The Incredible Shrinking Woman

Days 212 to 221 – New Adventures 18 September 2008

Ten days since the last post … I should be ashamed of myself.  Well, my excuses are pretty valid.  Not only have I started a new job (and my brain is melting under the strain of taking on loads of new information) but I’ve been sick and I’ve been away.  So I don’t feel too guilty.

The most significant thing for me was a long weekend in Cornwall.  I’d been really looking forward to this trip … work has been a hard slog for me over the last few weeks and I was counting down the hours until I could put my feet up and enjoy the sea air.  Thirteen of us went to a cottage near Tintagel, and bloody gorgeous it was too.  For the first time since I began dieting (and before that) I felt that I could join in absolutely everything in good conscience … the activities, the chilling out, the food and the drink.  I didn’t feel unable to participate in anything too energetic, I didn’t feel guilty about being lazy when I wanted to be, and I didn’t have to have ‘special food’.  It was brilliant.

In keeping with my new exercise regime, I was up with the lark on the Saturday morning and did something I’ve not attempted for many years.  I went for a run.  It was indescribably beautiful jogging along a country lane, passing fields of sheep and watching the sun rise.  I managed about a mile and a half, maybe two, by my calculations, and ran for about ninety percent of it.  Just as I was feeling on the point of giving up, I passed a man walking his dog and my pride forced me to carry on running … a strange, red-faced and sweating townie who is running along the road looks much more acceptable than the same person simply walking along the road!  I was so pleased with myself.  I’ve always liked the idea of running and struggled with the reality … it was brilliant to actually enjoy it.  However, despite stretching before and after, I was stiff as a plank and did hobble about a lot for the rest of the weekend like an old lady.  Well, that’s something I’ve been getting used to recently!

The real excitement happened later that day when we clambered down the cliff path to the beach to go surfing.  Old me would have been sitting on a rock watching everyone else having fun.  New me, however, clambered into a wetsuit and took the plunge.  I can honestly say that I’ve never, ever worn a wetsuit in my life.  They’re not the most flattering of garments at the best of times, but in the old days it would have been unthinkable.  As it was, I did look a little bit like a squeezed tube of black toothpaste, but I felt perfectly comfortable in it.  I had to couple the suit with a pair of chunky black Caterpillar boots for the walk to the beach so I did look slightly like I was going to a grunge fetish party, but I coped.  Clearly I’m too much of a novice to do proper surfing on a grown-up board, but I managed a bit of boogie boarding, didn’t drown, swallowed about three pints of sea water and only smacked myself in the face with the board once.  Not bad for a first-timer!

The fun didn’t stop there.  When the tide came in we all showered, dried off and went to Tintagel Castle.  Anyone who’s ever been there will recall the steep climbs up and down hundreds of narrow slippery steps.  It’s not the kind of tourist attraction that would be popular in Florida, put it that way.  Again, unthinkable for the old me but nothing more than a strenuous stroll for new me.  OK, I was limping a little and starting to make whining noises about going for a beer by about 5.30, but it was fun.  In fact, I loved it.  I even had enough energy to go surfing again on the Sunday (despite my wetsuit being very cold and damp … ugh).

And as for the food … well, we ate tons of the stuff.  To be fair, all of the fresh air and exercise did make us genuinely hungry, but I for one ate much more than I have in recent memory.  And I probably drank my own bodyweight in red wine.  Did I care?  No.  Did I feel guilty?  No.  Did I almost cry when my new denim skirt was a bit on the snug side come Tuesday morning?  Yes.  But that’s the way it works.  I’ve not dared to go on the scales but my clothes are telling me all that I need to know.  So it’s sensible eating this week and next, lots of trips to the gym, and back on the straight and narrow for me.  The advantage of having an entirely new wardrobe is that I can’t ‘cheat’ myself into bigger clothes and pretend I’m the same weight.  I don’t have any bigger clothes.  So, unless I want to look like an overstuffed sausage, I have to lost any weight that I gain.  Easier said than done, and sometimes I do miss the simplicity of those lighter life packs (yes, it’s true!) but this is what normal means, and what I’ve wanted for more years than I can remember.

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