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The Price Of Fat (redux)

September 15, 2011

Update

It has been over a year since I wrote a blog, and a whole lot has happened since then. for a start I no longer live in the UK.  I no longer run my own business, and most entertainingly I am no longer single.

Unfortunately, weight-wise nothing much has happened. Well that’s not totally true, since I did continue to go to the gym for a while, and was very pleased with my progress. Then I moved to the land of the free… or at least pretty cheap… and sure enough they have steaks as big as my head.

It takes a great man to resist all that… and I ‘aint so great. Anyhow, so thats me and mine… How’s you?

I will be mounting my continual campaign against weight pretty soon, but someone said something on facebook and it inspired me to dig out this old blog.  I’ll wrote again soon, maybe once I buy a treadmill… hmmm

 

The Price Of Fat

I have so much to say on this that my tongue (or fingers) is tripping over itself. I have actually had to cut down my comments for fear that this would turn into my first book. The rest I shall save for another day, but for now, Why is it that a clothes design is one price when served to skinny sticks that spend half their time throwing up their soup in the bathroom, and a completely different price to a fat person.

I appreciate there may be a little more material, but in my experience we are talking two or three times the amount. As if it’s not hard enough to find a high street store that stocks plus sizes as it is, when you do find one you end up having to get a mortgage to afford them.

Now, I am a guy, and so only have a certain amount of this abuse, but I have been out with many plus size women, and each and every one has had to suffer the indignation of being told by some tarty-dressed, stuck-up sales assistant with a serious coat hanger up her arse, that their shop doesn’t do that size. They have looked my partners up and down with the kind of disgust that a preening toucan would look at a nightingale. For one, what the hell is their problem.

Do they think they are better just because they are thinner? Seriously? I have known many women and in my humble experience, thinner women are not better. There may have been some very polite, very charming thin women I have known, but I have known a lot more chubby women with those characteristics. As far as I am concerned, it’s the thin abusive judgemental shop assistants who are the worst of the worst, well perhaps not the worst of the worst, but they’re up there with Injury Lawyers, Health Insurance Agents that don’t pay up and people who believe “Intellegent Design” should be taught in schools. They make you feel bad just by being around them. Why would anyone want that in their life? Why would anyone want to be friends with them, knowing they will just feel dirty and spoiled afterwards?

Even if you do find the right store, that sells plus sizes.. and even if you get a sales assistant that doesn’t treat you like you are diseased.. and they really are there for your personal assistance, Bzzzzzzz

(Well, we all need a bit of help, don’t we!  Yellow and black may look good on some people, but right now I can’t get the words “bumble bee” otut of my head).

When you finally get to the cash desk you realise that the belt you picked out costs £40 alone.

As I have said, I am a guy and have rarely experienced this, until recently when I happened to go into a “Big and Tall” store. I swear the place is designed to kill off fatties like myself once and for all, because when I saw that just one Hawaiian shirt would have cost me £120, I nearly had a heart attack. I have an idea they have a trapdoor and a dungeon for all the bodies like Sweeney Todd.

“Is that another one Gone, Frank?”

“Yes, he said he wanted to buy a tie!”

There is seriously is no need for it . We all need clothes, and they don’t have to cost the earth. And for God’s sake. Look, in case I havent said it enough, I am a GUY and generally we aren’t so worried about our clothes as women are. Also guys tend to have a specific kind of wardrobe, we all wear suits for funerals, weddings etc, so if there’s an event, like a job interview, we get the suit out, but women don’t have that simplicity. They like colours and styles and dresses and pants and blouses and tops, and jackets and shoes and loads of stuff. They like clothes.

I am not saying that’s a bad thing. Women in clothes is good I say, I support the idea. I admit my personal preference is women spilling out of clothes, but that’s just me, and somehow they need to stay warm. Now, just because I don’t engage in the rigmarole of changing “outfits” every two hours, doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it when they do. If however, the only thing you can find to wear is a tent, because no store supplies any style choice. then they will get frustrated… rightly so. And then as a rule they will take it out on me, (which would be a little unfair as for one I agree with them whole-heartedly, and for two there are an awful lot of them)

Why does it seem impossible to have any variation on style. Why do designers think that all trousers should second up as a flag! It’s all very well saying, yes but this skirt is in green, but it’s still a skirt, just like every other knee-length skirt in the damned shop!

And then when she finally does go to the counter to purchase yet another elasticized neck blouse, it turns out the garment is on special offer and today will only cost me £85 !!!

Clothes should be cheaper, they should have more variation and they should be staffed by shop assistants who are a little more humble. Women don’t expect the earth, but they do hope to gain a little respect, a little confidence and a little excitement when they go shopping. And it appears to me that the only women who are continually overlooked in this are fat women. It’s wrong in so many ways.

There is an alternative, we could all go online. Now I like buying online. I enjoy it, because it suits my sense of fairness. When there is a store doing something that I consider unethical, I simply don’t buy from them, there are always plenty to choose from, which makes life easier. It may well be that they are all one and the same, but until they are specifically pointed out to me, then I can be pleased.

The one thing that really gets my goat more than anything else, though is the way a plus size specialist models their clothes with a skinny person.Why would you do that? Here I am, about to invest my money to someone I have never met before, to buy an item that may be totally the wrong style, fit or colour for me, and you present me with the items on a guy that looks like Brad Pitt. How will I know how that looks on me? Clearly Brad looks great, BUT I AIN’T BRAD. It is my first and foremost rule, if they don’t have pictures of a plus size model modelling the clothes I will not buy from them. I am trying to encourage my fiancée to do the same, but I feel it will take a while. She keeps saying to me, thats a good store, but it doesn’t have the clothes I want.

This is the beaultiful Chloe Marshall. Miss Surray 2008, Well done Chloe, and well done for the panel being brave enough to pick her from a group that were considerably thinner. She looks beautiful and long may she stay curvy. Take a quick read of someone else’s point of view on Chloe if you will.

http://www.thicksational.com/category/pageants/

Please, I beg of you, if you are looking for new plus size clothes, take your time. Find a store that uses appropriately sized models that will actually give you a chance to see what it looks like on you. If they wont support plus size people then don’t buy from them.

Or if you have to buy something, take the time to complain about the lack of variety, the styles, the trends, anything really, because big can be beautiful and curvy is sexy as hell!

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Losing Weight; Pitfalls and Barriers.

September 25, 2010

My very impressive blogging-friend http://jamesisfat.com/ suggested that his weight-losing partners had not blogged in a while and that this was unacceptable. He is totally right of course, and even though I include myself in that small clique of amigos he is referring to, I appreciate he is actually talking to the bevvy of beauties now baying for him and his man-meat since he has become a mere shadow of his former self. You girls are so shallow!

Regardless I must admit I have been reluctant to update. I left you having reached week 3 on my third attempt to make a significant change to my body shape, weight, and self esteem. I had only managed to reach the mysterious week 5 previously before finding a decent excuse to stop. And sure as eggs is eggs, the weight-loss which was pretty insignificant to begin with, piled back on. When I began the whole process many many weeks ago I started from 18.5st (260lbs/118kgs), I increased my weight to 19st (266lbs/120kgs), but at the start of this third attempt I had worked my way back down to 18.5st again. Basically I had worked for 15 weeks and achieved absolutely nothing.

This time, I can proudly boast I broke the 5 week barrier! Woop Woop!

In actual fact I am in week 7, soon to be week 8. I am now at 17.5st (245lbs/111kgs), which doesn’t seem enough for 7 weeks, but my gym trainer type man tells me its sustainable. So well done me. Having said that the actual weight loss is disappointing, but I can proudly state that I am consderably thinner than I was. I have definitiely lost about two inches off of my waistline, and can fit snuggly into trousers I struggled to zip up before. I wear a belt constantly now cos things are losening up. I am having a little situation with excess skin. I always thought this was the worst most ugly part of dieting and I have found very few people talking about it, so if anyone knows of some sites please let me know. In particular I am having a personal issue with my soon to be gone moobs. No man wants moobage, and now that mine seem to be travelling south faster than a north pole ice burg, It is starting to stress me out.

Now, I have suffered a few pitfalls along the way, one of which I need to tell you about.

There is some interesting advice about your “fat-loss” level. In the case of me, its at about 120bpm. They tell you that this is a good rate to work at because you are burning fat directly, wheras if you burn at the “cardio” rate, for me 145bpm, you burn carbs instead. Carbs are your body’s emergency supply of energy.

Think of your body-fat as a half a pig you bought from a farmer a few weeks ago. He chopped it all up into lots of cuts and you have it in the freezer, whereas carbs are the sausages in the fridge you got ready for today’s tea… mmmmmm….sausages….

Anyhow, naturally when you’re in a hurry, doing rigorous exercise like running on the treadmill, (or wrestling with an alligator), you use the emergency carbs, or “the sausages the fridge”. If however, you are using energy slowly like going for a long walk, (or playing chess with a snail) you can pop a “frozen pork chop in the oven” (use your fat storage) and start on the roasted potatoes with a little swede, cabbage and peas… ooh and don’t forget the gravy!

The thing is this, what happens when you’re all out of sausages/emergency carb supply? Well, for a while back there I thought as many experts have suggested (I even kind of suggested the same thing myself),  that I would pop out to the local pizza house and stuff myself silly (by pizza i mean actual pizza, just to make my food analogy even more complicated), which does no good to man nor beast. Instead, I was encouraged to believe, that burning your fat slowly or going for the pork roast in my example, may take a lot longer but you’re not using your sausages/carbs up and the freezer/fat level is going down properly.

It all sounds reasonable enough in an extremely complicated pork/fat sort of way. Just enough science in there to make it plausible and easy to follow (!!!). It makes sense. Thing is, whilst it has truth behind it, it is not the whole picture. Not by a long way, and so it represents really bad science.

Here’s the truth.

When we wrestle alligators we use sausages, true, but we also bung some spare ribs in the oven. The longer we fight the alligators, the more cuts of pork we bung in the oven. If you were to exercise vigorously for an hour your levels would be such that you are using 70% of your fat storage and only 30% of the carbs, which is good since you will be starting to run out of carbs anyway. Thats a lot of pork. And when all the fighting is done, we replace the sausages in the fridge with some belly pork for a nice stew with some carrots and potatoes.

Got it? No? Lets put it this way.

To lose weight, you need to use up more than you put in.

To lose weight you have to work at it every day, somehow.

To lose weight you have to sweat, a lot.

To lose weight you have to eat less calories.

I find that 10mins at 140bpm, reasonable sweat, but not gasping for breath, gets rid of 100 calories.

10mins – 140bpm = 100calories

1 chocolate bar = 200 calories = 20 mins on the treadmill.

=

Now we do burn off quite a lot naturally, and thats a good thing, but for me, that is the banker, the background. Don’t worry about it so much, and don’t worry about the little things like breakfast cerreal or fruit. We all know when we’re being bad. We all know when we eat a burger, thats probably a lot of calories (510cal, for a McDonalds Quarter Pounder with cheese!) so if you think, I fancy a big mac tonight, then just remember, thats an hour at the gym working quite hard.

Anyhow, thats me done for the mo. Cheers.

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Week 3: My Routine and Questions of Diet.

August 19, 2010

I am prepared to tell you something now. I am on week 3 of my exercise ordeal, and I have to tell you, it is starting to work, but it may be the hardest thing I have done since the last time I did something really hard.

Now I know all you thin people out there say, you can’t build Rome in a day, it takes a long time to create a change in lifestyle, well, no it doesn’t. People give up smoking cold turkey. You decide to do something, and you do it. There are problems with the barriers to you doing that thing, addiction, availability etc etc, but the truth is if you are determined, you will succeed. You might not see the results in a day, but you’ll know you’ve started, and if you keep at it, you’ll get there.

The question is, how determined are you.

Well, so my fitness campaign this time has been full-on. I have taken to going to the Gym three times a week. When I get there I ignore the mirrors as best I can and find either the rowing machine or the bike. The bike is a real pain and my most hated piece of equipment. I don’t know why they have to make bike saddles that could cut through cheese, but they do. I mean seriously, would it kill them to design a decent seat. When I was a kid, I had a chopper bike with a big ol’ comfy seat. I loved it and I never ever got saddle sore. Anyhow, 20 minutes on that going as fast as I dare (normally I can get 8km’s out of it on a gentle incline) and I’m warmed up. I’m actually sweating like a boxer, and breathing like his trainer. Have you ever noticed how unhealthy movie boxing trainers are?

I have enough trouble with just the bar.

Next it’s a little weights. At this point I feel embarrassed. Well, I’m always embarrassed at the gym. I always feel like the dodgy second cousin who lives on a farm when I go in there, and everyone is looking slim and strong, jogging at super speeds, lifting 100’s of kilos. And there is me, water cascading down my brow, gasping for breath. Anyhow, weights. It’s at times like these that you realise how incredibly weak all your muscles are, in my case unreasonably weak. I’m not going to embarrass myself by describing how little I can “bench press”, but it aint a lot. On the other hand my legs aren’t so bad. I guess carrying the rest of me around has leapt them pretty strong.

You never see a pic of a fat person on a cross trainer. Ever wondered why.

Onto the cross trainer. I don’t know who invented this torture device but there is a special kind of hell for them ready and waiting. A measly 10 minutes is all I can bear on the machine, which for someone who still hurts like hell when he jogs ever since the incident, I consider pretty good. To be honest, it’s not a bad machine until it starts telling me to do everything backwards…. Oh my god.

More weights, and then onto the rowing machine. Now in a fit of pique, I decided not to stick to my see how quickly I can do 1000 meters, nor did I take the trainer’s advice and do a 2000m slow fat burn. No, no, no, no, no! Instead I went for the 5000m, like all the real men do. Actually most of the real men do a lot more, but lets not get too carried away here. I clock the 5km in approximately 22 mins, which is horribly slow, but an absolute killer. And whats worse is that on the one piece of equipment where you are scrunched up, hence showing the true extent of your over-weightedness, there is a dirty great mirror facing you. I mean, come on!

Finally, after a few more weights, different machines you understand. Each one specifically designed to impact as much torture to each and every individual muscle as humanly possible, I gasp onto the treadmill. This is my favourite by far. I set the walker, still not ready to run yet, on an incline of 6 (6 degrees, 6 meters, i have no idea), and a speed of 5.5km/hour, I think and then walk away. Depending on how draining the rest of the session is, I can clock up between 20 and 40 minutes.

All in all it’s a pretty impressive workout, and I feel good walking out of the gym, like I have really achieved something.

What’s interesting is the calorie counters. They all vary a little bit, but roughly speaking they tell me that for every one of my 10 minutes of heart rate activity at 140bpm, I use  about 100 calories. Thats it. 100 calories. In case you are interested, 100 calories is less than a  packet of Cheese and Onion crisps. It’s about the same as a can of coke. A can of coke! If I work out for 10 minutes, and then drink a can of coke, I am back where I started! Well, no wonder I’ve not been getting anywhere. I don’t even like coke!

Two times a week I go walking. On one of the days I spend an hour going up and down my hill. I can do it twice, and it’s better exercise that climbing up it, and going round the top. I have even tried starting it off with the closest thing I can get to a jog, at least up until the first gate… pretty low down… The other day I have taken to my friends 4.5 mile walk from Dorchester to Lower Bockhampton, and around the fields before heading back to Kingston Maurwood and finally back home. That takes me about 140 minutes, and gives me a little variety. I’d make it a 5 mile walk, but I don’t have a pedometer to figure it out. Barriers see.

Anyway, so I have been calorie counting. They advise you to eat about 1500-2000 calories (Kcal) a day. So naturally I have been doing my level best to get as low as I can. It’s not easy, but it does at least give me a reason to eat endless shredded wheat and low-fat skimmed watery milk. It also gives me a good excuse to try cooking with creme fraiche, which actually isn’t that bad at all. And because of all this replacing foods (not dieting) and the exercise (a little under 1000 kcal, each time) I am starting to get somewhere.

I don’t know how much the resting rate is for a guy sitting on his arse in a taxi is, but that’s what I end up doing, so this has to be better.

The question I have though, is how do thin people even fit this in to their daily routines? I am working out approximately 2 hours, 5 days a week, which is 2:30hrs when you think about showering and changing. It makes no sense. There MUST be something else happening. They can’t all really be eating Kellogs Special K, pumpkin seeds and carrot sticks morning, noon and night. Where’s the fun in that?

There is plenty more to discover clearly.

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Week 1….again, back to the gym

August 2, 2010

Lots to say, lots to say.

First off, as I mentioned, I apologise for the 5 week thing. If the 5 week exercise/diet worked, I would be the man to promote it, but never mind. C’est la vie. Needless to say, I am back with even more motivation and even more commitment. I will strive to reach the 6 week mark, at least!

There are exciting reasons for this. First off, the Visa procedure is flying along nicely, and I am genuinely getting nervous. I believe I have a buyer for my business, and everything seems to be coming together for 10-12 weeks time. Pretty exciting stuff.

There are issues however. First off, I still weigh way too much. No self-respecting wifey wants a man mountain for a husband unless he is a very rich sumo wrestler, which I’m not. My beautiful fiancée tells me it doesn’t matter but we all know she is too sweet to tell the truth, that she is happy the way I am, but she would be a lot happier if I were more like Jimmy Bond.

“My dear girl, don’t flatter yourself. What I did this evening was for Queen and country.”

Second, the lady friend I may be selling my business to, has a similar weight issue. She and her partner are hoping to walk Hadrian’s Wall next year, and so have begun some light training. They hope to walk 15 miles every day, but we started with just a 5 mile walk across some very pretty countryside. Countryside you’d think I’d know, being as I’m Dorchester born and bred. Anyhow, their efforts and subsequent offers to walk with them have inspired me to do more.

Finally, I visited my doctor. Now if you are thinking I went to the docs to ask for some Viagra in the hope that I could get some for my wedding night, but didn’t have the guts to ask for it and ended up getting a free consultation to a physical trainer and a special dispensation on gym membership, you’d be sorely mistaken. I definitely did not do that. Honest.

So today I am at the Gym. I have spoken about gym’s before. I am not a fan as a rule. The meat-head brigade occupy these places like dealers on a rookie car-booter. That, combined with my already quite significant paranoia build to a truly humiliating experience, and one I definitely don’t enjoy. This was the second time I have been to this particular gym. The first time was the previous Thursday afternoon to meet the aforementioned Physical Trainer for the first time. There were three women in the gym, and as I walked into the gleaming room with its wall to wall mirrors and pictures of body beautiful on the walls, I could tell I held a certain interest to them. I call it interest, but I suspect it was more like revulsion. Perhaps I have inspired them to work a little harder on their gluttons.

The squat bijou office reminded me of my own sports teacher’s little office at Hardyes Comprehensive all those years ago. I recall very well that tiny desk filled with omission slips and sports hall rotas. I liked this office. It said to me a man with too many forms, but no idea why he’s doing them. I knew why he was doing them. He was doing them because he had to show the powers that be, he was really there. I liked this situation, I felt in control. I’m normally the guy checking to see he has filled the forms in properly.

The trainer was very civil to me, and avoided the obvious question of how the hell did I get into this position and why has no-one stapled my mouth shut by now.  He told me all about the membership, its hours, prices and equipment, and I relaxed into the minutiae of detail. A few forms later, I had my appointment. I began to feel at home, I began to feel comfortable.  Which was just as well because as I left, the girls on the treadmills and rowing machines obviously concluded I was not so completely disgusting that they would have to take a moment to catch their bile, and instead decided I would be yet another ridiculous man who would spend all my time watching their breasts as they jog on the treadmill. .

Now. It turns out there are certain provisos to my original understanding of gyms. Obviously all gyms have the “Meat-head” guys, these chaps are too busy lifting huge weights to even notice you are there, let alone that they have backed into you and you’re now squashed between the bench press and the drinks machine.

They also have the “You’re-not-good-looking-enough-to-look-at-me” girls.

Incidentally, if you are interested I actually agree whole-heartedly that no woman should be treated as a sex object, that all women have the right to wear whatever they want at all times, and not feel like men have permission to demand attention for the price of a drink, or call them frigid should the exchange not go well. By the way, if you are chatted up in a bar, by all means tell us no, but please don’t tell us to “F*** Off” unless we are pushing the exchange. And definitely don’t embarrass us by laughing at us to your friends. It takes some courage for a guy to talk to a stranger at a bar with her friends. Give us a little dignity as you are crushing our egos. Should we badger you, be insistent, get vocal or rude, then you have my absolute support should you take him to town with as crude and as vociferous a reply as you dare, I will be emotionally by your side waving a small flag in support, but some of us will merely walk sheepishly away, and sit sulking for the next two weeks until we have the courage to try again. Give us the opportunity to leave the stage gracefully please.

I don’t like these girls at all. I don’t mind they want their own personal space, I accept it and try my damnedest to respect it. What I object to is when they choose to have a go at you because you are looking at them, but they don’t have a go at the  sexy young footballer who is flirting like mad on the bike opposite. Then its all back straight, shoulders out time. Are they after personal space or not. If they are after personal space then fine, but the double standard jars in my throat. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate this reaction is a natural consequence, and there is very little anyone can do to stop it, just don’t have a go at me because I am not the good-looking football stud.

We should all recognise, that in the supposedly asexual environment of the gym, where let’s be honest, you are actually supposed to wear short skimpy clothing,  it’s easy to think men are watching your breasts’ every move, in truth we are, but most of us genuinely don’t want to. I personally wish we had something you could look at, so we could enjoy your breasts without feeling guilty, but when you whole-heartedly believe I am looking at them despite the fact I have gone temporarily blind and can barely breathe after 10 mins on the cross-trainer, you are having a proverbial laugh. If I am looking at your breasts, it is only with the same intensity that I look at Coronation Street. That vapid empty look is not lust, it is what happens when I slip into a coma, so don’t get all uppity with me. As fas as I am concerned you are about as accessible to me as the US Gold Reserve. Don’t talk to me, as my ears gave up the ghost the minute Jane Wiedlin came on the stereo, and don’t ask me to look elsewhere as they are like the light at the end of the tunnel.

Incidentally, you may notice that as you move my eyes don’t, this is because they are now enraptured to the much smaller and decidedly less attractive moobs of a grey haired 70-year-old granddad, who has taken your spot on the bike. If my mind could take any of this in, they would be scarred for life.

Finally don’t feel intimidated by me, I can barely lift my own head let alone grace you with my best chat-up line. To be honest, chat-up lines are a different language to me. I have just always had a problem with them. Not that it is relevant now, but still. It is particularly odd since, as a taxi-driver I have to talk to complete strangers every day. In fact, a few of my previous relationships have started from conversations in the cab, so it’s odd I should be so infamously bad at the chatting-up ritual. In fact, so bad am I that my most recent failed chat-up attempt, some years ago involved telling my “target” lady that I was bad at chatting women up and I would do much better if I turned my back to her to talk as that’s the way I manage in a cab. Naturally when I eventually turned back around she had long gone.

Typical really, because up until that point I thought I might be in!

All gyms also have the chattering crickets, who believe its their mission in life to explain to you how they have been doing this for years and with time and effort you will get the hang of it. I hate these guys, and occasionally girls, with a passion. I have written before on why I hate them, but the truth is that they more than any other, reflect my own failings. I don’t want to know about how you started off 4 years ago, and how hard you found it at first, but that after a while you found a rhythm and now it’s all good, and that diet is a really difficult issue at the beginning, but as you begin to starve yourself the taste of food grows and you feel different about yourself. I have heard it all before and I know it all to be true, but right now I am trying my best to block the entire world out. I would rather there was no one here at all and no one knew I came here. In fact I would rather go to a gym 50 miles away so that I never get recognised by anyone at all ever. So please please please for the love of God leave me alone!

Now, however, I have no discovered there is another group of people, and surprisingly, I don’t feel bad about them. They don’t assume I am their pupil, or think I want to rape them, and they do notice I exist, but give me a suitable amount of  respect and space. I call them the “Oldies” and they are my new best friends. They don’t talk to me, thank god. They certainly don’t look down on me, mostly because for the first time in my life I am the tallest in the room. Instead they give me approving smiles occasionally. I think it’s a smile. I’m betting on a smile. I think. And they quietly go about their way with minimum fuss and noise.

The only problem I have with them is they only come out in the morning. I am not a morning person, and having a fiancée who is 6 hours behind me means a lot of late nights, but this is my crowd, and I must go to them. The meat heads come out at lunch, the not-good-enough girls early afternoon, the crickets in the evening, but I will go in search of the oldies. My kind of people.

So here we go again. Wish me luck, there’s a long and winding road and all that jazz, but I have good reasons to get there. I have a fiancée to impress, a new job to find, and a dodgy trainer to kick me up the jacksie.

BRING IT ON!

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Excuses for Fat: “I want to do it my way!”

July 22, 2010

It’s funny how I keep getting to week 5 before something happens and I give up. 5 weeks seems to be my limit, and probably explains a lot. Anyhow before I think about starting all over again, I am just writing a few lines to explain my useless excuse this time. I had intended to go into a lot of effort to explain, justify or repudiate (Sarah Palin take note) the many excuses we fatties have for being overweight. I prefer overweight, the term obese to me sounds personal and detrimental. It has been used disparagingly too often in the past I think.

My excuse this time is a good one. Multi-layered and very hard to argue against on first glance.

In another big effort of enthusiastic zeal I bought a step-counter. Determined to complete at least 10,000 steps everyday, combined with a strict (well stricter) diet of healthy foods and no snacking on mayonnaise filled sandwiches or chocolate bars, I was assured a significant weight loss in just a few short weeks. But, as always, like the perfectly planned party involving vol-au-vents, mini-pizzas, lots of alcohol and single friends who you expect will come together like a zip fastener but end up arguing over whether australia is a continent, things did not go to plan.

I have a skin tag. I have a few in fact, but this particular one hides on my upper inside thigh. It has never bothered me in the past, and I can’t actually see it, so I have never dealt with it. On only Day 3 of my 10,000 step challenge however, something ripped. Something that made me feel like I was being stabbed with a safety-pin in an area that all men would consider FAR TOO CLOSE.

Now, obviously I walked home, well limped home is more like it as each step became more excruciating, and I tended to my ailing skin-tag like a cat tends to a cat-nip toy, by aggressively pulling and fiddling with it until it was unbearably red raw. A few days of not walking later, I finally decide to visit my GP and nurse, who squirted it with freezing cold Nitrogen. I am sure she was laughing like a crazy mad scientist. It now hurts more than ever, despite the endless plasters and wadding I have, as it still rubs whenever I take a step.

Naturally I have forsaken my 10,000 step plan until the issue is resolved, in another week I hope.

The more conscientious of you, may have thought, but Eggy, why would you not find some other form of exercise, that doesn’t cause you such consternation? Swimming perhaps, or weights temporarily while the issue is being dealt with. Because I didn’t. Okay! In the tone of a teenage petulant girl I say to all those asking, I wanted it to work in my way, I don’t want to change system. I don’t want! I don’t want! I don’t want! Why does this always happen to me!

Yes, I agree my foot stamping and hair pulling is about as mature as a big brother contestant, and about as useful as Viagra to a eunuch. And yes, I also agree that it is all short-term and that next week I will have that excuse taken away, and will have to find a new one. But within all the temper-tantrums comes a basic psychological justification far more reasonable. I blame my body for the way I have let my body go.

This is significant, because it removes my responsibility from the problem. I have no idea why I should alleviate my responsibility on such a basic level in this regard whereas in everything else I happy take the responsibility on, in truth perhaps I should look elsewhere to see it isn’t a consistent trait, but clearly in this regard I do.

I normally like to be warmerNot that it is not without justification (this is the layered bit). I was never any good at sports. I can’t run well. People have been telling me since I first went to school at 5 that I run “funny”. What exactly am I supposed to do about that as a 5-year-old. Tell my parents if you think it’s a problem, don’t tell me.

Don’t you think it’s bad enough having no chance whatsoever at catching anyone else in my year, that I always get picked last for football, that in a sports day aged 9,  I came third in a race of 3 people, and lost by over a lap. Even though the race was only a 2 lap event. They didn’t even wait for me to finish before the teachers cracked on with the next event. Such was the compassion of the other parents, all of which knew that I should never have been made to go on that track.

In my teenage years, I made a serious concerted effort to resolve my health issues. I took up badminton, a very fast sport that requires fast reactions and lots of diving around the court, and basketball in which speed was not an essential ingredient if you are the shortest player on the court. Another bone of contention. I played for the school in both events, showing great effort, determination and some small aptitude for it, but in the end my weight was still higher than the kids around me, and as the opportunities to play dwindled, so my weight gained.

Aged 22, having had the biggest upset of my life up until that point, the loss of my first major important girlfriend, I took up late night jogging, and for the first time, I saw a significant difference in my weight. I began to enjoy my 40 minute jaunts out-of-town on country roads, with no one to watch me and no one to care. Left on my own I found tranquillity and peace. I began to eat healthier simply because I was doing so well. I bought a stop watch when the running became less about how many times do I have to stop til I get to the end. Progress was being made. And then I got another girlfriend. A disaster.

Suddenly it was, let’s do this, and let’s go there. I was dragged kicking and screaming into pubs and restaurants, and off those country roads. Before I knew it, I had moved to a different area with no solace and no country roads. I could have found a different way to exercise, but I didn’t. This was my method. It was working. Why should I change. It will just have to wait. After all, my life is back on track now anyway… Girlfriends, no matter how healthy they are, are not good for mine exercise regime.

The combination of physically not being very good at sports, and the stubbornness of someone who feels cheated, like others have always had the advantage, means that weight is a problem for me. It is a problem. It’s my problem.

And that’s the point. Because even though when you look at my background, you can argue I was destined to have issues, there are many people with issues around the world, and yet they overcome them. Regardless of how difficult it is to do so.

I wish I was right. I wish I was justified in my attitude. I wish everyone had the same problem and then my reaction would be more understandable, but they don’t, and you don’t.

I may not continue my exercise regime until I am fully recovered from my dramatically paralysing “issue”, but that’s only a week. I am aware of this aspect of the problem though, and I recognise its not a good enough excuse. I am back on the diet part, and will look around for the odd heavy thing to lift. It’s not really good enough, but its better than I have been in the past.

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Week 5: The World’s Worst Service

June 16, 2010

Meet Crumb

Crumb is an internet cake ordering service working around North Carolina. Carrie Nickerson & David Menestres are the bakers that design the cakes and set up the e-business.

Crumb got into the news recently following the launch of their website because they used the slogan;

“So Good It Makes Fat People Cry”

An amusing slogan perhaps, Diane Keever of Durham didn’t think so. Her friends didn’t think so either. She commented on the ‘Crumb’ website saying, she felt offended at the advertising line. Her friends agreed with her, and wrote comments too.

Now before you spout off about people’s freedom of expression and not having a sense of humour just read what happened next. Read how this minor dispute became yet another internet legend. Crumb replied quickly and thoughtlessly, and began a sequence of events that took Crumbs slogan viral.

“We offend everybody equally. You are the one with hate in your heart not us. Since we are fortunate enough to live in America you can do whatever you want.”

Mrs Keever then started a “Boycott Crumb” Facebook campaign. Fair enough you would think. Both parties using their right to free speech and expression perfectly. Bakers Nickerson & Menestres then started writing onto their twitter accounts about how “there were way too many uptight people in this world” and that Diane was a “fat c***”.

The twitter accounts were not set to private. Naturally the blogosphere went bonkers.

…..

consumerist.com

The Gloss.com

Jezebel.com

adayinthefatlife.com

newsobserver.com

…..

Within the day Crumb had removed the slogan and issued this statement.

Regarding our slogan, let us begin by apologizing to you, Diana, and everyone else we have offended. This was never our intention. The tagline was meant as a joke and nothing more. We never meant to hurt anyone. The tagline is no longer in use and the tweets you found offensive have been removed.

Today, even before all of this happened, was a really bad day for both of us. The stress of opening a small business and dealing with all the details has been getting to us. None of this is fair to you, but it’s the truth and we owe you that.

Please forgive our insensitivity. We are truly sorry.

Sincerely,
Carrie and David

Perhaps it’s all a little bit too late. Here is a sample of the comments made to Crumb on the various websites…

Fat heads should change the name of the business to “Cooked”


Wow. Just…wow.  Generally things like cupcakes are associated with happy, fluffy thoughts, but these owners have managed theirs to be tainted with outright rudeness. Way to go, especially when opening a new small business in this economy

I don’t care what kinds of ingredients go into your cupcakes (oh, excuse me, your ~cups of cake~, because you’re special snowflakes like that), if they are made by people with as much vitriol in your hearts as you, they can’t possibly taste good. I don’t even live in Raleigh, but you can bet that if I did, I would not patronize your establishment and I would tell everyone I knew about the horrendous way you treat potential customers.

Good job on f****** up so badly that your idiotic slogan and online b******* on Twitter made a national womens’ interest blog, and now you are known all over the country (including here in Marshalltown, Iowa) as sh**** people. I hope your business fails, because you certainly don’t deserve to keep any customer base now that you’ve revealed what kind of people you are.

If calling your customers c***s on a public website is your way of dealing with the stress of owning a business, perhaps you shouldn’t be in business.

Oh wait – I think the zaftig, chubby hand of invisible market forces will be pushing you that way very shortly…

It is never, ever permissible, much less cute, to call someone a “c***.” I don’t care if you are having a bad day. It’s incredibly unprofessional and for that reason, I will not patronize your shop and will urge others not to as well.

8 bucks for a cupcake????

That’s insane. There is no way you will stay in business (I live in Chicago, where the top-notch cupcake shops sell theirs for 3-4 bucks each).

The cupcake people are rude. That alone would keep me out of their store. I bet the cupcakes aren’t even that good.

If there is a lesson to be had here, it is perhaps that manners maketh the man, or perhaps more simply, it takes one to know one.

Being Good

I have stuck to my walking up the hill every weekday. It’s annoying if I’m honest. It takes up about 45 mins of everyday, the really hard bit is at the beginning, the rest is all uneven but basically level for one and a half miles, and then a final downhill half mile.I would like to build up a proper sweat using the same energy in less time, but running, even on a treadmill is still too much. At the end of each day I still find my achilles aches badly. I guess that will go away eventually. It feels strong mostly, just achy.

I don’t like it when joggers pass me by with a sense of superiority. I wonder if they think this is their hill. I would like to be down the line, 4-5 stone lighter and jogging, well huffing, my way around the top. I just can’t see that though.

Being Bad

I have stuck to the low-fat stuff. I have eaten fruit or more of my muller rices instead of snacking, and never felt hungry. I still yearn for chocolate, so I bought some low-fat mint choc chip ice cream. My friend Gill tells me ice cream isn’t too bad in general, and that supermarkets own is much better than your Ben & Jerry’s.

Unfortunately it still doesn’t seem to be doing that much for me. My weight is fractionally lower than when I started, but at this rate I’ll be 50 by the time I’ll have reached a good weight.

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Week 3: Olive Oil and Jamie’s Food Revolution USA

June 4, 2010

Olive Oil and Jamie’s Food Revolution USA

I was looking through a review for an american show called “Jamie’s Food Revolution USA” recently. In case you didn’t know Jamie has been doing to the americans what he did to our schools, basically getting them to wake up and shake up to the amount of fat and preservatives and basically unhealthy food american kids are eating. The show was very watchable, with Jamie using every last drop of british charm on the unhelpful and slighted american dinner staff. Naturally he succeeds, but only in the very loosest use of the word, and not without his own emotional cathartic journey.

For a review of the show, check this out

http://blog.syracuse.com/cny/2010/04/weighing_in_jamie_olivers_food_revolution_could_take_place_in_anytown_usa.html

Anyhow I was looking around for some idea’s to write, and I remember reading a comment after a review from a most unhappy lady in the US who basically said

“This Jamie Oliver shouldn’t be telling us how to eat healthy, he puts olive oil over every dish he makes!”

Now I have to tell you, I have been watching Jamie for years, and he does indeed love putting olive oil on his food. So I wondered if maybe she wasnt just a grumpy old lady who thinks she’s right all the time, but that she had a pont.

Now, olive oil is big in Europe. The mediterranean countries produce over 90% of all Olive oil across the world. Hard-up Greece dedicates 60% of its land to the production of olives. I’m thinking they should try something else, because Spain and Italy use more olive oil than anywhere else in the world, and they’re broke.

Anyhow, an olive tree can live up to 500 years, but Carbon dating shows Olive trees have been cultivated for 8000 years. I should say at this juncture that I cannot stand the taste of an olive. To me eating an olive is like telling a republican money isn’t everything. Having said that I do enjoy the flavour of olive oil when i cook. It’s all about the subtlety.

The average teaspoon of olive oil contains 4.5 grams of fat, the equivalent to about a third of a chocolate bar. Thats worth remembering next time you tuck into a kit-kat. However, olive oil is one of the healthiest forms of oil available and it is considerably better for you than more traditional cooking oils. It’s no coincidence that people who live in the Mediterranean and use olive oil religiously, have a much lower risk of heart disease and a tendency to remain healthier for longer. Well that, and the fact that it’s too hot for cheesecake.

The antioxidants in olive oil can also help to destroy free radicals in the body which may lead to cancer. Also, the lubricating effects of olive oil may help to reduce stress on the colon and in turn reducing the chances of developing cancer. If you are hitting your forties soon like me, you too will be rushing to the shops for a bottle of extra virgin.

Perhaps the main benefit of olive oil is that it contains the essential fat omega 6 which is vital for both cellular and cardiovascular health. It is also important to note that olive oil is a mono-unsaturated fat and as such is less likely to be turned into the potentially harmful trans fat when used in cooking.

In term of weight loss however, well according to the European Food Information Council, to cut out every kind of fat from your diet is not healthy. By considering the different types of fat in food stuffs you will be able to choose the right balance of fats for good health. In general it is recommended that you eat a well-balanced diet, drink plenty of fluids and do regular exercise if you want to lose weight.

According to the Harvard University website, the total amount of fat you eat, whether high or low, isn’t really linked with disease. What really matters is the type of fat you eat. The “bad” fats—saturated and trans fats—increase the risk for certain diseases. The “good” fats—monounsaturated (olive oil, avocados and oatmeal) and polyunsaturated fats (fish, wheat and bananas) —lower disease risk. The key to a healthy diet is to substitute good fats for bad fats.

It may be that Jamie puts a lot of olive oil on his salads or the odd bruschetta, but I think he can clearly not be accused of being hypocritical. In the end it’s all kind of obvious. If you swig the stuff down like a can of beer during the game, you’re gonna have problems. If you lightly drizzle it on your salad, you’ll live.

Being Good

Actually I have been surprisingly good. I have been up my hill every day, and it’s getting easier, well it’s getting easier to walk very slowly up there, but not so easy to run. In fact after just three steps I gave up realising that I am still too heavy to run without having a coronary. And even walking fast means all I can hear is my heartbeat drumming like the one-armed guy from Def Leopard.

To be fair running is still erm, well I am still scared shitless about running. It’s odd that snapping my achilles would make me feel this way, but I genuinely don’t trust my foot. I’m scared of running on it even though the doc says it’s strong and just needs loosening.

Being Bad

I’ve technically been quite bad, eaten lots, and not really worried about what I have eaten. Having said that I have eaten lots of healthy stuff. I have fallen in love with Muller Rice. Much to my surprise Raspberry is my favourite flavour, closely followed by Apple of all things! I am really not a fan of apples but there you go! Having said that, the cherry one in this picture looks nice. I have yet to try.

Now they say on the packet that Muller Rice is low-fat. I am guessing it’s not that low, but what do I know. I love them and it has to be better than eating a chocolate mousse, or rather a chocolate cake, with vanilla ice cream and hot sweet cherry jam (jelly), oh and chocolate flake crumbles!