Tuesday, 30 October 2012


I’m a big girl.

When I say big, I mean chunky, and when I say chunky, I mean fat, and when I say fat, I mean international rugby prop forward levels of heft, which is not particularly acceptable for a woman who isn’t in the front row of anything, let alone the England First XV.

I have a daughter who has a genetic condition that means she never physically feels full up. We have to keep her on a carefully controlled low-fat diet in order for her to maintain a healthy weight.

The irony of me being fat is not lost on me.

I’ve never been skinny. My weight has gone up steadily over the years as my levels of exercise and intake of booze and late night cheese on toast has increased. I lost three stone a few years back when I took up running (or rather lolloping) and trained for a half-marathon. And last year I had a month or two of getting back into good habits, and shed a few blobs of blubber, but ran out of enthusiasm, got lazy again, and piled the weight back on.

There’s no excuse. I cook and eat healthy meals for the family (because my daughter’s Prader-Willi Syndrome has meant I’ve always had to). But working from home has increased my tendency to graze, I eat too many snacks late in the evening, my adoration for beer has become ever more unseemly, and I really have become a stranger to my trainers.

Now I’ve reached tipping point. The point where I’m in danger of tipping over in a faint when I read the dial on the scales and wonder: “Is that why they’re called bathroom scales? Because I seem to weigh the same as a bathroom?”

So I’m doing what I need to do. Eating less. Not drinking alcohol. Moving more. You’d probably recognise me if you bumped into me in the street: I’m the fat bird who has wet hair, goggle indents around her eyes, and an aroma of chlorine. Easy, boys, I'm taken.

It’s working. I’ve shifted a stone in five weeks. The weight loss will get slow and steady now, and after I’ve shed a bit more I’ll supplement my swimming with dry land-based activity - once I've established a rapprochement with my running shoes. 

I’m feeling fitter, happier. And don’t worry, I realise that someone else's fitness regime has very limited scope for entertaining blog entries. So I won't mention it again unless it produces an amusing anecdote, such as me being unable to find my sports bra and consequently giving myself two black eyes whilst out jogging. 

I just wanted to put down a marker. 

Video is Easy Star All-Stars - Fitter, Happier

Video is The Chemical Brothers - Galvanize


  1. Having reached 16st 10lbs by the age of 52 -- four stones heavier than I was 10 years ago -- and, similarly, rather enjoying my good food and booze, I caught Dr Michael Mosely's Horizon programme on intermittent fasting, "Eat, Fast and Live Longer" at the beginning of August. I'm now down to 14st and am frankly amazed by my zing and vigour - a previously-ominous selection of aches, pains and twinges have faded and gone. All I do is spend two days of the week on 500 calories, the remaning five are business as usual (Asda currently have Shepherd Neame's luvverly 1698 for £5 for four, btw...). The full episode is on YouTube and well worth a watch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7o_mCOwRXQ&feature=related

    1. Thanks for that. I'll check it out. I'm already feeling zingier, so if I continue like you have, I'll be bouncing off the walls! My epiphany was going over a certain stone marker, which I'm too embarrassed to share. And realising it was ridiculous that I was able to control my daughter's weight when she has all these extra difficulties to overcome, but I'd given up on controlling my own. What a numpty.
      Well done, by the way!

  2. I don't tolerate alcohol, as I said. I don't like when I puke my guts, feel dizzy (I cannot walk or sit, I have to lie down), feel so hot that I'm almost passing out. All that because of alcohol.
    So, I don't drink alcohol at all, and I don't absolutely need alcohol to party.

    For me, the most important is : stopping the diet-binge cycle. Otherwise, you diet, so you lose, then you go back to your old self, so you gain back what you've lost with an added bonus.
    With such a mindset, you cannot be healthy. Absolutely not. You can only prepare yourself for high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, cancer etc etc...

    If I were you, I would completely change your mindset. Aim at being healthy, aim at being happy, aim at spending a good life for you, but also for Josie.
    If it sheds the pounds, great. Otherwise, it's okay. Weight must NOT be your obsession, it's unhealthy to obsess oneself with a number of the scale. Also, you can weight more if you drank more water than yesterday etc etc...
    Your priority is exercising and cutting all the alcohol for the sake of your health. NOT for the sake of weight loss.

    From what I am reading of your words, your problem is your mindless snacking. So, you are not even aware about what you eat.
    Your overeating is more a mindless eating : at the end, you don't realize that you ate so much.
    As soon as you pay attention to how you feel, if you feel full, hungry, if you are hungry or if you feel like eating a certain thing... you eat less.

    About the booze, realize that you don't need a booze to have a good moment with friends. I am not afraid of saying that alcohol is the worst poison ever, the one who silently shut your liver down and kills yourself day after day.
    You can have a treat, like a non-alcohlic cocktail.
    And if your friends ask you why you don't drink alcohol at all any more, or you say the truth, like "I don't want to destroy myself because Josie needs me, and even one glass of alcohol knocks all my efforts". Or you say that "you cannot drink alcohol", period. I often use the second sentence because I don't need to justify myself : people respect when I say that I cannot drink alcohol. Period.
    If your friends are really good friends, they will respect your choice. Otherwise, realize that they are not your friends.
    A real friend will never encourage you to harm yourself, be with alcohol, be with cigarette, be with food, be with anything. A true friend will discourage you to harm yourself like that.

    No, I never weight myself at home. Only doctors weigh me (usually my GP, and she is not an obsessed moron about scale). And odd, I am right under the underweight category, sometimes at the beginning of healthy category (depends of charts). Well, my GP pays more attention about my overall health than about the scale.
    Otherwise, it becomes such an obsession that instead of being healthier, you become unhealthy : you get all the diseases you are predicted to have.
    I can only tell you that neither my GP, nor my psychiatrist have even the slightest concern about OMGDEATHANOREXIA for me.
    Some jerk bigoted doctors told me that I should had been at hospital for anorexia and it was unacceptable to be thin. For those bigoted, I must had purged myself (I don't, and never tried to).

    Focus on your health and let the scale go.
    Pay attention to your energy levels, your happiness, the quality time you spend... and please, forget about the scale. Focus on yourself, not on your scale.

    Last but not least, did you know that BMI has been invented for insurance companies ?
    BMI is the most inaccurate tool to ensure about healthy weight : it does not account about your frame (if you have thin bones and thin muscles, of course you will weight less than a big muscular rugbyman !!), it does not account about your gender, it does not account about your family history (if both of your parents were like rugbymen, you won't be thin and frail !!).

    1. I think we are mostly singing from the same hymn sheet, Giulia. As I said in my post, the 'eat less, don't drink alcohol, move more' mantra is pretty much the best option for getting healthy. The scale is only an encouragement to me: I'm completely aware it can vary day to day. I'm not aiming for a ridiculously low weight that doesn't reflect my frame or my natural size. In fact, I don't have a target weight - I'll know when I feel comfortable and fit. But my current size isn't healthy and I don't feel there is any harm in using the scales (long-term) as a marker.

    2. I was telling you all this because it sounds a lot like the girls who beat themselves up because they cannot wear a size 4.
      I'm glad that you have reasonable expectations about yourself, and don't beat yourself up because you don't wear a size 4.

      For me, the most important point for "eating less" is "eat mindfully". I notice that the more you eat mindfully, the least you can overeat.
      If you listen to your feelings, not what "doctors, nurses, PT, RD" etc.. say, I assure you that you cannot overeat. If you follow "I eat when I am hungry or when I really feel like eating, and I stop when I am fed up with eating", paying attention to how you feel, then, you don't overeat. You don't have Prader-Willi syndrome, so you cannot overeat unless you eat mindlessly.
      You know better than anyone else what your body needs. And no, you don't need to count the calories for yourself, because your brain has a very intelligent calorie counter. Your daughter has the problem of feeling full, but you don't.
      For me, the more I read you, the more it looks like that you don't feel confident about knowing if you are hungry, feel like eating something... I'm sure you cannot overeat if you pay attention to what your body says about your eating.

      Your mantra is not a bad one. But it only depends on how do you apply it.
      If you apply it on "I obsess myself over the minimal calorie, and oh, if I eat that piece of chocolate, it's the end of the world !", you can apply your mantra but you won't become healthy : you'll go towards a cognitive restriction, then the vicious circle of dieting-losing-old habits-gaining with bonus.
      If you say "I eat less and move more by paying attention about my feelings around food and finding a way to exercise I enjoy", then, your mantra is a mantra to become healthy.
      It's only a matter of perspective : eat intuitively, paying attention to your feelings (for the eat less), find a way to exercise you enjoy (move more : because you are happy to move more, not because you have to) and consider alcohol as something you can cook instead of drinking (when you cook alcohol in a dish, you consume 0 calorie because it has evaporated. Only the taste remains).

      For the scale, if it helps you, keep it !!

      Sounds strange, and you may not be used to think this way. But I swear you that it works.

  3. Go for it. But remember you have to have some pleasures in life. Where you find them, however, is your business.

    I wish you well.

    1. Don't drink, don't smoke, what do I do? I'm sure there must be some vices left... ;-)

  4. Fantastic blog... I've just read almost all of it in one sitting, and really enjoyed it. Our son is two and has PWS, so to read about a family going through the (by all accounts) terrible teens with such humour and love and none of the usual horror stories (beyond the usual PWS quirks) is lovely and such a relief!

    Good luck with the healthy living - I feel the same... how can I casually snack away when we've already got a strict ban on all unscheduled snacks for our son!


    1. Hi Sophie.
      I'm glad you found my blog and found it a relief. No-one can guarantee what your son will be like in his teens or as an adult (like I wrote in my blog post Equaliser the other day: everyone is different and people with Prader-Willi Syndrome are also different from eachother). No-one has a guarantee of what their child will be like, whether they have PWS or not.
      You know already that some days are really hard. But there are plenty that are really wonderful, too.
      If ever you need to get in touch directly, just let me know. Thanks for reading!