Shylock, oh Shylock… would you have wanted it had you have known?

If ever a person’s resolve was beginning to diminish; if ever one was tempted to reach for the cake… then this would be the very thing to firm that resolve right up, an no mistakin’. For THIS is what a pound of human fat looks like:

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These body fat replicas are actually being sold in The States as a ‘motivational aid’ to dieters the world over. I’m supposed to be ridding my body of two of these babies a week. Yuck! I don’t know about you, but I just reached for the carrot juice.

Crikey!

Food, glorious food…

I went to Amsterdam over the weekend. Gorgeous, but a dieter’s nightmare: lovely beers, tasty cakes, juicy grub and booze coming at you from all angles. But I was VERY GOOD. I rationed my fat points out and did my best to to stay within the limits. Crikey, it took some self control! Dutch food is carb heavy, they ladle on the butter and they aren’t adverse to a sugary treat neither. It’s alright for them, they just hop on their bikes and peddle off all those calories before they even get home.

The hard thing was watching my husband not have to hold back. He was very sensitive to my plight and offered to eat what I ate, but I didn’t want him to suffer for my former overindulgence. In fact, I think I might have become a bit of a feeder. I kept telling him to have things just so that I could have a bite of what he had. I’ve become one of those horrendous women who doesn’t order desert and then picks at her date’s food instead. I hate women like that and now I AM women like that. Oh Christ.

“Look, darling, why don’t you order all that bread and then I can just have a little nibble on the end.” or “If you have all those noodles, I’ll just have a tiny mouthful of yours.”

Fat Club is going to my make my slim husband fat. Oh dear!

By the time the Fat Club weigh-in rolled around today, I really couldn’t face it. I was sure I’d put weight on. Albeit just half a pound and I just could just imagine OFCL’s face if she saw I’d not lost again. So I didn’t go. I totally chickened out of going and promised myself that I’d just be twice as good next week to make up for it.

Yeah right!

I felt kind of sleazy about myself for not being brave enough to face down OFCL, and so around about the time the Fat Club meeting would have ended I shuffled off to the kitchen to weigh myself: ready for the inevitable horror. But to my utter amazement I had actually still managed to lose weight. Only a pound, but it seemed that the beer, Chinese food and bottle and half of wine with friends on the Saturday night had somehow magically made its way in and out of my body without setting up a permanent home on my hips.

“Shit,” I thought to myself “if only I had gone to Fat Club!”

As I stood in the kitchen, marveling at my weight loss awesomeness and contemplating a celebratory Oreo or two, I heard my phone beep in the other room. Stowing the scales in their secret shelf, I headed back to see who it was. A text message from an unknown number: it was her, it was OFCL!  ‘Missed you at the meeting today. Wondering how you are getting on. Don’t give up, you’re doing great! Just keep going.’

I raged to myself, how did she even get my mobile number, I thought? And anyway, what was this passive-aggressive shit by text? Every time I have seen her, OFCL has been nothing but rude, cold, patronising and/or dismissive; why the hell was she sending me messages of support from afar? Is this the only way she can manage to be kind to people? When they aren’t actually in the room? Or is she just frightened that I will stop coming to Fat Club and she’ll lose out on commission from the membership fees or something? (I reckoned I knew which was more likely.)

I texted back. ‘Thanks so much for getting in touch.’ (Passive-aggressive much yourself, deary?) ‘Sorry I couldn’t make today. Too busy. But don’t worry, I still lost a pound.’

(Subtext being: screw you, if you think you can make me feel shit about myself without even being there you’ve got another thing coming.)

I pressed send and watched the message zoom off. She didn’t reply. Not that I expected her to. But as I sat at my desk trying to work later on in the morning, I started to think about why I hadn’t gone to Fat Club that morning. On the one hand it was – of course – to do with the fiery battle of wills I am locked into with OFCL, one in which I was not prepared to give ground today; but on the other it came back to our old friend, Shame.

Shame for not ‘being in control’, shame about the wine and the Chinese food, shame about admitting to myself and OFCL that I’m the type of girl who just can’t say no! To a pie that is. To a lovely, lovely, delicious pie…

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*sigh*

The stupid thing is that I’d completely unwittingly managed to lose weight this week and If I’d gone along I could have felt good about that rather than automatically feeling so bad about my assumed gluttony. Somehow, the fear of what two beers in a bar in Old Amsterdam might have done to my waistline, terrified me into not eating much of anything at all for the rest of the week. And it worked.

Isn’t that what French women do? Isn’t that why they don’t get fat? Ah, dear old Fear and Shame: a girl’s best  friend on the weight-loss path to thin.

*sigh*

Target Practice… just shoot me.

Fat Club again today… and I couldn’t face the meeting so I slipped in quietly and early to the theatre bar where Fat Club members congregate of a Thursday morning for the weekly round of self-loathing and public humiliation. I was the only one there apart from OFCL and FFM; first name on the sign in list; first to shed my clothes and first on the scales: I’d lost two pounds.

*cue huge sigh of relief*

And then a  very patronising thing happened: OFCL didn’t praise me for my weight loss, there were no words of encouragement, nor did she even look up and smile. She simply said with a cold look on her face, “Stay there. I’ll get you your sticker” and walked off across to rummage in a crate of files over in the far corner of the room.

Stranded on the scales and not sure if I was allowed to get down, I tentatively stretched out and gathered my things from the chair next to me. I put on my jumper, noting as I did that the scales went up by half a pound. ‘Good to know,’ I thought to myself, ‘Bet I’m even thinner naked!’

OFCL strode back across the room with a face like thunder holding a packet of smiley face stickers in front of her, came back to the table in front of me and duly condescended to thumb one on to my Fat Card. “That’s half a stone then,” she mumbled before also adding a little shiny number 7 sticker to the card. She jotted something down and then held out my Fat Card, motioning with her other hand for me to step off of the scales as she looked straight past me to see if there was anyone else waiting behind me to get weighed. We both knew there wasn’t, but she seemed to need an excuse not to look at me.

I double-blinked in disbelief. Then stepped off the scales, picked up my bag and walked away.

So that was it. I’d lost half a stone in three weeks, hit my first Fat Club target – the one SHE had made me set under horrible pressure, stood there on the dreaded scales on my first day – and all I got was this sour-faced woman telling me to get down and sod off? She didn’t even mention me hitting the first target and the poxy little stickers had been given so very grudgingly.

‘Is this really how Fat Club works?’ I wondered to myself. So much for the welcoming arms of a weight-loss community. Why did I feel as if I had done something wrong? Disappointed her somehow? (Maybe it’s because I never buy any of her merchandise on the way out.)Pulling on my hat and coat as I went, I scuttled off home, out of the bar above the theatre, downstairs and out on to the street.

I’ve noticed something, you know: no one actually congratulates the people who have lost weight… not unless they have lost even more themselves and want to seem superior. They just glare at them as if they are letting the side down. It’s a whole other kind of shame; the shame of self-control in a room full of people who have failed to demonstrate it over the past seven days. There’s no way to feel good about yourself in these meetings: you don’t loose, they pity you; you loose, they resent you. And worst of all is OFCL… I don’t think she likes me; I don’t think she wants me to lose weight. I don’t think she wants me to succeed.

Who are these people?
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The proof is in the pudding…

Today I turned down chocolate at least three times. It wasnt hard. I was looking forward to making dinner with my husband. Its been an age since we cooked together.

He’s been so frightened that me doing Fat Club would mean that all the joy would go out of food in this house that he needed to be proven wrong.

Tonight dinner was:

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A delicious elderflower gin and tonic as we cooked…

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A lovely big prawn cocktail to start (and yes there was pink sauce!)…

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Mousakka and greek salad….  piled up high on our plates…

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And finally, frozen berry yoghurt with blueberries and hot fruit compote…

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So howzat for a Fat Club friendly dinner, folks? And I didnt go a Fat Point over my limit.

We all want our pound of flesh…

I’m disappointed in myself for not losing any weight last week.

There, I’ve said it.

The social shame worked well. It sent a very clear message to me that I’ve taken a cocky and useless attitude towards all of this; allowing my dislike of slimming clubs (not to mention my need to go to one) to justify my scoffing. As if I was eating in defiance of them, or something; as if I was somehow above it all : “Hey, I lost six pounds last week without even really trying, so up yours Fat Club, this is gonna be a breeze. I don’t need you!”

What a load of twaddle.

Much as I loathe the concept of it, the humiliation, the public-ness of it all, having to get on to those scale in front of strangers who may judge you IS the incentive. We can all tell ourselves it’s for our health, for our sense of well being, but there is nothing so motivating as the prospect of handing over that Fat Card and having someone else write a number on it before telling you how well (or not) you have done.

It’s like placing your entire sense of self-worth on the scales. Seriously.

I ate almost nothing yesterday after Fat Club. Almost nothing… I was admonishing myself to a degree and feeling grumpy about having no self-control. I even snapped at my husband last night when he thoughtfully made me some skinny dinner and I thought he had given me full-fat bread instead of Fat Club’s own brand Air Bread.. (so called because it really does seem to mainly be comprised of air with only a few scrappy bits of wheat to hold it all together. Sometimes you can almost see through it entirely.)

I was a bitch and, childishly, I deflected my sense of frustration at myself on to him. Unfair to say the least; time to grow up. There’s nothing for it but to knuckle down and get on with it; rather than browsing the internet for the lowest Fat Points chocolate bars so that I can ‘get away’ with a few treats.  I need to engage with this properly rather than treating it all like a big joke. The problem is, it’s just so incredibly boring to constantly think about losing weight. It sucks the pleasure out of eating. Oh my god it does…!

So here’s the skinny (if you’ll excuse the pun): When I started I set a target weight that says I had to lose 44 pounds.  Through sheer luck and a conscious lack of gin I have lost 6 of them. I still have 38 pounds to lose.

*Jesus wept!*

One more pound and I will have hit my first Fat Club target of losing half a stone. Eight more pounds is my 10% goal. Nine more pounds and I’m no longer obese… (just ‘overweight’.) And a in long and faraway place called thirty eight pounds in the future, I will be ‘healthy’. Two pounds a week, as is the recommended dose, means that I will be at the target weight in nineteen weeks: that’s 5th June. Bloody hell… is that a really long time away or actually quite soon?

And can I keep it up? This is going to be hard, isn’t it?

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This bag of sugar – as my lovely husband so cleverly pointed out to me – is what a pound looks like; apparently I am carrying around 38 more of these than I need. Can you imagine lugging those around on your arm in a shopping trolley?

Well, there’s the all important wake up call I needed:

 

I hate it when she’s right…

I scraped through Fat Club by the skin of my teeth this morning. And my total loss of weight was a big, fat zero. Yup, I hadn’t lost a pound. Not even a half pound.

Rats!

I pitched up early to the meeting to avoid getting sucked into the horror of it all and to take advantage of there being no queue for the scales. I’d been nervous about this week’s weight loss because of the terrible complacency that last week’s six pound loss had engendered in me. Basically, I’ve been letting myself have ‘a little treat’ every day without really adding up the Fat Points…. and it’s come back to haunt me. I guess it all started back last Thursday with the victory Creme Egg.

Maybe I need to rethink what constitutes a victory in this Fat Race… is it me losing weight or it just me trying to piss of Obergrupenfuhrer Fat Club Leader? I suspect I might have my priorities skewed somehow.

Last night, the scales at home said I’d lost half a pound, but I wasn’t taking any chances so this week I went to Fat Club wearing the lightest clothes I could find; I even ditched the jeans, figuring they must weigh at least a pound.

When I got there, the room was empty apart from the old lady on the sign in desk, the Frumpy Fat Minion and OFCL and she saw me coming. I de-robed as per, removing even my hat and iPod and tentatively stepped up on to the elephant scales, willing myself thin as I went and fearful of OFCL’s smirk if I had gained.

“Ah… not quite the same success this week, eh?” she said with a distinct look of pleasure in her mean little eyes. “You’re the same as last week,” she announced loudly as she jotted down the figures on my Fat Card. “Exactly the same actually… no weight lost… none,” she smirked. “Oh well, you can’t get it right every week can you?” She looked up at me, “So what do you think you did wrong this week then?” she asked in her most condescending voice, expecting me to squirm and wriggle. (Which I was doing… on the inside.)

I mustered my best confident voice. “Well, it was my daughter’s birthday and I fell off the wagon rather in the Choccywoccydoodah Cafe,” I confessed. “So I wasn’t expecting great things this week,” I said, making sure she knew that I wasn’t about to collapse under the disappointment of not losing a pound or two. “Entirely my own doing,” I said with a forced smile. And with that, Frumpy Minion (OFCL’s not-so-little helper) piped up from her perch in the corner, “Oooooh, do you mean that chocolate place that’s on the tele?”

“Yes, that’s the one,” I smiled at her, “It’s amazing and there’s no point trying to find a low fat option in there,” I laughed. “You just have to give into it and love it.”

“What did you have?” asked Frumpy Minion with a desperate look of longing in her eyes.

“Well, a nibble or two of cake, but a big huge cup of proper, melted hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows. It was heaven!” I enthused as Frumpy Minion began to drool at the prospect.

“What is this place?” snapped OFCL, clearly feeling left out of the whole thing and wondering if it was the enemy at large.

“Oh my goodness, it’s the most wonderful place,” gushed Frumpy Minion, suddenly full of the joys of spring. “They make these amazing giant cakes and everything is just COVERED in chocolate. It’s unbelievable…!” She was almost swooning at this point at the thought of all that yummy, chocolaty goodness.

“Well, there you go then. No wonder you haven’t lost this week,” barked OFCL, trying to seize back control of the conversation. “You’ll have to try twice as hard next week and HOPEFULLY you will manage to lose a pound or two.”

*Ouch*

There was a pretty icy silence as Frumpy Minion and I remembered where we were. Not lapping at chocolate fountains in the Choocywoccydoodah Cafe, but standing by the scales at Fat Club. And we felt suitably reprimanded for our nasty, fatty behaviour.

I pulled my boots, jumper, hat and coat on in the awkward silence that prevailed. Truth is, OFCL was absolutely right. Scoffing cake won’t help shed the pounds; but then I’d known that before I walked in of course. Frankly I was just pleased that I hadn’t gained weight; I’m not sure I could have faced her if the dial on the scales had gone up rather than stayed the same. “Well then, see you next week,” I said quietly as I gathered my last things together and shoved my Fat Card into my bag.

“Bye then,” murmured Frumpy Minion as I walked past her. And then suddenly, eyes bright and shining, she blurted out, “Did you see the amazing cakes?”

“Yes I did. They are really something else.” I moved closer to her. “In fact, we had one for our wedding cake last year,” I whispered in an almost conspiratorial tone. Frumpy Minion’s face assumed a look of shock, not unlike someone who has been smacked in the face by a large, wet fish. “Oh my god! What was it like?” she stammered.

“Utterly. Bloody. Amazing!” I said, “best cake ever!” and stomped off out of the room, ignoring the comments and glares of OFCL as I went.

No victory Creme Egg this week. But a bit of a wake up call. I need to do what I so glibly told OFCL I had done last week: eat less.

Calories in; calories out: that’s all folks!

Week Two: the come-down

I might have become a bit complacent about the six pounds weight loss last week; I’m not confident that I’ve lost anything this week at all.

It probably all started with the Victory Crème Egg last Thursday after Fat Club…. (and it may have continued on Saturday with a few little slips on my daughter’s birthday. Most notably in the Choccywoccydoodah cafe. How many Fat Points are there in liquid melted chocolate anyway?)

So I’m on near starvation rations today in an attempt to be lighter at weigh-in tomorrow. I don’t care if its half a pound… as long as I’ve lost something.

How else will I be able to look Obergrupenfuhrer Fat Club Leader in the eye?

This morning I made breakfast for the rest of the family: porridge, cereal, eggs, bacon tea and toast. But I had my usual banana and blueberry porridge.

*sigh*

Lunch was vegetable omelette with fruit & onion salad

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Dinner will be vegetable soup.

(What am I trying to prove?  And to whom?)

Lip Up, Fatty….

Just because I’d resolved never to go to a Fat Club meeting again, didn’t mean I didn’t have to go to the big weigh-in today.

The time had come  - and that is the whole point anyway – to go every week and get weighed by a stranger and ensure the humiliation of it in order to shame myself into actually not eating naughty things on all the other days of the week.

That’s my take on it at least.

This week I had a secret weapon up my sleeve: I have lost six pounds.

Yes, that’s right. By merely stopping myself from troffing on oodles of delicious grub and not having had a single alcoholic drink all week, I have lost almost half a stone. Look, I don’t expect it to happen every week (although that would be dreamy), but I was just so glad that I’d lost SOMETHING in the first week so that I could go back and hold my head up high when Obergrupenfuhrer Fat Club Leader told me to clamber aboard the scales.

I weighed myself last night and I’m not entirely convinced that my husband believed me when I said six pounds. “But that’s like…erm… (looking around the kitchen frantically for a comparison)… six bags of sugar, isn’t it?” he blurted out. “Really….?”

“Yes, really… AND I even had a mini Toblerone (or two),” I confessed.

So, this morning I strolled in early to Fat Club and joined the queue for the scales. As the line dwindled ahead of me, I removed my hat, jumper and boots as per the routine and waited for my turn.

Just like last week, OFCL held out her hand for my weight tracking card without even glancing up to look at me and instructed me to get on the elephant scales. She flicked her eyes from the card to the scales, wrote down the new number then paused and flicked back to the scale and then to the card again. There was an icy silence before she looked up at me. “How on earth have you done that?” she spluttered.

“Well,” I replied, standing triumphantly on the scales and looking at her square on, “I just didn’t eat as much. I think that’s the point.” And with that I snatched back my Fat Card, gathered up my boots, hat and jumper and scanned off out of the meeting.

Then I had a Crème Egg to celebrate.