Diet Special #2: I’d Rather Be Curvy Than Hungry

Song: Chumbawamba – I Get Knocked Down

Here we are, a full month into my Weightwatchers shenanigans, and I can officially confirm I’m not Patsy Kensit yet.

You’ll be pleased to know in Week 2 I lost 3lbs, and actually quite enjoyed the food I had. The issue is that due to my bizarrely low ProPoints allowance, I realised I was starting to associate feeling ravenously hungry with succeeding at the plan – not the healthiest thing you’ve heard all day, I imagine.

Let me give you an idea of what I’d be allowed in one day if I didn’t use any of my ‘Weekly Allowance’ (let’s just be honest and call this my ‘Booze and Cake Points’, which can easily be used on a person’s average weekend.)

Daily Allowance: 26 points

Breakfast:

One 40g bowl of Shreddies – 4 points (have a look at how much 40g is. I guarantee it’s about half what you’d call a bowl of shreddies)
One ‘serving’ skimmed milk (140ml) – 1 point
Total = 5 points

Lunch:

2 slices of bread – 4 points
1 tsp low-fat spread – 1 point
1 30g slice of roast ham – 2 points
Total = 7 points

Dinner:

One small salmon fillet – 6 points
175g cooked couscous – 5 points
(in the couscous) vegetables roasted in 1tsps olive oil – 1 points
(in the couscous) 1 tbsp raisins – 2 points
Total = 14 points

Total = 26 points.

That’s it folks. No snacks, no treats, no dessert, no wine. A tiny bowl of cereal, an uninspiring sandwich, and a bit of salmon and couscous. END OF FOOD ALLOWANCE, CHUBS.

Yes, I appreciate if I could buy that weird spray-on cooking fat and spend hours researching how to squeeze every last drop of joy out of my food, I’d probably have a more interesting daily lineup of eats. The problem is I HAVE A NORMAL LIFE. We work hard, we socialise, we do stuff like relaxing, paying bills and washing ourselves, all of which take up precious calorie-counting time.

AND YET I managed to stick to the plan EVERY DAY for the whole ofΒ Week 3 too. And I weighed myself. And I’d put a pound back on again.

Total weightloss in 3 weeks of sticking to the rules: 2lbs. QUOI?

Week 4 was tricky – I attended a social gathering where it turns out my lovely hostess had bought us all a Chinese. Rather than being a whiny bitch and storming out to buy myself a Weightwatchers readymeal, I said thank you for the obvious act of kindess and ate a small portion instead. And used the rest of my Weekly Allowance for some weekend wine. So sue me.

I then spent the rest of the week being super-good to make up for it. I also did more exercise than usual, but didn’t use my ‘Activity Points’.Β Weigh in: Put on ANOTHER POUND.

This means that so far this week I have been in full rebellion mode – 2 parties, all of the wine, even a sneaky biscuit or two.
Weigh in today: Put on my final pound (the same amount as the weeks where I ate sweet fuck all), bringing me very nearly back to the start of my journey.

The question is – do I stay or do I go? Is one month enough? Feel free to motivate, placate or berate me in the comments.

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Diet Special #1: Evil, Thy Name is Weightwatchers

Song: Perfect 10 – Beautiful South

I’m back already! I know, two blog posts in two hours when the last one was nine months previous. I get my timings wrong sometimes.

It’s time to mention the D word. January brings all manner of wrongs: the knowledge you have twelve months to wait until Christmas, the month with the highest suicide rate, and the dreaded New Year’s Resolutions.

It seems almost obligatory to be on a diet, and because during the previous month it ironically seems almost obligatory to gorge yourself into oblivion, losing weight can seem a somewhat perilously high mountain to climb.

It’s also massively NOT IN ANY WAY FUN, no matter how much the dreaded women’s mags dress it up to seem like such a total breeze and the tastiest time you’ve had in ages. “Craving a snack? Simply eat a small handful of unsalted nuts!” Thanks, but I’d rather die choking on a Twix.

As you can tell, I’m not afraid to admit I am pessimistic about diets. I’m also nowhere near overweight, but I do want to lose maybe half a stone and try to get fitter and healthier – so I signed up to Weightwatchers.

I’ve decided to blog about how it’s going, with the aim of maybe showing a bit of solidarity among all my miserable, dieting friends. I’m also recording my experiences to show it’s okay to hate it, it’s okay to take some bits of advice and leave others in order to make it work in the long term, and it’s okay to have days when you just go “OH FUCK IT, GET ME A TRIFLE.” We’re human, and it doesn’t hurt to fail sometimes. Warning: I fail, a lot.

P.S If you’re not interested in reading about my day-to-day eating, you probably don’t want to read on. Shoo, now. I’m doing this more me more than anything.

Here we go with: Week One

Daily Points Allowance: 26. Weekly Allowance: 49
(If you want to know more about how Weightwatchers works, click here. I’ve been on it in the past – about five years ago – and I lost around a stone, but they use an entirely new system now.)

Day One (Weds 2nd Jan): Ate leftover chocolate cheesecake for breakfast. Erm, my bad. But I made up for it by eating delicious vegetables and a low-calorie sandwich as the sum total of the rest of my daily food. That’s healthy, right?

Day Two (Thurs 3rd): My ‘Sainsbury’s Be Good To Yourself’ chicken salad sandwich manages to wipe out almost a third of my points. ONE SANDWICH, that was mostly cucumber. Spent the afternoon sulking, and had to pick the meat out of my stew in the evening so I wouldn’t go over my points too much.

Spent the rest of the evening screeching “HOW is this normal eating?” at random intervals, and in the end totally caved in and ate a leftover panna cotta in a fit of rage. It was the tastiest thing in the world.

Day Three: I wake up with a horrendous cold and no voice, which makes me feel like the inside of my head is expanding and that someone snuck into my room and sandpapered my throat in the night, so I spend the day in bed feeling even more sorry for myself.
Still, Friday night is supposed to be fun, right? So I decide to set aside enough points for a couple of glasses of wine (that I can’t taste) so I can curl up on the sofa and get tipsy watching Channel 4 mashup with The Boy. I have to watch him eat a hearty, homemade spag bol and biscuits which I AM NOT ALLOWED, while I tuck into the world’s smallest Weightwatchers readymeal. Aside from this all I’ve had is marmite on toast and some shreddies, all day. I do not feel like I am winning at life.

Day Four: Big dinner party plans, so I know I have to be careful during the day. My dinner party host is kind enough to give me the menu in advance. I work out that – without including any drinks – I have the sum total of 1 daily point left for the rest of the day.
Obviously, I go way into my Weekly allowance. This is my lunch:

photo-3

That, quite literally, is 2 seasoned tomatoes on two slices of toast. This is the point where I start to wonder whether I should just chop off a limb instead.

Day Five: Let me show you my miserable excuse for a breakfast:

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(One slice of toast, 1 tsp of margarine) The Boy, on the other hand, ate this:

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I hate him. Also: DUN DUN DUN. Sunday means family roast dinner. But, additional DUN DUN DUN: I manage to keep to my points all day, with no problems. EVEN THOUGH I ate this:

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In your FACE, diet. I’m back on track.

Day Six: Another day of keeping to my points all day, and I get to eat things like roasted mediterranean vegetables, a chocolate mousse, and a Weightwatchers chocolate miniroll. I even get a glass of wine. And it doesn’t hurt at all!

Day Seven: Just like yesterday, I aced being on a diet and ate seriously delicious food, in moderation. I’m also finding I have more energy than I did at the start, and drinking more water. I expect to wake up tomorrow having lost ALL OF THE WEIGHT and looking like Charlize Theron.

Weigh-in: I have lost half a pound. Half a buggering pound. All together now: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Although I’m disheartened, I’m also aware that I need to give this more time before I dropkick it entirely. I just can’t help feeling like this isn’t a normal, or worth it, way to live. But I’m giving it one more week before I jack it all in and eat the contents of all my cupboards.

Are you on a diet? Are you feeling as hard done by as I am? TELL ME ABOUT IT.

9. Wildcard: Why Kenneth Tong Has Got The Skinny All Wrong

I was going to blog about careers today, because I intend to make this week’s blogs follow a ‘Careers’ theme. I was going to write about not being sure where your career will take you, and debate whether it’s important to know what you want to do at such an early age.

That was, until I read about the Twitter storm that was pathetically cultivated by Kenneth Tong this week, as he openly and repeatedly advocates ‘managed anorexia’ and tells women that size zero is the only size to be.

Apparently, if you don’t hold this view, you’re just jealous. Jealous and fat. So let me be honest:

I’m not a size zero. I’m probably what you would call skinny though – borderline underweight, in fact – after losing forty-four pounds in 2010. I’ll admit I was a curvy girl, technically overweight when I started (but only just), and that I was much more confident in myself once I’d lost weight. There are definite bonuses to not being overweight any more: not getting angry at your jeans when you try and put the on after they’ve been washed and not knocking yourself out when you go for a jog being two major ones.

Let me tell you: I was never happier once I’d got down to a perfect ten. But I was never more miserable once I continued to lose weight and became skinny.

Being skinny is a challenge. Here’s a few reasons why:

1. When you lose weight, you get used to feeling in control when you manage your eating. But when you reach a healthy weight, your brain doesn’t suddenly go ‘Bing! Now have a cake.’ Instead, it continues to nag at you every time you so much as glance at the biscuit tin. So now, when I go for a meal after ‘being good’ all week, even though I could currently probably do with gaining a little weight, my brain continues to aggressively bellow ‘WHOOO ATE, WHO ATE ALL THE PIIIIES?’ around my skull. Which sort of puts me off my risotto, if I’m honest.

2. No matter how skinny you get, you will always have skinnier friends. I know I do. So you turn up to the party showing off in that tight dress, and find yourself mentally counting how many ribs are visible on everyone else and feeling sort of put out that you look like one of the healthiest ones there. ‘Why can’t I look like I’ve been through a famine. It’s not faaair!’

3. There is no such thing as a Eureka moment when standing on scales. Find me a woman who has ever stepped on the scales and said ‘Oh, well look at that. I’m the perfect weight.’ and I will gladly spray chilli sauce in my own eyes. Trust me – it doesn’t happen. You will always think ‘Well, I can do this, then I can surely lose half a stone more.’

And do you know why you think this? Because you’re not a size zero yet. And do you know why you’re not a size zero yet? BECAUSE YOU DON’T HAVE THE BODY OF AN IMPOVERISHED TWELVE YEAR OLD BOY.

You have hips, and breasts, and a curve to your behind that drives any man with an active penis out of his mind. You have a typical woman‘s figure – not one that’s been drained of all signs of vivacity.

Being thin/slim is great. I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t say that – I love being the size I am now. I’m an 8-10, fighting to keep above the underweight border despite this guilt-tripping brain I’ve engineered for myself. But bearing in mind I already have ribs on display, bearing in mind my colleagues already think I look ‘gaunt’, and bearing in mind I’ve already gone down a cup size – can you imagine what I’d look like if I went down a further TWO DRESS SIZES to become the British equivalent of a size zero?

I think I’d look like two nipples painted onto a pale plastic bag that’s been stretched over a hat stand.

Now, men – would you rather wake up next to that, or next to one of these:

1. Marilyn Monroe

Wow – look at the healthy meat on those thighs.

2. Beyonce

Be honest: even the girls watching that started breathing a bit funny, didn’t you?

3. Christina Aguilera

People were shocked by how curvy she’d become when she appeared on the X Factor last year. They were shocked because – despite the magazines telling you that size zero is the only way to be attractive – she still managed to pull off this sensual performance. What do you mean girls with a BMI of more than 12 can look sexy? NO WAY.

4. Rihanna

Just you wait until she takes off that dress. Those powerful legs and curves, and the way she moves with ease, being that special kind of sexy we all try and be in the mirror, and yet retaining such amazing self-respect. You don’t get that with diet pills.

What all these women have – as well as curvy frames – is an inner confidence that means they know they’re attractive. ‘What you want? Baby I got it!’ as Aretha would say.

And that, everyone, is not only what will get the positive attention of those around you, but it is also the way you will retain your self respect and feel happy in your own skin. And believe me, when you’re so busy trying to be skinny you find yourself counting how many Weightwatchers points are in a single fucking Quality Street at the Christmas party, it’s quite hard to cultivate that inner confidence thing.

Let me finish with a quotation from Belle De Jour’s The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl:

“Holding your stomach in when your clothes are off is not fuckable. Slapping your ample behind and inviting him to ride the wobble is.”

Slap those ample behinds, ladies.

/// End of blog post. Turns out I don’t need to blog about not being sure what I want to do for my career: I want to fight for what I believe in. I want to do this.