Friday, 31 October 2014

Fat in Love. Age rating 18.

Dear all.

In today's blog post I am FINALLY going to cover a topic that my friend Rachael mentioned to me oh, about a year ago. However, it's going to be discussed in two parts. First just a discussion about 'fat sex'- not the logistics- and then I'm going to talk about the search for love as a plus sized woman. So hold on to your hats kids, who knows where this is going to go! In fact, the more I've written the more convinced I've become that this carries an age rating 18. You have been warned.

The conversation that ultimately planted the seed of fat fetish, feeders, BBW (big beautiful women), and just fat sex came about from a Channel 4 documentary on 'My Big Fat Fetish'. The show follows the trend, particularly on the internet, for fat based pornography, images of bigger women eating or being fed and the impact on their health and personal relationships. If you have a spare 50 minutes, it's a fascinating insight and I would certainly recommend watching it. After a cursory glance at one prominent erotic literature website I can tell you that there are over 800 stories when I simply keyworded 'fat fetish', when I got even more specific this goes into the thousands. The titles also got increasingly disturbing so proceed with caution should you go on a journey of discovery like myself...ahem. A leading fetish site (I've been all over the internet so you don't have to- unless you want to, in which case 'right on'), again after a cursory keyword search, brings up a total of 1008 fat related fetishes. So basically, what I've learnt is that the umbrella term 'fat fetish' is big BIG business. I've also learnt that women (in particular) will go to extreme lengths to please their customers, including sitting on individuals for a fee and having feeding tubes shoved down their throats in a desperate effort to fit in to the next size bracket. Whilst many of the individuals portrayed on Channel 4 are more than happy with their bodies, the effects can be devastating. One of the guys who got sat on in the documentary complains of breathing issues and the woman he paid to do so is house bound and needs to be cared for entirely by her son. I'm a big believer in different strokes for different folks so I would never EVER dream about telling any of these 'artistes' that they shouldn't be doing what they're doing. These are just my observations from researching this topic.

Charming. Thanks for that Urban Dictionary.
The one thing that I kept thinking was, why is fat pornography different to 'normal person' pornography? The equal rights activist in me is screaming that fat porn stars should be capable of taking part in more of the 'normal' stuff (what IS normal anyway?) rather than having to go to more and more humiliating, degrading activities because that is currently the primary medium in which they can be seen. Again, if people want to be fed whilst sitting on customers then I will defend your rights to the end of the earth, I would just like it to be possible for women (and men, though much less frequently) to not only be pigeon holed into this very particular kind of market that often actively discourages women from changing their lifestyles for the better if they want to- like I said, BIG MONEY!

But going back to the whole 'normal' thing, a second Channel 4 series explains that fat sex, much like sex between disabled people, the elderly and even gay sex is abnormal. Now, I thought that we would be progressive enough to accept, even encourage the above between consenting adults but when watching the show a couple of years ago I couldn't help but take the message that if you're in one of those groups that your sex life deserved a separate show from the people having the 'normal' sex.

So now, let me tell you about the search for love as an overweight person. This is all my own opinion and conjecture and I speak for no one else. I have been told by people I know, people who love me, that the only thing wrong with me is my weight, that if I lost some weight I'd have the boys banging the door down (not a euphemism, mind out of gutter please) and that when I get to my goal weight I will be a quote 'stone cold fox'- I think that's good?!? A question I'm asked frequently is 'when are you going to start dating again?' and the truthful answer, the answer that probably demonstrates key self esteem issues, is that I don't think I'd want anyone who wants me where I am now. I have, in the past, given up on my own dreams (including weight loss) as a result of ex boyfriends which I refuse to let happen again, my body is (hopefully) changing consistently so what someone's attracted to now will hopefully not be that way within a number of weeks and, in part, because of the way that fat love/sex is portrayed in the media I question people's motives for demonstrating interest in me. In addition, the kinds of guys I'm interested in can only be said to be currently 'out of my league'. Exhibit A:
He's just so beautiful.
Personally, I have never been attracted to a plus sized guy-that may be wrong of me but it's in the biology and there's naught any of us can do about who we're attracted to, or not as the case may be. That being said, even when I do get a demonstration of some interest I refuse to believe that this could ever be genuine and brush it off as someone messing with my head. And here's the rub. Will that ever go away? Will I EVER, even at my goal weight, marathon runner fit, think that someone could be genuinely interested or will I continue to turn down drinks, roll my eyes or just leave the room to avoid the situation even if it is the scorchingly beautiful brooding man currently staring at me from my computer screen. If it does, I'm definitely going to need more cats...

Thursday, 23 October 2014

When in doubt, count it out.

First, let me start by congratulating myself. After months of only managing to get to a lowest weight of 18 stone 5lbs I have finally broken through my weight loss plateau. I have now lost 77.5 lbs, that's 5 stone 7.5 lbs or 11 silver sevens gone. I want to quickly talk about how I have done this because plateaus, I feel, are the single biggest cause of giving up at weight loss. It makes sense doesn't it? You work effectively for weeks, months even, and then suddenly- zilch, nada, not an ounce. Try as you may, nothing happens. You get dragged into a 'diet', you start taking questionable weight loss tablets and when that doesn't help, bad habits start to sneak back in to your day to day life.
Pretty big plateau that.
So, after one too many nights of complaining to my parents and crying about how exhausting it is to have been losing weight for a year and a half but to not have moved in that last half, I did what I perhaps should have done all those months ago. I took to the internet, that font of knowledge, and typed in 'weight loss plateau'. And without fail, every single page asked 'are you eating enough?' Simple answer, as I said in my last post, was no. No I wasn't. Or when I was, I was eating too much. Basically, despite the fact that some very clever people designed the weight watchers ProPoints system with a precise daily allowance, I was ignoring that advice because, I knew better.

I've now been back to basics, actually eating my daily allowance- like I did in the beginning-for three weeks and after an initial week of stabilizing where I gained half a pound, I have lost 4lbs. Last week I was back at the lowest I'd ever been, this week I am now two pounds lighter. So this is the lowest weight I have been in, conservative estimate, 10 years? I now feel so much more in control and, for the first time ever, I can actually see the weight coming off as it happens. I'm stronger, and fitter, than I've ever been (I'm running the Milton Keynes Marathon in May), I finally fit into the dress options I bought for my brother's wedding in July and today as I was sorting my way through clothes that were too big, the first new look dress I bought all those months ago had to go because it just doesn't fit any more. I think, until I beat the plateau monster, I was reticent to get rid of my over sized clothes because I didn't really believe I wouldn't need them again. As a general update, I will be taking 4 more rubbish bags to the charity shop tomorrow and other than clothes for work, my closet is almost empty...I get to go shopping. YES!
An empty closet is a sad closet.
But perhaps, the best thing that has come out of the whole plateau thing is that I now know I CAN come out of it. That my body hasn't just decided, nope, sorry I'm going to stay at 18.5 forever and ever- you'll just have to get used to this weight as your baseline. So I'm definitely not done yet. Better than that, I now have the facility to help others. Before hand I could share my experiences and make people feel like they were not alone. That we're all in this together and that with the right positive mental attitude, we can achieve anything. Now, I can sit in a weight watchers meeting and not just share 'this week I lost X', 'this week I really struggled' or similar; I can tell the new members from experience that to lose weight, as counterproductive as it might seem, you need to eat and I was lucky to have one lady tell me that until last week she was at the end of her tether and then I said plainly, eat your points.
Go Wildcats!
The system works, it can just be difficult to trust in it. But you CAN trust in your comrades and colleagues because you have shared in their experiences. So, as long as I remember my old mantra 'when in doubt, count it out' -useful for everything from knitting to weight loss and beyond- I should manage to maintain this consistent weight loss. Let's do it to it!

Monday, 6 October 2014

OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Dieting

I have always thought, despite my size, that I haven't had that disordered an approach to food. I'm good at losing weight because, I believed, I didn't obsess over it. I have never been a picky eater (maybe that was the problem?), there are few things on this earth I won't try but I don't spend every minute of every day thinking about food and I do believe that people should be able to have a bit of what they fancy- regardless of beliefs of an afterlife, this is the ONE time we have to get this life right. So yes, I will be having the occasional bit of cheese with a biscuit. With all that said, I realised in the last few days that I have indeed been guilty of disordered eating.

I broke one of my cardinal rules. Whatever you do, do not weigh yourself between weigh ins. And when I say I broke my rule, I mean REALLY broke it. There were times in the last few weeks that I would weigh up to 18 times a day. I'd weigh in the morning, I'd see what I weighed in different items of clothing, pre-shower, post-shower. Before workouts, after workouts. Post pee, post...well, you know. Morning, noon and night I was on the bloody scale. And I began to hate myself for it. If I didn't weigh less than the night before I would scold myself and go obsessive compulsive dieter on myself. 'Right, you will only eat X amount tomorrow to make up for what you've done!' 'You won't eat on weight watchers days and you will become borderline dehydrated just so you can squeeze out at least one pound'- which when you think about it is not representative of how much you weigh at all. And then worse, after weigh in, ravenous I would run to the drive-thru McDonald's around the corner desperate for my big mac and mozzarella dippers. Bad start to what would, almost certainly, be a bad week.

Step away from the scale!
I've been trying the last few weeks to start fresh. I finally managed to banish the scales from my daily routine. But I won't lie, staying the same last week after managing to lose 9 lbs in two weeks was very annoying. So I looked back over my food diaries from the time I started to plateau- after all, I may have shifted some but I am still stuck in my plateau phase. This exercise showed me one, very obvious, thing. I am, and have always been, obsessed with my points. Those who are on weight watchers will know that we are given 49 weekly points. Spread them, save them or splurge them, they are there to make your life flexible. And my secret is I HATE using them. I feel like a failure when I use them, despite the fact that they are there for a very real, very valid reason. A reason that I constantly tell other people wanting to lose weight. This isn't about restricting what you can eat, this is about changing lifestyle. The weeks that I do use my weekly points, I found, were the weeks that I actually lost more successfully. Perhaps because I loosen my death grip on points. But in the last six months a pattern arises. Either, I use none of my weekly points and my average daily intake is actually a couple of points below my daily allowance OR I completely blow the bank and eat out of control way over my daily and weekly points. Obviously, not very healthy.

Now, I've been doing some reading about plateaus and everyone, everywhere says the same thing. Relax. Not every day, but now and then, And when I think about this it actually makes a good deal of sense. Our bodies are amazing things and will do all they can to use the least amount of energy possible. Cheeky beggar. Team that with your body's metabolic rate slowing down from weight loss and a plateau is bound to happen. It's like exercise. If you repeat the same activity at the same level of exertion week in week out, eventually it has less of a result. So to beat my plateau I have come up with a plan. It's still regimented (because I like regimented things) but I'm hoping it will give my body the kick it needs to progress further.

Stage 1a) For three out of every four weeks I will eat up to my points. This means actually up to, I'm not pissing about here- I want to do this properly and that means getting my mind into the space where I realise I've been set a certain number of points for a reason. The points will go down, enjoy the time that you still have a few more to play with for crying out loud.
Stage 1b) One of these three weeks will be what is called on weight watchers a 'Filling and Healthy' week. I need to get these good foods that nourish and fuel your body re-integrated into my daily life and I feel that this is an excellent way of doing so.
Stage 2) For one week of every four I will make a concerted effort to eat my weekly points. Now that's not saying I'm going to force food down my gullet just to do so but I will relax a bit and enjoy everything in moderation- including moderation.

To cheat or not to cheat..?What the hell are double dough pizzas?
This exact plan of attack may indeed need some work. Jemma (my awesome PT who everyone should hire, but shouldn't cus she's mine...) suggested having a day or two a week of eating a bit more rather than one week a month so I will certainly be trying both methods to see what works best for me.

Regardless of which works best, I know for certain that this re-invigoration of planning and preparation will at least get me fully back into the positive head space I have always needed to lose weight successfully.

Until then, I haven't watched Run, Fatboy, Run in forever. So I think I'm gunna go do that.