Life with food

This is the first time I have ever lost weight for the right reasons.

It’s not because I’m trying to make someone happier, not because I despise myself so much I am cutting out food. It’s not because I have a mental model that I will never fit into in my head. It’s not because I feel any pressure, not because I’ve had an ultimatum, not because I think it’s expected of me.

I’m doing it because, after a hard time, my body said, “enough”. I began taking vitamins, eating better and taking more exercise just so I can make my body a little bit stronger, a bit more resilient. If I can fit into smaller clothes because of it, then great, but that’s not the reason why.

I grew up feeling terrible about not being the same size as my sister, someone who was always going to be smaller than me because a. she was well, fit and active and b. has my Mum’s tiny bone structure, which I don’t. I was given chocolate with one hand as a “treat” to make up for being ill, while the other hand told me I was too fat to eat the chocolate I was being given. I have never, ever felt comfortable in my skin. I still don’t, I am not sure I ever will. But I can feel stronger in my skin.

This week I have been run down and have needed to take a few days off work. Nothing more exciting that tiredness, dizziness and some nausea, probably emanating from the germpit that is my sinuses. I’m disappointed, but grateful not to have been ill over Christmas when Norovirus and killer colds were doing the rounds. But this is also the first time I have needed to take off since I started eating better and looking after myself more at the end of November. This, I admit, is not a wellness streak a normal immune system would be proud of, but it’s enough for me. Maybe this is helping in more ways than one, maybe my body is feeling stronger and more able to cope.

My history with food is chequered and complex. Whether I’ve strayed as far as being in the eating disorders category at times, I’m not sure, but I was certainly quite firmly in the disordered eating camp. Food has been a friend and an enemy, a comfort and a curse. I don’t expect this to be cured in three months of pointing, possibly not even in three years of working on my diet. But it feels like a good time to think about what food and eating mean to me and how I can make it a healthy part of my life without turning it into an obsession or a stick to beat myself with. And I am always on the lookout for those sticks!

Charging my batteries

My new plan involves changing the batteries on my scale every week. Because I can only assume my scale has made a massive mistake, or that it has decided to become a liar, because it claimed I had lost FIVE POUNDS on Saturday.

Five. Pounds.

This is clearly not true, because it is almost physically impossible, so there was no happy dance, just a confused face staring at a scale. I had expected a gain after a lousy week, was pitifully hoping even for staying the same, so the claimed loss makes no sense at all. I also expect to put most of it back on this Saturday, so I can’t take it seriously.

If I did take it seriously, I could tell you that I hit, and even beat, my 5% goal this week and only had one pound to go until I’ve lost a stone (on WeightWatchers, that is – I’d been on the misery diet and lost about a stone before I started with WW), but I can’t help but feel I’ll be telling you this stuff again in a few weeks when I actually hit my 5% goal and only have a pound to go until I’ve lost a stone. It’s a bit of a shame, because I would LOVE to be happy dancing about this, but I’ll just have to see what the numbers are this Saturday. What can I say? My trust in my own body is low.

Balls

Purchased today:

  • Batteries for my scale (so while I suspect I’ll have put weight on at the weekend, it’ll be accurately reported)
  • A weight ball exercise… thing. It’s like a squishy ball filled with lentils, weighs 2kg and I’ve only nearly thrown it through the window once so far. Go me! While my legs are getting extra exercise with walking more, my upper body isn’t really, so I’m hoping to strengthen that up a bit, because it’s pretty weak. So far I’ve just been playing around with it while watching the Hairy Bikers lose weight, but it’s better than nothing. Right?!
  • Oh and the small matter of my new shiny SMALLER SIZE JEANS!

Admittedly, the jeans come from Sainsbury’s, which I’m going to guess isn’t exactly Topshop-strict when it comes to sizing, but they have a wee 16 inside, not an 18, so I don’t care. I don’t have high hopes of being able to go into somewhere like Next tomorrow and pick a 16 off the rack and have it fit, but at least I am definitely moving in the right direction. I’ve been an 18 bottom (and sometimes that’s a squeezed-in 18 bottom) for a long time now that this is definite progress.

The last week has been really difficult when it comes to food. Much more so than Christmas week. This is partially because there’s a load of sweets in the house that I was given as Christmas presents, partially because I’ve been bored and lonely, and partially because I’ve had no routine whatsoever.

I’m back at work today and the difference is huge. I don’t exactly have a regimented routine in my daily working life, but it’s enough to make me feel human again. Add in a supermarket shop for healthy, low-point food – with not even a single wobble over something tasty and lovely – plus 4 points still to eat by 10pm, and I feel a bit more in control again.

Eating well and glad to be back at work? Who are you, and what have you done with the real Sarah?

Stronger

A list of things that show something’s happening:

A walk that took me 50 minutes at the end of November took only 40 minutes at the end of December

Only one pair of my trousers fits me now, a couple are almost wearable but very baggy, and a couple are just completely ridiculous-looking.

I feel stronger and fitter. While I’m not strong or fit, it’s the er that makes all of the difference for this chronically ill person.

Roz noticed the other day that I’d lost weight, and while I hate talking about things like my weight, there was a little bit of excitement that somebody noticed.

If you’re starving in the third world I suggest you don’t read this

In no particular order:

  1. A whole medium stuffed crust pizza (I gave in and had Dominos delivered for the first time ever on my own. However many points it was, it was worth every single one!)
  2. Several Gill-baked marmalade spice pastries (amazing!)
  3. Entire box of Ferrero Roche
  4. More egg mayonnaise than Greggs sell in a month
  5. REAL Irn-Bru. And Shloer. And a chai latte from Costa. Full fat!
  6. Cadbury’s Festive Friends. Box of.
  7. Cherry and Almond muffin
  8. Whole bunch of chocolate Wishes and Lindt balls
  9. Two strawberry cream scones

And that’s just the stuff I can remember. Merry feeding Christmas to me! I’m not sure there was a “proper” meal eaten in the entire week, my fridge is full of (relatively) sensible food I haven’t eaten, as well as a few desserts I haven’t touched because I was so busy eating ALL the junk food.

And yet, somehow, I allegedly lost a pound.

I mean sure when I stepped on the scale the first thing it said was, “Lo” suggesting the battery’s dying and therefore completely unreliable, but I’m going to take it as a compliment instead. Lo, you say? Why thank you, I do weigh Lo! How nice of you to notice!

And sure when I get on the scale next Saturday, it’ll all have caught up with me and settled down and I’ll have put on three stone.

But, you know, I don’t really care. I lost a pound over Christmas, I have lost eight pounds in five weeks, and I feel a lot better both mentally and physically. Dear 2012, you have been awful, but I’m starting to beat you down!

Staying the same

I am very, very happy to report that this week I lost no weight… but also gained no weight! Despite eating three tonnes of chocolate, cocktails, and katsu curry, not pointing for much of the week and not even caring (shh, don’t tell WW!) I stayed the same.

I had a brilliant, if exhausting, week. I got out of my comfort zone (cocktail making!), learnt a bit about my current limits (work + out four nights + multiple vet visits = too much) and met new people that I hope I’ll see again.

The other bit of good news is that I just went out for a walk wearing my raincoat and, for the first time in ages, it wasn’t too tight at the bottom. Normally it’s a bit, ahem, clingy and rides up when I walk. Today it just hung where it was. While that’s not something anyone else in the world would notice, I notice it, and it makes me feel like progress, however slight, is being made.

The less good news is that I am currently being a bit miserable because of Christmas and my distinct lack of being wanted anywhere. It’s stupidly complicated, because all of my family’s inept lack of planning always is, and because I’m really a pawn with no control in the whole thing, but the upshot is that I feel unwanted and let down by my Dad again. That’s the millionth time or so this year. I should be used to it by now, but every time it happens it’s like being kicked in the stomach.

While I think I’ve coped really well with everything that’s happened this year, the one thing I am stuck with is that feeling of being displaced. I thought I had established a “family” of my own, I thought I was part of my own unit and didn’t have to worry about being hurt by my childhood coming back to bite me, but that unit fell apart. Well, was dismantled under my feet while I was busy looking in the other direction. When August started I thought it was okay because I meant something to someone, but my halfway through the month I discovered how little I mattered. And now, in December, I’m on my own in a cold flat and I don’t belong anywhere with anyone.

For the most part, I am fine with this. I am doing really well on my own. But Al is down South at the family gatherings I used to be a part of, and I am here on my own. My sister has been absolutely amazing to me over the last few months, and I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am for the feeling of having at least one person I can call family, but she has places she belongs, people she belongs with.

I just want a hug, to be wanted, to belong somewhere. I want to matter. I don’t.

Hello, little coat!

Tonight I ate all the sushi. And I don’t feel bad, because it was, umm, vegetables and stuff…

I am also going out tomorrow night, Wednesday night, and on Friday. Prepare for gains, little scales, but yay for you, little Sarah. It would have been easy to turn down most of these invitations, but I accepted and am really pleased I did. No second guessing myself, just go for it.

But really, the exciting news I wanted to report was that yesterday I bought a new winter coat, a size smaller than my old one! It’s a snug fit, but it fits, and I decided if I want it to last all winter I should size down, as I plan to be quite a bit smaller come spring. It’s pretty motivating, because at the moment my clothes don’t feel any bigger on me even though I can look at myself and know some of the wobble has gone – tighter tops look a bit better on my middle Wobble Zone between my boobs and waist.

Still, not for much longer if I keep on eating like this…!

A happy dance costs seven pounds

I am very excited to report – ridiculously, actually excited – that I lost two pounds last week, taking me to half a stone lost in three weeks.

I honestly had thought nothing would have gone and, if anything, I may have gained weight, because everything on my body felt flabbier again, so there was an actual happy dance when I stepped on the scale. Feeling proud to have lost weight instead of ashamed I needed to lose weight? That in itself is a first.

Last week threw up a few challenges – a Christmas party, a Christmassy launch event, a sick rat with a post-operative fudge doughnut (what? It’s traditional!) but I think I dealt with them relatively well. I turned down a lot, from treats to cakes – and I came out to my sister in order to be able to turn down a post-move emergency doughnut – but I’ve also managed to eat a lot of treats. I used more of my weeklies than I normally would, but, people, it’s Christmas time!

This week (and, you know, the week after. And possibly the one after that…) are going to be difficult. I knew Christmas would be tough, and I swear I have eaten AMAZINGLY compared to this time last year, but I’ve not really decided on my Christmas food policy yet.

The options:

  1. It’s CHRIIIIISTMAS! (said in true Slade style). Suspend all pointing, and go for it. It happens once a year, and it’s more fun to join in than to stand on the sidelines going, “but how pointy is it?”
  2. Half and half. Eat well when I’m on my own (and stick to really low pointy meals on days where I’m going to be going elsewhere, e.g. porridge for breakfast and lunch) and then not worry about points when I’m with others.
  3. Just stick to it. I’ve not worked this hard to go straight back to where I was, and I know I’m not very good at getting back on wagons once I’ve fallen off them.

Realistically, I know 2 is the best option, but my head and heart are conflicted between 1 and 3: eat everything/eat nothing. “I know that Christmas is going to be a wee bit rubbish (my first Christmas on my own,¬†among¬†other things) and why shouldn’t I reward myself?” “Why, because you’re fat, duh.”

I have a least three Point-busting events before the next weigh-in. I’m hoping to scrape by on my weeklies and try to earn a few activity points every day to balance it out, but… it’s Christmas!

Made to make your mouth BURN!

I went over points today, and all for the sake of a mingin’ packet of “lentil curls” that I didn’t notice had the word CHILLI slapped all over the packet – I am super-sensitive to chilli. Mouth on fire, hunger not remotely satisfied, and a ridiculous two points gone from my day’s ProPoint budget.

Despite still not really having anything to wear – even after a trek out to Tesco and a shopping centre. Not even the combined efforts of Next, Monsoon, New Look and M&S could find something that this girl would a) look okay in and b) not feel ridiculous in. Peplum top? Why would I want extra bits to jut out over my hips and stomach and emphasise the bonus flesh? Hey, let’s display my lack of waist to its least advantage! – I did go to the Thing on Sunday. And it was good, and I was glad I went, even though I probably looked a state.

Which brings me to this: the reason I am doing this whole weightloss thing is to feel more like me. At the moment I feel a bit lost in myself – I use the way I look (which doesn’t feel like me) as an excuse to burrow away into a little mental den and to not Get Out There and Do Things.

I want to Get Out There and Do Things.

My confidence is really low at the moment, for various reasons. I was never Miss Congeniality, and I have taken a real beating this year. Work, relationships… Nothing has been what you could call happy, stable or enhancing. So now I’m living and being on my own, I’m realising some of the deficits in my life and some of the ways I’ve stopped feeling like myself over the past few years.

I am overweight through a mixture of overeating and PCOS and rubbish-health-enduced lack of exercise. I don’t like me much, and I don’t treat me very well. I feel that my physical condition reflects who I am and how people should treat me, and this makes so much of my life feel like a cavernous cringe. Please don’t look at me, notice me or ask anything of me, even though I desperately want you to acknowledge me, to approve of me, to like me.

I want to lose weight so I feel more like me when I go out there – and I am trying to find ways to go out there, signing up for events and so on. I want to not feel ashamed of myself when I say hello, I want to not be wearing a flashing “fat and unhappy!” sign on my head. More than anything, I don’t want people’s judgement of me to be about what I look like, but about who I am. And I want to be able to discover who I really am.

The next couple of weeks feel like they will be about getting work done and winding things up, but I have big(ish) plans for 2013. I am losing weight purely for myself and it is just one part of the puzzle that is sorting my head and my life out.

Panic

Happily, the scale showed another 2 pounds had gone this morning, making a total of 5 pounds lost in two weeks. But I don’t want to talk about that. Why talk about positives when I could talk about How Much I Hate Myself?

Tomorrow I am meant to go to a Christmas Thing. It is not a big Christmas Thing, but, with more than 24 hours to go, I am dreading it. I am trying to come up with reasons I can’t go, and realising I can’t make excuses because I always have to miss things because of illness, so when I’m not ill I owe it to myself and others to show up. But.

I have nothing to wear. Literally. I have nothing actually suitable for a Christmas Thing in my ownership, let alone something suitable for a Christmas Thing attended by people who pride themselves on being a bit cool and hip (but not hipstery, obviously). I own the one pair of jeans I am wearing to death, and a few other pairs I don’t wear because they haven’t been shortened. I own black, baggy trousers. I wear two casual black tops, sometimes with a New Look cardi over the top, except when I’m at home when I wear a big woolly, slightly-falling-apart cardi. I wear multiple pairs of pyjamas. Good luck with that lot, teenage girls on the bus yesterday who declared, “it’s how you style it that matters!”

I have lost five pounds, but five pounds makes a grand total of zero difference to how I look as a whole. (That middle vowel probably should be an a.) I am still Very Big. Other members of this party are not Very Big. I have not been to see a hairdresser in five months or so, and even when I did last see a hairdresser she didn’t do a particularly good job.

In summary: I have nothing to wear and I currently look awful.

But I have to go. I have to go. I pull out of too many things because I feel unwell and the one time I don’t feel unwell I want to pull out because I look terrible. I don’t know what to do, though. Should I try and find something to wear, even though it is nearly 4pm on a Saturday a couple of weeks before Christmas and I’m not out of my jammies yet (it was meant to be a rest day)? How? Asda or Tesco? Not exactly hipster-friendly locations. I can’t really do anything about hair, short of shaving it all off.

So I need:

  • Something to wear that does not make me look like a full binbag.
  • Shoes. Shoes that are neither trainers or holey.
  • Accessories of some kind? Like a Real Girl would wear. Let’s ignore the fact that a Real Girl wouldn’t be buying these in Tesco.

Jesus. I really just want to have my rest day.