Everything I did today instead of just sucking it up and going to the gym for half an hour

  • Wrote out a gym plan.
  • Put the gym plan into a spreadsheet.
  • Colour coded the spreadsheet.
  • Created a rudimentary gantt chart from the spreadsheet data.
  • Calculated how much weight I could reasonably lose in 3, 6, 9 and 12 months.
  • Calculated how much weight I could unreasonably lose in 3, 6, 9 and 12 months.
  • Researched the prices for a tummy tuck, excess skin removal surgery, upper thigh lift, arm lift and breast augmentation.
  • Googled the phrase “how to earn £50k quickly”.
  • Researched the black market rate for human kidneys.
  • Wondered what role kidney function plays and how it’s affected by weight loss.
  • Realised I probably need two kidneys.
  • Started worrying about the general health of my kidneys.
  • Drank 3 litres of water.
  • Decided I have “nothing to wear” to the gym.
  • Tried to find some new gym clothes online.
  • Got angry at the length of time it took me to find any decent workout clothes.
  • Seriously though, why are there no decent fat girl workout clothes? Ridiculous.
  • Tried to find a sports bra.
  • Failed at finding a sports bra.
  • Tried on every single one of my regular bras to find the best substitute for a sports bra.
  • Realised I will be wearing two bras to the gym until I slim down, otherwise I will be able to wear my breasts inside my belt in about a year.
  • Checked my gym bag.
  • Discovered I haven’t cleaned out my gym bag in 6 months.
  • Made gagging noises.
  • Cleaned my gym bag.
  • Got hungry.
  • Ate a ridiculous portion of food.
  • Lay supine on the couch groaning because I ate too much food.
  • Watched 4 episodes of The Simpsons.
  • Accepted that I would not be going to the gym today.
  • Thought about going to the gym tomorrow.
  • Changed the start date on my gym plan.
  • Realised that I may as well completely re-write my gym plan.
  • Chose new colours for my spreadsheet.
  • Chose a new colour palette for the blog.
  • Realised I haven’t written a post in almost a year.

So, that was my day. How was everyone else’s?

I know I’m fat, but it’s okay to listen to me.

I know things. I read books, I pass exams, I have a good job in a field that requires a lot of attention to detail, quick learning and smart, innovative thinking.

But… Y’know. I’m fat.

So, why should you listen to me when I talk about my health, my fitness, food, diet, emotional well-being and weight loss?

Well. One reason to listen to me is that I will tell you the truth about this.

It is not easy. It is scary. I’m watching everything my body does in case it’s an indicator of loose skin or hormonal imbalances. I’m sweating my ass off and working harder than I ever have just to get through workouts. I’m hungry. I’m missing all the bad, delicious, comforting foods I used to eat all the time. I’m looking at a future as a thin girl with complete and utter terror as well as excitement – because I have no idea what it’s going to be like.

It’s all well and good to look at “after” pictures and be inspired by the lithe lady bouncing along in her lycra jogging gear, but never forget you have to look lumpy in lycra for a long time first. And this hard part – the battle – is the part that I need to truly experience to know that I can actually change in the long term.

And – hopefully – once I lose it all, people will get in touch and be all “What exercises did you start out doing?” “What calories did you start with?” “What did you eat?” “Is it hard?”. And they’ll listen when I answer because I will LOOK like a person who can be trusted to give this information.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to be that lean person one day. But I’m not going to close myself off to anything I’m experiencing now for the sake of that.

Which means I don’t always blog as often as I should. Oops!


Being Kind To Yourself

Fork it over

One of the things I’ve learned on my journey is that I need a lot of help getting over the finish line. So lately I’ve been all about the three-pronged attack:

Prong 1 – A healthy eating programme (which I’ll probably talk about later)

Prong 2 – An exercise routine and personal training (for accountability/not being a complete wuss)

Prong 3 – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

What I’m quickly learning is that Prong 3 is clearly the bit of the fork that the handle is attached to. Meaning it’s the key thing that’s letting me get a grip on taking ownership of my health and my disordered eating. And for me, the big “ah-ha” moment has been accepting one of the big lessons; being kind to myself.

Seriously. If you’re losing weight, quitting smoking, going back into education or making any kind of big change – you have to be kind to yourself.

Here’s why.

Breaking Cycles

Binge eating (and other self destructive behaviours work in cycles. And in every single image I can find of these cycles, there is something that appears over and over again…


Guilt, shame and the feeling of failure are such an integral parts of the process, and removing them can be the key to stopping a destructive cycle in its tracks. Lately, I’ve been much kinder to myself when I have slipped up, and its meant that my eating and exercise has stayed on track. That’s helped me get 16lbs off in a month, and – most importantly – it lets me keep losing a little bit every week. So even if I have indulged in something a little bit sweet or taken a night off the gym to finally watch Orange is the New Black, I’m letting myself do it. It’s okay, I haven’t failed, and I’m still on the right track.

Winning Long Term

Losing weight, getting fit and living healthily is a long term goal. I don’t want to burn myself out, starve myself and end up back where I was before, so I’m working on a way of living that I can maintain for the rest of my life.

I can’t spend the rest of my life feeling like an abject failure if I eat a hob nob.

Working on a healthy eating and exercise plan that has a bit of wiggle room and space to actually live my life, socialise and have the occasional glass of wine or dessert with dinner is a much more stable and sensible approach. Also, I work hard, I don’t take a lot of time to myself and punishing myself with a rigid diet and exercise regime is no way to reward myself.  Running myself into the ground hare-style doesn’t work. And, just like the tortoise, I’ll win in the end.

Smiling Without Cake

Gaining control over a destructive cycle feels incredible, and you get a real sense of achievement and pride from facing your demons. I know that I’m not cured of destructive behaviours and eating disorders,  and it’s probably going to be something I work on for my wh0le life. But I’ve forgiven myself for that, and I’m finally okay with the fact that I have this monster to manage.

Instead of taking pleasure from food, I’m taking it from other places. Don’t get me wrong, cake is still the elixir of the Gods, but lots of other things are feeling good too; spending time with people I love, getting through a really tough workout at the gym, passing a module at uni, and getting through another binge-free day.


Definitely the best lesson I’ve learned so far. What about you?

(Thanks to Jo Christian Oterhals for the image.)

Where I’ve been

I haven’t been updating much again, and this usually means one of three things:

1 – I’m ridiculously busy
2 – I haven’t cared enough about anything to write about it
3 – I’m off the diet wagon and hiding in some comfortable furniture eating cakes.

As you can probably guess, it’s been all three in recent months. But now the only thing I am is busy, so I’m finding a way to fit in posting again.

It’s nice to be back. In every sense of the word.

Effortlessness (Warning: Requires Effort)

There’s a heatwave in Scotland. The temperature hit 28C yesterday, which probably doesn’t sound like much at all, but for us it’s unbearable. Trains have been cancelled because the railway points swelled and failed in the alien heat, and the ones have been running are unbearably hot. Offices have turned into sweat lodges because air conditioning is not something most businesses assumed they’d ever need. If you visited for the first time today, you’d assume we all had angry red skin.

This is a very strange experience for all the pasty citizens of my fair country, but I’m particularly struggling.

As a big girl, I have a lot of natural insulation, which just adds to the heat. I sweat. I huff. I puff. I wheeze. Everything I wear blunches, clings, gathers, and sticks. I’ve spent the last two days pulling fabric out of creases I didn’t know I had, yanking things up and down, wiping my face and wondering what was so bad about 365 days of rain a year. And why does no one admit that summer shoes are unsupportive and hard to walk in? I’m uncomfortable all the time, and I’m not hiding it well.

Most women breeze along looking effortlessly beautful in the summer. Barely-there makeup. Hair casually pulled off their face in a tiny clip that miraculously holds all their hair and looks stylish. They wear cute summer dresses, or loose shirts and little shorts; because they’ve shaved their legs and their thighs don’t rub together (if you’ve never experienced thigh chafing, it hurts like HELL). I work in Glasgow, and most of the other women I see there look fabulous in the summer, and instead of looking up at the glorious blue sky, and enjoying the novelty of actually being able to see that glowing yellow orb in the sky, I’ve been looking around at everyone else and feeling, well, jealous.

But this isn’t effortless, is it? The women I know whose thighs don’t rub together eat well and exercise. They buy summer outfits with the money that they didn’t spend on secret pizzas and family size bags of chocolate buttons.

Instead of seeing this as another excuse to self-depricate and feel indequate, the heatwave has reminded me that in order to look effortless, I have to put in some effort.

But I’m going to wait until it cools down a bit. I might actually die if I try to work out in this heat… (Yes, 28C counts as extreme heat for me – I am VERY pale and Scottish.)



The Food Fear

I’ve seen this subject crop up a lot lately, so I thought I’d chime in.

Bob Harper of The Biggest Loser USA fame, was extolling the virtues of an 800 calorie a day diet for women. Just 800.

Let me put that into perspective for you, the following items of food contain approximately 800 calories:

  • A regular hamburger and medium fries from McDonalds
  • 1 large latte with 1 sugar and a blueberry muffin from Starbucks
  • 1 baked potato with a tin of tuna and three tbsps of mayonnaise, plus 1 apple and 1 banana
  • 1/2 a takeaway portion of chicken tikka masala.
  • Two six-inch chicken teriyaki subway sandwiches
  • 2 and a half slices of a pizza hut supreme pizza.

I’m sorry, but that is not a day’s worth of food.

Based on what my heart rate monitor tells me, I can BURN 800 calories doing the following activities:

  • 60 minutes of Body Combat
  • 90 minutes of water aerobics
  • 46 minutes on the elliptical
  • 32 minutes of high intensity rowing.

If I were following an 800 calorie diet a day and did just one of the activities above I have completely spent all my energy for the day. I need to think, walk, sleep, work, digest the meagre portions of food that I did eat, heat my body and allow all my major organs to function using…. well.. my body mass. But the body is in a state of crisis and not interested in being selective. It won’t jump straight to the plentiful fat stores, it will use whatever is available, including lean muscle and even organ tissue as fuel to keep you alive. As much as 27-28% loss in cardiac muscle mass has been reported in some studies.

I’ve shared my own experience of a well known VLCD before, and I stand by my previous opinion. It is, by far, the worst thing I ever did to my body. And I say that as an obese woman who has eaten deep fried pizza. If your hair is falling out – as mine did – or you’re risking death, then your ultra low calorie diet is a terrible, terrible idea.

And you’ll put all of the weight back on. And a little more. I have the elasticated waistband to prove it.

Being afraid of gaining weight has become almost a societal norm, as opposed to one of the indicators of a an eating disorder.

I already did the thing that terrifies so many people, and gained a crapton of weight (I know, I’m so brave). And I have to tell you, that while things could be better, they’re actually not bad. I still manage to have friends, a good job, a happy relationship and many other things that thin people enjoy. It’s not actually that scary (unless you’re in a position where you have to sit on one of those plastic garden patio chairs. That shit is frightening).

The issue is that fear of fat now appears to go hand in hand with fear of food – and if fear of food isn’t disordered, then I don’t know what is. And I say that as someone with a history of disordered eating. Your relationship with food is in seriously bad shape if you’re scared of it.

Your body needs food to fuel everything that it does. My body. being fairly hefty, needs a lot of fuel to just get around. So I used one of the many free tools available to find out how much fuel my body uses every day, and how much I need to eat to maintain my weight. To lose 1lb of fat a week I need to create a calorific defecit of 500 per day, to lose 2lbs a week, this needs to be 1,000 a day. Because cutting 1,000 calories a day is  going to cause the food grumps, I do this with a combination of reduced calorie intake and exercise. I’m not hungry. I’m eating lots of food. And that’s a GOOD THING. Because to reduce my calorie intake I reduced the junk and sugar, and instead fill my body with good, healthy fuel in decent portions. I’m not hungry. And I’m losing weight. Because it’s entirely possible to do with the right research and the right approach.

Anyone who has ever tried to severely restrict calories while trying to do everything else that they do every day already knows this. Your head hurts for a reason. You’re grumpy and snippy for a reason. You can’t concentrate for a reason. Your body is UNHAPPY. Feed it!

If you decide that you’d rather be thin even if that also means weak and ill, then by all means go ahead. But I’m choosing lean and strong.