Tuesday, 27 November 2007

One Year

The physicist picked me up. As in, lifted me off the ground and started carrying me up Upper Street.

I had forgotten about this until late Sunday afternoon. It was nice, even though I made him put me down for fear of being unceremoniously dropped. (Splat. On Upper Street. In a minidress. That would be bad. Minidress?, you ask. Minidress was a 25 euro gamble in Spain – a gamble because I doubted I’d have the nerve to wear it. I’m still not sure I do. Some of my old t-shirts are probably longer than that dress.)

Anyway, about being picked up: It was thrilling, if a little scary. And I don’t just mean fear of being dropped. I know this will sound crazy, but there was something almost scary about finding out someone can pick me up and there’s not much I can do to stop it. (This wasn’t the case on Saturday – I was fine – but…)

Fine Print: Before anybody – myself included – gets too excited about the physicist, let us pause to note that there is absolutely zero long-term potential there. He’s fun, but he’s all over the shop (part of what makes him fun). And there are other reasons.

• * *

Yesterday I did something I never would have done a year ago: I put myself and my health ahead of my work.

This week I’m dealing with an editor who has kittens over things as minor as stray commas, and this morning at 2 a.m. I actively had to talk myself out of doing the Devil Wears Prada thing and tossing my blackberry into the nearest fountain or river. (Also out of quitting my job on the spot.) I had a follow-up appointment yesterday about my binge-eating problems, and the appointment is hard enough to get in the first place, let alone change or cancel. Plus, I reasoned, for what reason was I canceling? The magazine doesn’t close until tonight, and the bottom line is that this is a 300-word story we’re talking about.

So I told her, calmly and politely, that I had a hospital appointment that could not be changed and that I would be back by 5 p.m. (noon EST).

Like most NY editors, she cannot get her head around time change, and said: “Well, you’ll have to do it before you go.” I pointed out that it was 2:45 p.m. my time, and that I had to leave right that minute to get to the appointment on time.

“Oh,” she said. She started to protest, but shut up when I told her I’d planned to stay late that night. (Not until 2 a.m., but never mind about that.)

I went to my appointment. I tried to focus on it instead of worrying about the article (and mostly succeeded, except when we ran over a bit and I started panicking about time). For the record, the therapist was a whole lot nicer than she was the week before. Yes, everyone is capable of having a bad day…
* * *

Today marks a year of This Thing I’m Doing.

Height: 5’8”
Start weight: 233 (105.91 kgs)
Today’s weight: 160.5 (72.95 kgs)
Pounds lost: 72.5

Starting size: 18/20 UK – probably really a 20, but I had to pretend an 18 would sometimes fit (20 US)
Today’s size: 10/12 UK (6/8 US)

Total binges this year: 5 or 6 (I can just about remember having that many in a single week or two)

Servings of fruit and vegetables consumed: Far too many to think about
Workouts completed: ditto

Wow. A whole year. I remember exactly where I was a year ago: I’d just finished a pasta, arronicini, and chocolate-fueled assignment in Italy covering TomKat’s wedding, and stayed there for Thanksgiving to further bloat myself with more pasta, chocolate, and the festive dinner at a wine editor friend’s (she gets two bottles of every vintage produced in Italy – think we drank much?) By the end of the holiday weekend, I felt revolting – and was almost excited to get started on Project Me.

My goals then were just to put one foot in front of the other and not to gain (too much) weight during the holiday season, so as not to make my task harder in January.

And here I am. I hit the first goal weight I set for myself (164 – the very top number of my healthy weight range), but now I think I’d like a few pounds buffer for the inevitable five pounds I’m told weight usually varies. (I’d prefer to not be technically in the “overweight” range the minute I have a big meal.) So I’m thinking 158, which is a neat 75 pounds.

That said, I’m not sure it’s a realistic goal to peel off the last 2.5 pounds during December. So current goal is to fit in as many workouts as I can (I’ll be packing cold weather running gear for Christmas in Scotland!) and not to go above 164. Frankly, I’d like to not put on any weight, but let’s be a little realistic, shall we? Last year I was seriously hardcore (as in hardcore dieter) in December, and I know – for sake of binge eating recovery, if nothing else! – I need to let myself enjoy the holiday a bit.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Girl With a Plan

Dates are binge triggers for me. The combination of alcohol (a given on a British date) and an entire evening struggling to connect with someone is – for me – potentially disastrous.

But last night I had a plan. I’d decided that no matter how much it cost, if I were feeling at all fragile I’d take a taxi home, since being delivered straight to my door would take me out of temptation’s way. I’d emailed one of my best friends – and one of the few people I can discuss binge eating with (I wouldn’t say “feel comfortable discussing” because I’m never comfortable with the subject) – for help coming up with a plan for when I got in my door.

What I hadn’t planned for was him cancelling. At 5:30 p.m., 45 minutes before I was about to head out to meet him. Because of illness. (Yes, this is the same guy who cancelled three hours beforehand last Friday, also claiming illness. When he said he’d call later in the week I had to bite my tongue from saying the illness I’d have to have to even consider going out with him again would be mental.)

I called a friend, who told me she was at Selfridges with a friend of hers and that I should come out and have a drink with them. We had some wine in the Wonder Bar and they talked me into trying some Nars smoky eye makeup. (I almost never wear any eye makeup, let alone extremely visible eye makeup.)

We hit Wagamama’s and I was dropped off at Highbury Corner at 10:30, still feeling vaguely depressed and very all-dressed-up-with-nowhere-to-go. (Although I bought the ingredients for smoky eyes, I’ll probably never use them, let alone get the look as good as the makeup artist did.) For the hour before I got home, I’d been thinking about buying a small Green & Black’s dark chocolate bar, and when I walked into the newsagent, I only saw the big ones. I wavered. I spotted the small ones, finally, and bought one, feeling very sane; very in control.

After I ate it, I teetered briefly on the brink of a binge. Then instead of crossing the street to go back to the newsagent, I walked down the road to meet another friend in the pub. Where, for the record, I managed to pull at 6’4” tall dark physicist. Take that, Mr. Short (my height) Balding I Was Only Going Out With You Tonight Out of Boredom.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Say Goodbye to Hollywood

Just when I’d finally gotten used to the idea of three months in Los Angeles, the deal fell apart. In the end it was my choice not to go – I decided there were too many strings attached, and I didn’t want to be in the position of fighting for something that realistically I might hate. But still, I feel a bit let down.

Part of what made the negotiations fall apart was that – partially fearing I could be stuck there for months against my will, and partially because it’s true – I was open with everyone about wanting to get my permanent residency in England. I never thought I’d last this long, but now that residency – as in, the ability to work here without my current employer (or anyone else) sponsoring me – is within my grasp (10.5 months), I don’t want to give it up. Unfortunately, without the three-month respite of LA (where I likely would have worked at least twice as hard as I already do, but the assignments would have been good), I’m already wondering how I’m going to make it that long.

* * *

My date Friday night cancelled at 3:30 p.m. – as in, four hours before we were supposed to meet up.

Via e-mail.

Claiming possible illness.

No mention of rescheduling.

I wasn’t all that into him – this was the friend of a friend I went out with over the summer, and for one reason or another (see “not all that into him”) we haven’t met up again. But still, I was (unreasonably?) disappointed when he cancelled. A date’s a date. And what he did is especially crummy on a Friday night.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Cry, Cry Again

“I always feel a little silly after I cry like this,” I said to the woman evaluating me Wednesday to decide if I need further binge eating treatment. It had been a very painful hour, where occasionally – suddenly – I’d be choking back tears, unable to speak. “It’s just always feels a little funny to me to tell someone I don’t know all these personal details*, and to cry.”

“You don’t cry?” she said.

“No, I totally do,” I said. “But usually it’s out of frustration, or it’s about my mother.”

“Do you cry a lot?” she asked.

“Not usually. Every once in a while I will, but I don’t sit around my flat and cry or anything.”

“Well you should,” she said.

“I should?”

“Bingeing is a dissociative behavior,” she said briskly. “You’d be a lot better off if you went home and cried instead of bingeing.”

Um, OK. I take her point. Actually, I know perfectly well that she’s right. But it’s not as simple as deciding to cry instead of eat. And I had taken an instant dislike to her, the manner in which she treated me, and the tone in which she spoke to me.

I have to go back and see her another time for her to finish evaluating me, because – and I have heard this before – I am a tough case. She told me rather sharply that I hadn’t given enough thought to a few issues I’d brought up, and that she wanted me to think about them in the time between appointments. I bit my tongue to avoid snapping back: “I don’t think about them enough? Are you kidding? This [referring to one particular personal issue] is almost all I think about.”

So not looking forward to Appointment Two, the Appointment of Doom. Perhaps I could have a root canal instead?

*Yes, yes, I know I have this here blog thingie where I tell people I don't know loads of personal details, but for me that's not the same as sitting face to face with someone and doing it...

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Viva Espana

Hola from Madrid, land of the tiniest clothing sizes this side of Asia. I haven't felt like this much of a giant since I tried to buy a top in Indonesia and the shop assistant kept yelling "Big, big. Very big!" and holding her hands as far apart as they would go. Ugh.

Despite my love of olive oil, manchego cheese, tortilla espanola (article in El Pais yesterday about the tilde conquering cyberspace, but I can't for the life of me figure out how to get one to appear), and various Spanish sweets, I'm managing not to eat my way across the city. I brought oatmeal with me from London, which has helped immeasurably. (Don't laugh -- I've discovered that if I eat a familiar or otherwise healthy breakfast, I do a whole lot better the rest of the day. Plus it only leaves two meals for which I can make crappy choices...)

I also braved a step class (don't ask me why -- I don't even do it in England)in a Spanish gym, which ended up being a rather amusing lesson in both Spanish dance and the vosotros conjugation of verbs (a conjugation particular to Spain). I was pretty much a disaster at this class, and I'm not sure whether I'd rather blame my Spanish or my two left feet beneath cement hips. Anyway. Debating whether to brave Body Pump tomorrow -- presumably there can be no cha cha'ing or, um, flamencoing while doing, say, a cling and press?

Hasta luego...