Thursday, 22 May 2014

Hello. I'm fat.

I'm going to talk about something that I've mentioned before but that came back down on me like a tonne of bricks today. It can, of course, only be random people choosing to make your day rubbish by commenting upon your weight. It's obviously happened to me before but I had gone a good long time since it has happened. Or at least since I've noticed it.

The story...allow me to set the scene if you will.

Every year my university runs a training excavation as a part of my degree. This is two weeks out of the year where my only job is to dig- to find stuff. Because I've been struggling with the idea of letting go, I volunteered myself to conduct a project on site during one of my off weeks. I just wanted a little more time with my friends. We've had our moments of being grumpy buggers on site- especially today when the heavens opened and there was thunder and lightening (all very frightening)- but in general this week has done what I would have hoped. I have gotten an extra week with the people I love. So, flash forward to about 4:45 this afternoon when some arse wipe of a first year decided to burst my happy little bubble with one, little comment.
*gestures to my car as I'm packing away* 'I feel sorry for her car'
He should- I have a lead foot that I like to use. It's genetic, I got that from my mum.

But anyway. I wasn't all that fussed with his comment. My friends, however, were most certainly NOT okay with his comment. When I told my friend Lucy she could only stare at me gaping mouthed because she couldn't believe that someone would say anything about my weight. Would I have enjoyed watching him get a punch on the nose- absolutely...I'm only human.

It doesn't matter. I kept saying to myself. This dude, let's call him Matty, is SO inconsequential to my life that it doesn't matter what he says. Not even slightly. You've lost 75 lbs- you have accomplished so much. And then it hit me in the car. I've lost 75 lbs and I'm still not good enough. When will I EVER be good enough. Now, I own that this 'will you ever be good enough' bullshit is not just about Monsieur douche's comment. I had already been in a position of feeling like my vulnerable 15 year old self since Friday but Sir shithead (I got annoyed- can you tell?) just proved to the insecure part of my psyche that it was right to feel that way. Great.

And so, I did something bad. Something I have not done since I was 16. I binged and then I stuffed my fingers down my throat and purged the hell out of my dinner. I did. The strong one. The confident one. I allowed myself to be squashed down by a fresher with pubes for a beard. I'm not saying this to get attention or to put people in a bad mood, I'm doing it to remind everyone that we all experience moments of weakness and that that is okay. I started thinking about this blog post when I was in the car and it was meant to be something entirely different. It was meant to be a declaration of my power, my ability and my achievements. And I am so sorry that it isn't that. I really wish I could hold my head in pride and proclaim to the world that I would not be beaten by insecurities about my weight. But what I CAN be proud about is this. I am not alone. I am not the only person in the world who feels the way that I feel right now. Even the most beautiful women (and men!) I know struggle with insecurities about their bodies. But we will not be beaten. I am NOT fat, I HAVE fat. I am not losing weight for Signor buttmunch, I am losing it for myself. And to quote Conchita, 'we are unstoppable'. 

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Change doesn't come naturally.

This blog post is going to be a tale of two halves.

First, let's get down to the numbers shall we? As I write this post I am now seventy five pounds lighter. This time last year I had only been on the plan for just over a month and even then I knew that reaching seventy five was going to be an incredibly significant goal. I started planning what I would do to mark the loss. Should I buy clothes? Get a tattoo? Get a dramatic hair cut to highlight my newly svelte (ish) physique? But despite the vigour I had at that point a year ago (I managed to lose my first stone in just over a month) I had not fully anticipated just how difficult the task ahead of me would be. When I stood on the scales this last week I knew it had to happen or else I would go bat shit cray. I was two pounds away and knew that losing only a pound would potentially be more irritating than a gain. To add to it all, my best friend Sarah came to visit this past week and I knew that if I got to 75 lbs that a super awesome spa day treat was awaiting me. So I did my ritual of stripping to just barely legal levels of dress and waited for the numbers to settle. 2 lbs. Hell yeah. I left the meeting and texted Sarah a picture of my record card with the total 75 highlighted and then beamed at passers by on my way home.
The aforementioned picture- Don't know why it's blue...
Things moved pretty darn quickly after this point. The spa day in Bath was planned for the next day, that tattoo that I mentioned up above was booked in, design handed over and deposit paid by 3pm on the day of my weigh in and I was inked the next evening. Pictures to follow, it's very difficult taking a picture of your right wrist when you are the least ambidextrous person on the planet.

I could not be happier with my weight loss and I have once again re-focused my mind to the next goals to keep me going. I am 8 lbs away from having lost a quarter of my initial body weight and a further pound to my next stone. I feel lucky at the moment that between now and 100 I have a fair number of smaller steps to make it all more manageable. So...onwards!

The second part of this post is about change in general. My body, my attitude and just about everything else has changed or is changing. I am in the final weeks of my university career and I had a farewell party last night before people start disappearing off to start the next stage of their lives. And here's something I haven't told anyone. I am fucking terrified. And I don't get scared. I'm not so much scared of not knowing where my life's going- during one of my crying moments last night I was told straight out 'where's the strong Florence who's going to be Prime Minister?', so I know what my general plan is. I am just so very aware, as a result of the journey that I've gone on this past year and a bit that I don't want to regret. I will make sure that I don't regret this journey because I am not going to give up like I did before. But I want so badly to make a promise to myself right now that I'll love a little harder, take more risks, have more fun so that I can fully utilise the opportunities change can give you. I keep being told that this isn't the end. And that's true, it's not THE end but it's an end. But just like I have had to adjust my goals from this point on weight loss wise, I must similarly adjust my mind to ensure that I DON'T let this be THE end because that I would very much regret.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Perils of Alcohol

This week, has been one of celebration. Final pieces of university work fully submitted, size 18 dresses, birthdays and dinners and drinkies. Oh my! And I full on celebrated. I even (and this only happens about once a year) got full out drunk. Worse, I got full out drunk and had a kebab... Now, I don't food shame, but my god did I feel unwell the next day. I went out four days in a row, ate out several other times during the week and drank, a lot (at least for me). I worked it out today and I drank an estimated 72 points this week. That is 23 points over my weekly allowance which I hadn't accounted for because I couldn't bear to work it out. And I'm going to tell you a little secret. I lost FOUR POUNDS.

That's right, you hear me. I lost weight. I couldn't believe it as I stood on the scale tonight. I said to my leader that I knew I'd been good since Sunday to try and redress the balance of the previous nights but that a loss, any loss- let alone a loss of four pounds- was impossible. Her scales must be wrong. So I hopped off and tried the other scale. Nope, definitely lost 4 lbs. At this point I yelped and jumped around a bit and promised her that this was not going to be an excuse to be complacent. I've been bitten before- I am not going to allow myself to slip as a result of a good week when, let's be honest, I REALLY didn't deserve it.
May not have fully deserved it- but here are my jars anyway. First time they could actually be added to in weeks.
But it's probably a good time that I discuss my approach to alcohol anyway. Since I started Weight Watchers I have all but given up alcoholic beverages. I didn't drink very much before hand so this wasn't exactly hard, but I had the approach of 'I'd rather chew my calories'. And this, I think, is fair. I mean, look at that. SEVENTY TWO points just on alcohol! And it happens so easily. I was saying to my housemate Andy today that it's no wonder first year University students gain the 'freshers 15', it's just so easy to underestimate how much of an impact alcohol can have on your daily caloric intake- Something I had forgotten until this week.

In the short term, I've been really lucky. Or all of my good work from the last few weeks has finally caught up with me- I won't lie, I was a bit pissed off that I only lost one pound last week because I had been regimented to a whole other level. But I cannot let this give me false hope. I'm going home this weekend, I WILL be having my Chinese take away with my mum for Eurovision but I'm also going to try and squeeze in some training time with Jemma (who's going to shout at me because I've been so lazy this last week- though I DID run up Park Street...that counts for something. Unless you don't live in Bristol, in which case that means nothing but here's a video that kind of sums up just how enormous this hill is) and will use this weekend as an opportunity to kick start the rest of the week with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and home cooking. So I'm hoping (really really hoping) that I'll finally get across that bloody 75 lb mark that has been such an important milestone in the back (front) of my head for the entire 400 days that I've been doing this.

Until then.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Success comes in many sizes.

Dear all,

I have finished university. Well, not finished as such but dissertation is in, final pieces of work are done and I have two weeks of excavation work with my friends. So I'm considering it done. And I won't lie, that has been very weird. The process leading to this moment has also been EXTREMELY stressful and, as such, here is a late offering.

First, let's talk numbers. I am back averaging two pounds off per week (yay!) though I highly doubt that will happen this week because I have let my hair down and had a lot of fun in celebration of all of the hard work coming to an end. However, I'm not going to dwell on that because I have another success to discuss.
This is an open apology to Next about the quality/quantity of their plus size stuff. I was pleasantly surprised.
Yes friends. That is a next top in a size 18. Whilst this is hardly a golden ticket that enables me to buy stuff anywhere- I still can't exactly walk in pick anything off a shelf and buy it- this was a moment of success for me that literally had me crying in the changing room. Now, I won't lie, it's quite possible that the overall feeling of nostalgia and sentimentality over the last few weeks of my university career got to me (borderline breakdown on the M5 may or may not have happened) but regardless, size 18 is an enormous deal to me. 

I don't exactly remember the last time I could walk into a normal shop (read: not plus sized specific) and buy an item of clothing that was not held in their plus sized section. But one moment in particular comes to my memory but we have to go back a LONG time. As in, 14 years. 

I was with my friend Annabelle in Tunbridge Wells (I think) and I needed something to wear to our end of school party (this was in year six...which should just about sum up how long my weight has been an issue) and had already started to hate shopping. Nothing was in my size, I needed to go to a 'special' shop and hope that they had something that would fit my petite (read: 4 foot 9 size 14) frame. This was a nightmare, because I'm sure you can see that a 10 year old should not be wearing size 14. At this point I was not overly concerned with my weight for any health reasons. I just wanted to look nice. I had crushes on boys who would not (still don't...grumble grumble) fancy the fat girl and I wanted to prove them wrong. Anyhoo, back to Tunbridge Wells. I tried on a pair of jeans, I think in New Look- can't remember exact details, except that they were acid wash jeans and I thought I was such a boss. They were size 12 and when they did up (and I could sit down!) I cried in the changing room (apparently this is a theme for my life). I realised then that being 'normal' (at least where size was concerned) was important to me because I could already see how marginalised I was becoming. 

Anyway, I rocked those jeans at the end of year party. But Jack Brewer* still paid no attention to me. . . I won a CD for my dancing though, so swings and roundabouts. 

I'm not telling you this because I had some kind of dramatic flashback the other day in the changing room. It's just something I realised/remembered as I was typing. Hope you enjoyed that little story!

So yes, back to success. That was a success for me. But unlike my 10 year old self I'm not going to take that feeling and go and buy myself some milkybar choos (Oh My GOD did I love those) and complain about boys after spending hours imagining what my name would sound like if we got married. . .Instead, this is a mark to myself to keep going. Another size down and I CAN buy clothes from just about anyone. I'll probably cry in the changing room again. I'm sure you can't wait for that!

I'm still doing my daily selfies so remember to #followtheselfie if you're on twitter. And finally, to the people I've been running into the last few days from my time at university. It means SO much that you've been following my progress. I hope I can continue to make you proud. 

*Names have been changed to protect anonymity...Not that he'd read it.