Sunday, 30 December 2007

New Year's Eve Eve

Braved a scale hop this morning to find I am the exact same weight I was the day I left for Christmas – which is to say, two pounds above my lowest weight ever. Um, I’ll take it.

Tomorrow I’ve got a New Year’s Eve party about which I’m more than a bit apprehensive. An email about it yesterday specifically discussed how much food there will be… and food + alcohol + party not living up to expectations (which, frankly, New Year’s Eve parties rarely do) + still slightly fragile Beth = possible disaster. Despite specific orders to arrive hungry I am seriously debating having dinner before I go out and banning myself from the food. But I don’t know the plan for tomorrow – I’m possibly meeting up with friends first, so…)

* * *

Bachelor No. 2 rang today and we had a good laugh about our prying friends. His best friend and O. have apparently been texting about us (they’re as bad as women, aren’t they?) and BN2 saw some of the texts. Of course, I only know the texts BN2 chose to share with me – I’m sure there were others, which makes me wary, but I can't worry about it too much. I do think I’m going to have to be very, very careful what I say to O., who is hands down the most indiscreet person I know (and he knows it). O. has been friends with BN2’s best friend for at least 15 years – and BN2 and best friend are, of course, best friends.

BN2 and I might try to meet up on New Years Day, but no set plan at the moment.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Against (My) Odds

So I texted a friend to say I was getting a quick drink and that I might be up for meeting up later. Six hours later Bachelor No. 2 and I were still sitting at the Medicine Bar.

I was expecting to hightail it out of there after a drink, so to say the date went better than expected would be to damn it with faint praise. The night went by in what felt like a minute.

Of course, this morning I've already received a text from my friend O. – who knows Bachelor No. 2, and whose best friend dated Bachelor No. 2’s best friend (this honestly doesn’t even begin to hint at how incestuous English social circles are) – saying: “Well, well, well.”

Thursday, 27 December 2007

The Best I Can Say Is: It's Over

It was not a great Christmas, foodwise. Actually, that is an understatement. It was a pretty damn freakin’ bad Christmas, foodwise – and also an embarrassing one, because I reached the point of bingeing as a houseguest, which is a new low.

I’m writing this post for a bit of accountability more than anything else – I’m not really up for analyzing and wallowing at the moment (though I’ve done a fair bit of both).

I did pretty well the first couple of days, then binged Christmas Eve Day and Christmas Day, with Christmas Day’s being particularly bad. (I might have eaten an entire box of shortbread, among other things. Yikes.)

The good: I got in at least some exercise every day except Christmas Day. (I tried to run but it was seriously too icy, and it was black ice. There was a car accident outside the house and the ambulance skidded down the road on the way to it.) I got up super-early and ran on the 22nd before getting on the train, ran on the 23rd, did about a half hour’s worth of yoga from my yoga deck on the 24th, did a 20-minute run on the 26th (despite feeling miserable post-binge), and got off the five-hour train ride and did a 20-minute run and 25-minute walk tonight at about 6 p.m. (On the 23rd and 24th, I also sneaked in some cheeky pushups and dips and even a couple of planks – basically, whenever I’d run back to my room to get something, which was often, I’d reel off something quick, like 10 pushups.)

Also good: I stopped the bingeing before the end of the trip. I’m one of these people who can find it hard to stop without physically removing myself from a difficult situation, but I didn’t binge on Boxing Day, despite lack of control over what I was being served, plus various other triggers. I actively decided not to have anything to drink – alcohol being a trigger – and didn’t. I did have pudding but turned down chocolate, crisps, cheese and other snacks when they were offered.

The bad: I had a couple of flashbacks of trips past where I literally had clothes that didn’t fit by the end of the trip. (Didn’t happen but I felt like it could have.)

The ugly: Bingeing in public, as houseguest. Embarrassed (esp because friend’s mum is the type who comments on everything). Feeling a bit worried I wasn’t too polite yesterday – I’m always a bit tetchy and anxious post-binge, and having my every move watched and commented upon (literally) wasn’t helping.

Sigh. I’m feeling huge and fat and wishing I could hide out for a couple of weeks, eating only safe foods and working out, but that’s not really an option. I’m not sure what’s a reasonable goal for myself at this point besides staying off the scale for a few days – I know I ate poorly; I don’t need the scale to confirm it at this point – and getting in my workouts. We shall see.

* * *

Bachelor No. 2 texted me on Christmas Day, then rang today to organize meeting up. We’re meeting up late-ish tomorrow afternoon, exact time and place TBA. I hate that sort of non-plan plan but it actually makes the most sense in this case. Still, as we were getting off the phone, I said something like: “We can set a time if you have something you have to do tomorrow.” To which he replied: “I have to see you tomorrow.”

Very sweet. If only the only thing I remember about him from that party were not: I could not be less attracted to you.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Pulling Power

“But we never got to talk about films and books and things,” the barrister said (almost mournfully?) as I left Thursday morning. I didn’t say anything. Then he said something like: “You would have been nice to meet at another time.”

That’s what I was thinking about this afternoon when my mobile rang, flashing up a number I didn’t recognize. It was another guy from that same party, who’d gotten my number from his friends (and who, for the record, left the party before the barrister even arrived).

(The barrister thought my new python knee high stiletto boots were trashy, and just typing the description, I almost agree. But they seem to have, erm, pulling power…)

I’m not remotely attracted to Bachelor No. 2, who, among other things, is divorced with a child. (After years of saying no freakin’ way, I am finally coming around to the idea that maybe maybe maybe I might want a child, but someone else’s wigs me out no end.) But it’s flattering to have someone get up the nerve to call you, especially in this country, and I can’t really think of a reason not to at least get a drink with him, so… Sigh. He seems nice. Maybe it will be fun.

* * *

I did binge at the Christmas party Wednesday – a medium-sized binge, but definitely qualifies as a binge because the feeling (the panic, the need) was there, and I’m not quite sure where it came from. Today – two days post-binge – I’m still feeling horribly fat. I washed my jeans and seriously feared they might not fit this morning (but they did).

Yesterday I went to a power plate class taught by an instructor wearing a sparkly gold dress as she was off to a Christmas party afterwards. I made a comment about Christmas eating and she said: “Well, at least you’re still at the gym. It’s been dead here this week.” Yes, but…

I’d planned to relax a bit foodwise over Christmas, but I don’t think I’ve earned that right at this point. Last year the food wasn’t so amazing that I should be eating 10 tons of it – actually, it wasn’t even that good -- so I need to keep that in mind. Ditto for the chocolate. There is no reason to mindlessly eat Celebrations or Cadbury Roses or whatever – I don’t even like it that much. If I am craving chocolate I shall wait for good chocolate. (I debated bringing a small bar of Green & Black’s dark, but I know if I have it I will definitely eat it.)

On that note, I must confess that I waited until the absolute last minute to buy Friend Bearing Chocolate’s parents some chocolate. I’m bringing a small box as an extra present (in addition to the other things I’ve bought them), and the box is just small enough for me to fear that I’d open it and dig in and then have to buy them another box. Chocolate isn’t usually such a big deal for me, but I seem to be so fragile these days I didn’t want to chance it.

I’m most likely offline until the 27th, when I’ll return and (hopefully) post about my great Christmas success. Have a happy one, and see you on the other side (preferably not size)!

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Swearing Off Men

Last night, in good British Christmas party fashion (which is to say, very bad behavior), I drank lots of champagne and went home with a very cute, very charming barrister.

This morning the doorbell at his flat rang and he said: “I hope that’s not my girlfriend.”

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Five Pounds

This morning I woke up, freaked out when the scale showed I’d gained five pounds, and proceeded to spend the day systematically dismantling the story of a model claiming an affair with a certain basketball star married to an actress.

I took screen grabs of photos she claimed were her and e-mailed them to various fashion houses and asked them to identify the model. (To make life extra fun, one of the places I had to call was the Fig's old employer.) I checked her itinerary from going to visit him – did those flights exist on that airline on that date? (For security reasons, obviously airline won’t confirm whether she was aboard.) Has anyone ever met this woman? I would almost enjoy this sort of detective work were it not in service of giving more publicity to a delusional woman who clearly wants only that. (And, as I pointed out to my boss, I can spend the next week identifying every model in every photo she claims is her and that still will not prove definitively whether she did or did not shag this basketball player. It makes it less credible, sure. But it does not prove it definitively.)

Oh right. This is a weight-loss blog (sometimes). I was supposed to be talking about the five pounds.

I binged again Sunday, despite my best efforts.

I got up and went to Bikram yoga. Then I had lunch with friends, and made perfectly healthy choices. Then we had pudding, which I’d planned to enjoy. I ordered bread and butter pudding, which I love. Except this one was tasteless, and yet, I couldn’t stop myself from finishing it. I kept taking more bites, as if hoping the accumulation of bites would equal some sort of actual flavor. Then I wanted doughnuts, which I purchased on the way to a friend’s Christmas open house that I absolutely did not want to attend, but had to. (It’s Friend Bearing Chocolate’s – so a bit of an obligation, especially because she’s moving abroad next month.)

I’d feared drinking too much at Friend Bearing Chocolate’s out of boredom – I do like her, but it’s always the same 10 people at her parties, and… how can I put this politely? I can’t: They’re boring. And I say this as someone whose job it is to make some of the most boring people (celebrities) interesting. So it’s not through lack of trying on my part.

To combat the drinking-too-much problem, I’d booked a Power Plate session for 8 a.m. Monday morning. That would give me an excuse not to stay over (FBC had invited me since her flat is as far south in London as you can be and still have a London postcode) and a point at which I’d have to quit drinking lest feel beyond wretched. So… I only had about two glasses of red wine, but I ate. I ate cheese. I ate bread. I ate loads and loads of both. I ate half a seriously buttery lemon tart (and not an individual lemon tart, either). And on the way home I had cookies and dark chocolate, although I managed to ditch half of a cookie and a bit of the chocolate. I'm not sure where this binge came from, honestly.

I felt beyond wretched yesterday morning. And nearly all day.

Then I had dinner out with friends, which I didn’t want to cancel because yesterday was the fourth anniversary of my mother’s death. They didn’t know that, of course, but I knew it, and I didn’t want to sit home staring at the memorial candle I lit and thinking about it and remembering that day – and the weeks that preceded it – in minute detail. (Usually I try not to eat out in the day immediately following a binge so I can eat as cleanly as possible.)

My jeans felt uncomfortably tight yesterday. It’s true I’ve been spoiled by loads of people complimenting me lately, but I couldn’t help noting that one of the friends – whom I haven’t seen for at least six weeks – didn’t say anything (and she has before). I feared I wouldn’t be able to button my coat. It wasn’t a nice feeling.

All day today, I’ve felt the weight around my waist -- like an inner tube, like an ugly belt, like a doughnut of fat. I never knew five pounds could feel so heavy.

I have a little more than three days before I head up to Scotland for Christmas. Then three days to do a little damage control before New Year’s and the first week of January, when I have a friend visiting (which will certainly throw off my schedule). And I’m trying not to freak out and eat now because in mid-January I have to go to the Paris couture shows. Sigh.

One day at a time, right? I got up and ran today, and at lunch I went to yoga and taped the class, the last class of 2007. Food has been fine. I’m trying to remember that I’ll feel a lot better going into Christmas if I can do the healthy thing at least until I arrive in Scotland. That’s the goal, anyway.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Hard Core

Tonight I skipped a Dita von Teese party out of laziness, and instead subjected myself to one of the hardest workouts of my life.

Come again?

Well, this morning I was too lazy to figure out what “festive burlesque” meant (yes, that was the dress code on the invitation), let alone figure out some kind of work outfit that might double as such (or schlep extra clothes and shoes with me). I was also too lazy to try to run home after work and fetch clothes (party didn’t start until 8 p.m.)

But while making my way through my inbox (I swear I found a magazine dated Dec. 13, 2004 – yowza), I read about heartcore pilates. And so instead of filing expense reports, writing a story due Monday, or otherwise doing anything that really needs to be done, I booked myself a class for tonight. (They were all booked for Saturday, which is when I originally thought I’d try it.)

I am a little cross-training fool – yoga, running, Pilates, walking, crosstrainer, Body Pump, the occasional swim, blah blah – and hardly anything makes me sore anymore. But this class fatigued my muscles to the point of them shaking. Really shaking. As in: I don’t think I’m ready for this jelly.

I loved it. If I could afford it -- and if it were anywhere near my office or flat -- I would definitely do it regularly.

I’m curious to see how sore I am tomorrow.

On the subject of exercise, I’m starting to have a mild freak out about my exercise routine for what is known in England as “the festive period.” I know perfectly well that a few days without exercise won’t kill me, but a little exercise for me goes a very, very long way towards not panicking about food that I don’t normally eat (or eat much of). And if I can keep from panicking, I can keep from bingeing.

I leave for Scotland on the morning of the 22nd and am there until the 27th. I’ll be staying with the family of Friend Bearing Chocolate, and if the past is any guide, if I fell into a vat of oil, I myself might be deep fried and served up, possibly with a side of chocolate and a double helping of alcohol.

Seriously, I’ve got little privacy and even less space. It’s going to be freezing and daylight is limited, so I think I’ll be lucky to run once in those five days. I’m debating taping my yoga class and downloading it to my ipod, but I’m actually not sure there’s enough space to do it. Any suggestions? I'm trying to remind myself that I did not binge last year and nor did I exercise at all. So apparently it can be done, although I'm feeling considerably more vulnerable this year.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

That's A New One

Last Friday I decided not to mope about the Australian and so went to a Christmas party, chatted to a guy for at least an hour, and he asked for my number. (Yes, an extraordinarily bold British boy. How refreshing.) I typed it into the mobile he told me was his personal one – he works for the Home Office. Given previous -- and recent -- experience I’ve nearly stopped believing any man is going to do as he says, but for a few reasons I really did think this one would call, and soon. He didn’t. I wasn’t superkeen anyway but a distraction would have been nice.

I bumped into him at the gym today – for the record, having never once seen him there before in my life.

“I was going to call you but I didn’t have your number,” he said.

I tried not to roll my eyes. Why not just say he’d been busy, for heaven’s sake?

“I think what must have happened is that you didn’t press the ‘done’ button after you typed in your number, so it didn’t save,” he said. “I was going to ask [the party hostess] for it, but I thought I remembered your connection to that party was pretty tenuous.” (It was. I went with two male friends whose pal had been dumped by the hostess when he moved back to California.)

I laughed. “Wow, that’s definitely a new one.”

He laughed, too. “Believe me, I never bother to make excuses why I haven’t called. I wouldn’t have asked for your number if I wasn’t going to call.”

He typed in my number himself this time.

We shall see.

Shrinking, Again

Today I walked toward a colleague's desk as she was speaking to me. She stopped in midsentence and stared.

I quickly looked down at my jeans and too-big turtleneck, wondering what sort of disaster had befallen them.

“I haven’t noticed you in your jeans for a while,” she said. “You’ve lost so much weight.”

I haven’t, honestly – not a single pound. (In fact, I’m up two pounds.) But apparently that’s not how it looks to everyone else. On the way out of the elevator – wearing the above ensemble, plus my winter coat – a writer at another magazine announced: “Wow, you’re the shrinking woman.”

And so it has been for the past few days. Friend Bearing Chocolate – who I saw not more than two weeks before that -- said she almost didn’t recognize me when she came out of the Tube. At dinner last week, my (male) friend O. said: “You look fit,” then quickly added “I mean, you look toned.” (Fit being a synonym in England for gorgeous – and heaven forbid any male in this country should pay me an actual, unadulterated compliment.) And my hairdresser caught sight of me while finishing another client’s hair Saturday and shrieked: “Look at the size of your butt!” (I confess to sneaking a peek when I went to the bathroom. Frankly, it doesn’t look any different to me.)

These were especially nice (and somewhat soothing) to hear after a week that included not one but two binges – more binges in a week than I’ve had in more than a year. (There was the Chanel binge, and then another – hands-down the worst binge I’ve had in more than a year -- both during and post-Christmas party Saturday night.) Because of my weight loss history, the minute I binge once I tend to freak out, think the whole weight loss caper is over, and that I’ll promptly wake up fat within days. (Don’t think I exaggerate. In August to September ’05, I literally went from a size 12/14 to a 16/18. It’s almost enough to make me laugh when I read these articles that say you didn’t gain the weight in a week so you can’t lose it in week. Almost.)

I desperately wish I could pinpoint what is different this time around, but somehow when I binge the next day I don’t feel like carrying on eating haphazardly and badly – which was, of course, always the thing that turned a binge into the end of a diet. I’m immensely grateful for this, but somewhat terrified that since I can’t identify where it’s coming from, it will somehow disappear.


The Australian emails me tonight at 10 p.m., many hours after I emailed him to see if we were still on. He says he forgot we were meeting tonight and does not suggest another date. (Also -- because I’m the kind of person who notices and can’t help analyzing things like this – he signs it with his name, instead of his first initial and a kiss, which is how he’s signed all the other ones.)

I am trying awfully hard not to tar all men with the same brush, but the ones I’m meeting these days certainly aren’t making it easy.

A friend I saw in DC in September listened to some of my tales of woe and announced: “You are so overdue a prince.” She doesn’t mean William or Harry.

I don’t need a prince. But I don’t need this kind of crap, either.

I got the email on my blackberry as I was leaving an excruciatingly boring drinks party that I can’t even claim was for work. In the car on the way home – thinking of the therapist who pointed out I’d be better off crying than bingeing – I did cry a bit. Lest I seem totally melodramatic, it was at least as much because of the loss of possibility and what he represented – the first person I actually really liked since the Fig, and the first person I’ve felt any kind of connection to in ages – as just, well… feeling crummy.

The tears didn’t help, but then again, the food never really does, either.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Dontcha Wish Your Job Was Hot Like Mine?

I am up a creek without a paddle -- lame metaphor intentional because I'm doing the missing/reappearing/fraudulent canoeist story. Which has just been assigned TONIGHT -- despite the fact that we've been pitching it since last Wednesday -- and is due tomorrow.

I just spoke to one of his former students. Apparently when he caught them chewing on their pens he would snatch the pens and dip them in the classroom fishtank.

I am so winning a Pulitzer this year.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Do-Over, Pretty Please?

I binged last night – at the Chanel Paris-Londres show in London, of all places.

Food at a fashion show? Yes, loads of it, and quite possibly the best I’ve ever seen at a fashion show: duck with fig reduction and sweet potatoes, foie gras with apples, Thai glass noodle salad, Laduree macaroons. (Not that Karl Lagerfeld was eating any of it – he had a butler following him around with a lone glass of diet Coke on a tray. If only I’d had the same!)

It’s been a tough week. Lots of eating out, lots of events, not enough exercise, which is the first part of the panic equation. Then there was alcohol (our office Christmas lunch had been earlier in the day, and then I stupidly had some champagne at the show) combined with despair.

Where did the despair come from? I met the first guy since the Fig that I really, really liked. Not the physicist – he’s an Australian computer programmer. (Who, by the way, also picked me up off the ground. Do I suddenly look like a little Beth doll, accessories not included?) We went out last Thursday, and planned to meet up Sunday before the evening even ended. We met up Sunday and…nothing since, because I’ve managed to screw it up by being a complete and utter nut case.

Don’t tell me that I probably wasn’t as bad as I think, and that he still could call – I know that he isn’t going to. I broke a bunch of rules in the course of those two dates and so decided I’d break another one by contacting him in an attempt to explain what was going on. Of course I just managed to make things worse. Sigh. If only do-overs were granted outside of elementary school playground games.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

If My Refrigerator Could Talk

Today I received a shout-out in the big morning news meeting… for my update on a certain, um, wino's bra episode.

Dear God, how is this possibly my life?

I also opened my refrigerator today to discover it contained only semi-skimmed milk (necessary ingredient for morning oatmeal) and a big leather handbag.

Why the handbag in the fridge? It’s got gum on it, and I don’t have a freezer or peanut butter (another of Google’s get-out-the-gum suggestions).

Lots going on but it’s been to crazy to blog. I’ve been out every night for more than a week, and quite a lot of those have been late nights. Must get sleep, but first must close this week’s stories…