The Incredible Shrinking Woman

Day Sixteen – The Purging Continues 28 February 2008

I cleared out the kitchen cupboards.  If I tell you that I found some couscous that went off in May 2006, you’ll get an idea of how overdue that was.  And how long is the shelf life of couscous anyway?  I worried that it would make me fixate on food, but it had the reverse effect of making me think about all the healthy things I can cook in the near future.

I’ve also found myself motivated to do those things that normally get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list.  I’m finally going to redecorate the house (partly with professional help and partly through my own efforts) which is a colossal relief.  I’ve been living in half-decorated mess for over two years.  It’s amazing how you can get used to that, but I hate it!  This means that I need to keep clearing, keep throwing things out, keep cleaning the slate.  And I can barely wait to start.  In a funny way, long-term projects like that seem to shrink the length of time of the diet.  It’s easy to say ‘I’ll have the hallway done by June’ without thinking that it’s an eternity.  With a smaller waist, a nicer house and a more positive outlook, can I be the first person to wish everyone a Happy Christmas?


Day Fifteen – Counting The Pennies

I checked my bank account today as I’ve just been paid, and this diet has had a major impact on it … in a positive way, for once.  It shouldn’t be a surprise, I suppose, with my food costs being less than £10 a day and my booze costs plummeting to the cost of a few mineral waters on a night out.  I don’t have to rummage through endless bar and restaurant receipts now when I want to get a fiver out of my wallet.  So what shall I spend all this extra cash on?  Answers on a postcard, please …

I’ve been hungry this week, and I don’t know why.  Not cripplingly hungry, just hungry.  I don’t know if it’s to do with the cold weather or because my body is used to being fed at new times … four times a day isn’t my usual regime.  I’ll have to time it right or I’ll find myself tempted to nibble when I get home.  I found myself thinking ‘oh just one won’t hurt’ when the Boy was helping himself to a chocolate mint, and I’ve not felt like that until now.  Time to draw on the willpower!


Day Fourteen – Six More Pounds 26 February 2008

I’m quite staggered, actually.  I was hoping I’d achieve four pounds so I’m delighted to have achieved six.  That brings the total loss in a fortnight to 1 stone and 2 lbs (or around 7 kilos), which is alarming.  Having had such a positive start I just hope I keep on track for the 3 stone by the end of the 100 days.

I’ve been thinking about my relationship with food.  It’s simple to think that there is some deep seated flaw in my development around food, but I can’t put my finger on it.  Although I can clearly remember my Dad telling me that if I didn’t finish my peas then he’d stick them up my nose, one by one, we didn’t come from the all-too-familiar and destructive ‘you have to clear your plate before you leave the table’ school of thinking.  At least, not as far as I remember.  Food has never been a point of stress in our family.  On the contrary, I was eating mussels almost before I could reach the table, was taken for curries at a very young age and encouraged to sample exotic Asian food while I was still at primary school.  Food has always been exciting, adventurous and something to be enjoyed socially.  The only hiccup in my development is probably the fact that I remember being put on a diet when I was about eight years old.  I’m sure this was well-intentioned but, frankly, I think that the slightly chubby child would have shed her puppy fat without being taught to obsess about what she looked like and what she put into her mouth.  I guess I’ll never know.

One of the only concerns I have about this process is that I really hope my positive enthusiasm for food isn’t destroyed.  On another blog I read the rather stark warning to ‘prepare for a lifetime of hating food’.  That would be tragic for me, it really would.  To this end I’m making a conscious effort to already think differently about the food that I prepare and eat, rather than thinking negatively about it.  I’m already making promises to myself that I will do such things as prepare more food from scratch, and learn competence in new cuisines.  I guess it doesn’t matter whether or not I actually keep to these promises in a few months’ time … it’s more important that I get to that point without feeling that food is merely functional and should effectively be dismissed from my life wherever possible.

But on a lighter note (no pun intended), my belt is now one notch tighter and I definitely need to think about buying some new jeans.  Now that’s a shopping trip I’m looking forward to.


Days Eleven to Thirteen – Weird Weekend 25 February 2008

I’m worried that I’m turning into a bore.  Not only am I struggling with people being drunk around me (I tend to tut and cringe a bit when they get noisy) but I’m also knackered well before 11pm.  I know this is a short-term thing, but unless I snap out of it then there’s a chance I may end up thin but friendless.  Plus I’m big on cooking, and at the moment the last thing I feel like doing is inviting an army of friends over to cook them a roast while I sip soup!  And I’m only two weeks in … I knew that the tedium would get to me …

Amusingly I’ve developed something of a cleaning fetish.  Not only did I spend Saturday evening (how tragic!) deep cleaning the kitchen, but I then spent some considerable time over the weekend wandering around said kitchen and admiring my handiwork.  I even found myself happily disinfecting the already clean work surfaces before I went to bed last night.  This is highly unusual behaviour.  I can only think that the diet has put me in purge mode, and the house isn’t going to escape.

I still feel great, mind you.  All the water has, predictably, given my skin a radiance that a diet of red wine didn’t.  Energy is up (as is the sleep!) and I feel incredibly positive.  The only drawback is the fact that my hair is falling out a bit more than usual.  They warned us about this, but it’s still alarming.  Wigs, anyone?


Day Ten – Vanity, Vanity, Vanity 21 February 2008

I can’t stop looking at myself.  This is unusual for a veteran mirror and camera dodger.  I noticed when I got into the lift at work that I looked different.  My face is thinner, my cheekbones are reappearing … OK, I’m not in the Kate Moss league just yet, but I look better than I have in years.  Someone told me that weight goes off your back quite quickly and, when I look at myself square on, my shoulders look more narrow.  I know that sounds weird, but it’s true.  My pudgy arms are literally closer to my sides!  Yeah, I know this isn’t rocket science but I thought I’d have to wait forever to see any difference.  This and the fact that my jeans are getting loose is even more of an incentive.  And, trust me, I needed that incentive when I tried a toffee bar this afternoon.  Imagine some stale fudge with all the sugar removed and replaced with salt.  I almost hurled, it was so disgusting.  My colleague said it smelled and tasted like beef stock, and she wasn’t far wrong.

I’ve developed a terrible scales habit.  Despite being well aware of this fact, my weight seems to go up and down by the hour and I need to stop sneaking on to the scales every time I’m in the bathroom.  Crashing misery when it goes up by a fraction of a kilo isn’t compensated for by the cheering dips, I can tell you.  Maybe I’ll lock the bloody things in the cellar.

And god I’d probably sell my soul for a glass of red wine … or four …


Day Nine – In The Swing 20 February 2008

My morning boing has been replaced with morning-inability-to-get-out-of-bed.  I guess I need to forget being a midnight owl for the time being, at least until my body adjusts to such a reduced intake of calories.  Or be late for work every day for the foreseeable future … hmmm, that’s a toughie!

The whole food replacement thing has become quite automatic now.  It’s getting to the point where people don’t look at me as weird so much as feel guilty about themselves.  I’m not sure I could tuck into a whopping plate of cheesy pasta with impunity while someone nibbled on a food bar.  But anyway, I’m getting used to being a food voyeur, and what still staggers me is the fact that I genuinely don’t miss it.  Maybe I’m in shock.  Maybe in a week I’ll be sobbing into my pillow and hallucinating steak and chips.  Maybe this is like giving up smoking … a doddle for a few weeks and then after three months you’re climbing the walls.  I really really really hope not.

My clothes feel more loose, which is absolutely brilliant.  I haven’t quite got my head around the fact that soon I’ll be able to wear absolutely anything I bloody well like, although I think I may draw the line at hotpants and boob tubes.  Sadly I’m only getting thinner, not younger.


Day Eight – The Hard Bit’s Done 19 February 2008

So I’m a week into the programme, over the big hurdle of the first week, and a whopping 10 lbs lighter.  Hooray!  I was amazed, but at the same time I felt that my efforts had been rewarded.  I even managed to resist the overwhelming urge to raise a glass of Rioja in celebration.  I’ll reward myself with one of my brand new food bars this afternoon instead.

The session was good.  I can see how it’s so crucial to keeping us all going, but some parts of it are a bit too cheesy for my liking.  I’ve never been good at those sort of activities because my inclination is to be disruptive.  I’ll have to watch that.  But what’s interesting is how different all the people in the group are, so it’s going to be a lively few weeks.  I can’t wait for all of us to succeed, frankly.

I woke up this morning feeling energetic again, although my resolution to only use the stairs today lasted until I got to work and made a beeline for the lift as usual.  I blame the cold for my sluggishness … that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

The regime is having a positive impact on the Boy, too.  He made chicken salad last night and the plan is to clear out the cupboards and fridge this week to fill it with healthy food.  And doubtless watch it all go off while he tucks into takeaways 🙂

I guess that this week’s challenge is to keep up the momentum.  It would be crushing to go back next week and find that I’d only lost a pound or, even worse, nothing.  I know that can happen but I can only imagine how demotivating it is.  I might even venture back to the gym, if I can face it.  I hate gyms with a passion.  I’ve tried and tried and tried, but I hate them.  Maybe I need to bite the bullet and give it one more go.  Maybe …