The Incredible Shrinking Woman

Days 138 to 140 – The Food See-Saw 30 June 2008

What a weekend!  After endless weekends in abstinence, I felt a bit like I had been let out of jail … but of course that’s a dangerous way to think.  I can’t allow myself to go crazy, but at the same time I’ve realised that I need to stop thinking about where I’m at in terms of ‘this is a diet I’m following’ and instead think that ‘this is how I need to manage my eating for the rest of my life’.  That’s quite a significant mind shift.  What it means is that I need to be constantly aware of what I’m doing … I suppose you could say that I’m living in a constant debit/credit state.

I’ll try and explain.  On Friday, I had lunch with my boss (to discuss my excuse for a career, yikes) so I did the sensible thing and opted for Japanese food.  Sashimi is fine, carbs can be pretty much eliminated, and the food doesn’t come with deceptive and dangerous dressings or sauces.  So that was fine.  I bent the rules (again) in that I had some sliced beef, and some duck, in with all the allowed protein that I’m supposed to be having.  To compensate for that, I made sure that I got up bright and early on Saturday and went swimming for half an hour.  I would’ve swum for longer, to be honest, but I wasn’t quite early enough and had to beat a hasty retreat from the pool just as armies of small children were preparing to descend on it.  I have nothing against small children per se, but my goggles are a bit scratched so the chance of colliding with the little blighters was very high.  Plus they do unmentionable things in the water too, if you catch my drift, and I tend to accidentally swallow quite a bit of water …

Overall I think I navigated the minefield of the weekend quite well.  I worked out when I’d be in a situation when eating would be necessary (or desireable!) and worked my lighter life packs around that.  I have to say, though, that I’m struggling to eat three packs a day in addition to one meal.  It just feels like too much.  When I see my counsellor on Thursday I’m going to ask if I can reduce it to two a day, otherwise I’m just wasting money and adding to the alarming number of spare packs that are accumulating in my kitchen cupboard.  Although (and this is really sad) I might keep having a shake for breakfast after this is over because I’ve actually come to really like them, and they do set me up for the day.  Weird, that, isn’t it?  You’d think I’d want to burn the bloody things after all this time.

I’m finding not drinking quite a struggle, but I’m trying to manage that too.  I’m not supposed to drink alcohol until week 5, but I’ve broken that rule.  Last night I was in the pub watching the football (hooray for Spain!) and rather than the usual five or six pints that it would have entailed, I sipped my way very slowly through two gin and slimline tonics with sparkling water on the side.  I’m convinced that a big part of my weight problem was alcohol-related, so doubling up a low(ish) calorie alcoholic drink with water may well be the solution in the long term.  And that will kiss goodbye to terrible red wine hangovers too!

Something odd happened to me on Friday.  I met a friend in the pub that evening and suddenly, without warning, I fainted.  One minute I was talking to her, the next it all went black and my boyfriend had to catch me before I hit the deck.  It took me about half an hour to recover, and I had to go home early because I felt physically exhausted.  I can only guess that it has something to do with my blood sugar levels going up and down whereas for the last few months they’ve been fairly stable.  I’m going to talk to my counsellor about this too … as you can imagine, my friend now thinks that I’m starving myself and that’s why I fainted, whereas in reality I’m consuming more calories now than I have for ages!

I have a client party tonight.  I think I may allow myself one drink and do my damndest to avoid the canapes.  They may be bite-sized, but by heck are they lethal …


Days 136 & 137 – Enjoying Feeling Normal 27 June 2008

Friday at last … yeehah!  And after the week I’ve had, I think I’ve earned this weekend.  As I mentioned I had a very important meeting yesterday and, despite some last minute dramas, it went really well.  I faced my first challenge of a lunch with the client … although I was armed with a bar in my bag I was determined to eat lunch with them.  I was in luck … chicken breast and rocket salad.  I avoided the couscous, and bread, and potatoes, and cheese and biscuits and felt very pleased with myself.  I also, importantly, felt like I had taken one more step towards normality.  Being the weirdo with the strange food can be a bit alienating and lonely at times, so it’s fantastic that I don’t need to feel like that anymore.  I’m really looking forward to getting to two meals a day so I can stop eating packs in the office, too.  That day will make me very happy indeed.

In keeping with my regime I went for a swim last night and did 30 minutes.  Having counted laps I estimate that I swam about 900m … I’ve no idea if that’s any good or not, but I felt really energised when I’d finished.  I’m also enjoying the feeling of not being embarrassed about wandering round in swimwear and trying to hide under my towel.  Again, I feel like a normal person … I didn’t realise how much I’d missed that as it’s been a bloody long time.

I broke the rules a bit too, mind you, and had three glasses of wine in the pub.  I was trying not to think ‘well, you’ve earned these after this week’ because that skates dangerously close to me ‘rewarding’ myself with food/drink.  My counsellor would have some strong words on that topic!  But the upshot is that I got absurdly drunk (on three glasses … unthinkable six months ago) and now feel thoroughly poisoned, with only myself to blame.  I’m trying to rationalise this rule break by reminding myself that I need to stop thinking about my behaviour in terms of a diet, or a regime, and actually begin to sensibly manage my lifestyle.  Drinking alcohol will clearly be a part of that … so I don’t feel too guilty.  Well, maybe a bit.

I’m having lunch with my boss today and we’re going for sushi.  So it will be sashimi for me, and I can’t wait.  I think sushi might be my favourite food in the world, ever.  God it feels good to be back in the real world 🙂


Day 135 – A New Regime 25 June 2008

Oh la, what a day!  I have a big presentation tomorrow, and appear to be the only person on the team who isn’t getting their knickers into a massive twist about it.  I’m not sure why … maybe some people use panic as a mechanism to motivate themselves, but I do wish they’d sod off and panic somewhere else 🙂

So I’m taking ten minutes out for a bit of sanity to write on here.  Yesterday was great … I saw it as the first proper day of my new management regime and I was very excited (if slightly nervous that I might accidentally gain some weight … that would be unbelievably depressing).  I went for my swim on the way home, having looked forward to it all day.  And it wasn’t a disappointment!  It’s hard to describe how odd it has been having such limited energy.  It was like I wasn’t in control of my own body … but now I’m optimistic that increased calories and increased exercise will put a bit more of my old boing back into me.  I managed 20 minutes before I thought I was going to fall asleep in the water, and I’m aiming for 30 when I go back on Thursday.  I was a little nervous about appearing in swimwear for the first time since the diet began … not only am I a bit squidgy (if much thinner!) but my inexpert adventures with fake tan have left me with alarmingly orange legs and feet (that don’t match the rest of me) so I look a bit daft with my clothes off.  So I wandered out of the cubicle, very conscious about my tangerine pins, in a costume that is new-ish but annoyingly a little baggy, my swimming hat half pulled across my head (they’re sexy things, aren’t they?) and bumped into a friend of mine.  Her first comment?  ‘Wow, you look great!’.  She’s either mad or blind.

Then I went home and cooked some food that I was actually going to eat for the first time in months.  I know that a lot of you who read this are still in abstinence, so I won’t dwell on food too much, but I baked a monkfish tail (never done that before) and it was delicious.  I was so stuffed after what seemed like a conservative serving that I could barely move for an hour … but it was worth it.  It was also great that me and the Boy could sit down at the same time and eat (almost) the same dinner.  He’s gamely volunteered to eat the management foods with me over the coming weeks (with a few amendments) which is very lovely of him because I can finally stop feeling like a freaky eater.  Hurrah.  And it will probably do his waistline some good too … 🙂

Tonight could be a late one if everything goes pear-shaped, but I don’t care because I’m feeling on top of the world (I had a ridiculous endorphine high after the swim) and there are some fresh prawns awaiting my attention when I get home.  If I feel this good for the next twelve weeks then it’s going to be well worth it.

I also had a delightful and novel experience this morning.  I took a brand new belt to the shoe repairer at the tube to have six (yes, six) extra holes punched into it so it’s small enough to wear.  And it’s a normal person belt not a fat person belt, in case you’re wondering.  It made me really happy … sad, eh?


Days 131 to 134 – Food! 24 June 2008

I’m having a bit of a bonkers week this week so this will be a brief post.  I’m now officially in management, which is unbelievably exciting.  Now, I know that I was supposed to stay at home and cook my one lonely chicken breast or fish fillet or whatever my chosen dish was, but it was a lovely evening and I was in celebratory mood so I went to our favourite local gastro pub (the Stonhouse, if any of you are Clapham-ites) with the Boy.  We’ve not been there since my ‘last supper’ way back in February, and my choice of food couldn’t possibly have been more different.  I had some rotisserie chicken and, although I’m not supposed to have salad for three days, a few mouthfuls of mixed leaves.  Never has something so simple tasted so gorgeous.  I couldn’t eat all of it … ordinary portions look alarmingly massive to me now.

I’m really focused on the twelve weeks ahead now.  If anything, this is the hardest part.  I allowed myself a minor bending of the rules last night (milestones and all that!) but have promised my new self that I won’t let her down by blasting all my good work to date to smithereens.  I’m going to follow management to the letter (barring, more than likely, the occasional glass of wine before my 5-week alcohol ban is over).  And one of the reasons that I started management a little early (I still have weight to lose) is that I had zero energy in abstinence and am desperate to do some exercise.  My swimming kit is under my desk as we speak and I’ll be going home via the pool.

So here’s hoping that I don’t have to go through the miserable experience of watching the scales creeping in the wrong direction!

Oh, and the Boy took a photo of me on Sunday to send to a friend I’ve not seen for a while.  I thought I’d share … the slightly odd angle of the photo accounts for my weirdly disproportionate head.  I’ve not turned into a lollipop lady just yet 🙂


Days 129 and 130 – Big Decisions 20 June 2008

I’ve done a lot of thinking this week and have come to some decisions.  I’m going to start management on Monday.  I was going to stay in developers for another two weeks, but have cut that short.  The reason for doing this is that I have about another stone to lose (tops) and I think I can do this in management.  Having spent some time looking at my body I don’t want to keep up the rapid losses … I’ve done OK on the loose skin front so far, but think that if I carry on in abstinence then I’m going to end up with that delightful deflated balloon look.  And if I still want to shift a few pounds at the end of managment, then so be it.  It’s very odd not to know what your ‘normal’ body is supposed to look like.  I have no idea what a comfortable, stable weight for thin me is … but I’m getting close to it, I think.

So … I’m going to my class on Monday to collect packs and say goodbye to the group (who I’ve only had one full session with!) and then I’ll join the management class the following Thursday.  This means I’ll effectively be doing week 1 of management for 10 days, which I think is actually a good thing as I’ll get back into the rhythm of real food slowly without the temptation to go bananas.  I had a chat to my counsellor about it, not least because my BMI is still fractionally over 25, but she feels that I’m ready and is confident that it’s the right thing for me to do.  I know that some people get scared about going back to the world of food, but I’m more excited than scared.  It will be a bit odd to eat food without thinking that I’m breaking some sort of rule!

Other than a bit of navel gazing, the last couple of days have been fairly uneventful.  In my ongoing pursuit of vanity I did something I’ve never done before and went for a spray fake tan.  Now, before you think that this diet has turned me from a level-headed kind of a chick into some self-obsessed, high-maintenance, WAG-alike nightmare, it’s not true!  The simple fact is that I’m going to a wedding in three weeks, will be forced to bare my arms and parts of my legs (yikes!), and my poor old skin was so absurdly pale that I think you could actually see me from space.  That’s what happens when you cover up your squidgy self for years on end (I’m also not supposed to go in the sun for medical reasons, but that’s a different story).  I’m not enough of a maniac to try fake tanning for the very first time the day before the wedding, so this was a test run.  It seemed to work and I’m currently a pleasant golden colour (except for my bloody legs which seem to have rejected the tan … grrr) with slightly orange feet 🙂  Of course I’m fully anticipating that I will be orange, streaky and blotchy before the weekend is out when the stuff starts to wear off … happy days.

So this is my last weekend in abstinence.  I have a trip to the pub, lunch with the Boy’s family, a birthday party, housewarming drinks and a potential trip out for a curry to contend with, then I’m home and dry.  Oh, sounds like a stroll in the park …


Day 128 – More Milestones 18 June 2008

I was down in sunny Slough again today and on the way back I got a little, er, distracted by the branch of Monsoon at Paddington station.  I should say that I adore Monsoon … I know that their clothes are fearsomely expensive, but I love them.  Many years ago, I used to work opposite a branch and I told myself that if I was ever thin I would shop there.  Then, in recent years, they started selling larger sizes (up to 22) and I almost wept with happiness.  They are genuinely the only retailer on the high street that offers nice, stylish clothing above a size 18.  So they have a special place in my heart.

Well, after that long-winded intro I’ll get to the point.  I spotted a beautiful dress in the window on the way back to work and decided to try it.  I discovered two things.  Firstly, in their sizes (which aren’t generous) I am now a 14 on my top half and a 12 on my bottom half (hooray!).  That is a fantastic achievement for me.  Secondly, I can actually carry off a dark pink floor-length halter neck dress with aplomb 🙂  So my credit card is feeling the pain at the moment, but I’m so so so happy with my shrinking achievements that I could skip with joy.  Monsoon Size 12?  Bloody hell that feels good.

So as you may have gathered I’m much more chipper than I have been over recent days.  I survived the colossal food fest which was yesterday’s meeting … I had a blackly comic moment when the client sitting next to me observed me opening my third bottle of mineral water and asked me if I was diabetic.  He looked really serious (and diabetes is serious) but it was hard not to giggle.  I simply said that lots of water was part of my regime, and he swallowed that (no pun intended).

I’m cooking tonight for my Dad and the Boy (spag bol, I think) and I’m really looking forward to it.  I’ve used cooking as therapy throughout this diet, but with all the kerfuffle around moving out of the house I’ve not cooked for ages and I really miss it.  So I’m excited about getting stuck in (I make a mean bolognese sauce).  Hopefully it will be a success … I’m a little nervous about my ability to cook in my Dad’s bachelor kitchen.  The Boy was complaining the other night that he couldn’t find something as basic as a spatula.  Oh well, bolognese is easy as long as I can find a pan!

I’ve been invited to a 30th birthday cocktail party in July, at quite a swanky venue.  It will be peopled with lots of my ex-colleagues that I’ve not seen for a good while.  Time for a big reveal of the new me in my gorgeous new pink dress, don’t you think?


Day 127 – Yippee! 17 June 2008

I’ve finally broken the curse.  I’ve lost another 6 lbs bringing my total to date to a respectable 87 lbs or 39 kilos.  That’s 4 bags of coal.  How the hell did I carry that around with me?  My poor old bones.  The good news is that I now have renewed vigour to attack my final three weeks of abstinence.  Bring it on!

I met my new group last night, and what a lively bunch they are.  We’ve been a bit fragmented over the last couple of weeks with the merger of a few foundation groups that were finishing around the same time.  It’s weird, but I’d got so used to my old group that it was actually a bit daunting to find myself in a room full of strangers again (none of my original group went into development, for various reasons).  It was also a bit scary when two of the women said to me ‘we’ve heard about you, are you the one who’s really focused?’.  It’s flattering, obviously, to think that I’ve had praise from my counsellor, but it did make me feel a bit like some kind of lighter life robocop.  Oh well, if the cap fits!

This is just a quick post today … I’m in an all day meeting with various global bigwigs (all clients) which necessitated a 6.30 departure from London this morning.  Much as I love vanilla shakes for breakfast, they’re a little hard to stomach at that ungodly hour, but I did it.  This is a quarterly meeting, and the last time I was here (11th March, I think) I wrote a post about the unbelievable amount of food that was consumed during the day.  I’m currently sitting adjacent to a generous plate of pastries that would keep an entire primary school of children fed for a day or two, so it looks like today will be no different.  So, for everyone else in the room, let the munching commence … 🙂