Friday, November 30, 2012

Bringing it back

Okay, so let me explain how the next few months will go. Till April, it's all about studying. Sure, I'll be trying to shoehorn in healthy living, but when you are waking at 3 am to get stuff done (and because nerves are killing you), health isn't huge. April 24th (after exams): Drink. Heavily. April 25th: Start detoxification program, followed by Weight Watchers for 12 weeks. HIT THE DAMN POOL. You have a gym membership, USE IT. Take baby for long walks. Breathe. Move house around to better facilitate success. Breathe.

Friday, May 04, 2012

A proud bit of proud

Since my Olympics dreams went kaput (boo!), I've had to look for other things to be proud about.  I think THIS totally counts.  It's the story of how I finished giving birth...15 months after my son was born.

Friday, April 20, 2012

It's a Small World After All...and you can't play in it.

This blog was started because I was accepted into the Closing Ceremonies as a performer for the London 2012 Olympics.  Joy all around.  A few weeks ago I received a letter from the Olympics reminding us of Home Office requirements, which stated that for non-EU nationals, all of their paperwork must be have an expiration date of at least November 8th.  Problem, as my marriage visa ends September, and while I will renew it in August, my paperwork would obviously show that it expired before November.  (WHY is it a November cutoff, when the damn games are done in August?  Who knows).  So I contact my team leader and explain that I'm married, with a kid and a mortgage and all that, I'm not some dodgy dodge person, can I squeak through?

Today I got the call.  I can't.  


I cannot apply for a ILR (the next level of visa) until 28 days before the one I have is due to expire.  I called the Home Office, they said the same thing.  So, yeah.  I'm out.

I will take one good thing from this shitty day - when you see those gorgeous dancers and jugglers and stilt walkers and people bouncing around, I want you to remember - my fat ass was supposed to be there.  I performed well enough to dance and shimmy and jazz handed my way next to them, and it is just through bureaucratic nonsense that I didn't get to be standing in that stadium. Sure, I may be watching it with the other 8000 people who applied and didn't get in, but I DID get in, and I can take comfort in that.

Cold comfort is still comfort.   


Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Right to Gripe, or when first world problems go wrong


So I belong to this online forum for women only (not Mumsnet, you all are lovely!), which is about 10% informative, 60% boring, and 30% car crash.  I stick around for the information, and car crashes.  Today's first world problem was a woman who has younger colleagues that complain about getting older.  She believes this is the height of rudeness.  Mind you, they aren't talking about her being older, they aren't even talking *to* her, she is simply overhearing their conversation and getting upset.  And of course, as it always seems to with women, the argument turned to weight, with much back and forth, resuming in what I can only say is the most jaw-dropping concept I have heard of in a long time:  If a skinny person complains about gaining weight within ear shot of a fat person, the skinny person is rude, and has no right to call themselves fat or whatever when they aren't, because it denigrates the fatty.  At the same time, a fat person can (kind of sort of) raise themselves up by pulling skinny people down (ie, Big is Beautiful!, which intimates that not big is not beautiful), then that's okay, because fat people don't have privilege in society, so they can get away with it.


First off, if a skinny person is talking about how fat they are when they drank a full fat latte and I happen to be in ear shot, several things happen.  Actually, one thing happens.  No, wait, I meant to say nothing happens.  Why?  Because:

They are talking about themselves, not me,
Their body image is their own, and has nothing to do with my body image,
I do not co-opt someone else's pain about their body, and
OMG who listens in on peoples' conversations and then has the gall to get upset about it?

That's Ridiculousness #1.  Ridiculousness #2 is when I think that I can get away with being bitchy about a skinny person, and then hide behind some invisible shield of 'But they are the privileged group, I'm just standing up for myself!' bullshit.  No, you're just trying to get away with something, Mean Girls style.  Cut it out.

Let me tell you a story: When I met my birthing group, they were all, pregnant, smaller than me when I was my regular weight. As they were complaining about puffing up and tight clothes, I could have thrown a strop and pointed out that they were still smaller than me, and were therefore inferring that I was super de duper gross if they were gross for having stretch marks and puffy ankles. But instead, I realized that behind everyone's eyes (skinny, fat, black, white, gay, straight, etc), are their own battles, and are on their own journeys, and appreciated that they were struggling right now, and tried to be a supportive friend. Our kids are a year now, and all of them are back to their gorgeous size 2 selves, and I am my lovely size 22 self, and we just appreciate each other for who we are.  And even if they ate a giant muffin and then complained about being sooooo fat, I honestly would not care, because THEIR BODY IMAGE ISSUES ARE NOT MINE.  I HAVE ENOUGH OF MY OWN, I DO NOT NEED TO CO-OPT ANYONE ELSE'S BULLSHIT.  As has been pointed out numerous times on this blog, my feelings and opinions about my body are my own. If you have so little to do that you have time in the day to be offended on my behalf, then I wish I had your leisure time, but I just don't care.  I also don't care about other peoples' journeys or thoughts on their own weight - it has nothing to do with me.  You may be a size 2, and think you are fat.  I don't care.  You may be a size 30, and think only Real Women Have Curves.  Don't care.  Doesn't concern me.  And how others perceive themselves shouldn't concern you personally, either.  Just get the fuck on with your life.  


Friday, April 13, 2012

Bucket List

I've never been fond of the concept of a bucket list - that list of things you really want to do before you die.  I figure, just do them now instead of writing them down, saves time and paper.  But I am a fan of prioritizing, putting down in black and white what truly matters, and letting the little stuff slide.  For my MBA course right now I am doing pre-work exercises, designed to help you figure out your day, and what you can trim down while you shoehorn in your education.  Ironically, it's stuff like this - blogging - that I could easily cut out.  Writing takes a lot of time.  Editing takes time.  Finding get the idea.  But blogging helps keep me same, so for now, blogging stays.  Facebook and LJ can go, and quickly.  So that will free up some chunks of time.  My favorite websites can fall to the wayside for the time being - Financial Times and Harvard Business Review will be my go-to URLs for the foreseeable future.  The same needs to be said for getting healthy - you have to figure out what goals are important, and which aren't, and tailor your regimen to that concept.

I think the reason so many diets/health plans/whatever you call them fail is that people fail to prioritize their goals - they say to themselves "I want to look like Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex in the City, in the next 90 days!".  People, puh-leaze.  It takes SJP a couple of hours in the hair and makeup chair to look like SJP in SITC, you think YOU are going to pull it off in 12 weeks?  No.  Pick a realistic goal, like "I hope to walk up 3 flights of stairs without getting winded" or "I want to walk 3 miles".  If you shoot too high when you are just starting out, you'll get frustrated and more than likely give up.  Set immediate, smaller goals for yourself along the way, while keeping your eye on the larger prize.  

For now, my IMMEDIATE goal is to get healthy enough to run around in the Closing Ceremonies without looking (and feeling!) like I am going to die.  My long term, possibly by the age of 40 goal is to wear a tankini at the beach.  But within my immediate goal, I have smaller sub goals.  Right now, I need to focus on weight loss, and increasing lung capacity, then I'll work on longer cardiac pushing exercises, and the like.  So I'm working on food choices as well as increasing aerobic activity.  Putting on muscle isn't the largest issue right now, it's getting the fat off first, so my muscles can actually work the way they are supposed to.

This weekend, my mini goal is to enjoy my birthday, have lots of love and cuddles with my husband and kid, and then start again on Monday.  Little goals, added up, equal great things.  "From little acorns..." and all that.  Have a good weekend, folks!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

When Life Gets in the Way

I apologize for the lack of posts, life is very quickly gearing up to explode in May.  Baby is starting nursery 2 afternoons a week so I can

- Get house organized
- Get study area set

Meanwhile, the Olympics rehearsals start at the exact same time, which means crosschecking schedules with babysitter and husband, and wondering if I have the strength to make it to August 12th without resorting to buying pep pills from dodgy online sellers.

The seedlings for my garden are doing brilliantly though, and baby is over halfway done with teething and has actually let us sleep through the night the last week or so (HUSSAH!), so to be fair, life is pretty damn great.  I'm eating pretty well, I just need to massively get my ass in gear to help create that sustainable muscle mass that all the bone structures just love to nestle into.  (I mean my bone structure, not my husbands.  Heh.  'Bone'.)

This week, I need to:

Find a new pair of walking shoes
Get my Kindle sorted to 'read' out many of my MBA texts so I can push baby while listening
Keep on keeping on!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Listen to your gut

I was walking baby Alex in the garden when our neighbor came out and was making funny faces with him, and mentioned he didn't look his peak - he's a step father to two, and a grandfather to one, he knows that look of a poorly kid in a heartbeat.  Alex has just gotten over an awful bug that saw us heading to the hospital at one point because we couldn't get the fever down.  We were on the phone all day with NHS Direct*, but I wasn't quite satisfied with their answers, so off we went, and surprise surprise, he was BEYOND feverish.

I love NHS Direct, but there is one thing they always do that bugs the crap out of me.  When they are assessing my kid, they always invariably ask, "Is he your first?", and when you say yes, there is always the same sad little sigh on the other end, as if to say, "Oh, you're an idiot first time mother, I can see you are probably freaking out over nothing".  Now, it is true I am a first time mother and overall, I am an idiot, but I do still have some faculties about me.  When my child wakes up in the middle of the night screaming, with a body temperature that feels like I put him in the microwave to dry him off after his bath, then I know, first time mum or not, that there is a feckin' problem.  Pushing a child out of my vagina for the first time does not actually make me less able to sense heat fluctuations in the skin.  It also has not made me incapable of saying that there is a problem and I am going to damn well do something about it. Turns out the massive bug he had triggered a huge ear infection, which was causing the fever.  I may be a first time mum, but I still have a gut, and I listen to it.

And yet, I don't listen to my gut in so many other ways.  I know, for instance, that Cornettos (ice cream comes) hurt my tummy.  I know that pasta will make my brain go quite angry about 30 minutes later (I think it has something to do with the massive influx of carbs hitting me all at once).  Yet, I eat these things.  And why?  Because...because I love my kid more than myself.  I'd walk to the end of the earth if it meant he'd smile at me, but I won't cross the street to save my own life.  You can pretty that up and say it's a mother's love, but it's also a girl's ingrained hatred for herself.  That's tough to admit, but true.

I haven't weighed myself since I started this journey.  I guess I need to today.  I haven't been worried about what I was eating, because I was moving more, but I have to remember, it's a total process.  You can't just starve and then loaf about, and you can't just walk more and then eat a cake.  You have to be willing to walk to the end of the earth for YOURSELF, because YOU are worth it.

Sorry this ended on a down note.  Here's a video of a jester telling Henry VIII that his wife is cheating on him.

*US people, think of it like Urgent Care, but instead of going in you just call them and a nurse assesses you over the phone and then makes a recommendation as to whether you come in or not.  Yes, the UK health care system does kick the ass of the US, why do you ask?.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How to make Old World Style Easter Eggs...

...or why I think dressing up your food is fun.

In the days before Paas created neon green, Ben 10 stickered Easter eggs with their own American Idol themed sets, egg stands, and googly eyes, people used the elements around them to create beautifully decorated eggs for the religious season.  Every country seems to have their own recipe for decoration - as a child of a Eastern European grandparent, the amazingly intricate Pasch eggs were a staple in our home.  But, she also was adept at making the more rustic, beet juice and onion skin wrapped eggs.  As I became older, I realized many other nations had their own version of the wrapped egg - Italians, for instance, used flat leaf parsley as a decorative motif!  What I love about this very basic recipe is that it allows for whatever you have on hand to create beautiful works of edible art.

What you will need:

About a dozen onion's worth of onion skins
Beet juice (canned is the easiest)
About a dozen eggs
Herbs of any size, flavor, etc.
A pint of water
A large glug of white vinegar
Stainless steel strainer and pot
A pair of women's nylons with the legs cut off and underwear portion discarded

A few notes before we begin:  

If you don't want to buy a dozen onions (not everyone goes through them like me!), just buy one or two, and then STUFF the bag with onion skins that are laying in the onion bin.  Do make sure you go through the self checkout though, or you will get weird looks from the cashier.  Or, just ask your green grocer if you can grab a few handfuls of skins that have fallen off.

And size and color egg is fine, even speckled eggs are beautiful with this recipe!

While you may want to experiment with foliage other than herbs, make sure you look up whether the compounds in the leaves are deadly.  While you won't be eating the flower petals or leaves you choose to use, some of the trace elements could leach into the eggs themselves.  However, red cabbage, any type of onion, broccoli leaves, even iceberg lettuce leaves make wonderful patterns.  Do you have something in the fridge that looks like it may go off soon?  USE IT.

The process:  

Onion skins, frozen beet juice.  And bacon.  
1.  Chuck the onion skins, vinegar, and about a cup or beet juice (or more, if you like) into a pot with the pint of water and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes.

 2.  Gently wash your eggs with lukewarm soapy water, rinse, and set aside.

3.  Grab whatever herbs or food safe foliage you have on hand, and put them in a bowl with water to get wet.  As you can see, I chose a lot of sage from my garden, because it's broad leaved, and to be honest it grows like a weed and I rarely make that much stuffing.  I also chose thyme and some lovely mint.

4.  Apply the wet foliage to the egg.  If will not stick magically, you just need to smooth it onto the surface.

Fishnets are good for something.
5.  Now for the tricky bit.  Holding the leafy egg in your fist, guide the egg through the nylon, all the way to the toe.  Using your finger, gently move any leaves that have slipped out of place back where you want them, and then tie a knot at the end of the egg, making a little sausage casing of hosiery and egg.

6.  Continue with the rest of the eggs, laying down a leaf pattern, sliding it through the nylon, and securing it with a knot between each egg.

By this point you should be about 30 mins into the project.  Strain the onion skins out of the now deep red/brown water, and let them cool slightly.

Murderous hands
7.  Try using some of the now cooled off onion skins as foliage as well - use a Modge Podge method (slapping them on the egg, overlapping, etc), and then slip them into your makeshift casing as you did with the herb ones.

Looking gross for now.  
8.  When all the eggs are ready (or you have run out of nylons!), pop them in the water, turn up the heat, and boil for 10 minutes.

9.  Let the water cool naturally - it will help deepen the color of the eggs.

10.  When completely cool, remove nylons (if you don't plan on making any more, just cut away the stockings - if you plan on a second batch, manually undo the hosiery).

11.  Buff with a dry cloth and a tiny bit of veggie oil to really bring out the sheen of the egg shell.

This is thyme, fishnet background,  and a little bit of buffing.  Delicate and lovely!

Lovely onion skins amongst the sprouts.

Pop the eggs in the fridge till it's hunting time, and you are all set!

Some Top Tips for a smooth preparation:

While this recipe is completely kid friendly, you will want them to step far back for the boiling part.  However, everything else can be done outside, or on the living room floor if you are worried about little hands.

Do not do this recipe the day before you meet the queen, as when you wrap the eggs in the onion/beet skins, you will get slightly stained hands.

As soon as the pot of eggs is boiling, CLEAN UP.  Beet juice and onion skins stain.  Beet juice and onion skins stink.  You do not want to look and smell like a serial killer who specializes in Eastern European immigrants.  Wash up, and quick.

If you want to keep your creations, use a push pin to prick a tiny hole in the top and bottom of the egg, and then lightly blow the egg innerds into a bowl before you wrap and boil them.  Alternatively, you can just let the egg shrivel inside the shell, but I will warn you that I've only seen that done with the Pasch waxwork eggs, I'm not sure what regular wrapped shells would do with a rotting, hard boiled egg inside.

When you unwrap your eggs, they may look like poo.  It's okay.  Give them a quick rinse and buff - some of the dye may come off, but you'll uncover the real pattern below.


While this recipe is great for Easter, I think it's also important to point out that we eat with our eyes first, and then our mouths.  If food doesn't look sexy, we don't enjoy it as much.  A lump of tofu on a sad piece of lettuce doesn't compare to a luscious slice of red velvet cake.  Sure, that cake might kill you, but it will look damn good doing it.  The good news in that we can make even our plain food all sexy with a little extra effort.  A plain salad, arranged beautifully on a plate, can look like Heston Bleumenthal himself made your lunch.  Lovely meals shouldn't coincide with major holidays - we should strive every day to indulge ourselves with visual treats.  Whether it is the Russians and their adornment of the simple egg, or the way the Japanese have elevated the box lunch to an art form, we should, even in this fast paced world, push to create and enjoy small moments of beauty wherever we can.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spencer Tunick and Me

I was watching a documentary on Spencer Tunick called Naked States.  It's a fascinating look at Spencer, pre-worldwide acclaim for his large scale nude installations.  There has always been speculation as to whether Spencer was a 'pure' artist, using the human body as inspiration, or a perv who has managed to trick thousands upon thousands of people into posing for him.  I've always thought the perv angle was a bit short-sighted - Michaelangelo studied cadavers for artistic inspiration, but I wouldn't call him a necrophiliac.  At the very least, I can say my experience with Spencer was completely above board.

Yes - I, Fatty, have posed for Spencer.  (I'm in the image link here. I wouldn't press it if you are at work, as there are about 1000 people in the picture, all quite naked.)  It took a great deal to pose for him - over 8000 people applied for 2000 spots over 2 days.  Everyone had to apply twice, and THEN wait in line starting at about 10.30 the evening prior outside the Lowry in Manchester, England, before the gates opened at 4.30 am.  The first 500 women and 500 men were allowed in - everyone else in line was sent home.  I was one of the last 50 women, and I had been in line since 2 am!  It also took a lot to apply to Spencer, as I had been accepted into one of his installations before, in Cleveland (not work safe link), about 7 years earlier, but I chickened out.  I was in my early 20's, and didn't like my size.  Now, here I was, 70 lbs heavier, and I was not going to let this chance pass me by again.

Yes, I was the heaviest woman of the day in my 1000 person group.

Yes, it was difficult to accept that fact.

Yes, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I've written about it before, but it was an incredibly empowering experience.  Spencer's staff was exceedingly professional, and Spencer himself (when he isn't taking pics) is very funny and warm.  When he has camera in hand, he's a bit of a dick (because he's trying to get the best shot NOW, not when 1000 people feel like shutting up), but he's really cool overall.  It was a bit weird to go to the exhibit and watch the short film that had been done on it - I have an extremely isolating close-up in the video, and to see myself 12 feet tall, naked, on a screen, was a bit jarring, but still positive.

So *why* am I telling you all this?

We're told that the big moments only come around in a blue moon - Opportunity only knocks once, all that.  I don't believe that.  I think Opportunity is literally banging down the door, day and night, and we refuse to answer it.  We lose so many more chances in this life than we ever take on.  Standing on that freezing cold grass that chilly morning, I didn't yet realize I was two weeks pregnant.  I thought this photo shoot would be the most adventurous, challenging thing I would do all year (well, second to my wedding a few months later).  I had no idea as I posed in various locations around Salford that I would have a very difficult pregnancy, followed by a VERY difficult birth, followed by many complications.  It would have never occurred to me that this photo shoot would actually be one of the more calm moments of the next 12 months.  When both my husband and I were picked for the Ceremonies, we could have waffled and just picked one of us to go - after all, the schedules would be gruelling, AND we'd have to plan major babysitters to help out, AND we wouldn't see each other for at least two months, AND I'm starting grad school back up in May, so I'll be swamped with paperwork, AND,



And nothing.  If it's something you want, truly want, you find a way to make it happen.  You work around stuff, you find that little stuff like sleep and patience aren't needed immediately.  You make what you have work, instead of wanting something more.  You get the job done.

Get the damn job done today.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

What we talk about when we talk about dieting...

I've found lately that when people talk about dieting, they don't actually talk about it.  They talk around it - they discuss the health benefits of exercise, of the hormonal changes of certain food products in the body, of clothes fitting better.  They don't ever come out and say I AM A FATTY YO, but it's subtly implied.

I'm not sure if I like that.

See, while I love health benefit talks, and hormone changes, and clothes fitting better, and I cannot stand the concept of "Dieting is great!  You just eat less and everything will be fine!" (because that is a lie), it's the subtlety that I dislike.  I am not suddenly changing my habits because I feel like doing something different - I am doing it because what I was doing before (eating a half dozen Krispy Kremes and then taking a nap) wasn't good for me.  It was, in fact, killing me.

When it comes to things like death, and shortened life spans, subtlety needs to get thrown out the feckin' window.  I EAT TOO MUCH AND IN THE WRONG PORTIONS, AND DISLIKE SWEATING.  THAT IS GOING TO KILL ME.  This isn't rocket science, it's what I was doing to myself.  And until I really and truly take ownership of my idiocy, the weight is going to yo-yo on and off.  You have to name your monster, and loudly, before you can truly grapple with it.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sometimes it is your fault, and sometimes it's not.

As people who know me in real life are aware, I am bipolar.  I was diagnosed nearly eight years ago, and while I still have issues from time to time, my illness is well managed.  The other week I was noticing some odd symptoms cropping up indicative of a mixed episode, so I mentioned them to my doctor.  She attempted to prescribe a drug I had been on before that worked really turning me into a zombie.  I begged her to try something different, and she did. So today I picked up my script, and looked at the side effects:

Extreme weight gain and metabolism interference, with severe sedation.


It's apparently the exact same group of meds that I asked not to be put on.  I *told* her about the 82 lbs that I gained as a result of the last med.  I *told* her in no uncertain terms that I could not be a zombie, I have a baby to take care of!  But sometimes, doctors only hear what they want to.


So now I have to either

A)  Try the drug and put my family through hell, all while knowing I am going to blow up like a balloon,
B)  Refuse to take the drug and possibly piss off the doctor, or
C)  Pay for a private doctor - essentially, a walking prescription pad to give me exactly what I want.

And all the time, I need to figure out how this is all going to affect me stress wise.


I told you that story to tell you this one.  A lot of my weight gain is my fault.  I like pie, and hate the treadmill.  Hence, I am a fatty fat fat.  But a lot of my weight gain is not my fault - a drug I was on for 1.5 years destroyed my metabolism in a very nuclear on nuclear way (that is to say, it nuked the nucleus of the cells of my body, altering them forever).  It also packed on the equivalent of an 11 year old girl onto my frame.  That, I can't help.  I'm willing to bet there is something in your life you don't like.  I'm also willing to bet while some of that situation is your fault, some isn't.  So, do you acknowledge the stuff that isn't your fault while striving to do better, or do you just hate yourself for what you cannot be?  Do you take all the blame, when some of it should not be on your shoulders?  Inversely, do you blame your 'other', without taking any responsibility for your part in your situation?

None of this makes a lick of difference in the end.  The weight is still there, whether the drugs did it all, or I just sat around all day eating pie.  I have to work twice as hard to take it off, even though I didn't have nearly as much fun putting it on - I popped a pill that saved my stupid brain is all.

Life sucks.  Wear a helmet.

Sorry.  I know you may have wanted a light hearted romp today.  I'll make up for it with this video of my kid laughing uproariously. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Treatise on the concept of Chocolate and Dieting

I love chocolate.  I know, woman's blog, blah blah blah, love chocolate, blah blah blah, but really?


I love everything about chocolate.  I love its aroma, its sensuality, its weird way of tasting like a thousand things at once, from the tiniest hint of smoke to the grass that grew around the bean plant.

(It should be noted that I am speaking of non-US chocolate.  Having lived outside of the US for a few years now, I can safely say that compared to Belgian/French/Scandanavian chocolate, American chocolate tastes like wet dog crossed with an angry gym teacher's asshole.  Sorry Hershey's:  You may have a cool theme park, but you make angry-gym-teacher-asshole grade choccy.)

My husband came home from Stockholm and brought me lovely dark chocolate with sea salt in it - thought I was going to lose my mind.  I pass by little shops with baby on the high street, and see gorgeous hand molded treats with whisper thin shavings of gold-leaf goodness on them, and want to scarf the lot.  You can't have chocolate in this house for very long - I will bake it in something, melt it down to drink, whatever it takes to get goodness in my face hole.  

I was at some function a while ago with a lady who worked for Green & Black's, and she told me all about wine and chocolate pairings. It was like a whole new world was opened to me.  I could get drunk AND enjoy chocolate?  Why the hell had I never thought of that before?  There is even a shop on the sea side, Choccywoccydoodah, that makes everything with and focused around chocolate.  Surely, this is a nation that understands the importance of the cocoa bean.  They may fuck everything else up gastronomically, but they GET chocolate.

So why do modern diets hate chocolate so?  Easy - it's good and good for you.  Modern dieting says that if it tastes like day old socks, it must be good for you.  However, dark chocolate can help lower cholesterol, kick in serotonin levels in the body, helps your body release endorphins, and has enough caffeine to give you a little perk in the body and mind.  AND it tastes gorgeous.  Melt it over some fresh cut strawberries, and you have a sexy treat that is still good for you at the end of the day.

Of course, you'll never see the sad sacks on Biggest Loser enjoying chocolate, or anything else for that matter.  No, for them it's bland Subway sammiches and a treadmill of boring.  Why CAN'T we get healthy while keeping great things around us?  Why do we HAVE to pay good money to go to a gym, work out on machines we don't like, and then pay £5 for a shot of liquefied grass?  Why can't we just walk around more, savour our food, and make wise choices?  

I'm not to the wise choices part just yet. I just ate a whole Easter Egg of chocolate that my husband had hidden - poor man, he still doesn't realize that I am a feckin' sniffer dog when it comes to sweets  but I am getting there.  I am remembering more times than not that food can be good and good for me.  I am remembering that food can be a part of my life but not my whole life.  I am remembering that I love myself more than food, so while I enjoy rich food, I do it in moderation.

Enjoy yourself today.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Glass of Water

There is a glass of water currently sitting on my kitchen counter.

It has been sitting there for three days.

I am thirsty.

Actually, I am dehydrated.

I know this because I keep putting Chapstick on my lips, hoping to impart some moisture to them.

I know the glass of water is there.

I pass by it 4 times a day to make my child's food.

Yet, I do not drink from it.

I am in need of water...water is in front of me...but I do not drink.

If that doesn't speak volumes about my attitude towards taking care of myself, I don't know what does.

Friday, March 09, 2012

The Curse of the Yummy Mummy

(for D!)

I have been blessed to have some amazing fellow mothers in my journey of Mummyhood - my birthing group.  A fantastic bunch of ladies, each one compassionate, creative, successful, and witty.  There is only one problem:


Even pregnant they were all sticks with bumps, whereas I?  I looked like the Stay Puft Marshmellow man from Ghostbusters.  Within 6 weeks of their births, they were all back down to their baby weight, and I was actually starting to GAIN weight!  When we go out now, it looks like the cast of Bridesmaids.

Like the Ascent of Man, but with Hotness.  

And I understand that I have no one to blame but myself here, when they were doing buggy aerobics I was sitting on the couch snarfing Toblerone, but dayum if it isn't a tough pill to swallow to see the people who were the exact same body type I was (preggers) at the exact same time, and to see how far forward they have gone, versus how far backwards I have come.  

It's okay though, I'm getting there.  See, I have to remember that everyone has issues.  Everyone.  And while their issues may not be weight, it may be something else.  We all have baggage;  mine just happens to be 2 Samsonite thighs and a belly that would not fit in the overhead compartment.

We start rehearsals in about a month or so for the Olympic games.  I'm ridiculously excited.  Exercise I actually ENJOY doing, versus when I look at the Wii now and groan with boredom.  And this week I basically haven't eaten (which I know is bad, I've just been sick), so I can start slowly with some yummy choices.  AND, now that the weather isn't icky all the time, I can take baby out for way more long walks like when he was little (I was averaging 5 miles walked a day with him during the summer!).  So, we're on the upswing.  Maybe by June I'll get to Kristen Wiig hotness.  Maybe.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

It's a new day

You know what is so great about today?

It's not yesterday.

Yesterday, I made some mistakes with eating.  Today, I'll try better.

You may have made some mistakes in your life yesterday.  Today, try better.

You may fail again.

It's okay.

Tomorrow, you'll try better.

When I have a rough day, the last thing I always say to my husband before I sleep is "Today was a bad day, but that's okay, because tomorrow will be better."

And it will.

It will be a better day because you will try harder.

Have a good day.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

How to lose weight when you are sick

You don't.  You don't worry about anything but getting well.  So you eat soft foods, and if those foods happen to be little pots of cheesecake, then so be it.  You're sick, I'm certainly not going to yell at you.  Just get better, and then get back to work.

I'm down 2 kilo, and considering the last week was HELL (baby had/has an awful ear infection, and I was battling 102F fever all yesterday), not too shabby.

This week will be spent getting back to 100%, and then hopefully the weather will play nice and I can push baby in the pram a few miles a day.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

How we eat, how we cook...

Yesterday I had to take baby to the doctors AGAIN, to find out he has an ear infection.  He's been leaking from his eyes and nose, and is miserable all round.  I dealt with his screaming for the day, and when husband came home, he took baby out for a small stroll while I cleaned up the kitchen (Sainsburys had been delivered earlier, I only had time to put away meat and milk, etc).  Once we finally got baby down, hubby asked what he could do - I simply replied "Let me cook".

For the next hour and a half I boiled, pureed, peeled, skinned, chopped, set up the crock pot, and portioned into freezer pots.  I did the next 5 days of baby food, made 'breakfast' (chicken breasts over root veggies with tomato puree), and boiled a whole chicken in fresh herbs that I let cool overnight (and broke down today for chicken salad).  I felt much, much better.

I've always considered cooking to be a relaxing activity, something that I do when I am stressed in an effort to let go.  Maybe it's that I can be creative; more likely it's because I equate food to comfort.  When 9/11 hit, I (who lived alone) made a turkey dinner.  I was stuck eating increasingly dry turkey sandwiches for the following week.

Part of resetting my eating mindset is resetting my cooking mindset, which is far more difficult.  I cook all the time, for necessity (I cook all my child's food), for thriftiness (living in London, you do NOT want to waste a lot of money on packaged foods), for creativity (*can* I make the greatest bacon dressing known to mankind?  YES!), but always in the back of my mind because I know everything I make I can eat.  And because I love to eat, I love to cook....

A vicious, vicious circle...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year Day!

It's Leap Year (day), a day when historically women could throw off the chains of propriety and ask a man for their hand in marriage.  I have a husband, and I don't feel like chasing after another (parrot or no ), but I wonder if it isn't time to take a different sort of plunge -

The Before and After Picture.

I don't like having my picture taken in the best of circumstances (barring for art, like the Spencer Tunick exhibit), but I think it might be worth it to take a pic of myself and post it, giving myself a well needed kick in the ass.

Would you be brave enough to join me?  If you are on a fitness journey, I challenge you to take a pic of yourself.  You don't have to necessarily post it (I know there are safety concerns on the 'Net), but to have a picture of yourself at your most basic.

Not specifically weight loss related, but certainly body image related...

(from geekfamily 2.1)

A buddy of mine on FB was remarking that while she loves her designer diaper bag (the same one that Angelina Jolie has!), while empty it is 19 times heavier than the free one she got at the chemist. As a friend of hers pointed out, Miss Angie has nannies to carry her bags. It got me thinking to the phases of Mummy fashion that every woman seems to go through in post pregnancy. If you are pregnant right now, be on the lookout for these developmental milestones.
Phase One: URGH.
You have just had a baby. The thought of putting on anything more than a nightshirt, undies, and a robe is horrifying. Climbing in and out of the shower is a trial in strength, so doing something as time consuming as fixing your hair seems ridiculous. If people come over, you may put sweatpants on, but that’s it. Fuck shoes. This phase may be as short as 2 weeks, or as long as 12, depending on how evil your birth was.
Phase Two: THE LIGHT.
You gingerly step to the closet one day, and realize that your fat pants now fit! In a surge of energy, you find both a top without a stain on it, pants, and even a pair of shoes that are not fuzzy with cartoon characters on them, and you step outside. A homeless man takes one look at you and slips you a pound. You can’t remember the last time you took a shower that was longer that 3 minutes, but you are sure as hell going to have one, just as soon as you go to the hairdresser. This is a fun phase, enjoy yourself. I got a buzz cut and bought pretty makeup.
Phase Three: YUMMY MUMMY.
You are in your stride now. You’ve figured out burping, colic is probably over, and you can get your kid into a pram and out the door in less than two and half hours. You may or may not be pre-pregnancy weight, but you are at least learning how to work it. Look at you, branded coffee cup in one hand, brochure for Baby and Me Yoga in the other. *two snaps* WORK IT GIRL! This phase will hopefully last a long time.
Phase Four: CODE RED.
Baby decides to change up the game. Your angelic little sleeper now wakes every hour on the hour from teething. The cute little baby that would sit happily in his playcage while you got ready now screams when you leave the room (or his arms!). Forget clean clothes – baby how slaps over bowls, chucks food, and is constantly grabbing at you with sticky hands. You spend most of your time on the floor, retrieving thrown toys from under the couch. Then baby decides to get his first major cold/flu, and you find yourself at the urgent care ward in a pair of dirty yoga pants, a tee shirt sans bra, hair that hasn’t seen soap in 3 days, and flip flops that do not match. The only good thing about this phase is that you *can* get out of it. Eventually the teething fades, they do go to sleep, and you will have a few days/hours of Phase Yummy Mummy before the next Code Red crops up.
Bonus Phase: HONEY BADGER.
I call this the Nirvana of the phases, although some would consider it Hell. You do not give a shit about what you look like. Jean shorts + black socks + tennis shoes + skanky top + hair sticking up = WHATEVER. DEAL WITH IT. I’M A FUCKING MOTHER. I KEPT ALIVE ANOTHER HUMAN BEING TODAY, WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO? THAT’S RIGHT, NOW SHUT YOUR HOLE. HOLLABACK.

(ps, today I am in hardcore Honey Badger mode, due to a very poorly little one)

Monday, February 27, 2012

It's a pain you forget...

When I was pregnant, people used to always assure me that women have some magical hormone that helps them forget about the pain of pregnancy and childbirth (otherwise the human race would have died out years ago!).  Well, if anyone knows me well they know I still deal with the birth trauma every day of my life, so forgetting it isn't going to happen anytime soon, but the concept of "It's the kind of pain you forget" does weirdly apply to my food choices.

I know that if I eat cheap crappy pizza, I will be sick for the rest of the night.
I know that if I drink sweety drinks with fake sugar, I will be sick as well.
I know that if I even taste test Burger King, I am good and well screwed gastro-wise.

And yet, I forget EVERY SINGLE TIME as I reach for my credit card when ordering pizza after a late night of baby wrangling.  Every.  Single.  Time!  Is there some fat based hormone that makes my body forget that 2 hours after eating a box of Cornettos, I'm going to be doing awful things to my own bathroom?   Even now, writing about the Cornettos, I want them.  They are going to make me sick as a dog, but I am salivating thinking about them!  One would have thought that evolution would have shoved this concept out of my head - even rats learn which food can hold poison and stay away.  I am officially dumber than a rat.

Friday, February 24, 2012

For the Mumsnetters - a recipe book recommendation

Some lovely folks on Mumsnet (*waves*!) have been asking about Paleo and recipe books.  Now, to Joe (my personal trainer buddy and Paleo smartypants), this is all going to be way oversimplified, but the premise is this: You eat what the Paleolithic man ate.


Paleo man hadn't yet learned to farm, so the following stuff is a no-no

Anything with grain (bread, pasta, etc)
Potatoes (every once in awhile, you can have sweet potatoes, but no white/jacket potatoes!)
Dairy (sorry, no milk in your tea)
Anything in a box (cereal, oatmeal, macaroni and cheese, etc)

Essentially you are getting all your good complex carbs from the fruit and veg, and cutting out most of the simple carbs that usually go straight to your body as fat.  I know it sounds really restrictive, but it's not.  For example, I just had a huge rocket salad with 2 hard boiled eggs and diced onions/cucumber, topped with a quick dressing I made from the bacon fat and a little coconut milk, rendered down.  Name another diet that uses BACON FAT DRESSING as a good food?  ;) Also, your shopping is really easy, as you only go to the produce and meat section, which are usually right in the front of the store.  Aaaaaaand, you can do it on the cheap!  I got a bag of rocket for £1 at the Co-op, 2 eggs are about 50p (I like free range), about 50 worth of bacon, and maybe 50p worth of chopped veggies.  I bet whatever crap you may be eating from the vending machine cost you that much!

Now, I am doing a modified Paleo, as you can have my coffee when you pry it from my cold dead hands, but other than the first few days of sugar/simple carb withdrawal, it's actually pretty nice.  AAAAAAAAAAAND, you get bacon.  And as mentioned above, bacon is just awesome.

As for a recipe book, the one he recommended to me that I really dig is Everyday Paleo. The lady who wrote it is a mum who needed to make food her kids would like, as well as being quick/pre-planned (so you don't have to spend hours over a stove just to make a sad little piece of boiled salmon).  The instructions are super simple, and she has a great index of what foods are in and out.  Easy peasy.

I hope this gave you a great into to the Paleo diet.  As for exercise, I am doing lots of walking with baby (already did my mile today!), and will be starting back up on the Wii this weekend.

I did not cheat yesterday!

...Well,  I did.  Let me explain.

I did great all day, had lovely salads with the BEST dressing (Editor's note:  YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS DRESSING - remove bacon from pan, saute finely chopped onions in bacon fat, add a glug of orange juice (or just juice the orange into the pan) and a teaspoon of English mustard, stir till reduced, pour over salad hot, OM NOM till you are full).  I walked about 2 miles with the kid.  I was at the huge mall, but didn't get anything to eat.  But I knew that the evening was going to be tough, as I had writer's group, which is at a theatre pub, and the ladies always split a bottle of wine.  So, I went.  And I had a glass of wine.  I didn't freak out, I didn't beat myself up over it, I had a glass (and no nibbles!!!), and came home, where hubs had ordered omelette, curry, and rice.  Well, the omelette is perfectly fine, and the curry looked safe enough, so I had that over approximately 1 tablespoon of rice (just enough to give the sauce something to stick to), and that was it.

Technically?  I cheated.  It's supposed to be no alcohol, no rice.  So why don't I call it that?  Because that Puritanical food mindset is one of those things I am trying to break in my head.  Food *doesn't* have to be good or bad, it can just be a carrier of calories, and when I stop vilianizing (and lionizing) certain foods, THAT's when I can begin to feel more in control over my body.

There's a naughty e-card/meme going around that says "Instead of meat, maybe you should give up your contradictory, homophobic religion for Lent.  Just sayin'."  I like that.  Instead of giving something up, I am giving up the mindset that got me into trouble in the first place.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


"I'm starving", I cried.

"No, you're not", says my husband.

"No, no I'm not", I admit.  "I ate 3 hours ago."

He paused.

"You're psychologically starving."


I was, of course.  I wasn't starving in any metaphorical sense.  I certainly wasn't starving in a literal sense.  I was starving in a psychological sense.  My brain, upon only 12 hours lack of processed sugar, was convinced that I was starving, and no amount of real food was going to tell it otherwise.  I had already eaten

a 3 egg omlette with oodles of veggies
a 1/2 cup of coffee
a peach
a large salad with bacon dressing
a bowl of fruit salad
a couple of deviled eggs
another large salad with ground beef and bacon
iced tea

I wasn't even close to being hungry.  Yet, my brain was starving - starving for sugar.

I'd like to finish this, but I literally cannot form a cohesive thought right now.

"They're a drug, we're addicted..."

nsfw language in the video...

I know by tonight, the sugar cravings will have begun.  I will want anything sweet.  I have fruit on hand to combat this, but I know it won't be enough.  I know after awhile, the Thai chilli oil in my fridge will start to look good.  I just have to remember:

Sugar is a drug.

I am an addict.

The cravings have begun...

Oh crap, here come the sugar cravings.  I would kick a puppy for a Mars bar.

DAY 1!

Other than extreme gastro pain from last night, doing good!  Took advantage of the stabbing pain to get up early and make myself a veggie omlette with a peach and coffee and glass of water.  Plan today is to take it easy with exercise - it's supposed to be actually nice out in London (light rain for only a few hours, but high of 48F), so I am going to take the baby for a nice long walk in his stroller. I cannot wait to get fit enough to pop him in the baby carrier again! He's fine, it just adds so much weight to my already massive chest I get too winded!

Okay, 273 lbs.  Let's see what you got.

6.30 in the morning

So I said "Oh, for dinner, I'd fancy some penne carbonara with garlic bread and a tiiiiiny tirimisu!


I've been in agony ever since.  Fucking carbs and sugar.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fat Tuesday, Fat Wednesday, Fat....

I never understood Ash Wednesday.  I mean, I understand it from a religious context (went to Catholic school my whole childhood), but a part of me always wondered *why* giving up things I liked were good.  If they made me happy, why make me sad?

funny pictures of cats with captions

Of course, now I am an adult and understand the religious implications of the Puritanical religious mindset (things that give us joy are evil, things that make us unhappy are good), and yet, I still can't shake the Puritanical weight loss mindset (we exercise not because it can release endorphins to make us feel good, we do it because it's painful, and by feeling the pain we know we are doing our body right).  That seems as backwards as giving up something you love for 40 days, only to gorge on it on Easter Sunday.  Weight loss/fitness/toning/healthy pursuits shouldn't be an absolute that you flagellate yourself with for X amount of days or weeks before promising to 'treat' yourself with fatty foods if you are 'good' enough.  It should be, no, it HAS to be a complete and total about face on the concept of healthy living.  You don't work out really hard in the morning so you can earn an extra glass of wine at night; you don't starve yourself all week so you can really 'pig out' with your friends on the weekend; and certainly don't kill yourself with pills and vomiting and dangerous practices in an effort to reach some nirvana of size and shape.  You know what we call people who used to do crazy shit in an effort to please some Other out there?  Martyrs.  Believe you me, you do not want to be a martyr for a Kit Kat.  Just eat the damn thing, and get on with your day.  I'd rather see myself fat than dead, thank you.

I didn't go insane on the gorging today, Fat Tuesday.  I had a small croissant and a cup of coffee (not even Starbucks!), and ate some leftovers in the fridge that would have gone off otherwise.  I bought a chocolate bar on the way home from baby's booster shots, and that's about it.  Tonight I'll probably have a Jack and Coke before bed, but tomorrow I am pretty prepared for the day.  I have my food all ready, and my exercise will be walking with baby.  No cat of nine tails to flagellate myself with, no sack cloth and ashes, no blood letting for sacrifice to my wicked ways.  With a shift of priorities.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Slightly tangential, but our new composter arrived this weekend - I'm already saving scraps for it to yum yum!  Woot!

I come from the land of competitive eating, you are surprised?

Yesterday our Yummy Mummy group had their group 1st birthday party.  It was *lovely*, even though Alex was being a snark monster half the time.  Wonderful company, food, drink, and lots of hugs and laughs.  We were getting to the cake cutting, and the couple that brought it said it would feed 20.  My husband joked that I could probably polish off a quarter of the cake in a go, and the poor folks were HORRIFIED, thinking he was being an abusive monster husband and worst, and a crass individual at best.  I had to step in and say while normally that would be considered an insult, in my case, it was actually a boast.

(We are the weirdos in our group, why do you ask?)

I come from the land of competitive eating, and never leaving the table without finishing your plate, even when the plate is 40% larger than other countries' dinnerware.  I come from a land where sugar is in everything, including meat preparation foodstuffs (A sandwich is a sandwich, but a Manwich gives you diabetes!).  I come from the land where a competitive eater gets his own show, where we watch him stuff his body cavity full of food every week, cheering him on like a Gladiator.  I come from the land that calls diets like Paleo 'dangerous', while simultaneously holding the highest record of obesity among all the 1st world nations.

I come from a land of madness, BUT...

I will get over both these mental and physical hurdles.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Recommendation!

On the recommendation of two people (one of whom is a highly certified personal trainer!), I've just picked up this book Why We Get Fat: And What to Do about It. It took everything in me not to order it rush delivery so I can read it in the car on the way to the party this weekend.  Fingers crossed!


Hubby is upstairs at neighbors playing XBox Kinect on their brand new tv.  I just know I am going to hear all about the 'health benefits' of getting yet another console, and a much larger television.  Oy!  ;)

Welcome to Mumsnet readers, and some slight whining about magic pills

First off, welcome to all new Mumsnet readers! I am one half of the family blog Geek Family 2.1 , also on the Mumsnet blogger's network. Glad to have you on board for my weight loss journey. To get you up to speed, read here or just click around. For the rest of you...

SO.  So today I wasted an entire baby's nap looking at pep pills online.  Seriously.  I wasted almost an entire hour reading testimonials that I know are probably bought and paid for talking about how AMAZING these pills are, all in some vain attempt to circumvent the fat-losing process.  I could have spent that hour on the bloody Wii.  Argh.

The plan, as it stands, is to start in earnest on Wednesday, the 22nd.  I'd love to start tomorrow, but I have in the space of the next 5 days:

2 parties, one of which is a group birthday party for my son
1 documentary shooting (can't be mean and going through withdrawal on camera, sorry)
1 sister in law staying for a few days, because...
Hubby is getting wisdom teeth out, and
Baby is getting booster shots.

Screw you to Mars if you think I am going to go through carb withdrawal through THAT.


I may have a bad back, but it works.  
I may have fat legs, but they exist.
I may complain when I have to drag myself out of bed, 
but I can do so without help or instruments.
I may have no time in the day for myself,
but I have time to complain.
I may not like to walk, 
but others only dream of the chance.

I have absolutely no excuse not to put my body in order,
when so many are never afforded the opportunity to do so,
and yet thrive where I would give up.

Any excuse, grouse, complaint, cry, or bitching I have about my station 
is now invalid.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Best Bacon Recipe EVER

If you are on a low-carb diet, you already know the most wonderful thing in the world is yours for the eating -


I love bacon more than life itself, it needs to be said, and so this recipe for properly cooking bacon, courtesy of the fantastic (and certified personal trainer!) Joe, is the greatest thing in the history of great things.

Go.  Read.  Make.  Enjoy.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Great video to get your priorities in order

I've been trying to watch this bloody video for the last 2 days, on recommendation of the lovely Jodi, and always get stuck doing something else (usually baby related). But I finally got to start and finish this video, and I tell you, it is worth a hard look. Enjoy.

Starting Point

You know what I love about metric weight? When the doctor tells you that you weigh 124 kilos, you actually think it's good. After all, it starts with a '1', it must be okay! It's not till you get home and do the math that you realize that you are 273 lbs. WHATTHEFUCK. Based on a height weight chart, I am supposed to be about 147 lbs. That means I am essentially carrying another person on my frame. You know when people joke that "it looks like you ate someone!"? I REALLY DID. My BMI is 42.9. HOLY CRAP. That other person that I ate? Essentially, a giant Adipose. (Note: People might be upset at this point that I am angry at myself for being a weight that may be smaller than them. If I could remind you of my former treatise about how I don't care about you, your weight, or your opinions, that would be just great.) This is way beyond a little junk in the trunk, or "You Go Girl, Be Big and Beautiful!", and veering dangerously into "I wash myself with a rag on a stick" territory. My bones were not made to carry this much weight. GAH.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A vicious circle concerning family and food

I was just talking to my mum on Skype as I was getting baby's food ready.  She was commenting that he seemed very chatty and such, and I said that he woke up STARVING and very happily downed 2 clementine oranges.  (It should be noted that he normally only gets one, but I was peeling for both of us, and he freaked out when he saw mine, and I caved).  A few moments later, she said, and I quote, "It will be so nice in a few months, he can try cereal like Alpha Bits".  I scoffed that I'd like to hold off on him ingesting that much sugar so young (he's 12.5 months), and her answer?

"Ha!  How much sugar does his oranges have?"


Let's do some math, shall we?

Clementine Orange:  9.2 grams (per 100 grams of orange) of naturally occurring sugars.
Alpha Bits:  37 grams  (per 100 grams of Alpha Bits) of unnaturally occurring sugars, including table sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

Really?  Way to try and make me feel like a shitty mum.  My kid loves oranges - thank God!  He doesn't crave biscuits, he doesn't like cake, he's not even crazy about those baby rice cakes.  He's never had fruit juice (except for when he was very little an incredibly constipated, he had it very watered down), he doesn't drink anything other than milk and water, and will hopefully never have soda.  He loves melon, and apples, and bananas, and carrots, and sweet parsnips.  Shouldn't I be HAPPY that he loves natural foods, versus handing him sugar coated corn treats and calling it a friggin' day?  I guess not.  I guess I have to get shit for feeding him real food, while in the same breath being told to feed him processed food.

Friday, February 10, 2012

What is Paleo, and why am I trying it?

Looking at food options, my safest bet seems to be a modified Paleo diet.  In the interest of full disclosure, I will say I have done a rather strict Paleo diet for a month, about 6 months ago, and it *did* work - I lost about a stone (14 lbs or so).  So I know it works.  The trick is not wanting to kill everything in sight/get a divorce/etc when you go through the carbs withdrawl.  Let me explain...

My best friend Joe (who is a personal trainer, amazing resource on all things Paleo, and just a good chap) has many many posts concerning the diet/lifestyle, but it boils down to this:  You eat what the Paleolithic man would have eaten.  Nuts, berries, animal flesh, and veggies are all big winners.  Dairy products are out (Paleo man didn't farm yet), and grains (bread, cereals, pasta, and rice, all 'farmed') are also out.  You get your fiber from your veggies, not traditional grains.  Also, you avoid white potatoes and beans (nightshade veggies).  Caffeine is out, as is sugar.

I'll say it.  Fuck.

But I'll also say, once you get past the MASSIVE caffeine/sugar withdrawl headaches in the first week or so, you do feel better.  I had more energy, and was more clear thinking.  It's just really, really difficult to deal with if you aren't super prepared.  So, I am doing a modified Paleo.  I'm down with no dairy (I use coconut milk for my daily coffee cream), and I AM having a cup of coffee a day.  I'll have rice from time to time (my husband is Asian, we eat rice...a lot), but at least my rice is long grain, slow cooking, not that short boil in a bag crap.  I'm okay with no bread or pasta, and it will hurt, but no doughnuts.  I still don't understand the whole beans thing, I will have to ask him about that.  The best part about Paleo, though, has to be bacon.  Let me state this very clearly, because it is so super awesome I can't even stand it:


We have this cookbook, and every other recipe calls for bacon, and that...well, that is just plain awesome.

As with everything, do talk to your doctor first, to make sure whatever you are attempting is safe within your limits. I'm off to get more bacon.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Diet Pills, or Magic Weight Loss, or Life Lessons

I've been reading up articles on exercise, trying to get myself pumped up to the thought of sweating in front of strangers on a semi-regular basis. All of them say the same thing, though: The keys to weight loss are exercise and smaller portions. There is no 'magic pill', don't bother - just put the work in, and you will feel great! Besides, hard work builds character! No magic pill? God Almighty, I wish there was. I wish there was a magic diet pill that could make me skinny tomorrow. I wish I could pay £500, take a red pill, and like Neo, fall down the rabbit hole to hottie-ness. Hell, I wish that red pill was a red cookie, as an extra f*ck you to my soon-to-be former chubbiness. I'll even settle for 84 little pills, like - Alli - if it meant a perfect bod. Because I have to tell you, folks, I've got character. I've done all the character building bullshit - moved halfway across the world for love, gotten married, had a horrific pregnancy and 66 hour labor (with every complication you could think of), have a chronic disease, the list goes on and on. I've BUILT up enough character, I'm OWED this magic cookie. And yet, I'm not. I'm not owed anything in this life. None of us are. We get what we get, and we either choose to make the best of it or not. I've made some bad choices along the way, most of them involving massive amounts of chocolate, and now I have to make good choices to make it better. I don't have to like it (in fact, I can hate it ever step of the way), but I have to do it. Might as well get stuck in.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


I hate everything associated with exercise.

I hate the clothes - tight enough that your body can move without a lot of chafing, loose enough that you don't feel cut off, and always, always in the most hideous fabrics imaginable.

I hate sweating.  GAH DO I HATE SWEATING.  That prickly feeling when liquid is slowly running down your face/arms/back/legs?  HORROR.

I hate pre and post group workout chit chat.  I don't care what your kid is up to, or how much gas/petrol is these days.  Just turn on the music and tell me which way to go.

I hate gyms.  Gyms were created for people who love to exercise.  They have mirrors, and machines that face each other (so I guess you can keep talking about your car's fuel mileage while you work your lats).  Sometimes they have trite shit on the walls, posters like "Sweat is weakness leaving the body!" or "No Pain No Gain!".  For people who love to exercise (and you know who they are - women who were probably born in a Lycra thong with a matching water bottle cozy, or the man who is roughly the size of a Chevy Cavalier), this place is Nirvana with a slight odor of feet.  And that's great, as Billy Joel says, "I believe there is a time for meditation in Cathedrals of our own", all that.   But for a person who is *not* a fan of exercise, it is hell.  I can see myself at all angles thanks to the wall-to-wall mirrors, and worse, I can see what everyone else can see - that I am a stranger in a strange land.  I don't fit in.  I am not one of them.  I don't know what certain machines do, or why the hell I would want to use them in the first place.  My bottle of water doesn't match my sweats and tee shirt from the 1990s, which happens to be the last era that I tried stepping into a gym.  I don't particularly like feeling any kind of burn, thank you, much less the burn that comes from touching a piece of equipment that 40 people before me have sweated on and (I can only assume by the smell) improperly cleaned afterwards.

I hate exercise leaders.  You know the ones - super perky people who have never been fat a day in their lives, with so little body fat percentages that they would sink like a stone if I threw them in the nearest pool (which I very well might at the end of a session).  Women who cheerily count out the doldrum of my hour with them in broken numeric code.

"And five more, ladies!  And four, and three, and two...and ten more!"


Hate.  Hate.  Hate.

So the process then becomes finding a way to get cardio without doing stuff I hate.  I already push my kid nearly everywhere (we don't have a car, and I dislike taking the bus/Tube with a pushchair), so at least I get walking exercise.  But, I really do need to find a class.  I need to have the same people see me every week, and whose reactions I can gauge my process.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Food is Sexy

I can still remember a meal I had 14 years ago.  It was a little upscale place in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.  I wore a black wool cocktail dress, with low heels.  My fellow patrons were my best friend Joe, and my friend Paul.  I started with a martini, and the appetizer of salad with crab cakes.  We moved to a beautiful bottle of cab sav, and I had the salmon with a weird but delicious berry crust.  The dessert was a tiramisu with honey-spun topping.  We were there for about 3 hours.  The bill for the 3 of us was nearly 250.00, no small sum in 1998 (no small sum now!).  I wept at the end of the meal, it was that glorious.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am a foodie.

I love food.  I love making it.  I love eating it.  I love finding new, weird foods.  I love shopping in markets, just browsing and grazing and picking up little handmade things in jars.  I love finding things that gross me out the first time I try it, and that I slowly grow to love (hello, Unagi!).  I love gadgets that make food, make it easier to get the food, make it easier to make the food look sexy.  At some point, I have owned every major foodie gadget out there, from a cheap slap-choppy thing, to an industrial bread maker.  I grow my own veggies, make my own salsas and dips, and lick the plate clean at the end of the day.  I love working around food; I've been everything from a car hop in a 50's themed place, to a dishwasher, to a salad girl at my best friend's mum's eatery, to a bartender at a corporate giant, to management at an high end bistro.  I drool over magazines that show new cake decorating techniques, or how to grill the perfect steak.  I mock cake wrecks.  Even now, with no time and even less room to cook, I still work to make things my family will enjoy - my child's food is all hand prepared by me.  I record my in-laws while they cook, hoping to learn secrets from them, and I try their recipes to more or less failure when they leave.

I love delicious, rich, decadent, delightful, sexy, food.

The trick, then, becomes finding the love in food when it is blander, less exciting, less sexy.  And I know, 'diet' food doesn't have to taste 'diety', but let's all be very very honest with ourselves:  CAROB DOES NOT TASTE LIKE CHOCOLATE.  ICE MILK DOES NOT TASTE LIKE HAGGEN-DAAZ.  AN APPLE DOES NOT TASTE LIKE KRISPY KREME.  Lying and saying, "After awhile, it tastes just the same, even better!" insults my intelligence and your own.  It's going to suck.  But, admitting that salad without dressing won't taste as good as salad with a pound of cheese, bacon bits, croutons, and 1000 Island dressing is a step on the way to accepting that yes, you are going to have to eat it if you want to lose weight.

Wish me luck.  Have a cookie for me.  Send me recipes.  All of the above.

Kate Moss tells lies

Kate Moss once said "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels". And for her, that may be true. Being skinny have made her a household name, and the envy of women everywhere, even those with a bone structure that ensured they could never look like her, no matter how hard they tried. Even now, she makes serious bank on being nothing more than a walking clothes hanger. And yes, I imagine cocaine and cigarettes don't taste all that great, so her quote makes sense for her. But I have to tell you, Kate, I've had some pretty damn fine meals in my time, I don't see skinny topping that any time soon. Just sayin'.

Monday, February 06, 2012

On why I have difficulty saying 'no'. Or rather, all I can say is 'no'.

(In the interest of full disclosure it should be noted that I am writing this while polishing off a large tiramisu from Sainsburys.  You know the one...)

I've always been a bit of a contrarian.  Tell me no, and I'll do it.  Tell me yes, intending to use reverse psychology on me, and I'll punch you in the neck, and then do it.  I like doing things at my pace, and hate being wrangled.  And that's probably why weight loss isn't fun for me - to get from my size, to the size I need to be, I can't work at 'my' pace.  I need to work on a schedule, with some rules laid out. And, I'll need to do it in front of people, something I *hate* doing.

It's weird how one small part of your life can be so intrinsically tied to everything else.  I was mopping the kitchen floor last night, and was stuck by how much I was huffing and puffing.  How much more clean the house could be if I wasn't winded mopping, I thought.  Not that my house is a biohazard, but I could certainly keep a tighter ship.  And my kid - he'll be walking soon.  Will I be a mummy that runs after him in the park, or one that has to sit on the park bench, "to keep an eye on things"?

Tonight I step on the Wii for the unofficial weigh in, so that I don't die of shock when I am at my doctor's office.  I'm looking over meal options, but I think I am going to start with a modified Paleo diet (lots of meat, veggies, no dairy, and no ground grains like bread or pasta, but I will have rice and potatoes).  And yes, it means I'll have to look for a cheap and cheerful exercise class once a week, just so that I am held accountable by other folks around me.

Ugh.  If only taking the weight off was as fun as putting it on.

Friday, February 03, 2012

A Treatise Upon the Word Fatty

I know that some people aren't going to like the fact that this is called 'Fatty Goes to the Olympics', or the web address itself.  I get that.  Fat acceptance is not a progressive issue.  Fat people say that it's the last great thing that everyone can make fun of (and as both a fatty and a mentally ill person, I say no no, the mentally ill are a far greater target of ridicule, but that is neither here nor there).  So why use the word fatty?

Because I am.

I'm pushing at least 250 lbs, maybe more (I won't be weighed till next week), on a 5 foot 7 inch frame.  I huff going up the stairs.  We were coming into England from the US and I had such shortness of breath from the oxygen thin air in the plane that I had to be wheeled out of Heathrow on a stretcher.  No one else on board had any issues.

I.  Am.  Unhealthy.

You may be 400 lbs, and can mountain bike with the best of them.  You may be 350, and have the ticker of a 18 year old gymnast.  You may be 275, and be in better shape than your vegan, yoga loving neighbors.  And good for you if you are.  But I'm not. And while some factors out of my control contributed to this (bipolar meds that killed my metabolism and slapped on 82 lbs in 1.5 years), many did not.  Example?

I know damn well that the crap I put in my face hole paired with my lack of exercise is a pretty damn big problem.

You may have a disease which results in massive weight gain, and I am sorry.  You may have an untreated hormonal imbalance, and I am sorry.  You may have a physical impairment which means you can't exercise, and I am sorry.  You may have a million different things wrong that cause you to gain/not lose weight.  And I am sorry.  Or, you may put a lot of crap in your face hole and then not exercise.  Either way...

I am not speaking for you.  I am speaking for myself.

I am fat.

That is not good.

It is killing me, this entire extra person hanging on my bones.  It makes my joints hurt and my legs swell.  It makes me wheeze and sweat when I walk fast.  It makes the skin on my thighs hurt being rubbed together.

Big may be beautiful, but its beauty is killing me.

So when I say I am a fatty, I mean just that:  I am a fatty.  I don't particularly care if you identify positively or negatively with the word, because this isn't your journal, it's mine.  This isn't your journey, it's mine.  And this isn't your life, it's mine.