Thursday, 30 July 2009

Scale Hop

10 stone 3 (143 lbs).

I'm perfectly fine with that. Really. For about five seconds at one point this summer I saw 9 stone 13 (139) but I really don't need to weigh that. In my head I think I'd like to weigh 140 pounds, but that's just because it's the "should weigh" number that was drilled into my head so many years ago. (Remember those old height/weight charts, where you gave yourself 100 pounds for five feet, and then five pounds for every inch above that? Well, I'm 5'8".) Plus I know myself: If I ever got to 140 lbs for more than 20 seconds and it didn't involve a bout of the flu I'd probably be thinking: Hmmm, I should get to 138 or 139 just to have a little buffer.

So... current plan is to stay here, plus or minus two pounds. (Well, plus two pounds -- what weight watcher ever minded being minus two pounds?) I'm also experimenting with allowing myself a few more calories/treats -- like (food porn alert) today's definitely-not-within-usual-calorie-limits slice of apple and blackcurrant crumb cake. Mmmm. Buttery and delicious. Anyway, we'll see where I get to with that. Hopefully not 200 lbs (I know, I know -- I shouldn't even joke about it.)

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Of Cravings and Cellulite

Have I mentioned I’ve been exhausted lately? Well, I’ve been exhausted lately. Not just kinda tired, but trudging-along-can’t-quite-shuffle-up-the-Tube-steps tired. Everything seems like a lot of effort, and a couple of times I’ve actually gotten back into bed, which is something I _never_ do.

Often when I’m dragging exercise wakes me up, but today I decided the most loving thing I could do for myself was not to force the workout. Even though I had a few days off last week and have been struggling to do much of a workout on other days, I figured a day off might help me kick whatever this is. At 4 pm, I began despairing of managing to get to town to see a friend I’ve been looking forward to seeing for ages. For energy, I ate an extra two fingers of Kit Kat beyond my usual snack – also something I never do. I still didn’t feel better. (Frankly, the extra chocolate just made me want to keep eating.)

Had lovely catch-up with friend and dinner at Yo Sushi, where, frankly, I could have kept eating and eating. If I could have dived into a mountain of fried rice and noodles, I might well have, though I managed to stick to sushi and sashimi and edamame. It has been nine days since my last binge, and as we walked down Oxford Street the smell of Belgian waffles was almost unbearable. (Lovely friend says they don’t taste nice.) I eyed the fruit stand: cherries, white peaches, nectarines, all of which set off sugar cravings if I’m in the wrong head space, which I definitely was. I thought about all the other things I might like to eat. I wondered if Selfridges might still be open – if I could get a cupcake. I thought about cakes and chocolates and ice cream. I thought about how crummy I would feel tomorrow, and how miserable I’d be starting over at Day 1 again.

Suddenly I had a bit more energy. I looked at the time and realized if I walked quickly to the Tube and had reasonably decent transport karma (never a sure thing), I could make it to the gym in time for a 40-minute workout before it closed. I told myself even 20 minutes would probably be better than none.

I made it. I worked out. I feel better.

* * *

Tonight’s outing was the inaugural appearance of my new Scala knickers that contain what are supposed to be cellulite-busting bio crystals. (They were £30 – I gave up diet Coke for two weeks to buy them. Not sure whether it’s sadder that I had to scrimp (these are the only item of clothing I’ve bought in months) or that I drink so much diet Coke that I can save that much in two weeks.) As the Brits would say, I think they’re pants.

Why? Frankly, they feel like Spanx control underwear, which make me feel fat because I used to wear Spanx (or something like them) all the time, in an attempt to squeeze into clothes that were too tight for me. How I loathe that feeling of fat-girl-about-to-bust-her-pants, and these knickers were just snug enough to make me feel that way. Nor did I like the way my jeans and top looked on top of them – you could see the line they made beneath my bra, and they made my jeans stretch a bit, and not in a nice way. Ugh.

The best part of wearing them was taking them off. I put on my gym clothes and felt positively lithe and lean without my sausage-casing knickers. Maybe they were worth the £30 just for that.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Back From the Brink

I know alcohol is a depressant. I think -- for me -- too much food must release the same chemicals. I feel gray and depressed after a binge -- despairing, fearful and sick. (The first day post-binge is also a complete waste of a day, as I just put one foot in front of the other, hoping to get through the hours until I can go to sleep and wake up the next day feeling better.)

Anyway, I'm six days post-binge -- six days of pretty clean eating. Not enough exercise, in my opinion, but frankly, I did some and today is a new week. A week that will probably include a trip to Paris and could also include a day interviewing the guys who run one of London's best bakeries, but let's worry about that when we get there, shall we?

Friday, 24 July 2009

Quick Drive By Post

Sorry for the silence. It’s been a tough few weeks, filled with quite a lot of work (unfortunately not of the paying variety – lots of ideas to pitch, and then my edit test for the New York job, which made me question whether I even want said job, or more to the point, whether I can do it. But perhaps I should worry about that if and when they offer it to me?)

I’ve also had an exceedingly difficult time with food – constantly hungry despite allowing myself a bit more than usual, and even finding the taste of my favorite breakfast (porridge with raisins) a bit bland and in need of sugar. And not as filling as usual. L

I also binged on Sunday and Monday. It’s been a year, I think, since I did a two-day binge – normally I’ve been able to hop right back on the wagon after one bad day. But I felt hungry all day Sunday and finally gave in in the late afternoon/early evening. I ate huge helpings of the Sunday roast at a friend’s parents, and finished with fistfuls and fistfuls of Cornish fairings and chocolates. I woke up Monday and struggled to eat a proper breakfast (as opposed to the fry-up everyone else was having), then spent much of the morning thinking how to sneak more food. I bought a couple of chocolate bars at the shop, confessed to a friend that I had done so and wasn’t going to eat them, and then ate them anyway later – after we’d been to Pizza Express and I’d sneaked out claiming I was going to the bathroom and then bought a couple of cookies that were hard and crumbly, but which, of course, I still ate.


Then followed some covert and not-so-covert chocolate eating, more biscuits, and a huge binge of bizarre foods: ham, cheese, peanut butter, more fairings, figs, chocolate…

I woke up on Tuesday feeling gray, fat and miserable, and didn’t manage to do any exercise (though I did manage not to binge). I got to the gym Wednesday and Thursday, but not today. Not good, especially because I still feel constantly on the cusp of another binge.

I fear desperately that these days will be the ones that – in six months’ time, when I’m a size 20 again – I look back and think: That was where it all unravelled.

I cannot let that happen. A friend says she will not allow that to happen. I feel slightly better just for not being alone in the struggle.

I also must get a grip. I got on the scale yesterday and was up four pounds. Four pounds. I feel like I can see it in all my clothes, and that suddenly I am huge. But hello, reality check: Yesterday went to see Gwynnie & M@dge’s trainer and a slim girl there was talking about how she dreamed about eating 10 American cookies the night before.

“I just got back from 3 weeks in the US,” I told her. “Almost nothing there tastes as good as it looks.”
She smiled and said – nicely – “Do you even eat cookies? You’re so slim.”


Monday, 13 July 2009

Party On

Saturday night I went to a fancy dress party wearing the shortest skirt I have ever worn in my life. (Coaxed by a friend, I bought this Robin outfit, although I have neither that chest nor that hair, and I’m hoping the outfit wasn’t quite that form-fitting on me, but I guess I won’t known until I see pictures.)

It was fun, although one thing I didn’t particularly enjoy was the amount of attention I attracted on public transport with that shiny green skirt just barely poking out from underneath my short coat.

Despite drinking copious amounts of the host’s Moscow Mule cocktail – and parties and alcohol often being a binge trigger for me – I managed not to give in. The keys, for me, I think were: 1. I ate a good dinner beforehand. 2. I allowed myself a small treat before I went out (an iced gingerbread cookie). 3. I told myself if there were chocolate at the party, I could have one, but that was it. (I had two bites of a friend’s chocolate cupcake at the party. I might have eaten more, but the whole plate disappeared before I could get my hands on any more.) 4. I allowed myself another gingerbread cookie when I came home.

Yesterday, the day after the party, I had my usual post-drinking want-to-eat-everything-in-sight feeling – or at least, want to relax normal rules – but only allowed myself a slightly bigger afternoon snack than usual. (For the record, it was a Magnum bar, which I seem to crave every summer, then eat one and remember they’re really not all that fabulous. They really need to do something about that chemical-y taste to the vanilla ice cream. Or maybe I just need to stop eating the chocolate layer off first…)

I still don’t know what I weigh – haven’t braved the scale – but my clothes seem not to be as appallingly tight as they were last week (call me a pessimist, but I can’t help wondering if I’ve perhaps stretched them?). Could also fit into US size four jacket (UK 8/10) a friend gifted me with while in the US (it’s too small for her). Going to stop panicking, I think, although this weekend I need to squeeze myself into a wetsuit to windsurf (or try to windsurf) – and will be down in the West Country, with too many fabulous cream teas calling my name…

Friday, 10 July 2009

Third Time Unlucky

I am mildly hungover this morning, thanks to a glass of white wine, a couple of glasses of red wine and what I hope was a rum and diet Coke, but may well have been the full fat kind.

It was my third date with Andrew, and it wasn’t the sort of evening worth a hangover.

Still, I’m going to be grateful that I didn’t binge, because that’s very well the evening it could have turned into. There is nothing that sets me off quite like an evening spent struggling to connect with someone, particularly if there is alcohol involved.

And sure enough, as Andrew and I went our separate ways at Waterloo – after an awkward goodbye where he said “Not to be naff, but I’ll email you” -- I felt the familiar urge to stuff myself. Somehow, I didn’t.

This morning at 9 am an email from him arrived, saying he didn’t see this “working out on the dating front.” Frankly, I didn’t either, but still I feel slightly depressed by the whole thing.

* * *

Yesterday when I picked up my tub of body lotion I noticed there were traces of peanut butter on the lid.

That would be peanut butter from the binge I had on the fourth of July, at my best friend’s house.

I cringed a bit just remembering it: Ducking into my room to dip leftover hamburger buns into a jar of peanut butter while alternately popping back out to the living room where we were watching a movie and bowling on the Wii Fit. I also ate all the snacks I’d been carrying with me (mostly cereal bars, I think, judging from the wrappers I found the next morning). Yes, I really can binge on just about anything, although to be fair, I probably wouldn’t have done that sort of desperate foraging if I hadn’t been drinking.

The next day, I woke up and dreaded any comments she might make about how I’d behaved the night before. Had she noticed? She didn’t say.

I felt exhausted and over-full and head-full-of-cotton-wool, a combination of food and alcohol hangover. I was upset with myself mostly because I knew I’d be low-energy all day, and not particularly capable of concentrating on conversation with M., my best friend, whom I hadn’t seen for a year and a half. I debated whether to say anything, to explain why I might seem distracted. (And why her hamburger buns and peanut butter were missing.)

I wavered, and then – late in the afternoon, walking in the park – I confessed.
“I thought something might be going on,” she said. “I know you. But if that wasn’t what you were doing I didn’t want you to be embarrassed.”

Then she said, unprompted: “I don’t think [my boyfriend] noticed, if you’re worried about that.”

Thursday, 9 July 2009


OK, I have calmed down slightly.

I went to see M@donna and Gwyn3th’s trainer yesterday – for work, not a workout – and he told me I looked like I’d lost weight. He was in a spectacularly good mood as he’d just gotten some super-flattering press, but still nice to hear, especially as the scales in his gym’s bathroom (which of course I couldn’t resist hopping on) were showing at least a seven-pound gain.

I also had to nip out to look for an outfit to wear to an ‘80s TV fancy dress party Saturday night, and from past experience I know costume sizing varies widely, often in spectacularly unflattering ways. I felt hugely fat in some of the skimpy costumes a friend coaxed me into trying, but did derive some small pleasure when a couple of the “one size fits most” ones actually were unflatteringly big on me. I can still vividly remember the times when I’d see those words and be sure the outfit would be way too small. (And if for some reason I wasn’t busting out from the seams, I’d be too worried someone else would appear at the party with the same outfit hanging off them, thus highlighting exactly how large I was. Hello, neurotic…)

I’m still struggling to keep to my usual London eating routines – what is it about going off piste that makes you feel so hungry all the time when you go back to the trail? Sigh. And I’m meeting up tonight with the ukelele player, which probably means at least a bit of alcohol and perhaps not the best food choices. We’re going to a show first (it’s at 7, so too early to eat first) so I know I’ve got to be careful: alcohol on empty stomach very often equals a binge for me.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

The Skinny (Well, Fat) On My Trip

In 20 days in the US, where I was absurdly careful about food and alcohol and very good about exercise (both the in-the-gym variety and walking a lot), I gained somewhere between seven and 10 pounds.


For the record, the trip did include one very bad, very embarrassing binge – on Saturday, 4 July (no declaration of independence from bingeing for me, apparently). But I worked so bloody hard, is what I want to whine to you. I had to eat lunch and dinner out nearly every day – which means I contemplated nearly an acre of delicious, way-too-bountiful choices – and chose wisely. I had to deal with my sister and various other usually-binge-triggering family members. I did have some treats (among them full-fat New York cheesecake and a McDonalds sausage biscuit, both of which actually did taste as good as I remembered) but I budgeted them in. I bought a box of Little Debbie raisin crème pies and actually only ate one (those, like so many things I used to love, definitely did not live up to the memory, but there’s certainly a time where I’d have consumed the whole box anyway.) I exercised probably 15 days out of that 20.

To be fair, there is a small chance I didn’t gain quite as much as 10 pounds. The scale today actually read 10 stone 13.5 (153.5), which would be a gain of 11.5 pounds. But I weighed myself after breakfast and a glass and a half of water. Plus I spent yesterday on an airplane, which (I think I remember) does funny things to my weight. But my best case scenario, I think, is that I only gained seven pounds. Only seven pounds. Ugh. Still, I’d almost be happy if that’s all it is – I swore I’d never go over 150 pounds again, and now I have. Whoever thought seven plus pounds could feel so heavy? And yet I feel it, with every move and breath.

It was an awful struggle today to get myself back on track. I just wanted to eat, partially in frustration and partially because I see several events on the horizon that are going to make weight management difficult. I feel huge and fat – my jeans are tight, and I feel like my waist has been covered up with a little apron of fat. I wish I could hide in my dresses (some of them have forgiving A-lines), but they are fitted at the waist and it’s raining.

One foot in front of the other. I can do this. I’ve worked too hard to just let everything slide because I’m frustrated.

I wonder how much I would have gained, though, if I hadn’t been so careful? I suppose it’s depressing and defeatist to think maybe I could have eaten everything I wanted and not come out worse than I have now. Actually, I know perfectly well I could have – because everything I wanted might well have led to bingeing every day. Yes, Beth, just shut up now.

Repeat after me: This does not mean I am going to gain everything back. This does not mean I am going to gain everything back. This does not mean…