But I can feel the ache of my muscles, and they feel so much firmer, so why aren't they doing the job without so much effort? It's not as if I'm expecting more than I was - well, that isn't quite so. I know that there are bits of road I could do now that I got off and walked up back in the spring - but everyone else seems to do it easily and I find it so hard. Boo. Though not Hoo, of course. I am stubborn, after all.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Z mustn't become too pleased with progress

More compliments, two people today said that surely I don't want to lose any more weight as I look just right now. I've explained that I'm still under doctor's orders; that is, he's advised me to drop to below 9 stone. I can't help feeling more relaxed about it - but on the other hand, if I'm too relaxed I won't lose any weight at all. I'm aware, as I come up to a year of losing weight, that I'm eating a whole less carefully than I did last November. I think that's probably natural - your best chance of getting into good habits is at the start, when you're enthusiastic and disciplined and if you are too much of a killjoy for too long, your social life goes to pot, for a start.

My hip has been giving me some trouble though. I don't think it's anything significant, in that I don't expect that it has suddenly deteriorated, but it is a reminder of what this is all for. It's nice to get compliments, but I need to put less strain on my joints. And, in today's wet weather, my hands weren't all they could be. I'm just at the start of cracking up and I need to keep my body mobile until my liver packs up at any rate.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Z was overoptimistic, and now isn't

I'm feeling a bit morose and gloomy, because I keep finding all over again how little strength I have. I helped carry some tables yesterday - they are not all that big, a bit bigger than card tables, but they have iron legs and are heavy. They belong to the village hall, but we borrowed them for a doo at the church hall. When Ro was little and we went to the mother and toddler group, I used to shift them without difficulty, but now, having carried a few, my bolt was shot and my arms and legs are still aching today. I made heavy weather of cycling a few miles.

I'm not sure why this is - okay, I suppose I shouldn't expect to be as strong as I was over 20 years ago, but I don't see why I feel no fitter, when cycling, than I did a year ago. I've been careful to eat a balanced and good diet and to diet slowly so that I don't lose muscle rather than fat, and as you know I've been cycling several days a week throughout the year. I don't mind progress being slow, but at the moment I feel that I'm losing ground rather than gaining it. It could be that the arthritis is getting slightly worse and this is counteracting the benefit of losing weight, or it could be that I'm just a bit tired or it may be what I should expect at my age, or it could be an effect of losing weight. My leg muscles are certainly toned, but that doesn't mean they are working better. It's a nuisance because I'd like to be cycling further afield, but it's such a slog when going up the most modest hill that there is no pleasure or feeling of satisfaction in it.

I'll persevere of course and maybe I shouldn't expect more - I said a long time ago that, when thinner, I used to not have much stamina, but in those days I was, at least, pretty strong even if I used up that strength quite quickly.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Ah... Crap.

I've had a cold for nearly a month, which means while I have not particularly inflated, I have not exercised either; as exercise is at the core of all I would like to do, I'm a bit fucked, really.

I also have FOUR pairs of running shoes waiting to be used. Grrrrrr.

I can't wait to get back to exercising, this bloody cold is driving me insane. But it's so close to gone, can't rush it... So... close...

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Z resists temptation

I was really busy on Friday because it was our auction and there was not time for a proper meal all day. I'd made loads of sandwiches and I ate those, but had no idea of what I was eating. I was tired when we got home at around ten o'clock and ate a small chocolate chip cake - I wanted the sugar but it didn't taste all that special and I realise that if I'm going to indulge I might as well eat something gorgeous and get the full benefit of that deliciousness.

The next day I was still a bit lethargic and spent the whole day wanting chocolate. Chocolate biscuits, to be precise and I had some in the house, although I didn't eat any. I had to do some serious resisting. Now, eating a chocolate biscuit would not be dreadful. It would not instantly cause me to get fat and I do eat a chocolate a couple of times a month - indeed, I ate cake twice last month, one of those being chocolate cake. But I did resist all the same, because I would not have been eating it because I had made a choice to do so but in response to a craving and I felt that would be a weakness and that I'd have wanted to eat another the next day. So I chomped rice cakes and raw carrots instead, and then drank at least my share (though between 3) of a bottle of champagne in the evening.

Now, there's a funny thing. I was wearing my new size 10 skirt and was complimented by several people actually, which was nice, and talked about weight loss with a friend who has lost quite a lot of weight in the past 18 months, though a lot of that is through stress. She has a smaller bottom and legs than I do, but is at least the same size up top. She said she weighs 8 stone 3 and is a size 10. If I'm about 9 stone 7 and am also a size 10, which I am, and my skirt and trousers are not at all straining to be done up, how does that work? I reckon that if I weighed 8 stone I'd be size 6 max. She's a couple of years older than I and had a hysterectomy some time ago - maybe it's something to do with bone density? I dunno.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Pretty Damn Good!

Look, I'm sorry about this and I will get over it and not harp on about it, but remember please that this blog is as much to give myself heart and encouragement, and also give myself a record of this whole dreary *diet* malarkey, as it is anything else.

I wore my new skirt and jacket today. And, frankly, I looked in the mirror and thought 'damn good'. And I went downstairs and did this'n'that to get ready and then went into the kitchen and the Sage came in and I said "I'm wearing my new skirt and jacket, what do you think?" And the Sage, who usually says "yes fine" without looking, looked and said "You look lovely, and I do like the colour of that jacket - it looks nice and warm too, it's wool isn't it?" I agreed and said that most of my jackets are black, brown or grey and I wanted some colour (it's a sort of red wine colour) and this was the one I found in the sale, reduced to £30 (while my weight is changing so much I only buy in sales).

The thing is, he doesn't ever say anything. I don't think he's ever remarked spontaneously on my appearance and for his face to light up and an opinion to be proffered over and above what I'd asked for is remarkable indeed.

One has to take a balanced view. I might grumble that he hasn't mentioned my weight loss. But. He never mentioned my weight gain or gave any indication that he minded at all. So I can hardly complain if he doesn't say anything now. He is vastly polite and kind and he loves me for what I am, whether big or small. Nothing to complain of there and so much to be glad of. But it was so lovely to receive an *almost* spontaneous compliment.

Actually, Dilly has lost a fair bit of weight in the past few months. I said, today, that I'd seen her walking along the road and thought how pretty and young she looked (absolutely true, I was proud for her) and I also mentioned that she looks very slim. She said that her friend Sarah, who came over last night, mentioned that she had lost weight - "mind you, Sarah was the one who said I was looking fat!" Fair enough, I said, because at least she says the positive as well as the negative.

Anyway, I looked pretty damn good in my size 10 skirt and I received compliments from friends who know I've been dieting and are pleased for me. And when another friend, whom I haven't known for long, said that she sometimes looks in the mirror and is depressed (she is smart and attractive, but in her 70s and let's face it, the only way is down - for me as well as her, if 20 years behind) I said "no, look in the mirror and think "Pretty Damn Good! Appreciate yourself and don't judge harshly if it isn't merited. You look great and you should know it."

Monday, 13 October 2008

Z is normal

Indeed, I worked out my BMI a couple of days ago, and it came out as 24. Overweight starts at 25, according to this very rough-and-ready calculation - I know it doesn't take into account all sorts of things, including muscle ... but actually it's a reasonable guide for me, because I'm of an average build and physique.

I also worked out how much thinner I could be before I went into the 'underweight' category. Another 2 stone. In fact, I'd have to go down to about 100 lbs before I would be officially underweight.

But anyway, it has encouraged me. Like many - most? - women, I can't estimate my own size accurately. Since I have always looked at myself and seen fattish, I can't really differentiate between degrees of fatness. If I looked fat at 8 1/2 stone, then it didn't make much difference being 10 1/2 stone, because I still looked fat. I had to be near 8 stone to recognise that I was about right, and even then I was aware of the size of my hips and I didn't have thin legs.

This is stopping right now. I am not fat, I do not look fat and I will not think of myself as fat when I am not, or look into a mirror and see fat. I still weigh more than I will do in a few months, but although I choose to lose more weight and I want to become more toned - yes, Badgerdaddy, I'll give that ball a go, though I'll have to watch that video a few more times before I remember what I'm supposed to do with it - I am looking fine (actually, this is quite hard to type, I keep wanting to put in disclaimers - 'for my age' or 'considering' or 'if it weren't for *insert body part* - but I'm not going to) and I have gone down 2 sizes in less than a year, and that is Damn Good.

So to celebrate, I went and bought a pair of jeans and a skirt, just for the sake of being able to buy a size 10. Funnily enough, I also bought a jacket - a close-fitting knitted jacket - and that's a size 12. In years gone by, my sizing was the other way round. If I had 37" hips, I'd have had a 32" bust. Now, I'm still about 35". That's fine, the best part of my weight gain was getting a cleavage for the first time and I hope I don't lose it.

Friday, 10 October 2008

I am not addicted to weighing myself, it just happened...

Oh okay, I happened to come downstairs in my dressing-gown this morning to fetch some newly-washed clothes that needed ironing. So, as I'm rarely downstairs in a state of undress, and the scales are kept in the porch, I trotted out there, took off the dressing-gown and weighed myself In The Buff, keeping a sharp look-out for the postman.

9 stone 7 lbs exactly. Hah!

So now what do I do for the rest of the month?

Cheered by this, I toddled back upstairs and tried on those 20-year-old age 13 boy's M&S jeans and this time I could do up the waist. I could only get the zip up about half an inch, but it's still progress.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Weight down, a little

9 stone 8 pounds, and as there's still 3 weeks of the month to go, I'll revise my target of losing 20 pounds in a year and go for weighing 9 1/2 stone instead; less than a pound difference in the weight loss but a nice round number. I tell people who ask (what's with that, then? Do you go around asking people how much they weigh? At least half a dozen people have asked me.) that I weigh nine and a half stone already, so I should aim to be telling the truth, I suppose.

I always weigh myself with clothes on by the way, but if I'm wearing a belt I might take it off!

I was very, very tempted to make cakes, I just felt in that mood, but I resisted, because I couldn't help pinching off bits of the chocolate brownies as it was, and I realised that I would eat any cake I made; and possibly not the one slice it would be reasonable to permit myself, but little bits several times a day until it was finished. That still wouldn't be so bad, but I know it would leave me with a sugar craving and a general longing for cake. If I'm going to give in to any bad temptations at all, I'd rather they were for cheese.

Having said that, I buy Maltesers and jelly babies, and sometimes other chocolate, to help retain good cheer at meetings - I also provide fruit for those of us who don't eat the sweets - and it's not unknown for me to take one of those, especially if I haven't got around to eating much in a day. If I go just too long without food, then I'll either be so ravenous that I'll not know when to stop or else I'll get a headache and feel exhausted, and a touch of sugar staves either of those off for just long enough to get some proper food ready and into me.

Monday, 6 October 2008

A bad week.

Not just in terms of waistline, either.

Been away with work from Monday to Friday, and this involved four flights, umpteen trains, four hotels, and some beer. I was quite pleased with my beer consumption, which totalled only 11 pints for the week. This is partly because I had a horrible cold for the week too, I think. But even so, it's less than it could have been. Not much to do on the outskirts of Coventry on your own for three nights, for example.

Food-wise I tried to be a little sensible at least. It's very hard when you're away with work though, as healthy-ish food in airports simply doesn't exist. But I didn't eat too much, on the whole, and got plenty of sleep and did lots of work.

Thing is though, the cold has put the mockers on any exercise for the moment. It's in its second week now, and I still feel like shite (I think this is at least partly down to all the travel and work, and not having the chance to just sit still and recover). So no running, no gym and no tennis or football for at least another week, I think. Barring a minor miracle, I mean.

Here's an example of how shite my week was in terms of incident. I went to Bulgaria on Monday, and came back on Tuesday. I took Euro with me, as I knew Bulgaria had entered the EU in January 2007. The lady at Sofia airport who was there to advise me on cabs etc explained I needed to change it to Lev (or Leva, Bulgarian currency) as no cab drivers would take the Euro and she didn't think anyone else would, either. I changed it. Got back to England late on Tuesday, went to the bank Wednesday morning to change currency back. They refused, as Bulgaria had 'switched to the Euro'. When did they do this, I asked, as I have just come back from there? Today, said the bank lady.*


*Things like this make me think I should still have a blog. Ah well. Shared here instead. Won't do it again though, honest. I put it on here because I then went outside and ate the money.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Let Z eat cake

I've discovered another nemesis. I made brownies and came home from the doo I'd taken them to with some ginger cake. I crave both. I had cheese for lunch, but only a little and dinner was altogether virtuous (an Indian dish of spicy cauliflower and potato which I served with pizza for the boys - yes, I know, what a hotchpotch - but ate on their own myself) but I sit here wanting a piece of cake. I did eat a rock bun this afternoon. I think that rock buns are the acceptable face of cakes, and I'd expected to eat one last week and didn't, so I'd sort of factored it into the diet already, so it no longer counted. Oh, shut up. Look, I'm only trying to lose a pound or two a month, you know, and I think I'm doing damn well to keep it up all this time. I will have a fruit and yoghurt day if I feel fat in the week and make up for the rock bun, which was worth it.

Anyhoo, I feel quite tempted to make a cake soon, because making the brownies was nice, even though I did cock it up a bit (see the other blog if you need to know) but I realise that I can't risk it, not for a while anyway. If I make cake, I will eat it.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Weigh in

Today, 9 stone, 8 3/4 lbs. Why is there so often three-quarters of a pound? I'm now in the 12th month of the diet, having visited the doctor on 29th October last year and been told that the pain and lack of movement in my right leg was caused by an arthritic hip. At that time, I was perilously close to 11 stone. I'd call it 11 stone, except it wasn't quite and I still clutch at that straw.

But that isn't what I meant to write about tonight. The other morning, lying in bed, I rubbed my aching right thigh. It was aching because I'd been going up and down stairs and ladders painting my flat-to-let in London. On Sunday, once I was home, I got on my bike, just to go a few hundred yards and it really hurt. My left leg had to do all the work and my right one just went round and round on the pedal - I quickly abandoned my plan to cycle 2 miles to my lunch engagement and went in the car instead.

So, when I felt the hardness of my thigh, I wasn't sure whether it was muscular tension or simply muscle. But the ache is better now and so I tried again this morning. Ooh, muscles! I don't know much about muscles except the ones everyone knows, but it's the ones at the sides and the front. Rock hard, darlings. As I prodded my way down, I could feel when there started to be some 'give' under the skin.

Today, I cycled in to town for the first time in a week (horrible weather yesterday) and it was very windy. I felt the benefit of having used some different muscles last week though - well, I think that's what I was feeling the benefit of, and I felt quite strong. Coming home was a beast though - a strong wind almost in my face and at one time I had to stand up on the pedals to make any headway at all, and that was on a flat road! My son in law said to El that this morning he had felt he was cycling with the brake on.

Anyway, at least I know that the bike is having some effect on my muscles. It's also good for my lungs. I would like to think of another sort of exercise that I actually would like to do, to work some other muscles. Getting out with the pruning saw is good for my arms, but I wonder what else I could do? I don't want to go to a gym, I really don't like swimming and I have to be careful with my legs, so can't walk long distances regularly and I can't run at all, literally. Three steps and I'm lurching.

The obvious thing is rowing, because it exercises the whole body, particularly the trunk and the arms, but the small downside is that I don't have a boat and our boathouse (yes, we have one) is in need of renovation. When we left our dinghy overturned on the bank, it got stolen, unsurprisingly. And it's the wrong time of year to get started, plus I don't have time. This is a project for another year. So, for now, what else? I can't think of anything at the moment, can you?

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Z feels good

My daughter said that I have slim legs now.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Z wishfully thinks

I'm going to spend a few days painting (walls, not pictures) this week and I stupidly, when having a turn-out, chucked away the painty clothes I used last time. So I raided a pile of clothes that got put on one side as being rather too old to give to the charity shop but that seemed too good just to bin. Whatever happened to jumble sales? I remembered a pair of jeans that Weeza passed on to me some 15 or more years ago. Well, more. She was still at school. They fit fine, but while I was rootling I found another pair of jeans. I remembered them, because I kept them out of sentiment. When Al was 13 or 14, I grabbed some jeans from the pile that had been brought in from the washing line, put them on and it was only because the legs felt a bit narrower than usual that I checked, and they were his. Although I was quite small at the time, he was slight and skinny and I was astonished that his jeans fitted me.

So, of course, I put them on. I couldn't do them up, but I could pull them up and they weren't tight around the thighs or anything. But the peculiar thing is that, all those years ago, I weighed about a stone less than I do now, and surely it isn't all around my middle?

Anyway, of course, that will now be my yardstick. When those jeans fit and I can fasten them easily, I'll be the size I was (lower half anyway) that I was 18 years ago.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Me too!

...and I don't appear to have lost more than perhaps four pounds. Hmmmmm.

But then, the exercise has me feeling great and my body shape is changing, albeit subtly...

Oh, and I need a shave, which is another pound.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Okay, so I did weigh myself

At last. It was all that effort on Saturday that made me think I might have started shifting a bit of poundage again. It was, I think, the end of July when I last ventured on the scales and I've lost 1 lb since then. Unimpressive as that sounds, I'm still on track for the 20 lbs I hope to have lost since the end of October last year, and have only two more pounds to lose in the next six weeks to achieve that. The thought at the back of my mind is next May to get to a weight I'm happy to stay at.

I also measured myself, depending on whether I was breathing in or out I fluctuated between 35" and 36" on top with 27" waist and 38" hips. I can't remember what I was when I last measured myself, much the same I suspect! I suppose my legs are getting thinner instead.

Anyway, I'm less than 2 lbs away from 9 1/2 stone. Needless to say, if anyone asks, I say that's 'about' what I weigh now. Well...

Another notch

Not on the bedpost, those days are thankfully gone. My bedpost-notching knife actually went rusty in my 20s, that's how much action I saw. Wow, too much information so soon. I rule.

It appears I'm another notch down on my jeans belt, which is good. Okay, it's not totally comfortable, but I did it up to there by accident – ie without thinking about it – this morning. I think that's mostly a good thing.

Been exercising a fair bit and despite the running and everything going well, I'm not getting up early and running, which is what I really want to do. For some reason my sleep at night is broken and when that happens, getting up early is impossible. No idea why.

Or it might be that the weather's been really wet and my motivation isn't above getting wet. Which is also weird, as I used to love running in the rain. Last week I went out and did a couple of miles in pouring, early morning rain and by the time I got home I was absolutely soaked. Since then I've done all my running and exercise on the treadmill, which I absolutely do not enjoy.

I'll figure it out. In short, the exercise thing is going well, my weight is just a few kilos less than it was, but I feel great. Played indoor football on Friday and knackered my thumb (I was in goal, resting kind of because I had just taken a ball flush in the plums. Next ball I went to save, I bruised my thumb horribly. Gah. Still, it took my mind off my testicles), which means I can't do any weights really, or any exercise involving my hands, so I cried off Trophy Wife's 11-mile hilly, partly off-road bike ride at the weekend, and I'm glad I did.

I'm rambling. In short, it's all good, dawg.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Z is complimented

In the last week I've forgotten how many people have told me how much thinner I'm looking. Lots. I mean, nearly ten I should think. Two of them have said that I shouldn't lose much more as I'll get too thin. This is a bit nonsense of course, because I'm nowhere near that, but it's encouraging all the same.

I still haven't weighed myself. I've been too busy in the mornings - I still use the stand-on scales with a sliding balance and weights which are kept in the porch (no nude weigh-ins for me) and so I don't do the deed until I'm downstairs and dressed and feeling strong enough to take the shock, but before I've had lots to eat and drink, so there's a bit of a narrow time gap to do it in.

I've been reasonably good, anyway. A whole lot of cycling and walking on Saturday, which I confidently believe to have burned off a pound or two (yeah, I know that's not how it works) and although I've eaten a little chocolate, it's mostly been chocolate-covered coffee beans which surely don't involve whole lots of the delicious brown stuff. Anyway, it hasn't been many. About ten in the course of a week. Still having trouble with the cheese cravings though.

Actually, I've been wearing my daughter's trousers, which are really tight at the top - not in an overstretched way (eek, I hope) but fit more snugly than I'm accustomed to wearing them. Also, the new skirt I bought is really quite flattering. I think that's it. The reason for the compliments, I mean. I've been wearing one or other of them each time.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

How Z lost weight 19 years ago Part 3

It was quicker than the 9 months it took me to lose 18 lbs, but it indicates why I had quite moderate expectations this time round.

It took 12 weeks to lose a further 12lbs, having initially lost 5 lbs in 5 days. And this was, as I've described, on a really quite strict diet of mainly bread and vegetables. Very little fat, not much alcohol, small amounts of meat, no cheese. It was, at least, steady - pretty well at 1 lb per week. At the end of it, I was 8 stone 2 pounds, which gave room for a bit of leeway as I was quite happy with 8.4 - 8.7 in the long term.

But it'll explain to you why I keep saying that it can be unrealistic and demoralising to expect a great weight loss all the time, especially if you have relatively little weight to lose. And if you do have habits you want to break, then a diet of (as it feels like) great deprivation may not be one that you can realistically keep up.

During those three months, I was never hungry - the reason behind the mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. I never cheated, I never ate chocolate, cheese, pastry, biscuits (apart from the afternoon Rich Teas) or cake. If I had to transgress, I took the two baddies - fat and sugar - and never ate them both together. Thus, a cheese straw could make it a 'no loss' day, though an accompanying glass of wine would make it a 'weight gain' day, but a piece of cake was not on.

Looking back, it's hard to see why it took so long. I guess it was because I wasn't actually very fat. At the start, I weighed less than I do now. Damn. I blame my mother, of course.

Well, you have to blame someone, and that's what mothers are for (and it's true, but she didn't mean to).

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Cheese, and tomato

I bought some gorgeous cheese at the market last week and I've been finding it very hard indeed not to eat too much of it. I hope Ro has finished it off now. I do have some proper Cheddar (made in Cheddar and matured in the caves) that Al and Dilly brought back for us from their holiday and, having eaten a little, I want the rest. Yesterday, I wandered around craving cheese. This is pathetic. I'm sure I've put on a pound or two in the last month - I haven't weighed myself because that would make it official - or at least stayed the same; the latter doesn't matter at all but I am very anxious not to backslide as I know how hard it is to get a weight loss going again when you have got into the habit of eating a little more.

So, yesterday I ate rice cakes again and had a tomato sandwich - just bread, lovely home-grown Red Brandywine tomato and a little salt - and plain yoghurt for lunch. I wanted more all day but I didn't have it. I felt too discontented to go out so didn't get on the bike - I will today though. In the evening, I made kedgeree, with salmon. I didn't have any celery so used an onion, but added no butter, though I did add a dollop of Greek yoghurt. We also had lots of french beans from the garden and Black Russian tomatoes.

I shall have to be very strict with myself for a few days until the cravings diminish. It makes me very conscious of how hard it will be to maintain a lower weight. Dieting is relatively easy, because I don't eat forbidden foods, or only very occasionally. But when one eats a moderate amount of whatever one wants, it's easy for that amount to creep up. I find it easy to resist the cream and the cakes and the obviously 'bad' foods, but very hard indeed to turn down 'proper' food that happens to be high in fat, but that's not what I like it for.

It's not all bad news though. My daughter, turning out her wardrobe a month ago, passed on a few work clothes to me that she won't have occasion to wear again. One of the pairs of trousers, which she said were close-fitting round the hips, were indeed. Loose at the top, but only just do-up-able at the zip. I'm wearing them easily today, so weight must be redistributing itself in a reasonably good way. The skirt I wore yesterday, which I bought a few weeks ago, is very slimming and I'm pleased with it. It's a 12 in a Petite range, and is rather loose on me. It's a pity that it won't fit me this time next year. Because that next stone must come off. Damn. I want cheese. Maybe if I cut a slice and just lick it?

Friday, 5 September 2008



I had to go to Exeter for work stuff. I conscientiously packed my running shoes, having run outdoors the other day for 20 lovely minutes and felt perfectly fit and strong during the run, too.

So what happens? I get locked out of my fucking hotel by the manager – words were exchanged, but you'll be delighted to know I waited until the next morning, instead of what I had initially had in mind when he opened the door*. It meant I was angry at bedtime, which meant no sleep for a while, which meant I overslept the next morning; I often find unless I run first thing, it doesn't happen. Even for long runs, I don't like eating before I go out. It's not nice.

So that went out of the window.

And because I had such a shite night's sleep, I overslept the next morning, too, and almost missed my train. In the meantime, I had an evening of lager, and another of wine. Nothing excessive, but I had enough to get me drunk. Oh, I suppose that is a bit excessive.

When I got up this morning, I felt a bit foggy, which I put down to still feeling tired. When I blew my nose, I reconsidered. Seems I have a cold, and I can't help but wonder if being stranded outside a locked hotel while it absolutely fucking pissed it down may have contributed to that. I have a cold. Gah.

All this, and I had the most ridiculous dessert while away, as I knew I would be putting in some miles this week and felt like a silly treat. For someone who hardly has a sweet tooth, a toffee fudge sundae still seems an odd choice to me...

*I was tempted to pull him outside and lock the door behind me, to see how he might enjoy it. I had a door key, but he had dropped the latch, I think the expression is, so the key wouldn't work. Fucking idiot.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Tomorrow is a moveable feast. How Z lost weight 19 years ago Part 2

As last year, I knew that there wasn't much wrong with my diet, and I was pretty energetic. I had three children, a 5 year old and 2 teenagers and an Irish Setter and I was always busy. I didn't take extra exercise - I used to walk my son to school and run home again and the same in reverse in the afternoon and I played tennis and walked a fair bit but that was about it. So I thought it all had to be done with a change in diet. And this was it...

Breakfast - 2 slices dry wholemeal toast and a cup of black coffee

Mid-morning - 1 piece of fruit

Lunch - A salad sandwich, comprising two slices of dry bread with any amount of lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber and a small tub of plain yoghurt

Tea (this was the daily indulgence) - a cup of black tea and 2 Rich Tea biscuits

Dinner - mostly vegetables. For example, I might do a stir-fry with loads of vegetables and a small amount of meat. I'd give all but one sliver of meat to the family. I would have a small potato or helping of noodles or rice.

That was it. And I reckoned on eating that at least 4 days a week. That, I'd count as a weight-loss day. Any addition, such as Sunday lunch with a roast potato, or a Saturday night glass of wine - that is, a single addition, was a neutral day. Anything more at all, such as a small steak or anything containing sugar made it a weight-gain day. The weight-loss days had to outnumber the others, that is, I followed that for at least 4 days a week and the neutral days had to equal or exceed the weight-gain days. So, 4-2-1 or 5-1-1.

I never touched cheese, chocolate, had no more than two small glasses of wine a week, and never cheated. I wanted to lose 12 lbs on top of the 5 I'd lost in a weekend (which i didn't regain).

I wonder how long you think I took to lose 12 lbs on this regime?

Monday, 1 September 2008

How Z lost weight 19 years ago Part 1

I can't be bothered to search too much and it seems that the Great Badger doesn't remember, so I'll risk telling you, possibly again.

I based it on a diet I found in Good Housekeeping as I remembered - basically it was a points system I suppose; it allowed so many units of each food group, while vegetables were free. So I promptly decided that some of them were far too generous - I weighed 9 stone at the start so to lose weight meant not eating much at all.

It all started - actually, I can pinpoint it exactly, because of the particular circumstances. The Sage and I had a long weekend in London, for my goddaughter's christening at St Martin in the Fields in Trafalgar Square. The Sunday was the 21st May, 1989 (I'm good, aren't I? Damn good.) and we stayed with the Sage's nephew in Hackney the night before, went to the christening at the usual morning service at 11, then for a Chinese meal with the other godparents and the family and then to view a sale at Sotheby's. The next day, we returned or the sale and then the Sage left for home, while I went back to spend another night at Simon's flat. He served a lovely trout with salad and white wine for dinner, I remember.

The next day, I visited the Chelsea flower show. It was scorching hot and I took talcum powder to sprinkle in my shoes so I didn't get blisters and I wore a hat I'd bought in John Lewis in Oxford Street the previous day for £2.95. Just a simple straw hat but I loved it and wore it for years. I still have it, much mended. Also, I didn't wear a bra (having a suitable loose top and a modest 34A endowment) so I kept pretty cool. I spent all day at the show and didn't bother to eat, keeping going on just a glass of orange juice.

I went home that night and the Wednesday was our wedding anniversary, which is the reason I know the dates exactly. I weighed myself that day and I'd lost nearly half a stone. So, when I then read about this diet it seemed a good idea to lose the poundage I'd put on since being stick-thin after feeding my last baby for a year.

Sorry, I set the scene for so long I haven't time to tell you about the diet. I'll be back tomorrow.

I ran.

Okay, it was on a treadmill. And it was for a total of 20 minutes. Not a lot, but when you haven't really done any for six months, it's a lot. In the interests of common sense, it wasn't 20 minutes of continuous running; I did one minute walking, then a one-minute warm-up, then 10 minutes continuous, then did some sprints of up to 90 seconds (minimum one minute).

I was shagged out afterwards, but jubilant. Genuinely jubilant. New running shoes seem to be excellent, too.

I'll go to the gym again tonight and do a reasonable workout, then go out for a run on the road in the morning, and see how that goes. Then I'm away on business for a couple of days, so I'll take my running shoes with me and enjoy some running in Exeter, down on the canal path, all being well.

Oh, and I weighed myself, and I'm just under another kilo lighter.

Oh, and did I also mention… When I went to the Czech Republic last week, I accidentally took – and wore – jeans that were, theoretically, a size too small for me?

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Z wears old clothes

I haven't weighed myself this month. I see no reason at all to have lost weight, so why depress myself? I haven't been particularly bad, just not tried very hard. I did wear the size 10 skirt that I think I remember mentioning a little while ago (can't be bothered to open a new window to check, sorry) and I did write about it, but absent-mindedly wrote it for the wrong blog. There wasn't any point in taking it off and putting it here instead as it would still show in the RSS feed - how do people manage two or three blogs under completely different identities? I'd never know what I'd written as who) which at least has done my morale some good.

What did surprise me, when I clambered into a sari the other week, was how much I must have lost from my arms. When you buy a sari the blouse is usually tailor made for you, and you are measured in every way. Not just the bust and midriff, but the circumference of our arms, the width of your shoulders, and all sots of quite personal dimensions. The sari itself fits you, of course (being an 8 foot or so length of cloth) but the blouse is a bit unforgiving if you put on more than a few pounds. However, from having tightly-fitting sleeves, they are now appreciably loose. And there's another little jacket that I bought years ago which I didn't get rid of because I liked it; not only could I not do it up but the time came when my arms got stuck in the sleeves (yes, why did I even try to put it on?). Again, I can wear it easily now. All those things I didn't chuck away from the back of the wardrobe can be hauled out and brought into use again, to replace the stuff that now is far too big.

Mind you, after a good July, I will have done well to stay still in Aiugust. I can't remember if I've ever told you how I lost weight some 17 years ago. I'll have a look back and if not I'll tell you and we can all gaze, bemused, at the relatively young and steely-willed Z.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

How to put on two and a half stone in ten years

What I think is not going to do you any good is skipping meals. I have a friend who tries to lose weight by going as long as possible without food - it doesn't work, needless to say. He might get through the day eating hardly anything, but he's not going to feel well while he's doing it and sooner or later he will be so hungry that he will overeat vastly, usually in the evening which plays havoc with one's digestion.

Badgerdaddy says his downfall is crisps and alcohol - the worst thing there is that they go together and while one is imbibing the latter one loses track of how much one is eating of the former. And they are so awfully moreish. I think my downfall was eating for the sake of it, because I wanted to not because I needed to.

So, I'd have quite a light breakfast, often dry toast, but sometimes (once or twice a week) with butter and marmalade. I'd probably not eat during the morning, but if I had coffee with a friend and biscuits were passed round, I'd eat one, even though I didn't need it. At lunchtime, I would often have much what I do now, such as home-made soup, salad or leftovers, but too often I would eat cheese, possibly toasted or have the bacon and eggs I didn't eat at breakfast. I was reasonably sensible - for example, if I had scrambled eggs, I'd use a little butter in the cooking but I wouldn't butter the toast too.

Then came mid afternoon. I think that this was the biggest problem, because I had gradually developed something of a biscuit habit. Two or three chocolate digestives were not a rare treat but a frequent one. And I might, if I fancied it, have a few crisps, olives or nuts with the first glass of wine of the evening. Dinner was pretty okay, all I've done there is moderate the fat I use in cooking. More wine, a total of 2-3 glasses in an evening. I might occasionally scoff a whole (small) packet of crisps or eat a Kit-kat or something during the day. And if there was chocolate around, I might have one after dinner. Never more than two, I don't have an urge to finish a boxful or a bar and I prefer a small amount of good chocolate to a lot of cheap. I hardly ever ate puddings.

The thing is, this isn't that bad. But it was enough to put on 3 or 4 pounds in a year. Do that for a few years and you hardly notice the creep until it's damn difficult to shift. Which is why I must not lapse, ever again. That is, if I want a crisp I'll have one, but I think about it first, made the decision that I really want it and then just have one or two. I won't eat the packet and if I'm alone I won't even bother to open it.

Eating more is good, kind of.

I wouldn't describe what I'm doing as a diet, mainly because it's really not. My diet is good, I eat lots of fruit and veg, no added sugar, no caffeine at all, no chocolate, very rarely eat sweets...

My downfall has always been crisps and alcohol. So the main thing I've done, basically, is to drink a hell of a lot less. In the (recent) past, it wouldn't be unusual to drink a couple of bottles of wine in an evening, for example. On rare occasions, perhaps even three. If she was lucky, Trophy Wife might even be able to have a glass.

But no more, I'm delighted to say, and I've not really been missing it. I had a bottle the other night and was completely shitfaced, and I've been doing acid burps since; if anything can out you off wine, I think it's that.

Anyway, the reason I wanted to post is that I just read Z's post, below. For me, eating more means eating less. If I eat regularly – every three hours, give or take – I eat far, far less. No blood sugar spikes or troughs, I feel pretty fine all day long, and because I generally feel grand, there's more inclination to do sport and the things I love.

Works for me. I'm getting there far more slowly than Z, but I think I had a bit more to learn before I could make the right changes to help this along…

Two belt notches down though, can't be bad!

Z indulges in self-delusion, but if one knows one is deluding oneself, is one deluded?

I do cheat like anything, you know. I weigh myself on a good day and then that is my weight until another good day. If I weighed myself weekly on the same day, then the fluctuation would not please me at all. I AM losing weight, there my weight goes down and I only want the good news.

But, and I may be a bit unpopular in saying this, I can sort of afford to play this sort of game because my weight really is going down. I don't see the point in saying I'm dieting, really wanting to diet, taking the exercise and then eating a packet of biscuits or a pork pie. If I do that I won't lose weight or will put back what I lost and my hard work will be wasted. I don't diet all week to blow it all at the weekend. And I don't eat what I am not supposed to just for the sake of eating. For example, when looking for something for lunch, if there is only cheddar in the fridge I'll just have ricecakes or a slice of bread rather than eat it. I will use cheddar in cooking, but a chunk for a meal isn't something I have. And because it's something I don't eat, the thought of breaking the diet just because it's a mealtime is not an option.

Having said that, I'm a lot more relaxed than I was at the start, but only if social circumstances indicate. So if I'm out for a meal with friends and everyone else is having pudding, I will too. I'll refuse extra cream and I won't choose the evillest thing on the menu, and indeed I'll probably leave a bit anyway, but I'll join in and enjoy it. But I wouldn't eat it at home on my own.

Today I haven't eaten much, actually. And forget fruit and veg. I had a slice of dry toast for breakfast, a couple of oatcakes with a couple of teaspoonfuls of cottage cheese for lunch and that was it until dinner out, when I had a not-huge portion of roast beef and salad, which included coleslaw admittedly but at least it was home-made and so had a moderate quantity of dressing, unlike the bought ones which have vast quantities of cheap and fatty mayo. I threw caution to the winds later and had a nice honey and ginger ice cream, but I could afford to really. Last week, when kind friends took me out for tea and a scone, I skipped the ice cream when out later (which I'd rather have had than the scone really, but politeness prevails).

After several months of scoffing rice cakes when hungry between meals, I am now rarely hungry between meals. However, the rest of the family has discovered that they, and corn cakes, are nicer than they look and now my supply is often raided.

I ate a lot the other day, at the wedding I went to. But I skipped breakfast, ate a vegetarian Indian lunch, then had nothing more until about 9 o'clock when I had a vegetarian Indian dinner. Even if it was quite high in fat, which it might have been, I can't think it mattered.

I think not eating in between meals is a Good Thing. At the moment anyway. I may change my mind in a while.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

I'm the second mouse.

Well, woke up this morning feeling pretty dandy, as today is my first day off antibiotics, which can only be a good thing.

Means I can exercise again, which is great. Probably not today though, as for all my dandiness, I am a bit tired. And tomorrow, I'm off to a meeting at lunchtime in Stroud, then back here for wifeliness, and then off out for a friend's birthday in the evening. Then Friday, I'm off to London for another bloody meeting (and posh lunch), and back in the evening. Gah. If my hamstrings don't hurt after that (from lack of use and being scrunched up on a train) it will be a miracle.

In other news, this morning when I put my belt on, it didn't feel right at all. Turns out I had to tighten it to another hole down, son that makes two down from my original hole. I believe that is progress, folks – and it also means I must dig out those old jeans I dared not throw away, because I knew I'd fit in them again... More on that later, if the news is good. If it's not, I'll simply hide it.

Trophy Wife tells me the jeans I'm wearing look like bloody jodhpurs at the moment, so some investment in ones that fit might be a good idea. But not before a couple of weeks of really good quality exercise. Yay!

PS: Post title comes from my favourite saying: 'The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese'.

Friday, 15 August 2008

It's not good.

No exercise for me. Went to the doctor's on Wednesday because my trunk has been giving me real grief – horrible, painful crustiness for the last few weeks, it's really been shite. Doctor reveals I have/had an infection so needed a nasal inhaler and a course of antibiotics.

Well, the antibiotics have left me feeling like absolute shite, so no gym, no running, no nothing for me until this fucking course is over. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

I'd just started dipping 100 kilos as well, going to have to go back down to 85 now, and start running again from scratch on the treadmill. And it was all going so damn well...


Thursday, 14 August 2008

Z checks back

25th July, 9 stone 11. Yesterday, 13th August, 9 stone 9 3/4. Considering how much I've eaten out and not fussed about the amount I ate, I'm vastly pleased with that. I'm even more pleased that, having said on the 14th July that I hoped to lose another 6 lbs by the start of November, I've already lost nearly 4 of them. Now things are going well I'm even more determined, and yet also more relaxed. I know that I can get away with eating something fattening, as long as I don't do it too often. But generally speaking, if I haven't got anything in the fridge that I choose to eat, then rather than eat a hunk of cheese or a piece of pie, I'll chomp on a carrot and not bother with the fatty stuff. I make sure that I eat enough and that most of what I have is nutritious, but that's the sort of food I prefer anyway, so it's no hardship.

it's still cheese that I miss most though. Sharp, tangy, salty foods, like olives, too. I have spicy food instead, with chillies, but it's not the same. I can ignore the cheddar most of the time, but I don't risk buying strong blue cheese like Stilton or Roquefort. I wonder if gherkins would fill the hole left by olives? I'll have to try.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Z is D C Pointed

And if you find a worse pun than that this week, then you'll have been reading Murph's blog.

Yes, I went to buy a new bra. I bought a dress for a wedding next week and none of mine will quite do. Those that are the right style are not the right colour. So I toddled off to Jarrolds in Norwich. I chose that shop because the last time I was fitted, the assistant eyed me, declared 34D, put her hands at my sides and confirmed it, and she was right. Today there were two much younger women and I was simply asked my size. However, the one I was brought was a bit large in the cup. We agreed that I'd diminished a bit. I now have a C cup.

Probably be back to an A by the time I've finished. *sigh* That was the other consolation for the larger size Z. I had a mighty fine cleavage for a few years.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Beer returns with consequences

Well, I nearly made it to three weeks without beer, but myself and Tropy Wife had to attend a wedding this weekend, and I ended up having some beer. Not loads, but enough. I think I had about six bottles at the do, so that's about four pints (330ml bottles), and a couple of larger bottles at home, so about six pints in total.

I was a little drunk, but fine. Didn't feel especially bad for doing it either. But that night and the next day, the bloating and general ill-feeling – not to mention farting like a rhino – told me that not drinking is, for the moment at least – far more fun for me.

Also, I am lighter than I was, and this can only be down to two and a half weeks of not drinking. I haven't even had much exercise, but I am at least two kilos lighter than I was... This is good. But I was weighing myself in the evening, so my loss could be even greater, as I'd have eaten a couple of meals and drunk loads of water prior to weighage.

In short, I am lighter, and this is good. Beer bad.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Z stands up and has to lie down again

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I have a bit of a concern that I will be a feeble little thing once I'm not overweight. This morning, I was reading in bed when the phone rang. The Sage, who had been peacefully slumbering - well, it is Sunday and we go to bed late - answered. It was for me, so I got out and trotted round and conversed for a few minutes. By the time I put the phone down I felt light-headed and had to lie on the bed until I felt well enough to get up.

And yes, I'd had plenty to eat last night. And I often don't have breakfast straight away when I get up, so 9 o'clock was not particularly late.

Not a problem, just something to be aware of. I know what the matter was, it was getting up too quickly. Not good for me.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Sorry for the double blogging

but I'm so pleased with myself that I've mentioned it on both blogs - not too many people read this one and I don't greatly publicise it. I have kicked the light on and my foot went a good inch above the light switch housing. 56 inches, I can go to. 6 inches lower than the top of my head. I have no ambition to try higher. Or to do it with my left leg, which is rubbish.

Actually, I hear the Sage coming in. I'm going to show him. He will be bemused.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Biscuits? Not even tempted.

It has been a bit hard to get back to not wanting to eat more. I had a reasonably substantial and not even low fat lunch of five water biscuits, Boursin cheese and three almond-stuffed olives and was hungry again by 3 o'clock. A packet of biscuits was open.

I've eaten three plain rice cakes. I am not going down the biscuit route. I don't feel satisfied, but at least I'm not hungry.

I saw friends yesterday and someone asked how the hip was doing. I said it was doing very well indeed and demonstrated how easily I could drop onto one knee, tie a shoelace and rise again. I wasn't actually wearing laced shoes, the point was that at this time last year (I know because I was at a particular annual event; it was the Sandringham Flower Show) I couldn't. I had once to sit on the ground and awkwardly reach as far as I could and another time, because I hadn't done it well, find a low wall that I could just lift my foot to and just bend to.

All my friends yesterday have arthritis. One had a hip replacement this Spring, one has had, following an accident in her thirties, several operations and now has a pinned hip and a disabled badge on her car and the third has knee problems. They asked what has made the difference. I said that the weight loss is the only possible reason. And I'm not stopping until I'm below eight and a half stone.

The last time I weighed that I was in my early forties. If I'd never put on the weight, I suspect I'd not have had hip trouble for years to come.

Please let this encourage you in your efforts if you're dieting too and don't have joint problems yet or if they're just starting. A little over a stone lost has made a real difference to my health - not my general health, I feel fine now as I did a year ago, but to my wellbeing and mobility. I didn't expect it to be so much better already. In fact, using the light switch on the wall as something to aim at, I just lifted my leg as high as possible. I could only do it for an instant and not long enough to turn the light on (call me odd, but I often used to turn on the light with my foot) but I could get my leg that high. Before I started dieting I'd have been nowhere near it (I have extremely short legs, by the way).

Oh go on, I'll do this properly.
*patters off to get a tape measure*
*patters back, having measured*

The inside leg of my trousers, which are full-length and fit, is 30 inches. The light switch is 52 inches off the floor. I should think I kicked a foot higher than last time I tried, about 6 months ago.

In short, it's worth it. Don't wait for the embarrassment of your doctor advising you to lose weight when you aren't even that fat. The speed of the weight loss isn't important. Just get used to eating what you need, not what you fancy. And leave what you aren't really hungry for on your plate.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Two weeks.

It's been two weeks since my last beer, and I feel pretty good, though the number is weighing on my mind a bit. Two weeks! I can't remember the last time I went two weeks without any alcohol at all!

As for thinking I had lost half a kilo – aka one pound – it's more like a kilo, but I'll confirm that or otherwise at the gym later. Was due to go early this morning, but sleep was more attractive as I hurt my ankle playing tennis in stupidly unsuitable trainers on Thursday. Since then I have only managed a quick half-hour in the gym, as my foot's been a bit sore. Been resting it, see, and this has also put off my running debut.

Been eating a lot of cheese – a rare thing for me, and actually a sign that my body's craving lardy stuff, which is a very good sign. Does that make any sense? As soon as my body shifts any weight at all, I start to crave things that will put it back, even if I'm not aware I've lost any weight. So I bought a bit of brie. Well, two bits. One, I ate with oat cakes a few days ago, and the other I put on sandwiches with cranberry sauce kinda stuff for our picnic yesterday which we took to the West Midlands Safari Park.

I didn't even eat all of my sandwiches. Ooooh, something virtuous is going on… And where we would have got back and had beer before, we had a small pot of tea each instead... Yay us.

Need more exercise though, so going to the gym late afternoon today, as the rest of the day will be taken up with working very hard indeed.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Z does not weigh herself and does not care

i've been rather overindulging in the last week. No need, I think, to itemise all the naughtiness, though it did involve cheesecake and chocolate cake, as well as several marshmallows and just general overeating. It will not get better in the next day or two, as I'm visiting London and intend to go to a nice restaurant and not count the cash or the calories.

There is a simple remedy. I won't weigh myself until I'm back on track.

I realise that this is my cop-out. I only weigh myself when there's a reasonable chance that I've lost weight. So if I've had a virtuous couple of weeks, I check my weight and wouldn't dream of looking for fluctuations until I've been good again. This might be a fortnight later or not for six weeks or more. This positive frame of mind works for me as I don't want to hear bad news. I know when I've eaten unwisely (this is marginal, honestly, I never pig out) so I make up for it.

Having said that, the more one eats, the more one wants to eat. You can get away with a biscuit or a chocolate or some cheese once, but if you have it for more than two days you crave it hopelessly. I see why celebs who diet get carried away to the point of skeletal - it's easier to deny indulgences entirely than to have just a little once a week. And when you receive praise for losing weight, you want to lose more. It was only at the last time I weighed myself that I thought I was half-way there; until then, I kept moving the goal post.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Update, recap, nightcap, foolscap

Well, I've been away a while. I was busy with work all last week, and actually only got back from Germany last Monday, kind of. I landed in England Sunday, but too late to get home so stayed overnight in London, came back on Monday.

Too much detail? Maybe.

Germany was fun, but when I got home, I discovered WonderWife had left me out a plate of roasted vegetables, which I wolfed down pretty much in one, with very little chewing. So starved of veg and vitamins was I, after a week of excellent beer and the closest to nutrition I'd come had been Camembert bagels with a bit of salad in. I had a pretty good time though, and the beer overkill plan seems to have worked. By the Sunday night, I could only manage three beers over about five hours, compared to pretty high consumption in the preceding evenings.

Since I got back, not a drop has passed my lips, and with little willpower required.

I've only made it to the gym a few times since returning, but enjoyed every one, and made them short and intense, which works for me. Yesterday myself and WW went on a bike ride around the dams at Rhayader, which was really beautiful and, with the heat, actually quite demanding. The first few miles are a steady ascent, but you're rewarded with a killer downhill on the way back. I haven't been on a bike for over two years, since a doctor advised me it was a bad idea. But since then, I figured out what I'd been doing wrong (not using the gears, relying on a bit of muscle to get me up hills – puts terrible strain on the knee joints) and have rectified it, I reckon.

We cycled just under 11 miles on a gorgeous day, and replenished the stuff we'd lost with Doritos and Lucozade Sport, and half a ton of water.

It was a good day, though my arse is a bit bruised.

Today it's a full day of work for me then gym this evening, when WW and child go to the cinema, and... surprise surprise... some running shoes just arrived for me, so tomorrow I go for my first run in months and we'll see how that goes. Running regularly is more likely that anything else to shift weight on me, and I enjoy it hugely, so… y'know.

How exciting. Oh, and I think I'm half a kilo lighter.

Oh oh, and WW told me that when I got back from Macau in June, I had put on weight – apparently, on some work trips, when I get back I'm visibly heavier! I doubt that's correct, I suspect it's just being bloated from beer, which happens big time around the stomach. It doesn't really agree with me, overall, so I'm probably best off with this dry thang.

I'm burbling. In short: exercise going well, life is good, still lardy.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Out and out changes

I've got a few really ancient clothes in my wardrobe. One of them is a pink wool dress which I wore in my teens. It's got a few small moth-holes in it, unfortunately, but I keep it anyway. Today, I tried on a skirt that my mother bought in a sale and never wore, who knows why. It's a size 10 and I've been using it as a yardstick of my size - a year ago I wouldn't have got into it. Today, for the first time, I could do up the zip and the waistband, though that was still a little tight.

Then I got out the pink dress. By no means wearable. I couldn't get it over my hips; that is, some of the way but not pulled down and I didn't even try the zip.

The skirt, which was bought ten or more years ago, is a size 10 and the dress, which dates from a couple of years either side of 1970 is a size 12.

I know that sizings get more and more generous - even at my largest, I found waists were being made far too big (I'm meaning by this, clothes that are meant to fit around your waist, I'm far too old to even want to risk the muffin top). This happened quite abruptly one year, when all the waists became a lot looser. And it seems that a 12 from 40 years ago is equivalent to an 8 now. Which seems a bit ridiculous.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Z weighs herself (end of July)

9 stone 11 pounds.

*preens self quietly*

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Loony or merely puny?

It's a bit early to start worrying about this, but then I am very efficient and I like to get worrying and that sort of thing dealt with early so that it doesn't take me by surprise.

The thing is, in my thinner days I was strong but I had no stamina. I used to be able to work hard and carry things and dig the garden and whatever, but only for a limited time. And once I had to stop and rest, I wasn't able to do much for days afterwards. I never was able to build up long-term strength, however fit and well I felt. It was like that even when I was a child - I used to look around at other children and wonder why they were so much stronger that I was, when I knew that my diet was much better than most of theirs. We always had very good nutritious food and although I didn't eat much, since we never had puddings and suchlike, nor convenience or processed foods, everything I ate was good for me. Some people seemed to live on spaghetti hoops and Mars bars, but they seemed stronger than I was - I used to get headaches and was often tired, although I was not unhealthy.

The thing is, however much exercise I took, it never seemed to build up my strength, only use it up. So one of the consolations for me of putting on weight was that I had much more stamina. Nowadays, I can keep going for a long time, and the next day I'm ready to go again. It's possible that I pace myself better, but I think there's more to it than that from past experience and I wonder if I'll start to flag quickly once I'm appreciably thinner.

The reason I wonder this is that I've been cycling since November and I'm not at all stronger than I was several months ago. Sure, it took me a few weeks to manage some hills I now don't think anything of, but any improvement in that respect was made in the first three or four months. I thought it would all be more pleasant by now, but there are a lot of hills (such as up to the swimming pool) that I don't think I'll ever be able to cycle. I haven't found the limit of my comfortable distance yet and my legs never ache afterwards, but I don't get better at it or more energetic overall. I can't help wondering that as my fitness (presumably) increases and my weight goes down if the one counteracts the other. That is, that I'm not actually too good at building up any muscular strength nor, more importantly, staying power.

I don't suppose it'll be anything to worry about for at least another year, but it's been on my mind for a while.

Monday, 14 July 2008

First goal reached

I don't count alcohol as fattening. I've been drinking a lot too over the last few days. On Saturday, there was the beer festival in the village, and you have to support village events, don't you? Two pints of bitter and a half of mild - actually, I suspect that Badgerdaddy won't accuse me of binge drinking there, but usually a couple of pints at lunchtime is my absolute limit - though it must have been about 4 o'clock by the time I'd drunk all that, so it wasn't lunchtime any more. A couple of hours break for a cup of tea and an unbuttered scone (a naked scone, in fact) and I was ready to start on the wine.

Of course, the trouble with lunchtime drinking is that I get used to it very quickly and I had more of the wine yesterday, and at least half a bottle in the evening. I could get defensive about this and explain how hard I'd worked over the weekend, but I'll not bore any of us with that. Unlike Badge, all this booze won't make me lose the wish to drink, but I won't feel the wish to, now all the work of the village fĂȘte is over.

Anyway, back to being less bulgy. One starts to notice people, and some of them, who aren't even fat, are quite floppy. Others, who according to the scales are overweight are quite firm and muscly, so don't look as big as they are (I include Badge in that). I'm something in between, I suppose and there are certainly bits of me that I think won't ever look okay again as muscle tone, once lost, is really hard to get back (upper arms; triceps in particular, and stomach, I'm referring to) but I have no roll of fat around my waist at all, which does please me. People have said my face is thinner - I'm not sure that a thin face is much use to me, especially as it lets in the wrinkles. Can't have it all ways. They say that after 40 a woman has to choose between her face and her figure - let's face it, it all goes in the end, doesn't it? It's the health one has to try to hang on to, with a degree of luck.

Yes, I managed to shift that extra little bit of weight, so the first stone officially came off. Since I aimed for 2 lbs a month, I suppose actually I was only about 10 days behind schedule. I think the next stone will be lost much slower. 20 pounds in a year would be good - that's another 6 by the beginning of November. Might be a bit ambitious, but one has to have something to aim for.

bd remembered to drink his beer, and everyone else's

I honestly think Z's doing a grand job. She's sticking to the task at hand and trying to make things, you know, more fun. Mixing up her foods and all that.

Me, I've fallen a bit.

Work has once more gotten in the way of the gym, as I've been away a lot this past six weeks or so. It really gets in the way – but it wouldn't if I was running again, as I could pack a couple of tops, shorts and shoes and probably really enjoy it. I'm positively gagging to get out there running, and having had a stupidly early start to the day today (woke at 4:30am), I've been watching the early runners go past and remembering how much I love this part of the day. When I run, I don't drink, which is good in two ways. Because I'm running, and not drinking.

The plan is, to go to the gym alternate days and run on alternate days; gym Mon Weds Fri, run Tues Thurs Sat, until I get the miles up, then I'll rest Saturday and run a longer run on Sunday.

It's a good plan, just waiting for some running shoes to arrive – apparently there are three pairs coming, plus another pair potentially in a few weeks. Almost seems overkill now, but I was at a sports exhibition a couple of weeks ago, and that's the result.

Mmmm, free running shoes.

Beer consumption – in fact, alcohol consumption in general – is reaching critical mass. I don't mean I'm drinking a lot (in retrospect, critical mass is a shit choice of words), I just mean I'm not really enjoying it, and there are other things I would rather be doing. But I'm treating it just like I treated smoking – keep doing it until I really can't stand it, then I won't miss it. Sounds odd, but psychologically, it works for me. I quit smoking four years ago on Saturday, and I don't miss it one bit. I doubt I'll quit drinking for good, but it will be nice to not do it for a while…
I'm off to Germany tomorrow, for six days of work. Well, it will actually be three days of work, I think, maybe 3.5 days, but the flights were awkward, so I get a couple of days in a beautiful spot – camping – before I actually have to do anything.

Germany, of course, means beer. So I shall have some, I shall play it by ear, and see how I feel when I get back. I think it's come at the perfect time – I suspect that, when I get back, I will not want another drop of alcohol.

Oh, the other thing is that I had lots of beer at the weekend. It was my birthday Saturday, and I turned 34. WonderWife bought me some beer as my gift – what a woman – and I bought a crate of San Miguel that was going out of date and was suitably discounted. 20 bottles for £6.74, bargain.

They're all gone now, I made sure they were finished before I had to leave, which will be early in the morning. It's all part of my over-consumption plan.

I'm burbling. Best go and pack.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Z forgets to drink her beer

It has been good for me, the last few days. I really don't feel nearly so bulgy as I did. I'm still bearing in mind, though, that I weigh now what I did at the end of my first two pregnancies; that is, before the baby was born. How tiny must I have been when not pregnant? And I didn't know. I thought I was a bit porky, like just about every other woman. What a waste of my youth that was: wouldn't confidence in my body have been wonderful?

Oh well. 30 years too late.

Peering into the fridge, wondering what there was for lunch (not a lot) I was tempted by the can of beer. I took it out and went to cut a slice of bread. I put it on the Aga to toast, went back to the fridge for butter (I was going to have it with Marmite), put some butter on the dish - and then changed my mind. I didn't fancy butter and I can't quite do Marmite without, so I made a cup of Marigold vegetable bouillon (14 calories) instead and had the toast plain. Nice bread though, with poppy and sunflower seeds and millet and stuff.

I just went out to the kitchen again, to get some fruit. I saw the half-full wine bottle. "Mm, wine" I thought and then remembered thinking "mm, beer" half an hour earlier. The unopened can was still sitting on the counter by the fridge. I evidently hadn't wanted it that much. I put it back in the fridge and got out yoghurt instead. I've also had a peach and a nectarine. For tonight, there is one steak as Ro wasn't very hungry the other night, which I will stir-fry with vegetables and thus make do for the three of us.

Just for now, it seems to be working if I am very circumspect during the day and eat as little as possible. It's necessary not to get too tired and hungry though, as then I'd be quite desperate for food and be in danger of eating anything that comes to hand. I've been tempted, certainly. If I do start to dip badly, I eat a couple of jelly babies to shoot the blood sugar level up quickly and then eat something more sensible (or not, if that's enough to keep me going for another hour or two). I'm eating quite a lot of fruit as it's the time of the year for it, and for a snack I'll eat a raw carrot, because the new season English carrots are gorgeous now and really quite substantial. After a day like this, I can relax at dinnertime and eat what the family eats.

I had a bittermint the other night. I fancied it, and looked at the box. Each one has 80 calories. I reckoned that was absolutely fine. Actually, half would have been enough. Maybe I'll try cutting one in half another time and putting the rest back. Once it's bitten, it's more than anyone can bear, to wrap up the other half and put it away.