Wednesday, August 31, 2005


A bit of detective work and I know how much my sister weighs. And I'm close enough to feel that I can get there, that I could be (shock horror) the thin sister. My vague target is less than she weighs. I could do that. The last time that happened must have been when I was about 3. She was smaller than me at any given time, obviously, being 2 years younger, but I was probably less chubby than she was at the same age. Since then, I've always been the fat one. She's been the gorgeous, pretty one, and I've been the lump.

She's 165lb of pure muscle though, to be fair. She's a professional scuba diving instructor, and you wouldn't think to look at her that there's much flab on her. Knowing how much she weighs makes me wonder whether I can make it down to be lighter than she is (particularly as I'm taller). But then I look at my body, and I know that there's fat on there that I can lose. So maybe I can do it.

Speaking of scuba diving, the end of October will be D-day. I'm going to do it, finally. I said half heartedly that I'd learn if I lost 40lb. I lost 40lb and found another excuse not to do it. I can have free lessons, and free diving, but I've always been scared of the thought of my body in a wetsuit.

My mother didn't help, recently, when she said "you won't have to wear the biggest wetsuit now". OK, the weight had already gone, but it reinforced why I've been putting it off for so long. My dad and sister have been running a diving school in Spain for three years and I've always chickened out. OK, so it's not an every day thing, the opportunity only comes up when I'm over there, but still I've had ample opportunity to do it.

But I have to make myself do it. If all goes to plan, I'll be edging into a size 14 by then, and I'll have no wetsuit related excuses left to rely on. You never know, I might even enjoy it.


Today was the big Finnish photoshoot. I'm getting some photos emailed up to me, so hopefully I'll have some nice, professionally taken, photos to share on here in the next few days. I was surprised at how unconcerned I was about the whole process, not trying to hide behind statues to cover up my flab (I've tried that one before for press releases at work...), not constantly trying to suck my stomach in. No, I just went with the flow and enjoyed it.

I still regret the lack of really fat photos of me. A lot of the time I just can't imagine what I used to look like, and I wish I had some proper warts and all photos to remind me of that. The one thing I really wish I had is some sort of cast of my body, preferably hollow, so I could slip inside and get a real visual reminder of what I used to be like.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Back on the treadmill

Well, a lovely weekend off, but I'm back at it today. A 10k run this morning, better eating and no alcohol for 24 hours now. I'm hoping for a big 4 weeks before Mum comes back over here, and to kick the ass of what seems to be turning into a plateau at 199. I hadn't quite hit 200 this morning, but I'd not gone down (ha ha) over the weekend either. Maybe it's all water...

At the moment I'm trying to refocus my efforts. It sounds strange to say it, but I need to start hating myself a little more again. I've come so far that there's this great temptation to dwell on how well I've done, how much better I look and feel, how much smaller I am. But I'm coming to realise that I shouldn't let myself feel "good" at this weight and size for too long. Yes, it's a lot better than 260, but 199 is, quite simply, too heavy, even for someone tall and with supposedly heavy bones.

I'm trying to look forward and work out where my inspiration and motivation is going to come from to start this whole thing moving again. Basically, if I like myself at this weight, how am I going to persuade myself that I need to be smaller? And if I do get down to 160lb, how am I going to stop myself putting it back on if I keep that fat girl mindset that 199lb is actually quite good.

I need to start thinking like a thin person. I need to start seeing size 16 as big, rather than the smallest I've ever been as an adult. I need to really see the fat on my stomach and appreciate that I'd be better with it gone. I need to start a healthy but critical focus on my many flaws, at the same time as appreciating the good things.

I'm not saying that I want to descend into a pit of self-loathing. I tried very hard at 260lb to find the balance between hating my body enough to want to love and loving myself enough to think I was worth it, and all I need to do is to re-set that balance. I need to remember that where I am is only an achievement because of where I came from, and that I need to focus on getting to a healthy weight, rather than a weight that's simply a bit less crippling. I still want to recognise my achievements, but I want to start focussing on where I want to be a bit more, rather than on the fact I'm not who I was any more.

I don't know if this makes sense to anyone apart from me, but I'm convinced it's going to be useful to try to think like a "normal" person rather than a formerly obese one. A "normal" person might not be happy at this weight, so why should I be? I need to kick on, and kick the fat girl thinking.

And I'll be back on that treadmill in the morning, trying to do just that.

Monday, August 29, 2005


It's a funny thing, confidence. You can't make it come, and you can't make it stay when it doesn't want to. But when it's in your life you're on top of the world.

I've been eating, drinking, not exercising all weekend. But I'm not feeling bad. I'm feeling alive, I know that I can get back down to things after the long weekend is over, and I'm not going to dwell on that.

But what I am going to dwell on, for as long as I can, is how fantastic I've been feeling all weekend. I've been away, meeting up with old friends, drinking, shopping, partying and generally having a good time. People tell me how fantastic I look, and I believe them. I feel great in my new clothes, strong, sexy, stylish. For the first time in years I get random men coming up to me in bars. Of course, nothing happens, and I'm sure they try it on with every single-ish woman who walks in, but its still a great confidence boost.

And I'm buying clothes I'd never have dreamed of wearing before. Not because they wouldn't have fit (although I'm sure they wouldn't), but colours, and styles I'd never have dreamed of wearing. Clothes that aren't black, or grey. A green floaty skirt. I've never worn green in my life, but I look great in it. Clothes that show off my curves, that flatter my waist, that show off some cleavage and collar bones. Clothes that show off what I've got rather than hiding what I'd rather not own up to.

If ever I need a reminder of why I'm doing this, I need to read this, and remember that it's not about numbers on a scale any more, it's about being who I deserve to be, and having a body that I feel comfortable and confident in. I never quite realised what a difference this would all make, but I'm glad that I came this ar and realised that I never want to go back and lose what I've got now.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


I seem to have gone missing a bit this week. I've just not been able to assemble my thoughts into anything worth reading, and combined with my mother (who doesn't know about this blog) being here I've not really got down to it.

The scales aren't playing ball at the moment. After that last rush down to 199 10 days ago, I seem to have stalled, and even started going backwards. I got to a low of 197 (although my lowest on an "official" weigh-in day was 198), then seemed to shoot back up to 199.5. I'm not calling it 200. And I'm not weighing on Sunday this weekend because I'm away, so there will be no "official" weight, and therefore no "official" gain… Logically, those last few pounds from 204 to 199 came off in such a rush that I ought to be glad that my body is stabilising, not losing too fast, and that I'm at least still under 200 (just!), but I find it so frustrating to keep on seeing numbers that I saw 10 days ago. Or at least when they're still too high, I hope I could cope with seeing a nice low number for the rest of my life if and when I finally get there!

Everything's getting a bit messed up this week. My mother's here so I'm eating out more, and eating stuff that she prepares in the evenings. And because she just decides to use my car every day this week (she doesn't even ask, she assumes, but that's another rant) my gym time is cut down significantly. I have to leave the house 10 minutes earlier than when I drive so that I can catch the bus, and I get to the gym nearly 20 minutes later. It's the little things too, like the fact it's harder to get near the computer to get some online support because she's always sitting at it. She takes the car and I suddenly realise I can't get to the supermarket to get myself something healthy to eat. I can't spend all Saturday and Sunday morning at the gym. I keep telling myself that most of what I eat, during the day when I'm at work is still right, and I am still exercising, but combined with a mini plateau (even though that might have happened anyway) I'm just feeling like I'm a bit off track this week. I know that this is how it all went wrong last year. Not quite yet, but in late September/early October she tends to come back to the UK for three weeks (and she is doing again this year, in three or four weeks time), and that's precisely when last year's fitness/weight loss kick came grinding to a halt, until January this year. I'm not even convinced it's the scale that's getting me down this week, it's the fear that I won't be able to handle those three weeks again this year and that I'll fall off the wagon. Well, maybe the scale isn't helping, the thought that if I can put 3lb on in less than a week (and logically, I haven't - I've not eaten that much so at least some must be water), how am I ever going to cope if and when I get disrupted for longer than that.

We're going away for cup final weekend, so no doubt there will be lots of meals out, lots to drink and not much exercise. I'm taking my gym stuff, but I don't know whether I'll get to use it. I might try to go for a run round Cardiff, or see how much a day pass to the gym near the hotel is (there's apparently a discounted rate), but realistically I'll just get that guilt trip "I can't leave her sitting in a hotel room on her own" feeling and put what other people want above what I need again. There has to be some sort of balance somewhere, but I keep on feeling like I'm constantly letting people walk all over me, giving them exactly what they want with no consideration for my needs.

I suppose this is the downside of living on my own most of the time. I get so used to being able to be completely selfish and controlling about what I do and what I put into my body, that the difficulties caused by slightest outside presence seem to get magnified tenfold. I don't have to learn balance as part of my day to day life, so it's harder to manage it when I have to do it for a couple of weeks. This whole thing shouldn't have to be all or nothing. Not that it is, anyway, I'm not 100% strict with myself at the most on track of times. But once I get past the amount of slack that I usually allow myself, that's when the trouble starts.

From experience, I know I feel like this from time to time. I've got through it before without falling completely off track, and I just need to get through it again. I have all the arguments in my head to make me feel better and even though I believe them, I'm just not quite on top form. Maybe it will be good to be away from the scales for a few days (although my inner pessimist is convinced that they will be back over 200 when I get back) and just focus on living for a while. I'll be meeting up with people I've not seen for months, and I've got a lovely work in progress body to show off to them, so why not just enjoy that for a while. After all, is there really a huge difference between losing 60lb and losing 63lb? Not at all. Without a scale you'd probably never notice. I can get back on track when I get back, and take it from there.

I definitely won't be near a computer (and probably won't be near a gym) before Monday, so don't send out the search party unless I'm still missing beyond that. Then feel free to kick some sense into me if I'm still feeling down.

Monday, August 22, 2005


I really feel like I'm on a roll now. I don't have to think about stuff so much, I just keep on doing what I'm doing and the weight keeps on coming off nicely. Even when I eat a large battered sausage and chip shop chips for lunch, washed down with a little beer. Ah well, it's almost certainly less than a pound so I'm not going to lose sleep over it.

I was talking to Mum in the pub. She keeps on asking me how much more I want to lose. Other people do too. Maybe they don't realise how heavy I was at first, but when I tell them how much I've lost they say that surely I can't have much more left to lose. At first I didn't want to admit the amounts involved to anyone, because it would reveal just how big I had let myself get. It's a bit daunting to come out and say, yes, I'd like to lose 7 or 8 stone. It tells them that you need to lose that amount, and putting it like that could put doubts in the mind of even the most committed person. Can I really lose that amount of weight without doing something drastic? I always just said I didn't know. Realistically, I'd have been happy to get down to where I am today, a fairly standard size 16 in most places, as thin as I've ever been, and merely overweight rather than obese. And 4 and a half stone isn't exactly a minor achievement anyway.

Now I still don't really know, although I have more of an idea, but the whole loss thing has taken on a momentum of its own. It's not a case of deciding what weight I want to be and stopping when I get there. What if I'd decided I really would be happy as a size 16? What would I do now? Would I stop doing what I'm doing, even though I enjoy it and it makes me feel great? Would I try to grind my metabolism to a halt even though it's working like a star and burning off those pounds quicker and more consistently than I ever expected? Would I start trying to eat more than I really need just to stop losing? Of course I wouldn't.

I say it time and time again, but this really is turning into a lifestyle change, and as my lifestyle is now one I'm happy with, and which is keeping me losing, I'd be a fool to stop, even if I'd already lost more than I thought possible. It's almost like I don't have a choice any more - this is just me, and this is my life. I just have to keep on living it, and I'll see where it takes me.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

80s fever

The fun of tracking your weight in pounds, kilograms, stone and every other measurement you can think of is that the milestones seem to come round quicker. Today it was seeing 89.8kg on the scales. I still remember the day I was so pleased to drop under 100kg, and it still feels like I've only just done it, so to drop under 90 is wonderful. Every day I realise how much progress I'm making.

I met up with the lovely Kylie today and had a wonderful afternoon eating, drinking and shopping. It was nice to talk to someone who's going through the same process as I am, and who has helped keep me going at times during this. It was good to talk through some issues that I've been ticking over in my mind, and realise that I'm not the only person who's ever had to try to figure out a way to make healthy eating and exercise work, on a lifetime basis rather than on a get to goal and go back to old habits basis.

It's looking like the next week will be a bit of a "week off". My mum's coming over from Spain, and between eating out, a weekend away with her and her cooking for me, I won't be eating a lot of my staples over the next week. But it's interesting how my idea of a week of has changed. I sat down, and I thougt about it, and I realised that I'm hardly going to change what I do at all. I'll still be exercising (I may lose about 10 minutes gym time by going in on the bus rather than in the car, but there won't be much impact really). I'll be eating the same breakfast most of the time, and the same lunch. The same snacks. The only thing that will really change is what I eat in the evening. And that will still probably be healthier than it used to be, I'll make better choices when we eat out, and I might persuade my mother to cook something that contains vegetables. If that's what I class as a week off, where I'm not meant to stress about food, then I think I'm set up to be able to do this long term.

After all, there's no point setting rules or targets which are so restrictive that you won't be able to live life that way, so I'm planning to relax a little, and trust myself to be vaguely sensible. It will be good practice!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Big in Finland

I blogged about the whole sex (or lack thereof) thing a while back. One thing I do, on and off, is talk to journalists about it, as there seems to be growing interest in this sort of stuff. Kind of "my really dull story about not having sex". Except I always talk, and then realise I really don't want to see my name, my photo and such personal information about me in print for all and sundry (and the office juniors) to read.

But I think I'm safe on this one, I've been speaking to a journalist who's writing a piece for a Finnish magazine. I don't know any Finns. I've never been to Finland. I don't even know anyone who speaks the language. I think I'm safe. It sounds like this one's definitely going ahead, they're sending up a photographer from London next week, and I'm being all forthcoming because, well, Finland. Not high risk. I don't think.

But more interesting than the story is the fact that for the first time in my life I'm kind of looking forward to having proper photos of me taken. I'm hoping to persuade the photographer to let me have copies, so convinced am I that they'll be the best photos of me for many a year.

It's taken me a long time to get to the stage where I can think "I don't have any need or desire for a sexual relationship at the moment, maybe I never will, and that's OK". In the past I've had recurring doubts, maybe it's just that I'm fat and ugly, maybe I'm a freak, maybe it's all my fault. I know, rationally, that it's not true. I know that I've been in relationships, or had opportunities to get myself out there and actively turned them down. I know that there are people out there who are bigger than I am but who have found loving fulfilling relationships. But still, I've constantly wondered whether I'd be any different if I was thin. And the thought of doing a magazine article and imagining people picking it up, looking at the picture and thinking "well, that explains it" isn't exactly appealing. Even once I became comfortable with how I am, the thought that other people might interpret it differently was kind of offputting.

But now, I know that I actually brush up OK, and I'm more confident in myself. I'm happier to put myself out there and say, you know, I'm perfectly normal, I'm attractive, intelligent, confident, and I just have different needs and desires to the majority of people.

And I've just realised that this post seems really shallow. That I have some sort of belief that people will only take what I say seriously if I look right. Maybe I'm being overly sensitive, I don't know. But I'm hoping to get my hands on those photos so that I have a properly taken marker of my progress.

I'll just have to remember not to go to Helsinki for a while...


Speaking of Scandinavia (vaguely), I need to get my holiday addiction sorted out. It's even worse than the shopping addiction! Now it looks like I might be squeezing a weekend in Oslo into my already crowded October. And I might start getting something I have for very few of my past holidays. Photos of me, there, rather than pictures of the place I'm going, with me firmly behind the lens rather than in front of it.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Pretty Thing

OK, so I said no shopping. But sometimes £4 on a top can be money well spent, if it makes you realise that you're not mutton dressed as lamb any more.

I'm wearing a top from Tesco that says "Pretty Thing" on it. It's a nice top. And I half believe it. With my Warehouse denim skirt and my hair straightened. I actually look quite nice. I'm not fishing for compliments here, I've been getting enough of those at the moment to keep me going, but it's nice to be able to see it for myself rather than relying on what other people say to make me feel like I'm prettier or thinner than I was.

I guess all this has happened so fast that it's quite hard to take it in, or to believe that I'm the sort of person who can look, if not drop dead gorgeous, at least passable. It's taken a while for me to recognise what I see in the mirror and appreciate the fact that it's actually me, to not add some imaginary flab so that this mirror matches up with what I think I should see. To get to the stage where I don't feel like a complete fraud wearing a t-shirt with the word pretty on it. I wouldn't say that I'm necessarily 100% secure in my appearance, but I'm starting to have the confidence and the self-belief to believe that I can actually look good.

And honestly, no more shopping...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Perfect 16

So, it's measurement time again. First of all the figures.

Neck: 37cm 36cm (-1cm) 34cm (-2cm) 34cm (no change)
U/Arm: 33cm 32cm (-1cm) 31cm (-1cm) 30cm (-1cm)
Bust: 109cm 105cm (-4cm) 102cm (-3cm) 99cm (-3cm)
Waist: 94cm 89cm (-5cm) 83cm (-6cm) 81cm (-2cm)
Tummy/Hips: 121cm 118cm (-3cm) 109cm (-9cm) 105cm (-4cm)
Thigh: 63cm 61cm (-2cm) 58cm (-3cm) 57cm (-1cm)
Calf: 44cm 40cm (-4cm) 40cm (no change)40cm (no change)
Ankle: 25cm 24cm (-1cm) 24cm (no change) 24cm (no change)

Then the thing I'd started to suspect. I'm a proper, bona fide size 16. I've just got this off the Next website:

order size 16
bust (cm) 99
waist (cm) 81
hips (cm) 105.5

I can't believe how spot on that is!

And, erm, Debenhams and M&S.

But it's raised a question in my mind. Places like, gulp, Miss Selfridge and Top Shop sell size 16. But they don't have sizing guides on their websites. Do I dare walk in there and actually look at their clothes, without feeling like I have no right to even be there at my size?

And why do I keep on thinking about shopping? I really must stop this. NO MORE CLOTHES. (until next week...)

YP, weight loss guru

Well, not quite, but I thought I'd reply to this comment with a proper post rather than in the comments section where it might get hidden away.

Do you have any advice for someone who loves to work out but has a hard time with food? I still find myself overeating at times. I know it takes awhile to 'teach' yourself that you are full but still i think i may need some sort of stratgey. Or am i making this more complicated then it really has to be?

This is so me (I never thought I'd describe myself as someone who loves to work out, but never mind!). I started this whole journey by deciding I wanted to join a gym and exercise. I hadn't realised how fat I was, and weight loss wasn't my main concern. For ages I just exercised and paid absolutely no attention to my food. If anything I might have even eaten more because I was burning more. This was my "look, I can eat rubbish and still lose weight if I exercise" phase. Unfortunately, what I considered losing weight amounted to 9lb over 8 months. I lost a bit more (about 12, maybe), then put some back on, then took some back off again, but it wasn't exactly what you'd call stunning weight loss.

Then I started sorting out my food. What I do (and I appreciate that this might not work for everyone as it can work out more expensive than other ways of eating) is focus on quality not quantity. This actually works two ways:

1 - for the majority of the food I eat I look at the nutritional value of it. This basically means making sure that I eat enough fresh fruit and veg, pulses, fibre etc, and trying to cut down a little on empty carbs etc. I eat as much as I like as long as it's relatively healthy food. So if I want a huge salad, I do. I don't stress about the dressing too much, I look at the fact I'm eating loads of veg. I don't count calories, carbs, fat or anything like that, I just try to take a balanced view of whether it's something that I want to be eating.

2 - for treats I go for the nicest stuff I can find in small quantities. So a small piece of absolutely gorgeous chocolate instead of a huge amount of cheapo stuff (which is what I used to do). I enjoy it just as much, if not more and it reinforces that it's a decadent treat rather than an everyday snack.

The other thing that I do is that I eat a lot of my food away from home - I work out before breakfast and eat my breakfast when I get to work. So I weigh stuff out and pack myself breakfast and lunch, complete with fruit for snacks - basically enough food that I won't run out no matter how hungry I get, and there'll always be another satsuma on my desk to munch through if necessary. I just don't buy food at work any more, so I don't let myself get tempted by rubbish, and because I've already weighed my cereal etc out before leaving the house I'm not tempted to just put a bit more in because I've had a good workout or anything like that. It's quite controlling I suppose compared to my relaxed approach to the meals I eat at home, but it works for me.

I try to eat as intuitively as I can, teaching myself about food and trying to do it without thinking too hard about it, because I know that long term that gives me the best chance of keeping it off. I suppose it means that my trial and error, working out what works for me stage took longer than it needed to, but I'd rather take a couple of months or even years longer to lose the weight if it means that I can keep it off long term. If I fancy something, I'll eat it, but as I learn more about food, the things I fancy eating are changing, and that's something that gives me confidence I'm doing this the right way.


I'm wondering whether I'm looking bitchy at work. 7 people have got together and entered a charity race. Now this pissed me off anyway because at least 3 or 4 of them know that I run, and know I'd probably have been up for it, but didn't invite me to join their clique. Anyway, they're begging for sponsorship, and everyone's thinking it's the best thing since sliced bread, despite being rather less forthcoming when I asked.

But none of them sponsored me when I ran, and I've been asked by a couple of people who did to sponsor them in races that they're doing soon. I have no problems with that at all, as they came up with the cash when I did Race for Life, but I'm feeling a bit sponsored out when it comes to other things. And the form of the gang of 7 doesn't even have a gift aid declaration on it, and doesn't ask for your address so I know that if I sponsor them it won't get as much money to charity as if I sponsor the other people who have asked me, who do have all the gift aid stuff set up. And did I mention that I'm a bit pissed off? So I've not sponsored them yet. I'm trying to decide whether this makes me look like a complete bitch. Or maybe I should just find the money, but I saw some lovely jeans today...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


It's funny. Before I hit 199 (still there, third day in a row so I'm taking it as very offical now) I never looked any further than that really. I had various milestone weights starting with the number 2, and then 199. And that was it, really. I had vague numbers in my head that I'd like to hit at some point in the future, but not as iminent targets. More as fantasy land.

But now I'm here, I've been looking at numbers starting with 1. And I've realised that there aren't actually that many of them (comparatively speaking anyway) until I start hitting the "ideal weight" for my height in about 30lbs time. 30lb, that's nothing when you've already lost over 60. Looking at the numbers that I'd never really considered before, I've been filled with renewed optimism that not only CAN I do this, but I WILL do it. It seems funny to be looking at the final run in down to a "normal" weight (and I appreciate that when I make it that far I may want to lose more), when for so long I've just been focussing on not being obese.

So, here goes. 168 seems to be the next "magic number" when I hit 24.9 or so. 31lb away. I can do that. I'm sure I can. It might not be as fast as whan I've already lost, but I know I'll do it. And if I can do that, then I guess I'd ideally like a little breathing room, which brings me back to the 160 figure that I plucked out of the air a while back, 100lb from my heaviest recorded weight. But the difference is that now I'm seeing it as a realistic, achievable target, rather than some random, theoretical number. That's a strange feeling to be having, and maybe if things slow down I'll change my mind. But I'm really excited at the moment to see how I'll change in this stretch down from 199 to goal.

Monday, August 15, 2005

So easy

I've been reflecting a bit today on how far I've got, and the main thing I keep on realising is how easy it's all been.

Maybe not easy, but easier than I expected. I really don't seem to have had to change much about my life to get results. Most of the time it still seems like I'm eating fairly similar stuff to what I was always eating, and that the exercise I'm doing isn't even hard.

And then I look back to this time last year, and realise that my work outs would have killed me then - even the ones I do on "easy" days. Walking at that speed would have been hard, let alone doing it on level 20 hills on the treadmill for half an hour or so. Running for 5 minutes at a pace that I now consider a slow jog would have been enough to make me collapse in a heap or fall off the back of the treadmill. I wouldn't have been able to move the weights I lifted this morning. But my fitness has improved day by day, and I've never made a big effort to do a lot more one day. A little more each day adds up over a year.

And the same with my eating. I've never made huge, wholesale changes to my diet. I started out just trying to be sensible, and slowly trying a healthier option every so often, then if I liked it incorporating it into my diet on a more regular basis. Whether that's new recipes using foods I already ate or being a bit more adventurous with my choices, there's nothing hugely different in my diet now, just in more balanced quantities. So I still eat fruit and I still eat chocolate, but I now eat more fruit than chocolate, unlike before. A series of small changes really adds up over the course of a year, but so slowly that it doesn't really seem like a change.

I sometimes get amazed that in the first 8 months of doing this I lost a grand total of 9lb, and I've lost 52 in the 5 since then. I fell off the wagon a bit in the first spell, but it was important start. I started making changes that would really make a difference at a later stage. By the time I cranked things up in March I'd built up my fitness enough to be able to actually work out properly, and I'd started thinking more about what I eat at every meal. I never realised in that first spell what a change those new habits would make when they had the opportunity to kick in.

Since March it's been so easy. Everything was in place, and something just clicked. Suddenly it hardly seemed like an effort, and the weight started to fall off. It's hard to explain, and it's sometimes even harder to believe. Other people tell me how well I'm doing and ask how, and I sometimes feel like a fraud for doing it so easily. But then again, maybe I'm not. Maybe I need to realise that I do deserve this, and that I have worked hard, even if I don't realise it.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The pictures

Anyway, now I'm at 199, it's time for some photos. I've been waiting for this moment to put together some pictorial evidence of my progress. I don't have words to describe the hideousness of this picture.

I've cropped out the poor guy next to me who is a rugby player I accosted in a bar and who doesn't deserve to feature on the picture of shame. Note, however, that he's a professional rugby player and I'm dwarfing what you can see of him. That's never a particularly good sign, if you ask me. OK, he's one of the smaller men on the team, but none of them are particularly small, are they?

This doesn't make my stomach look quite so voluminous, but it's clearly not a good look. A bad angle for showing off the horror of my fat legs. But the most scary thing is that I don't think either of these photos are of me at my highest weight. Or if they are, I've lost more than 61kg, and I just didn't know about the first bit. The top picture is September 2002 and the bottom one is March 2003, I didn't get weighed until July 2004. If I was heavier than 260lb there I didn't know it, and quite frankly I don't think I want to. That would be just too scary. As is my chin in a third photo I dug up tonight, but am saving for another time.

But the photo I really wanted to post is, of course, the "let's celebrate being 199" photo. And look! You can see bones! The collar bones are back, and recently I've definitely been feeling hip bones...

260 - 61 = 199

I can't quite believe it. When I first started this journey at 118kg/260lb, 90kg/199lb seemed so far away. And that's probably because it was. I didn't even put any significance on it for a long time. I've always thought in either kg or stones and not really paid attention to the total number of pounds. But as I've read more people's blogs, and visited more weight loss sites, I've come to see that it's a useful milestone to celebrate, and celebrate is what I intend to do.

Maybe 90kg or so didn't seem quite so far away at 118kg (before I started thinking in pounds). Not because it wasn't, but because it was all very much of an unknown. I didn't know what to expect, and I didn't know how easy or hard getting there would be. But (having started thinking in pounds as well as kilos by this stage), when I got to about 230lb I realised that I was only half way to this milestone, and that I would have to do it all again to even get this far. That was far more daunting than seeing random numbers on the scale at the beginning.

I've had other milestones on the way. 100kg was a big one, as was 210lb which got me to 50lb lost as well as a nice, round sounding 15 stone. But none of them seem to have the mythology which has grown up around the race to "onederland".

It is nice to be here, of course. But for me the fact that I've lost over 60lb to do it is the significant thing, rather than the fact that my weight begins with a 1 (although that is a very nice feeling, to be fair). There's nothing special about being 199lb. If you started at 180 it wouldn't be something to celebrate at all, and if you started at 203 it wouldn't be as huge. But to lose 60lb, that's worth noting and worth celebrating, and 199 seems an appropriate place to do it.

Actually, to be completely honest, it's not quite 199. It's 199.5, but if you think I'm rounding that up instead of down you've got another thing coming!

So, to celebrate, I ran 5k, because I can, and that's what I'm proudest of - the fact that my body now works the way it's meant to, and I'm relatively fit and healthy. I might treat myself to some indulgences later, but I probably won't. I've got a lovely meal planned at my favourite Greek restaurant next weekend, so maybe I'll just save my food celebration for then. Why stop what I'm doing to celebrate when I enjoy what I'm eating at the moment? Eating a piece of cake won't make me feel any better than I already do, so maybe it's just more of the same.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Is this really me?

I went for a swim this evening. That was a change in itself, not only being sober enough at 8pm on a Saturday night to drive down to the gym, but doing some exercise on a Saturday night. I suppose I should really be out partying somewhere, but I've never been that sort of person, and it seemed like a better bet than sitting alone in front of the tv being tempted by food all evening.

I sat in the jacuzzi afterwards, and did my usual feeling my body thing under the water (that sounds saucier than it's meant to...). I put my hands towards my arse and it's not where I expect it to be. It's far smaller and more shapely than I think, and I sometimes need that hand-arse contact to remind me. And my thighs. If I feel them in the right way they almost feel thin and muscular. Obviously that's if you ignore the fatty layer on top of the muscle, but there are signs of something good there. To put it another way, they just don't feel like my thighs or my arse. They feel like someone else's, and it gives me a shock (as well as a thrill!) to feel them there.

I'm so thrilled that I can now feel the difference in my body for myself, not relying on other people seeing it or just going by the fit of my clothes, but genuinely seeing it when I feel myself and when I look in the mirror. It makes every second of hard work seem worthwhile, and it reminds me while I'm doing this.

The gym was quiet, so I stood naked in front of the mirror in the changing room. I love looking at my body now, it might not be perfect, but it's a kind of trophy reminding me of what I've achieved. So I need to remember that whatever the numbers on the scale, it can't take away from me what I've done.

Feeling Good

It's Saturday morning and all is good in the world. Or if not in the world, in my little secluded piece of it. I've been to the gym, seen some nice looking numbers on the scale (but it's not an official weigh day so I'll just have to keep praying they're there tomorrow), done a decent workout, realised how thin I look in those Gap jeans (US size 14, and I even detect a big of bagginess in places) (Thin being relative, of course), made a start on the big weekend tidy up and started eating well for the day.

Towards the end of the week I finally got my sleeping sorted out. My alarm goes off at 6am during the week for me to go to the gym before work. Which is fine, if I slept til 6am I'd get enough sleep as I go to bed relatively early. But I don't. For the past couple of months I've been waking up at nearer 5.15, unable to get back to sleep. Of course it gives me a chance to mess around on the internet for a while before having to get up (the joy of a laptop you can use in bed...), but it fucks up my energy levels for the rest of the day. I knew I felt crap if I woke up at 5.15, but I couldn't stop doing it.

Then, suddenly, midweek I started sleeping straight through to my alarm. I can't even begin to describe how much better that made me feel. It seems strange that 45 minutes can make such a difference (but then, it can. I mean, look how much difference 45 minutes exercise a day makes). I'm just hoping I can keep this not quite so messed up sleeping going for a while, as it makes me feel so much more human.

I picked up 2 14kg weights at the gym today, out of interest. I couldn't believe how heavy they were! I know that the weight I've lost was more evenly distributed, and not just hanging from the end of my arms, but still. That's so much weight not to carry round with me all the time. I just still don't know how I managed to let my weight get so out of control without noticing earlier. Still, at least it's gone now, and hopefully the habits I've learned during this thing will mean that it never comes back.

I'm feeling remarkably positive today, for some reason. I just hope I'm as positive post weigh in tomorrow!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Wasted time?

I was having a good chat on email with an old friend this afternoon about my weight loss. We lived together at university when I was maybe about this weight, maybe a little heavier, and maybe she noticed me piling the pounds on and didn't say anything, or maybe I was just me and my weight didn't define me. But anyway, my weight has never been something we've discussed really, and for a long time I liked it that way. It meant that I could stay safely in denial and not face up to what I was doing to myself.

She's trying to lose a stone or so, although she doesn't really need to. She's a healthy weight as it is, but would feel better if she lost some. She's not losing at the moment, but said at least she wasn't gaining. I replied, half jokingly that I wish I'd worked out that not gaining would be a good thing a lot earlier than I did. I don't know whether it came across that I was down on myself, but she told me not to beat myself up about it too much.

I don't, really. Of course I can't believe that I did this to myself, that I had to lose so much weight just to get back to where I was when I already thought that I was fat, but maybe it's worked out for the best in the end. If I'd tried to lose weight when I was 18 or 20 or so I don't think I'd have done it like this. I'd have looked for relatively quick fixes, for fad diets that I wouldn't be able to sustain. I might have given myself fucked up eating habits that I have, despite my weight, managed to avoid. I've not gained this through bingeing, more through consistent but relatively minor overeating. A couple of hundred calories every day soon adds up. And if I'd tried to lose weight too early, maybe I wouldn't have been able to stick to it.

I truly believe that there's a right time to do things and a wrong time to do things. I think I've just hit this weight loss thing at the right time, when I was mentally and emotionally ready to do it. I've worked a lot of things out for myself during this, I've learned a lot about food and exercise, and I've learned a lot of things about me. I've come to realise that this is harder emotionally than it is physically. Whether that's combatting cravings or facing up to insecurities that have been covered in layers of fat for years, it's not just what you eat. It's why you make crappy choices, even though you know they're crappy, and why you let yourself turn a blind eye to what you've been doing. I don't think I'd have got half this far if I'd just tried to deprive myself of food for a short period of time without paying attention to this stuff. I'm focussing on understanding myself and what got me here, and I'm focussing on life long changes. I don't think I'd have done that if I'd tried to lose weight earlier.

I also think that having so much weight to lose has helped me. It's meant that I've had more motivation. Once I faced up to what I'd done to myself and the urgency of losing weight I realised that there truly was no other option. And because of the sheer scale of what I have to do, I know that I'll have to do this long-term, there's no other way to get the weight off.

So, while I'm not exactly glad that I got so fat, maybe it's what I needed to truly do this, instead of being trapped in a never ending cycle of loss and regain. And I mustn't allow myself to regret a second of the "obese years", they have shaped the good things about me as well as the bad ones.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Goodbye, at last, to a constant companion

They say that 1 in 5 British adults are obese. Well, finally, I'm not one of them. My weigh in this morning was actually even better than I expected, and instead of the 202lb I needed to just sneak in at 29.9, I've dropped to 201 to give me a tiny bit of extra breathing space.

And it feels so good. It seems I've been telling myself I didn't have far to go for weeks, willing myself to make that final push, and I'e finally made it. A bit more discipline over the past couple of days than I usually show with my eating, a bit more effort with my running, and I've made it into the land of the People Who Are Not Obese.

My BMI, my body fat, my waist measurement. They all agree that I'm not obese any more. It feels like I've been working at this so long that I got a bit teary when I realised that I'd finally made it. I just can't believe what I've done to myself. Both in putting the weight on in the first place (how on earth did I do that without realising it?) to the amazing effort of taking it back off again, all by myself. I've changed my life in ways that I didn't really believe were possible, certainly not once I realised the magnitude of what I had to do. 59lb lost, just to get this far. I've done it for me, and I've done it my way. I really am so proud of myself.

I was never one for weighing and measuring as my weight went up, so I don't know when I first headed into obesity. I'm guessing that it was at least 5 years ago, and more likely longer ago than that. In fact, maybe 10 August 1998 is a significant date in this respect. 7 years ago today I stepped on a plane bound for America and spent four months eating junk food and buffet meals. Even if my weight itself wasn't quite there at that stage, the eating habits I picked up played their part in getting me there. So let's call it dot on 7 years, even though I'm sure the plane journey itself didn't tip me over the edge.

It's not something that you can just shed for the day, to have a break from Being Obese. That weight is with you every second of every minute of every hour of every day, and there is no temporary escape. You can hide yourself away, but you're still obese, and whatever you wear you're not going to hide that fact. People may not admit to it, but they do judge you by it, and it can be so depressing. Living your life inside a body that the world would rather not see. 5, 6, 7 years of being covered by pounds and pounds of unwanted and unneeded fat, of not being able to find nice clothes that fit, of finding it harder than you should to move around. To the point where you start to accept that as normal, and you forget how it really feels to be any other way. Of course, suddenly not being obese doesn't make you the picture of health, I'm still on the very margins of what is considered "overweight", but I'm heading in the right direction, and I'm not just accepting obesity as normal any more.

As I said last night, realistically I know that I'm going to have to be careful all my life if I don't want to head back into obesity with a vengeance (although hopefully not four stone into it this time). I need to be aware that maybe I have a tendency to put on weight more easily than other people. But that's no reason that I have to put weight on. There's a risk, if I do the wrong things, but there's no inevitability about it. If I do the right things most of the time then I will be fine. And I think I can trust myself to do that. I've learned a lot this year, and I don't want it to go to waste now.

Of course, I'm not going to stop and celebrate just yet. Before I do that, I want one more big push to 199. Then when I get there I want to maybe give myself a bit of leeway to reflect on what I've achieved, to celebrate for a while before regathering my thoughts and starting the battle to get down to goal. This isn't the end of the fight, and I've got a long way to go but it's a significant milestone along the way.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Just run!

I'm really getting into my running at the moment, and I've just done something that I never dreamed I'd do earlier this year. I've signed up for a second 10k in November. My way of telling me that I can't just do the run at Harewood House and then bask in my achievement. I have to keep on running if I want to get the rest of this weight off. Last year I exercised fairly well over the summer. I didn't lose tons of weight, but I made a decent start and could have carried on. But the days started drawing in and I just stopped doing it. I have the same dangerous triggers (family visits, other commitments) this year, so wanted to make sure that I'm committed to running until the very end of November. So hopefully the plan will work!

I've been running fairly well recently, and really getting into it. It's really helping my weight loss, and I'm feeling so much stronger and fitter. I need to make sure I keep this buzz going, and aim for bigger and better things.


Today I was rummaging around and found some real goal clothes. A couple of years ago I bought some trousers for my sister as a present. She didn't like them, or they didn't fit, and she gave them back to me to return to the shop. I never actually got round to it, so they sat around for years. She's always been the thin one and I've... not been. But I'm getting to the stage where I'm actually believing that one day I'll be able to wear those trousers. I had a sneaky try on this evening, and while they're still 2 sizes or so too small, they actually fit far better than size 18s or 16s did when I first started this journey. So if I can get down as far as I have done, I can get into those trousers. And that will be a real sign of what I've achieved.


I'm excited about tomorrow's weigh in. With a couple of really good runs over the past two days, really good eating and the end of my period meaning less water retention I'm confident that tomorrow I'll "officially" not be obese. (This confidence is helped by the sneaky peek I took at the scales this morning). Of course, what's a pound or so to take me one side of the line or the other, that in itself isn't going to change my health overnight. But still, it's a significant milestone for me, and one I've been looking forward to for a long time. When I first started out with this I overestimated my height somewhat, and as I've got closer to dropping down to 29.9 I've reassessed how tall I actually am, and had to lose an extra 8 or so pounds to get to that magic number. But tomorrow, I'll have passed all of those numbers, and be at the weight where I'm not obese, even if I'm the shortest of all of them. It's been such a long journey, and maybe if I'd realised how hard and long it would be I'd have been discouraged from the start. But I'm ready to start a new chapter in my weight loss. I'm not battling obesity now (although I'm under no illusions about the fact that I'll have that battle in the background for the rest of my life), I'm working on making my body as good as it can be. And that feels good.

I hope I've not jinxed tomorrow's weigh in now, but I just want to get obesity in my past, and start looking forward to the future.

Monday, August 08, 2005


People have been using the T word at me again. "Look at how thin you're getting". As ever, a compliment sets off all that insecurity about my body and my weight loss.

No, I think, size 16 and 204lb isn't thin. And if it looks it, how fat must I have been before? Oh my god, I must have been the fattest person in the world if you think I look thin now.

But then, sometimes I see it. I'm lucky, I suppose. I'm tall, and I carry my weight relatively well. I can wear sizes that I maybe shouldn't even dream of wearing at this weight, and I wear them properly, not bursting at the seams tight. And sometimes, just sometimes, I catch sight of myself in a mirror or a window, and I see it. I see someone relatively fit, healthy and, yes, thin, looking back.

It all depends how you see thin, really. Compared to someone really, really thin, seeing thin in an absolute, you are, or you're not sort of way, I'm not. But in a relative, look how my body's changed, sort of way, yes. I'm thin(ner).

And I kind of like that second way of looking for it. Looking at thin in a not an ounce of spare fat way, always comparing to other people, will I ever allow myself to see a thin person looking back from the mirror? You can always be thinner, but is it worth the effort, and is it healthy?

But in a more relaxed way, I can be thin. Thin for me, and thin for my body rather than someone else's. And I'm getting more confident that I will be.

When I first started this, I was aiming for modest goals. Not to be quite so fat. I had ambitious tickers, of course, but I had no conception of what I'd look like when I got there. Maybe all I could ever hope for was the fairly chunky me of university, I really had no idea. But with about half the journey gone, I'm starting to see the shape of my body under the fat, and I'm starting to really believe that "not quite so fat" isn't the most I can hope for. I'm starting to believe that I really can aim for thin, and more importantly, to accept myself as that when I get there.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Just say no

Why on earth do I have such trouble with such a small word? Why can't I turn down food that I don't even want to eat?

I was staying with my grandparents over the weekend. I had some healthy food in my bag to turn to in my hour of need, I know that the food choices available at their house aren't the most nutritious, should we say. I thought I'd planned better this time, and that I'd be able to take control of my eating.

More slabs of refined carbs? Oh, go on then.

It's as though I feel like it's rude to turn it down, that saying "no, I have a healthy and nutritious snack in my bag", is an insult to them, saying that their food isn't good enough for me any more. That they're not good enough for me. It wouldn't be so bad if the food offered was stuff I really liked, that I'd been craving. It wasn't. It was food that I'd never normally touch, not because it's "banned" but because I just don't like the taste any more.

And the chip incident. I didn't even order chips with my lunch today. The menu clearly said it shouldn't come with chips (as you had to pay extra for them). What was on the plate, yes, a huge pile of chips. I've recently discovered that I don't even really like chips. So did I leave them untouched on the plate? Of course not. The old "clear your plate to please someone" mechanism is still going strong clearly. Actually, I didn't eat all of them, which was a start. But as I didn't orer them, and didn't want them, why did I eat any of them?

And this is part of how I got obese. It's not from eating fast food or takeaways every day. It's not entirely from scoffing chocolate (maybe some of it, but not all...). It's not from being completely inactive. It's from not standing up for myself and not looking after myself. From eating things I don't enjoy because it helps me to avoid confrontation, to avoid being like my (thin) sister who used to have no-end of mealtime rows with my parents when she wouldn't finish her food. From trying to show affection by accepting food.

Yes, this is lovely. Thank you (and love me forever).

In all honesty, my eating wasn't that bad over the weekend. I did exercise some self-control, and anyway, one thing that I'm trying to work on is making sure that I don't get too hung up on what I'm eating. I don't want to be some sort of obsessive who will only eat certain things and make their friends lives hell when they meet up for something to eat. I want a healthy, balanced approach to food, and an understanding that eating something that I wouldn't normally eat isn't the worst thing I could do. I've never had any real food hang-ups, and I don't want any. So there's nothing I'm beating myself up about too much.

But it just still annoys me that I could have eaten so much better than I did, and that I didn't even use my indulgence for food I enjoy, but for nutrient-free rubbish that I didn't even want,

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Half a small person

Another day, another weigh in. And I'm now down 4 stone from my heaviest (or at least 4 stone from what I assume was my heaviest, the day I was weighed the day after I joined the gym. If I was heavier before that, I didn't know it, and I didn't do anything deliberate to lose weight!).

There are people out there who are 8 stone. I know some of them. (There are undoubtedly people out there who are less than that, but I'm talking about relatively healthy people here). And I've lost half of what they weigh. That's pretty amazing stuff.

When it gets to this stage it's hard to get a handle on the magnitude of your achievement sometimes. You wear the clothes that you'd have previously looked at in horror and not even dare pick off the rail. You know you are fitter and healthier, and that you've done something amazing for yourself.

But it's still hard to visualise quite that much fat. 56lb. 25.5kg. I have very little imagination when it comes to visualising something that weighs the same amount as that, and when I look down at my body, it's hard to imagine it wrapping round my stomach and my thighs, even though I know it must have done. It really is overwhelming.

I'm glad I didn't think too much about this when I first started. If I'd sat down, worked it out and realised that I'd have to lose 4 stone to be "nearly not obese" I'd have just sat and cried. Until I used a BMI calculator online after a while of going to the gym, I didn't even think of myself as obese. Obese was something that other people were, people who were half a stone or so heavier than me. When I saw that my BMI was over 38 I knew that there was no way to argue around it.

Now at 30.1 or something like that I'm not so bothered by technically still being obese, I know that I'm fitter and thinner than most people with my BMI, and I know I'll be in the 20s soon enough. I feel a bit more justified in thinking of myself as not obese. But the fact is, I am. And once I get down into those 20s I can't let myself keep thinking "well, I felt OK at that weight". I have to tell myself there are no excuses, I'm not letting myself come back here if I can help it.

What surprises me in a way is how easy I've found it in the end. Not mentally, I'm having to come to terms with a lot of things about how I've behaved in the past and what I've done to my body. But physically, I like exercise, and I like what I eat. I've not had to count calories or get obsessive about my diet, and I've been able to have "treats" (a nicer word than "slip-ups"...) fairly regularly without sabotaging my loss.

But still, 4 stone. That's a lot, and I'm feeling a bit blown away at the moment.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


I've been having one of those days again today. This whole weight loss thing just seems to be taking up so much of my life and my energy, I sometimes wonder whether it's all really worth it and why I'm pushing myself like this. Trying to get thin so that when I'm sitting alone on the sofa at night I can feel good about myself? Making sure I'm healthy so I can savour all those nights I come home from work and eat vegetables alone? Is that why I'm doing this?

There are too many days at the moment where I have too little energy and it's affecting my performance at work. I'm not logging enough hours because there are times when, quite simply, I need to sit with my eyes shut for 10 minutes or so in order to summon up the energy to carry on. What do you record that under? I've started eating more, and better, to try to shake this lethargy off, but without success. I'm trying to sleep more, but between sleep (and the essential baths to make sure I actually can sleep), exercise and the constant food shopping to keep myself stocked up with fresh fruit and veg, what time does that leave me? Would I be happier, or have more energy if I stopped this now and stopped being so obsessed by it? I know I'm just having one of those days (PMT probably), and I do want to do this, but I just need to get my insecurities out sometimes.

This isn't a weight loss thing though, it goes deeper than that, to the heart of who I am. Why do I force myself to struggle on alone, and what is the point of a life lived only for me? And this isn't me saying I wish I could attract men, almost the opposite. This is me saying what is the point when I'm fundamentally unsuited to a relationship with anyone. When I do run the risk of getting involved with someone I push them away. And as I get thinner it could get worse. I don't want to attract men with my body, because for a man to be anywhere near suited to me he needs to be attracted to my mind, not how I look. I fear that if someone is attracted to my body they'd want something that I'm not sure I can give them. And then I'd only end up hurting them anyway. I know I've debunked the fat destiny idea somewhat, but the single destiny one still rings true to me. And what great timing with Bridget Jones's Diary back in the Independent today, no doubt still dreading dying and being eaten by her dog.

This is something that I've been trying to write for weeks now, but failing to come up with the right words for. But still, it's an essential part of me, and is maybe so deeply intertwined with my body issues that it shouldn't be kept locked away. Basically speaking, I'm not interested in sexual relationships. I never have been, and having made it to 27 without wanting anything like that, maybe I never will be. This is in fact one of the more intriguing things I want to test out on this journey, if I can love my body, can I let someone else love it too?

Over time I've tried to explain it away so many times to myself, but basically I've just never wanted sex. It's not that I didn't have opportunities, time and again at university I'd get myself into a situation where anything was possible, man at my mercy. Part of me wanted to get the monkey off my back as it were, to say I'd done it, and to take it from there. And then I'd back away, chicken out and realise I couldn't go through with it. Something inside me was just repulsed by the idea. I even managed an 18 month relationship where nothing happened. I liked the company, but I didn't want to go further with anything physical. And that's why I ended it, because I thought I was being unfair to keep dragging him along when I had nothing else I was prepared to give. Maybe I thought it was just the chemistry between us, but it wasn't. It was me. Maybe I thought that no-one would be stupid enough to think I was beautiful, but would that have stopped most 19 year olds? If I'd believed him, would I have gone through with it? I have no idea now, and it's pointless wondering really.

And after that, well, nothing. A disastrous date or two (ending the same way most of them did, me running out of the door when I realised things were going too fast in the wrong direction) in the first couple of years, and then a vast period of fatness where I didn't look, I didn't crave companionship, and I learned to love the single life. I stopped bothering with flirtation in clubs, having realised one day it might land me in a situation I couldn't get out of (I very nearly got burned by that once). I began to realise that it wasn't my size stopping me finding someone, it was who I was. I started reading around on asexual message boards, finding that there were other people out there with similar issues. I don't go there very often, but it's nice to know they're there. This is just how I am, and I don't really need "support" or advice about it, I've come to terms with myself. Most of the time it's just not something I think about.

I don't even know what I want here. Part of me still dreams of a relationship with someone, someone to hold me when I'm having a bad day, and to curl up in front of the fire with. But those fantasies never involve anything sexual, and although my dream might not be impossible, it's hard to find someone else who wants that and nothing more. Maybe if this whole weight loss thing changes who I am and what I want, I'll be happy, but I'm not sure I fancy stepping on that emotional rollercoaster and putting my happiness in the hands of someone else. I really don't know, but I'm interested to find out, I guess.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Repeat after me, I am not destined to be obese

The old photos I was looking at have been motivating me all day. I've finally accepted the unpalatable truth. It's not genetics or bad luck that made me obese. It was what I ate. It wasn't even what my parents gave me to eat when I was growing up. It was the foods I chose for myself from my early 20s until the middle of last year. I'm blowing my last excuse out of the water, and I'm not going to allow myself to use it. I refuse to accept that my destiny is being an obese person, and I never should have let myself get into that way of thinking.

The evidence?

Well, try this for size:

I can't believe how thin I look here. I was either 19 or just turned 20, and I never remember being that thin. I know at the time I was walking about 4 miles a day to and from university, but I really don't remember those collar bones. I still thought I was horribly fat, of course, and I'm sure I did have something of a belly hidden under there somewhere, but you know, it's not that bad. I was probably bigger than most people I knew, but not horribly so. Having been on a journey up to 260lb I'd certainly be happy looking like that now. Actually, I'm probably pretty much that size now, with my weight distributed in different places. I certainly don't ever remember being a size 14, so I must have been a 16 there, and I'm a 16 now. Dave, the ex, used to tell me that he thought I looked gorgeous, but I could never bring myself to believe him. I sometimes wonder how things would have worked out if I had done.

Then, things started to change.

I spent 5 months in America the next year. And the weight started piling on. I was not only living away from home, but in accommodation where the concept of cooking for yourself didn't seem to be catered for. My university restaurant was an all you can eat type place. And on a student budget I wanted to make the most of offers like that. I know that obesity isn't a strictly American problem, but if I was to pinpoint the moment when the weight started to arrive that would be it (although the majority of it only found its way onto my hips when I got home).

A year or so later, this is the same top. It might just be an unflattering angle, but there definitely seems to be more fat there.

And from that moment on, it just kept on building up. But because I'd always thought I was horribly fat, it didn't surprise me, or seem like something that needed to be stopped. It was just the natural progression, and it was what my insecurity told me I just needed to accept.

My weight only crept up slowly, but it was a constant upward slide. There was never any down, probably because I just didn't think that I could do it. Defeated before I even started thinking about it in any detail. Looking back, had I tried to lose weight back when I was 19 (or even paid attention when it first started slipping on) I'd never have got here, and I may have spent my 20s relatively slim. So any idea that this is my destiny is, quite frankly, bollocks. It's my choices, and my lifestyle that have got me like this.

This was all confirmed earlier when I finally blew the "big boned" theory out of the window with the "always been fat" theory. I used on online calculator that looks at your height and wrist size to calculate your bone structure. It doesn't pay any attention to weight, it didn't ask whether I was 205lb or 120lb, just my height and wrist measurement. And yet it still told me that I have a small frame. So whatever those bones are, they're not big. And I'm not using that excuse any more.

And finally, the fat photo. I don't have many photos of me taken over the past couple of years, but strangely I had one taken about 2 weeks before I joined the gym and recorded my all time high weight. Maybe, in some subconscious way, seeing the photo was one of the triggers? I never thought about it as being that, and it wasn't a motivation that I latched onto. But it was an interesting co-incidence.

I'm on the right, and have never been scuba diving! Actually, this doesn't look as bad as it could have done, although I look like I'm drowning when I wear the same clothes now and there's no problem with actually pulling the shirt down over my belly (there it's rolled up as it physically wouldn't go any lower).

But that's going to be a one off. I am not destined to be obese my whole life, and I'm going to start seeing the first photo (and the ones that are to come in the near future*) as the real me, not the last one.

(*I'm passing two big milestones shortly - when I get down from 205 to 202 my BMI will be 29.9, and then it's only another 3lb til 199, so I'm going to take some photos then to mark the achievement. No questions. I AM going to get there.)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Challenging my Misconceptions

I've been going back through some of my old photos tonight. The problem I'm coming across is that there aren't very many of them at all, I've always been very camera shy (although I'm currently racking up a load of progress photos for my own personal consumption). But I'm starting to notice something from the old photos.

I wasn't always as fat as I thought I was. I've just come across a photo of me in my second year at university. I looked amazing! I thought that my current weight was the thinnest I've ever been as an adult, but after seeing that photo I'm not so sure. You could have cut things with my collar bones. I have a couple of photos of me when I was about 15. I was chunky, but not the whale I always thought that I was. It's funny, that I always thought I was really fat, until I actually was really fat, at which point I started to ignore the problem and think I was the same weight as I had been before...

Looking through the photos I can also see when the weight arrived. Studying in America may have been a fantastic experience for me, seeing loads of new places and experiencing new things, but it sure as hell wasn't a fantastic experience for my waistline. I didn't come back as a whale, but a year after the fantastic collar bone picture there's a photo of me wearing almost exactly the same clothes, and you can't half tell the difference. I wish I had them now to take an update photo...

But that wasn't the main weight. In my graduation photos you can see I've got chunkier, but I'm nowhere near where I ended up. The photos of me slow from a trickle to an almost complete absence at this stage, other than a series of four taken a mere week or two before I joined the gym last July (which I will reveal at some point when I get the courage). But I'm fairly sure that starting to live alone properly, and the inactivity caused by my broken ankle got me where I ended up.

What I'm trying to do is to challenge the voices which say "you have always been fat, you will never be thin". Sure, I've never been thin, as such, but I'm trying to convince myself that when I was about 19 I wasn't too bad, and could have gone in one direction or the other fairly easily. Just because I ended up on a temporary detour on the fat route doesn't mean I'm stuck on it. I've turned round, and one day maybe I will become the thin person I was closer to than I thought.

Monday, August 01, 2005


Sometimes I feel like I have two heads, facing in different directions. But as this journey goes on I'm constantly changing my focus.

When this first started, I was running away. Running away from being fat, from being obese, from being out of control. I was heavy, and I was gaining. I don't have the stats to back that up, but I know I must have been. My clothes sizes were gradually getting bigger, and I'd not been that size all my life. By ignoring what was happening, I lost control, and I lost the power to direct the direction of my own weight. Or at least to direct it downwards...

So, I was scared of that carrying on. I didn't want to end up at 20 stone, or 300 pounds, or wherever my inexorable weight gain might lead me. I was running away from a future of obesity, and I was terrified. I had no idea where I was going, just that it was somewhere other than where I was. I had very little idea of the task in front of me, and I had very little idea how overweight I was. If I'd known that I would have to lose roughly four stone to even be considered overweight rather than obese, the task might have seemed too big, but I wasn't bothered about that. I just didn't want to be who I'd become.

But as I've gone on, more and more people ask me the question "how much more". I set vague targets at the beginning, more based on nice round numbers than any sort of reality. I've never been thin, so I have no idea what I'd be like at 12 stone, or 11, or in the case of a miracle 10. But recently I've started to look a little more at where I'm going. I don't feel like I'm running away from my fat self any more, I feel like I'm looking for where the thin me might live.

I think it helps having lost over 50lb. I feel like I'm somehow past the worst. I've retrained my habits, and I've got to a weight where I feel relatively comfortable most of the time. So now I don't need to be as scared any more of going back where I came from. Sure, I could put all the weight back on if I went back to my old way of living, but as time goes by that becomes less and less of an option. And I've lost enough weight that hopefully I've got enough space to stop the slide before it gets that bad (sure, everyone says that, don't they, but I've got to keep myself believing it for the sake of my own sanity, even if it isn't true for everyone). I know that realistically the rest of the weight could be harder and more stubborn to get off, but I do feel like I'm on the home stretch.

I still don't really know exactly where I'm heading, and where I want to stop. But I'm getting more of an idea now. And I'm starting to look forward to the day when I get there, rather than just looking back and being glad I'm not so fat any more.

I'm still running, of course. But round parks rather than away from my fat suit.


Does anyone have a dignified response for when someone tells you you're looking really good and wants to chat about your weight loss but you have a mouth full of chocolate? Someone had been on holiday and brought some gorgeous chocs in. Obviously, being good I only had one*, but got cornered seconds after popping it into my mouth. That'll teach me...

* of each type