month end

The end of January already. The balmy heat is just starting to ease. Down to 37C today, just cool enough for our router to stop playing up and finally keep an internet connection. No more power cuts fingers crossed. Now if the air-conditioner could just learn to do it's job, we might even get a good night's sleep.

It's quite incredible to look back at my first post of the month and remember just how desperate I was back then. When January started I was so incredibly low, drowning myself in food and helplessly watching as I regained all that hard-lost weight. Four weeks later and:
  • I've not binged once
  • I bought a bike and ridden one for the first time in 20 years
  • I've increased my exercise and started to enjoy it again
  • I've lost 5 kilos
  • I'm generally a whole heap happier
I've come a long way.

I optimistically tried on a skirt I hadn't fitted for a few months. A little too soon as it turned out. Not only did it not fit but I realised I still can't be thinking of wearing skirts just yet. Last summer I was fresh and fancy free and for the first time since I was a kid, I didn't have to wear a selection of cycle shorts, granny knickers or a thick layer of talcum powder to wear skirts and dresses. I miss that. Especially in this heat. But instead of feeling regret, I'm trying to use it as something positive to aim for.

Of course I don't want to be in this position. But I realise that if I concentrate on what I did wrong back then, I won't ever give myself credit for what I'm doing right now. There'll be a time for figuring out how I got here eventually, today though, I can celebrate the end of a huge month.

Today I did the supermarket shopping all on my own for the first time in a month. A month ago a trip to the supermarket was an excuse to pick up a plethora of binge food. This was the first time I've been able to trust myself to be there on my own and not binge. It's all still baby steps but I haven't fallen over once.

Once at Safeways I made a fabulous find. I'd seen Skinny Cow ice cream advertised in my UK imported magazines and they're finally here in Oz (well I'm a little slow on this news, they've been here 4 months already... I do catch up eventually) so I couldn't resist. 97% fat free, no added sugar, only 105kcals per tub, the perfect sweet treat. We tried the Vanilla Chocolate Sundae - so creamy, so yummy, I highly recommend them.



I had boxing with my trainer this morning. Sure was a fine way to get the morning's traffic jam stress out of my system. If I could start every day punching the bejeebies out of some inanimate object I might be a calmer person all round.

I seem to let things get on top of me so easily these days. When I get stressed I completely forget the tools and techniques I’ve learned over the years to deal with it. Tools and techniques which aren't food I mean. Just the simple concept of remembering to breathe deeply would be a start.

A year or so ago, right around wedding-planning time, I was doing my best not to sweat the small stuff, just as everyone had told me. Problem was I could no longer recognise "the small stuff" for what it was. I was running late to meet someone, the traffic was unbelievable and all the lights were conspiring against me. My frustration level started to rise to the point where I was driving like an accident statistic waiting to happen. All of a sudden all three lanes of traffic ground to a halt. Inching along I couldn't see at all what the hold up was, the road ahead was completely clear. Eventually I got close enough to see a man standing in front of all the cars, staring at his feet. My patience was having none of it. I was irrationally mad; mad with myself for not leaving earlier; mad with myself for not considering the traffic and most of all, mad with whatever the crazy mad man was doing. The cars gradually all filtered into one lane to pass him and I finally got to see what was at his feet - a beautiful, long necked, green turtle. Seeing that cute little guy being escorted in front of 6 lanes of traffic to the lake made my heart just melt. I felt all the stress drain away, my frown disappeared and a calm smile took it's place.

The turtle seemed kinda symbolic. I decided to buy a turtle pendant, a reminder to hang around my neck and tell me to smile and chillout in the face of stress. I searched for ages trying to find the perfect turtle before eventually picking up a really cute little silver one in a market in Seattle.

So how long do you think that worked for, hey? Stress free every time I wore it yeah? Hmm indeed.

I have an amazing ability to forget my great new intentions however big or small. Just yesterday I got to my very last mouthful of dinner before remembering my good intention to focus on chewing properly. Just when that last, giant, semi-chewed bite of steak was getting stuck in my throat I was prompted to remember the article I'd found so fascinating and planned to put into practice.

Props, distractions, written reminders, knots in string... none of it seems to work. Sometimes I must admit I secretly believe I'm actively chosing not to remember. Numerous times I've gone out and binged and then afterwards remembered my alternative intentions for such a scenario. Thankfully right now I'm remembering to eat well and I'm remembering to exercise, but what I'd really like to remember is what to do when I start spinning and getting in a tiz... oh and I'd like to remember to chew properly.

So how do you remember a new habit? How do you keep your good intentions at the forefront?

checking in: hyc week 4

It's 9:15pm and still not dropping below 30C (86F) yet. The weather folk are predicting Melbourne's about to hit it's hottest four day streak in 100 years. Hot Hot Hot!

Tempting as it was to crack open the ice and strip off in front of the air con, I'm pleased to report we got the bikes out for a half hour's hard jaunt after work. Figured if these gals can play world class tennis in front of an audience of millions in this heat, then I've nae excuse not to have a wee pootle on the bike. I'm a long way off the fitness I'd built up last year but I'm finally starting to push myself and feel really good for it.

So weigh in time it is:

today's weight: 111kg / 245lb / 17st 7lbs
loss of: 1kg / 2.2lbs
total loss this year: 5kg / 11lbs

The end of morbidity :-)

I'm now just plain old 'obese', edging 'seriously obese' or 'onmywaytonormal' obese. teehee thanks Cammy for that one, I like it. Hope your grandmother's got the video recording, tennis has been fab tonight.

It's now over an hour after I started typing this (fab AND distracting, that tennis) so I'm off to bed for now but I look forward to popping around and seeing how everyone's doing with the HYC tomorrow.

happy australia day

What a fab day! We just got home from our day at the Australian Open and despite two of the three matches we saw being conceded due to injury and illness, it was still a fantastic day out.

We watched Serena Williams' feathers get ruffled before her opponent Victoria Azarenka sadly had to retire due to illness, we then had the pleasure to witness Rafael Nadal beat Fernando Gonzalez in straight sets - top form, awesome to watch. There really is nothing like live sport to get the blood pumping.

No exercise of my own today though (my achey joints are thanking me but my desire to fat burn's not so impressed). In eating news it's been a great day. I was so proud of myself. There we were in food stall heaven, wafts of freshly baked profiteroles, cakes and hot dogs filling the air and I chose to walk on by and queue up instead for sushi and fruit. Even buying my hubby his own hot dog and ice cream then felt kinda good, knowing I didn't actually want any and didn't feel like I was missing out.

OK, well of course I didn't *totally* miss out. We all know there aren't any real calories in other people's food, right? So I did have a wee taste of tiramisu ice cream. Rude not to... very very yumm :-)

Back to work tomorrow and Healthy You Challenge weigh-in day. Good luck to all the other HYCers out there, see you tomorrow.

anyone for tennis?


Woke up this morning feeling good.

Yesterday afternoon had been a very different story. I took a table for one at my very own pity party, had a good ol' cry and felt right sorry for myself. Reasons as follows:
  • my new bike's gears weren't working. They would crunch and grind forever each time I tried to change them, then just as it felt like it was just about there, it half pulled my leg out of it's socket when all the resistance would suddenly disappear. Not like the bike shop didn't fully warn me this was likely to happen with a brand new bike and that I should probably bring it back in the first week or two for tuning, but I decided it was still worth a sulk
  • my hip is now really hurting. It's been a few weeks and I'm starting to realise I can't ignore it any longer and should get a physio appointment; something I didn't want to do because my hips right under the biggest pile of blubber on my body and I don't relish the idea of anyone touching me there
  • my ankle is equally hurting, it's been a week since I fell off my bike and twisted it and it's showing no sign of getting better
  • with my left hip and my left ankle both giving up the ghost, it was only a matter of time before my knee protested it's increased workload, so yesterday my knee started to join in the fun
And so, with all this pity going on, it was inevitable I'd then cry like a baby and wail about the real reason I was feeling sorry for myself, "I shouldn't be here again, I don't want to be obese again. I didn't even stay smaller long enough to appreciate what I'd achieved, why am I back here?"

In a moment of wisdom, my husband said to me that I can feel sorry for my self for a short while, but then I've got to remember all the positive things I'm doing and move on.

What a difference. Actually giving myself permission to feel bad. It's such a small but important difference. I'm going to feel this way anyway, better I process it and move on than suppress it and feel unresolved.

I have a tendency to get a right bee in my bonnet about fairness and being heard. My hubby despairs. If I think someone has misunderstood me I will keep on and on and on about it until I feel like I've been heard correctly. Hubby, I'm only admitting this here mister, for the purposes of context you understand. I'll deny it the next time you tell me to shut up ;-) I realise now, this is exactly what I'm doing to myself. I think it's wrong to feel so sorry for myself, so I tell myself to shut up and hold it in. It doesn't stop me feeling sorry for myself, in fact it only makes me feel worse as it adds guilt, shame and frustration to the mix. Far better to let the emotion vent and be heard.

Result being, this morning felt like the start to a fresh new day and not a hangover from my party. I don't doubt I'll probably feel sorry for myself again some time, as Karen commented to my post yesterday, I'm grieving for what I've lost. But if, like yesterday, I allow myself to really feel it, I've a better chance of moving on afresh.

I've plenty of other great reasons to feel good today too. Since typing the above this morning, husband bought a new bike, I got mine fixed and we've just been out on them together. Plus, in a spur of the moment thing, we booked tickets for the tennis and the Grand Prix. Tomorrow is Australia Day and what better way to spend it than going to the Australian Open. Woohooooo! I haven't seriously followed the tennis for some years now so I won't know who anyone is but I sure am looking forward to it. Then at the end of March, we'll be there at Albert Park, cheering on Lewis Hamilton in the first race of the Formula 1 season in the Australian Grand Prix. Double Woohoooo! We don't know how long we're going to be in Melbourne so we might as well partake of all it has to offer while we have the chance. All part of the new 'can do' and 'make it happen' attitude.

Oh and in answer to those earlier questions, I figured I'm back here because I just hadn't learned enough to stop myself from doing so. Granted, it was a very quick turnaround from 'in sight of healthy' back to 'morbidly obese' but if I have to repeat a year and let the lessons really sink in this time, I guess it's better to do so when the memory is so fresh.

As part of that learning, I just came across a vintage Pasta Queen entry that describes my body image issues so much better than I could. And I don't remember what links I followed to find this one by Crabby McSlacker, but I sure needed to read it. It's all about the strive for perfection being the biggest mistake in diethood. Reading's one thing, following and internalising the advice is quite another.

Now if I can just stop that Mr Dairy ice cream van from stalking me and I'll be all good. I swear there's a hidden message in that tinkly Greensleeves music....

reality check

I was just reading Scale Junkie talking about body image and reality checks. I've talked before about my own screwed up body image. Back on my former healthy path, I used to catalogue my weight loss with photos every few kilos. Without the photos I could still look in the mirror and hate what I saw. I needed that perspective to show me how far I'd come. I'd study the pictures in great detail and look for changes. I'd relish every smoother line and more defined bone - I especially loved my collar bones, I'd always wanted collar bones. My square shoulders were a revelation, who ever knew they were there?

On the way back up I completely avoided the camera. Photos were no longer my new found trusted friends, revealing fab details I would otherwise have missed. I knew how confronting it would be to see myself and I decided not to face it.

Of course now I'm kicking myself, thinking I really should have just bucked up and faced myself before it got this far out of control. But if I were to be a little kinder on myself, I might remember just how frantic and anxious I was over all this time, I'd question if I was in any fit state to be facing home truths and might forgive myself that mistake (still working on trying to reconcile that one).

Yesterday I decided I was strong enough to see for myself where I was really at. I thought it about time to update my sidebar photo with an up-to-date one. I was completely shocked with the result.

I've said before I couldn't see the 30 kilos and I've also said I couldn't believe I'd gotten back into the "morbidly" obese scale. Looking at the pictures of where I was and where I've come to, I can see every last kilo. There's a whole thick new lining of fat over everything and the complete absence of a waist. I knew I felt fat again I just didn't realise how fat.

So here it is...

Left: 'before' 86kg (190lb, 13st 8) taken at the end of June 2007.
Right: 'after' 112kg (247lb, 17st 9) taken yesterday.

Quite the reality check.

It’s such a fine line I’m trying to tread. I want to face up to it because denial won’t stop me coming back here. But it's such a difficult thing to see in front of me.

I look to all those other fabulous success story bloggers out there who are truly living the dream at their goal weight and I can't believe how, after a lifetime of obesity, I could get that close and throw it all away. I have so much to learn from those folk.

Why didn't I realise how big I was getting? Why didn't I realise how small I'd been?

How can I learn from my mistakes?

Am I just feeling sorry for myself? I'm not sure. Is this another unhealthy way to beat myself up or is it a necessary and valuable reality check?

I'm asking more questions than I'm answering. I trust some answers will be forthcoming. For now though, I'm doing OK. I'm happy I'm back on track again. I'm not going to let this rattle me, but I am going to let it challenge me: Give me a few more months and we'll see if I don't manage to swap those before and after pics around again.

on a completely different note...

| cool is this? The Jamie Oliver range of Pesto sauces is available Down Under and I hadn't realised. Just spotted them on the shelves as I popped downstairs to pick up a banana1. I quickly bagged myself a jar of Zingy Coriander & Cashew Pesto. Yummmmm! Can't wait to try it.

1Yes yes, I'll admit that's more document writing avoidance behaviour but still no bingeing.

food is not the answer

I've used food to numb and medicate my emotions for so long I don't have much of a handle on how to deal with my feelings without food.

Right now I should be writing a document. Arguably it’s not a hard document and yet I’m struggling. I've turned it into a big monster I don't want to look at for fear of it biting me. I just can’t get a handle on what to write, so in my head I’ve decided that if I can’t write it well (read “perfectly “) I can’t write it at all. I’m sitting here spinning, avoiding what I should be doing by surfing. Achieving nothing except increasing the possibility of getting into hot water when someone starts wondering why this document hasn’t been delivered to the client yet. Logically I know I need to just crack on. Knuckle down and write the darn thing, sentence by sentence, knowing each one won’t be perfect but I’ll have a chance to redraft each and every word all over again if really necessary. But no. I’m not finding any traction, my brain’s not engaging, the wheels are just spinning and I’m getting nowhere fast.

This is a familiar story. This is the point where I’d normally head out for a binge. Food numbs out all the noise. It doesn’t get the document written but it takes the focus away from the anxiety and somehow lets me breathe. My head gets let off from processing the emotion and instead my body’s now left with the job of processing the food. Very soon it will become fat and account for all the weight I’ve gained. The weight in turn then adds to my stress and anxiety levels – a perfect circle. It’s no magic disappearing act for the original problem either. Whatever was making me anxious in the first place is still there and is more than likely to bubble over into a level of stress food can’t numb.... eventually.

So having established the long term effectiveness of this strategy is seriously flawed and the side effects undoubtedly not worth it. How did it ever become my default position? It’s the only way I knew to feel instantly better. I've spent more of my life coping in this way than without it.

I can't remember how old I was when I first started bingeing, I remember doing so by the time I was 12 but not when or how it started. By the time I was 14 or 15 I was taking whole packets of cakes and biscuits from the larder, then icecream and family sized frozen cheesecakes from my parent's chest freezer. This was the time when I should have been emotionally developing into an adult, but instead I'd found the cheatsheets. If something was too difficult to face, I simply didn't have to process it. I could just numb it all away. Of course, as we’ve already established, the long term effect of this tactic only served to increase the angst and not make it go away. But by the time I realised the folly of my ways, the tracks set by my behaviour were deep and no alternative route seemed available.

There have been times when the emotion I’ve had to face has been just so huge that food wasn’t the answer. Times of bereavement, where there was clearly no running away from the pain, times when I’ve simply cried and let myself really FEEL. In my memory these times are characterised by calmness. They weren’t angst and anxiety ridden, they were horrific and painful but they were real.

So if I can face up to the worst life has to offer, why can’t I face up to the more everyday issues? What am I so afraid of? I build everything up to be so big. This isn't just a document it's failure at work, it's exposure for being useless and incapable. Yet somewhere deep down I know I am capable. How's that message going to get airplay?

None of this is getting my document written, but the good news is that right about now my resolve not to see bingeing as the answer is pretty strong. Without turning to food though, the problem is I don’t have the tools at my disposal to know how to deal with what I’m feeling. I'm just hoping that by stopping and taking a moment to identify what’s going on I can learn to recognise it again in the future and intercept when my instincts take me down the wrong path. And in time, I hope, learn how to set the foundations for the right path. I’ve been here before, I’ve found alternative ways to cope without food but I didn’t write it down, I didn’t leave a map and I don’t know how to get back there and make it stick this time.

By 'eck this is all just a bit too deep for a Thursday afternoon at work. If those around me knew what I was actually typing – or that I was even stressed at all – I’d be so embarrassed. I’d best sign off on this lengthy naval gazing but I’d be really interested to hear from anyone who’s been here themselves.

blubber - a love story


The heaviest I’ve ever been is 159kg (25 stone, 350lb), I know I’ve mentioned that previously. What I’m not sure I’ve mentioned before, is that the very last day I ever weighed that amount was the day my husband and I had our first date, just over seven years ago.

Since the age of 12 I was a stereotypical yo-yo dieter, albeit of course very unwittingly. I’d stick to whatever eating plan I’d decided to follow and my weight would go down. I’d reach a point of failure, struggle for a wee bit and then it would go up again. In a BIG way. Almost without exception, when my successful weight loss faltered I’d start re-gaining to the point where I’d put on ONE AND A HALF TIMES what I’d lost. 22 stone went down to 15 stone 6 then back up to 25 stone.

I’ve still got many issues to resolve, after all I’m only here writing a blog because of the weight I’ve recently regained (and I had so genuinely thought I’d passed that hurdle to the point where it would never happen again). But the major point of difference, which I see as no small coincidence, is that since the day of our very first date I’ve never regained that initial weight back again. OK so perhaps over 50% yes, but never ever 100% and certainly not even close to my previous constant 150%.

I met my husband at my biggest ever weight (go try and compute that with your non-normal girl thinking hey ani). He liked my smile and saw past my weight. Less than 2 weeks later we were dating and I said goodbye for the very last time to 25 stone. I felt good about myself and I felt good about him. He loves me whatever size I am. He has stuck by me and supported me through the good and the bad. He accepts me at any weight but encourages my efforts to lose in a positive manner. He wants me to be happy and he knows that’s what I need to do to get there.

I was my biggest when I met him and my smallest ever adult weight when I married him.

I say all this because today’s his birthday and I want to say a huge THANK YOU with all my heart. I’m a lucky girl to have you. xx

checking in: hyc week 3

All in all I've had a really good week:
  • I haven't binged once

  • In fact I haven't even been close to being out of control with my food once

  • I bought my fabulous bike and have been out on it 3 times so far - day 1 I already told you about, day 2 was the same route and I'm glad to say a little bit easier, day 3 was a slightly longer route (just about up to 10km... hey it's a start) and in 35C heat (95F - who's crazy ass idea was that?), today I've taken the day off today to let my poor saddle sore bruised backside get used to the idea.
  • I've been hopeful and happy again, I'm sure my hubby will agree I've been a darn site easier to live with than the Ani of December and before

  • I've lost 1 kilo (2lbs)
So why do I feel so flat about it?

I've been getting ahead of myself again. It sounds dreadfully ungrateful but I just wish I could have gone into the next kilo. That's where the BMI line would have taken me under 40, back out of "morbidly" obese and just into plain regular obese (or just "seriously" obese).

Ungrateful child

I seriously should be more pleased than I am. It hadn't even registered I'd gone as high as "morbid" again until yesterday, so there really isn't any place for disappointment.

I've got to find a way to reconcile myself to all the weight I gained in the last year or this is going to be one heck of a bumpy up and down ride of highs and lows; boosts and slumps; excitement over losing weight being swamped by beating myself for gaining it in the first place. I don't have the energy for the emotional roller coaster, I'd much rather a steady, measured and calm path. I've got so much head work to do to figure out how not to let it happen again, I really don't need to make it any harder.

So anyways, the stats, and they really are fab - gimme a minute and I'll pick my spoilt sulky bottom lip off of the floor and remember to count me bleedin' blessings:

today's weight: 112kg / 247lb / 17st 9lbs
loss of: 1kg / 2.2lbs

Good luck to all you other HYCers out there.

girl talk in normal world

This morning two of my colleagues were bemoaning the weight they'd gained over the holidays. There was talk of irresistible cheese platters, sumptuous barbecues and rivers of wine. "Christmas" and "barbecue" in the same sentence is still a concept my northern hemisphere brain is struggling to get accustomed to.

When I was 25 stone (350lb, 159kg) I'd look to all the "normal" girls chatting away and long to be like them, I longed to join in their conversations to the fullest. So many subject areas banished me into silence. I couldn't talk about food lest the monster appear and I say something to give away just how greedy I must be to be that size. The utter shame of someone with my girth having the nerve to talk with the beautiful people about chocolate or, heaven forbid, actual healthy food. Would you let an animal torturer join your conversation about cute ickle tiny kittens? I don't think so.

My participation in "normal girl" world was very limited. I couldn't talk about clothes, my fat shops labels wouldn't quite cut the muster and bargains in the shape of size 28 tents weren't anything to be proud of. Discussions about the gym were completely off limits. Even by the time I'd started going myself I was clearly on a different plain and my 2 minute exertion in a sweaty mess didn't compare to their sportastic triumphs. I imagined patronising smiles of praise for my lolloping effort at movement while the real grown ups were aching to finish telling their tales of weekend fun runs, bootcamps and triathlons.

I certainly couldn't ever talk about blokes, it would be too far a stretch of anyone's imagination to think a guy might have been interested in me. The very idea of labelling some poor chap as the object of my infatuation would have been the utmost insult to him.

Of course some may say my feelings of inadequacy were purely my perception. But to me it was very real and it was one of the things I most loved about becoming 85kg (187lb). For the first time in my life I wasn't morbidly obese, or even just obese, I was a normal overweight girl. I happily let myself join in normal girl conversations about the gym, about clothes (now they came from regular stores like everyone else) and even about the weight I wanted to lose.

As the weight crept (*read "piled very rapidly") back on, I found myself re-gaining many of those same inhibitions back. But with just these last couple of weeks of goodness I've been getting more and more in touch with that former healthy-headed me. Some aspects of my thinking are leaping way ahead of my once-again-obese body.

So I joined in the chat. We all shared a goal of shifting excess weight we'd recently gained after all. I spoke of how I'd started going back to the gym and we even discussed whether we'd all go to a class together some day. The conversation moved back towards the subject of weight; one lass said she figured she'd gained around 3 kilos over the break alone and the other thought her increase was about the same level. She said with horror that she is the heaviest weight she'd ever ever been, 10 kilos more than before she had kids 6 years ago. The two of them talked for a little bit about pregnancy weight and then for my next contribution to the conversation I volunteered the information that I'd regained 30 kilos1 in less than a year....


The awkward responses and silence that ensued were more than enough to remind me - "normal" girls just don't do that.

1 66lb - sorry I slip between measurement units depending on when I'm talking about. When I grew up and lived in the UK my thinking was in stones and pounds, but now 5 years in Australia has finally converted me to kilos.

look what I got

The number one bonus of having two different trainers throughout the week has been that I can hide my total lack of cardio exercise. This wasn't going to be a sustainable position, sooner or later they'd talk. And of course it was only affecting one person: me. Face it, I was going to have to get my butt moving and burn some serious calories.

So what exercise to tackle? Back in the BR (before regain) days I really grew to love RPM/spin classes. I would push myself further and further each week and feel a wonderful warm glow of total smugness over brekkie after. Not so now though, I figure I have a great deal of fitness to build up and a dozen or two kilos to shift before I can imagine heading back there again.

So how about walking or jogging? Well the latter you can strike off the list right now, not a chance matey and certainly not on the street. We had a treadmill before we moved interstate but sold it as we weren't really using it with both of us doing most of our workouts with our trainers. Walking? Mwah. It's OK I guess but I was sure I could do better.

We went shopping this morning for the Mr's birthday present. He'd wanted boxing gloves and a free-standing/swinging punch bag. Having squirmed at the free-standing punch bag prices and not wanting to hang a bag at our rental house, I came up with the bright idea to get his and hers gloves for the both of us and a set of padded mitts. That way it's something we can do together and we'll both get a workout.

Can't show you the mitts or his-gloves coz it's not his birthday yet but here are mine in all their girly pink glory:

...and there's more. No sooner had the till rung through with our fantastic purchases than I was in a bike shop impulse buying this:


I haven't owned a real bike for about 20 years. With some trepidation, and a sneaking suspicion I should have had training wheels fitted, hubby and I went out for a test run this arvo. Him on skates and me on my new bike. Oooh it needs a name, what am I going to call it?

My legs went from jelly to lead before I'd even worked up a sweat, my gear control has a lot to be desired and I managed to twist my ankle (Lesson learned: don't stop too close to the edge of a path that gives way to a steep slope and expect to be able to reach the ground. More likely you'll tumble to the dirt with said sparkly new bike on top of you. doh!) but it's a great start *skips away gleefully singing "on the road again"*

You folks who've been kind enough to visit my blog will have to keep me honest. If I'm not back here telling regular tales of fabulous bike rides, you have every right to pull me up on it.

a forgiveness revelation

I just had another mini revelation. Recently my left hip joint has been a little off kilter, I've been feeling it at all sorts of odd times and figured I shouldn't leave it too long before having a physio check me out. This morning as I was walking away from the gym towards my morning skinny cap stop, I just realised how much freer my hips were feeling. The strange rotating leg thing my trainer had tortured me with, which had been so horrific at the time, appeared to have done wonders.

With each step my awareness of my hips increased. I noticed more and more how they were moving and was suddenly acutely aware of how much pressure they must be under having to carry all my weight. Of course this isn't exactly news. I've watched my body creek and groan under the strain for many years; the aches and pains have always increased and diminished in direct relation to my weight fluctuations. For the very first time though, I felt sympathy for my hips. Soft and gentle sympathy for my body.

I can’t remember a time when I haven’t felt some level of hatred towards my body. My body is disgusting. Even at my slimmest last year my body was still a mess of contorted, stretch-mark riddled skin covering patchy great big lumps of fat. My body has always been the enemy, my biggest nemesis. The revelation this morning was that my body is not the problem, my head is.

Again, in itself this isn’t exactly news.

I’ve always known my compulsive and anxiety-based eating is down only to me and my faulty thinking and coping mechanisms. So where’s the revelation? I guess it was just in the difference between me knowing this and REALLY knowing this. Not just "yeah yeah, I know" but really breathing in, acknowledging and acting on it.

My body's the victim in this story, not the villain. It's had to put up with the mess my head's made of it. It's had to face the world all these years while my screwed up thinking stayed safely hidden from sight.

I think of myself as being an intelligent woman - great mind, terrible body. Never occurred to me I may have gotten that a tad backwards. I knew I had emotional eating issues but it didn't affect the trust I put my head and took away from my body.

It's a known and real symptom of obesity to feel a complete disconnect with the physical body. I know I have. I've talked before of how disconnected I am with my appearance. I wouldn't know what my body actually looked like, even with the help of a mirror. That same disconnect is evident with my body's processes. Food is supposed to be a functional thing, a process of fuel and energy (sidelined with enjoyment of course). I've taken that role away from the physical body and given the job entirely to my mental controllers. It's been so long since I trusted my body to tell me when it's full or hungry I wouldn't recognise the signs even it was screaming them to me.

This process of losing weight and becoming a healthier, better me is all about learning to listen to my body more and my mind and emotions that little bit less (when it comes to food that is). I've tried to acknowledge this in the past but still let the very same head-thinking process the information. It's all very well focusing on where the real problem is but it doesn't count for much if that change of focus doesn't take away the blame and hate for my poor scapegoat body.

I'm not going to suddenly start claiming to like my blubberguts and thunderthighs but I'm going to try and learn to accept them. Forgive them even. I'm also not claiming this is going to be easy.

Life is just a blog waiting to happen

I've started thinking in blogwords.

I've got so many thoughts going round my jumbled muddled up head; some new found hope, a little new found clarity and a lot of soul searching. But my thoughts aren't just my thoughts any more, they're blog entries waiting to be written.

When I was driving home today, rather than just letting my thoughts take me to wherever they wanted to go, instead I was constructing them into blog entries in my mind. Editing how the tale should be re-told almost before it has been told in the first place. I had a natty title but no actual conclusion to my musings. Freakzoid.

Anyone else do this? No? Just me then. A passing symptom of recent blog rediscovery perhaps?

Of course when my thoughts finally do get to where they need to go to make sense, you will of course be the first to know :-)

checking in: hyc week 2

Today's my first official HYC weigh-in and I can proudly report:

today's weight: 113kg / 249lb / 17st 11lbs
loss of: 3kg / 6.6lbs

My week one boost came good after all :-)
Can't be disappointed with that.

When I was looking up HYC again, something I found in Scale Junkie's own blog really struck a chord:
I weighed in but I’m not going to play that game where I need to be back down below my lowest number before I start counting it as a victory. I’m not going to let myself negate a pound lost when I beat the heck out of myself over pounds gained.
So right.

And so, I'm going to try to celebrate my success in just the way I'm sure I'd advise anyone else in my position to do.

I'm not going to deny I'm gutted to be at this number again but I am going to allow myself to celebrate the loss and look forward to more and more... after all I now know how good 105 is going to feel, I'll be able to wear my jeans again; heck sub-100 is even better, at that point I can look forward to shopping in non-fat shops for tops once more... and oooh the memories of freedom that is to come at 85: the official end of obesity; the freedom of not feeling self-conscious to sit next to anyone on public transport, being able to pick up to a run at the sign of rain, openly talking about shopping and the gym without dying inwardly of shame at my lack of qualification to contribute to such subjects. Each number like a new friend I look forward to being reacquainted with.

What goes up must come down and I REALLY liked it down there.

I just re-read this and in the midst of my attempts to celebrate I still manage to sound terribly ungrateful. 3kg is enormous, almost half a stone in old money. It must seem odd to anyone to think there could be any mixed feelings. I just wished that while I was typing I hadn't started planning in my head and realised it's going to take all of this year to undo the weight I re-gained last year. In all my newfound eager hope I've been getting impatient and that's two years of running just to stay still.

If I make it all the way again this time I just hope I've learned enough lessons to stay there. In the meantime 3kg is bloomin fantastic!

whichever way you look at it

I keep thinking about perspectives. I've never been a straight "half full" or "half empty" girl. Always "it depends". If the glass is sitting under a tap then it's half full, if it's in front of me on a bar it's half empty. For me it's all down to context and direction.

Looking through all of my progress photos from when I lost the 65 kilos reminded me what becoming this exact weight felt like back when I was on my way down. How happy I was. It was a very different set of emotions becoming this weight again on the way back up.

When I've mentioned my weight gain, friends have reassured me I'm in a much better position this time around. This time I *know* I can do it because I've done it before. This time I know how good it feels to get there, it's not just an empty dream I never quite believed I'd realise.

Often though I feel quite the opposite, that it is actually harder. This time I'm losing weight I'd already lost before; so soul-crushing and difficult to revel in that sense of achievement a second time around. This time, while I'm hopeful, it's hard to shake the doubts of past experiences showing me there's no guarantee I won't re-gain it back again. I had been oh so sure when proudly giving away my fat clothes to charity shops, something I'd never done before however much I'd lost.

What I realised in all this is that I could of course see it either way. Both my friends and I are right. What I need to learn is how to chose.

I'm an emotional gal, I tend to react to how I'm feeling rather than objectively look at the position I'm in and chose selectively what's going to be the healthiest way for me to look at it. How do I simply see the glass for what it is and make my own choice whether I want to see it as half full or empty?

Today is definitely half full. It's a good day, great in fact. I've had a whole week of goodness and plenty of mini triumphs.

Yesterday I went to the shopping mall and was faced with a barrage of temptation. I've binged there before, going from stall to stall to get cookies, cakes and muffins. Yesterday I hadn't wanted to binge but I still stopped at Muffin Break and drooled. I didn't feel the need for the binge-worthy full fat giant muffins but pondered instead whether to chose a Weight Watchers or Hi-Bran muffin.

I stood there some time - looking quite frankly like an indecisive dribbling crazy woman - until I realised that my binges are far too fresh in my memory and my position far too fragile to risk either. I didn't really *need* a muffin and I reassured myself that in the future, when I've got my mojo back on my weightloss journey, I will let myself happily partake of either. But that right now, today, I'd best walk away and get a skinny cap instead. Mini triumph!

Somewhere in all of that I'd made a choice how to view the situation. The very same Muffin Break situation I had been in just before Christmas when I'd chosen the high fat variety to be followed by cookie chasers and a cheesecake main course. Yesterday it felt like going with the flow, a decision based on my positive feelings having gotten through the week so successfully. But in reality it was still a decision that could have gone either way, whatever direction I was facing.

How do I learn to bottle the knowledge I always have that choice and not just go with how I'm feeling at the time?

Ooooh so deep and so many questions. Not many answers yet.

p.s. I'm so glad folk have re-found my blog, thank you so much for commenting. This virtual community we have here is such a strong support. I promise not to go away this time.

fresh and new

I've got that new term fresh feeling. I've had a bit of a clean up around here with a brand new look. There are a few tweaks to fix but I'm rather happy with it. All ready to venture back into the open again.

In finding the basil picture I realised I never mentioned the reasons for the ani-pesto name before. Largely in part because there is no real reason, I just love pesto and antipasto and with my name being Ani it just rolled off my tongue in some strange word association garble. It seemed to just fit; pesto is something I will often use to add flavour to my food (pesto in sandwiches, pasta or steamed veg being my faves) and that's really what I feel like I'm trying to do here - lose weight and get the flavour back into my life again.

I've had a good week and I'm pretty proud of myself. I'm being ultra careful not to let myself get in any situations where I might overeat and I'm chewing gum like my jaw's on duracell. That message on the back of the packet about excessive consumption causing laxative side effects... urm yup, I can embarrassingly state with confidence that's very true.

I've been wondering whether it's worth trying to go over what went wrong to get me in this mess again, especially when I thought I'd nipped the downward slide in the bud early last year. It's always good to learn from your own mistakes but I don't know if I have the capacity yet to understand and may instead fall into excuse-making.

Will have to ponder that further.

the sound of silence

It's oh so quiet... shhhhh ...shhhhh

I'm still having the occassional moments of sheer terror and anxiety at the thought of going to the supermarket, being offered a birthday cake or being presented with a meeting break buffet, but - and it's a big but - in general the constant noise in my head is becoming calm once more and it's a great feeling!

It's fragile and I know I'll need to treat it like a precious newborn until it can become familiar once more but I'm just so glad to be in this position. I've spent many months twisting myself into such a tiz that these four days just didn't seem possible.

Another plus side of being able to pop my head up out of the pit is that I can start catching up on all the blogs out there I used to love reading. My logic in abandoning them was so wrong, it had became so painful to read about other folk doing so well when I’d screwed up my successes so spectacularly that I just closed my eyes to them. I closed myself off from the potential for the wider community to offer support and reassurance, let alone realise there might actually be other folk in the very same place as me. I was only ever really alone because I allowed myself to be, not because there was no one else out there.

So - looking forward to re-joining "the community" once more and learning, with the help of others, to be positive again. I miss that.

On another subject, this I just had to share. I've mentioned my fairground hall of mirrors work lift before so I took a teeny phone-camera pic. Hard to see but still begs the question - just how many times does the average gal need to see her rotund backside?

Felt good all arvo and so I've decided I'm ready to jump in with both feet again. I'm going to start again with the Healthy You Challenge fresh for 2009.

starting weight: 116kg 256lb 18st 4

Next weigh in Tuesday.

getting ahead of myself

3 good days! wohoooo!!

I'm really pleased but doing my best not to get ahead of myself. This morning my muscles were hurting so much after my workout yesterday that I needed to steady myself just to sit down. Just a couple of good goes with the weights and my arms and butt muscles feel so tight it was almost a let down to look in the mirror and realise nothing had actually changed yet. Even the scales read the same.

I guess I'm doing this a little backwards compared to previous experiences. I'm used to the first week of healthy habits bringing great and immediate rewards. It's not unusual to drop 3kg that first week before settling down to a more manageable 1/2 - 1kg afterwards. In the past the eating change would come first followed later by exercise.

This time around I started at the gym and the food took a little while to catch up... and is still. I've been concentrating on weights, trying to build up a bit of strength before I can even consider trying some of the cardio exercises I used to enjoy. Fat loss is being counter-balanced with muscle gain.

I'm glad I know all this but it's still hard to fight the impulse to be disappointed. That first week drop is so psychologically important; it's the necessary boost to reassure you it's all going to be worth it. I'm just going to have to look for my boost in other ways. See the difference by means of a mere observation rather than a let down. After all, I'm not even half way through my first week but the way I feel today is definitely an improvement and worth keeping going.

shhhh... keep it quiet but that's one day down

I'm almost scared to say it out loud for fear of jinxing myself, but yesterday I didn't binge or eat without control once.

That's a WHOLE DAY!

First one for a wee while. A big deal... again!*

In the middle of the afternoon I'd had a meeting where I felt a little out of my depth and was spinning... I needed food to numb the rising anxiety. I grabbed my purse and took the hall-of-mirrors lift down to the ground floor. Just immediately below the gym is a grocery store and a few steps away from that a cafe. I walked into the grocery store with the full intention of bingeing.

I'd had a good session at the gym and was still reasonably hopeful about my chances of getting back on the wagon again so this was going to be a 'hopeful binge' i.e. one where I get rid of it after. It might sound very odd but to me a binge where I then purge, when I've spent so long binging without hope and so without purging, is actually something I'd generally consider to be a good thing; a step in the right direction. Yes I know my thinking is most likely rather skewed here.

I walked around the shop scanning for good binge food. In the back of my head I told myself I could get by without it but I chose not to pay heed to that, I knew I needed food so proceeded down the sweet stuff aisle. I spotted the toasted waffles and figured they'd be a great candidate, wondering what else to have and what better alternatives there might be I left them be and continued looking. I'm not quite sure when or how my back-of-head was given a voice and listened to, but somehow, in the end my purchases consisted of: 1 x pack of Apple & Cinnamon Baked Fruit Bars**, 1 x Banana, 1 x Apple, 1 x Sugar Free Gum.


My 'hopeful binge' wasn't even a binge at all.

When I got home, my usual scour around for anything edible just one step up from cat food was also a result. I had a small handful of wheat baked crackers and frantically chewed gum until it was safely time for dinner.

It's the first step. Well really it's been a number of steps getting here, but it's definitely a good step.

*I'm doing my best not to belittle it by remembering there was a time I'd take such a phenomenal achievement for granted. Concentrate on the positive Ani.

**Tasted disgusting, ended up not even eating them.

objects in the mirror may appear larger than they are


We only have a bathroom cabinet mirror at home.

This morning, while I was once again sounding off to my hubby in utter disbelief I could have let myself slide so badly, I yet again bemoaned the fact we no longer have a full length mirror.

How can get a reality check if I’ve no way of seeing myself?

I realised the irony of this statement when I then walked into the lift up to the gym and did my usual mirror avoidance dance. The gym is four floors below my workplace so this is a lift I’m in at least 4 times a day – more when there are binge runs to be done. This lift is a veritable hall of mirrors. So reflective is every surface it’s taken a level of skill to develop the ability to defocus my eyes enough to escape a visual. Anything to avoid looking at the horror of my growing presence.

So how then is a mirror at home going to be any different?

I realised later it’s all about the environment and intent. The lift mirrors are brutal, they show every angle whether I’m ready for it or not. If I think I’ve the strength to glance at my profile view I then get an almighty shock to be presented with an uninvited backside reflection from multiple angles right next to it. This is not a safe environment. I’m neither prepared nor in control of what I’m looking at here. I realise I need to be in the right mindset, I need to pick my times.

After my workout - which is proving to be yet another ridiculously painful reminder of how far I’ve fallen - I went to the showers. Surprised to see no one else in the changing rooms for a change I started to strip off without the usual comedy privacy-wriggle and caught a glance of myself in the mirror. Feeling just that wee bit pumped and confident after my workout I didn’t look away. With cover-up towel at the ready I actually looked at myself in my undies for the first time in about seven months.

What I saw naturally horrified me but I just couldn’t see THIRTY extra kilos.

They’re there.
The scales have told me so.
So too has my general discomfort and all my clothes.

I’m not saying I’m carrying the weight well. I did indeed look huge. It just made me realise how inaccurate my self-body-image must have been when I was 30 kilos lighter. I didn't realise how good I had it, then fastforward a few months and I was equally unaware of how easily it was slipping away.

I’m sure it’s natural when you’ve yo-yoed as much as I have over the years to have such a disconnection, but an important part of changing myself and my size has to be the acknowledgement of just what I'm dealing with. My body image is so ridiculously screwed up I'm finding it difficult to draw myself a starting line.

So you’ll have noticed I’ve been venturing back to the gym. Food, however, is still not yet under control. I’m so damn scared to have my crutch taken away before I’ve remembered how to walk without it

any day now


I'm guessing the sign's not coming. It's not like I haven't done anything to help it along. You would think sitting in my PJs, (real clothes being far too restrictive and uncomfortable seeing as I triumphantly gave away all my now much-needed fat clothes) for two days straight; seeing in the brand new year mumbling like a grumpy teenager, far too miserable to be sociable, would have been the perfect setting for a reality check. But alas no.

Of course I know there won't really be a sign. I know signs, arbitrary lines in the calendar, Mondays and the lowest possible rock-bottoms aren't what make you change. They're just the objects we attribute with meaning when we're ready to change ourselves. How to get myself ready then? I can't see past the murk that is my self-created doldrums to be hopeful enough to try.

I tried re-designing the blog. I thought a spot of colour or a snappy image might give me that shiny new start feeling. Alas though, despite many years of experience as a web developer I couldn't tame the blasted thing to do anything I tried. Preview previewed a blank page; downloaded templates from the web uploaded to errors; nada.

Instead I thought I'd sharpen it up with a picture. Something inspirational from a time when I was happy. Problem is I scoured through my pictures and everything that made me happy then just made me sad now. I mentally rolled all my pictures of slimmer happier days into a tightly bound stick with which to beat myself.

Sooner or later I'll find a way to stop writing posts about longed for future happiness and will start detailing my triumphant journey once more. I just need to see my way there. I've got to do this. I am after all not a moody teenager, I'm a 36 year old career woman with responsibilities, a fantastic husband, a mortgage, two cats and an extremely strong desire to start a family just as soon as I can get myself healthy enough. I can't keep putting my life on hold so soon after pressing the play button.