Friday, 15 October 2010

So I'm back ... I hope. I had a looooooovely summer and a long post-summer blue period.

My oldest sister who lives in New York and my mum who lives in Barbados came to visit and it was just like old time. James and I took them to Devon where his family had rented a cottage for part of the summer and we had a lovely visit there with them for a few days before heading back to London. Dee then took Mummy off to Paris and Barcelona for two weeks and when they got back we spend another few days together exploring London and shopping before Dee had to fly back to New York. I begged her to quit her job and stay, but she just looked at me as though I had two heads and went off back to her life. The upside was that I had my Mummy all to myself then, and boy did we have a blast ... a revolving door of chatting, sightseeing, shopping, eating and then off to Istanbul, Turkey for more of the same.

Much too soon it was time for her to return home and it was harder than ever to see her go after spending a month and a half with her. I tried the "why don't you move here and live with us" routine on her too and she too looked at me as though I had two heads and one was smaller and a different colour than the other. I don't know what's wrong with moi. I just want the days of mummy and me again. They weren't all a bundle of laughs mind you, but there was a certain sweetness and comfort to them. Adult life has its charms but .... oh well .... By the way don't you just love the black and white of mummy and me. I wish I had that dress and those shoes in my wardrobe now. She was such a looker, my mum. Could definitely give Betty Draper a run for her dinero.

James and I celebrated our 10th anniversary of togetherness and 1st wedding anniversary this week with a day of indulgence. We started with an fabulous exhibition at the V&A called Shadow Catchers and then moved on to a leisurely lunch at Hibiscus, then on to the Tate Britain for a look at the work of the artists nominated for this year's Turner prize. The highlight of the day for me though was getting our very first fish pedicure at Aqua Sheko. I must admit that seeing and feeling those fish attacking my feet with such frenzy freaked me out much. The sensation is like having your feet tickled by a million popping bubbles. Once I got over that I was eventually able to relax and get into the experience and I gotta say those little buggers are very efficient. My Flintstone feet felt as smooth as silk at the end of the session. After the fish attack, we finished our evening at the cinema with popcorn and an action flick. It was a very lovely day.

Okay now to business. With all the action happening around here, I haven't been able to weigh in with my counsellor. I know I must have put on some weight because my clothes are tighter now than at the beginning of summer, but I'm not too bothered by this because I know I'll be able to drop it all again now that I'm back to regular programming.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

I'm still here and still focused on my weight loss/health goals, but my mother and sister have come to visit and I have been very busy playing hostess. It's nice having them here and we're having lots of fun.

Hope everyone out there is doing well and that you've all had a nice summer. I'll be back to regular writing, reading and commenting in a week or so. Looking forward!

Meanwhile, here's a little photo of me taken by my husband in a B&B in Devon a few weeks ago. Can you see my fake nose ring?

Monday, 2 August 2010

Had my weigh in today and lost 3kgs./6.6lbs which brings my weight to 68.5kgs/151lbs. I feel great!!!

Weight Chart

A couple of weeks ago I was given three awards. One by the beautiful Emilia of 238 and Shrinking and the other two by the ever so lovely Alexia of My Wicked Wicked Ways and equally gorgeous Miss Haneefa of Black Girl Gets Fit. I thought I'd combine answering them because they both require that I reveal 7/10 things about myself that you probably don't know. I really don't know if I can come up with that many things but I'm going to try.

1. I'm a licensed scuba diver.

2. The first boy I ever kissed was French :)

3. I got kicked out of a class in graduate school after I had an argument with a teacher and not only wouldn't back down but ended up calling him a "fascist pig" :(

4. This would be a good time to say that I'm a really positive, easy going and warm person but on the rare occasion if someone gets on my wrong side I don't care who they are, I'll rip their head off.

5. I love the sound of rain on a galvanised roof.

6. I make the best cheesecake ever.

7. I'm fluent in French.

8. I LOVE George Carlin. He is my soul brother and I was heartbroken when he died.

9. My husband made on of my dreams come true when he took me to see Barbra Streisand in concert when she was in London a few years ago.

10. I love people but at heart I'm an introvert and would rather spend time quietly at home than out socialising.

Okay, I'll pass along these awards by inviting you to share 5-10 things about yourself here if you feel like it.

Friday, 23 July 2010

I've been having a very busy summer. First with summer school, both teaching and taking classes, and then visiting my Dad in Dresden (Germany) where he's on his penultimate assignment with FIFA before retirement.

Beautiful city, Dresden is. It has rebuilt itself from the ashes of total destruction in WWII and subsequent Soviet occupation to become an elegant, vibrant city with a very high quality of life. This was my second time visiting my Dad there and the first with my husband. Lots of walking, visits to churches, museums, galleries, a FAB opera house and sitting in cafes chatting and people watching. Happily I was able to sample the delicious Saxon cuisine without going overboard, which I am really really pleased about.

At my last weigh in I had dropped a further 2.5kgs (around 5lbs) to bring my weight to 71.5kgs/158lbs.

In other news I have started a vegetable and herb gardening venture on my patio. I got a bunch of seeds and am attempting to grow lettuce, tomatoes, sweet peppers, dill, basil, parsley, etc. I think I've started a little late in the season, but we'll see how things go.

I see from my comments, I've won a few awards during my absence. Thank you to everyone who has given me an award. I will be around to your blogs today to thank you personally and will honour the suggested guidelines in my next post. Meanwhile, I was tagged by Journey Beyond Survival a while ago and the question was:

What are 5 things you would do if you were a billionaire?
First this is a ridiculous amount of money, more in my opinion than any one human being needs or should have, so I would have to give most of it away.
  1. Bank 100 million and plan to live off the interest
  2. Give 5 million to each family member, 2.5 million each to my friends and 1 - 1/2 million to random people who I know are having a hard time = 100 million approximately
  3. Select 10 - 20 issues I feel strongly about and finance their improvement = 800 million approximately.
  4. That's it.
  5. Ditto
What 5 things would you do if you were a billionaire?

Thursday, 1 July 2010

It 4:44am. A new day has begun and I haven't gone to bed yet. I've been up trying to complete my end of term paperwork for all my classes. Finally it's all done and I can go to bed if only for two and a half hours. I need to be at work by 10am and I have to leave enough time to get in my exercise and food prep and to walk to the tube.

Before I go to bed though, I just wanted to jump on here and say a great big thanks to all of you who read and/or comment here. Your comments really brighten my day and make this very difficult journey easier. I especially want to thank Journey Beyond Survival for tagging me. I'll leave answering your question: What are 5 things you would do if you were a billionaire? for my next post.

I'd also like to thank Lynda at Taking Less Space for selecting me for her first ever Taking Less Space giveaway. What a lovely lovely surprise!!! All this love makes up for my not having lost any weight this week ... as a matter of fact not only did I not lose any weight but, quite bizarrely the scale read exactly the same as it did last week. How odd is that??? I did get some really fantastic news on another front though. I went to the doctor to have my blood pressure checked and it has come way down from the high readings I got before I started losing weight. I'm now high normal, which means I still have a ways to go to get it back to normal, but I'm so happy it's moving in the right direction.

Well, I'm off to bed. Will catch up with everyone tomorrow ... ummmm ... later today that is!!! Definitely looking forward to reading what you've all been up to.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Quote of the week:

"Losing weight is 80% mental and 20% physical. Most people spend a great deal of time debating which diet is best and arguing the merits that distinguish one plan from another. Not enough time however is spent training the brain to take on one of life's toughest journeys."
Dr. Ian K. Smith
I came across this quote this weekend and it made me think about how our conscious and unconscious thought patterns control our lives far more than we tend to acknowledge. Before I met my husband 11 years ago this March, I had really catastrophic taste in men. I attracted and selected men who were to varying degrees emotional cripples. After many failed relationships I began to fear that I would never have a healthy romantic relationship.

Around this time I stumbled across a book on relationships that caught my attention. The main point I took away from it was that I needed to make an exhaustive list of all the qualities I wanted in a mate and then, accepting that no one is perfect, I was to reduce the list to about 6 or 7 absolutely essential qualities that I absolutely was not willing to live without - deal breakers I think the author called them. I don't remember if the author suggested this next step, but as I was also reading about affirmations at the time, I turned my selected qualities into an affirmation that looked like this:
I have a loving relationship with a black man who:
is Kind
is Emotionally available and accessible
has Integrity
is Bright
is financially responsible
has non materialistic values and life goals
Every morning for about six months I would read that affirmation out aloud. I kept dating duds though and was actually dating a dud when I met the man who was to become my husband.

Before starting Graduate School, I took a temp assignment at a investment bank on Wall Street to boost my income. I started working there the month after my husband had been transferred from the London branch of the same bank. We met in the kitchen where we were both making tea one day, introduced ourselves and went back to our desks. For the next few weeks or so we just said good morning as we passed each other, but one morning he was passing my desk while I was reading the newspaper and when he said good morning, I, caught up in the article I was reading, responded by saying something like, "this is so absolutely ridiculous." He stopped to find out what was "so absolutely ridiculous" and we ended up having a short rather nice chat.

Over the following six months or so we became rather good friends. I had no idea that he was romantically interested in me and when he told me I was a little shocked. Even though I liked him immensely and found him attractive, I hadn't though about him as a potential mate mostly because I was on the look out for a black man. Once he introduced the idea though, I realised that he did have all the qualities on my list except that he wasn't a black man, so I turned him down.

He was not to be deterred however and proceeded to wooed me consistently with kindness, a ready and compassionate ear, great conversation, flowers, chocolates, perfume, lunches, dinners, concerts, operas, ballet etc. One day while I was looking at my affirmations and cursing the universe for sending me the perfect man in the "wrong" colour, I realise that the universe had given me exactly what I'd asked for. My husband's (who I refer to in my posts by his second name) first initial is A and his last name is Blackman. The universe does have a sense of humour doesn't it? The rest, as they say, is history.

Long story short, I believe that the mind is the most powerful organ we possess and I know that if I can't use mine to change my internal relationship to food and exercise permanently, it won't matter how much weight I lose, I'll just put it right back on. I know this now as clearly as I know that the only way I could have attracted a man so radically different from the others I'd dated, was to sort out my thinking about what was important to me in a life partner.

Loss 1.3kgs/2.8lbs this week to bring my weight to 74.2kgs/163.6lbs. A total loss of 20.3kgs/45lbs. so far.

On another note, a Biggest Loser contestant, Kai Hibbard has been spilling the dirt about the show in violation of all the legal documents she signed to protect the show's "secrets". Hat Tip to: The Journey of a Weight Loss *ista.

Best Quote from this interview: The Biggest Loser isn't a weight loss camp that happens to be filmed for TV, it's a TV show that's made to look like a weight loss camp.
Is anyone surprised by Kai's revelations? Of course, the Biggest Loser is about making money for various corporations by using and abusing sick people in the name of "entertainment". I think one would have to be very naive about the machinations of corporations to think otherwise.

I won't go over all the points I made in my previous rant about the Biggest Loser, suffice to say that though I completely understand why someone who is dying from this illness called obesity would sign up for the show, and though I can appreciate that there are many aspects of the show that are inspiring, we "the civilised viewer" can't pretend that we are not enjoying the ill being humiliated and competing and suffering for their "cure" in a way that we would never ever tolerate or accept any other ill person - say a smoker who had developed lung cancer - being humiliated or suffering for their chance at a cure.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

It feels like ages since I've written here or been around to read everyone's blogs. Maybe it hasn't been that long in reality but it feels like I've lived a couple of life times since my last post.

Anyway, the lovely Peridot asked me in the comments last week how I manage to lose 1.8kgs in a week. Well, I only lost .5 kgs/about 1 lb. this week and I haven't changed anything much so who knows? I thought though that since I'm almost halfway to my goal, I'd take this moment to share my strategy as I promised back in March.

As some of you who've been on this journey with me for a while know, I've been struggling since January 2005 to lose weight I gained since I began to date my husband in 2000. It has mostly been 1 step forward and 3 backward for me until March of this year when I visited my doctor. I'd been avoiding her because in spite of her best efforts to help me, I'd put on about 12kgs/28lbs. between visits, instead of losing like I was supposed to. During that visit in March, the shock of an elevated blood pressure reading combined with reaching an all time high of 94.5 kgs=208lbs=almost 15 stone combined with a stern warning from my doctor, made me super motivated to do whatever I needed to do to lose the excess weight once and for all.

  • I chose to jump start my efforts with the Cambridge weight plan which was designed by a research scientist from Cambridge University, called Dr. Alan Howard in the 1980s. The plan which was approved by my doctor and administered by a counsellor, provided the simple, uncomplicated structure and approach that I needed to get me going. It really gave me the boost I needed to get my weight moving and helped me to develop a plan for eating that works for me.
  • Next, I chose exercise that was convenient and easy to fit into my day. That involved using the elliptical trainer which lives on my patio and walking instead of taking the bus or tube when I could. Since my elliptical trainer broke I've had to rely on walking alone for my exercise. I walk every day without exception and on average cover 8 kilometers/ 5 miles a day.
  • I've also been working on readjusting my mental attitude by listening to an audio version of the book The Beck Diet Solution. This is a six week programme which employs Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to address the challenges faced by people who have battled emotional eating and/or binging their entire life. I can't say enough good about this programme. It has helped me immensely to develop strategies to overcome self-sabotage.
  • I also use the audio CD version of Paul McKenna's I Can Make You Thin. Paul uses the power of suggestion (hypnosis) and positive thinking to help break the self-destructive patterns with food. He is a little smarmy for my taste, but I have found his strategies really helpful and do recommend him. I really like the audio books because I can listen to them while I walk and exercise.

  • Finally, I'm currently reading Thin for Life. The author interviewed 160 people who lost lots of weight and kept if off for years and condensed these interviews into 10 keys to success. A very inspiring book indeed that I also recommend.

  • The thing that has helped me the most though is probably my attitude. When I left the Doctors office back in March I realised that I was killing myself. I acknowledged that if that was my intention then I could continue merrily on my path but if I wanted to live then I needed to get really serious. I accepted then and there that if I wanted to be at a healthy weight and feel comfortable in my own body then I'd have to put my health before everything else in my life because without that I have nothing anyway. Putting my health first has meant that I've been giving the word "NO" a serious workout. This isn't always comfortable for me, but it's often the most self-nurturing thing I do for myself in any given day.
So that's what I've been doing to lose weight, overcome self-sabotage and promote a healthier lifestyle. This may or may not be helpful to someone out there but it's been my path and has certainly been working for me. Until it stops working, it's what I'll continue to do. Now it's time to start my visiting rounds and find out what everyone has been up to.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

This Week's Eureka Moment:
"If I want to lose weight and keep it off forever I have to learn to celebrate in different ways other than with food. If I keep celebrating with food, I'll put myself at risk for gaining weight and NO celebration is worth that!"
Dr. Judith Beck
Who knew walking could be so addictive??? I have been burning up the sidewalks all over London. I used to hobble along at a snail's pace being overtaken by little children and senior citizens with canes when I started walking back at the beginning of April, now I'm leaving scorch marks behind me. Even my 6'3 86kg/190lb husband has to work to keep up with me now. LMAO!!!

Since the elliptical broke, I've had to use walking as my main source of aerobic exercise. I walk everyday, NO exceptions!!! Even if I'm not planning to go out on weekends I put on my sneakers and off I go. I love those sneakers. since I bought them I haven't worn shoes. I live in those sneakers and even though this may sound a little crazy, I think they encourage me to walk and walk and walk. I actually started to run this weekend but I stopped myself after a few minutes, because I have osteoarthritis and don't want to stress my knees more than I need to right now.

Who knew walking could be so effective??? I lost 1.8kgs/3.9lbs this week which means bye bye wretched OBESITY, hello OVERWEIGHT!!!

World Cup fever is in the air and the English flag has been popping up here and there. I'm not a huge football fan myself but the two main men in my life - my husband and my dad - are, and when they get excited I pay attention

My husband nurtured dreams of being a footballer when he was a little boy, and my dad actually works for the North, Central and Caribbean Football Association (CONCACAF) as well as the International Football Federation, (FIFA) who are the organisers of the world cup. He has attended every world cup for as far back as I can remember and is now in South Africa for this one. This will be his last World Cup he claims. He is 74 and is just not up to flying around the world constantly and staying in this country and that for sometimes months at at time. Poor him!!!

Anyway, daddy sent me this amazing video and I just had to post it here. I don't know if you have to be a football fan to appreciate it but to my mind it is the most brilliantly executed short story of the amazing talent of some of the best players in the world right now and a real testimony to how much 'the beautiful game' means to millions of fans in every corner of the globe.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

I was coping with a lot last week and just didn't have the energy to blog. I'm coming to the end of a year long course I've been doing called the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and am swamped getting all the course work and a research paper completed in time, but more than this I've been experiencing lots of emotional turmoil.

I don't know if it's all the mind work I've been doing or if it's because I am following my food plan to the letter and not cocooning myself in any shape or form in the emotional blanket that food has been for me, but all sorts of stuff has been coming up for me lately which has been shattering my self-image.

Last week a little incident happened between my husband and I which made me realise how dependent I have become on him. I know that interdependence comes along with having relationships with others, and I do realise that in various stages of a relationship people may need to take turns being dependent on each other for various reasons, but that's not what I'm talking about. What I'm talking about is that along the road of our life together I, a bright capable able-bodied woman, have abandoned more and more of my autonomy and adulthood and retreating into a kind of infantilism, making my husband responsible for me on every level.

Being the loving supportive guy he is, he doesn't see it this way of course, but what's important is that "I" do. Over the past few years I've been sucking up all the air in our relationship with all sort of mini-crises, whingeing and whining. I've been so narcissistic and selfish that it frightens me. When and how did I become this person? I've completely been taking advantage of my husband's generosity and kindness and handicapping myself in the process. The thing is that I've never quite seen things this way before. When the scales fell from my eyes last week and I suddenly became aware of this state of affairs, I felt just devastated and disappointed in myself. I just wanted to bury my consciousness in a cheesecake ... or a chocolate cake or ... well you get the picture. That's the way I've always coped with anxiety, sadness, loneliness, bewilderment, depression, guilt, fear, etc. I assuage my anguish with sugar and thus avoid facing the challenges which engender emotional maturation. Sigh!!!

Well, I guess what matters is that I didn't retreat into the food this time. Actually, I didn't do anything at all. I was too shell shocked. I just lived with the awful feelings until they eventually passed. When they did I was able to think more clearly about my life and goals and make some plans for taking charge of my life again.

Has anyone been experiencing any such revelations and epiphanies on their weight loss journey? Please don't tell me I'm alone in this. It's like by putting down the excess calories, I've inadvertently unlocked some sort of internal Pandora's box and I'm kind of scared that there's more self-disillusioning stuff to come.

As for my weight, last week I lost 1.5kgs/3lbs and this week I lost 1.8kgs/4lbs. which brings me to 77.8kgs./171.6lbs. I'm just 1.1kg/2.6lbs away from leaving the category of obese and entering the category of overweight on the BMI scale. Can't believe how happy I am at the prospect of being overweight.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

So, yesterday I pledged allegiance to yet another country, this time it was to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It was the loveliest of ceremonies and a very warm and gracious welcome into the fold!!! Now I'm as multi-national as those rotten corporations that pilfer the globe ... kinda horrible company to be in, right?

Anyway, yesterday's swearing in left me reflecting on the nature of "home" and national identity. I feel at home in Barbados, Paris, New York and London, yet when I'm in the UK people assume I'm American or Canadian(no one I've ever met here can differentiate between these two accents), in the USA they think I'm British, in France they think I'm continental African and in my birth place Barbados, they ask me where I'm from (even though my family swears my accent hasn't changed one iota).

We are educated and encouraged to put people into all sorts of little boxes which amount to a "us" and "them" kind of world, but in my experience most people don't fit neatly into their little boxes, simply because we are richer, more complexed and fascinating than any little box can ever accommodate. What do you think?

On to another topic ... do you ever feel that it's so unfair that you have to watch what you eat and exercise mucho just to achieve a body size you are happy with?

I used to feel that way all the time, but I've had a huge shift in my attitude (thanks I have to say to the mind work I've been doing). According to Dr. Beck the percentage of people who can eat anything they like and be naturally thin is quite small. Most people who are slender maintain their size because they move more and habitually watch what they eat. This was news to me. I though most thin people had the best of both worlds, meaning I thought they were eating with wild abandon and not really exercising but were remaining thin because of genetics. Then I thought back to all my slim relatives, friends and even my husband and I realised that she was right.

For example, my husband is tall and slender and I'm always telling him how much I envy him because he can eat whatever he likes and not put on weight, but the fact is that without consciously trying to, he doesn't overeat or eat a ton of sweet, fatty stuff on a daily basis. He eats a balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner (i.e. carbs, protein, fruit and vegetables) almost never snacks and only has a sweet treat occasionally. So theoretically thought he is not "on a diet" he actually eats as though he is. I can't believe I never noticed this.

Noticing it now made me realise that where I use to think there was genetic unfairness involved in body size differences, it's less to do with that and more to do with learning and maintaining healthy and self-responsible habits of diet and exercise. In other words if my husband ate the way I've been eating for years, he too would be overweight and come to think of it, he sometimes puts on a little weight (usually no more than 2kg/5lbs)when we go on a holiday because we're eating richer food, but drops back to his regular size within a week or two of coming back home because he goes back to his regular eating. In addition, in a normal day he walks far more than I use to. Where I was taking the bus at every opportunity, he would opt to walk instead.

This realisation has done wonders for my attitude to diet and exercise. That lingering sense of resentment of the "naturally thin" has dissipated and has been replaced by a more realistic understand of the reality of things. If I want to have Jennifer Aniston's body then I have to make Jennifer Aniston food and exercise choices ... maybe not a good example, I'm NOT eating baby food for anything ... and if I want to retain my Rubens body then I can go back to my old choices. It's really as simple as that. My choice!!!

Another .5kgs/1lb gone this week.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Apart from the Paul McKenna tape that I'm using to help me sort out my thinking and behaviour around my "food, exercise, body, health issues," I'm also doing a wonderful cognitive therapy program called The Beck Diet Solution. I plan to review both these programs later in the year, but I just wanted to mention right now a great little exercise that I'm doing today which I absolutely love.

Over the past few week I've been working on my Hunger Scale. Which is something I really didn't know about until McKenna and Beck. To get more details on the Hunger Scale download this great pdf from MIT Medical: Anyway, I've been working on eating at 4 and stopping at 6 as opposed to my usual of eating at 1 and stopping at 8 or 9. Now I have an idea of what portions sizes put me at a 6, I'm working on strengthening my ability to stop at 6 when I'm in eating environments that I can't control, i.e. when I eat away from home. To do this I write down what I'm going to eat for the day and at each meal I put twice as much food on my plate as well as add a few other foods that are not on my plan but are tempting. Then with all these choices on my plate I have to select and eat only the food and quantities I've predetermined I'll be eating and leave the others.

The point of the exercise is to build up my "resistance muscle" as Beck calls it = my ability to resist eating foods just because they are offered to me, just because they are on my plate, just because they're available, just because they're free, just because .... I'm to repeat this exercise as often as I need to until I can say no consistently to treating myself like a human garbage. So far so good.

In other news, the resistance belt on my elliptical machine came off last week. :( My husband put it back on and tightened the thingies that hold it in place, but it came off again when I increased the resistance from level 1 to level 3 :( He's going to try fixing it again but is quite busy at the moment and just doesn't have the time.

In the absence of my elliptical I decided to get creative with my morning exercise and use the steps that lead to my kitchen for my work out. I figured, I'd just step up and down one step for 1/2 hour and swing my arms while holding some light weights. OMG!!! Killer workout!!! BUT left me with a pulled calf muscle :( So I've had to reduced my exercise routine to daily walks until the pain in my calf subsides, which it is just beginning to do.

Good thing though that I'd bought a new pair of running shoes last week before my calf injury. My current pair is about 8 years old and as I have osteoarthritis in my knees, I really wanted shoes designed for high impact will lots of cushioning to protect my knees as much as I can when I'm power walking. Who knew that buying running shoes was such a science? I went to this great little store in Camden Town and they did all sorts of tests on me including putting me on a treadmill and videoing my feet. I was in there for quite a while, but the end result is that I got a pair of great shoes (above) that make me feel like I'm floating on air.

Oh almost forgot. Lost 900grams/2lbs this week, so I'm now 81.2kgs/ 179lbs. Yay!!!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Growing up in my family, I was an overweight kid surrounded by a mother and three older sisters who were thin and in my eyes beautiful. From the time I hit puberty, I began to developed an inferiority complex about my chubby body when I compared it to their slender ones and went to considerable lengths to make sure that they never saw me naked because I was so ashamed of being a fat ugly myopic duckling.

My closest friend in secondary school was about twice my size and she had none of the hang ups about her body that I had about mine. When I visited her she would change her clothes in front of me the way my sisters and mother did and not think twice about it. I was in awe of her complete lack of self-consciousness about the size and shape of her body.

I never grew out of those early feelings of physical inferiority, so when this self-improvement tape that I'm listening to (Paul McKenna's "I can make you Thin") to try to "fix my head", suggested that I do an exercise to make peace with my body as it is, I was all for it.

Just getting to the stage, however where I could look at myself in the mirror completely naked took lots of courage and actually doing the suggested exercise of telling the parts of my body I hate that I love them felt incredibly silly ... but after having been doing this for just a few days, I found myself thinking as I looked in the mirror this morning that I look like a brown Rubens nude. Obviously the though caught me by surprise, but it also made me feel ... beautiful just as I am. Now, this doesn't mean that I'm ready for a playboy spread or anything, but I was filled with such feelings of self-acceptance, that I blurted out to my husband over breakfast that maybe I was thinking that I wanted to start thinking about the idea of maybe walking around the house naked. He was all for the idea to say the least ... but who knows, maybe I'll wake up tomorrow and chalk the whole idea up to momentary insanity.

Anyway, weighed in today and lost 1.6kg./3.6lbs. Yay!!!

Monday, 3 May 2010

First, a big thanks to all who left those wonderful comments on my post last week. It's so great to be part of a community of people who get so many of the issues surrounding weight loss.

Speaking of weight loss, I didn't go to my counselor to get weighed in today because it's a bank holiday here today and she's off duty. I thought I'd write my weekly post anyway and then try to write another short one on Wednesday when I get weighed.

I'm really happy to report that my water drinking routine is going spectacularly and as my buddy Sayre promised, I'm no longer spending all day in the toilet. It's a miracle folks, I don't know what my body is doing with the water but it isn't rushing straight from my mouth right through my pee pee hole any more ... which is a good thing because I was really starting to wonder how I could convince my doctor to let me have a catheter ... I mean I've got things to do, I just can't dedicate so much time to peeing.

Another little miracle is that I've been on my elliptical trainer for 30 minutes every morning since I last posted. Up until yesterday, the weather has been so lovely and I've been enjoying it out there. By the way, the photo above is the view from my elliptical . Confession: the reason it lives on the balcony is that our balcony is bigger than our apartment so that's the only place it can fit. Apart from the elliptical, I've also been walking between the tube and our apartment instead of taking the bus. Depending on which tube I take, that's either 3.7kilometers/2.3 miles or 1.7kilometers or 1.1 miles.

I'm so happy with these new habits I'm cultivating that I've created a little column in my sidebar specifically to record and celebrate my lifestyle changes.

Monday, 26 April 2010

The thing about losing weight is that it brings along all sorts of little benefits, like increased mobility. Last week I went over to one of my students to demonstrate a technique. She was sitting and instead of dragging a chair up like I usually do, I spontaneously knelt down next to her AND got back up after I was done without the help of a crane. The thing is I didn't even realise that I'd done this until I was walking back to my desk and then I was well cuffed with myself!

Some of my colleagues have begun to notice my weight loss which brings along pluses and minuses. An obvious plus is that my efforts are paying off and my body is changing noticeably. A minus is that on two occasions when I've been asked what my goal weight is and given my answer. The people who have asked have freaked out, telling me that that's too low and launching into a mini lecture about why I shouldn't and couldn't possible go down to 55kgs=120lbs.

Firstly, I don't get why anyone would care what weight I decide I want to be, I mean to each her own, right? Secondly, it's not like 55kgs is bordering on anorexic ... and I didn't just pull the figure out of my ass. Based on the various weight height charts used by doctors and insurance companies, at 162.5cm = 5'3" my recommended weight is between 50-61kgs =111-135lbs. In addition, 55kgs was the weight I've felt the most comfortable at and all the doctors I've ever had, have agreed that it is a reasonable weight for me. Most importantly for me however, it is the weight range of women in my height range, who experience the lowest mortality. I don't know about anyone else, but I'd rather be in the group with the the lowest mortality rate that not. Now, I wasn't going to say all that as a response to the mini-lectures, because I just hate feeling like I need to justify myself to anyone. Instead, I smiled and nodded and changed the subject as soon as I possibly could. I think my strategy in the future if I'm ever asked that particular question again, will be to avoid giving a figure and simply say: 'that's in my doctor's hands'.

Anyway, on to more exciting things, I've been drinking my 3 liters (12 8oz cups) of water everyday. My little system of drinking just one cup in the hour, made things very manageable and made me realise that maybe I was struggling before because I was trying to drink too much at once. This isn't to say that I'm now a happy water drinker, it just means that for now I have found a satisfactory system that seems to be keeping me on track and my reward ... drum roll here please ... was to lose 2.2kgs = almost 5bls. this week. WOW!!! Guess my counsellor was right, I needed to drink more water. This means I've reached and surpassed my first weight goal to reach 85kgs. YAY!!!

My plan this week is to get on the elliptical for 1/2 hr M, W, F and continue walking 10,000 steps on T, Th and possibly S,S. My elliptical is on my balcony and it was so lovely this morning being outdoors in the fresh Spring air watching life return to the garden.

P.S. I'm now 84kgs = about 185lbs.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Last week was a bit giddy for me. I don't know what got into me but I went on a bit of a shopping spree the entire week. Nothing huge - some shoes, audio books, costume jewelry, hair products, cosmetics, art magazines - but enough to put a small dent in my savings. :(

Now, I should say that I'm not a shopper. I go for months and months without buying anything, and my idea of hell is any High Street or any Mall anywhere, anytime ... so I have to put my momentary insanity down to spring fever or euphoria at seeing my weight finally going down consistently or great sex (ahem) or just general happiness in being alive. I dunno but what I do know is that I have to find another way to express my giddiness ... maybe it's time to up the exercise.

Got weighed in today and lost .8kgs = 1.7lbs. I'll take that!!! My counsellor was a little surprised that it wasn't more. She says I'm not drinking enough water and wants me to consume 3liters = 12 80z glasses daily. WHAT!!! At that quantity, I'll have to move into the toilet. Let me just say for the record, I HATE drinking water ... as a matter of fact I'm not big on liquids period. I know, I know we need water to blah, blah, blah, blah, blah .... Knowing that I need to drink it for my health and well being doesn't make it any easier to get it down my throat, okay? So now I've devised a new schedule just for water drinking. 1 cup on the hour for 12 hours. Sounds very good in theory, let's see if I can get through the week.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Man let me tell you, I ♥ Spring!!! Winter in Britain is hard on a girl, especially a Caribbean girl like moi. All that dark and damp is enough to make me wish I could just go to sleep in October and not wake up until the first cherry blossom tree blooms in April ... humm ... that would be an excellent weight loss strategy as well.

Anyway, Spring has arrived ... no matter it is as cold as a witch's tit ... the days are lengthening, the sun is putting in an occasional appearance, the birds are singing, flowers are blooming everywhere and I've lost yet another kilo. Tell me, what more could a girl ask for?

This week, thanks to Rosa I dug my pedometer out of the back of the drawer, reset it and clipped it on. I set the goal for myself of walking no less than 5,000 steps everyday this week and am happy to say that I did that and much more most days. Meeting my goal did require that some days, like Saturday and Sunday when I wasn't planning to go anywhere, I actually had to take myself outside for a short walk just to get my 5,000 steps in. Made me realise quite how sedentary my life is. As the weather changes and I get lighter, I'm sure I'm going to be getting back into some of my old passions like tennis and tango and maybe I'll start kick boxing, something I've always wanted to try. We'll see. For now though I'm just glad that I've begun to get some gentle daily exercise.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

My brand new ... well more like 6 month old ... wedding band no longer fits. It flew off my finger and across the room this weekend. Luckily I was indoors and was able to retrieve it. I'll have to get a ring guard to make it stay on my hand or give up wearing it or ... does anyone have any suggestions?

Anyway, we spend Easter Sunday and Monday with my in-laws. Had a great time in general but had a bit of a wobble with my food. Still managed to lose 1 kilo (roughly 2lbs) which I'm really happy about. I'm slowly inching my way to my first goal, 85kgs. Really need to find new ways though to cope with social anxiety other than talking or eating too much.

Monday, 29 March 2010

I've employed a new strategy in my battle to regain 55kgs. Warning: it's somewhat controversial and I'm not recommending it or saying it's the best or smartest strategy but of all the ones out there in the world to choose from, this is the one I've decided to invest my energy in.

I've dividing the losing of the weight and the maintaining of the weight into two separate categories.

Phase 1: With the help of my doctor I'm doing an extreme plan aimed at bringing my weight off sooner rather than later. I'm not going to talk about it yet because it's quite controversial, but I promise that I will share the details when and if I succeed in reaching 55kgs.

Phase 2: My doctor thinks phase 1 will help me lose weight, but she thinks that in order to keep it off I need to implement phase 2 which requires that I use my time during phase 1 to work on "fixing my head". Hmmmm!!! She is a big advocate of the idea that problems with diet/exercise start in the head and manifest in the body. So though she's helping me address the body directly, she's more concerned that I "fix my head" (as she puts it) and how does she propose I do this? Cognitive therapy and/or hypnosis are her recommendations. I'm game for anything that would protect me from regain if and when I lose so I'm investigating and will keep you posted.

For now though I have lost 5.5 kgs. over the past two weeks which is probably more than I've lost in the past 5 years. So far so good.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

So I've heard so much about the reality show The Biggest Loser, that I went on line, searched, found and watched most of Biggest Loser (America) Season 6 this weekend. WOW!!!

Being the person that I am, my first thought was, what a f***ing shame that people who have this illness called obesity are so desperate for help that they would surrender themselves to a show designed to entertain. It says everything about societal attitudes to obesity. that such a show even exists. Think about it, would we all be okay with a reality show which made entertainment out of doling out the curing for cancer, or lupus or leukemia to a few worthy participants? Maybe it's just me, but there's something a lot twisted about the whole thing.

Let me not be misunderstood, clearly lives are being saved and transformed by these shows and they provide an invaluable education for participants and viewers alike, but my question is, why do sick people have to put themselves on display to get help?

According to the American Journal of Medical Genetics, Obesity "is one of the leading causes of preventable death" and "has emerged as one of the most serious public health concerns in the 21st century." The National Obesity Forum in the UK says that "1.1 billion adults and 10% of children are now classified as overweight or obese." That folks is more than 1/6 of the world's population. The NOF says that obesity requires "careful clinical assessment to identify underlying factors and to allow coherent management" but "neither the medical management nor the societal preventive challenges are currently being met." So of course that leaves the ill and desperate vulnerable to every snake oil salesman who comes along peddling a cure.

I am happy for the people that have been able to manage their obesity and regain their health with the assistance of The Biggest Loser, and I for one did learn a lot by watching it, I just think it's a real shame that some of the best elements of the show aren't available to the 1.1 billion plus people whose lives are going to be prematurely shortened, through well run and efficient national health care systems.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

So where have I been? What have I been doing? Who knows?

All I can say for myself is that I didn't intend to stop blogging. It just kinda happened.

Anyway, I'm back. I'm fatter. And I'm ready once again to do something about it.

Btw. while I was away I got married to my bestest friend in the whole wide world, James. So just call me Mrs. B. if you please.

P.S. It was just a 2 second registry wedding with our two neighbours as witnesses and a 2 day, 1 night mini-moon in our favourite city Paris. No dress, flowers, photos or whatever else. How's that for minimalism?