Tuesday, January 31, 2006

In hiding

I'm hiding in my bedroom with my laptop, but there's no escape. Downstairs are my sister and her boyfriend, and the pile of food from hell.

I got in from my 2nd run of the day (Tuesday is double trouble day!) and had grilled chicken, a huge pile of spinach and some left over roast veg from yesterday. An hour or so later she arrived with a bag full of bacon, sausages, doritos, dips, coke, white bread and god knows what else. None of this is stuff that has been in the house since her last visit. (OK, I lie, there are some packs of bacon and some sausages in the freezer, but while they're frozen they're not tempting).

But the smell, oh the smell. It's just so distinctive. I suppose that the good thing is that I realise I don't actually want to eat it, and it actually makes me feel quite glad I don't eat it. But I really don't need the smell lingering in the house for hours or days.

(but, hah. I have control of the tv remote (all the tvs are tuned into sky and I can control it from up here), and just as they're tucking in the poo from hell comes on You Are What You Eat. Success!)

There's another reason to feel virtuous too though. I weigh 12 stone, and she weighs 11 stone 11. 3 measly little pounds in it. But the clinching factor is that I'm taller than she is. Which means that my BMI is under 24.9 and hers is over. Fantastic! That's the first time I've ever been able to say that!!!

To be fair, I'm not noticeable thinner than she is, but she isn't noticeably thinner than me either, which is how it was for far too long. And I know that I am eating and exercising in a way that will get me smaller whereas, even with an active, sporty job, there's only one place that bacon's going to go. And rather her arse than mine!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Exclusion (2)

So, I've found out what the event was on Sunday and, in part, why I wasn't allowed to go. It appears that it wasn't couples only at all, in fact, single men were more than welcome. The problem was that I'm single AND female.

It was a meal that has traditionally been all male. It was a past players do and obviously rugby players tend to be male. Explain that, and I'd have been happy. Well, maybe not happy, but I'd have understood. Maybe the atmosphere would be too male, the speaker a little too male, just not the sort of place I'd go alone. Fine.

However, this year women were there for the first time, albeit in small numbers, accompanied by men. Three of them, I believe. One of them is a good friend, and we would, presumably, have been sitting on the same table (together with at least one of the other two women), so I wouldn't have been out on my own. So why is she allowed to go when I'm not? Because she's there as arm candy and not in her own right? Because despite being a fearsome company director she can slip into subservient wifey role on demand?

In a way this gets me more worked up than I was before. Had the event been entirely male only I'd have understood. I might not have been overly impressed, but I'd have understood. But instead it seems that women are welcome, just not single women. And that single men are welcome, but not single women. What sort of distinction is that? A bloody stupid one, if you ask me.

The thing is that this is my life. I'm not single because I'm "between partners" or on a temporary basis, I'm single because I choose to be, because I choose not to go out looking, and because I'm happy to spend my life like this. I love being single, and I love being able to do what I want to when I want to do it. I don't expect to have doors slammed in my face because of it.

I'm not normally one for big feminist style rants, but is it really still the case that women are only acceptable when they're defined by their relationship to a man? Do what you want at work, but make sure you have someone to go home to and bake cakes for at the end of the day.


*NB, the bloke I know isn't off the hook entirely. He may not have been involved in setting the rules for the event as a whole but it could equally have been that there were in fact no rules, it's just that his was the only organisation with a reason for inviting women - as a charity rather than as past players - and that he decided the circumstances in which he'd let them in. Either way, he is still responsible for the way he communicated it to me, and for his complete failure to reply when I questioned it. He could have had the courage to respond to at least one of the public and private messages I left on the subject. He would not have said what he said to me to a man. The irony is that if he'd explained what the event was I probably wouldn't have wanted to go because it's not really my scene, but by making the decision for me he's wound me up far more than he needed to.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Chucking Out Time

Outside my house is a wheelie bin. And in that wheelie bin (finally!) are a good proportion of my fat clothes. It's taken such a long time to take this simple step.

First of all I took my fat clothes out of my wardrobe and put them under my bed. Then the pile started growing, so I put them in a bin bag in the spare room.

But it didn't go anywhere. It just stayed there, looking at me.

Then a few weeks ago I went through the exercise again. This time I not only sorted through the clothes I'd already decided to chuck, putting them into charity shop-worthy and completely unwearable by anyone piles (I'm not sure the charity shop has such low standards as to want my old underwear or jeans with the thighs worn completely through), and a separate pile for suits which might be OK to pass on through other means.

And a separate pile for one size 22 suit and one size 22 pair of jeans, for after photos and reminders. I can already stand in one leg of the jeans, although taking a photo isn't so easy. Because I live alone I'd have to use the self timer, which would involve setting up the camera, pressing the button and then hopping into shot. I might leave that fun for another day.

But still, the bags stayed resolutely on the landing outside my bedroom door. It was as though I couldn't bring myself to get rid of them, even though I don't fit the clothes and, even if I did, they're too horribly worn to wear if I had any self-esteem whatsoever.

Today I finally cracked and got them into the bin (or at least the completely unwearable bags, the charity shop bag and the suit bag have been stashed in the wardrobe in the spare room to be moved on to their new home on another day). This is a big step, however, I'm worrying. The rubbish isn't collected til Tuesday and I dread finding myself rooting through the bin to pluck out some pyjamas that don't even come close to fitting me.

Why am I so attached to this stuff? It's not like I wear it, it's not even like (for the most part) I would want to wear it. And I'd be embarassed to give the stuff in the bin to anyone because of the pure hideousness and worn-ness of it.

But it still feels like I should be keeping it anyway, because they're my clothes, and throwing them away is throwing away part of me. Throwing away the fat part of me, to be sure, but still throwing away a person I've been for a long long time. Throwing away clothes that have history, like the dress I wore for my graduation and the skirt I wore for my second (both of which, incidentally, were kept through years of increased fatness and never wore again, not even during the period when I passed back through that size on the way back down. They're good enough for the charity bag, for that reason). Throwing away clothes that I was ecstatic to get into back in summer, but which now are too big to wear, but too small to make good photos, even though they meant a lot to me for that brief period of time.

Maybe I'm also worried about throwing away that comfort blanket, really coming to terms with the fact that I'm not that person any more. Making the commitment to saying that I don't ever want to be that person again, even though I was happy enough like that for so long.

But there's no going back now. There is basically nothing in my wardrobe that I owned this time last year, and those clothes are history. Finally.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Social Exclusion

Sometimes it feels like there's a whole other world out there that I'm not invited to. This isn't a fat issue (although I used to be excluded on two counts, at least it's now only one).

I know a bloke who does a lot of fundraising for injured rugby players and international development etc. He tends to get tickets to posh dinners and the like, which he flogs on to get some money for the charity. He also sometimes organises collections. It seems there's something on Sunday, which he's enigmatically mentioning on a message board I use. "Is anyone free on Sunday" etc etc. Not saying exactly what he wants people for, but saying that there's something on.

So, I reply. I've only got a run and some cleaning planned, so I replied. Bucket rattling would actually be my preference on the basis that I spent the remains of January's money on running gear earlier today and therefore have not much cash to get me through the weekend til pay day on Monday. I also still have car "issues" so was hoping for something nearby.

Well, it appears that it's a lunch event in Bradford. But there's a snag. It's couples only. He comes straight out and basically says that I'm not welcome if I'm alone. Part of me wants to sulk and say "I didn't want to go anyway" (actually, I didn't really if it involves spending too much cash, but I'd be willing to find out just how expensive it is before deciding), but throwing my toys out of the pram isn't particularly mature.

But then neither is this couples good everything else bad mentality. Why is my money and my existence deemed less worthwhile because I'm not all coupled up. Why do they assume that I'd want to go to a dinner and not speak to anyone other than the person I went with? I think a couple of my friends are going, so why am I not allowed to go alone and talk to them?

It's not something to get worked up about. I don't have my heart set on going (indeed I don't know exactly what it is at the moment anyway, so can't be too desperate to go). But it's just the tone of the message I got that annoys me more than anything. There are nice ways to say it, and ways that aren't quite so pleasant. Why not give me the info and let me decide for myself. Surely I can decide whether I'm willing to go alone or whether it's the sort of event where I'd feel awkward. If it's a money thing just say that the tickets come in pairs, and at least give me the option of paying for 2 but going alone. I wouldn't take it, but it wouldn't be quite so obvious.

Anyway, his response could well backfire. I was actually thinking it could be useful to go and talk to him, and discuss the possibility of doing a little fundraising for him based round the Berlin thing (because they are quite involved with German RL anyway). But if that's his attitude I might not bother. I don't know whether I do want to run for charity anyway, as my main motivation is to prove that I can do it for myself, but I had considered doing the charity thing because if I'm running anyway some good may as well come from it. I'm just a little less tempted now.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

One of those days

By 9.45 this morning I'd come across the following in the office:

* a tray of bacon and sausage sandwiches left over from a breakfast meeting
* a tray of danish pastries left over from the same meeting
* a box of chocolates for one person's birthday
* two bags of cookies and a box of chocolate for a second person's birthday
* six tubs of mini cakes for a third person's birthday.

And then a "surprise" cake and wine presentation to the first person because it was his 50th at 4pm.

That's just in my bit of the office, where there aren't even that many of us working. What's a girl to do?

Not binge, for a start.

I started to realise the advantages to planning. Let's start with the bacon and sausage sandwiches and danish pastries. No problem, I bring my breakfast into work to eat after the gym, so ate that instead. This actually makes it a lot easier to turn them down than having breakfast before leaving the house, so 1 - 0 to me.

I also had, in my bag, some fresh fruit, a tub of tomato and lentil soup and a low fat yoghurt, to add to the dried apricots and dates in my desk drawer for those moments when a bag full of satsumas or a plum just doesn't do the job. I also popped out at lunchtime to buy a healthy looking tuna, bean and spinach salad to eat before Spanish started at 6.30.

Add that to my three changes of clothes and my Spanish books, and I look like some sort of bag lady carrying my life around on my back. But it helps me to eat what I plan to eat, and to fit the things I want to do into my life. It's all packed before I go to bed, because I know that if I have to get up and work out what to bring in I'll miss that early bus. So it gets me to the gym. The food gets me through the day. And then I'm prepared for Spanish (or I would be if I'd done my homework!).

Of course, that doesn't stop me sampling a couple of the goodies, but far fewer of them than I would have done had I decided to use them to replace a meal. Because I already have food that fills me up readily available, I eat that rather than grazing all day on goodies. I also try to be sensible. I assume that eating one of the treats will give me equal satisfaction to eating a different treat, so I use my common sense. I pick the blueberry and yoghurt cluster at 60 calories rather than the chocolate mini bite at 90. It's not a huge difference, but the chocolate won't make me feel an extra 50% happier than the blueberry cluster, so why eat it?

I really don't like this "bring in cakes and chocolate for your birthday" thing, and I'm considering rebelling for mine by bringing in a huge basket of fruit or something like that. It's sad that the only "acceptable" way to celebrate seems to be by buying lots of calorific, fatty and sugary food, rather than buying something natural and tasty. I've still got a few months to go before my birthday anyway, so I might just cave in to conformity (although this year I might deliberately buy the sorts of cakes I don't like rather than the ones I do, so I can at least stop me eating them), but I am learning to deal with the situation at least.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Yoga Lessons

Things I have learned from yoga:

1. Beans and lentils and stuff have unfortunate side effects. I really must find something else to eat on Wednesdays to avoid being known as "the one who farts". They don't normally affect me badly, but there's just something about yoga that encourages it all to come out.

Sorry, TMI.

2. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. I still struggle with bending over and touching the floor for prolonged periods (I can touch my toes, but I can't hold it). But I'm a star at back bends and some of the other things that other people look at in horror. People aren't necessarily good at everything, and I need to focus on the things that I can do rather than the things that I can't do.

3. I can do a shoulder stand! Just. In a very shaky way. But there was definitely a bit of balance there.

I'm starting to get into it now, and it's nice to take some time out to relax and do something other than running. And it leaves me nice and chilled on a wednesday evening (literally, today, the room was so cold!), which is always a nice feeling.

Things are good, and I'm not getting too scared about September. Yet...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Born to Run

I'm feeling fab this evening. This morning I did 4 miles on the treadmill. A nice steady run, bang on schedule.

But that wasn't enough for me, today was a day for running. Over the weekend I saw a message on the Runners World website about a running group in the part of Leeds where I live. I couldn't resist emailing and getting details. A group of women who aren't too fast and run about 3 miles on a Tuesday night? Sounds perfect.

The only snag was that they start quite early. While I can understand that because they'd get hungry if they only went out later and then ate after, it meant that my only hope of catching them would be to get out of work on time and hope the bus got me home quickly, then throw on my running gear and run down to the meet up point. If I'd been certain of getting back I'd have skipped the run this morning, but I wasn't sure so I decided to get the run in and then see how I felt later and what time I got out of work.

So, I got out at 5 (after getting my holiday form signed off, of which more later), got home, got changed and felt good. I ran the mile to the pub where we were meeting, and met up with them. They all seem really nice, mainly roughly my age, chatty and easy to talk to. Then we set off for what I'd been told was a 3 mile/30 minute run. I'd been hoping they'd take it fairly easy with having already got 5 miles under my belt for the day by that stage, but to my shock they were all running SLOWER than my legs felt like going!

I was running at the front (with someone who knew the route), and we were opening up a big gap on the rest of the group (there were about 6 of us). We got to the point where we cross the road, stopped and waited for the others to catch up. We ran up another road, someone different with me at the front this time, and she's getting out of breath complaining about hills. I'm thinking, you call this a hill?! Again, we open up a gap, she's starting to struggle and I offer to SLOW DOWN for her. We slow a bit (from what was already a fairly slow pace by my standards), and again wait at a cross roads for other people to catch up. We make it back to the pub, and she says that she really felt it today.

We stand around discussing races for a while. One of them says she did a race in November. I ask whether it was the Abbey Dash (10k - the one I did). She looks at me in horror and says it was the Barnardos run. I ask whether she means the 5 mile. She still looks horrified and says she did the 5k. Ah. There's some debate about whether to sign up for the next Barnardos run, but again it's the 5k that's tempting them all.

After a bit of chatting (complete with my encyclopaedic knowledge of races they could sign up for), we split up.

I run the mile home.

(I later plot the route and find out we only did 2 miles on the group run, with an extra mile there and back for me. They think they're doing 3, but that's not what my map says!)

This made a few things clear to me. I can run. Not only can I run, but I can run fairly well. I'm fit, and I can do this. I can meet up with a group of people who run and outrun them. I can be told by someone I've never met before that "I look like a natural". I can run.

This being the half marathon, of course, but also Berlin.

Today I booked the day after the race off work. I've not told anyone at work why I want the day off (well, I've said I'm going to Berlin, but not what I'm planning to do there), but I've got it written down on a bit of paper to commit me.

I'm going to do it. I worry about taking things too fast, but it's 7 whole months away. That's hardly a rush is it? I'm fitter than I've ever been, and I'm in the right place to attempt this. What if I don't do it and the opportunity never comes up again? I'm going to seize the moment, and I'm going to enjoy it.

The flights should be booked by this time next week, and I've even set up a separate training blog.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Throughout the highs and lows of my relationship with the scales, I have always kept a straight face and a bit of sanity.

Of course, for many years scales couldn't upset or hurt me. I avoided them, they avoided me. We didn't speak, and we didn't see each other. I didn't weigh myself for many years. In fact, I can't remember when I stopped weighing myself, or indeed if I ever started. I don't remember being weighed as a child, although I'm sure my parents must have weighed me at some point. We certainly had scales in the bathroom til we moved when I was 16. But I don't remember using them.

After that, there must have been doctors appointments, but I don't remember a single number. I was weighed by the hospital before I had my wisdom teeth out in early 2001, but again I don't remember the number. I vaguely remember the sharp intake of breath at some of my stats when they were working out whether it was safe to give me a general anaesthetic and how much to use, and I vaguely remember a warning that I really should lose weight, but I don't remember the details. They wouldn't have meant much to me anyway. Numbers alone can't hurt without some context to compare them to. And I certainly wasn't going to worry myself by looking at what I should weigh.

Then after 2001, nothing. I have changed doctors since then, but never actually went for my new patient check up, primarily through fear of being weighed. (Yes, I was pathetic). What I didn't know couldn't hurt me.

I only found out my weight once I knew that I was ready to do this. I didn't see my weight and go scurrying off to try to work out how to reduce it in horror, I decided to get fit and only then realised that they wanted to weigh me to work out a programme. But still, I was strangely serene about the whole process. It helped that the scales were in kg (or at least, they measure both, but were set in kg and I didn't know how to change it). I remembered the number, but it meant nothing to me. 118 was just a number. I didn't know what it was in stone, and I didn't know what it was meant to be. I just knew that 118 was the number.

Since then there have been fluctuations, but it's mainly been down. Sometimes the scale winds me up by seeming to stick interminably on one number, sometimes it shocks me by racing past numbers at lightening speed (not very often, but it's nice when it happens). But I've taken the ups and the downs as they come, I don't get too worked up about them, and I try not to let them alter my mood. I weigh every day, but I allow at least a week before counting a gain in case it's temporary water or something like that. It's usually gone by the time I'd start to worry about it. (By contrast, losses often get counted as soon as I seem them. Call it vanity, perhaps?)

Every week day pretty much I weigh in. Only at the gym, I refuse to let a scale in the house. I get up and go straight to the gym. Once I get there I use the loo again just to try to get rid of every tiny drop of water I can, and then I weigh in. I always weigh in clothed and with trainers on. And I always count that as my actual weight rather than taking a pound or two off it. I've since discovered that my weight clothed and shoed in the morning on the gym scale is almost always exactly the same as my lunchtime weight without shoes but with my undigested lunch and a morning's worth of water in my stomach on the Boots scales, so I take the number as accurate. At least they're consistent.

I weigh before my workout and I weigh after. I don't know why, I never count the after weigh in. But sometimes I like to see how much sweat I've lost when I've had a really good cardio workout and the scale shoots down afterwards. (I keep seeing people saying that the scale goes up after they work out, not with me it doesn't, or at least not after running).

I check my weight in kilos and pounds. Weighing in two different units means twice as many potential milestones to tick off. 5 kg, 5lb, 1 stone, etc etc. I have a spreadsheet that calculates all sorts of things for each weight - pounds, kilos, amount lost, amount til goal, BMI, percentage lost. And as I get to each weight I tick off that line and move onto the next one. I have a paper, hand drawn tracker at work. I colour in 2mm for every pound I lose. I do it in pen, so it stands as a reminder of the lowest weight I've ever been to, as even if I gain I can't undo my filling in.

But all of this has never once made me cry. The size of the task was overwhelming but not tear inducing. Minor setbacks were just that, nothing to get upset about. But today? I finally saw a number that seemed so far away for so long. When I started this, my BMI was 38.1. I am tall, so it's not as bad as it could have been at 260lb, but it was still bad enough. It was still 92lb over the very top of a healthy weight range for my height. As time went by, 168 started to have an almost mythical quality about it. Not that my life would be filled with sunshine and happiness and laughter when I got there, but that it would be a symbol of all I've done, of the fact that I've done something truly massive, something I thought I'd never achieve. I'd be somewhere I never remember being.

At 5'9'' and 168lb (12 stone) your BMI is 24.85. (according to the BBC BMI calculator, which will do for me)

You're a healthy weight for your height. You're not overweight. You've done it.

I've done it.


And now? Well, I'm not done, I have a half marathon to train for. I probably have other races to train for. I have a few more pounds I'd like to lose.

But I'm never going to let a number get to me like I let 168 get to me. Getting closer to it, that number has obsessed me far too much. At the end of the day it's arbitrary. It doesn't tell you about the make up of your body, and it doesn't tell you about your fitness. All it is is a mathematical formula. But 168 wormed its way into my head and just wouldn't let go. I'm glad I've made it, but I never want to put myself through that agonising countdown again. Not for 160, and not for any other number.


And I didn't eat that cheesecake in the end. It was there, dangling in front of me, but I don't really want it. It was a symbol of achievement, but not something I actually wanted to do when it came down to it. No, I've decided on a far more fitting reward for myself.

I'm thinking city break. I'm thinking September. I'm thinking seeing a lot of the city on foot.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Week 5 Day 4

A couple of years ago a work colleague decided that she was going to start running to lose weight. This was a very skinny colleague, under 9 stone, but she is constantly trying to lose a couple of extra pounds. Her big plan was to run to and from work every day for a fortnight. The problem was, she made this plan widely known, and quite a few of us expressed our doubts that she'd be able to do it. I suspect that the blokes who bet on whether I'd beat her in the Abbey Dash (which she didn't run in the end) placed bets on whether she'd keep it up for the 2 weeks.

She didn't. She may have managed the run once or twice. One day we drove along the route to shout encouragement and, having given her a bit of a head start so that we'd catch her about half way, managed to catch her walking. Another time she bribed me to give her a lift most of the way time. Another time she admitted she'd got dressed in her running gear... and caught the bus.

As weight loss efforts go, it wasn't particularly successful. (But rather better intentioned than some of her other plans, including the yoghurt diet - 3 tubs of 100 calorie yoghurt per day).

I suddenly remembered this plan earlier today on my long run.

My schedule said 9 - 10 miles, and I realised that if I attempted to run it round the park and the lake I'd have to do multiple loops of the same route, and that I'd get tempted to give up. That's the problem with running past your end point more than once, it's so tempting to not bother with that final circuit.

So I started trying to work out another route to clock up those 9 - 10 miles. My first effort (basically into town the short way and back) fell woefully short, at about 6 or 7. That's a decent run (and I wouldn't do it every day), but not what I was looking for. So I worked out a longer run, from my house to Headingley (about 4 miles), into town (another 2) and then back up towards the park, basically running along the bus route for as far as I could (or until a bus turned up). I knew that if I got to the park it would be 9 miles, and if I made it any further (or even managed to make it home) it would get it up to 10 or possibly more.

And I did it! I'm not 100% sure of my timings. I know it took about 37 minutes to do the first 4 miles, then I pressed the stop button rather than the lap button on my watch, and only noticed after 6 miles. I then ran the last 3 miles in about 27 minutes (or at least my watch said 1 hour 4 minutes when I stopped after 9 miles). So assuming that those middle 2 miles were at about the same speed, I'd guess somewhere between 80 and 90 minutes total (I had actually been thinking in my head a little over 90, but looking at the bits of timings that I know, it can't have been that much). I definitely seem to be getting faster with this training plan, and I probably had a little more energy in my legs were it not for the fact that I got to the bus stop and a bus was due in 5 minutes which gave me a nice period of time for some stretches before it turned up...

I can't believe I managed to drag myself out of bed on a morning when the weather forecast thing on my computer popped up -2, when it was horribly foggy (it still is, and visibility was well under 100 metres for long periods of my run), and I managed to run 9 miles. It was very strange running through the city centre at 9am on a Sunday morning, and the route wasn't the most scenic, but I knew the route so it was easy (I want to try the Meanwood Valley Trail at some point, but I want to walk it first so I know where I'm going).

And on Monday morning I'll email Emma and tell her that I ran to the city centre and back, and I went the long way round!

She is going to get her arse kicked in the Capital 10k if she turns up this time...

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Inspiration or Insanity

If there's one thing about the internet, it can really inspire you to fulfil your dreams. I'm currently trying to work out whether I'm insane, but there might just be a hint of sense in this idea. Somewhere.

It started with this thread. You will see that I replied...

I always used to watch the London Marathon on tv and wish that one day I would be able to run it. Dreams were the only way I could even consider me being that person, but I did dream, I dreamed of getting myself to a place where I could one day achieve more than I ever thought possible, and I dreamed of being able to say, for the rest of my life, that I did a marathon.

I didn't do much about it though, for a long time.

But, even before I started trying to get fit in earnest I used to go through phases where I'd think I'd start to run. I never did it properly, and the pattern was to think about it for a few weeks, one day summon up the courage to put a tracksuit on when no-one I knew was likely to be around, leave the house, run 50 metres, collapse panting in a bush, and put the dreams on hold again.

Funny then, that when I first joined the gym the one thing I didn't do for a long time was attempt to run. I guess I forgot my dreams for a while, and just concentrated on getting fit in any way I could rather than trying to run.

But once I started to run, I got hooked. I've blogged this time and time again, but I run because I like to run, not because I want to lose weight, although I know it will help. If I had the choice between running a good time in Blackpool and being 160lb on the day but being really slow, I'd take the first option.

I've been trying not to get too carried away with myself. At first I thought that I'd concentrate on 10ks this year and not get too intoxicated with the thought of being able to run further. I'd do half marathons next year, and only then consider anything longer than that.

But, inevitably, I cracked. And from my original thought of doing a half marathon in May or June I realised that the dates didn't really work with other stuff I have planned, so it came forward to February. So much for next year. I've got a plan for running up until about June, with a 10k in April and a 10k in June, with shorter races in March (5 mile) and May (5k) to build up to them. And then I wondered what I'd move on to after that.

And reading about other people who have lost tons of weight and run marathons got me thinking.

The marathon I would love to do is, of course, London, but with ballot entry even if I enter for next year, who knows how long it would take me to get a place. I'm quite tempted by the idea of leaving it to fate, assuming that I'd get a place "when I'm ready". But, reading other people's stories, I realised that I don't want to leave this to fate. I want to do it. I've realised that at some point I will run a marathon. That dream is too persistent to be ignored indefinitely, and I now know that I can run, and I can do it.

But when? Leaving it to fate is one option, but surely there are others. So I was fiddling around, and for some reason was drawn to the idea of Berlin. It's in September, and I could get a flight out there for about £40. There's no ballot to enter, and it would give me something to train for.

Part of me says just go for it, I'm sure I could train enough between now and then to at least get round, even if I don't break any records (except of course my so far unset personal best!). But I really don't want to do this too fast. I've got the rest of my life, and there's no hurry. If I run a marathon too soon will I feel like I've achieved everything I want in running and give up? Will I ever be inspired to carry on and do it again?

The sensible part of me says just enter the London ballot next year, and wait and see. But the impulsive part of me is jumping up and down saying "DO IT, DO IT, DO IT".

I don't want to rush into a decision. Ideally I'd run Blackpool first before deciding. But those flights might get more expensive before then...

(the 10pm edit - it's been on my mind all day. I need to check a couple of things with the dates, like if I can get time off work. I also need to wait til pay day before I can even think about spending money on flights. But if I can still get cheap flights once I get paid, and I can get the time off work, I think I'm going to do it. It will be hard, and it will be challenging. But I just imagine waking up on the morning of 25th September knowing that I've run a marathon. And that thought is selling it to me, and being persistently persuasive. I know that there's a marathon in my future. I've dreamed about it for too long. The question is when, so why not live for the moment and just do it?)

Friday, January 20, 2006


I've been eating for England this week. It's all healthy stuff, but I'm just getting a big concerned about the frequency and amounts. I just don't seem to be able to cope for more than about 5 or 10 minutes without something in my mouth. It's emotional or boredom eating, it's not hunger, but I keep on doing it.

I start to get mad at myself, as though I've learned nothing in this whole journey.

But that's rubbish, I have. I've learned a hell of a lot. For a start, I know that I'm doing it, which is a start. But also the stuff I'm snacking on is healthy and nutritious. And while it might add unnecessary calories into my diet, it also adds vitamin c and fibre and all sorts of healthy stuff too. I'm snacking on dates, and rye bread and fruit and things like that. I'm not snacking on chocolate and crisps and popcorn and toast and pies. Amongst other things.

When I start to get cross with myself about what I eat, I try to remember that this isn't about being perfect, about reaching unreasonably high standards, or about cutting out every possible indulgence. It's about living daily life, and if it's not perfect, then at least it's better than it was.

But still, I do need to stop the snacking. I still have Christmas chocolates in the house (something like 10800 calories worth at the start, I recall). They have been in the house for over 3 weeks and while they've diminished due to the aforementioned snacking - and yes, I said it wasn't chocolate, what I meant was it's not much chocolate - they weren't polished off in 3 days, and there's still a decent proportion of it left. I need to stop eating it just because it's there, and I need to find something else that keeps my mouth interested without actually eating everything. My current thinking is sugar free gum, if I could get round to buying any.

I can maintain like this, and I might even lose something. But it's not sustainable as a way of life. I just can't go on snacking, and losing control. I need to give myself a big kick up the arse and remember that food doesn't control me, and that I'm the one with the power in this relationship. And I need to do it soon.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Skinny Low Cut Trousers

I do like it when, having picked up a suit in the Zara sale for under £40, within minutes of putting it on someone at the gym comments "ooh, look at you in those skinny trousers". Sometimes just wearing new clothes takes pounds off you because they actually fit properly for a change. And lots of people noticed (and liked) the new suit. Result.

I never used to wear trouser suits at all. I far prefered skirts, perhaps imagining that they were a little more forgiving, skimming over the worst excesses of stomach, arse and thigh a bit less closely, and adding a touch of femininity that doesn't come from trousers with legs the size of tree trunks. But now I can't remember the last time I wore a skirt to work, and it's so nice to spend winter not having to spend a small fortune on tights (even better, when I do wear tights I don't wear through the thigh within a matter of minutes any more).

I was meant to be saving buying my "reward suit" for after pay day (and when I'd earned said reward), but for £40 it was too good to turn down. And I can't believe I'm wearing something with thin, straightish legs, which is low cut (there's belly button visibility, perched well above the waistband - or at least it's visible if I don't put a top on which clearly isn't the state I go to work in). And, dream as I may, losing that extra pound won't magically make me a size 12 if I'm not one already (I am in some shops, but not Zara).

Speaking of that low cut waistband, there's been lots of tummy tuck surgery on Fat-TV* recently, on Super Size Surgery and on last week's Ten Years Younger, and it's made me realise how lucky I have been with skin. Recently I've started noticing a distinct lack of tone, and a little sagginess, and I've wondered whether the dreaded loose skin has arrived after all. And then I see those programmes and realise what loose skin really means, and also the gruesome details of the surgery to fix it. And believe me, I'm nowhere near that. My stomach isn't as flat or toned as it could be, and if I lose more weight it might start getting worse, but it's not too bad. Not compared to that. Because after all, I'm not an 18 year old model, I'm me, and I never expected my body to be perfect.

I've always thought I wouldn't have surgery, but then if I'd had the amount of skin some of those women had, well, I'm not so sure I'd be turning it down. But having seen the intrusiveness and gruesomeness of the surgery, I don't think I'd do it for what I have. Or at least, not unless it really starts chafing when I run or something like that. I'm proud of the scars on my ankle because it reminds me of what I went through, and maybe I should just see the slight looseness I have as a constant reminder of what I've achieved and why I don't want to go back to how I was.

I know some people who, on seeing my ankle, wonder how I go out in skirts and sandals, without trousers or boots to cover it up. It doesn't bother me that much. I know it's scarred, but it's not going to get better by hiding away, and it's not going to hurt anyone. The same with my stomach. It could look better, but then it could (and did) look a hell of a lot worse, so if my clothes are comfy and I like how they look I'm not going to hide it away for fear of offending someone with a bit of flab. Or not when it would mean turning down a fab sub-£40 suit anyway!

(There's a hell of a lot of Fat-TV* on at the moment. I watch it avidly, and I can't get enough. It appeals to my inner bitch when I can look at someone fatter than me or who has lost less weight, or who has a less healthy diet, or who can't cope with exercise, or anything like that. My inner bitch is a horrible, horrible person, and maybe I shouldn't give her the opportunity to think this stuff. But then again, better she thinks it about people on tv who I don't know than appearing in real life when I really don't want her to...)

*Don't worry, this isn't a real TV channel, more of a genre. But I like to lump it together under the one title. Although you do sometimes wonder whether some of the channels are having a Fat-TV month and whether they'd be better off changing their names for the duration of January...


Running update - today I ran 5 miles "fast and slow" on the treadmill - 4 minutes slow then 1 minute fast. I've also earmarked another two 10k runs as potentials to fill out my schedule from now til June.

And the number's come through for the Half Marathon. So if you see someone running round Blackpool in number 900 on the 26th February, it's me! Say hello!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

When I Grow Up

I always seem to start posts "one thing I've learned" or "if there's one thing that's important". Clearly, from the frequency I use these phrases there is far more than one thing I've learned, and lots of little pieces that fit into the slots. But each one of them is important, and because they dawn on me one by one, each one feels like it's the most important revelation yet, so bear with me.

Today's was how grown up and in control I have started to feel. Even though I have a responsible job and a mortgage and I take myself round Europe on holiday, I sometimes feel like there's still just a little kid cowering inside me wondering why no-one's noticed that she's masquerading as an adult. I sometimes just feel utterly naive and inexperienced and lost.

But over the past year or so I've noticed changes. I suddenly realised last week at yoga that I was now doing stuff that my mum used to do when I was little. Not that she did yoga, but she went out to WI in the village hall or did aerobics classes (this was during her short lived thin phase). When my mother was my age she had 2 kids and had had quite a few medical emergencies and operations too, and I sometimes forget how much she'd done by my age. But that's rambling off a little. The thing is, that I'm in control of my life, and it feels all grown up.

I've stopped blaming other people for my failings. I stopped blaming genetics or my parents or what other people feed me for being obese. I realised that whatever my genes mean in terms of my propensity to put on weight if I eat shite, I still have the power not to eat shite, or to exercise,or to make sure that those genes just don't have the chance to hang on to lard. I realised that whatever eating habits I may have picked up while I was growing up, it's up to me what I eat now, and I can't just say I don't like something that I haven't tried for 20 years or more.

I've started taking responsibility for my own actions and following my own dreams and interests. I don't blame other people, or get angry at inanimate objects (not even the scale. Usually), I take a deep breath and I realise that I'm old enough to look after myself, and that I've only got myself to take the blame or the credit.

I've learned so much over this whole process, and it really does seem to have developed who I am, not just how I look. Sometimes I'm grateful I was fat, because if I'd never had to do this I think I'd be a far less rounded person as a result, and I'd have missed out on some fantastic friends and fantastic experiences.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Good Day

So, today went well. I did my "35 minutes/4 miles easy" on the treadmill. I actually did 40 minutes in the end, 4 miles took about 37 and a bit minutes, but I like nice round numbers so I carried on to 4.25 miles/40 minutes. Still on track with the schedule, which is good.

I went out for lunch with my boss today. I was on holiday when they went for the team Christmas meal, as was my trainee, so we went out for our own meal today. I was half inclined to indulge myself, particularly as I wasn't paying, but actually ended up being far more healthy than that. I listened to my hunger levels, and realised I wasn't that hungry. I also listened to some common sense in my head and realised that just because there was pizza on the menu, it didn't mean I needed to eat it. The healthier food would be just as nice, and would make me feel better about myself. So I ended up having some chicken (with a little slice of parma ham on top) with gnocci and butternut squash chunks. All three of us had the same, and we had two sides of spinach and green beans, and of course I dug into those.

Then, the challenge. If turning down a starter and bread is hard enough, there's nothing like turning down dessert when other people are about to eat it. But the fact was, I wasn't hungry any more, and having a slice of cheesecake (and it looked like very nice cheesecake) wasn't going to make the meal any better than it already was (which was bloody delicious). So I didn't have it.

Part of the no-cheesecake reasoning was that I've promised myself a slice when I hit 12 stone and a BMI of 24.9. I didn't want to take the shine off the celebratory cheesecake by having a slice for no particular reason apart from the fact I wasn't paying for it. I want to feel like I've really earned it before I indulge, because it will taste all the more special for that.

So I made a pact with myself. I'd go home via Boots, and if I'd hit the magic number on their scales (I was oh so close this morning at the gym, but not close enough) then I'd go to Costa or somewhere and let myself have a slice. But if not, then I'd leave it for another day. And that's what I did, and although I'm apparently now 5 foot 9 again, I'm still 12 stone 1, so the cheesecake will wait for another day.

I've also been sensible since I got home. I ate out at lunchtime so I didn't cook tonight. Normally I'd cook in the evening no matter what I'd eaten during the day, because that's what I did in the evening. I seem to be getting far better at balancing out what I eat over the course of a day, and actually listening to my hunger levels rather than eating something because that's what I'd got planned.

So all in all, a pretty good day, under control and heading very definitely in the right direction.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Full Circle

I should have had more faith in the Boots scales. It seems that they were right, and I'm now in the '60s again. The only difference is that this time round it's the 160s rather than the 260s.

First the maths, I've now lost exactly 35% of my starting weight, otherwise known as 91lb or six and a half stone. I'm the grand total of 1lb overweight (or 2 if we go with the slightly shorter Boots height). And I'm in the 160s, did I mention that?

When I started I couldn't possibly imagine what the 160s would be like. It was somewhere I'd never been (or not since my age reached double figures or so), and I had no idea whether I'd ever make it. One reason for that was a kind of denial. I didn't believe that I was actually 100lb overweight, even though the scales said I was. I preferred to think that I could carry my weight very well and that I didn't need to lose that much. I did, of course.

But I just couldn't imagine what the 160s would be like, even if I ever made it. And the funny thing is that now I can't imagine the 260s, while the 160s feel utterly normal. I know that I was 260lb, but I find it harder and harder to remember exactly what it felt like. I know, logically speaking, that my thighs used to chafe, that I was deeply unfit, that I had lots of back fat. But I can't actually visualise 91lb of extra weight on my body. Particularly when I realise that 91lb is more than half of what I currently weigh. Quite a lot more than half, come to think about it.

I suppose part of it is that you don't actually change as much as you think you might, not emotionally. So, from an internal perspective being 169lb is not much different to being 260lb. I'm the same person. Physically, yes there are differences, but the changes are so gradual that you stop noticing them creeping up on you. You forget that you couldn't always see your collar bones or feel your hipbones.

This is good, I think. Part of me wants to remember a detailed and horrific version of being obese to make sure that I don't go back there, but to be honest, it wasn't like that. I wasn't deeply unhappy with my weight, and I wasn't having lots of medical problems, or not yet anyway. But on balance, I'm starting to think that maybe if I block out the fact that I ever was that obese, and get used to thinking that this is normal, then I might stop myself before I get to the point where I was before. It's funny to realise I'd need to put on over 2 stone to even be obese, when it took so many pounds to get down to that level. At the moment it feels like even those extra 2 stone would be an unbearable amount of extra weight, so maybe if I block out the memory of being able to go above that then I won't be tempted to think I was happy there and it wasn't so bad.

It's funny, I spent so long being obese and it really was part of my life. It formed a lot of who I am. And now I can't remember it, and the thought is almost inconceivable.

I can't believe how far I've come.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


For lunch today I had a salad from M&S. With green leafy stuff, and peppers and beans.

and tuna!

It wasn't too bad, thankfully. I wouldn't say that I prefer tuna to chicken or my other staples, but it was edible (or at least I ate the whole thing), and I'd probably eat it again. I decided to get some pre-prepared stuff in the end because I'd rather have something that I know (or hope) has been properly cooked and nicely prepared (hence having it in an M&S salad instead of a cheapo one) rather than putting myself off by cooking it wrong. The going out to eat it idea was tempting, but I'd rather not spend quite that much on something I don't know whether I'm going to eat.

So, I'd definitely call that a victory over the dreaded fish. We'll see where it leads, but I actually ate it!

This morning I went out for my long run. I was a bit nervous about this, partly because I've never backed up a 4 mile run one day with a long run the next, and also because I didn't know how the new trainers would go. On the schedule was "8M slow (or 1 hr)". Now, for me 8 miles takes much longer than an hour, but never mind. I was hoping for 7 - 8 miles like last week, but suspected that it might be less while I wear the shoes in a little.

Funnily (but happily) the shoes were absolutely fine, but it was my stomach that gave me issues. I woke up really early and had to wait for an hour and a half or so until it was light enough to go out and run. I was hungry at this stage so had a muesli bar to tide me over, but I suspect I didn't leave enough time for it to be digested properly before running, and I got stomach cramps a couple of times. I managed to do about 8k before the first one (which co-incided with me needing to tie my laces), then walked for a while and ran a bit further to get to about 10k/6 miles in just over an hour. So not quite what I was hoping far, but not too far off track, and I've done a bit of extra distance on my shorter runs this week so for the week as a whole I'm within a mile or so of where I should be.

Other than that, it's been a trip to the supermarket. I actually seem to be getting better at planning my meals in advance rather than buying a load of fruit and veg and realising I don't have a clue how to put them all together. So this evening I'm having chicken with a new spinach recipe I've found, tomorrow will be chicken with rocket salad and tuesday will be loosely based around roast mediterranean veg. I'm hoping for a week of nice clean eats.

I'm also hoping for a nice weigh in in the morning. Yesterday I got a print out from the scale in Boots which, if it's repeated on my normal scale, would be a new all time low and a sign that fat burning has re-started in earnest. (Sadly, it also measures my height and decided that I'm 5 foot 8.5 rather than 5 foot 9, which puts that magical normal BMI another pound further away - on this subject, I know that my weight fluctuates, but I've had height measurements ranging from 5 foot 8 to 5 foot 10 from the one machine - and all without shoes! That winds me up). Usually the Boots scale is pretty much the same as the Boots one, so fingers crossed for tomorrow. I suppose I could still count the Boots weight if I'm desperate, as it's printed on a bit of paper for posterity, but I'd rather stick with the normal scale I suppose, for consistency.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Bloody Ryanair

Why is it so hard for airlines to actually run the flights they say they're going to run. It's one thing moving a flight by half an hour or so, I can cope with that, but for the second time in a couple of months I've been informed a mere 4 weeks before departure that my flight has been moved to a completely different time of day. Fantastic.

After Christmas's 12 hour change, this time it's the trip to Catalonia in February for the Catalan Dragons v Wigan game. I'd booked flights to Girona in Spain going out first thing on Saturday morning and back late on Sunday evening, and a car to get over the border into France. The plan was perfect, I like having the freedom to explore the area rather than just being stuck in one town which I've visited before, and I was really looking forward to it.

Until they moved the flight out there to Saturday lunchtime. Bearing in mind I have to be in Perpignan for a 7pm kick off, arriving at 3pm instead of 9am made a huge dent in my day, and needless to say I wasn't best pleased when I got the email at 8.30 this morning.

Still, my reputation at work for knowing far too much about European flight schedules paid off, and within about half an hour I'd come up with a couple of alternative plans (because the flight change was more than 2 hours I was entitled to a refund, but obviously, having got a better price by booking months in advance I wasn't best pleased about the prospect of potentially having to buy more expensive flights closer to departure).

Options in my head, I set out for a run to ponder them. I wasn't going to let this get in the way of the half marathon plan. The funny thing is though, that running cleared my head so completely that I kept on forgetting that I was meant to be working out what was the best back up plan.

So I got back, no closer to deciding, and then a brainwaive hit. I checked just one more airport and instantly knew I'd found the plan. I'm now flying to Reus which is about 2 hours further into Spain (and about 3 hours from Perpignan), but I don't mind driving as long as there's stuff to stop off and look at on the way. The whole point of hiring a car was to drive round the area, so now I just have a wider choice of areas for my stops on the way up there and back. And miracle of miracles, it was cheap! It was actually cheaper than my original flights, which should make up the extra petrol money and tolls, and make up for the inconvenience of being messed around again.

So I'm now looking through the guide books again to see whether there's anywhere I fancy stopping off at on the way up, as even with a longer drive, I've got enough extra time to do it in to fit a couple of extra stops in compared to the lunchtime flight they moved me to.

I just wish that they wouldn't keep doing this. I plan my flights very carefully, and it really pisses me off when they completely shuffle them round like this.

So, after my flurry of cancelling my flight and applying for a refund, booking another flight and changing my car hire reservation to pick it up at a different airport, there was one more job to do.

Yes. I went to the running shop. And I bought some trainers. It turns out that the ones I already had were pretty much right (a stroke of luck there, more than any assistance when choosing them) and my feet strike the floor fairly evenly in them. But they were indeed past the point at which they should be retired, so I now have some shiny new ones. I didn't feel like a complete idiot running up and down outside the shop in them (OK, I did really), and I tried lots of pairs on. Amazingly they actually had more womens 9s than mens 9s in stock, but I ended up buying one of the mens pairs anyway because they're wider and my feet felt more comfortable in them. And, as a bonus, the ones I chose were one of the cheaper pairs I tried on and well within the budget I'd set myself.

So tomorrow is test run day to see what they're actually like to run further than 20 metres at a time in before turning round and running back to the shop. They feel like they should be fine, but I need to try a longer run in them I think before deciding whether it's love.

Now I just intend to sit on the sofa and watch tv, read, and play around on the internet all night. I actually stayed sober all night last night for a change on a Friday night, and the feeling of waking up completely sober this morning was most strange. I'm not sure whether I'll repeat that tonight though...

Friday, January 13, 2006

Goodbye inner fat girl

I wish someone else at work would do something interesting sometimes. I'm getting fed up with the constant attention and comments about my weight. I know that I should be flattered and proud that people notice it enough to want to talk about it, but really, don't they have anything better to do?

It's boring, and it's dull. I eat well, and I exercise. I do stuff that I should have been doing for the last 10 years rather than the last one year, and it's as simple as that. I don't need to be reminded that I was bigger than Wigan's props (thanks Billy) or that partners have been discussing my weight (thanks Peter and Michael) or that my suits were made out of enough material to provide tent accommodation for a small family (OK, so no-one quite said that, but I know they were thinking it).

I know that it was part of my past, and that I was horribly obese, but I don't want it to be part of my future. I don't want to be forever dogged as the person who lost a load of weight, with the ongoing scrutiny to see whether it starts creeping back on again, or the ongoing questions as to how I did it. I just want to be me, to be the person I always was, but not covered in a layer of lard.

I want to move on, and I want to forget the obese me. Move her to the footnotes of history. I've realised that the inner fat girl just doesn't seem to be there any more. Of course, I do still eat the occasional calorific fatty treat, but I do it in a different way now. I don't do it through boredom or loneliness or compulsion, I do it consciously and deliberately, and I balance it out with healthy food and exercise. I don't crave all that bad food (this morning I was looking at the menu of the local indian takeaway as I waited for the bus to town, and I realised that I didn't actually fancy any of it. I used to love curry, but it held very little appeal, and I preferred to think about my chicken and mediterranean veg meal that I'm making tonight). I don't have an ongoing battle with myself, I just eat what I feel like most of the time, because what I feel like is good stuff. She isn't there, luring me into temptation, into the abyss. She's gone. So I want to close the door on all that, and say goodbye.

This means that, as well as the trip to the running shop (I'm actually getting quite excited about this now), there is another job for the weekend. I've cleared my old clothes out of my wardrobe, but at the moment they're sitting in a bin bag in the spare room. There might also be some under my bed, come to think of it. They need to go. I'm not going to go back there, so why do I hang onto them? I want to keep one particular suit, size 22 which was about the only thing I could wear for work for a long time. I lost a little weight in 2004 and it got loose, then by this time last year it was getting tight again. I've not tried it on for a few months, and I can only imagine how much room there is in it now. I want to keep that, so I can take the obligatory standing in one leg photo when the time comes, but what use is the rest of it? I need the spare room clear of junk for when I get invaded by my family at the start of February, and I need my life clear of fat clothes. I'm not going back there.

The big news of the day was me spending £12... on my half marathon entry. It looks like I'm doing it! One thing though, it will hopefully get me an hours worth of beauty treatments at the gym. They're running a "beat the trainer" competition and if you cover more distance than the trainers during February then you win your choice off a list of prizes, and that's the one I want (although I could take the month's free membership and spend the money elsewhere, but the treatments cost more than that and I've wanted one for ages). Now, it may be that the trainers are also training for a half marathon and are therefore confident, but as long as I can count time spent running outside as well as on the treadmill (and I need to check this before paying my entry fee, because I'm not going to do my weekend runs on the treadmill just so they count) I reckon I'll wipe the floor with them. With a schedule that says I need to run 20-22 miles per week that's going to be fairly hard to beat. Particularly when I turn up on the morning of the 27th February and announce "can I add 13.1 miles from yesterday to my total please". Oh yes, those beauty treatments will be mine!

(By the way, I do find it mildly ironic that almost every time I get accosted by someone in the office and grilled about my weight it's on the way back from the chocolate machine clutching a galaxy bar)

Thursday, January 12, 2006


I wish I could stop obsessing about three pounds and a slice of cheesecake. Three measly pounds, all that stands between me and normality. They'll come off at their own speed, and I should just let them do that, but I keep on thinking about them. Eighty nine pounds gone, and I obsess over three, as though they're far more important than anything that's gone before. I tell myself not to do it, that it's not going to make too much difference. But what wouldn't I give for those three pounds to pack their bags and leave, right now.

I'm planning what I'm going to do when they've said their goodbyes. One thing that's making me think is the slice of cheesecake. I keep on hearing that it's a bad idea to have food rewards, but I'm not so sure, I think it depends how they are used. I'd certainly agree that "when my BMI is normal I'm going to eat all the chocolate I want" isn't a good idea. But that's not my thinking. My thinking is more "that cheesecake looks good, but, while it's not banned as such, I should only eat it occasionally as a treat. I want to wait until a special occasion before eating a slice, as they'll still be selling it when I want to eat it, rather than having to gorge on it now. So why don't I wait and celebrate a normal BMI with it". I know that it's still rewarding myself with food, but it seems to work fundamentally differently. For me, it's accepting that at some point I will eat the cheesecake, but planning in advance what sort of occasion would justify me doing that to stop me eating it every day just because it's available. So if it takes me til the end of the month to lose the weight, I won't eat the cheesecake til the end of the month, and after that I won't have an excuse to eat it again until, who knows when? Because it's a food to eat on special occasions, and if getting to a normal BMI isn't a special occasion, I don't know what will be.

I have other rewards planned. I'm going to have a back massage. (It's free with a voucher at the gym, but again I want to save it and use it to treat myself when I feel like I've earned the treat). I'm going to buy a new suit (which I need to do anyway), but once more I'm going to save it and badge it as a treat. Not least because that way there's more chance that I'll wait til pay day before splashing out. And more chance that I'll definitely fit in a size 12 (although the size 12 suit I tried on in Next at lunchtime seemed to fit pretty much OK already, far better than the 12s I tried on in other shops over the weekend). I also need some new underwear as the stuff I have at the moment is just deeply unflattering, and I think that at 27 I deserve to have owned at least one nice set of matching underwear in my life.

But I'm going to get those three pounds out of the way first, as I really don't want to obsess about them for too long. (Mind you, then there will be another eight to worry about).

This morning's run went well again. On the schedule was 4 miles with a few 30 second bursts of speed, I decided to go for 40 minutes again to get just a bit over 4 miles rather than concentrating on the precise distance. Today I covered 4.25 miles (6.85k), so slightly more than on Tuesday when I ran without the bursts (of which there were four), so I'm quite pleased with that. I'm astounded that not only am I following a half marathon training plan, but I'm finding it, if not easy, within my capabilities. OK, so it gets harder, but I suppose the point is that if you can do week 4 (which I'm doing at the moment) it's a gradual progression up to week 10 and it's designed to get you there.

With every run I'm getting more and more convinced that I will go to the running shop on Saturday, as my poor feet aren't particularly enjoying the increase in distance and intensity in the trainers I already have. They are running shoes, but they don't like my feet that much, so they must go. Oh, and I'm looking forward to running outside at the weekend too, it's really starting to dawn on me how much easier it is to tick the miles off outside compared to on the treadmill. Dull is the only word for it. Music only goes so far in relieving the boredom, and doesn't stop your eyes constantly clock watching unfortunately.

I was stiffer than usual afterwards though, despite some decent stretches after the run. I don't know whether it's because of the extra mileage I've been doing this week or whether it's because of the yoga last night, but I can definitely feel it today. At least it shows I've been working hard I suppose! I'm still trying to decide between a weights session and a swim for tomorrow morning, it definitely won't be a run, I know that much. Fingers crossed that the legs feel like running again by Saturday.

Back to Spanish too today. It's a good job I didn't have a new years resolution that said "don't get pissed before Spanish". Ah well, it was only two glasses of wine. Shame they were so big...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Tonight I tried to kick off the "doing fun fit type things" resolution. My original thought was to start kickboxing, but it may well clash with Spanish after this month (if I move up to two nights per week), and also with upping my running I wasn't sure whether I wanted to do quite that much cardio.

So, instead I decided to try out yoga. I'm very aware of the fact that I'm pretty inflexible, and I figure that it won't get any better unless I do something about it. I got a leaflet through the door the other week about a new yoga class that was starting today, so I figured that at least if I get in at the beginning everyone will be in the same boat. Plus, it's at the gym at the end of the road so I don't really have an excuse for not going (other than the tight bastard Yorkshire part of me that begrudges paying for classes when I have a perfectly good gym membership elsewhere - while ignoring the fact that they don't include yoga at my gym anyway, and I'd have to pay extra there too).

Yesterday's trying to make myself committed task was buying a yoga mat (or at least spending my Boots points on one, rather than money actually changing hands), on the basis that it would make me more likely to turn up to the class. Today I popped in when I got off the bus to check I didn't need to sign up in advance or anything, but no, I had no excuse and I persuaded myself to get my arse down there.

I was actually quite keen on the idea because you never know, I might meet some people who live near me who are vaguely interested in keeping fit, and who might even become friends or running buddies. I never really see people from round where I live other than on my runs (when all the old dears walking their dogs in the park smile as I run towards them in my bright yellow Help the Aged t-shirt from the Abbey Dash), so it would be nice to get to know people. So it is kind of something I wanted to do.

I got there, and it was OK. I was just about right about how inflexible I am. Hopefully that will improve. Luckily I was also right about everyone else being beginners too, so that was one consolation. I do need to concentrate more on my breathing and "connecting with my body" rather than staring in the mirrors to work out whether my arse is fatter than other peoples though. (For the record, it's kind of in the middle...) So maybe I should change that resolution to "do fun sporty stuff and don't obsess about size of arse while doing it". It's a good job my own gym doesn't have quite so many mirrors...

So I'll probably go back. It gets me out of the house and away from the kitchen, and it is a nice contrast to my running. It's about 2 minutes away by foot, so I have no excuse really. My only worry is that if I do yoga and 2 nights of Spanish I'll never be in the house, but then what's in the house other than my own company and some books? I may as well get out and do stuff!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Happy Ankle-versary

It's the 10th January again. They come round every year, but this year more than ever I appreciate the miracle of medical science that put my anke back together on this day in January 2003. It's a long story, and I've already written it all out here, which you can read rather than me doing it again.

I really can't believe how strong my ankle is, how perfectly it works, and how little it affects my life now. It's not perfect, by any means, but it does everything it needs to do. It might be an ugly little bastard of an ankle, with scars down both sides, and a rather strange shape, but it works perfectly and I'd rather have that than a perfect looking ankle and a limp.

And that can apply to this whole journey. I want my body to work as much as I want to wear smaller clothes. If I have some saggy skin at the end of it, well, that's just a cosmetic thing, my body will still work better than it did at over 18 stone, and that's the important thing.

But today, even though they almost certainly won't read this, I just want to thank all the doctors and nurses and physios and everyone else who put me back together when I felt like I'd never be right again, and who helped me walk again when my ankle was so stiff that it barely moved. And a particular thanks (and sorry!) to anyone who had to lift, support or carry me (sorry Eduardo about those steps...)

(Sorry if you were eating when those pictures came up by the way! They're 2003 photos rather than what it looks like now, but I was in the mood for digging them out for some reason)

Monday, January 09, 2006


Over the weekend I had a lightbulb moment. I'm no longer, for want of a better word, a "dieter" (I've said before and I'll say again, I'm not dieting in the traditional deprivation sense, but it's the most convenient word to use to describe someone who's actively trying to lose weight, by whatever means they choose). I'm a runner.

I peruse running websites and magazines rather than slimming websites and magazines. I look for training schedules that will make my running better rather than schedules that will help me lose weight. I look at nutrition tips for runners rather than looking at a simple calories in calories out approach to lose weight. I know that running will help me shift some of my remaining fat anyway, but I run because I want to run, and I train because I want to run, and I want to eat food that will give me energy to run. My goal is no longer solely counted in terms of pounds or kilograms, it's miles and kilometres and minutes and seconds.

A lot of it covers the same ground, afterall, there's a nice big running for weightloss section on the Runners World website, and a lot of people do run to lose weight. A healthy diet is a healthy diet no matter why you want to follow it. But the emphasis is changing, ever so slightly. Instead of running to burn off what I eat, I want to eat appropriate fuel so I can run (without having any much excess to convert to fat). Instead of running for longer because it burns off more calories, I want to run for longer to see how far I can push myself and what I'm capable of.

It still takes some getting used to though. I can cope with the concept of no longer being fat. I see that enough times in the mirror and on the scales. But it's hard to adjust to the concept of running for enjoyment rather than running for necessity. I do, I must do or I wouldn't have gone out for an hour and a half on a bitterly cold morning yesterday when there was a treadmill in a nice warm gym that would have given me as much exercise, but a less enjoyable route (yes, enjoyable hills and all!). I can see the changes in my body, but I can't see the changes in my mind. When I put on my tracksuit bottoms and running top I still look the same as I did, even if my motivation has changed.

One consequence of this is that I really need to go to the running shop this week to get some new running shoes, socks, and maybe even some unflattering sounding running tights. The trainers I've got are fine most of the time (well, if fine includes the insides being ripped to shreds), but once I run over about 8k they start to give me a blister on the instep of my left foot. I've got one there from yesterday as I type. That's not ideal, really, particularly not if the half marathon plan comes off.

My feet deserve someone better than me to look after them. I'm just so pathetic when it comes to stuff like this, doing a hit and run effort in JJB to grab some trainers before anyone notices that I'm there, because I'm not the sort of person who is worthy of assistance in choosing something decent (not that JJB staff would know how to give that assistance anyway!). I've now located a local running shop, which even has a fancy running analysis machine linked up to the treadmill to compare different shoes as you give them a test run, but I'm feeling intimidated about going in there. I feel as though they'll spot me as a big fat fraud. Never mind that I've run a couple of 10ks, that I'm not really that overweight at all, that I'm fit and that I ran 8 miles yesterday. Or that I have a subscription to a running magazine and I'm considering running a half marathon. No, I feel like I'm not the sort of person who should be thinking about buying proper shoes and getting proper expert advice. As though they'll spot me as a fake the second I set foot on the treadmill and attempt to try out some trainers. I'm sure they won't really fall around laughing behind me as I attempt to show off my technique, but why do I feel like they will?

Why do I still feel like this? It's not just a question of not thinking I'm thinner than I was, I know that I am. It's a question of feeling like I'm entitled to be this weight, and that I'm not just getting the opportunity to try it out for a couple of months while I'm still the same old fat person inside. I think it's easier to believe that I'm thinner because of the evidence of mirrors than it is to believe that I'm actually sporty and fit, and I don't know how I'm going to persuade myself that I am really that person rather than the old person in a new body. That I'm a runner, and I deserve proper running shoes.

If they ask me how far I run I need to not mumble "oh, about 5k usually, and not very fast", but tell the truth, no matter how unbelievable it sounds to me, "a couple of shortish runs during the week and a long run at the weekend, up to about 13k at the moment but I'm considering a half marathon, and I run 10ks from time to time". I'm not just some fat chick off the street throwing money at an unrealistic and unsustainable new years resolution. I actually run, I have a perfect right to be there, and I deserve the best shoes for my feet, rather than something that's on offer at JJB. And at the end of the day, they're going to make money when I buy something, so why wouldn't they help me?

I just need to get myself there now, either on Wednesday when I think it's open late, or at the weekend


I don't know whether it was the angelic eating or the long long run that did it, but there's movement on the scales. 1lb down in 1 month might not sound like a lot (OK, it isn't a lot), but it's 1lb in the right direction, and I'll take it. Last year I gained over Christmas and this year I didn't, so that has to be a victory of sorts. So, it's 171, and now only 3lb to a "healthy" weight (but in reality less than that, if I'd only take my trainers off to weigh in. It would mess up my numbers though, so I stick with artificially inflating my weight).


Time for a short fish update. What's with the tuna shortage in Leeds? I've (seriously) been trying to get hold of some tuna to try, and everytime I go to look in the fish cabinet in Tesco there isn't any in there. I swear that this isn't just me putting off the fateful moment, but it seems that the gods are conspiring to stop me trying it. I suppose I could try some tinned tuna, but that doesn't hold the same appeal really as proper fresh stuff. It remains to be seen whether, once there is some, I'll actually pick it up and buy it, but at the moment I'm being denied the opportunity to even consider it. So frustrating!

Sunday, January 08, 2006


This weekend's aim was to run for longer than I've ever run before, to see whether the crazy half marathon idea is quite so crazy after all. Yesterday morning I woke up and all I wanted to do was run, which was promising in a "getting hooked" sort of way, but not so good on the basis that it was meant to be my rest from running day, and I don't want to wear my legs out. If I'm going to do this, I want to do it sensibly, and looking at the training plan I'm vaguely using, that definitely doesn't mean running every day. No training plan would suggest that, come to think of it.

So I didn't run, although I did get round to sorting out my subscription to Runners World magazine and the website, which I've been tempted by for a bit, but I wanted to get a copy of the magazine first before just signing myself up. The new issue finally appeared in the shops yesterday, so I got it, liked it and signed up. I was meaning to buy a watch for running in anyway, so I reckon that getting a watch free with the subscription will cover the cost for the first year or so. I also swam and went into town to try on some size 12 suits. They fasten, but aren't quite comfortable enough to buy. Still, this time last year my size 22 suit had starting getting a bit tight again, so I can't complain about still being a 14! I'm kind of between sizes at the moment, and trying not to buy anything else until I hit size 12, as the 14s are definitely loose and I don't want to buy clothes that are already on the big side.

Anyway, I got up this morning and it was cold and drizzly, but having resisted a run yesterday I was determined that I was going to do it. And anyway, if I'm meant to be building up my running over the next two months I can't avoid bad weather. I need to run outside more. So I got kitted up and headed out. But first of all I picked something else up. The one advantage of the car park where I usually park being closed, and my car being a bit temperamental (it doesn't like reverse gear at the moment, the stroppy bugger) is that my bus pass effectively gives me free bus travel at the weekends. It costs less than 4 week days of day tickets, so I get 1 work day and the weekend free. I decided that with today's plan being to run as far as possible and with the weather, I'd take it with me so I didn't need to worry about getting home in the freezing cold if I ran out of steam too far away!

I headed out of the house, and I headed left at the end of the road. I usually go straight to the park, but I'd decided to try a new route to the park. This would mean I'd have to run over 5k to get to the park rather than the mile it takes by going right. I'd run about a mile in the wrong direction then head back on a diagonal to get to the bottom of the park instead of the top end of it where I normally come out. The route got me where I went to be, but maybe I should have checked whether there were any hills, it was definitely hiller than my normal route!

I got to the cafe on the lake in decent time and started doing my running in circles. I really like this bit of the run, but it gets a bit repetitive. I have two separate 2.5km (roughly) loops, one round the lake and one from the cafe mainly along roads on the edge of the park to get back to the cafe. I ran the lake loop twice and then the road loop once to take me up to 13k. I was running more or less continuously (other than crossing roads and avoiding traffic) for about 1 hour 25, so I ran a little slower than my normal pace, but still between 10 - 11 minute miles (8 miles in 85 minutes). I started doing my cool down walk, and cool down isn't quite the word for it, I seemed to freeze within minutes, so when I got out of the park again and saw a bus I summoned up what was left in my legs and sprinted to catch it! It's good to know that there was still some energy there, as it gives me confidence that I can build up my running even more if necessary.

It was probably the best run I've ever done. I really got into a pace where it felt like I could just carry on running and running. I wasn't breathing too heavily or sweating too much, just plodding on nicely. My legs felt pretty strong for most of it, and on that evidence I can certainly run for even longer than that.

Checking the half marathon programme I've been looking at, this is about right for 6 - 7 weeks out (I ran 7.5k on Monday and 5k on Wednesday and Friday), which means that the end of February isn't stupidly impossible. I'm getting more tempted to do it at the moment, although not quite tempted enough to actually sign up! Not yet, anyway.

So the rest of the day will probably be fairly lazy. I've got lots of nice healthy food in the fridge (and I found a greek food stall in Leeds market that has all sorts of healthy-ish treats like stuffed peppers and marinaded butter beans and garlic so I got myself some treats). Yesterday's eating was pretty good, and I got a lot closer to my ideal of cutting out the treats I've started allowing myself recently.

I hit 78kg on the 9th December, and I'm still here a month on. I shouldn't be upset about maintaining over Christmas, it's better than a gain, but I don't want this to be the start of a plateau. I want to get back into fat burning mode and start seeing the pounds come off again. And if a 13k run doesn't get the burners turned back on again, I don't know what will!

Friday, January 06, 2006


I think I see an alternative Blackpool plan, but it's kind of scary. There are two half marathons in Blackpool, and I could do the other one. That almost sounds like a plan, except that it's in 8 weeks time. Gulp.

So, what I'm going to do is to attempt a half marathon training plan. Graham said yesterday that I'd be able to get up to running that far in a month or so, I'm not quite so optimistic, but 8 weeks might just about be doable. I've got a 10 week training plan in front of me and I currently run at about week 2 distances/frequency, so it could be possible. Double gulp.

I'm not going to make any rash decisions. I'm going to try a couple of weeks (at least) trying to follow the plan and then see whether I think it's possible. I don't think it's going to fill up too quickly (and if it does then I'll have a good excuse not to run it), but I guess I should at least give it a try. To see.

(and anyway, I keep reading the article I linked to yesterday. Finishing last sounds kind of fun, in a strange way...)


K, you've got me intrigued now. When I say I used to live in Stratford, I didn't actually live in town, but I did live near Stratford and go to school there, and saying I lived there was a bit quicker than putting that. Anyway, I was at Shottery from 1989 to 1994, I'm not sure whether that's around the time you lived there or not, but that's when I was there.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Signed Up

Something that I hate hate hate is not having something to work towards. That's the main thing that winds me up about work in a way, that I don't have any clear idea of where I'm going and therefore can't work out a plan to get there. But I'm not going to rant on about work again just yet, I'll let things tick over til I see how everything's going to settle down next month.

What I can control is my exercise goals for this year. I've discovered over the past year that I'm more motivated by having an event to work towards than a number on the scale. A run on a Sunday morning might not knock 10lb off my weight in an hour, but it will get me one step closer to being able to finish a 10k race without embarassing myself. That thought motivates me far more than the number of calories I burn, to be honest. I run because I want to run faster and further, not because I want to lose weight. This is entirely a good thing, meaning that it's not something that might fall away when I reach a weight I'm happy with (hopefully!), but it still requires something to work towards.

So a mere 5 days into the New Year it's time to sign up irrevocably for the first event of the year. None of this "I might do it" or "I'll think about it" procrastination for me, I'm going to do it (or at least I'm going to forfeit my £19 if I don't...). It's in June, which gives me 6 whole months to keep running in preparation for it (although I might do other runs before that, I know that I now have to keep running until at least June, and then hopefully I'll sign up for the Abbey Dash again to extend it to November). This run is something of a step up for me though. Not because of the distance, it's another 10k and I know I can do that (even if I do want to do it faster this time), but because of the fact that it's more than 5 miles from my front door. Up to now I've done a 5k that I actually walked to and back from, a 10k that started from my office car park and a 10k no more than 5 or 10 minutes drive down the road. Although they obviously involved effort in terms of running it, they weren't things that I needed to plan weekends around.

This time though, I'm running in London, in the Capital 10k. Rather more than 5 miles from my front door. There's a degree of extra commitment required for that, to get the train down there, get a hotel, run, come home. To go away for the weekend for the purpose of running. That's something I've never done before, and putting it like that indicates what a step up in my thinking this run will represent. Of course I'll do other stuff over the weekend, and I'm sure I'll do lots of fun things, but the fact is that I've chosen the weekend and the destination at least partly on the basis that there's a run.

[I should at this point mention the fact that as always it's a charity run, in aid of "Help a London Child". If you want to make a donation, you can use this link. I'm sure that children who don't live in London are also worthy of help, but it's London children who have been chosen by the powers that be, on the basis that the run is in London no doubt, so let's hear it for the London children.]

But it gets worse. Today I had two separate conversations with two separate people at work, but they both asked me whether I was intending to run any half marathons this year. Or at least one person asked, the other person told me that I should run one. This is something of a shock for me, seeing that this time last year I struggled to run for a minute at a time and weighed over eighteen stone. This year people ask me, with straight faces, whether I fancy running 13.1 miles, and think that I'd be able to do it (and that I'd like to do it). Me? Helly Jelly Belly who got picked last for almost all team sports at school (other than rugby when size without skill, speed or athletic ability was considered an advantage). They think that I'd do that?

Ah, I see their point. The thing is that I have been half considering it. Typically both the half marathons I want to run are on the same day, and I'm in Spain. I wanted to run the Leeds half marathon because it would be easy to get there, and I could concentrate on the race rather than the arrangements for getting there and back. But no can do. Then I'm rummaging around on the internet for other runs and I see the Shakespeare Half Marathon, and think that would be nice. I used to live there so it wouldn't be a complete challenge to find my way around. Except it's on the same day.

Then, a glimmer of hope. Blackpool. I spend a lot of time in Blackpool, my grandparents live there. It wouldn't be as easy as Leeds, but at least I have a vague idea of how to get there, where to park etc. I might even have somewhere to stay (although this would involve admitting to my grandparents that I'm running a half marathon. I've always been quite secretive about this sort of thing, so they don't make a fuss about it, and I might prefer to do it and then tell them. I'm funny like that).

Except, there has to be a snag. It's the week before the 10k. Now, the person who was trying to persuade me to do one said that I should be able to train up from where I am in about a month to six weeks (which I think is optimistic, but I have more time than that anyway), and that it takes two to three days to recover. Which should be enough. But I'd still quite like to be able to get round the 10k course without collapsing because of the effort of the half marathon. But then I do want to do a half marathon some time.

Decisions, decisions.

I think I've already mentioned my suspicion that I'm hooked on this running lark...

(And finally, the registration form today asked me to pick a size for my t-shirt. I now have an extra incentive to shift these last few pounds. I picked small. I'm not a small at the moment, but I'm still holding onto the dream that one day I might be)

(And another and finally, after posting this I read this article about finishing last which I had to edit into this post.

“however far behind you are, you're still miles ahead of the people who didn't make it off the sofa.”

You know, reading that, and realising that I'm well within the slowest finishing times for even the small 5 and 10ks has almost convinced me that I should just go for it.)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Thank you

If there's one thing that winds me up at this time of year (and believe me, there's more than one thing), it's the celebrity weight loss overload in the media. Every night there seems to be something different on tv, or in the newspapers and magazines, or on the radio. Enough, please stop it.

I really don't care if someone who's been in a few films has managed to lose a couple of pounds by having an expensive personal trainer, professionally designed and prepared meals and with the help of a bit of airbrushing in the photos. I really don't. Not even if they've lost, say, 7 POUNDS IN TWO WEEKS or A DRESS SIZE IN A MONTH, or any of the other overblown and exaggerated claims you see bandied around in big letters on the front of every trashy mag.

Even the real life stories are condensed to the point of absurdity. A before photo, an after photo and two paragraphs on how she lost it. But at that level of simplification it's always the same, and their voices don't come out as unique people who lost their weight in unique ways, individual to them. Because even on a commercial plan like weight watchers there are a million ways of getting to the same points or sins or carbs or calories total, and a million ways of almost-but-not-quite cheating to keep yourself sane.

It's all so relentlessly cheery too. Look how much better my life is now. Really, because you wear smaller clothes? You mean you're never frustrated, or upset because of things that aren't to do with your weight? You never want to run off and drown your sorrows with a bottle of red wine or a bar of chocolate? All your problems have been solved by some skinny jeans? Fantastic. Simplify the story, take out all the things that give it some interest, and distill it down to I was really really fat but look how much happier I am now.

Something I've been constantly amazed about during this whole journey is the eloquence and insight in some of the self-penned stories of real life people who are really doing this, out there in a world with work, families, money worries or time pressures or all the other things that conspire to throw us off track. These aren't stories of meticulously controlled diets, personal trainers, and oh look at the dress she went to this premiere in and how it flattered her new figure, they're stories of what it really takes, mentally and physically, to do this properly.

Temptations at work, gyms with inconvenient opening times that make it hard to get there, transport woes conspiring to keep you away from exercise, christmas parties and ice cream, saggy skin and imperfections. Illness, injury, pregnancy, all discussed with humour and wisdom, and with more insight than you'd get in a hundred pounds worth of diet magazines.

I don't want to listen to a nutritionist telling me stuff that I already knew and that I already ignored. I want to listen to the voices of those people who have confronted the reasons why they ignored that advice for years, and who can tell me how to turn on that part of my brain that actually takes account of what I've been trying to hide away in the depths of my mind. There's a difference between knowing that fruit and veg are good for you and making yourself eat fruit and veg, and it's the second part I want to hear about, not the first.

I know that running is a good workout, but when I was going through the pain of starting to run, I wanted to know that there are other people out there finding it as hard as I did, and that there are people out there who have come through it the other side and actually enjoy it. If the mornings are too dark, or they don't have a running partner, or it's too cold I want to know how other people deal with this. Real three dimensional people, that is. The mags don't tell you about your lungs feeling like they're going to explode, they don't tell you about the blisters and the chafing and the icy pavements. They don't tell you about the smiles from the other runners or the triumph of finishing a race and running all the way either.

I'm sure that these people in the magazines would have something fantastic to say, but they don't seem to be allowed their voices as they're moulded into the same old story with some new pictures for the cover, and I wish I could hear what they really have to say rather than this. So I'm glad that all you are out there, blogging and commenting and reading away about what it's really like, nipple rash and all.

So this is my thankyou, to everyone out there in weight-loss-blog-land and weight-loss-forum-land and posting-comments-but-not-blogging-yourself-land and everything in between. To everyone who, no matter how much weight they have or haven't lost has had the courage and the words to talk about it and to make me feel like I'm not alone and that it is possible to lose significant amounts of weight and keep it off.

I was going to put together some special mentions, then I got home and found out that Dietgirl had already done it, and to be honest I'm not sure I can better her suggestions so I'll leave the shout outs for another day.


It looks like the changes at work are definitely happening as of 1 February and I'll be part of a bigger team, managed ultimately from London rather than locally. It's good in that it shows commitment to my area of work by the firm (they're bringing people in to effectively double the size of the team), and I'll have someone else to go to if issues arise, but I suspect the next couple of months or so could be pretty bumpy as the new arrangements bed down.


I'm on the verge for signing up to the first 10k of 2006. Well, it might not be the first actual 10k, but the first one I commit to, even if I run another first, if that makes sense. It could be a good one, and I'll keep you posted if I take the plunge!