Monday, July 20, 2009

A party in your mouth

This Is Why You're Fat is one thing ... but the pictures on Fuck Yeah Peanut Butter are truly mouthwatering. (Except for the Chocolate Bacon Peanut Butter Cup. Why does everything have to have bacon in it? And I must say, I've tried Reese's chocolate and it, like Hershey's anything, is an abomination.)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Big issues

This review of books about obesity in the New Yorker is well worth reading for the fascinating information it extracts from the books under review; about how people eat more when they're given more, and accordingly how waistlines have expanded in proportion to supersizing by fast food chains; but also touching on the radical fat acceptance movement. It's something I've pondered about: examining my own attitudes to people who are fat. Isn't it everyone's right to be whatever shape they want to be?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This Is Why You're Fat

My fellow bloggers may disagree, but if ever I am feeling hungry for no reason (ie greedy), all I need to do is visit this website and I will receive an instant sobering reminder of just how disgusting fatty food really is.

This week's star turn: A triple bacon cheeseburger with deep fried patties as buns.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cafe Pacific

I have stumbled upon the perfect weight loss formula: go to Taiwan and restrict yourself to eating only in one of these restaurants. Eureka! You will find that your appetite heads for the hills. Actually, just one visit to Modern Toilet should do the trick.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Crunch time

You know it's crunch time when.........your size 14 trousers don't stay closed any more, and you have to wear black knickers in case your zip's down without you realising.

Yes, it has come to the point where I need to decide either to lose weight, or to start buying size 16s. It's tempting to go for the latter, because my joyful eating approach, referred to in a comment on another post, is most enjoyable. Unfortunately, it coincided with my decision to stop drinking - or at least cut down drastically - and stop smoking (ditto). I have developed an addiction to evenings spent watching Prison Break and eating Thornton's special toffee.

I lost almost two stone going to Slimming World, but have put all of it back on, and some. I liked the SW approach: if you choose a green day, you can eat as much pasta, rice, potatoes and noodles as you like. The emphasis of the diet is on keeping fat, sugar and bread to a minimum. However, the thought of going back to that diet fills me with an apprehension of boredom...I do so like my Prison Break and toffee diet, and it has kept me off the demon drink.

As for exercise, I cancelled my gym membership because I stopped going when I had a bad back, and couldn't face returning once my back got better. I've been trying to do my (sort of) interval training, but I'm so unfit now that it's more interval than training.

Something has to give, and I suspect it's going to have to be my beloved Thornton's. It's just that I need to have something to look forward to in the evenings, once the boys are in bed. Natural yogurt and berries, or any other healthy "treat", just doesn't do it.

I'll post in a few weeks' time, once I've settled on a possible solution.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

How to get ahead in advertising

Apparently new research shows that, would you believe it, most women don't actually like the images of skinny white women which are used to peddle fashion to us. We'd rather see a model who, while beautiful and glamorous, looks more like us: not just in terms of shape but age and race too. In other words, more accessible; achievable, not impossible.

Sadly I doubt this will make any difference to the fashion orthodoxy which is that only emaciated women look good in fashion. Start designing some clothes that look good on normal sized women, then. We are the ones who can afford to buy it.

One interesting footnote which will come as no surprise to anyone who's ever lived in Hong Kong: "Aside from women aged under 25, who were less likely to object to an abundance of young, white, ultra-slim models, and Chinese consumers, who actively preferred them, most of those surveyed felt positive towards the brands that used the more diverse models".

Friday, January 02, 2009


Gwyneth Paltrow ("Gwynny") has started a mawkish website called "GOOP" (and there's fun to be had working out what the acronym stands for: Grindingly Obvious, Overbearingly Prissy, perhaps?). I've signed up for the weekly email, naturally, and have suffered through Gwynny's tips on what to wear (just a little Dior is so chic; the fashion section is called, acquisitively, GET), how to get into LA's best restaurants even if the chef's not a personal friend, what to give as a gift (cashmere socks!) and how to cook for "the holidays".

This week's tips are for detoxing after one ate too much in said "holidays". Having followed Gwynny's tips to the letter, of course, including those to-die-for chocolates and the massive turkey, one now needs one's personal nutritionist to advise one on the best detox diet. And here's Day One:

7am (or upon rising): Glass of room temperature lemon water
8am: Herbal tea
10am (breakfast): Blueberry and Almond Smoothie
11:30am: Coconut water*
1:30pm (lunch): Salad with Carrot and Ginger Dressing
4pm (snack): A handful of mixed pumpkin and sunflower seeds
6pm (dinner): Broccoli and Arugula Soup
*Make sure that the coconut water has no added sugar. Fresh is ideal but the brands Zico or Vita Coco are readily available.

Than this, I got no further. Is it just me, or is it not thoroughly depressing? But as if this were not bad enough:

Next week my fitness guru, Tracy Anderson, gives us an exclusive video to get our butt in shape for the new year!

I can hardly wait, Gwynny. "Our" butt (whose "butt" is that, exactly?) sorely needs it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

'tis the season to be jolly

Or not.

Last night I was at my first Christmas party of the season. It was quite a grown up do, lots of couples, with kids, wall to wall bankers and mums who got to know each other through their prenatal classes. In short, not so much that I could identify with.

Anyhow, at late o'clock, after a fun few hours, a friend and his partner turned up. We started chatting. A couple of minutes in she cut me dead with:

"So, when are you due?"

Aha. Great to see that 3 solid months of seeing a personal trainer has had that impact. And no amount of well meaning friends ("it's because you have a glow about you", "it's because you have big tits") can quite take the sting away from that comment.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The mirror crack'd from side to side

I think I might have the opposite of anorexia - my problem is that I don't realise I'm fat. I'll be carrying on happily, thinking I look fine, and then all of a sudden, out of the blue, I will see a photo of myself or glimpse myself in some sly mirror and all of a sudden the thought will hit me: is that porker really me?

It's no bad thing, of course, to be generally happy about my appearance most of the time, but I do have to confront myself head on in the mirrored lift to my office in the morning, which as I've remarked before, is broadly similar to being forced by the harpies in What Not To Wear into a 360 degree mirrored box to take full, appalled stock of the state I'm in. However, I've developed avoidance tactics as time has gone by, which basically means looking up at the ceiling.

I also maintain, although I have no scientific basis for this assertion, that digital photographs make you look fatter than you really are, just as TV cameras reportedly add pounds to your weight.

I will probably continue in blissful ignorance of how much I've let myself go until my clothes start to burst at the seams and I will be forced to take action. In the meantime my "glamorexia" problems will continue unchecked.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A refreshing honesty

But maybe it's not ironic.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

One to watch

No posts in a very long time, I know - but I've been inspired by reading this article by Kira Cochrane in the Guardian. She sounds like a sensible woman.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

In my dreams, I have a plan....

Hello all
Off work again with another stomach bug, but i thought i would share with you the upside of my predicament (left). Yes, OK, maybe I can't risk leaving my appartment/sofa, my social life is horrendously compromised and it does get a bit boring to be honest, but i think you'll agree that the upside is worth it, no?
So, my goals going forwards (and as I'm charging towards another thirtysomething birthday, this is after all the time to set goals) is to balance weight/socialising/work life/home know the usual......

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Slim pickings

First of all, WHERE IS EVERYONE? Can we suppose that everyone has lost the weight they set out to lose? Or have you all discovered, as I have, that sharing one's dieting trials and tribulations with others is a sure-fire way to put a stop to one's efforts? I've held off on writing anything about what I've been doing because past experience has shown me that once it's "official", I can't stick to it any more. I have no idea why. However, what I am doing now is having some level of success. I intend to write about it on return from my trip to Japan in early August or, if I can wait that long, in September, at the end of the parliamentary recess.

In the meantime, anyone care to indulge, I mean divulge?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Head Stuff and Haggis Suppers

Haggis supper. Monday night. BLECH! Felt like crap after eating it, slept badly, felt like crap all day, still feel like crap. So that's that.

Now, head stuff. My lack of bloggage is due to my lack of dieting. I read back over my year's worth of FF posts and cried at all the promises and hope I had when I started because I am none the nearer achieving what I wanted.

But about two months ago, I read this book. I cried a lot at it as well - never have I been described more completely.

I may also have mentioned this book before as well. A little more head stuff than the Janogly book, but worth a try.

I can't recommend these books highly enough, really. Even if you don't think you binge eat (and I didn't), the advice is pure gold. In the first month after reading them, I lost 5lbs (still off, most of the time) and about 7 inches all over.

I am not going to evangelise any more, partly because both books tell you not to. But if any of you do read them, it'd be great to be able to talk about the ideas.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Recreation myth

An update on FF2's progress. The exercise: exercising religiously five or six days out of seven. Mainly the gym - at least an hour, doing a combination of cardio, stretches and resistance - but also a bit of running/walking outdoors. The diet: abandoned the IPD, and the booze abstinence, but have not been overdoing it, with the exception of the odd chocolate binge. I rarely eat fatty food (I wouldn't quite say I hate chips, but I eat them perhaps about twice a year). Most of what I eat would be considered healthy. I eat refined carbs three times a week at the most. Yet, despite all the exercise - a minimum of six hours a week - and the healthy eating, I'm not shifting that tummy bulge. It's very, very frustrating.
I always believed that you could eat what you liked, within reason, as long as you did lots of exercise. Not true. For me, at any rate. Is it my age? Is my metabolism? I wondered whether the Prozac has affected my ability to shift weight. Fed up with not feeling much, emotionally - even if I feel like crying, I can't - I was going to see the doctor about gradually coming off the anti-Ds. Perhaps that'll help with the weight loss too. We shall see...
Any thoughts, anyone?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Bunny love

On the other hand, the Guardian is also testing Easter eggs.... I am planning to go to Great in Pacific Place tomorrow to buy everyone in my team one of these (can someone add a picture of a Lindt chocolate bunny in gold foil for me? I can't seem to do it on my computer at home. Don't take it from this site, which is all about IP infringement!), which are made out of the most delicious chocolate.

Maybe I just like it out of nostalgia, because someone puts one in my Christmas stocking every year and it's the only time I ever eat chocolate first thing in the morning. Somehow the taste encapsulates the excitement I still feel on Christmas morning - the best part of the day, before anything actually happens. A chocolate bunny, eaten in glorious chunks, followed by Claire's home made almond croissants and a glass of ruby grapefruit bucks fizz by a roaring open wood fire - do things get any better?

Brought to book

The Guardian has road-tested some of the latest diets. Sorry to those of you currently trying it - Neris and India get a kicking and is accused by a nutritionist of "not [being] a balanced and healthy sensible eating diet".

The Japanese one definitely sounds worth a try. 7 kilos lost in 4 weeks can't be bad. Brown rice sushi, in Hong Kong, though? You're kidding!

Friday, March 16, 2007

High Maintenance

Hello all. My weight has now dropped to the dizzing lows of below 10 stone - a figure (literally) not seen since my teens. Would like to report some miracle way that this has happened but no. Combination of food poisoning (repeatedly - once a month I can't eat for a couple of days - maybe I have worms??), fruit for breakfast, no snacking, more exercise AND I think probably most importantly being happier have all played their part. Now the key issue is keeping the bloody weight off. Like share prices it's important to realise that weight can go up as well as down...

FF1 has "helpfully" suggested that I chuck out all my "fat clothes" (not that she was ever that rude about them when they fitted me like a glove) and embark on a spending spree of truly heroic proportions to replenish my wardrobe. I think it's courting disaster (sartorial and financial) and it's a solution driven by her shopping needs.....

Any advice, fellow fat fighters??

Monday, March 12, 2007

And it started all over again...

OK, so I only managed three weeks on the Idiot Proof diet. But they were three full weeks with no cheating and no forbidden food. All in all I was over the moon that I had managed that. It showed me that I can do it.

I fell off the diet in spectacular fashion after an accidental night out in Edinburgh's fleshpots and never really managed to climb back on. I suffered a lot of pain in my legs, back and shoulders that disappeared as soon as I added some more carbs back into the diet.

Having said all that, I am quite happy with that kind of eating and don't really want to go back to eating troughs full of white pasta, rice and tatties. I rejoined Weight Loss Resources, but I suspect that most of my future calories will come from protein. I must do this; I really really really want to do this. I want to wear my Monsoon frocks this summer.

PS: How does one change one's name then? I see that I am the sole remaining fatfighter... can I be someone else too please?.

Keep it tight, people

Never fear, I'm still here, and am pleased to report that I have lost two kilos in the last few weeks - work disasters, and travelling, and a renewed determination, coupled with the realisation that I'm going to be 40 next year, to be fitter than I have ever been in my life, have all helped.

To quote fatfighters' guru, Billy Blanks, these are my goals:

1. Get fit
2. Have fun
3. Be strong

Two weeks in...

...and I definitely have a flatter stomach - less bloating as a result of no bread, flour or pasta for two weeks. I modified the idiot-proof diet a bit - for example I drank wine and a bit of tea and coffee and ate fruit - and would, I'm sure, have seen better results if I'd stuck to it rigidly. In addition, I drank nowhere near as much water as was recommended. However, generally I feel a lot better. I've also become addicted to going to the gym; in fact, to exercise generally - not a bad thing to become addicted to, really. This weekend I went on two short but strenuous - i.e. uphill - walks with the Peas. In the past, I've been far too lazy to go anywhere further than the park with them. So not only did I get a bit of exercise where I normally wouldn't, we had a lot of fun together. Fatfighter 1, one of the walks was up Garleton hill - remember that? It was blowing a force 10 gale, and as we got to the top of the tower Joe refused to carry on, while Finn needed coaxed to get to the top, took one look over the edge and demanded to go down again. I must admit, I was shaking a bit afterwards! It brought back lots of memories of childhood walks, Martin Bielby and so on.

How is everyone else doing? I'm feeling a bit lonesome here.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


No one has posted on Fatfighters for ages, so I hope this prompts others to post too! I've recently abandoned all pretence at being on a diet, although I've been exercising diligently, five or six days a week. Absence of Peas' dad to work offshore is somewhat inconvenient. I'm more likely to be found scrabbling under the sofa for lost toys, admiring someone's superhero outfit or trying to persuade a recalcitrant four year old that just because it doesn't have chocolate in it doesn't mean it tastes disgusting, than pounding the highways and byways of East Lothian in my running gear. I'm back on the booze too, though not to the same dangerous levels - and I mean dangerous - as before. Have stopped smoking too...would never say never in that regard, but it's been nearly four weeks since my last fag. Chewing away on nicotine gum seems to help ;-)
On Monday, I shall be starting Neris and India's idiot-proof diet. Fatfighter 4 has been on it for almost four weeks. I'll leave it to her to say how it's going. However, it's making increasing sense to me to cut out or limit carbohydrates. The book suggests doing the most restricted phase - phase 1 - for two weeks, unless you have more than a stone to lose. I probably do, but I'm happy to move on to phase 2 after a fortnight and take my chances, especially as most of my extra weight is around my middle, i.e. quite a lot of me is fairly lean. Well, perhaps not lean, but not too flabby. I've also decided to forsake the scales in favour of the measuring tape. I still don't know how much I weigh, but would guess it's in the region of 11 and a half stone, or 161 kilos.
Will post on progress in about two weeks' time!


Just wanted to check this works before I make a new post (blog is still using old version of Blogger).

Monday, February 05, 2007

Want to lose 2kg in 3 days????????

No - it's not McKeith. No - it's not cabbage soup and nothing else. Not even wall to wall step classes.

I highly recommend food poisoning. OK, the side effects are fairly extreme, and heaven knows you're not much fun to be with for a couple of days - but what price being slim I ask you??

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Modern suction

Interesting article in today's Guardian about the rise of liposuction. It truly sounds like an absolutely horrific procedure, not to say somewhat pointless, and your body takes months to recover: yet nearly 30,000 people, 92% of them women, have undergone the procedure in the last year.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Picture on the wall

At my 40th birthday party recently my mum had selected a bunch of photos for the wall depicting me from age 0 to 39. It's funny how you forget how you looked once. I was struck by one photo in particular, which showed me, my sister, my brother and my mum outside my aunt's house near Huddersfield. The sun is shining and we're all smiling. It's the summer of 1996, and I'm about to start my final year at university. Fatfighter 1 has met or is just about to meet her future husband.

It's interesting to see some photographic evidence of the slimmest I've been in my life, post-early 20s. I weighed just under 9 stone then, and it's obvious. At the time, I was following a strict eating regime in which I avoided refined carbs, coffee and all alcohol except gin and vodka. I may have mentioned it before - it was recommended to me by a naturopath, when I went to see him about my lack of energy. Iwas also running three or four times a week and going to the gym two or three times a week. I cycled everywhere. I would love to go back to living that way - I mean, I was happy too! - but can't get my head round doing without treats in these days of work and childcare and not much else. Any suggestions, anyone?

A Guide to An Idiot (or "When Will I Ever Learn?")

So after reading this (be careful if you have PMT!) I scuttled off to Waterstones to avail myself of Neris and India's Idiot-proof Diet. It's a diet, but it wasn't proof against this idiot.

Basically, it's Atkins. And yes, they did lose weight and they look great. But still... I read it until the start of phase two of the diet. At which point they recommend that you stay on phase 1 of the diet until you only have a stone to lose. Ahaha (shuffles uncomfortably).

I am still considering whether to give it a go.


Happy New Year Fatfighters, by the way. This is the year.


And FF2, thanks for the party - great night. Lovely to meet FF1. You both look great and I begin to understand why Fatfighters is slowing down.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Christmas is over and things can start to return to normal on the food front - once I get all those chocolates and biscuits etc etc out of the way. I gave a hamper to all my senior staff this year and was persuaded to order one for myself, so I have been looking with a sinking feeling at the remnants of it: chocolate covered cinnamon biscuits, lurid green "lollies" (the Australian word for boiled sweets), vanilla wafers, almond slices, a bar of organic chocolate... I have this awful urge just to eat it all as fast as possible, to "get it out of the way", which I know is all wrong. I might as well just staple it all straight to my hips.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I'm going to Stodge City

I look forward to Christmas with mixed feelings. Knowing, for instance, that more than one of my bete noirs, e.g. mashed potato (I'm not going to list them all, there are so many of them, but look at my profile for some hints), is bound to be present and that I will not be able to resist scooping them down my throat in vast quantities; but also knowing that FF2 and I will be running, er, every day to make up for it.

Again, on the positive side, I have been sitting on a fit ball/Swiss ball while I type on the computer at home, and I could have sworn it has made a difference, infinitesimal though it may be, to my abs. But on the other hand I've been at too many Christmas drinks events over the last few weeks and have drunk far more than is good for me. Which, pace FF2 (and I think this is unspeakably admirable), would be nothing at all.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


This makes for most interesting reading. Let me know what you all think.
Link to organisation's website. and contrast. Perhaps CR doesn't make you live longer - following the recipes just makes it feel like it.

Personal services

Two words: Matt Holland. Matt is an ex-marine and marathon runner who trains other runners for marathons and has competed in triathlons for Britain. He was 10 stone at the time - one stone lighter than he is now and two stone lighter than my current weight. He is doing wonders for my body; what he's doing would be even more wonderful if I cut down the calories and did more exercise. I have a pact with Matt that I try to do as much cardio work as possible during the week so that in our sessions we can concentrate on strength and core stability. We've also started doing work on the rowing machine - my favourite piece of gym equipment. Anyway, all this is a roundabout way of saying that I would highly recommend finding someone like Matt to give you the kick up the ass you need - or at least I needed - to exercise more. Not only are you paying a lot of money, which I find concentrates the mind, but you have something to aim for every week.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A blimp in the proceedings...


It was all going so well, too well, probably.

Since the end of the summer recess, I think it's safe to say that I have not been doing too well. Without wishing to justify myself too much, I will say that I have not been well lately. Two chest infections and two separate weeks off work since 1 September have knocked me all to cock.

I was doing well on Weight Loss Resources, but eating quite a lot of crap too. So I allowed myself to get distracted (not for the first time) by MadWoman McKeith and joyous dreams of tables laden with Mother Earth's greenest food being turned into filling, hot, nutritious meals that would strip the lumps from me faster than you could say "aduki bean stew". The fact that I can't cook at all does not intrude into these daydreams.

Needless to say, Ms McKeith's lofty ideals glow a little less brightly when you stumble in from work at 7.45pm, it's p*ssing rain and blowing a gale and all you want to eat is cheesy pasta.

Still, in the past week, things have taken a bit of a turn. I have come to some quite big decisions about other things in my life and am in the process of sloughing off some detritus that I no longer need. As a result I am getting a bit more sleep and things are seeming brighter. FF2 pointed this out to me, and I availed myself of both books. Yes, they are good books, funny and to-the-point. And there are some very good points. Whether they will help me to lose this weight remains to be seen.

And then this cheered me immensely:

Kirstie Alley on Oprah.

She claims to have done it through the Jenny Craig programme. Now, I've done a bit of investigating on the net and it looks to me as if this is a programme where you eat food that's not really food. They will actually post it to you. There's also a support thing... I got bored, I must admit. I don't care how she did it. The fact is, she's 55 and I would! (I'm very straight - ask FF2).

I don't know why other people's success buoys me up as it does, but it does. I am now going to the Tesco site to order lots of sugar-free, protein-laden scran.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rye observation

Hey guys! I'm here to promote my new product (shurely "new discovery" - Ed). From Ryvita comes a tasty range of cereal bars with no added sugar and only 61 calories per bar. It's called the Ryvita Goodness Bar, and is available in three delicious flavours. Perfect for those comfort-eating moments!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Fat's entertainment

All right, all right - it's been an uneven kind of month, and I'm not just talking about the uneven rolls of fat that - but that's enough about me!

I signed up for Weight Loss Resources, but have signally failed for the last few weeks to make any note of what I am eating - suddenly it all seemed too time-consuming. It takes real effort and dedication to do this properly.

However, I feel some renewed inspiration now it's getting colder: I can run outside again (in Hong Kong it's too hot to run outdoors for much of the year) and I have vowed to start going to the gym again. I seem somehow to have begun to be able to lapse without killing myself with guilt because I either ate something I shouldn't have, or didn't exercise, or both. I know I can still make a difference and so I'm not giving up. This might be a temporary state of affairs but it feels quite good while it lasts.

So, tomorrow is another day! And it doesn't hurt having, with Fatfighter5, signed up for a marathon 1.5 hour paddle on Thursday morning for which we have to get up at 5.30 am. I just know I will feel good afterwards and I am basking in as-yet-unearned virtue already.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Where have those 3kg gone?!

FF1 knows this already as I texted her in excitment on Friday evening.
Somehow, with no conscious effort and just a couple of manageable lifestyle changes I've managed to lose 3kg in about a month. Wahey! I'm following a combo of the french woman/newly single/much happier/very busy diet plan. The crucial elements seem to be:

1. eat fruit for breakfast. Swapping a pret almond croissant for a fruit salad saves about 400 calories a throw and actually makes you feel in gerenal much healthier.

2. don't down a bottle of wine in the evening with the partner you can no longer talk to. Saves approximately 1200 calories, and a lot of heartache.

3. make sure the sports you take up mean that you can't eat at the same time. I highly recommend outrigging - yesterday spent most of my time on a boat being so sea sick that I actually lost calories (yes, was throwing up over the side for most of the afternoon....)

4. Snog younger men. Makes you suck your stomach in. good for core stability or something...

So there you have it. Will write it up into a best selling diet pack toute de suite!

Happy dieting


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Goldilocks and the Three Bowls of Porridge

Once upon a time, there was a 39 year old with blonde highlights who liked eating porridge. She liked it so much that she didn't let the three famous, porridge-eating bears have any, and they took to eating shoots and leaves. She liked her porridge made with milk, and she liked to think of the blackhouse dwellers of the Outer Hebrides turning in their graves. She liked it with milk and she liked it with stewed fruit and then - sacrilege! - she liked it with a dollop of half-fat crème fraîche and maple syrup on top. And lo, it was yummy, and she wished that Scotland was cold all year round so she could eat it every day.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Lentement, s'il vous plaît

I'm on my fourth day of eating à la manière française. It is surprisingly difficult to eat without distractions - I find my eyes flicking around for things to read; even book titles will do - but the quantity I'm consuming has definitely decreased.

I've been having porridge and maple syrup for breakfast, but far less than I would usually have. Later, at work, I have coffee and a banana, then I go up to Boots for a wrap, and get a smoothie and a snack (of which there are many healthy options) too. That and an apple or orange gets me through till dinner time. I've been drinking lots more water during the day, and the walk to Boots constitutes a good half hour of exercise.

Soup has been a good way to start off my evening meal because it's filling and warming. Sometimes all I've had after that is cheese, fruit, oatcakes and a yogurt (Ms Guiliano is a big fan of yogurt). Evenings are traditionally my weakest time, food-wise, but I've managed to confine treats to hot chocolate made with skimmed milk. I haven't weighed myself, but I feel like there may be a little less of me than a week ago. En avant et en montant!*

*No idea whether that expression exists in French.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

French impression

Not content with stopping drinking, I have turned to the French for inspiration in my quest for A Flat Stomach™. The French - allegedly, and I have little trouble believing this generally to be true - have a far less complicated relationship to food than, say, the British or Americans. To them, it is less a fuel than a cause for celebration, or ritual even. Inspired by the first couple of chapters I've read of Mireille Guiliano's French Women Don't Get Fat, I went to John Lewis today and bought a tablecloth, napkins and placemats. She recommends eating without any distractions, such as music, telly or newspapers. This is going to be challenging for me, because I never eat without one or more of those. Her approach to food is that it is there for pleasure and nothing is off limits. The problem, she says, is that we eat mindlessly, and are therefore inclined to stuff our faces beyond the point of satisfying hunger. We need to "recast" our relationship with food, so that we eat mindfully, and from a greater variety of foods. First, though, she suggests keeping a food diary for three weeks, noting what, when and where food is consumed. I started mine at the weekend, and will post again on progress when the three weeks is up. Vive la bagatelle!

Jumbo Jetsetter

There's something about being cooped up in a metal tube at 40, 000 feet that takes all normal restraint away, don't you think?

I'm recently back from a business trip and it's frankly all gone to pot. I expected that being back home for 4 days would can any diet/exercise plans and so was not too fussed about this. What I wasn't prepared for was getting back home on Saturday to find that my flat had been occupied whilst I was away.

Reader, I freaked. I found a note on my table from someone I didn't know, thanking me for the loan. My stuff had been moved around, wine drunk and flat generally used. I did the only thing I could think of, and phoned all the friends I knew. Before long, one was round with a restorative bottle of wine....

Now, turns out, through piecing together various bits of info, that what had happened here was the ex (see previous post) had had a friend in town who needed somewhere to stay, and was sure that he'd let me know about it (despite no email received, much less replied to by me). Although contrite about this I'm not sure what to believe. Anyway - back to the dieting stuff, problem was that next day I had to be at the same social as him, and in order to avoid having a stand up scene, decided to get gently pissed and avoid him. Simple, immature yet surprisingly effective. But, as we all know, a calorific disaster of immense proportions......

So now, it's back to the Allen Carr book, back to some sort of exercise regime, and back to trying to cut that horrible link between emotion and food.....

Thursday, September 28, 2006

New Kid on the Blog.....

My name is Fatfighter 5.
I would like to lose about a stone in weight (heard that one before??)
Unfortunately a toxic combo of work (lots of travel), client entertainment (always easier with a drink in one hand) and flagging motivation means that my attempts normally last about a week and then stop.
Over summer however, I did manange to lose 85kg in one go - by ending a very stressful relationship.......
And then I signed up for Weightwatchers - but gave up demoralised when it became clear that my main source of calories was fine wine....
Ah well....

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Less of me

A colleague said that to me on my first day back at work after the summer. "Is there less of you?" Well, haha, yes there is. 13lbs less of me. Almost as much less of me as my boycat Harley weighs (he's a lump).

Natch, there's so much more of me to go that it's really hardly noticeable. My jeans require constant attention to keep them up, but that's about it.

Weight Loss Resources has been a huge help so far. Obsessively weighing everything on my brand-new electronic kitchen scales and putting it all down might not be the way of the long-term future, but it seems to be the method that suits me.

As the Fatfighters seem to be embarking on a period of Lenten sacrifice, what shall I give up? I am tempted to say that I will give up my Fridays off. Fridays usually commence to start with a sausage butty and continue with fish, chips and beans. By which time there's no point in denying myself for the rest of the day is there? And then it's the weekend and who needs to deny themselves on the weekend? (Can you see the pattern?)

So shall it be that?

Monday, September 25, 2006

One that got away

In a similar vein to the previous post, I have given up drinking. For good. It's all down to Allen Carr, who in his book Easy Way to Control Alcohol, applies the same approach to drinking as he does to smoking. Rather than making you think you're missing out on something, he makes drinking seem like some kind of prison from which you're lucky to escape.

If not ruining my life, drinking was making it hard for me to face up to certain truths about my life, for example how little time I spent with my sons and how little energy I had for doing anything other than, well, drinking. I was tired and dehydrated almost all the time, and had forgotten what it felt like to get up in the morning full of energy and enthusiasm. I had even forgotten what it felt like to go to bed sober, and lie there for a while waiting to go to sleep.

I feel a great deal better now. Carr says, near the end of the book, that you must never, ever question your decision to stop drinking. Inevitably, the thought occurs to me often that perhaps I've made the wrong decision. Those thoughts I nip in the bud as quickly as I can. But there are far, far more occasions when I think myself lucky to have escaped from something that was draining the life out of me, not to mention costing me about £100 a month. Stopping drinking isn't for everyone, I know, but for me there are so many other great things in life that I really don't feel I'm missing out.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Abstinence makes the heart grow stronger

I have now been off the booze for... [counts] twenty days. In that time I have been up close to glasses of wine, have been offered them, have seen people all around me everywhere merrily drinking. To my astonishment, however, in all that time, and even at the weekends, I have not felt the urge to break my resolution to myself. It's surprisingly easy, and it becomes easier the longer you do it, because you're building up a pattern of something that becomes harder to break. The longer I resist, the more shameful a lapse would be ... Until I get to October 5 (my birthday) and can drink again.

The other evening though, leaving the gym after work and traveling up the escalator, looking out at the bars clustered alongside at Staunton Street packed with shrieking revellers, I suddenly though that a nice, cool glass of Sauvignon Blanc would be perfect. I went home and had a cup of tea (Scottish Blend).

I realize also how often we drink out of boredom, or to cover up nerves in social situations; and keep on drinking beyond the point of enjoyment. These are all lazy excuses to pour nothingness down your throat.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Chocs away!

This is the kind of news I like: Real Age. Now, I wonder whether I can stretch it to Lindt Lindor?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Madrid as a hatter

Madrid fashion week - or, rather, the people responsible for MFW- has banned models with a BMI of less than 18. Good for them, I say, although I'll only really be happy when women of an average size are allowed to grace the catwalk. Some of the comments on the BBC website make frightening reading. What are we up against in our quest for normalcy?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Fat chance

I freely admit, August has been a wicked month. Truly terrible in so many ways that I can only be described as a Fatembracer, not a Fatfighter. The only running I've been doing is in the opposite direction from anything healthy.

I therefore vow (and not for the first time) to do better from now on. For a kick-off, I am giving up alcohol for September.

Anyone care to join me?

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Better uses for a treadmill than running on it.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Scotland – The Land of Hope and Gory

Sigh, finally I have made an effort to come back to the fold. The past month has been hideous and I’ll not bore you with all the gory details.

I did spend a week back in Scotland dealing with family dramas which could only be coped with by eating lardy rolls and square sausage or half a pig stuffed in a role dripping with butter. The most amazing meal though was the Yorkshire pudding (the size of a takeaway pizza box I kid you not) filled with mashed spuds then topped with six ( yes 6) sausages and smothered in onion gravy. The best/worst part was it tasted sublime…..! I was kind though and gave a sausage to my brother.

Prior to that I’d been doing well and cut down on the booze quite a bit. Though when I got back from the ‘FTFH’ (family trip from hell) I seemed to go on a drunken binge which while lots of fun and involved dirty dancing with strange, but nice, Egyptians and chatting up the one hunky Chinese Policeman (who has rang me no less!) in Hong Kong, has resulted in the lardy lumps returning to my body. Okay, so they never left but I felt they were considering packing for a long trip.

I mean to do so well but then when I think of just last nights booze tally it is a shocker; 3.5 pints of Guinness, ½ caraf of Chardonnay and an Apple Martini – and lets not go into the yummy snack food at the event I was hosting which was followed by dinner at 11pm – mmmm, so healthy!

Anyway, will do my best to have a healthy weekend and get my arse off the sofa and out and about. I have hired a personal trainer to come to the house once a week so I’m trying to be good – honest!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I LOVE the internet. You can do anything on the internet. I give you (tada) My Virtual Model.

And I give you me as I am now (although I have a feeling that the simulators only go up to a certain weight, so it's approximate). Note the short hair! In fact, it's quite spookily like me...

And me as I will be this time next year. Probably.


Can't wait.

Addendum: My Tae Bo DVD arrived yesterday. I watched the introductory steps bit with a fag in one hand and kedgeree in the other. I will be very pleased with myself if I can get to the end of the warm-up without crying...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Friday, July 14, 2006

Work it out

One day, not long after I turned 30, I finally woke up to the fact that I needed to do some exercise. Other than yoga, and a desultory bit of running which I never managed to get into, I really had not done any exercise since I was at primary school. I got away with it for a few years, but after 30, as everyone knows, your metabolism slows and you start to balloon if you continue to eat too much and exercise too little.

The first step I took towards getting fit was to buy a fitness video. Somewhat shamefaced (because after all there is something a bit sad about exercising at home alone, in front of your TV, following orders from a complete stranger), I browsed in HMV until I found a video that didn’t look too bad. It was Tae Bo.

It sounds a bit daft but I would credit Billy Blanks, Tae Bo’s energetic protagonist, and his hard-faced sidekick, Shelley, with giving me the impetus to start exercising and with showing me the benefits of regular exercise. Packed with motivational catchphrases (From the sublime: “You gotta wanna work at it, baby. You gotta wanna DO IT!” to the ridiculous: “Walk by faith, not by sight”), the videos show a group of (mainly) women exercising vigorously to a thumping soundtrack. The moves are easy to follow and involve kicks, punches, jumps and squats, adding up to about 30 minutes of exercise and stretches.

After a bit of wheezing and cursing, and stopping half way through, gradually I started to be able to do the whole programme straight through and I realized that getting through the whole thing made me feel really good about myself.

You can’t help wondering about who these people are, and I was particularly intrigued by Shelley, who had abs of steel, and rarely smiled. You can’t help warming to Billy too. He means so well, and he tried so hard, and he cares about his people. Let’s face it, this is no soap opera, but the diversity of participants (big and small) makes this an exercise video that’s truly democratic. And it worked for me.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Promises promises

Day 1 was meant to be the first day of recess. Ha. Anyway, today I have started. I am making no promises because people never believe my promises to myself because I never keep them, so fair enough.

I have registered with this website Weight Loss Resources and I encourage my fellow fatfighters to have a look at it. Basic calorie-counting, but there are many little tools and tricks, such as the wee pie chart that you can click on that shows you the proportions of fat, carb, protein in what you've et. Fascinating, I hear you cry. Well, yes, but it has fairly opened my eyes to what a fatty diet I was on without realising it!

And on the exercise side? Well, I have also just found this site mapmyrun. No, I don't intend to run anywheres (not yet anyhoo), but have a look at it - it's got a wee facility thingie that will tell you what you've done and how many cals you've used doing it. I intend to walk.

Last night's exercise was bringing my abdomeniser thingie down from off the top of the wardrobe. It needs dusted, which will be tonight's exercise. Harley Cat is most distressed because he's been using it as a bed for the past 18 months. I shall post a pic of him with it as soon as I can get him to sit still long enough...

On another subject, has any of my fellow fatfighters had any experience of Tae Bo?

PS Again: Has anyone else noticed how the blogger spellcheck wants to change "fatfighters" to "beautification"?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A feminist issue?

Interesting article about the (largely - no pun intended) US-based movement asserting that fattism is the same as racism.,,1813081,00.html

I can't help feeling that this is a bit self-serving, but perhaps that's just a hallmark of my own prejudice.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

So sick

I've been ill, and as the soon-to-be Fatfighter5 says, there's nothing like a good old illness to make the weight drop off. But it's also profoundly dispiriting not having any appetite. Perhaps this might be the key: if you only eat when you really need to, then maybe that will work. The problem is that generally speaking I've lost my sense of when I really need to eat. Only when I'm ill does any of this really fall into place: I am currently eating as much as I can given that I'm not hungry at all, and so I stop even before I'm full because I have nothing invested in eating more than I need.

Who amongst us hasn't rather guiltily envied the anorexic for their self-control? Let's have some thoughts from the other Fatfighters who have been eerily silent of late.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Stuff and nonsense

Don't get uppity, Fatfighter2.

I've been away
But now I'm back
Still got a talent
For eating crap

I've been participating in races, which means chiefly that I've given myself carte blanche to eat anything I fancied. If all the bad stuff I've eaten in the last week were laid end to end it would stretch from here to the nearest cake shop, which is some way away.

I've a feeling we need to rally round here, with some new goals, some new promises which we encourage each other to keep, and new determination to see off the flab between now and, let's not make this too daunting, August 1. What do you say?

Friday, June 30, 2006

Down, but not yet out

OK! OK! I'm still here, honest. It's shame keeping me from blogging. I've been hanging on by the skin of my teeth waiting for recess. And not so much fighting the fat as lying down and letting it kick the cr*p out of me.

It seems that my recess has started early, thanks to a particularly nasty dose of sinusitis. At the moment I can't eat for sneezing, but this morning I had to give up on my toast because of the pain in swallowing. I have things to do tomorrow and this weekend so I am fighting it off with Berocca, honey and two packets of Tim Tams.

I have plans for the next nine weeks but my screen is now convered in sneeze so I shall sign off and retire (after brushing Tim Tam crumbs out of my bed).

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Call my buff

This is getting ridiculous...where is everyone? This is going to be my last entry until someone else does one! It's been nearly two weeks since anyone else posted and I've had enough. In any case, apparently blogging comes under the ever-expanding list of things we're not allowed to do on our PCs at work, so I might be doing it less anyway.

So, on to more fatty topics. On Channel 4 this week I watched the first episode of a new show, "How to Look Good Naked". An incredibly annoying presenter (described by the Guardian as "a manic stylist called Gok") - my god how I wanted to tell him to stick his awful glasses where the sun don't shine - aside, it was inspired and inspiring viewing. This week's subject, Sandra, hadn't let her husband see her naked for three years. By the end of the show she was happy to allow her naked body be projected on to the side of a building in the middle of London. A well-fitted bra, a fresh new hairstyle and make-up, and some flattering, curvy new clothes stood in for exercise and calorie-counting. Most refreshing. I can't wait for next week's programme, but Gok has got to go!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


In the absence of any proper blog entries (and my fellow bloggers, it would appear) a top tip from the Viz website:

WEIGHTWATCHERS. After reaching your ideal weight, maintain it by weighing yourself before and after a dump. The weight difference is the amount of food you can eat before having another dump.

And another:

SUPERMARKETS. Help promote healthy living by putting your cakes, ice creams, pies etc. in aisles that are too narrow for fatties to fit through.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Virtual weight loss

I've discovered a website that, for a mere £19.99, allows you to upload a recent photo and shaves the pounds off so that you can see yourself at your ideal weight. It's called, self-explanatorily, "Seeyourselfslimmer". Who's going to give it a try first?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Sub-bourbon dreams

Following my paean to the bourbon biscuit, one of Fatfighter2’s colleagues found this awe-inspiring picture of a giant bourbon biscuit (see actual size bourbon biscuit on the left for comparison), a project created by Tom Vigar and featured on (check out the site for the most mind-boggling confections you’ve ever seen, and vote to bring this grand biscuit gesture back to the number 1 spot where it belongs). (Picture reproduced by kind permission of the artist.)

It’s a miracle!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Biscuit base

I've just had a cup of tea at my desk and one of those most nostalgic of biscuits, a chocolate bourbon cream (not, as it happens, from Tesco, but could I find an image of a single biscuit in Google image search? Could I hell). I was immediately transported back in time (isn't it funny how only tastes and smells and, sometimes, music can do this? Calling all Fatfighters: I suggest a Fatfighter topic based on your most evocative food: what is it, and where does it take you?) to a party, when I was about six. I had eaten too many custard creams, which at the time were my favourite, and was sick. After that I could never touch them again (my loathing for peppermint choc chip ice cream and gin stems from similar experiences, although for the sake of propriety I must say I didn't get the opportunity to go off gin till I was in my 20s) and chocolate bourbons were the only biscuit for me, although I had a lingering fondness for those sickly sweet pink wafer biscuits.

My mum always seemed to stock the biscuit tin with the most unappealing biscuits. Frugality, and the consequent desire to preserve the biscuits by making them unappealing to young children, is the only possible explanation for why there were only ever the likes of fly cemeteries (AKA Garibaldi biscuits - this Wikipedia entry is worth a read, because it introduces the word "dysphemic", which I am rather taken with - is this a Scottish trait, do you think? - although to my surprise I had to add in the phrase "fly cemeteries"), Rich Teas (the "Lord of all biscuits"? You must be joking!) and dry flapjacks in that biscuit tin, and we usually had to wait for parties or visits to other people's houses to get a bourbon biscuit.

Until today I don't think I had eaten a bourbon biscuit for at least 10 years, possibly more, and look what it's made me remember!

The dog ate my diet

Where is everyone? I've been deserted by my Fatfighter friends.

I told Fatfighter 4 that I'd 'fess up about eating cake at work, so here I am, true to my word. Since being ill, I've abandoned all pretence of being on a diet and have been more or less eating whatever I've felt like. The turning point came on Sunday, at a birthday party to celebrate the Peas' fourth birthday. The Peas' dad had just been dumped by someone much younger and - arguably; actually, irrefutably - prettier than him and decided to take off that morning and drive to the south coast, returning the next day after the party was over. I consoled myself with birthday cake. No, no, I wasn't missing him, but it had been meant to be my weekend "off", and I was tired from the tummy bug.

Cake has led on to other things, for example a curry on Monday night, with lovely fluffy naan bread to mop it up; wine, wine and more wine; a sausage and egg bagel from that place beginning with M; and the aforementioned cake. It has been the most incredible, sunny, warm couple of weeks in Scotland - in other words, summer - and by rights I should be eating salads and drinking copious quantities of water. Mañana...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Dire rear and other infernal affairs

Have been off work for past couple of days with pains and gurglings and other, more unmentionable gastric symptoms. Not nice. You know the sketch in Little Britain, in which two Church of England "worthies" visit their local church fete and sample some biscuits made by Mrs Patel (and variations on that theme)? That was how it all started. Quite comical on reflection.

But hey, I'm less than 12 stone now, so something good has come out of it.

I am joking of course. Not about the weight but about the implication that having a stomach bug is a good way of losing weight. It is a way of losing weight though.

Crumpet Strumpet

Can someone please stop Park N' Rob selling crumpets please as they are bloody hard to resist.

I've managed to eat 4 since 10pm last night smothered in butter and cheese - I'm a lost cause.

I'm now sat in the office eating pumpkin seeds to make up for my evil wrongdoings.......sigh. Thank God It Is Friday eh.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Seed suppressant??

Ladies, pumpkin seeds?

Hailed as the best in-between-meals snack and a general super food I know, but, I think they may also have mystical properties.

I had a so-so munching day yesterday and around 5.30 had the nibbles so was good and scoffed a handful of pumpkin seeds ( yes, I am a good girl and keep them in the office). All fine and dandy.

When I got home ( via Park n' Rob) I couldn't think what to eat! I was NOT THAT HUNGRY! This, for me, is an event of near biblical proportions. So, I had some carrots and celery with hummus then some green grapes. Unreal or what.

Of course it just felt wrong wrong wrong to be so good so at 9.45pm I ate a toasted crumpet with butter and a slice of cheese!!! As penance I took the dogs for a quick walk afterwards to assuage my guilt. ...

Monday, June 05, 2006

True confessions

Sunday's damage: half a bottle of red wine, followed indecently quickly by half a tub of Haagen Dazs cookies-and-cream ice cream. It was all going so well! But red wine softens up your self-control something terrible and suddenly anything is possible, and you live in a world in which everything is wonderful and no one gets fat.

It doesn't help that I live right above a supermarket which seems to be open all hours. It's not a very good supermarket, mind, but it's got a large freezer cabinet full of different types of Haagen Dazs ice cream (including Chinese versions, which don't appear to be fakes, in Aduki Bean and Green Tea flavours).

If the supermarket sold Wotsits, I'd truly be damned.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Turkish delight

I was at two parties on Saturday at which food was on offer, but the two could not have been more different. The first was the birthday party of a colleague, and he and his friend had been cooking all day in preparation, making a selection of delicious North-African/middle-eastern dishes with unpronounceable names. There was an artichoke dip (loads of cream and garlic, and completely yummy), a lamb and almond stew and what looked a bit like falafel but were more like middle-eastern Scotch eggs, with beans and nuts on the outside and minced beef inside.

After I had gorged on those delicacies in a way that my conscience will only now permit me after several stiff G&Ts, two home-made cakes were produced, both of which required to be sampled: a chocolate and honey cake, decorated with hand-made marzipan bees; and a pineapple upside down cake, shaped like a pineapple and with fern fronds picked from the garden for leaves.

I reluctantly left the great food and company to head to the reception for the civil partnership ceremony of two friends. I was glad I had already eaten. A table in a rather fusty function room above a bar was laden with plates of curling sandwiches and almost flourescent chicken legs, most of which looked like they'd barely been touched. Apart from the newly-married couple, who were in demand from all their guests, the only person I knew was the Argentinian cousin of a friend, and I spent an hour or so talking to him until another friend picked me up in a taxi and I happily left the party and its horrid buffet.

Since Saturday, I've been good, despite that lapse threatening to topple all my good intentions. If someone has gone to a lot of trouble to cook delicious food, it is only polite to eat it, whereas Mr Tesco and Messrs Marks and Spencer could hardly care less.

Filo me up

On Sunday night I came face to face with the most devilishly irresistible dessert ever invented. I was at a drinks event in a bar called Cru where they served really tasty finger food like mini crispy duck pancakes and Thai spring rolls, and barbecued prawns with sweet chili sauce, and pocket sized samosas. All fine, and I was ready to eat only in moderation because I had a slice of peanut butter on toast before going out. But then they brought out two platters of the most unbelievable desserts which I would defy anyone, even the most stony-hearted of puritanical dieters, to resist:

1. Brownie fondue: warm chocolate brownies, surrounded by sliced strawberries and blueberries, with a bowl of whipped cream and a bowl of melted chocolate to dip into; and the piece de resistance,
2. Toblerone parcels: Pieces of toblerone wrapped in filo pastry and baked until the top of the parcel is just browned and the chocolate inside just melted, leaving little bits of nutty nougat at the bottom.

What fresh hell is this? I thought to myself as I was forced, compelled, ordered to eat at least four of them.

Monday, May 29, 2006

All Thai-d Up


Lunch; the road to thin thighs is blighted by lunch.

I love Thai food, this is a fact which is even harder to deny when I'm surrounded by fantastic Thai places which do great food at really reasonable prices. I've just moved office and there is now a Thai place directly accross the road and if I stand up I can practically see the menu from here. I've been in the office two weeks and already when I walk in they say Soup? I figure the vegetarian Tom Yum Soup is better than noodles or a curry but I'm sure not as good as having a salad.

I discovered last week they do the nicest thick noodles with chili and egg I've ever had and now am sat here drooleaming over them. I've had a slice of melon for breakfast and a few handfuls of sunflower seeds today - really not enough to keep me going I know! It has been one of those Monday mornings. Up at 6.00 to take the hounds for a walk ( v.good) but bailed half way ( n.good) tried to drive to work but car playing up then I ripped my dress (v.n.good) getting on the minibus! AGH! So that on top of my meagre food intake today has me grumpy! Can I resist the nooodles or not....... a bad day is no excuse to eat bad food. ( mind you, these noodles are FAB!)

Sigh.....what is a girl to dooooooooooo!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Cake That

If there were not already a million compelling reasons why exercise is good for you, here's another. When you exercise regularly, you start feeling more circumspect about what you put in your mouth. This works without even thinking about it: you feel better, and look better, and after all that effort, why would you want to spoil it by stuffing your face, thereby undoing all the good work? Plus exercise makes you feel good, and less inclined to slip into whatever self-pitying bad habits were making you eat badly in the first place.

This isn't a foolproof method, of course, but it certainly applies to me - and what's more it works the other way too. I've been travelling on business for the last four days and I am finding it hard to fit in the time to exercise. I'm up early and get back to the hotel too late, and too hungry because it's too late, to go to the gym. Accordingly, I haven't done any exercise all week. A time to rein back on the bad stuff, you'd have thought. But no! I have been more drawn to reckless eating than at any time over the last few months when I have been exercising almost every day.
Why, I've just eaten half a piece of apple cinnamon cheesecake for no better reason than because it was there. The phrase "what the hell?" should definitely be banned from my interior monologue at times when I am standing in the coffee shop about to order an innocent cup of tea.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hello Lardies, I mean Ladies

Hola, newbie to this blogging thingy and I'm a techno clutz so if this post works I'll be amazed ( I had to get help to get this far since I forgot how to get on to this!)

Anyway, great topics and I'm in awe of your great titles. So, I've just scoffed a mars bar - my first this year - so was compelled to log in and berate myself publicly. I'm particularly miffed as I've been kind of sneakily eating healthily of late so have no idea why the sudden sabotage! I seem to be able to be good if I don't think about it yet the second I do think about it I want to lassoo a large farm animal and eat it - well a chicken at the very least.

I too purchased a diet book lately - You are what you eat - not bad but most of it is aimed at the moron class who really think eating tubs of lard is a life necessity. But, it does make you think and I'm tempted to do the 7 day kick start - one day. Living in HK is not conducive to such things.

anyway, nice to meet you all and happy hiding the chocolate bars......

Monday, May 22, 2006

Don't tell anyone...

...but I bought a diet book on Saturday! (If the amount of money I've spent on diet books reaches £10,000, will I win a prize?)

It looks eminently sensible. No food groups are cut out, the recipes are mouthwatering. And there's none of this "eat as much as you like" tripe. Portion control seems to be the new black in dieting.*

As I read it, I realised how I really knew all this stuff already. The balance of food throughout the day is pretty much what my Granny would have fed me. So I wonder, is this one part of what's gone wrong? Have we got so much choice now that we've forgotten what is good for us and, more importantly, how much of it to eat? For me, food is no longer fuel; it's what I treat myself to. My significant other doesn't understand that; I cannot offer to treat him by cooking him something and, guess what? He's built like a racing split-pin.

* An interesting thing happened today when I was describing the portion control thing to a friend. She said, "How is this news?" How to explain that the first time I read about it, I was almost shocked? But then, she's not spent the past 20 years devouring all the latest "eat all you like and lose all your weight in 30 seconds flat" books. And guess what?...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Chicken lickin'

Years ago, I had a long relationship with a guy whose parents live in the village I grew up in, and while I was at university we fell into a comfortable, predictable routine of going to his folks for dinner most Friday and Saturday nights. Although I didn't really think about it at the time, there was something homely about their house and about the lovely food we ate there that, as a student, made me feel part of a family again. After dinner, if F and I weren't going out, we would often lounge about watching TV and reading the paper, and F's mum would produce bags of sweets.

One memorable meal she used to cook was chicken, boiled potatoes and salad. To this day, that's one of my favourite meals. Not just any salad, mind. It has to combine lettuce or other green leaves, avocado, tomato, red pepper and red onion. There's something about the combination of hot chicken and potatoes and cold salad that is indescribably lovely. It helps if the potatoes are new, and you have some nice salad dressing.

Sadly, that relationship came to an end, but tonight, 10 years later, I cooked the same meal for my ex and my kids, and we polished off the lot. Now all I need to do is calculate the calories. Oh, how the mighty are fallen.

Friday, May 19, 2006

What a tart

I was just sitting innocently at my desk, on the phone to a client, when a member of my team crept into my office with a box of still-warm egg tarts and offered me one.

It's a classic dilemma, not unlike the office cake conundrum described below by Fatfighter2. I say dilemma, but in reality it took me a nano-second to decide to have one.

Egg tarts... mmm. Crispy, flaky, delicate pastry encasing a warm sweet egg custard. Even though these tarts were just from a local bakery and somewhat inferior to the original Portuguese version from which they are cribbed, they are still wonderful, especially at 5.30pm on a Friday.

I first had them at the Lisboa Patisserie in London, but the best I've ever tasted were from Lord Stow's Bakery in Coloane, Macau. It's an unassuming little shop off the village square with trays and trays of warm tarts. We bought six, planning to take some away, but they were so delicious we ate the lot, sitting on a bench in the afternoon heat right outside the bakery.

I guess I have to add egg tarts to my list of things I shouldn't be eating. Sigh. As Gwyneth Paltrow's mother apparently advised her when she asked how to lose weight: "Don't eat anything that tastes nice".

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Mind over matter

Just read an interesting article on the BBC news website about a new study into how different individuals control their appetite - which mentions the drug addict parallel again.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Nuts in May

I've stocked up on a veritable feast (albeit a somewhat bleak one, on account of how healthy it all is), of items to snack on while I'm at my desk when hunger, AKA boredom, strikes. To wit:

  • one packet Nairn's Oatcakes (rough), with the apostrophe in the right place for once
  • one pack Seeberger "Luxury" Nut and Raisin Mix (of German, and hitherto unfamiliar, provenance, but nonetheless vastly overpriced in the supermarket nearest to work)
  • one pack Eden's Hazelnuts (Large)
  • one pack Eden's Pecan Nuts (Top Quality)

All set now, to eat all the bits I like the look of and leave the rest until I'm really desperate and the call of the scone is so strong I have to eat something.

In the meantime, I've been holding out against an industrial size bar of Dairy Milk someone has left on the counter at reception. It is one kilo in weight.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Shift and spin

I had a moment of despair earlier in the week. There is an event coming up that will involve food and drink nae doot. When I said I would rather not go and eat, it was put to me that I could go and not eat. How to express that it doesn't work that way? No one would say that to an alcoholic, would they?

After saying goodbye to my old friends, I have been behaving well. There were crisps today, but I've been smoothieing (blech) and oatcaking in the morning and souping and salading at lunch, with a quick circumnavigation of the building afterwards. Last week, my average was 9660 steps a day, give or take.

I gave up cigs, then started again (which will kill me first I wonder?)

Now all I have to do is cut out the mountain of basmati rice I seem to be eating every day...

I read something today that caused a slight shift in my perception of my weight problem and doing something about it.

I found Fat Man Walking. Mr Vaught has walked across America in an attempt to lose weight. He has lost 102lbs (coincidentally, about what I'd need to lose). On this page he says:

"I have an addiction and there needs to be dedication and sacrifice to cure addictions. If I had a drug or alcohol addiction I would go to rehab. Well, what I have in mind is rehab for the fat guy.

I am going to take six months out of my life and walk across the United States from San Diego to NYC." (my italics)

OK, it's extreme and I couldn't afford the time or the money. But it was what he said about rehab that smote me between the eyes! I've heard many times the words "complete change in lifestyle" but never quite so clearly. I shall have to think about this some more.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Superstition ain't the way

I've got this silly superstition that if a diet is going well, the moment I tell anyone about how well it's going it begins to go awry (Incidentally, did anyone else used to think that was pronounced "aw-ree"? Just me then). So, throwing caution to the wind, I'm here to tell you that this diet is going exceedingly well. Basically, I write down everything I eat and its calorie content in a book I carry everywhere with me. A typical day might look like this:

M&S lo-cal cereal w/skimmed milk and seeds 400
Banana, apple and orange 220
Scottish Slimmers lo-cal sandwich (cheese & onion) 295
Lo-cal crisps and lo-fat yogurt 210
M&S lo-cal meal and broccoli 390
Two M&S lo-fat chocolate mousses 160
Drinks of various descriptions max 200

Total 1875

Well below the 2000 calorie limit. M&S features strongly here...perhaps I should do a blog entry dedicated entirely to the joys of M&S. I haven't weighed myself since starting this diet on 1 May. That would be tempting providence.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Supersize me

For anyone who has trouble buying clothes because of their boob size, Bravissimo is a brilliant website. The sizes come in Curvy, Really Curvy and Super Curvy - wonderfully uplifting terminology (no pun intended). A girl I paddle with was wearing one of the strappy tops last night and she looked fantastic.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Calorie, ciznall on me

Fatfighter2's last post according to Gizoogle:

Tra la la. I detest that sizzong. So, Monday 1 May was tha day I gots bizzle on tha diet'n wagon if you gots a paper stack. My new strategy is ta have a limit of 2000 calories a day, W-H-to-tha-izzich is tha average recommended daily amount fo` bitchez. Tizzle sounds ratha generous, hatin' I'm supposed ta be los'n weight, not maintain'n it, but it's contingent on mah doing `bout an hour of exercise a day . Aint no killin' everybodys chillin'. So far so good upside yo head. A combinizzle of M&S lo-cal meals n forgo'n alcohol n yummy office treats has gots me through tha pizzle two days witout a hizzitch. Today, pusha it being a lovely day I went fo` tha takeout sandwich option , betta check yo self. Fiznirst fatal mistake: clockin' by tha Scottish Slimma cheese n onion sandwich wit its calorie content clearly printed on tha front in favour of a much more satisfy'n freshly-filled baguette. Second fatal mistake like this and like that and like this and uh: going fo` tha hizzigh thick chicken n coleslaw combo ratha tizzy tha chicken n salad one. Oh dear n shit. When I tried ta calculate tha calories playa using mah handy shawty book I jizzle `bout gizzy up n mizzy a - probably conservative - estimate of 800 calories. Almost half mah daily allowance blizzay in one go . I thought i told ya, nigga I'm a soldier. All coz I was afraid of S-T-to-tha-izzill perpetratin' hungry gangsta lunch. Time ta train me out of thiznat way of think'n.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Calorie, call on me

Tra la la. I detest that song.

So, Monday 1 May was the day I got back on the dieting wagon. My new strategy is to have a limit of 2000 calories a day, which is the average recommended daily amount for women. That sounds rather generous, considering I'm supposed to be losing weight, not maintaining it, but it's contingent on my doing about an hour of exercise a day. So far so good.

A combination of M&S lo-cal meals and forgoing alcohol and yummy office treats has got me through the past two days without a hitch. Today, however, it being a lovely day I went for the takeout sandwich option. First fatal mistake: passing by the Scottish Slimmers cheese and onion sandwich with its calorie content clearly printed on the front in favour of a much more satisfying freshly-filled baguette. Second fatal mistake: going for the high fat chicken n coleslaw combo rather than the chicken n salad one. Oh dear. When I tried to calculate the calories later using my handy little book I just about gave up and made a - probably conservative - estimate of 800 calories. Almost half my daily allowance blown in one go. All because I was afraid of still feeling hungry after lunch. Time to train myself out of that way of thinking.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Mirror, mirror, mon amour*

In What Not to Wear the harpies Trinny and Susannah subject their victims to ordeal by mirror - step into the mirrored chamber and you can't hide from the inescapable truth about how bad your clothes make you look from the back, from the side and, I dare say, from above.

I work on the 24th floor and the lifts are fully clad with mirrors so I step into the horror chamber every day.

The good news? I have lost 2.5 kilos. Not that I look any better in the harsh light of the lift.

*Clearly this title is ironic - as was the original song, surely?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Please cheese me

Of the guaranteed diet-breakers in my life, near the top of the list is cheesecake. Baked with raisins, or whipped up and chilled in the traditional style - I don't care. Stirred with a delicate snowfall of lemon rind, topped with fruit, even with cream, but best of all plain, unadorned, without even a biscuit base, just pure, unadulterated sweet cheese. There's something about that slightly sweet, slightly savoury combination, and the way it fills your mouth for that bit too long, which is irresistible.

I bought a cheesecake to take to a potluck dinner (how delightfully 70s that sounds!) last night and ended up bringing it home again, as someone else brought one too and even 15 women couldn't manage more than one cheesecake between them, especially since there were chocolate brownies and lemon torte as well. J forgot to take it to work with him this morning and I couldn't bear to bring it in to my office because I knew I would be forced (at gunpoint) to eat most of it; so I left a note for our cleaner (who comes in on a Thursday) to take it away with her if she wants it. I hope she takes it: otherwise it is preordained that I will be returning home tonight to eat the lot.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Saying goodbye to old friends...

Hello Fatfighters

Since joining you, I seem to have become engaged in a long goodbye - to pasta and cheese sauce (I make the best macaroni cheese I've ever tasted, really), to peanuts, to Haribo Goldbears, to TimTams.

Goldbears - yummy!

There are many left and I will be meeting The Curry, The Bottles of Magners, The SpagBol with Garlic Bread and The Hotel Biscuit at the weekend when I go to Belfast for a weekend of decadence and revelling.

I have reached where I am today through 20 years of dieting, and I am fatter than I have ever been. Turning 40 last September should have shaken me up, but it instilled in me a defiance that has lasted until now. I figured 20 years was long enough to be dieting without achieving anything except more fat. So I said to myself, "Diets don't work. All the cheery-coloured fat books say so. So stop dieting." I sold all my fat books on ebay and cancelled my subscription to WeightWatchers online.

At 17 stone 9lbs (247lbs), I am here to tell you that Not Dieting Doesn't Work Either.

So, where now? I guess that's what this blog is about. We shall see...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It's all gone elephant's thong

Okay, Fatfighter1, you've made your point! The reason I've not posted much for a while is that it's hard to post enthusiastically when even one's exercise regime has gone the same way as one's diet went some weeks ago. Took running stuff to BG - didn't run once. That's when it all went to pot.

However, I spent the weekend on an introduction to trail riding course at Glentress and must have worked off a couple of thousand calories...possibly, just possibly, more than I consumed. That really is the holy grail of losing weight. So, having loved the course and become a bit of a downhill demon, I plan to go back every free weekend I can. O joy! A move to Peebles might be in the offing...

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, I've more or less made up my mind (just what does that "less" mean?) to get some decent scales and start counting calories. A guy on the course at the weekend does that; how I admired his fortitude when at lunchtime, after a morning of heavy-duty cycling, he pulled a bag of salad out of his backpack and ate that, while the rest of us munched on our deeeeeeelicious sandwiches.

Chubby checker

Here I am, ploughing my lonely Fatfighter furrow.... sigh.... where are my Fatfighter friends?

The apparent isolation in which I continue to attempt to shed the pounds, seemingly bereft of support from my tubby blog brethren, must be the reason why last night, after having been extremely virtuous all day, I ate two of those purportedly healthy oat bars on the trot, downed with a cup of Scottish Blend tea (aaaah!). Yes, they seem innocuous enough, but it's unwise to look too closely at the label, lest the grim reality of fat and carb content send you into a tailspin of remorse - as I did, and it did, last night.

Monday, April 24, 2006

A man, a van, a plan

Photo taken by Fatfighter2's friend Alison in Sierra Leone. Heartwarming, isn't it?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Danger Mouth and the Larder of Temptation

There are definitely points in the day and circumstances when I'm more vulnerable to the temptation to eat and drink the things that stop me losing weight. I wonder whether if I isolate and analyse those times and circumstances I might be closer to recognising that drift towards alcohol and sugary, floury and/or fatty food. These are a few instances I can think of:

1. The birthday cakes and chocolates at work. Rationale for eating them: a) I didn't buy them so they're "free"; b) When it's my birthday I have to buy cakes and chocolates, so I should get my share the rest of the year; c) They're located conveniently beside my route to the printer.

2. After lunch. The need to eat something sweet after something savoury. No idea where that comes from - probably my dad, who, having turned up at your house conveniently around lunchtime, likes to follow his boiled egg or beans on toast with a cup of tea and something cakey/biscuity.

3. Those sad, lonely evenings when, having put the kids to bed, I console myself over the tragic turn my life has taken by drinking wine and gorging on chocolate (usually), cereal (sometimes) or a pudding (rarely).

What is it about putting things in one's mouth? Why is it that I can't open a packet of something without scoffing the lot in one sitting? I don't even enjoy it after the first couple of mouthfuls. There's some sort of dangerous compulsion at work there. As I think I've said before, I would far rather exercise more than eat less, food being one of the greatest pleasures in life. Sadly, though, age is taking its toll and not only am I more likely now to eat for comfort but I can no longer work it off as easily. I remember being 14, and having trouble "pinching an inch". Now, nearly 26 years later, I must nearly be able to pinch a foot. And as for the pencil test...let's not go there.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Zip it up and start again

Today me and Fatfighter3 (who despite her conspicuous absence from this blog, does exist and is thinner than she thinks she is) spent the day in Lane Crawford trying on unspeakably expensive dresses by the likes of Elie Saab (the most expensive of which was HK$50K, or £3.5K). It was extremely enjoyable despite the fact that neither of us could get the zips up (O, Mr Rodriguez, why do you make your dresses so small?) and I came home inspired - inspired, that is, to never eat again so I can get the zip up next time.

This evening we watched What Not to Wear where they talked to two post-menopausal women whose self-esteem had gone down the tubes but whose bodies were not that bad (I was strongly reminded of my Mum who could use someone like Trinny and Susannah taking her in hand). It made me realise how fragile this self-esteem thing is. Under the harsh lights of Lane Crawford I felt huge and overblown, but if I felt good about myself under a different light, I would feel good no matter what I looked like.

Back on the diet tomorrow, then.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Holiday! Celebrate!

This blog is supposed to be about food, and one's struggle to eat the right type thereof. It's not about holidays. Having got those reproving remarks, aimed of course at Fatfighter2, out of the way, I can now freely go on to describe the food I've been eating on holiday.

We've been staying for a week in Pangkor Laut, just off the west coast of Malaysia, where the food was fish, fish and more fish, fresh as you like, and cooked simply and beautifully. There were essentially three types of cuisine on offer: fish Malaysian-style; fish Chinese-style, and, erm, fish. Dull though this sounds, it was actually wonderful, and it was remarkably easy to fancy that you were eating healthily. Couple this with world-beating exercise every day, either in the gym, or on the tennis court, or in the swimming pool (if my crap thrashing could be described as exercise) and it was actually a pretty healthy holiday, apart from the bottle of wine (at least) every night.

I hope it does not paint a completely appalling picture of my home life to say that the highlight of this holiday for me and J as a couple was that we managed to beat the all-comers record for paddling around the island in a canoe. (Fifty minutes, in case you're wondering.)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Hit and mish-mash

I owe an apology to the inventors of mish-mash, God rest their souls. Turns out that Uncle's, where we first ate it, makes the worst mish-mash in town. We've eaten it a couple of times since at what we've called the posh restaurant - because it's not falling to pieces and because the bill comes to more than a tenner for five people - and it's been rather nice. Still, despite the ludicrously cheap food and the fact that you don't have to wash up if you eat out, we've been eating in a lot because the food in restaurants is so monotonous. The main ingredients are eggs, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber, ham, chicken and two indistinguishable types of cheese, "yellow" and "white". At least at home we know exactly what we're eating, and we can be more inventive with the similarly limited range of food in the shops. Why, we've even had pasta with a creamy mushroom sauce!

This morning I went paragliding for the first time ever, on a tandem flight with a rather sexy Bulgarian man called Emmo. There's something quite erotic about being stuck in a harness thousands of feet up in the air with a gorgeous man. But about the flight itself. It took me a while to relax, and throughout the flight part of me just wanted to get to the ground. The best moments were doing "acro", when Emmo made us turn somersaults: one moment you're facing the ground, the next the sky.


Monday, April 10, 2006

The birthplace of Lidl

Bulgaria is growing on me, especially as the past two days have been gloriously sunny. Spring here takes the form of peach and apple blossom in gardens and on every street, violets on the hillsides, and tulips in the borders. With its pine-clad hills and its chair lift, Sopot, the paragliding capital of Bulgaria, could be a rather parched Swiss ski resort. Yesterday, the Peas' dad and multitudes of other paragliders made the most of the gentle thermals to swoop above the town, eventually coming down to land like grotesque, brightly-coloured birds.

We get stared at wherever we go for looking different, but one can't help wondering what people would make of a group of Bulgarians plonked down in the middle of a British city. Their clothes and hairstyles would shout: "Former eastern bloc country!" A combination of bad leather jackets, shell suits and cheap hair dye. What passes for a supermarket here is reminiscent of Lidl. It's what one imagines supermarkets were like in Moscow circa 1972, albeit with slightly fuller shelves. Lots of obscure items in tins and jars, barely any fresh vegetables and UHT milk only.

Despite the lack of anything particularly appetising to eat it's still possible to overindulge, and my diet has more or less gone the way of Fatfighter1's in March. Last night, for example, I polished off an entire packet of a rather cheap version of those German biscuits that have one side coated in chocolate. And I had chips for dinner, which I rarely do, not being a big fan of them unless they're swimming in brown sauce. But when I was told that the dish I ordered came with potatoes, I innocently assumed they'd be boiled.

The last word must go to a Bulgarian delicacy called mish-mash, which we were advised to sample by the Peas' father, a big fan. It's described as fried tomatoes, cheese, red peppers and eggs. So far so tasty-sounding, but it would be closer to the truth to describe it as a tin of tomatoes with all the other ingredients stirred in and cooked for a couple of years. One word sums it up: yuck.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Kartofi cop

Arrived in rainy Sofia late last night and took taxi to Sopot, usually a two-hour drive east. The roads here would be considered poor in Vietnam, which gives you an idea of how bad they are. Not far out of Sofia we were pulled over by the traffic police, who took our passports, the driver's documents and various unspecified lev notes. About 40 minutes and further bribes later we were on our way. No one had been doing anything wrong; it was simple, everyday, Bulgarian corruption.

Further on, we drove through a particularly bad pothole, shredding the tyre. Another delay to swap tyres. My travelling companion managed to cut her finger badly on a razor and bled constantly for the rest of the journey. It didn't help that she'd taken aspirin before the flight to thin her blood to prevent thrombosis. Got to Sopot at 2 am, four hours after we arrived in BG. Too tired to do anything more than laugh weakly at our misfortune and collapse into bed.

The food is ludicrously cheap here. We "ate out" in a charmingly smoky cafe - I think it's against the law not to smoke here - for approximately four pounds* for five people. Chicken noodle soup, two glasses of wine, two chocolate pancakes, two mineral waters, two large tomato and cucumber salads and two large pieces of cheese on toast. There's barely no point in eating in.

kartofi = potatoes

*No pound sign on this BG keyboard.