Saturday, 26 February 2011

Wishful shrinking

I've been on holiday this week; although, instead of getting away, February half term tends to be the time when I get my sh*t together and catch up with all those jobs I've ignored since Christmas. It's nice to do this at a leisurely pace but it does make it one of the most expensive weeks of the year: Car MOTed and taxed, hair cut, dentist visited, flights booked and races entered. It might have been cheaper to go to Vegas for the week.

Earlier in the week, I was chuffed to get an entry for the Henley Swim in June, which prompted me to get my wetsuit out of the wardrobe, remembering that the last time I wore it I pranged the backside on a bit of barbed wire attempting to slide safely into the lake at Eastnor Castle. I should have been more reckless and just jumped in; it would have saved me swimming 1500 m with a torrent of water gushing around my arse. So this week I also got around to contacting the highly-acclaimed Snugg Wetsuits and sending the sorry article for some restorative patchwork around the rear-end.

The last time I wore this bad boy was in 2007: I don't remember being child-sized myself, but the wetsuit definitely appears to be so (pictured with my trainers for scale) and it's clear that I must have been significantly smaller back then to squeeze myself into it and retain near-normal circulation in my limbs. Alarmingly, it seems I'm going to need to undertake a considerable task before June if I'm to avoid either buying a new wetsuit or having to employ a lady's maid to hoist me into it. There is, of course, the added bonus that any progress made towards getting in that wetsuit should also help my cause for London, given the lessons learned at Dublin Marathon.

It's just a question of finding a way to do this now. You see, I really like food. Oh, and I really hate diets. To give you an idea of why, I'll give you a synopsis of some of the diet advice that has made an impression on me in one way or another over the past 10 years:

(1) Tyrannical rowing coach: "YOU'RE A BIT FAT. EAT LESS!"

(2) Fat Fighters slimming club: "Eat as much as you like as long as you categorise all of your food as brown or white and don't eat potatoes on the same day as meat and give all the naughty foods a cute, phonetically-confused names, like "vyce", "gylt" or "glutoneee", so you make sure you hate yourself a little bit when you eat them. Oh, and please pay £5 a week for us to tell you that."

(3) Lovely boyfriend: "It's easy: calories out must exceed calories in.... it'll help if you stop raiding the fridge for cheese all the time too.""

Now, being told I can't do something I want to do never sits well with me and generally makes me even more determined to prove otherwise; whereas being given permission to do something I would very much like to do does little to encourage any sense of restraint or moderation: two virtues I was hardly blessed with. As such, although I've managed to lose weight following the advice of both Diet Gurus (1) and (2) in the past, I've learned very little about a healthy and sustainable attitude to food in the process.

I can, of course, see that the nitty-gritty of lovely boyfriend's no-nonsense scientific equation makes perfect sense; however, it can be hard to swallow (if you'll pardon the pun) such sane and sensible advice from someone a) close to you, and b) whose only ever need to count calories has been in an attempt to gain weight. Added to that, the idea of scrutinising everything I eat for its calorific value sounds a bit miserable.

I do realise that there is no magic solution and, ultimately, some hard graft is required, but I know that any changes I do make need to be both realistic and sustainable, particularly as I would like to continue eating cake. So I'm proposing this radical plan:

Eat what I want, but only when I'm hungry. Then, stop when I'm full.

Simple, eh? We'll see about that.

I promise I won't inflict an exhaustive account of this process on you, but I'm hopeful that the public shame of the occasional blog post might provide me the virtual kick in the arse that Janathon did. Again, we'll see.

I wonder whether I should leave the creepy, headless wetsuit figure hanging next to the fridge though, just to make me think twice about the cheese-raiding.



  1. Could Snugg be employed make some adjustments to create a lace up back? I'm just thinking of my wedding dress where the strings could be loosened after the barbecue AND it came with an optional modesty panel....

    And I'd move the creepy headless wetsuit as it's a little terrifying in a Dr Who hide behind the sofa kind of way.

  2. Starts on Monday right? Can't have this shrinking behaviour at retox lunch tomorrow ;-P Remind me to tell you some of the pearls of wisdom that the nutritionist at boot camp came up with - fat is fine - 'you won't gain weight if you eat clotted cream - I promise you'

  3. I have similar feelings about diets and think that eating what you want but only when you're hungry is the best attitude to food. The three specific things that have worked for me are:

    (1) using a smaller plate. Don't get me wrong, I do go back for seconds, but now rarely eat until I'm too full to move;

    (2) not giving up chocolate, just asking whether I can live without it today. Somehow, the option of chocolate tomorrow makes it possible not to have chocolate today;

    (3) keeping a diary of everything I eat. If nothing else it made me appreciate each biscuit and not just eat them absentmindedly.

  4. Keeping a diary is definitely what works for me. I faff around thinking I won't eat this, be more careful with that etc, but as soon as I start writing it down, I lose weight! Also agree with not 'banning' any food. If I thought I couldn't have chocolate I'd eat more of it... always! And I LOVE cake! Sometimes I bargain with myself... you can have cake... but you must run 2 miles further tomorrow, then I decide if I want to take the wager or just miss out on the cake!

    Good luck with it! Also... agree - headless wetsuit a little freaky... although would defintiely stop any late night fridge raiding! :-)

  5. Oh god, I wish I could give you some advice on this but I just can;t becaise I go through the ame struggles. We all know really waht we need to do - eat less, move more, but actually putting that into practice...that's the tough bit. If you carck how to do it please share!!

    BTW I like the idea of leaving the wetsuit there as a goal - might try it myself with one of my old favourite suits...


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