Monday, 31 January 2011


Well, tomorrow I set out from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I've been visiting my sister for the weekend, and head home to England.

It's been a very full trip. We worked hard and played hard. I learned new stuff and met new people. I took part in a couple meetings that made me really proud of what this organisation is doing in the world. I heard my little baby neice say my name for the first time. I met a lonely little girl who nobody would play with; she taught me some Spanish and I hope I taught her that she has something to offer the world.

I ate some meals, I skipped some meals, I fretted over almost every meal. But I'm pretty sure it hasn't been enough. I wanted to go home weighing 118 and I don't think I've made it. I won't know for sure until I get there, as I don't have a set of scales here, and wouldn't trust anyone else's anyway, but I'm not hopeful and am feeling pretty discouraged about it. The first week I was here, I did pretty well. I felt like my bones were more clearly defined, I could see my ribs through my back as well as my front, and my hipsbones were definitely more prominent. But I don't know if I messed too much with my metabolism or what, but this second week I feel like I've done only a little less well on the ood front, and somehow it's all piled back on. Suddenly this week all my bones are covered with fat again somehow.

I'm trying really hard to strike a balance between losing weight and keeping my friends and my sanity. Last time I was doing this I got very skinny very fast, but I also missed out on a lot of fun events, sold my personality to the devil, and lost a couple friends, a boyfriend, and almost my job along the way. This time I'd like to lose the weight without screwing up the rest of my life so badly, but I'm struggling to be as focused on not eating as I need to be, without that being to the exclusion of the people I love.

Life is going well, and I'm grateful for that. But I want to be smaller than this. It's getting kind of ridiculous.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


Well, I was going to come on here about an hour ago and write a blog post based on that bit in Ecclesiastes that goes "Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless", because I'd had kind of a discouraging night and morning and have just been feeling like nothing I do has any lasting impact. That if I were to cease doing any of these things - my job, my marriage, my friendships, this blog - it wouldn't really matter, because we're all replaceable at the end of the day. You work, then retire, and someone else takes your position. You raise a child, they grow up, and you pass your mantle to their spouse, or their friends. You die, and somewhere, someone else is born. And to be sure, there is some mourning in all these things; people are sad when their favourite manager retires, newlyweds wish for their parents' wisdom and guidance once more, guests at a funeral may grieve for months afterwards. But ultimately, none of us does what we do perfectly - some of us don't even do it well! - and maybe it's for the greater good when we are replaced.

But then it was lunchtime.

I picked 14 peas from my soup, ate a little bowlful of plain lettuce leaves, and half an orange. And I remembered: You can stop eating. At this, if nothing else, you can excel, if you desire it. No-one else can do this for you.

And, in this trivial thing, I became irreplaceable, and it became non-trivial.

Tonight I'm meeting some of the friends I made last time I came to Dallas, for dinner. But that's ok; no longer does a dinner invitation carry the fear of "is there anything I'm allowed to eat here?" Rather, the question becomes "do I have to eat anything here?" And the answer to that, lovely ladies, is always no. You do not have to let a morsel pass your lips which you don't absolutely want.

This may be as meaningless as everything else we do. But for a time, it's liberating. And at the moment, that's enough.

Monday, 24 January 2011


Today in my (very technical = right over my head) meeting, mind wandering and hands searching for something to fidget with, I came upon my packet of chewing gum, and, idly reading the packaging, noticed that it boasted "35% fewer calories" than its predecessor. I've noticed before that (sugarfree) chewing gum manufacturers often post nutritional information on the packaging, and it's always confused me. Do we only need to count this if we ingest the stuff? Or do the calories somehow sneak in just in the act of chewing it? I know that if you C&S you inevitably still consume some of the calories, so wondered if it was the same principle.

And before anyone asks, yes, it does make a difference when you're going through 15 sticks a day in order to stave off the boredom...! Actually that's not fair, a lot of these meetings aren't boring in the least. I work for a linguistics charity that researches the writing systems of minority languages, and develops software, literacy programs and other resources for them. It's very interesting work if you're a little bit nerdy; I just get restless in long meetings, however interesting the content may be!

Well I went to the grocery store at the weekend and stocked up on fruit and veg so at least if the meals provided at this place are scary, I can avoid them and snack on something more familiar. Feeling a little better about the situation as a result.

Still a little nervous, though, about going home and finding that, despite my best efforts, I've become even bigger out here. I really, really want to crack the 120s (those who are stalky enough to keep track will know that I've dithered around between 121 and 126 for the last month or more). And I know that's just my fault for not really putting the effort in. I was 123 the morning I left for the States, and I'd really love to be 120 or less when I get home. But it's difficult to guage my expectations without a scale to hand. Who knows that I'm not 135 by now and blissfully ignorant of the fact!

We went to Fort Worth, Texas, for the day on Saturday to gawk at the cowboy culture :) It was a lot of fun. But I ordered grilled white fish and a garden salad for lunch, and they brought me suspiciously oily (panfried?) fish, fries (wtf?), and a garden salad with about a cup of grated cheese stirred through it.
I ate four bites of fish, half the salad, two fries, and left the restaurant hungry and with grease smeared all over my intestines.

Seriously, for all the bad rap this country gets for its obesity rates, I think it's doing pretty darned well given that every grocery store and restaurant seem to be unified in a mission to sneak a couple hundred gratuitous calories into every. single. thing. you buy.

Home. Husband. Hugs. Scales. Where are you all?!

Thursday, 20 January 2011


So, I'm in Dallas now, at these meetings. I have mixed feelings about it; there are a lot of aspects of US culture that I really like – the people are super-friendly and I invariably make new friends here, Texas definitely has more pleasant winter weather than London (!), and I'm always amazed by how much space there is out here! The sky looks so big when the horizon's so low.
On the flip side, I hate being this far away from A. I hate talking on chat at the best of times, and moreso when it's the only mode of communication that avails itself to me. And I hate being surrounded by yards and yards of food and twenty colleagues who I feel are watching everything I eat. I hate not knowing what's gone into any of my food (What's in this sauce? Is this spinach safe or is that oil I see in it? Is there cream in this soup? What's this brand? Something American that I've never heard of... House Recipe. Am I better off having House Recipe Instant Oatmeal or Quaker Grits? ). Every meal time brings me out in a panic, and it's not helped by comments from my colleagues along the lines of, “Man, you could get fat in three days at this place!”
I told A I'd eat normally while I'm here, but I'm really struggling. I don't even know what 'normal' means. I went to breakfast yesterday and they only had eggs and bacon and pancakes and French toast and syrup and things, so I freaked out a little and asked the lady behind the counter if I could possibly have a green salad. Cue further commentary to the tune of, “That's how she stays so skinny”. I become paranoid; are they laughing at me for what I eat? Is there a veiled criticism in there? Is this abnormal? One of my colleagues saves my neck with the assertion that in Israel everybody eats salad for breakfast. Ok, relax, normalcy is relative like everything else (is everything relative?). This isn't wrong.
Tea break – crackers, cheese and apples. What kind of cheese is this? The packet's not around. How much is in a slice? If you don't know, it's too much. Ok, skip the cheese. Need to blend in after drawing attention to myself at breakfast. Is that person watching at me or has he just spaced out in my direction? Will he say something if I scrutinize the label on this packet? What in the world is a 'Triscuit'? Can I have one? No, you don't know what's in it. Stressed. Result: two bites of an apple, the rest hidden in a napkin and thrown away.
I wanted to bring my scales with me, but the stupid airline slapped such a tiny weight allowance on me that I could barely manage to bring all my work-related stuff. So I've no idea where I'm at. What if all this unfamiliarly-branded food is saturated with fat and I get home and weigh 20lbs more than I did when I left?
I want to go home to my own routines, the foods that I know, and my scales.

On an entirely unrelated, slightly lighter note, I said something to A the other day about having a 'food baby' and he said, "A food baby? What, you mean poop??" :) Hehe, makes perfect sense I suppose!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

As promised...

Well, I promised a more upbeat post, and it's come in a way I hadn't expected. I'd been hoping to come online and write about how little I'd eaten recently, how much weight I'd lost, and how pumped I was as a result, but that's not quite what happened.

The post is a little out of date - I'd meant to post it on Monday morning but have been so busy that blogger has fallen by the wayside a little.

On Saturday night I went clubbing in Oxford with my brother and some of his friends, for his 21st birthday. I was a little apprehensive; being 25 and going out with a bunch of 18-20 year olds has a way of making one feel very old! But they're lovely people, very funny and easy to get on with. They're also all in great shape. I tried on about a million outfits before leaving the house to find something that didn't make me look as old as I felt, and finally wore a low-cut, silk, kimono-style top, black shorts, and high heels. And when I got there, for the first time ever, I looked around at all these young, skinny girls, and instead of feeling fat, I just felt like a woman. I did sneak an envious look, briefly, at the other girls' skinny skinny legs and perfefctly flat stomachs, then realised that they were glancing down my top in the same envious way! And suddenly I thought, "You know what? Boobs are sexy. I like having boobs! Bums are sexy. Maybe curves aren't such a bad thing on a girl!"

Don't get me wrong, I certainly wouldn't say no to a washboard stomach and upper arms I could close a finger and thumb around! But not at the expense of feeling like a woman. I still hate my little round belly, but suddenly, when I look at it I think, "It is only a little round belly, maybe it doesn't warrant this level of vitriol". At my lowest weight, I had no boobs, thin, brittle hair, dry, broken nails, constant stomach cramps, I was always cold and tired, and I was sad, because every bone in my back was apparent to everyone else but all I could see was fat. But you know where the irony is? Despite all that, I *still* had a little round belly! Not from fat, but from the constant bloating caused by a diet consisting largely of spinach, mushrooms and laxatives. And it looked all the more grotesque for being stuck on this little scrawny, grey, fuzzy body.

Somehow, though, even after all that, there's a part of me that still believes that if I went back there, this time I wouldn't be scrawny and cold and angry and fuzzy and grey; I would be toned and beautiful and happy and glamorous and golden brown with blonde hair and blue eyes (unlikely when one's natural colouring is olive-skinned with dark hair and green eyes...!). But the part of me that believes that is getting smaller, even if I myself am not.

I don't know how long this feeling will last, but I'm going to enjoy it for as long as it does.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

The Tower

First off, thank you to Cinnamon Brown for understanding. So often other people seem to be in possession of some kind of supernatural confidence, and I wonder if there's something uniquely wrong with me, that I can't take hold of that same assurance. There's a lot of comfort in knowing other people have the same doubts :)

I heard a song on the radio this morning, The Tower by Vienna Teng. All her songs seem to have remarkably beautiful and insightful lyrics, but this portion in particular stood out to me today:

"She turns out the light anticipating night falling
tenderly around her,
and watches the dusk.
The words won't come.
She carries the act so convincingly the fact is
sometimes she believes it;
that she can be happy the way things are
be happy with the things she's done.

Reach out
but hold back.
Where is safety?
Reach out
and hold back.
Where is the one who can change me?
Where is the one?

She says 'I need not to need...'"

Anyone else ever not sure which part of themselves is real and which is acting? And what's the difference between "acting" as a pretence and simply behaving contrary to how you feel because that's the least destructive thing to do? At what point does it become a falsehood?

I'm beginning to realise that not everybody swings from being one person to another with such abandon. Then again, equally, not everyone doesn't. (How's that for a double negative?) But there are definitely people in the world who wake up every day knowing who they're going to be that day, because it's the same person they were yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that. Some people never wake up and think, "Oh God, not her. Really? Again? Can't I be that nice one that came last week?", because they don't feel like totally different people on different days! I'm not talking a bit of a mood swing from happy to sad to ambivalent. I'm talking a different person, who doesn't like the same stuff, or hold the same opinions, or believe the same things, who's not concerned about the same issues, doesn't want to dress in the same clothes or hang around the same people. I just want one final change, into someone really nice, and then no more.

Where is the one who can change me?

I'm going to write a less depressing post, really soon, honestly...

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

You're so fucking special. But I'm a creep, I'm a weirdo...

Yesterday I C/S'd for the first time in, oh, I don't even know... mabe a year? Definitely at least 8 or 9 months. It was the best thing (loosely speaking; I mean, actually it's probably pretty gross...) and the worst at the same time. I'm just feeling kind of shitty at the moment.

A while ago I found out that A had gone online to look up a girl that he'd fooled around with at school and is now a topless model. And in his defence, he said he just googled her and then felt guilty when the results came up, and he closed down the window. I have an awesome husband who loves me and is faithful and wants to do what's right for our marriage. I know that, I KNOW that. And he didn't even do anything wrong; he didn't go to any of her sites, and she doesn't (as far as I know) even do any really hardcore stuff. I know a lot of women would kill for a husband with the integrity that A has; I'm not here to slate him. I myself don't even understand why it's such a big deal - I've had exes who would openly leave much harder porn around for me to find, and I didn't really care. But then, I didn't really care about the guys themselves. With A... I really wanted to make him happy. I wanted to satisfy him, to be enough, to be good enough. We've only been married a few months, and he's already bored and wanting to look elsewhere?

I know I'm overreacting. I know, I KNOW. And if someone came to me with this story I'd tell them to show a little grace for crying out loud, that everyone makes mistakes, that he stopped himself before he'd actually betrayed her, that in this day and age she was fortunate to be with someone who doesn't visit lapdancing bars or strip clubs. And I do know how lucky I am; I wouldn't change him for the world. But when he touches me all I can see is her blonde hair, perfect body, her confidence, and I'm so ashamed, of myself, not of him, that it's all I can do not to turn away from him. Maybe if it had been someone else, some nameless soulless girl whom we didn't know and on rare occasions hang out with, it wouldn't be so bad. Maybe if it hadn't been someone who's the exact opposite of me (dark hair, disproportionate body, shy) I wouldn't feel so inadequate. How can I really be what he wants when she's still so tempting to him after all these years?

Anyway, that wasn't the final trigger for the C/S - for various reasons this girl had been on my mind for a few days and I was feeling out of sorts and inadequate for a while, which I guess always opens you up to something irrational, but it was actually triggered by a series of inconsequential events - the car wouldn't start, then I was stuck behind a really slow driver, there were long queues at the grocery store, the self-scanner machine didn't work at the checkout... and I didn't even think about it, I just grabbed the stuff off the shelves and C/S'd, uncontrollaby, in the car. While I drove home. Using discarded crumpled envelopes from Christmas cards. Festive, eh? Not to mention pretty wise and safe at 60 mph. And definitely didn't make and other drivers who happened to glance in the window think I was some kind of freak.

So pissed. So PISSED! Am furious. What a screw up.

Doing a liquid fast today and tomorrow to clear my head.