Maybe even cavewomen were fat. Nowadays there is the caveman diet “Paleo”, caveman/woman training ( just in case you need to chase away a nasty lion or wrestle a buffalo to the ground). I’m not sure where my sugar-free/weight watchers points healthy lifestyle fat girl slim plan fits in but I guess the nearer we get to unprocessed, naturally grown or sourced foods the better. Home grown veggies and free range meat where possible hopefully eliminates some of the chemicals and all of the hormones that get added to our food. Drinking water has to be a better option than tooth or gut rotting coke. On Saturday I won a bottle of a “sports’ drink on a tombola stall for charity. The label promises extra performance and re-hydration, the contents are water and sugar at an inflated price.
Looking around I see people of all shapes and sizes. And then I watch the Athletics on the TV and what do I see there? Not a uniform group of people all the same shape and size. Athletes come in different sizes too! Watch the women’s tennis at Wimbledon and see the range of body shapes. We have all heard of ectomorphs (curvy) and endomorphs ( beanpole), of apples and pears. Our genes, environments and habits combine to create us. Sometimes it seems like the diet industry would have all women believe that we should be a perfect size 10 or 12, but what would look good on me would look silly on my petite friend. We all know this, it isn’t difficult. And yet I think we all slip into that mythical world where if we do the ‘right’ diet and the perfect exercise plan we will somehow get it right.
Well come on girls lets back away from the edge of sanity here. I know what I want and I’m pretty sure you want something similar. I want to be the best me I can be. I’m not sure I quite know what that looks like yet but I bet you could tell me. Just like I could tell you when you look your fabulous best. Sometimes it takes a loving outside eye to see us in our true glory. A friend of mine gave me this idea recently, I think our friends see us for who we really are and who we were meant to be all rolled into one. True friends can see the ultimate limitless possibilities for us where we get stuck in everyday. So lets support each other in this critical, diet obsessed, one size fits all world.
Take a look at this wonderful gallery of people and the range of BMI ( Body Mass Index) they cover. And then decide if the numbers matter that much? Or is it how we look and feel and live? BMI and what is \”Normal\’?
Note to self: 10 chocolate biscuits and a dinner of fish and chips are not the best way to stick to a sugar-free life or to a weight watchers points plan.
Ahem. The last couple of days have been a little stressful and something of an emotional roller-coaster. Mum has been ill, to the point that all the advice I was being given indicated she might not be with us much longer. Today she is back with us. Of course at 87 and with several existing health issues and some new ones cropping up it appears that she may be on some borrowed time but for now things are easier again.
Last night I sat with her as she drifted in and out of sleep / consciousness. I talked, sometimes she answered. I read the TV Times magazine. I watched a programme about having a million pounds budget to move to South Devon ( just ordinary people like us LOL) and I mindlessly ate 10 M and S Belgian chocolate biscuits until I came to my senses and put them away. Too tired and with my head in the shed it was not the day to go home and cook so a quick fish and chip supper at the local pub went down without touching the sides.
But as I’ve been good with my activity and stuck to my plan otherwise this week I should be ok I hope for my weigh in tomorrow. This is my own personal naked on the scales in the privacy of the bedroom moment you understand. No group weighing in for me. And today I’ve eaten well, stayed away from the sugar and had fruit with my meals to get me over that sugar withdrawal moment when things look appealing. I so need to work on this emotional eating thing. It is the time i am most likely to fall at the fence, whether it be sugar, fat or most likely both. I know all about the pleasure endorphins that come from a sugar/fat ‘high’. I know that to avoid that crash keeping up a good supply of gentle positive day by day moments is key. But its the crises that get me. Suddenly everything goes down in a great big ‘Whoosh’. The adrenaline kick from the shock of the crisis evaporates leaving me tired, fuzzy headed and needing a boost and suddenly my hand is in that biscuit tin.
Of course at home I try to make sure the biscuit tin is empty so there isn’t that temptation. But out and about and with it right there in front of me somehow yesterday I slipped up. Todays another day.
Mum is sitting up and once again eating chocolate and ice cream as opposed to fish, mashed potato and parsley sauce. I wonder where I get it from?
Ha! I crack myself up sometimes. No, seriously I love swimming. I know I’ve mentioned this before here but I’m having a little resurgence of enthusiasm so bear with me. The last couple of weeks has seen us ( me and Mrs) heading to the pool at least a couple of times a week in the evening. The pool we go to is part of a Holiday Inn so its quiet except for the school holidays when a lane or two is given over to families for splashing and fun stuff. We meanwhile just potter up and down the lanes. I do 20 mins or half an hour. So for instance, tonight the Mrs came home from a long day at work and I’d been busy clearing out our back room to make it habitable again. We were both tired and hot as summer is here for this week. So we had our dinner outside and a half hours TV then off we went. It’s that getting off the sofa in the first place that’s the problem. If I didn’t have the Mrs to kick my butt I would probably have stayed put and watched Holby City and if she didn’t have me she would have carried on nodding off and pretending to be awake.
Every month the gym/pool staff put together a newsletter with diet and exercise tips, tricks and words of wisdom. This month it looks at myths of diet and exercise. One or teo made me smile or nod in agreement so I thought I’d share them here adapted a little by moi:
Water based exercises are for old people or those with injuries. hey we know this isn’t true don’t we? Even top athletes integrate water based exercises into their fitness programs
Fat people don’t benefit from exercise. LOLOL as they say.In fact, and get this, obese people who participate in regular exercise have a lower risk of all-cause mortality than sedentary individuals, regardless of weight! That one really ROCKS.
and finally re exercise is this one : Crunches will make my abs visible – Well, hellooooooooo. First we have to find them. That means removing the fat with good food and some movement so those lovely muscles can shine through
Now for the food myths.
Skipping meals helps you lose weight – skipping meals is just not something I do, in the past maybe but now, nohow, no way. I know that skipping meals is a sure-fire way to a blood sugar crash which leaves me feeling shaky and starving and far more likely to eat too much next meal or even next day. It also can slow down your metabolism which means you burn fat even more slowly and store more fat because the body goes into starvation mode.
All fat is the same – oh no it isn’t ( cue Panto Dame). Stick with oily fish, olive , sunflower and flax oil, unsaturated fats which are good for your body and your brain. Ditch the saturated stuff which heightens cholesterol and can increase risk of heart disease.
Healthy Foods are more expensive – I know this can be a thorny one. Eating all organic un processed food can seem to cost more. Growing some veggies helps. Farmers markets are great. Making food from scratch really doesn’t take more time than cooking a microwave instant meal and it tastes way better and you get much more!
Well that’s enough from me, see where swimming took me?
Headlines in some of the todays British tabloids concern the shocking statistics of over 100 under fives admitted to NHS hospitals in the last year suffering from anorexia.
Where the ins and outs of those headlines are not so clear, nevertheless we all know of the worrying trend for young girls in particular, but also some boys to become caught up in the devastation of eating disorders.
Being on the weight loss journey makes me even more conscious than usual about the politics of food and diets. I don’t have girl children so I don’t think I as exposed as some Mothers are to the impact of the diet police on young minds. Boys in my experience tend to deal with being fit in a more pragmatic way and one based around exercise as a way of controlling weight. Of course that too can get out of hand.
It seems that little girls are hardly out of playgroup before the group pressure and competitive edge kicks in. All those super cute clothes in baby girl sizes can so easily cross over into little sexy misses trying to be teens before their time.
Now I was a chubby child. I didn’t like it and I was conscious of it. But when I look back on photos of my 11 plus self I see a healthy pre and then teen girl. I had a healthy diet like many of us growing up. Not much processed food, fresh veg and fruit. Drinks as a child were water or milk. That’s not to say I didn’t have treats, butterscotch angel delight still holds fond memories as do sherbet dips and fruit salad sweets. My sugar addiction was alive and kicking by the time I was 7 or so but lots if outdoor activities and healthy meals kept me steady until late teenage when I had more control over what I ate.
The tragedy of eating disorders at a younger and younger she seems not just the loss of childhood and the family trauma but also the desperate searching for control in an alien and chaotic world, that the ED seems to signify.
So what can you or I do? I have no special magic wand or fancy answers. I wish I did.
But it makes me wonder if we can try to keep food simple, keep mealtimes a place for families to share more than just food and as a society do our damnedest to ensure that we don’t let either fat fascism or the diet police take over our own heads.
We live what we believe after all. Let us believe in our children’s right to have a happy and healthy childhood and to know they are beautiful and healthy whatever size they wear.
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Things that get in my way my being fat:
Walking is harder, getting out of breath, achy joints and stiffness
Going to public toilets can be a squeeze
At a hotel spa in January this year the showers were so tight that I couldn’t get in and shut the door
I worry if I will break chairs when I sit on them or if they creak I imagine it must be because Im fat rather than the chair is wonky
Clothes are harder to find ie ones that I love
I think people are looking at me disapprovingly or with disgust
I don’t want to be ‘the fat one’ in a group
Going to the Dr usually means a comment about my weight
Being a fat child has painful memories
There are some things its genuinely hard or impossible to do as a fat person : horse riding, wearing a wet-suit and scuba diving, going on things that have a weight limit like hot air balloon rides or hang-gliding. And yes, I do want to do them. All of them
Cuddling up is more difficult
It is hard work carrying extra weight around – so I have less energy
I waddle when I walk
I lost my waist somewhere
It makes me feel older than I am
I sweat more and in more places than I care to mention
And now for the benefits :
I am genuinely going to think about this and see what I can come up with. Hmmmm. Nope. Sorry. Can’t come up with them. Using Mum as a way to get all the air out of the air beds when camping just doesnt make it into there. But it did make us laugh.
Having acknowledged the role that being fat has played and waved it goodbye I was thinking today just how much my absolute No 1 Top Priority for losing weight this year has become Health. Yes there are probably a million benefits to losing the weight and already I am seeing some of those with 2.5 stone off. I know that feeling better in myself, and looking better are happy moments but the health card just trumps the rest, hands down, no question. I guess hitting the 50’s plus makes a difference and the fact that this year I had a serious health complication which scared the everything out of me and made me realise that the time had come to stop pissing around and just deal with it!
Now some of that list up above are things that can be managed whatever size you are. And I am all for that. So there is no need to feel crap in your clothes, there are good plus size things out there and you deserve to look fab and feel great, whatever your size. I think there is sometimes the tendency to almost punish ourselves further for being fat. Gok Wan can show us in 10 minutes how to Look Good Naked with curves or without.
And there is no law against scuba diving or swimming while fat. Swimming I can do. Yes it can feel uncomfortable to be the fat girl at the pool or beach but I can do it and enjoy myself. I don’t feel that my whole self-confidence or self-esteem is based on my size BUT and it is a big but, everything about being fat makes sports more of a faff. Getting the gear, finding somewhere where you can do whatever it is best. A few years ago at an event with a group of friends thinking about sugar sensitivity someone organised a horse ride for an afternoon. This was in New Mexico where we were staying so it was a pretty awesome opportunity. But when it came to going we had to say what we weighed, gulp. Got that over with, only to be told I was several pounds over the weight that the horses could comfortably carry. Now I was told this very kindly and sensitively, it wasnt a public humiliation or anything but I was devastated. And it really made me think. Although not enough to lose the weight LOL. But now that remains one of my ambitions. I want to be on that ride, or one like it. Trekking in the mountains in Albuquerque, and with the horse being gald to have me!
Whilst writing this blog I stumbled across this one on fat girls and surfing, Fantastic!! here
I have got pretty good over the years at dealing with fat-ist comments. I can hold my own thank you very much, make a joke in advance or deal with the Dr. But I don’t want to have to do that any more. I will support to my dying day women’s right not to conform to stereotypical images of beauty and acceptable ‘thin-ness’. I will hold out against discrimination against fat or skinny people just as I will against sexism, racism, homophobia and other intolerance. And the politics and economics of diets and fatness are a whole book in themselves. I will not buy into the size 10 or even worse size zero adoration. I will not contribute to the demon of anorexia, she will be defeated. But I will be myself, as I was meant to be.
A good week this week. Isn’t it amazing how feeling in control, eating the right amount of food for your body and doing some exercise improves your mood? Well it does mine. Today I’m happy, happy, happy. First weigh-in of this next phase of my journey to Slim Land and I have lost 5 lbs. Yay!
Of course I am still at the stage of needing to weigh myself naked, first thing in the morning and after potty but I am doing it the same time every week and trying to step away from the demon scales the rest of the time. In some ways I’d be happy not to have any scales at all. After all it’s not the numbers on them that matter one bit. I can tell if I am losing or gaining weight by my clothes and how I feel, move, walk etc. My ambition would be to reach a weight I am happy and healthy with then stay around there by knowing how my jeans fit.
I wore my new black jeans with the sparkle round the hem yesterday, and that’s another thing that made me feel good. Today I had on a new eBay jacket I’d been saving for this wedding. I can feel myself standing a bit taller and walking a bit better. I know I had got to a weight where I had crossed a line with my mobility. I suspect a bit of arthritis but I can see already how I am moving more easily. I am looking forward to letting go of this fat suit and being myself again.
I know the Fat Suit has had a role in my life. Nothing comes from nothing after all and it has served its purpose. I suppose it can be a protection or a comfort blanket when we feel low or insecure, all the books tell us so. And that it can be a form of protection against attack or what we are feeling is a ‘ bad bad situation” ( isn’t that the cue for a song?!). I tend to feel its the comfort eating that acts as the blanket, it is a way to numb out feelings, a way to feel ‘treated’ or even a way to rebel against the rules or oppression. Well I’ve been there and done that. And I’m here to say to my Fat Suit,
” Thank you for doing your best to look after me. Hey, you did a great job, better than even I anticipated!. But here I am back in business and I can look after myself again now. Plus I have some pretty good family and friends who are going to be right here beside me cheering me on, counting my points and celebrating success. And I want to be around with them and for them for a long while to come. So Fat Suit, I am letting you go. Your job here is done. I am blessing you and sending you on your way.”
Well this week has gone well so far. I am sticking with the plan, counting my points and its maki g me focus on portion sizes and what foods are high and low. It all makes perfect sense when you think about it doesn’t it? Fill up with lots of veggies, keep to lean meats and fish, not too much fat or sugar. So far its going well.
I have had some new clothes this week too. I have discovered the joys of eBay fairly recently, sold quite a few things and have now, more dangerously, discovered the art of buying. Being a plus size as they say finding nice clothes that look good, feel good and don’t cost the earth or fall apart quickly is sometimes not easy. The High St isn’t brilliant although places like New Look are good for cheap and cheerful and Monsoon or M and S for the quality stuff. online shopping on the other hand puts the world at your credit card. And eBay means nice stuff at a bargain! I am going fr the middle-aged but colourful, comfortable and hopefully attractive look here. So a jacket from Indigo Moon and some fab new trousers from Quacker factory have made my week. The pale green crop trousers have a bit of sparkly bling on the zips on the calves and a pair of black jeans have some sparkle round the hem. Today a pair of summer trousers arrived that had cost me the grand total of 74p! Anyway I am now topping my eBay shopping extravaganza for a little while to allow myself to enjoy what I’ve got and not overspend. It has given me a great boost though to have some new clothes that fit now, make me smile and I hope look good. I think its hard when you are wanting to lose weight to know what to do about clothes. For a while its ok to carry on wearing the same things but some of my size 24 trousers are now too big and look baggy on which isnt the best look for being smart enough for work. Wearing leggings and bit T’s might be alright on a weekend but it just won’t cut it if I want to look professional!
Having also reduced my income I’m pretty keen not to spend too much on clothes. I love charity shops too but when you are big it’s not always easy to find anything to fit. Having said that one of my current favourites is an Ann Harvey top which came from the Salvation Army shop for £2.50. So I decided that this year my focus for couture is on charity shopping and eBay. It sort of feels like a win win. I make a donation from everything I sell to cancer charities via eBay, I reckon I should share the good fortune. And this way I get to have clothes that fit along the way, I can pass them on or sell them every time I go down a size or two and start all over again.
It’s a whole new language isn’t it? Points. Not as in, ‘what is the..” but as in the divine weightwatchers system. Of course being a big girl I have done diets before and weightwatchers too in various incarnations. But I decided to sign up to their online system last week. I get a discount for joining from the NHS where I work so it seemed like a good enough sign to take the plunge and leap in.
I like having something to record what I’m eating and how much and cleverly the online programme works out your points and adds them up for you. here’s what they say about their philosophy, I kind of like it :
Our approach is built on four pillars that have the greatest impact on success. Our philosophy is that a person should:
▪ Learn to eat more healthfully
▪ Increase physical activity
▪ Learn to create and live in a supportive environment conducive to achieving a healthy weight
▪ Manage the challenges involved in changing behaviors weightwatchers on facebook
As those of you who’ve been around me a while know I’m pretty keen on what I’ve learnt and know from my own experience about sugar addiction and I have integrated the seven steps from Kathleen DesMaisons work into my life over the last few years. I see those as the cornerstone of my health and recovery. But I want to add in other things to help me on my journey to weight loss. There is so much wonderful information available to us and I love reading and researching about health and diets and nutrition as well as about addiction. It is a good way to employ my addictive personality from time to time into doing research!
So this is week one of WW online. I am getting my head round the points thing. With their new system all vegetables and most fruits are points free which is great. I am focusing on really increasing my veg anyway but I am trying to keep the fruit to meals and the lower sugar versions like berries as they suit my sugar sensitive biochemistry the best.
Activity points are another thing to ‘collect’. Apparently you can swap these for food. I am not sure my mind needs to get its head round do this then eat more! But I know movement and activity are Good Things and I love ticking boxes so that is helping me to move more too. Last night me and the Missus went back to the gym and had a swim at 8pm for half and hour. We came out feeling refreshed and both slept well too. Very therapeutic.
So I am looking at this as the next step for me for now in my journey. I don’t see it as a competition between diets or programmes just a way of following a path towards health. I realise I am in this for the long haul. I have had my blips and fits and starts since January but the direction of travel has been the same. I am going to do this and do it well. One day this blog will say Fat Girl IS Slim.
New start, new day, same journey.
It is a gorgeous summer day and I spent the afternoon tidying up the garden, mowing the grass ( I daren’t use the term ‘lawn’ under the Trades Descriptions Act), clipping the hedge with some help from son 3 and harvesting veggies.
This is our first crop of carrots, all curly and feathery topped. I wish I could do a scratch and sniff post so you could inhale the carrotty scent as they came up from the ground. I squeal with excitement at every vegetable that materialises. I also picked some tiny baby beetroot.
Tonight we are going to eat tuna steaks with steamed new potatoes, curly carrots and the tiny bettroots just for fun.
And after we are having strawberries and bluebrries which are right now marinading in a couple of spoonfuls of balsamic vinegar. Apparently they taste amazing with balsamic and fresh pepper so we will see. I didnt add the brown sugar as I know the fruit will be sweet enough for us! And psssst Im not doing sugar ( grin).
Food straight from the garden feeds the soul not just the body. Good food shared in good company makes your heart sing. I am lucky, I have both.