Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Preturnaturally Calm

First, an excuse: I am without a computer at home these days, something I haven’t been without since I was about four years old (my father was a very early adapter). Mine keeps threatening to “dump physical memory” (eek!), and then rebooting itself, in an endless cycle. I need a new computer. I also need, in no particular order: My electricity fixed (the lights in my kitchen have shorted), a $1,500 ticket to Indonesia, and to pay my American taxes. So much for writing on Monday nights, unless I’m going to do it in longhand. Anyway, time for blog posts being grabbed in bits from work, and there aren’t many of those. (Well, ok, except for the bits I spend checking other people’s blogs. Oops.)

I woke up this morning to find myself weighing 11 stone 10 ¾, which is dangerously close to 12 stone, one pound over the highest weight in the “normal range” for me (yikes – I’m “overweight” again), nearly six pounds above my lowest weight ever, and three pounds above last week’s weight.

I am refusing to get overly upset about this (despite the “overweight” tag), which may be problematic if the scale continues to climb. Why am I being so calm? Last week’s behavior was not the behavior of someone who gains three pounds a week. I worked out a lot: Power plate within two hours of stepping off the Eurostar, running Friday night before a friend’s leaving drinks, sprinting to the gym from Waterloo Saturday morning and then upping all my weights in Body Pump, doing heartcore (and it is seriously hardcore) Pilates on Sunday. I ate like a non-crazy person in Paris.

And oh yeah, there was a binge. Friday night, after several drinks, and dinner that was a salad with goats cheese which, while yummy, perhaps ought to have been the pizza I was really craving (and that my friend was having). I left the restaurant and promptly consumed a double chocolate muffin, a jam doughnut, and an Eccles cake in Covent Garden, and then another double chocolate muffin and a chocolate dipped flapjack in Putney. A small binge, by my standards. Probably slightly helped by the fact that I was on the way to see Bachelor No. 2. But still, nowhere close to 14,000 calories, approximately the amount extra I’d need to consume to gain four pounds.

Why did I binge? I’m honestly not sure. Alcohol was almost certainly a factor. But usually it has to be combined with something else, usually frustration, despair, or loneliness, of which I felt none. I do think my life in London is going to change when my friend – whose leaving drinks it was – actually leaves the country in a few weeks, as I’ve spent a good bit of my holidays and fair chunk of my weekends with her. But I don’t think that’s quite enough to cause a binge. Is it possible I just can’t have more than one drink ever? Maybe. I went out on Sunday night with a friend and – after two drinks – I sat in Wagamama’s nearly unable to concentrate on what he was saying because the urge to binge was that strong. (With his help, I didn’t. I asked him to sit with me while I had a piece of chocolate cake, like a normal person. Except it wasn’t like a normal person because I ate it so quickly. Sigh. I did, however, manage to stop there.)

Hmm. Binge, chocolate cake, salty Wagamama soup, quite a fair number of drinks. I deserved to gain weight, though not four pounds. Let’s see what happens this week. Drastic action may be required if the scale goes up again.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Paris, Je T'aime

Got back from Paris a few hours ago. The good news: Even if I loathe the assignment, I still love Paris. And after filing a last-minute story when I got home tonight, I went straight to Power plate. The bad news: I ate more than I should have/needed to. The ugly news: None, thankfully.

Paris started off on the wrong foot for me in several ways. The first is that I had my passport stolen Saturday, and thanks to it being a US holiday Monday I couldn’t get temporary travel papers until Tuesday morning – and I was supposed to be in Paris on Sunday. Despite this sounding like a blessing in disguise – longtime blog readers (if indeed there are any!) will recall I was far from thrilled with the nature of this particular trip – it was not. Besides the stress of passport replacing/unsympathetic boss, I had to scramble to help the person replacing me Monday and Tuesday, um, replace me.

The other pre-Paris problem: I woke up Tuesday morning to find that I didn’t lose any weight last week. Frankly, I shouldn’t have expected to lose any weight last week. Yes, I didn’t binge and yes, I ate appropriately and yes, I did all my workouts – but I also had dessert two days in a row, something I never do. (Cake from Ottolenghi one night, and a sticky toffee pudding – something I’ve been thinking about all winter, but have not indulged in – the next.) I understand perfectly well that at this stage of weight loss – when I don’t have much to go – that small things can mean the difference between losing and maintaining (or – eek – gaining). But still I don’t like it!

So with my head in that place, I went to Paris, an assignment that encapsulates both everything I hate about my job and (almost) everything that makes me insecure about myself. The job I was doing was stressful, and made all the more so by two breaking news stories I had to work on that had nothing to do with the Paris assignment. So: The two nights I was there I went out to dinner and ate mine with very little thought about leaving any over/not eating so much of the cous cous (had a tagine one night). Last night I had pasta and a two small slices of my friend’s individual pizza – but compensated (a bit) by having fruit for dessert when everyone else was ordering tarts. Both nights I ate the little chocolate left for me by the hotel, something I would never usually do. I worked out both days, and walked a good bit. (And shouldn't Anna Wintour's death glare at my outfit at Valentino laser off at least a pound? A girl can dream.) To be honest, I feel perfectly OK with these two days – I didn’t make myself or anyone else crazy about my food, and now I’m back and back in my routine. Or I should say, I feel OK with this now – I’m probably going to be slightly less thrilled when I weigh in.

* * *

Things tick on with Bachelor No. 2. He texted me in French while I was in France – he speaks six languages (we have two in common) and I think must have forgotten that French is not one of mine. Since the texts are occasionally naughty – and because I wasn’t finding the words in the online French/English dictionary -- I couldn’t think of anyone I’d particularly want to translate them!

Tonight, seeing an e-mail he sent me earlier in the day, I idly checked out the web site from which he’d sent it. I wasn’t expecting much, but it turned out to be a detailed family web site – from what is roughly the last year he was married. I scanned a few entries, which were written – ick -- in the overly jocular tone of a bad Christmas letter. Then I clicked on the photos page, thinking it was going to be mostly – as advertised on the main page – baby photos. Curious as I am about the ex-wife and what she looks like, I had to close the page down as soon as the photos started loading, because they were clearly family photos.

Frankly, I wish I hadn’t seen the web site. Just because I’m curious about the ex doesn’t mean I really want to know, at least not now. And much as I know he’s hardly an unbiased source, I feel like what I know about their relationship should come from him, not what I can piece together – or could piece together, if I actually read all the entries -- from a web site intended for family and friends.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008


Lost a pound of the four I put on. I’m vaguely disappointed, as I was hoping the weight would come off in a huge this-was-all-water rush. But alas. I’m trying not to think about the fact that I have to face Paris – and the couture shows – in less than a week, and that I may in fact put the pound straight back on. I’m not planning to, of course – it’s just that things happen when you travel. Or at least, when I do.

Ugh. I’ll tell you why French women don’t get fat. It’s because -- unlike hapless American journalists such as myself – they note that the couture shows are barely three weeks after Christmas and no doubt eat accordingly. I just want to hide out/sprawl out in my flat in tracky bottoms this time of year, rather than confront the fact that my bottom does not fit in the less than eight inches allotted to me at the shows. (Though even without the extra three pounds, my bottom probably still wouldn’t fit – and perhaps never will. Ah well – I’ve done the shows 70 plus pounds heavier, so one would hope they can’t be any worse now.)

Last night on the way home I stopped in the grocery store to pick up some porridge and found myself face to face with cans of Weight Watchers tuna mayonnaise and sweetcorn. I actually feel a bit of fear around any food I don’t usually have in my flat, probably because when I buy it I think about it a lot and spend a lot of time trying to figure out when I can eat it. And then, of course, there’s the fear that once I start I won’t be able to stop eating it. Yes, even Weight Watchers tuna mayonnaise and sweetcorn can strike fear in my heart – pathetic, but true. Perhaps some of the fear comes from wondering what craving eating something new might set off? I honestly don’t know.

I looked at the ingredient list, full of unpronounceable things. I considered how a tuna mayonnaise that doesn’t have to be refrigerated might taste (not very good, I would think) – especially if it only has 77 calories per can. Mostly on the basis of calories alone, I thought about buying a can to try for an at-work snack. Then I thought about my eating over the past year, which hasn’t featured a single ready meal and only occasionally any type of processed food, and felt this strange rush of something – pride. For over a year now I have eaten normal, healthy food, and lost more than 70 pounds doing it. I don’t buy and eat miserable things purely because they’re low in calories – something I’ve done in diets past – and I don’t sit around adding up calories and trying to figure out what I can do with an extra 43 calories because heaven forbid I should leave those unused. I don’t sit around waiting for the next meal and immediately feel hungry upon finishing it, the way I always did in diets past.

I put the Weight Watchers tuna back on the shelf, bought my porridge and milk for the morning, then went home to grill some courgette/zucchini (can’t decide which word I like better) and mushrooms.

* * *

Captain Australia has just texted to say he hasn’t been in touch because he’s having a manic week (he’s turning his doctoral thesis into a book manuscript and it’s due any minute). I have to say, I would have preferred the text be from BN2.

Monday, 14 January 2008


So I’ve eaten well (translation: healthy) for more than a week, I did my first pre-work workout since before Christmas (I was sick all last week), and I’m wearing ridiculously high (and quite fabulous, if I do say so myself) heels, one of my New Year’s resolutions being to wear more of my shoes more often (I like to keep my resolutions lofty, ahem). And I have no plans tonight in preparation for another New Year’s resolution (work on non-job-related, non-blog writing project on Monday nights). I’m feeling pretty good.

I struggle with these blog posts – thinking I ought not post unless I have something coherent to say. But some days (and weeks, really) I just don’t have that – only a bunch of small thoughts I want to record. So:

It’s a little scary how fast the fitness can begin to fade. At Power Plate this morning, I could feel and see real differences in my strength after three weeks off (Christmas, New Year, then sick), and I struggled a bit with my usual run to the studio and back (maybe still recovering from being sick). But I’m back, and that’s the important thing.

I’ve spent much of the week being incredibly grateful that Los Angeles didn’t work out. Britney would be my life (as opposed to the small but manageable bit of the story I’ve got to handle from here) and all those awards shows I was going to attend/cover? Um, not so much.

Friday I went out with Captain Australia. He’s entirely too pleased with his own rear view (seriously – and no, I haven’t checked it out myself, probably out of defiance), he’s cheap, and his laugh annoys the crap out of me (the death knell – and you know how much I hate cheap). I felt guilty that he’d schlepped into London to see a film and then I pretty much turned into a pumpkin the minute the lights went up (I’d warned him earlier in the week that I was still getting over being sick and asked if he wanted to reschedule), but how was I supposed to know the Assassination of Jesse James was three freakin’ hours?

Saturday I went out with Bachelor No. 2. I could see the scarring from the Fig – panic and fury set in about 7 p.m. when I hadn’t heard from him, but it turns out we’d gotten our signals crossed about times and who was calling whom and when. “You know, we should have just set a time,” BN2 said easily, as we walked to dinner. I sometimes feel ridiculously young around BN2 – it’s not so much that he’s five years older than me but rather the 10-year marriage and, of course, the child – but just as often I have to appreciate that he is, erm, an adult.

We had a “perfect” evening (his words, via text, not mine – but yes, it was rather excellent), but now I don’t know when I’m going to see him again, which sets off my control freakery. (Note to self: You cannot know what is going to happen.) I think I could handle this better had we not had the conversation about how he might want to run around with his best friend, shagging pretty airheads (of which he thought, when he met me, that I was one -- which sort of amuses me, actually). I don’t like the feeling that the rug could be pulled out from under me at any moment.

And yes, there is the makings of a rug there -- not necessarily silk and intricately woven, but at least a small frayed hand towel hiding the holes in the floor underneath. BN2 made a handful of comments Saturday about things we should do in the future, both ways we should handle certain situations and places we should go. If I were being a cynic here’s where I’d point out that on the very last night I ever saw him, the Fig talked about how we should rent a car and go out to his father’s place in the country. But BN2 is not the Fig.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

I Predict a Diet

Actually, not so much. For the first time in my entire life, a January has arrived where I am neither (a) totally horrified by my weight and vowing to do something about it nor (b) totally horrified by my weight and stuffing my face over it.

That said, I am not very thrilled that I’m up four pounds. I never in my life thought I’d be one of those women who complains about putting on two pounds, but I could literally feel the two pounds, and four is, erm, doubly bad. Seriously. I can feel it muffining over my jeans. I can see it muffining over my jeans. Ick. (Yes, I am aware that muffining is not a verb.)

So I need to sort that out, and on top of that, to lose another five pounds. So let’s say I’d like to lose another 10 pounds this year – ideally before my birthday in May, but I fully expect these pounds to be a struggle. At the moment, a miserable cold (I forgot how bad colds are – haven’t had one for ages) is preventing me from doing anything much. And come mid-January, I have back-to-back trips to Paris and Cannes, plus a possible trip to Spain, then London Fashion Week. That doesn’t even include possible severe schedule disruptions for breaking news. Right. One day at a time. I can do this. I do not need to let four pounds become 40. I will not let four pounds become 40, and at the moment, I can honestly say that I don’t fear that it might.

Wait. Should I be scared of that?

I had a handful of binges over the festive period – the last of which was on Thursday -- but I feel OK now. A little freaked at how much difference four pounds can make in my clothes, but mostly OK. I’d feel better if I can get through more than two weeks without bingeing (something I haven’t managed since the beginning of November), but I’m working on it.

Of course, I fully realize that Bachelor No. 2 could wreak serious havoc on my efforts. I’m wary. But I think I’m past the point where I need to hibernate and sort myself out – I did that for nearly three months last year. I need to learn to deal with uncertainty and uncomfortable things and accept that there are things I cannot control – and that eating will not make dealing with any of this easier.

So what of Bachelor No. 2? When he disappeared into the Tube on Sunday, telling me to have a good week, I thought it could be ages before I heard from him again. He texted last night and we ended up talking for a couple of hours – one of those meandering conversations that goes from one thing to another and it would take another couple of hours to figure out how you got from where you started to where you ended. As I went to get off the phone, he said he wasn’t going to “be available” (his words) much this week, so did I want to do something this weekend? So we are. I am curious what “available” means (I can’t remember the exact way he phrased it, but it really was a much more strange choice of words than it sounds), but I resisted the urge to ask.

Meanwhile, Captain Australia (separate from the Australian – this one is an Australian working with the English military) wants to see a film. Presumably I can do that without owing anyone an explanation? Bloody hell, this is confusing.

Monday, 7 January 2008


It’s been a crazy week. I feel like I’ve consumed my body weight in chocolate, cheese and champagne. Also adorable cakes and cookies shaped like Hermes Kelly bags and Alexander McQueen boots at the Berkeley Hotel’s prĂȘt-a-portea.

I hit the gym hard on Friday and Saturday to make up for the three days of previous neglect, but now I’ve got the miserable winter cold/flu-type-thing and so going this morning was out of the question. (Lest you think I’m making excuses, I can barely type without reaching for a tissue, and definitely would have called in sick would it not have been way too suspicious after a two-week holiday. Plus, heaven forbid there is one journalist in our entire magazine who is not mobilized 24:7 on Madam Oops I Did It Again.)

Been out twice more with Bachelor No. 2, and had I written this post yesterday – as I’d intended, and in fact, had started -- this would have been an entirely different (and much gooey-er) post.

BN2 treats me like I am the most gorgeous thing that has ever crossed his line of vision. He seemed so sincere – and so far from his player best friend – that I didn’t think it was all a line.

Until yesterday.

We’re sitting in my favorite local gastropub drinking tea (well, he’s having coffee) and he starts talking about how he wishes he’d met me a few months later. He wants to be free to run around partying with his best friend and shag whomever he feels like.

I can’t really blame him. He’s just out of a 10-year marriage, the last few years of which sound pretty grim (that’s what I’ve inferred – he’s circumspect about the ex and certainly doesn’t use cheap shot descriptives).

But I was stunned. Stunned because of the “hi beautiful” texts, and the phone calls, and the general keen-ness. Stunned because it was only the third time we’d been out. Stunned because I’d been sitting around mildly freaking out about the 10-year marriage and when I might be expected to get over myself and my own fears and meet the product of 10-year marriage (aka, his 18-month-old daughter). Stunned because he’s British and I’ve never met any man – let alone a British one – who’s so direct.

We walked down the road to have dinner. I went to attempt to pay for my half and he said: “I’m assuming we’ll see each other at least one more time.”

Honestly, I’m not so sure.