Sunday, 1 November 2009

Sitting in the Airport

I'm completely starving. I really hope we get given dinner on the plane. That's what I'm telling myself anyway to ensure I don' buy airport chocolate...

I Love Liberia

I know I said last night that I was looking forward to getting back to London. I am, but only from the viewpoint of being able to eat proper (i.e. healthy) food and do some exercise.

I woke up this morning at 8am (on a Sunday!) to bright sunshine streaming in my windows and gospel music from the church next door. I'm now eating a bowl of apples/ pears/ oranges for breakfast feeling on top of the world. Liberia really is an amazing country and Liberians are absolutely wonderful, despite (perhaps because of?) everything they went through during the long years of civil war. I'll be very sorry to leave this evening.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Leaving Tomorrow

I'm going back to London tomorrow evening. I've been the best I can be with eating today - had my usual fruity breakfast, then got pasta instead of chips at lunch of which I packed up half, and then had hummus and pita bread for dinner. I ate 2 oranges and an apple after lunch - this unfortunately did not prevent me eating 3 biscuits in the afternoon that were lying in front of me on the conference table. Of course we worked on a Saturday. I'm working Sunday morning too.

By and large, Africa sucks as a continent for vegetarian food. I love Liberia but I'm looking forward to getting back home so I can eat properly and go to the gym.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Forward Thinking

I have a lot of travel ahead in the months remaining of this year. I'm currently in Monrovia for work. I return on Monday and am 90% certain to go to Sao Tome and Principe
on Thursday. Yes, that's 3 days after I fly into London from Liberia. Just over a week after I return from STP, I leave for India where I'm taking an extended holiday for the whole of December (yey!) having saved up all my holiday throughout the whole year. Yes, I do dread to think of my carbon footprint as well (I am finding ways to make up for it though)

So, how am I going to ensure that I stay on course when the next ten weeks will see four countries and a completely different lifestyle from the fruit/ salad/ gym routine that I try to establish in London?

Before coming to Liberia last time in May, I was doing really well but had a setback during my time here and ended up gaining a few kgs in just my two weeks here. Why? For the following reasons:
1) Meetings with coffee breaks which should be re-titled 'biscuit and cake breaks.' I just completely lost it and had cake after biscuit after cake - at the morning break, at the lunch break and at the afternoon break
2) The complete lack of choice for vegetarians in the country which meant that the only item I could order for dinner was pizza or pasta. Big portion sizes led to expansion in stomach capacity!
3) Snacks in the fridge at the guesthouse where I was staying. These included cheese that I'd picked up in Brussels airport on my way as well as lovely waffles drenched in syrup and biscuits - mmmm....
4) Complete lack of exercise - driven to and from the meetings

I'm so proud to say that I've avoided the pitfalls of last time. I sneakily stopped off at M&S at Gatwick Airport to buy fruit and salad. It's served me really well as I've been able to have an apple, a pear, an orange and a banana for breakfast, filling me up for the day. In addition, the salad that I'd thrown into my basket as an afterthought were priceless yesterday when the buffet lunch served ended up consisting of rice, meat and fish. Being vegetarian my whole life has gotten me used to people forgetting about it when ordering catering! Also, I'm so happy with myself for not touching even one biscuit/ cookie yesterday that were displayed tantalisingly on the plate of my colleague next to me 'for sharing.'

I have to stop myself from feeling that I've slipped up slightly today by ordering penne arrabiata for lunch, especially as we're going to a beach restaurant later on today where I know from bitter experience that the only thing I'll be able to eat is margherita pizza. When there's no other alternative, what can I do? I can't realistically bring enough food for my whole time here - if nothing else, it looks unbelievably precious to eat only food from England!

Never mind. I'll have fruit for breakfast, salad for lunch tomorrow and whatever is around for dinner. I then leave Sunday evening - only two days to get through eating wise before I'm back in London and hitting the gym on Monday, and Tuesday and Wednesday before leaving again.

Fingers crossed I'm hitting 85kg by the time I fly Thursday afternoon - mostly because STP = beaches and it would be so great to have BMI=30=overweight (!) rather than obese then. Not that I'm going to let the small matter of a little (actually lot) of excess weight get between me and the sea anyway (I'm such a water baby) but it would be nice mentally to know when I bare my body to the beach that I'm 'overweight' rather than 'obese'...


Hmmm.... It's been a while.

I can't believe that it's been a whole 5 weeks since I blogged - especially as I was so committed to blogging at least once a day back then. I stopped two weeks before the award ceremony and the conference that I was organising (within 4 days of each other, on top of my full time job) and then just didn't get back into the swing of things. I missed one day and then didn't have time anymore. Blogging really is a habit. Even when I'm crazily busy I can take a couple of minutes to write a 'quick post before going to bed' - which then turns into a lengthy essay (!) - if I've been logging and checking in every day that week. However, when I've missed writing a post for a while, even when I come home at 10pm, I would much rather chill out with my favourite TV programme than write a blog post.

Not only had I been not blogging for a month after my last post, but I'd also not been paying much attention to food and exercise. Despite that, it's amazing how some things stuck though. Every day I had fruit for breakfast and salad for dinner. Even though I had more snacks that when I'm sticking to my plan and dinner often went to pot, it was a much better situation than this time last year.

Proof? I went on the weighing machine last week praying that it wouldn't show above 90kg but mentally prepared for anything up to 95kg - to find 88.9kg. How amazing is that? That my dears is called maintenance. I checked myself a couple of days ago (my life showing concerted effort in terms of eating choices and visits to the gym in the intervening period) to find the weighing machines showing 87.1kg. That's 1.8kg in just a few days.

When it's easy, it's so easy but when it's difficult, it's so hard - and it's the slightest thing that changes the routine from one to the other. How can you tell I've made the switch from one to the other? When I start/ stop blogging about it.

I use this blog to stay on track but when I need it the most, I stay away.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

1st October 2009

1st October looks like this:

Weight: 87.5 kg aka 194 lb aka 13 st 12lb - yey!
Healthy = 70kg

BMI: 31.4 - eek!
Healthy = 18 - 25

Body fat: 31.6kg
Healthy = depends on the total weight

Body fat percentage: 36.1%
Healthy = 14 - 31%

Water percentage: 46.6%
Healthy = 50 - 55%

Monday, 21 September 2009

I can't... right now. I know I said I'd post every day and it's now been three days. I also was supposed to weigh in every Sunday morning but I completely forgot when I woke up today as I was so focused on getting to my 9 am class (on a Sunday morning!) on time.

Exercise? I went to the gym on Friday.

Food? I've been eating - mostly good stuff but some absolute crap as well. Carrot cake today. Portuguese pastry today. Lots of chocolate rolls last night. Why does eating (surely one of the most natural activities) have to involve so much drama, scrutiny and thinking?

I have no idea what I weigh at the moment - I'm guessing between 87kg and 90kg.

At present, I am:
- working full time at a job that I (most of the time) love
- organising a conference for a grassroots network to which I belong
- learning another language
- helping to organise an awards ceremony for this charity for which I'm volunteering my time
- back into taking singing classes - today was a 6 hour extravaganza (hence the 7am wake up for 9am class)
- applying for a fellowship
- applying for jobs
- applying for citizenship
- trying to talk to my family on the phone
- trying to see my friends once a week (I can't believe my life is so busy that I socialise and relax only one evening a week - usually to which I'm rushing from somewhere else)
- cleaning the bathroom - ;-)
- pretending to try to lose weight

To top it all off, the awards ceremony and the conference are 4 days apart. The fellowship application is due Friday. My classes started yesterday and I have classes Saturday afternoons and 9am-4pm Sunday as well as Monday and Wednesday evenings. I have to somehow find the time to learn an entirely new alphabet.

Amongst all the above, I need to get serious about the weight loss. I love how I look now but I know that I'll love the way the me of the future looks even more. I'm okay - I'm just tired of the last few weeks of staying about the same weight. I need to do something drastic this week to kickstart things.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Thursday = Another Kind of Progress Check

Sunday is my weigh in day to see whether I've lost weight. Thursday is my wearing trousers day to see whether I've lost fat/ flab.

I wore my grey formal trousers today and, I have to tell you, the flab overspill was minimal to say the least; the kind that you would have on normal fitting trousers plus later on in the day, I was able to run a finger around the inside. My back fat (you know the bit you can squeeze in the space between your waist and the band of your bra has now almost completely gone on the left side and getting there on the right side.

I wore my favourite trousers ever yesterday. They're orangey gold with more golden orange stripes running horizontally across - I know they sounds completely hideous but they're very funky in a 1970s way and I absolutely love them. They've been getting looser and looser over the months, to the extent that I can't wear them with a normal length top anymore as they have moved from being around my waist to being around my hips. Well, yesterday I found out that I can no longer wear and walk in them at all without having to hike them up every minute or so. I also pulled them away from my waist and could not believe the amount of space between the trousers and my skin. Did I really used to fill all that space once upon a time? This is brilliant - especially as I can just wear them with a belt from now on and not have to worry that they're around by my ankles.

My double chin is still there but there's just a lot less of it now. Day before yesterday, one of my colleagues asked me if I'd lost weight. I've had friends and family ask me lots of times before - some of them every time they see me for the first time after a couple of weeks - but this was the first time someone at work had noticed. If people whom you see every day think you've lost weight, it means you really have.

It's strange though. When I think of the weight I've lost so far and the places I think I've lost it, I think my back, a bit from my thighs and arms, from my breasts (but not too much, thankfully!), but mostly from my waist and hips. However everyone else notices the face. I can't say that I think I've lost any weight from my face. Yes, my chin(s) are a lot less nowadays but everyone else points to the sides of my face and I don't really see much weight loss from my cheeks.

I have noticed that the okay pictures of me that are taken are, for the first time in a couple of years, outnumbering the bad though. I always thought the bad photos were just the way the light was falling or catching me at a bad time. As I've lost weight though, I've realised that I looked fat in most photos because I actually was fat. It's good to be getting back to a more 'normal' size again and not posing in dread for friends with cameras anymore.

So, in summary, although I've not been losing much weight on the scales the last couple of weeks, the fat is disappearing from various parts of my body week on week. With that in mind, let's not get too hung up on the numbers.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009


Today I ate and drank the following:
- 1 plum, 1 pear, 1 peach and red and green grapes for breakfast
- 1 plum, 1 pear, 1 apple, strawberries and 1 peach for my morning smoothie
- 1 goat's cheese sandwich with salad and (gasp!) skinny chips for lunch
- 1 cheese salad sandwich with kettle chips slightly salted crisps
- 1 melted cheese bagel
- 1 46g Aero bar

This is a lot of food for me at the moment but, on the way home when I was on the verge of feeling guilty, I realised that this was completely normal about a year ago. If anything, I would have classed it as a good day. After all, I had plenty of fruit, only 1 cheese bagel and 1 bar of chocolate. It's strange to think that my blowout day nowadays is what I've eaten today whereas if I'd written the list 18 months ago, it would have read as follows:

- 1 bombay potato wrap with kettle chips sea salt and cracked better crisps
- 1 all you can eat buffet (and when I go to an all you can eat buffet, it really is an all the food that I can fit into my stomach buffet)
- 1 piece of chocolate cake (or carrot cake in an attempt to be healthy)
- 1 plate of nachos with guacamole, salsa, sour cream and melted cheese (courtesy of my microwave)
- 1 packet of Maryland triple choc chip cookies
- 1 tub of Ben & Jerry's ice cream

I kid you not. Now, this did not happen often but it did happen. I remember weeks where I had a tub of Ben & Jerry's ice cream for dinner three nights in a row (this is three tubs, not restraining myself to finishing a tub in 3 sittings). And on one occasion I did have the ice cream as a chaser to a meal of nachos and a packet of cookies.

This is years of bad eating talking. When I was about 13, I used to go out for 'runs' i.e. leave the house with a book, pop by the local shop and spend 1/2 hour sitting on the grass reading and stuffing my face. During my year abroad, dinner would be either a plate of pasta with tomato sauce or a plate of nachos with salsa and melted cheese. Three years ago, there would be days where lunch would be Starbucks muffins, grabbed in 2 minutes on my way from one job to another.

No wonder I gained weight. No wonder I am fat right now. So, really, although I feel as if I ate like a pig today, I am making progress. With progress like this, who needs setbacks, right? ;-)

Tuesday, 15 September 2009


Is it possible to have many priorities all of equal importance?

I have my job. My family. My activism. My friends. My weightloss. Which one of these is most important to me me? My family, of course, but after that? My job I have to do and do well. Regardless of what happens in the months to come, the aim of my life is not to be super skinny but rather, to life a meaningful life filled with excitement, adventure and did I mention meaning? So job and activism is important. Without friends, I'd sink into a massive depression and spend my life crying my eyes out. And of course, I need to lose weight. If nothing else, I'm so much happier when I'm eating lots of good food and doing plenty of exercising.

The problem is, I know myself and my tendency to prioritise everything else that I do before me - so work before sleep, friends before rest and family before healthy eating. And that is not good for me. I came to a position a couple of years ago that I was busy working from 8am to 9pm every weekday with 12 hours on Saturday and 5 hours on Sunday plus going out every night until 1am/ 2am/ 3am. It got to the stage that not only was I getting only about 4 hours sleep a night but I also never totally relaxed as I was always going somewhere and always, always with other people (apart from when asleep). Added to which I was consuming buckets of alcohol (always a good plan) and eating whatever I could find. There were days where I survived on Starbucks muffins for lunch because I just didn't have the two minutes to get a proper lunch. And the result of this sleep deprivation, constant working, irregular and unhealthy eating and massive quantities of wine/ gin/ vodka/ beer? My brain just short-circuited and the next thing I knew I was on the floor being told I'd just had a fit. I thought I had brain cancer (!) until the tests said my brain was normal and I was just severely overworked and needed to relax. I vowed then, and it's one that I renew to myself all the time, that I will never go back to a situation where that happens again. And I haven't.

I've come to accept that I can't fill my days more than I already have. Sometimes I have to work late (like the whole of last week). Other times I have to spend my nights attending meetings and planning in pursuit of the cause (like last night). Some nights I have to stay at home and do job applications (like tonight). And there has to be nights that I put all the above to one side and hit the gym and sweat. Above all, there have to be times (occasionally yes, but they do have to exist) where I just get home early and spend the evening cleaning the kitchen (Friday night - boo!), reading and watching TV. Of course, the only time I seem able to relax is when I go home to visit my parents for the weekend - I guess for now, when I'm in London, mopping the floors will have to do.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Seeking An Elusive Goal

I think I'm too impatient. The amount of weight I've lost in the past two weeks is so small as to be insignificant. I'm looking at what I did and I have lost 3.6kg in three weeks and 5.1kg in 4 weeks. That's amazing. I suppose I am losing weight, it's just in chunks. I just need to keep going and not give in - had a creme caramel which my colleague offered me. 116 calories worth of deliciousness. Well worth it, as was the chocolate bar I had last night (my first chocolate for weeks). Can you tell that my period is due soon? ;-)

The plan for the next few days is to try to squeeze in the gym or walking every day and not eat food that I've not prepared myself. Saturday, I was stuck in Hyde Park with no vegetarian food except 1/2 a box of chips (seriously, why don't organisers of events like this cater for vegetarians?). Sunday to pre-empt that situation, I swung by M&S - my Wensleydale and carrot chutney was 520 calories - for a sandwich. Sadly, I had to do the same tonight as I was returning home from work at 10pm not having eaten any dinner. Honestly, instead of shop bought sandwiches, I think it's better to have a couple of slices of pizza! I think preparing food yourself is the key to calorie control - at least then you know it's fresh and without fattening mayo/ salad dressing.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Week #4

Week: Sunday 6th September - Saturday 12th September

1. Walk for 1/2 an hour three times a week. Most definitely yes
2. Gym 4 times a week. Yes!
3. Three alcoholic drinks a week max. One glass of white wine on Sat night
4. 7 hours sleep a night. Most nights save one but caught up on sleep yesterday morning
5. Fruit for breakfast and at least one salad. Yes
6. Drink milk or have some yoghurt every day Probably 6/7
7. Blog every day. Yes

5/7. Okay, I'm getting back into the swing of things after my shocking week the week before

Weight = 87.9kg - all that work and only 200g. I'm sure my last Sunday reading wasn't accurate (I was expecting it to go up not down!) so I've probably lost more than that this week. Let's just see what happens this coming week.


I worked Proms in the Park tonight waitressing which meant me essentially wandering around Hyde Park in the glorious sunshine chatting to people and getting and filling their order. For 7 hours. Nonstop. Not having done any in about 5 years, I'd forgotten the hard work waitressing can be - the stress of trying not to spill pints as you take them over the worst part for me! Anyway, it was lots of fun but my legs are not exhausted. On top of 7 hours of walking continuously and carrying heavy trays, I'd also just spent the 45 mins before that walking briskly to Hyde Park.

So, no gym today but instead, about 6 hours of walking instead. Unfortunately I partially cancelled that out by eating a portion of chips (you think there was anything else at the festival that was vegetarian) and a Mediterranean pasta salad. I've also had a cheese bagel and a cereal bar at home. The above, added to the delicious blackberry, blueberry, melon, peach and red grape smoothie I had in the morning, makes up my food for the day.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

An Exciting Friday Night

End of the week from hell - woohoo! I've spent the whole time looking at budgets for the next three years and it's so good to be finally done. And, do you want to know what I did when it was all over?

I went to the supermarket and bought lots of lovely fruit and vegetables, went for Body Balance class and then came home and... cleaned. I swept and mopped the kitchen floor, spritzed the stove, swept and mopped my bedroom floor and went through all the bits of paper flying around the room, threw half of them and sorted through the rest. Ah, when I think that just a short time ago my life was filled with hedonism and stumbling home at 5am, waking up for work still a bit tipsy and falling over putting on my shoes (I always had sobered up by the time I actually got to work!).

I'm giving up my nights out in favour of waking up and going to the gym the next morning. It's fine for now but I can't wait until I've lost this weight, can ease up a bit and get my Friday and Saturday nights out dancing back again.

Oh, and today wasn't a great food day. Apple, orange, blueberries and fig, date and grains yoghurt for breakfast. I spent the whole day in training where lunch and biscuits were rampant - 6 1/2 sandwiches for lunch and 6 biscuits (4 Maryland cookies and 2 Oreos). After I came home, I had 3 cereal bars and raisins. This doesn't seem like a very nutritious day at all, but considering what I've been eating the rest of the week, I'm not too bothered.

The plan was to go shopping then running before Body Balance today but by the time I left work, I had time for only either shopping or running before my class. There's no way I'll be able to get to the shops so I thought the food was more pressing.

Today makes it 4 days I've been to the gym this week. Sunday was Body Balance, cross trainer, running and weights. Monday was pilates and aerobic kickboxing. Tuesday was New Body. Today was Body Balance. I've done four days of stretching type things and 3 days of pure cardio and well, New Body. Not bad.

I have an action packed day tomorrow: a day of activism training in the late morning/ early afternoon and then I'm working Proms in the Park (!) from the late afternoon onwards, followed by my friend's birthday party, but I'll try my best to go to the gym beforehand. That means a 8am wake up - which necessitates sleep now.

Thursday, 10 September 2009


I weighed myself when I got home tonight - 89kg. That's actually more than at the weekend. This is so annoying, especially since I've been to the gym so far 3x this week (and counting!), gone for 2 brisk walks of 1 1/4hrs and 45mins and eaten impeccably healthily (my only weaknesses is a cube of cheese and frying tofu in oil). Fingers crossed it's because I weighed myself at night. Let's see what the weighing machine says in the morning.

On the plus side, I've gotten into the habit (3 weeks in a row now) of Thursday morning trying on my pair of size 16 gray formal trousers. I bought them on 15th August and I could only barely get them over my hips and had to really suck it in to do up the zip and button. The first Thursday was pretty much the same. The second Thursday, I managed to do up the zip, the button and the four clasps that run from the zip to the waist. I wore those trousers to work for the first time that day and yes, there was a massive bulge of flesh over the top that I managed to hide with a flowing dress over the top and yes, halfway through the day, I undid the top couple of clasps and the button so it would be more comfortable and the fat wouldn't bulge out so much, but I felt so good that day. Today is the third Thursday so I went to my wardrobe and got out my trousers. They now do up with ease and, although there's still a slight overspill of fat, it's gone down so much. It now looks like a normal amount of fat bulging (if you know what I mean). I'm really looking forward to the fourth Thursday! No bulging and smooth fitting? Dare I hope that there is loose fitting and falling off my hips in the future?!

So, the weighing machine may be being stubborn and not giving me the numbers I want to see, but I know that I am loosing weight - or at least stomach fat! I also noticed significantly less back fat in the mirror this morning.

Part of me wishes I could fastforward to December to see what I look like then. Never fear though, December (and my cousin's big wedding) will come soon enough. No matter what I do until then, I'm not going to be as prepared for it as I want to be but, even how I look now is a massive improvement on the last time I saw my family back home and hopefully, I'll build on all that I've achieved in the months to come.

And, in other news, my two massive deadlines (1 for work and 1 for the work I do voluntarily for this human rights organisation) came, went and was met - apparently, 1 was fantastic and the other excellent. It's strange isn't it, when people say words like that, all of a sudden, it makes the stress, the frustration, the lack of sleep and devoting every waking minute to work somehow worthwhile.

I have a training session tomorrow which lasts from 10am - 4pm. I have some work to do beforehand but I'm definitely leaving as soon as the last session finishes. After being in the office until 7.30/8pm every night, I think I deserve it. The plan is to get my eyebrows threaded (they're in sore need!), buy food at the supermarket, go to the gym (pilates and perhaps run?) then come home, cook dinner and make an inroad into the list of tasks I have for a conference that takes place in October. This is not work but something I do in my spare time.. I'm on the organising committee so to go into our meeting early next having done everything that I said I was going to do!

Over and out for now.

Back Here Again

I had a run of a good few days but of course, it didn't last.

Don't worry! It's not what you thinking. I'm not talking of a massive food binge or lying in bed all day (although that sounds very good to me right now) but rather it being almost 3am and me still being awake having only just finished working. Mind you, I did take a rather long break where I went to a friend's house for dinner (barbecue in her lovely patio) but I finished work at past 7pm, got home at 11pm and have now been working at home for 4 hours.

On the plus side though, I've eaten fruit and salad during the day and then I splurged a bit at the barbecue with a ciabatta, a burger, salad and cheese (what else?). I even had a custard tart thing. It's all good though - a woman cannot live on fruit and veg alone! Even better, I walked to my friend's house which took me about 45 minutes fairly brisk walk, some of it uphill, all of it with a heavy backpack with my laptop and heels inside - 45 mins walk is definitely time to change into flip flops!.

I wish I could write a longer post but my bed is calling and I better answer before I find another answer in the cheese downstairs (seriously, I don't understand this cheese obsession over the past few days. I do love cheese but usually I'm not completely powerless when faced with the craving!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

September Wishlist

By 1st October, I want to:
1) Weigh less than 84kg
2) Have started swimming
3) Be able to run 5 miles

A Curious Thing

I can run for miles (can't believe I can type that - how amazing!) or bike for hours but it's only if I do one of the classes at my gym. I remember a few months ago going along to the classes and feeling they weren't intense enough and making the decision that I should choose running on the treadmill/ going on the crosstrainer/ cycling to spending time in class as this would give me more for my time.

It's weird that it's completely the other way around. I'm not saying that I sail through my workout these days but it's definitely easier and I don't have the same sense of whole body ache that I've had for the past three days. It was a complete fluke that prompted me to join the Body Balance class on Sunday but it was so good that I followed it up with pilates and aerobic kickboxing yesterday and the new body class today. Kickboxing and New Body were both working with weights and I can tell in my upper arms but the rest of my body is also a bit sore. So far, I feel it just after class and it's gone by morning.

I think you can become too used to a certain time of exercise. I'm going to try and mix it up from now on and do sessions of the treadmill/ crosstrainer and weights, the stretching classes, the weights classes and the cardio classes.

Today, I ate a bowl of fruit and blackberry, blueberry, plum and grape smoothie for breakfast. leftovers from yesterday's dinner for lunch and salad with a little pasta, spinach, rocket, red cabbage, sundried tomatoes, apple and sugar snap peas for dinner. Snacks were satsumas, an apple and of course, cheese. I seem to be really craving cheese at the moment - difficult to resist! Do you think my body is demanding that I feed it more fat?!

So far, I've been to the gym three times this week - woohoo! I'm going to try to go Friday evening and/ or Saturday morning. I know, I should have better plans for Friday night than going to the gym but I have an action-packed weekend ahead of me and I need some time to do some work and applications that I want to do.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009


So, I decided to forego my usual crosstrainer, treadmill and weights routine at the gym today for some classes. This is following on from yesterday's gym session where I did Body Balance followed by crosstrainer, treadmill (4.2 miles baby!) and weights. I started off with pilates with the aim of then hitting my gym routine only for the trainer on reception to start trying persuade me to do their aerobic kickboxing class that was due to start in 10 minutes. I thought - running or kickboxing? Kickboxing won.

I made sure to stretch out afterwards but I'm now a little sore. It was the same yesterday although I was fine today (hopefully I'll be okay tomorrow as well). I think it's the reaction to the Body Balance/ pilates. It's so strange: I can spend 1/2 hour on the crosstrainer/ 45 mins on the bike/ 40 mins on the treadmill really caning it followed by some weights and it's all good but give me an hour of stretching and I really feel it. I think my body has become used to the machines at the gym. From now on, I'm going to also try to work on stretching as well.

Food was good today. Fruit smoothie and fruit salad for breakfast. Lunch was the cracked wheat with onion, parsnip, courgette, tomato, sugar snap peas and swede I made yesterday. I was so hungry in the afternoon even after 3 satsumas so I had another blueberry, apple, grape and plum smoothie. Dinner post gym was cracked wheat with parsnip, onion, courgette, sugar snap peas, tofu (mmm...), tomatoes, swede, onion, spinach and sundried tomatoes - basically lunch but added vegetables. I had a bit of cheese afterwards as well.

I think today was a truly healthy day - fruit, vegetables, protein, carbs, some fat too I'm sure, crazy kickboxing aerobics and pilates. I just need to keep it up...

My body is going to be amazing if this losing weight thing ever finishes!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Week #3

Week: Sunday 30th August - Saturday 5th September

1. Walk for 1/2 an hour three times a week. Once - yesterday returning shoes
2. Gym 4 times a week. 0x - whoops!
3. Three alcoholic drinks a week max. Yes - my crazy work has meant I've not touched alcohol at all
4. 7 hours sleep a night. Hah! I wish.
5. Fruit for breakfast and at least one salad. No - fruit yes but food has been too melted cheese bagel and not enough salad oriented
6. Unlimited fruit and vegetables. Yes but I'm substituting this one, as it's very close to the one above for the below from now on:
6. Drink milk or have some yoghurt every day
7. Blog every day. 5 days

2/7. That's ridiculous but not unexpected. I need to find a way to keep this going even when I'm completely busy.

Weight = 88.1kg - absolutely shocking!

I've gone down 0.3kg. I'm not sure this is right, especially as a couple of days ago I was 89.2kg. I was surprised that I'd gained 1kg in 3 days as even though I hadn't been to the gym and there had been 8 cheese bagels in 4 days (and 1 tiramisu), I had been eating very healthily apart from that. I'd thought I had more leeway than that before gaining 1kg. I guess that perhaps that was an anomaly? Anyway, 0.3kg is only 1/2 lb so I have to do better this week regardless. I'm refining my exercise playlist now while drinking a blackberry, blueberry and strawberry smoothie with ginger and cardamom (mmm...) then it's off to the gym followed by a visit to the shops.

I Did It!

I just came back from my date. I think when going on dates there's a tendency to worry whether they'll like you when really your focus should not be on their reactions to you but whether or not you like them.

The whole day, I've been in a great mood and feeling really attractive. Perhaps it was the deep conditioning treatment I gave my hair today or maybe the fact that I had tons of sleep. When I finally got out of bed today I did a little twirl because I felt so well rested. I've been flirting all day and men have been flirting back. At the shoe shop , I got a 'I don't think I was here when you bought these, I definitely would have remembered you.' At the library where I went afterwards to return and take out books I had lingering glances and conversation from the cool dude who's a librarian there. Hmmm.... I should deep condition my hair more often...

I think I forget sometimes that I do actually love my body. I do want to lose weight and firm up various parts but I'm not someone who hates their thighs/ stomach/ arms/ breasts. My stomach, yes, I'd be happy if there was less of it (!) but I do like the many things that my body can do and how it looks. This has taken me years to come to and despite the many people who've told me how bad I look throughout my life, I'm determined to hold on to it.

Anyway, my solution to the what do I wear on my date crisis was that I went for matching underwear (not that I was planning on anyone seeing that it was matching apart from me!) including a great bra and my skyscraper heels. Oh, and some clothes to go along with that. I wasn't walking around Covent Garden in heels and just underwear, I promise!

The date went well. We had dinner in an Indonesian restaurant and then went to the play. I think the beginning of first dates are always a little awkward but by the end it was going really smoothly. I think a second date is in the offing in a couple of weeks' time after W's holiday - I think it's a bit too early to tell but I'd definitely like to spend more time together and I think they feel the same way as well.

I'm so happy with myself for going ahead and going out on the date. I shouldn't put my life on hold until I get below a certain weight and I shouldn't hesitate to meet people for fear of what they think. Whenever it happens, I always wonder why anyone is interested. I sometimes wonder whether men who come over and chat me up are really thinking, she probably doesn't get many men so she'll be so grateful that she'll be easy. I never think people find me attractive, even when they're telling me that they do.

I think that's all this is the result of years of certain members of my family making me feel completely unattractive. As I said earlier, it's taken me ages to be able to stand firm in terms of the way I feel about myself and it's still so fragile. Every time I go back to India, I'm bombarded with people just letting me know that I'm too dark and too fat.

'If only you'd lose some weight, you'd be almost pretty.'
'When I remember what your mother was like, how can you be her daughter?' [my mother was gorgeous. I've seen photos.]
'You'll never get a husband the way you look now.'

Last time, my grandmother's cousin even asked me 'With your parents as doctors, how come you're so fat?' This was at my grandmother's death ceremony when I'd been nothing but inviting, welcoming and totally lovely to her.

I think part of it might be because I'm usually so happy and am doing really well for myself that people want to take me down a peg or two. Why do they seek pleasure in making other people feel miserable about themselves?

Friday, 4 September 2009

Nervous Excitement

I'm on this dating website. I signed up ages ago and then went on it when a reminder popped up in my inbox. I'm not really gung ho about it - set up a profile and then just answer those who messaged me. I've never done this before and I'm a bit ambivalent about the whole thing. One part of me really wants to meet someone and loves the flirting and the other screams 'no, stay in this lovely cocoon.'

Anyway, there's one person who I've been messaging for a few weeks now who seems really lovely. We have a lot of the same interests - travel, theatre, art and have even been to a few of the same countries. We've been messaging each other pretty much every day.

W messaged me last weekend, asking whether I'd seen the new Almodovar film. An exchange later ended with me saying I wasn't in London for the weekend and getting the reply that it didn't matter, W would wait for me to return. I think that was being asked out! ;-0

I was really torn as to what to answer. On the one hand, I really want to have lost some weight before I start dating people - especially those I've not met before. I just assumed with this dating website that it would take a couple of months before you ended up actually meeting anyone face to face. It's one thing going on a date with someone who's seen you and knows what you look like. I'm just so worried (because my profile photo, naturally, is a good one and I don't look at all overweight in it) that the person I've arranged to meet will take one look at me and think, 'help.' I don't know if I'm overreacting and anyway, who cares what some people who are so shallow as to do that think. You want someone to like you for you right, not necessarily automatically dismiss you because you're 40 pounds overweight? But...

So I was going to message back saying that I was busy, knowing a few weeks holiday was coming up for them (with the hope of losing more weight by then) but got an email this afternoon saying W had a free tickets for the theatre tomorrow night and sorry about the late notice but was I interested? Usually, I'd have plans for Sat night but I've tried to keep this weekend pretty clear - just to relax and finally get to the gym. Before I could think about it (plus it's a play I want to see and it's a free ticket! ;-) ), I replied yes.

So, it's the two of us and some friends. The plan is for the two of us to meet for an early dinner beforehand and then join them at a bar near the theatre. I was really sure it was a date but now, with the friends thrown into the picture, I'm not sure. Is it just a free ticket being given away? If so, why think of me rather than anyone else? Or, is it backup? A quick dinner beforehand and then a plan in place in case it's awkward? If not, skip the bar and go straight to the theatre? Are we sitting together separately from everyone else? Nobody goes on a dating website to make friends, do they?

My question is, what do I wear that makes me look hot and not fat? Please note that I don't equate the two. I know others are different but personally, I've always had days when I've felt hot even at my heaviest. Mind you, they are coming a lot more often now!

My crisis is compounded by the fact that I weighed myself this morning - 89.2kg. How can I have gained a whole kg since Tuesday i.e. in 3 days?! This completely sucks. I was glaring at the weighing machine this morning screaming inside, no - you're supposed to go the other way!

I need to recover lost ground hence coming home from work rather than going to what looks like an amazing party some friends are throwing tonight. I'm going to bed in the next 10 minutes with a view of catching up on lost sleep tonight. Tomorrow morning = the gym. Hopefully I'll be able to do some manic running there that makes me feel better about myself.

How sad that my Friday night is the one that (by about 4 hours) I go to sleep the earliest this week? All weeknights were 3am. Friday night, in bed by 11pm. What can I say? I'm very rock and roll...

Week #2

I've spent the evenings in meetings and then incorporating changes into the draft I prepared last night. I'm so exhausted and falling asleep while I sit here but I'm way behind in posting the Week 2 check in so here goes:

1. Walk for 1/2 an hour three times a week. Once
2. Gym 4 times a week. 3x
3. Three alcoholic drinks a week max. Yes
4. 7 hours sleep a night. Yes
5. Fruit for breakfast and at least one salad. Yes
6. Unlimited fruit and vegetables. Easy yes
7. Blog every day. 6 days

5/7. I'm afraid the downward trend will continue next week with my complete lack of exercise and slipping up slightly in the food section. Not to be helped. It will be arrested in the fourth week, never fear!

Weight = 88.4kg as of Sunday morning

N.B. Weeks run Sunday to Saturday e.g. this blog post reports on 23rd to 29th August. Weekly weigh ins occur on Sundays

Thursday, 3 September 2009

With My Spoon in the Tiramisu

Okay, so I know that I shouldn't use food to relieve stress/ boredom/ treat myself but I've just had the most heavy, laden down with work few days.

I have a full time job at a peacebuilding/ conflict resolution charity and when I'm not at work, I do work for two other human rights organisations for which everyone involved works for free. In around this, I try to go to the gym/ take singing lessons/ spend time with friends/ speak to and visit my family.

I returned from my bank holiday weekend on Monday night at 9.30pm into London, after having spent the whole train journey working on one thing after another. After I returned home and unpacked, I had a skype conversation with the director of one of the human rights organisations for which I work for free. We have a project proposal for funding due in on Monday and I was asked to work on a draft. We spoke about the project until about 2am.

I woke up at 7am on Tuesday morning so I could get into work early. A full day of work later (and work is mental at the moment - like all charities we're overworked and understaffed. We've got so much going on at the moment!), I had an evening meeting for the other human rights organisation for which I work for free. I returned home at 10pm (having spoken with my parents on the bus home) and started work on the proposal for the other organisation. Going to bed last night at 3am and woke up at 7am today.

7am start this morning was followed by going early to work, being at my desk or in my manager's office the whole day (apart from a 10 minute fire alarm at 3pm during which time I managed to grab some lunch - while standing outside with my colleagues and getting our names ticked off the list). I then had a 7pm meeting for the other human rights organisation to continue planning a conference we're organising in October. The meeting finished at 10pm and it was 11pm by the time I got home (having spoken with my parents on the train). Two minute chat with my housemate and then straight to computer.

I've now finished by proposal - yey! Let's just wait and see the comments and changes that need to be made. I predict that there's still a lot more that I'll be asked to do before the Monday deadline!

However, in the meantime, although I got given dinner at the meeting, after returning home, I've eaten two bagels with cheese and just now, I've finished off a gu chocolate and mascarpone tiramisu. The worst is that as soon as I placed the first spoonful in my mouth, I remembered that I don't actually like cofee!

I'm really going to try to go to the gym tomorrow after work. I have someone coming over to my place to induct me into the mysterious ways of our organisational website (this is the organisation for which I was doing the proposal). I really hope that, between the website training and any changes that I need to make, I won't get stuck at home working instead of at the gym running!

Oh dear.... Random eating and no time spent at the gym. Why do I predict that the weighing machine will not be kind come this Sunday?

Please don't take this as a complaining blog post. I love my life and I find great passion and meaning in what I do, which is why I work for two organisations voluntarily in addition to my job and why I've been working 17 hour days for the past 3 days.

2.30am bed time beckons...

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

1st September 2009

I have a new weighing machine, courtesy of my lovely mother and her eye for a bargain! It gives you your weight and tons of other numbers - BMI, body fat, body fat percentage and water percentage (who knew the percentage of water you have in your body is important?). My plan is to weigh myself once a week (probably more than that truth be told) and do a full set of measurements at the start of every month.

1st September looks like this:

Weight: 88.2 kg aka 194 lb aka 13 st 12lb - yey!
Healthy = 70kg
Not only am I under my goal of 90kg by 1st September but I also seem to have crept under the 14st mark without paying attention. I love measuring my weight using three different systems - it means that in the past week I've broken down the 200lb barrier, gone under 90kg and within 14 st. A girl needs some signs to give her hope!

BMI: 31.6 - eek!
Healthy = 18 - 25
Now, you don't need me to tell you that I am officially obese. However, I take heart in the fact that at the beginning of the year, this figure would be about 36 i.e. severely obese. I guess moving down from severely obese to just plain obese is what I count as progress. Can't wait to be just 'overweight'!

Body fat: 31.9kg
Healthy = depends on the total weight
I have 31.9kg of my body that is just pure fat. I can just imagine all the rolls of fat smothering my internal organs as I type this. I have no idea what it was this time last year but I know that it was worse, for sure.

Body fat percentage: 36.1%
Healthy = 14 - 31%
I'm over 1/3 fat. Not much more I can really say about that except see how near 36% is to 31%! Yes, I know I'm slightly delusional...

Water percentage: 46.6%
Healthy = 50 - 55%
Of all the measurements, I was the most confident of this one. I knew that I wouldn't be in the 'healthy' range for the weight or the fat but I drink tons of water. I usually have 2 pints of liquidised fruit every day as well as countless pints of water. I'm closer to the 'right' body fat percentage than I am to the water percentage. How weird.

If I'm 36.1% fat and 46.6% water, I guess the remaining 17.3 is pure muscle...?

Another 2am bedtime for me I'm afraid. Today's been work, finish work and go to an evening meeting, finish evening meeting and go to the supermarket, come home and start work again, I'm afraid. More of the same tomorrow. No gym (I miss running - never thought I'd think that!) but I'm glad I carved out some minutes to blog.

PS. I just realised that I am now at my just before university weight. I feel helluva sexy right now but I sure didn't then. Strange how much different it feels on the way down than on the way up. Remembering how I felt about my weight back then and given that I'm feeling so good now, I can't wait to get right down to my weight at age 16 (another 10kg to go). I'm sure London will see a lot of hair flicking and meaningful glances at that time...

Tuesday, 1 September 2009


Argh! I'm looking forward to the week ahead and there's so many things to do for all the different areas of my life. No time to blog right now. I predict that I will be struggling to fit in time to exercise/ shop for healthy food/ sleep properly.

No exercise but the weekend went okay food wise. I think I just have to be in the mindset that my food intake will be a bit more relaxed whenever I go home and just block out those days beforehand so I don't feel bad in retrospect.

I have a lot to blog about this weekend: my new weighing machine, being asked out on a date (still don't know whether to accept or postpone until I look a bit better), my new digital radio which I predict will revolutionise my life (or at least my waking up with its alarm)...

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have more time to write but it's almost 1am now and it's time for bed.

Saturday, 29 August 2009


Things have been going really well for me and I seem to be reaching one milestone after another - size 16, 199lb, measurement trousers fitting, plus I did 4 miles or 6.5km (!) on the treadmill yesterday - 30 minutes running and 4 minutes walking. I'm just petrifed that it's all going to go hideously wrong...

I'm at home again this weekend. From a weight loss point of view, it's not good for me to visit my parents at the moment. I love seeing them but I get overwhelmed by all the food that is lying around the house. Already today, I arrived two hours ago and I've had cheese (completely unnecessary - it was just before dinner) as well as dinner including crisps with my dinner (not eaten crisps in weeks). Argh! I'm never going to get to below 90kg by Tuesday (1st Sept) at this rate - and I have just about 0.5kg to go!

I need to be strong and not sabotage myself. If I can just hold out for a few more months, my eating patterns will be consolidated into healthy ones (fingers crossed), my exercise will become mainstream in my life and I will be able to ease up a bit because I'm not trying to lose a ridiculous amount of weight.

Positive thinking people, positive thinking!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Another pair of (almost) fitting trousers

So, the gray formal trousers I bought almost two weeks ago now fit! I tried them on the same time last week (Thursday morning before work) and I couldn't do up the top button, the zip or the 4 clasps that run from the button to the zip.

Today I thought, 'Well, I know that I've lost weight recently (199lb baby!). Let me just see if there has been any improvement' completely expecting just the gaping hole at the top to be just a little bit closer. Stepped into them, pulled them up, and now, if I hold my breath and pull a little, the top button closes, the zip zips up and the clasps fit into the clasp fitting things. Yes, there's a bulge of flesh just above them but I can wear them as long as I wear a loose fitting top.

I can't wait until I can wear them with tight tops because there is no fat spilling over the top or even, (gasp!), until they're loose on me.


So important
- there's a reason why I'm now blogging every day even though I know that no one is reading apart from me; it keeps it in my mind
- photo of a bowl of fruit as my background on my phone
- always carry a gym bag with me to work even when I don't plan to go; just in case something happens and I have time for a quick workout and to remember to exercise
- reading my favourite blogs every day
- having a list of blogs on my phone that I can quickly access when I have a spare moment, when waiting for a friend, in the queue for the toilets...

With a Little Help From My Friends

Today ended up more or less allright in the end. No gym but that's okay; I don't need to go every day! I had my usual fruit for brekkie and salad for lunch. On Tuesday, I went to the supermarket and bought a big bowl of salad, some cheese, a box of olives and 4 bagels and yesterday and today, I've had the most scrumptious meal of mixed salad with cheese and olives with baby tomatoes and mange tout on the side and a toasted bagel. Yummy!

It was a colleague's leaving party today and I even managed to avoid the drinks and the cake in the afternoon - and there were even little brownie bites! I just kept reminding myself that I hit 199 yesterday (!), that I have a week to lose just over another pound to break past the 90kg barrier and really, eating brownie bites is not the way forward. I want to be 89kg much more than I want chocolate right now. Mind you, even though I know that I really want to lose weight more all the time, I've not always resisted by a long shot. There's a difference between vague aspirations of 'losing weight' and thinking right now the numbers on my machine matter more.

I fell down a little in the pub after work. My colleague's manager was running a tab for us and there's always so much pressure to drink in the pub after work. It's really a bane of British socialising that even when you really don't want a drink, you feel compelled to go ahead and order alcohol. Anyway, if I'd been at the bar by myself, I would have just had water or spiced tomato juice, but half my office was there and everyone was ordering gin and tonics or pints. I wish I'd held out (and to be fair, I almost always do) but tonight I ordered a gin and tonic. Never mind. Nothing lost. With my two glasses of red wine yesterday, that makes three alcoholic drinks this week. I have a self imposed limit of 4 so I have one drink left for the next 3 days. Totally achievable.

I left the pub early to meet some friends for dinner. We went to this Spanish restaurant and ordered tapas and paella. The tapas was good and we had just served up about 1/2 the paella when I notice a mouse running across the room in the corner. And another. Cue getting the waiter and manager over and proceeding to talk about the mice for the next 15 minutes. We might have been okay before but we definitely didn't feel like eating anything else after talking about and watching the mice for so long. We weren't charged for the meal and left just a tip for the waiter. I even resisted temptation at the dessert place we went to afterwards while my girls ordered wine and this gorgeous berry cake (yes I had some berries and the teeniest tiniest piece for taste). At home now I've had a few cashew nuts and raisins and I'm ready for bed.

I should thank the mice really. If it weren't for them, I would have eaten much more of the paella than the 4 tablespoons I got through before spotting them!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Balance Imbalance

I think the weighing machine at my gym has issues. It gives me a different reading every time I go on it and I never know which one to take. Do I take the highest? The lowest? For the last couple of times, I've ended up stepping on it five times and averaging out. With that in mind, and with a huge disclaimer that this a) may not be true and b) may not last, I'd like to announce (drumroll please) that...

I, according to readings taken two hours ago, was 90.5kg, 91.2kg, 88.9kg, 90.6kg and 90kg. This averages to 90.24kg with a mean of 90.5kg (see all that maths, does come in handy!). You know what that means, don't you boys and girls...?

90.5kg = 14.2513 stones or 14 st 3.5 lb= 199.518 lb

I'm probably a bit less than this actually as I always wear my trainers to weigh in. The way I see it, I don't care really about 1kg here or there, especially when the extra is always there. I just want to see the numbers going down!

I was focusing all my hopes on trying to get under 90kg by 1st September that this completely caught me unawares - and it's a big one! No longer do I weigh 200+ lb. I'm in the 100 zone now, with all the 'normal' people. Mind you, I'm still a way off being a 'normal' weight but this is amazing.

It's only now just sinking in but nevertheless, I was on a bit of a high afterwards. I'd been out for a drink with a friend who I'd not seen for a while. Two glasses of red wine later and a bit tipsy after drinking alcohol hours after lunch and eating nothing in the meantime, I caught the bus to the gym. Weighing in, cross trainer, treadmill. All was normal; better than normal really. I managed 35 mins on the cross trainer burning 500 calories. I then proceeded to go on the treadmill and after 2 mins walking at 6.5kmph, started running. I ran a minute at 10kmph, at 10.5kmph, at 11kmph and at 11.5kmph. I was then going to run 2 mins at 12kmph before going back down to 10kmph to give a grand total of 10 mins run before walking for a bit and then doing it again. The 8 min mark (after 2 mins at 12kmph) came. I thought, 'I can keep on running for one more minute.' I then kept on thinking this at each minute mark until I had run 10 mins at 12kmph! Now, that may seem a normal speed but for me, to run at 7.5mph is bloody fast. I can't believe I kept it up for so long. Not only that, but then I started running at 11.5kmph and 6 mins later, only stopped because I was told that it was time for the gym to start closing. I felt I could have gone on for another fair while.

Now, I wonder why I managed to do it. Was it because it was just a good night? The weight loss spurring me on? Or because I was a bit tipsy? It's a bit depressing if it was the last one. I don't particularly want to have to drink wine every time before I go on the treadmill! It's good though, even if it is. I now know what I'm able to do.

I feel amazing now - because of the breakthrough of the glass floor to onederland (yes, I had to mention type the word really, didn't I?) and the running. I even went for a 30 min walk at lunchtime (of course it started raining halfway through).

I'm so close to under 90kg that I can actually taste it.

Lots of gym. Lots of walking. Lots of fruit and veg. Lots of water. Healthy eating. Exercise. This time next week, I will be there.

Falling Asleep...

I had a 7pm meeting tonight, arrived home, talked briefly to my housemates about house matters (i.e. having to hassle our landlord to fix things), checked email and did some research that had just come up. I'm completely shattered and can't blog coherently:

  • Lots of fruit and vegetables today - for breakfast, lunch and snacks
  • The person who was hosting the meeting in the evening had ordered pizzas. I had two small slices plus lots of grapes
  • I was still hungry so I stopped off at a Turkish bakery that was still open and bought 2 pieces of potato and spinach filled bread - only finished about 2/3 though
  • I've just finished a Cadbury's fruit and nut chocolate bar - 240 calories of bliss..
  • Still within my calorie limit for the day (just)
  • I meant to eat a quick lunch and go for a walk but I ended up being so caught up in work that I didn't take a break until almost 3pm and really, at that time, who can really take a whole hour without completely taking the piss? It would be almost time to go home by the time I came back from my walk.
Time for bed. Sweet dreams!

Monday, 24 August 2009


Such a mammoth workout in the gym today. As I walked in, a Body Balance class was starting and I got talked into doing it by the gym receptionist. Bloody hell, it's hard. I know it's a mixture of yoga and tai chi and as such is supposed to be very zen but think I find that harder than I would find cycling for an hour. It just goes to show that pure cardio such as running on the treadmill doesn't address everything.

After Body Balance, I went on the cross trainer for 35 minutes. I then approached the treadmill with trepidation. It's been a month since I ran more than a few minutes and today was going to be the day. 5 mins walk was followed by 9 mins of running, building up from 10kmph to 12 kmph and then back down again. I then alternated 9 mins of running at 10kmph/ 10.5kmph with 2 mins of walking twice before doing a 3 min stint when I ran for 12 kmph. I ran for 30 mins today and although it was done with walking pauses, I feel so good for having done it. I even managed to do some weights before leaving the gym. The plan is now to shorten the gaps and increase the speed - it would be so nice to be able to run at 11kmph for 30 min flat.

Week #1

At the end of the first week of play, progress on the 7 things I wanted to do is as follows:

1. Walk for 1/2 an hour three times a week. Yes
2. Gym 4 times a week. No - If the week is Sun-Sat, I went once
3. Three alcoholic drinks a week max. Yes
4. 7 hours sleep a night. Yes
5. Fruit for breakfast and at least one salad. Yes
6. Unlimited fruit and vegetables. Easy yes
7. Blog every day. Yes

6/7. Very good.

Weight = 91.5kg (loss of 1.5 kg in 12 days and also 201.7 lb - tantalisingly close to 200lb)

Sunday, 23 August 2009

At Last... The Time in the Gym has Arrived (to the tune of Etta James's "At Last")

Today was such a wonderful day - fitness wise and also because I spent the whole day hanging out with some of my closest friends. Apart from a quick rush home to drop off my gym clothes and change my shoes, the whole day was spent with other people. Most excitingly of all, I finally went to the gym!

I had a lovely lie in this morning - spent a couple of hours falling in and out of sleep with the sunlight streaming in through the windows onto my bed. I got ready for the gym and had breakfast with my housemate. She had cereal and I had cherries, plums and raspberries run through the blender. Liquidising fruit is such an easy, lazy breakfast who find de-seeding cherries okay but actually chewing too much effort! ;-) We then both went to the gym together. Sadly, we didn't have as much time as I would have liked before we were to meet our friend after her yoga class but I really went for it on the crosstrainer, did some weights and even ran for 10 minutes - the first time I've been running in about a month. It was so good to sweat and really push my body. The 630 calories burned wasn't bad either!

I really need to arrange more gym sessions with my ladies. It really great to just smile across the room or meet in the changing rooms after class. After the gym, the three of us went for lunch together. We all really felt that we deserved the sandwich and salad that we ordered before strolling down the high street in search of birthday presents!

I've just come back from a friend's house. She has just moved in and had invited a few of us for drinks and dinner. The 4 of us who were there had such a great time. We were there from 5.30pm until 1am. I love just hanging out in my friend's houses or inviting them over and just talking for hours on end. The food was a lot of salad with a few Ritz crackers and M&S chocolate rolls - so mostly healthy. Plus I drank only 1 beer and 1 1/2 glasses of red wine.

Oh, and I was so tempted to wear my new trousers aka the only trousers in my wardrobe that actually fit, that I took them from the clothes rack where they were drying after I washed them this morning and wore them. I then realised wearing the same trousers 3 days in a row was ridiculous - especially when they were still wet. I then changed back into the dress that I had been wearing before. I think I need to buy some more trousers before I completely wear out the only pair I own that don't fall down to my ankles without a very tight belt.

Today = sleeping in the sunshine + gym (including running!) + walking around with friends + talking for hours + dancing around to songs from our teenage years + salad and chocolate = good day

Tomorrow I will go to the gym, eat healthily, shop for the week and watch Rome and Juliet at the Globe Theatre.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

The Joy Continues

Today wasn't as miraculous a day as yesterday but still pretty damn good. I woke up early and washed my hair, slipped on my new favourite combat trousers (yes, I had to wear them two days in a row), my new killer heels and a dress that is tight across the bust with a deep vee neck (under which I wore a strappy black top - I was going to work after all!) but then skims the rest of the body. It's like one of the dresses they wore in Pride and Prejudice days. Sadly no Mr. Darcy or Colin Firth crossed my path today but I definitely had fun striding around London and my office in my sexy outfit and sexier shoes.

I had blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, plums and strawberries for breakie, went for Thai food with colleagues for lunch and had an orange, a plum and some berries for a snack in the afternoon. I went out with friends from work in the evening - only one gin and tonic and 3 pieces of pitta bread with houmous/ guacamole - result! After I came home I had half a bowl of last night's pulao, yoghurt and chutney.

Plus, I had bought some chocolate biscuits (digestives, chocolate chip cookies and jaffa cakes if you must know) for a colleague's leaving party. For about 1/2 hour this afternoon, I passed around chocolate biscuits to everyone at work who had come to our floor. How many did I eat? None.

Healthy day I think. I now have the whole weekend stretching before (and not so late a night tonight that I can't make the utmost use of it!). A couple of my friends are going to the gym tomorrow - my plan is to do a full workout in the morning and then go with them for lunch.


So much for smugness. The minute I pressed publish on this post, I went to the fridge. I was just now so close to indulging in one of the Gu treats my friend brought over for us for dessert last night (that we never managed to get around to because we were so full with everything else). I had taken it out of the fridge, opened the lid and was dreaming of its chocolate and mascarpone tiramisu deliciousness when suddenly I thought, 'What if it's not as good as it should be to warrant savouring at 1.45am on a Friday night? I'll have wasted a precious 289 calories.'

So what did I do? I re-covered the top, put it back in the fridge and stepped away. I'm so proud of myself. It was such a close run thing that I still have the tiny spoon with which I was going to eat the damn thing next to me on the couch.

Shower and sleep - before I get into any more trouble.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Food Glorious Food!

Three posts in one day - definitely a record for me as I'm doing pretty well if I manage 3 posts a fortnight. I took photos of every meal I ate today and felt I had to share. It started with the prettiness of my breakfast and just continued from there.

For breakfast I had two plums, some blackberries, some blueberries, some raspberries, 3 strawberries and a few pomegranate seeds sprinkled. You can see the plums in the bottom of the bowl, the blueberries, pomegranate, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries on top. Doesn't it look so nice, especially in the morning light? I absolutely love the mixture of colours and the taste is so yum as well. How can you not have a good day if it starts like that?

I had invited a friend over for dinner and one of the dishes I was planning on preparing was my grandmother's pomegranate and green gram salad. I spent last night cutting the vegetables for all the dishes I was planning on making with the idea I would take the salad stuff for lunch today. I teamed it with a couple of vine tomatoes and a few olives. It's the chillies in the salad that really gives it the kick. This was sooooo good! I was really full after I'd gotten through this.

I had a banana for a snack mid morning and a tiny piece of Brie on my way home in the afternoon. No pictures of them I'm afraid but I think you can quite easily imagine how a banana and a piece of Brie looks (and really it was the size of the the distance between the top of and the first joint of my thumb I promise!). I know I said I was full after lunch but after 40 minutes digesting my lunch, I was ready for something sweet. Enter the cherries. One of them went to my manager and the rest were for me. They were so lovely and sweet that I gobbled them up in about 10 minutes flat and didn't feel at all guilty afterwards. A mere 120 calories my friends, a mere 120 calories... Not bad I think to be able to keep hunger locked up until dinner.

Dinner was mammoth. I had a good friend who has lived around the corner for almost a year over for the first time. I'm not very confident about my cooking. Although it always turns out well, I'm always wary until it's been certified as good. I made tomato soup, pomegranate and green gram salad and pulao with yoghurt and tomato chutney. My housemate made a green salad as well. For the crowning glory, mango lassi. Oh, and I had half a glass of white wine. It was so amazing and filling and, best of all, so healthy. I wish I'd taken photos of the 'best lassi I've ever had' (my housemate) and my wonderful soup. I don't think the photo does my beautiful dinner justice at all - I'm not being big headed, I'm just amazed that I managed to cook really decent food!

My friend had brought over some amazing Gu dessert but we were so full that all 3 of us collapsed - the 2 of them were lying on our sofas and I laid down my other housemate's sleeping bag on the floor. We just lay there clutching our stomachs, drinking jasmine tea and talking for a good 40 minutes. No room for dessert at all. I now have Gu loveliness in my fridge. Don't worry, I'm out tomorrow night and I'll take it to a friend's house on Saturday for 'disposal' - i.e. anything that doesn't involve me eating 8 chocolate tarts in one go! I don't have a photo but please imagine chocolate and lemon tarts stacked up in the fridge - unopened. How great is that?

I have no idea why I ended up eating so healthily today (although the perfectionist in me is saying, 'hmmm... where was the protein?' Perfectionist, shhh!).

See what happens when I take the time to cook at home! ;-)

Every day should be like today.

More Reflections on Trousers

Today was such a wonderful day. I woke up and was able to wear size 16 trousers that properly fit for the first time in about 2 1/2 years. Do you know what my first reaction to this was? It was, 'I have to blog about this.' So I switched on my laptop, logged in and typed a few quick words before I went to work in the morning.

It put me in such a good mood for the rest of the day. I can't emphasise enough how lovely it was to wear trousers that fit properly instead of having to hitch them up constantly throughout the day even though there's a belt tightly wrapped that has gathers to get rid of the excess material. I think it's also good not to wear loose clothes - there's probably a sense of complacency about it all: 'Look how much weight I've lost' rather than 'I can't wait until these trousers are loose.' And I really can not wait until these trousers are loose so that I can remember how I felt on this day and know that I've made progress even from here.

Just now I tried on the gray formal pair that I bought on Saturday - in the same size but the top button doesn't even do up let alone the zip. I found out why. It's because it has a dropped waist so the 'waist' is really where my hips are. The place I carry most of my weight is my hips and then my lower stomach. So no wonder they don't fit yet. They're such good measurement trousers though - I can't wait until I can fit into them.
I was quite hoping that the reason was because they're accidentally mislabelled and are actually a size 14 though!


You know the combat trousers I bought last weekend i.e. 5 days ago which were just a bit too tight? They do up perfectly now. I don't know what I've been doing the past few days or, whether I didn't do them up properly on Saturday but I did have to hold my breath and do up the button.

It's been so long since I've worn a pair of trousers that fit (all mine are 1-2 sizes too big for me and keep on falling down) - I don't even need to cinch in all the excess material with a belt!

So, I guess I have made progress over the past couple of days, even though it seemed as if I didn't. I'm just too much of a damned perfectionist.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009


I spent 1/2 hour walking and 1/2 hour food shopping today.

Food today:
- blackberries, blueberries, grapes, strawberries and 2 plums for breakfast
- salad with chunks of brie, olives and vine tomatoes with a cheese roll
- 1 orange
- blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, grape and plum smoothie
- 1 green tea
- 1 cinammon and raisin bagel with a tiny bit of Philadelphia
- 1 cinammon and raisin bagel with margarine and pesto
- 1 cheese roll with a tiny bit of Philadelphia

I don't know if this is good or not, whether it is progress or not. I've eaten a lot of carbohydrates in the past couple of hours but I had fruit for breakfast and snacks and salad for lunch. I just ate over 1, 000 calories. Argh! I was doing so well and then I had to go and ruin it all with damn bread.

Still no gym.

I'm just so fed up. I don't want to do this anymore. I've had enough of being fat and enough of people treating me differently. I can't pretend that I don't get a bit thrilled every time someone checks me out in the street but I always think 2 things: 1) would they have done so before I lost 10kg? and 2) are they checking me out or are they laughing at me? Someone guessed me as being a year older than I actually am today - not a problem in and of itself, except she under-guessed everyone else. Is my fat making me look older?

I don't know if I can be bothered. Surely, trying really isn't working so well at the moment. What's the point? I should just give in and surround myself with tubs of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

Okay, enough of the tears and the self pity. I'm going to bed.

Must try harder.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Treading Water

So, I've not been to the gym for about a week now, before which it was 3 weeks. The 3 weeks were because I was on a course that finished every night at 9.15pm - which meant I could only get to the gym after it closed. I was exhausted after the course ended but I have no such excuse for the past few days:

- Monday: I was on my way to the gym but ended up on a non stop train. By the time I had got off the train at the end, waited until the next train back, it was about 8pm. I could have gone to the gym but I was so fed up for having wasted an hour and so tired from a night of sleep interrupted by an idiot arguing with his girlfriend outside my window that I just wanted to go home, get to know my new housemate (moved in Sunday!) and just relax. On the plus side, I went food shopping at lunchtime and got absolutely delicious food - and also walked 1/2 hour to and from the supermarket.

- Tuesday: leaving drinks for a colleague who's leaving to go and work in Congo followed by dinner with friends (one of whom is also leaving London). I had a great night but no gym!

Tomorrow, I'm meeting a friend for coffee after work but I'm going to leave after an hour or so to make it in time for a good workout. I keep trying to tell myself that I don't need to run 5k or spend 45 mins sweating on the bike but I think it's just been so long since I was at the gym that any level of intense physical activity scares me a little.

I also ate
1 pear, a few grapes and a few raspberries with yoghurt
20g brie with 4 vine tomatoes
1 orange
1/4 of a brownie
a sliver of almond cake
steamed pumpkin
cooked aubergine
a chickpea dish with other vegetables
2 pieces of baklava
as well as
a handful of Doritos and a couple of spoonfuls of Nutella when I got home

Note the mistakes? Saying that, the brownie and almond cake were quite tiny and the baklava isn't too bad. Why, oh why, was I compelled to head for the Doritos and Nutella when I got home after having had dinner outside, I have no idea...

I am loving swishing around and striding purposefully in my new dresses and heels though.


I love, love, love fruit. Since my office got a smoothie maker a few months ago, I've been sneaking downstairs to blend together whatever fruit I have at hand and hey presto, in a few short seconds, I have liquid fruit. It's very good for mid afternoon peckishness - I tend to make 1 1/2 pints of fruit loveliness sometime between 4pm and 5pm. I find that keeps me going until hometime and when I actually get home.

I also have a blender at home - ideal when I'm not really so hungry but feel I should eat something. Today, I had blueberries, blackberries, pear and grapes in the afternoon and then blueberries and blackberries when I got home in the evening.

Mind you, I did eat about 100g of cheese in between but even with that, eating wise, it's been a good day. A pear with yoghurt and grapes for breakfast. A lovely Innocent Mexican Sweet Potato Chilli for lunch. Berry, pear and grape smoothie in the afternoon. Cheddar and Brie cheeses and olives as snacks. Another smoothie in the evening followed by aubergine and courgette couscous. Now it's time for bed. The plan is to hit the gym sometime tomorrow - I just need to get back in the zone...

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Weekend at home = weekend of trouble

So, this weekend did not go according to plan. I've realised something about myself - if something is in front of me/ easily accessible by me, I will eat it. The trick is to make sure I don't put temptation in my path. This is difficult to do if you're in someone else's kitchen. Saying that, I did stop myself about once in every three times. I guess that's progress...

Now, I'm sitting on the train on the way back home with a stomach that's aching. I've been snacking since lunch and so, although I've eaten quite a lot, I'm not full and still hungry for wholesome food.

Never mind. I'm returning to my territory now where I exercise absolute control over what is mine in the fridge at work and in the cupboards at home. I had a long chat with my grandmother today where she told me about the preparations for my cousin's wedding later on this year - getting ready for that is my motivation. Lunchtime tomorrow will be spent in shopping for fruit and vegetables. After work - I'll be hitting the gym, trying to run/ cycle the last few weeks away.

Calories consumed this weekend - about a gazillion
Fruit and vegetables eaten - salad (along with pizza) last night and some liquidised blueberries, strawberries and banana yesterday
Exercise done - does shopping count?

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Size 16

Today is a good day. I went shopping and bought bras, trousers, dresses and shoes - and for the first time in ages was pleased at the sizes at which I was buying my clothes.

In the shops today, I was flicking through the sales racks and my eyes were automatically drawn to the size 16s and size 18s (I think this is US sizes 12 and 14 but I'm not sure). I had to keep reminding myself to look one size down. I picked up a few likely selections and took them into the changing rooms. I so badly wanted them to be able to fit that I was actually a bit nervous.

The only issue about losing weight that bothers me is that it is going to necessitate my breasts shrinking. I love my breasts the way they are. I think the reason for this partly is that they're the only part of my body with which I'm completely happy. I love being able to wear tight, low-cutting (but stomach skimming!) tops. I suppose I hope that they'll draw the attention away from the rest of my body. My bras have been getting a little loose in the cup lately and although I'm thrilled at the weight I have been losing, it's a little sad to run my fingers around the insides of my bras and see that there's space there.
However, I found out today that I've only gone down one cup size - and in addition, I've also gone down a back size - whoppee! Instead of being a 36GG (and, to be honest, the 36 was tight and the only reason it wasn't 38 was that a 36 gave my breasts more much needed support), I'm now a 34G (I think 34 back size is US 90 back size). I'm ecstatic with the 34 and hey, a G cup is still pretty big. I'll take that!

I've always worn a size 14 (US size 10?) top. When I was 79kg, I would buy size 14 and when I was 100kg, I would buy size 14. They always fit - mostly because I don't wear shirts and as I have a big chest, it doesn't really matter if tops stretch a little over that area.
This was the first time I was trying on dresses in size 14 and yes, they were summery dresses made of a stretchy material but they fit!

The trousers were a different matter. Although all my 18s are too loose for me, I'm just a tad too big to fit comfortably in 16s. Nevertheless, I was determined to buy size 16 trousers today. I think it's better to have too tight trousers so you can remember that you need to lose weight rather than wearing trousers that are swimming and only stay on your body when you cinch them in with a belt. Seriously, I've been wearing jeans lately that if I wasn't wearing a belt would fall past my hips and end up around my knees! Not a good look.
I bought two pairs of trousers - a comfy drawstring pair and a formal gray pair. The drawstrings are just a bit tight but the gray trousers I can't even do up properly. Never mind, they are my new goal trousers - they're really only suitable for winter (not that the summer has been full of warmth and sunshine here). Fingers crossed they'll actually be a bit loose and comfortable once the weather gets cold enough to wear them!

No weight loss news connected with my new shoes - I've bought two pairs and I absolutely love them. Both of them are really different from the shoes I have know but I love the colours (one is a metallic dark blue and the other is black with gold studs) and the heels. I feel so tall in them but yet, they're both so comfortable.

I remember when I was in the pit of despair because I had to buy size 16 trousers. Now, I'm over the moon. I went shopping today and bought two size 14 (!) dresses and two size 16 trousers - the first time I've bought size 16 trousers for 4 years. I've never bought a size 14 dress in my life (mostly because back when I could do so, I didn't really wear dresses).

Happy days!

Friday, 14 August 2009

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Weightloss (to be proved)

1) Walk for at least 1/2 an hour at least three times a week - make use of lunch hour

2) Go to the gym at least 4 days a week

3) Three alcoholic drinks maximum a week

4) 7 hours sleep (or more) every night

5) At least one meal of salad a day as well as fruit for breakfast

6) Unlimited fruit and vegetables

7) Blog every day

Let's see how that works for me...

Inactivity masking progress (both forwards and backwards)

This is the most irregular blog in the world. I only seem able to post a couple of times once every couple of months before yet another hiatus. Does anyone notice a pattern?

This losing weight thing is a complete nightmare. I returned from my month away in May to find that I had gained a couple of kg to take me back up to 95kg. I then did so well for weeks, got down to 91kg (9 pounds lost) and then a good friend whom I hadn't seen for a year came to stay and I had an intensive music workshop. Weeks of classes every day after work for 3 hours plus practice when I got home led to some very bad eating and non exercising habits. I went to the gym for the first time in about three weeks a few days ago - 92.9kg (4 pound gain). Argh! I'm so frustrated that I was thinking of giving up. I obviously cannot do this. I simply don't have the force of will required to force myself to run, bike and generally move about neither is the sensible part of my brain able to exercise any form of control over what I put into my mouth.

1) I'm trying to break habits that have built up over the past 15 years. I should not expect it to happen in a matter of months.
2) I am going in a generally downward direction. Every 1 kg lost is followed by half of it regained - I'm literally going two steps forward and one step back. I've lost 7-10 kg (15-22 pounds/ between 1-1 1/2 stone overall). For seven months, that's nothing but it's so much better than gaining over a stone.
3) I'm still eating relatively healthily - much better than I was this time last year without a doubt.
4) When I was in the zone, it was so good to be able to run miles at a time without stopping, to be able to push myself in the gym, to bike for 45 minutes, to run for the bus and be the quickest one and to be able to see my friends' faces when they saw me after a year away.
5) I'm still going for the wedding of my cousin-the-could-be model in a few months' time. We've always been compared with each other. I'm fat but clever. She's less good about passing exams but thin and beautiful and now, about to be married. I've not seen her for at least 3 years. I cannot look like this when we next meet.
6) I know I can get it back. I've been here before. This is not as bad as the end of May when I'd spent the whole month being completely sedentary but eating 3 big meals plus 2 cake/ biscuit breaks a day. Then, it was hard getting back into it. Now, my breakfasts have still been good. Lunch is okay 50% of the time. Dinner and snacks is less so but this is because I've had to grab anything possible.

It's all about priorities. For the past 4 weeks, I've been prioritising seeing friends whom I've not seen for a year. I've been prioritising singing. I have not been prioritising losing weight. I thought I could carry on my life in a way close to normal. I can't do it that way. I'm an all or nothing type of person - I either spend 3 hours in the gym after work every day or I do nothing. I can't do that anymore. I need to focus on what's important for me right now, recalibrate the part of my brain that deals with food and exercise so that when I reach my target weight I can ease up a little but not too much! If I spend weeks when all I do is work and gym, then I'm going to break, start fixating on food (because I'm doing nothing else that distracts me from it), go for weeks where there's no exercise and regain the lost weight. I need to find a way to exercise and also do other things by either not trying to go to the gym every day so I can find time for other things or by splitting my evenings between exercise and friends.

I'm on the train going home for the weekend. I will try my best to go to the gym my parents use, but if not, at least to go for a run on both Saturday and Sunday. I will not take complete advantage of delicious home cooked food to scoff as much as I can handle. The food will be there the next time I return. The food will be waiting for me. It's not my last chance. The food will not run out!

When I return, I shall be bringing back a week's worth of food with me - that's lunch. Breakfast will be fruit and dinner salad (but interesting ones). On Monday evening I shall go to the gym and buy food - lovely fruit, vegetables, tofu, paneer which I'll then use for breakfast, smoothies, cous cous salads, tofu salads, paneer salads.

Under 90kg before the end of August (3kg/ 6.38lb lost)? Back on the wagon it is.