Friday, 15 May 2009

No, I'm not.

Weighing myself today, that is. Went out for a meal last night (Thai) and it was really very nice, but as soon as I stood up at the end of the meal, I knew an evening on the toilet wasn't far away. Something irritated my stomach hugely - probably eating prawns, as I've been staying well away from seafood lately. Mainly because it's a 'Go Directly to Toilet' card in the game of Monopoly that is my life.

Do not pass go, do not collect £200.


And for all my grand plans for this morning (mapped a five-mile route out in my head yesterday that I was going to try on a run), I'm not doing anything. I slept horribly, and am still very, very bloated as I type this. I must stick to very plain foods, it seems. Which is fine, as I'm very happy eating an unadorned baked spud with chicken breast. But it does limit eating out. Night before last, we went to the cinema and the ladies wanted to eat at Nando's, so we did. One look at the menu and I was having two helpings of plain corn on the cob, and a side of garlic bread (which I ate a mere three quarters of). Everything was in a spicy sauce, and I do mean everything. It was proclaimed with pride on the menu that everything is in some kind of shitting sauce.

Maybe not an actual shitting sauce. Don't take that too literally.

Anyway, lessons are being learned. I really wanted to run this morning, but in a good way, and not to the bathroom. Grrrrrr.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

No beer, so good.

Well, it's a bit like 'so far, so good' isn't it?

Seriously though, enjoying the 'no beer' so far. It's actually 'no alcohol', but that might take a kicking when I leave for Macau at the end of the month. That said, the hotel has three outdoor pools which I might well make use of, plus a big gym by the look of it. But apparently the humidity will be 100 per cent, so I'll only be using running shoes indoor, which is a shame.

Feeling great, having to stop myself over-exercising, got plenty of energy, and I feel like I look pretty okay, too.

So far, so good. I'll weigh myself on Friday and see what it says.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

New motivation

I went for a really lovely run this morning. Did four miles for the first time in ages. My knees feel fantastic, my muscles feel... Very, very good.

At the end of the third mile, or thereabouts, I passed the 'gentleman' that shagged my girlfriend when I was 21. He was supposed to be a friend of mine, and it disappointed me greatly. I decided to leave town, this being a small place and everything, and went on a pretty great adventure.

I came back here a few years ago, and he was the first person I bumped in to. Turns out after I left, he even took the job I vacated, the imagination-free fucker.

So anyway, he recently became a father of a ginger creation, I forget what gender. Good for him, I congratulated him when I saw him in the street. I meant it, too. He's always wanted kids.

But when I passed him at the end of mile 3 this morning, he was pushing a pushchair, and had one of his girlfriend's other two children with him. And he was looking straight ahead, chuckling.

How passive-aggressive can you be? I have no doubt that this was for my benefit, despite me being on the other side of the street. He and the older child had not communicated at all, it's a long straight bit of road, and there was really no reason for a chuckle other than the fat fucker wheezing along on the other side.

So me being me, and not being passive-aggressive so much as I am plainly direct and unafraid of fuckwits, I shouted 'Morning!' very loudly, he replied, and I called out as I passed: "Chuckle up, buttercup!"

Not my most creative retort, but it felt great at the time. And it hardened my resolve to do the two marathons I have on the calendar; I even went to the gym this afternoon, despite the four-miler, to do more work on my legs and keep them strong so I can stay fit and keep going and going and going…

I often think I should thank him for driving me away from this town, but then I catch myself and remember what a turd he is. He is nothing and no-one – but he is a very, very convenient piece of motivation.

PS: I also ran faster than ever in plodding-training this morning – I usually do around 11-minute miles, as it's about keeping going rather than speed, but today did 10-minute miles, without even noticing. Bodes well.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

A funny old game.

Some weeks, I don't get much exercise, and those weeks are not much fun. But most Friday afternoons, I sack work off early and head down to my old school to play indoor football with some of the teachers. This is surprisingly demanding, and generally great fun. The more people available to play, surprisingly, the harder it is – but the fun grows exponentially.

Yesterday though, I was keeping goal for a few minutes and took a very hard shot right in the plums. That was no fun at all.

I digress. The football is often a shot in the arm for further exercise. For example, after an hour's play last night, which was really tiring, I got up at 7 this morning and went for a run. I ran over 3 miles for the first time this year and honestly, could have run five or six. It all felt right, knees felt mostly great, form was good, the weather was perfect for it, everything came together. I added some on o the end of my usual-ish route, an extra half-mile I'd never run before, and cruised through it.

Runs like that are what keep you coming back for more. In fact, I aim to be out there again in the morning. My new resolution, you see, is to give up beer. Oh, I've said it before, but it seems to be one of the main irritants to my stomach. I could drink Guinness for a while, or other stouts, but even that's causing me grief now. So the beer is gone, and right on the full moon too. We'll see how that works out, but I suspect that with more running, it will work out rather well.

I'm in a 10k race in a couple of months, in London, on my 35th birthday, and I would dearly love to beat my personal best at that distance, which is a piffling 56:29 for 6.2 miles. I think I can do it, and from there, the next race might just be a full marathon in the autumn.

I'm rabbiting, I'm sorry. It's been an exciting and very full week, but not in dietary terms, so I'll keep the exciting things to myself for now. My diet seems to be settling down a bit; I'm working out what to cook so I can eat with the ladies, and still enjoy exercise, or not. Working out which days are best to rest, which to push myself. I've been running faster, on occasion, to see if I can, and doing it consciously and in a measured way. I think, honestly, I'm a better runner now, more considered and more aware thanks to injuries and niggles. That might or might not translate into me becoming a racing snake by autumn; we'll see. One of my other resolutions though, is to invest in a sports massage occasionally, and a physio whenever it's required.

Mid-summer, my wonderful wife will have a new workshop outside of town, and I plan to cycle up there for lunch with her every day, all being well, for a bit more exercise. And what a wonderful motivation, too. Just a couple of miles there and a couple back, ideal for lunchtime.

I'm babbling a bit here. I'm still a bit high from my run.

Two obstacles are looming in beer terms – a trip to Macau at the end of this month, and one to Germany early July. Hmmmmmmmm.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Z eats chocolate

It was a matter of good manners. I went to a meeting in London with a friend. And what a twit I am, I saw the ticket was 8 o'clock and arrived at the station in good time, not remembering until I was actually on the platform that the 8 o'clock from Norwich gets to Diss at 8 sodding 17.

Anyoldhoo, I had a salmon and cucumber sandwich and a packet of crisps and a bottle of water from M&S for lunch (indeed, the crisps were not strictly necessary, what's your point?) - oh, I've reinstated the half cupful of milk with the morning porridge, it makes all the difference between okay and horrible - and then on the train home A produced a bar of Wholenut Chocolate. "Half each" she said cheerily. It was 3 quite big squares. Okay, another day without losing fucking weight, what's your problem?

Huh. Sorry. Not you, it's me. In the evening, I went too long without food and then I drank wine and I'm still irritable.

Today, 1/2 cup porridge, 1/2 cup milk, water. M&S salmon & cucumber sandwich, pack of salt and pepper crisps. 1/2 small bar chocolate. 1 mint sweet. 1 pear, 2 sausages. Asparagus. 2 slices toast. Small of dish of leftover Bolognese sauce. Better part of half a bottle of red wine. 1 banana.

Can't be arsed to work out calories. Don't give a fuck. I'm in one of my moods. Of course, if you were here, I'd be charming. You'd never know.

Oh, BTW, a charming chap got up and gave me his seat on the Tube. Jesus, I'm fucking old. Oh dear. I thanked him and took it,of course. How kind. How humiliating. But really, how kind.

I think I need cheering up.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Z bites the low-fat bullet, and finds low-salt and low-sugar inside

Yes, well, I'll reiterate that I find it much easier to diet when I do it thoroughly. I can quite understand those people, whose pictures one sees in the popular press, who take dieting too far and become frankly too thin. We can all think of celebs who have done that. It's simpler to eat no fat or no carbohydrate or all vegetables or whatever the diet du jour is, than to eat just a little. And if you have a fat-free diet, you don't miss fat. The more you have, the more you want and it's ever so hard to judge just the right amount, in the shorter term at any rate.

Today, I've not eaten what I've wanted. For breakfast, I had an austere dish of porridge made with water, flavoured with a pinch of salt and some cardamon seeds. Lunch was late as I'd been at a meeting in Norwich, at which I accepted two cups of black coffee and refused the biscuits. For 18 months, I've effortlessly ignored biscuits. But today, the plate of chocolate biscuits beside me (how could my hostess, who is 8 inches taller than me and weighs 2 pounds more, have put them by me?) called to me in siren-sweet tones. I didn't have one. For lunch, I had lettuce, celery, two Ryvitas and two oatcakes. Then I had a bowl of plain yoghurt and some prunes. It didn't satisfy, frankly. When giving the family cakes and biscuits for tea, I ate an apple. I'd brought Squiffany and Pugsley some fruit jelly sweets from Italy and I did accept one. This evening, I found it hard, again, to not eat something tasty and fatty, such as cheese. I had another Ryvita, some raw carrot, more lettuce and cucumber.

Tonight, I'm cooking roast chicken, roast potatoes, carrots and spring cabbage. This will, at least, feel like real food. I think it will take me several days to adjust to a weight-loss diet.

In fact, an apple contains as many calories as a biscuit or two. But that isn't the point. If I have a chocolate biscuit or a small slice of cake, that will reinforce the sugar-and-fat craving that keeps us overweight. Both are addictive - not in a medical sense, like cigarettes or heroin, but in a colloquial rather than a clinical sense, in that they make you crave the next fix. If you eat a packet of crisps every day, you 'need' the salt (another culprit) and fat in those crisps. Frankly, tasty as Ryvita is, you ain't going to crave it. Cheap chocolate, containing enough cacao to raise the spirits and a whole lot of sugar, is almost impossible to eat a little of.

Pah. I'm stronger than chocolate. And I'll be back on the bike tomorrow.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Z aims for thinness

Oh, by the way, fortunately May does not consider wine to be fattening. This is just as well.

Today, I have eaten porridge made with water and a pinch of salt. This was solemn in the extreme, but an indication of my determination. In future, I shall split a couple of cardamon pods into it. For elevenses, a licorice stick. For lunch, a ham sandwich. If I'd made it, I'd not have added butter but the Sage made it, so it was lightly buttered. Two slices of buttered bread, one slice of ham. In the afternoon, three sesame Ryvitas. 34 calories each. For dinner, a modest piece of beef steak, asparagus, sautéed courgettes, asparagus, new potatoes. Half a bottle of wine.

There is a box of chocolates, given by a friend, on the table. I sigh. I don't eat one. I may eat another Ryvita later.

May could hardly believe how little I eat to lose weight. I told her the truth, however. Honestly, darlings, it's a bugger. If you're fortunate enough, now, to eat packets of crisps, brownies, Danish pastries, you have stuff to give up. I don't. I have to cut out normal food. Except that I'm not going to resort to egg white omelettes, I feel like I live in California and actually care about this sort of nonsense.

Z ate good food

Well, I don't think I've come home from Italy any lighter. I wasn't too outrageously off-diet, but I certainly ate more than I can get away with. I bought a new skirt and pair of trousers just before I left and I have a feeling they were both slightly snugger by the end of the week. Both size 10, but now that sizes are so much bigger than they used to be, I have to be mindful that, were I to be the weight I was when I was 40, I'd be an 8 if not 6.

I had a long chat, when both of us had quaffed quite a lot of wine, with a friend who is very slender. She is also athletic; at the age of 79 she still plays golf and tennis and walks a lot too. She is very much in favour of not letting yourself go as you get older (let alone when you are young) and she agrees with me that I've a way to go yet. My daughter thinks I've lost enough - I know what's in her mind; my mother became very thin and was, by choice, slightly underweight for years. Sadly, in her last years her thinness was not by choice. I know that Weeza is concerned that I might take dieting to an extreme. I don't think this is likely at all myself, and I also don't think she appreciates quite how small my frame is. Since 10 stone is normal for her and she's only a couple of inches taller than I am, she thinks that 9 1/2 stone is about right for me, but it isn't.

Accordingly, my resolve is stiffened. I'm going to diet properly again, having been quite casual for the past 6 months. I cycled a lot, nearly 25 miles, in the week before I went away, and have walked a lot in the past week, but I had a chest infection for a couple of weeks before that and hardly cycled at all, so things slipped somewhat there.

My friend is concerned about her granddaughter, aged 21, who she says is 3 stone overweight. She has complained of aching joints, and May pointed out that she could be storing up trouble for the future. I asked in what ways she overeats, and why. May thinks that it's lack of confidence, particularly in regard to men - she almost wants to make herself unattractive (I know that big women can be very attractive, but in this case she dresses to camouflage and uses her size as an excuse not to have a boyfriend), she snacks frequently and she eats a lot at mealtimes too. Simply, what she thinks of as a portion is twice what May does. On the other hand, and I tried to hint at this tactfully, if you're lacking in confidence then being told you're fat and it doesn't suit you, by however well-meaning a person, can make you feel worse rather than giving you encouragement. May's firm "you've lost a lot of weight, you look years younger and much better - now lose the rest" is, I know, absolutely true and I respond well to hard facts, but a young and unsure woman may not.

Anyway, no time to do the weigh and measure biz now, but the diet is back on, properly. I said, a while ago, that I wanted to be below 9 stone by November. I'm changing that. The target is my birthday in September. Then I'll look to the next half stone. That probably will be enough.

In Italy, nearly all the women were slender. I don't think I'd overeat for long if I lived there, it'd be too shaming.