“… unfortunately I awoke this morning with collywobbles, and had to take a small dose of laudanum with the usual consequences of dry throat, intoxicated legs, partial madness and total imbecility…”
Robert Louis Stevenson, Vailima Letters, 1890-1894
Totes with you Robert. On all of the above. I don’t even need the laudanum.
Did I mention I’d got into a right rut this year?
There is little point prettying up in skinny jeans and a peplum blouse to sit on a dog-flavoured beanbag all day and play Minecraft.
If When I shower, I often just put clean PJs on.
My poor patient husband.
My two nights out last week sent me into an online shopping frenzy, exacerbated by learning that ASOS.com has launched a plus-size range called Curve. (Well, about 5 years ago actually, but who gives about the details, I’ve been busy.)
There it was: a gorgeous embroidered kimono-cut jacket. With free next-day delivery. What could be better than an exquisite kimono-cut jacket for rocking a slightly more mature, esoteric yet still envy-inducing style whilst hiding one’s gross flabby overspills?
It turns out that the answer to that question is “anything”.
Fucking nora, I cannot even describe the thing that leered hopefully back out of the mirror at me.
Actually, I can: a mad obese ruddy-faced grey-haired lady, a semi-feral ferret-rescuing bint who likely lives in a park home in her own back garden as her house is too full of ferrets; who lives on jars of gherkins, Carr’s water biscuits spread with corned beef and dripping, tinned cherries with condensed milk, chicory coffee made with three spoons of honey and the occasional vodka-laced ginger beer as it reminds her of her time in the circus; who pays the bills by entertaining elderly men with weird fat-geisha-inspired sexual fetishes under her stage name of Tokyo-Tinky and who, to repent for that sin, makes intricate portraits of Jesus out of shed ferret fur, dried flowers and seeds and turns them into fridge magnets for charity.
Daughter, with her usual honest candour, confirmed that I was about right, I looked truly awful.
The panic of nothing to wear was swiftly replaced by the joyous discovery that I had surprisingly lost enough girth to slip into a never-worn dress from the back of the wardrobe that’s always been too tight. From H&M, trendy enough.
Albeit the previously-too-small dress was still pretty capacious by a troupe of camping boy scouts’ standards. The fact it slipped on effortlessly was still a heady moment.
I have technically been on a diet since new year and up until recently pretty much lost nothing. I’ve tried not to obsess about the scales or quick results over a sustainable long-term lifestyle change, but… Trouble is, tracksuit bottoms can have near endless sympathetic stretch capacity, fooling you that there’s progress when they are just becoming increasingly slack-arsed alongside you.
I fully understand the simple maths that calories in must be less than calories out. It is proof of how very little I’ve physically done. I sound like every other whinging blimp when I say that I’ve not overeaten, but zombie-killing really doesn’t take a lot of energy… Sometimes it feels like I am able to maintain my weight simply by chewing my fingernails.
My hands are pretty fit, mind you, from wielding a vibrating controller all day long. How fucking marvellous: completely flabby and unfit bar a pair of huge toned and sinewy silverback gorilla hands.
Over the last month however, I’ve partially cracked the curse of the endless curves by focussing on solving my collywobbles: I’ve stopped eating wheat and tomatoes.
This has led to me being noticeably less bloated about the gut (to me at least and that suffices for now) with half a stone lost without trying. Yeah, I know!
I’ve not got a permanent stomachache and I’m not producing vast stinking quantities of the faecal equivalent of whipped cream several times a day with little to no advanced warning.
(That special detail is partly shared for those of you who persist in reading this blog then complaining to me about my over-sharing crassness. As queen-of-persisting-in-doing-things-that-are-not-good-for-me, I do empathise with you keeping coming back for more. I love the irony and I love you.)
It’s also a pure joyful revelation that I feel compelled to share. I feel freed. I’d long stopped noticing I even had stomach ache. The silent reflux has gone too. Even the sleep-deprived general brain fog feels like it has lifted a little.
The madness I concede is inherent.
The faddy epidemic of wheat-free, lactose-free, etc eating was one of those trendy things that generally gripped my shit (and that is historically a feat in itself, let me tell you, I haven’t coughed voluntarily unless there was a toilet in sight for years).
To be very honest, I used to think most (most, not all) of the late 30 to 40-something “I can’t eat wheat” brigade that I knew were just neurotic self-obsessed types, who
couldn’t dared not eat wheat because:
a) we’re from Croydon and memories of growing-up feeling ugly in the ignored shadow of our school-mate-of-a-mate “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” Kate Moss still haunt all of us to some extent, and
b) they’ve discovered that the easiest way to permanently fend off the husband’s unwanted sexy advances is to have sharp massively protruding hip bones, and
c) they are insecure enough that they still
want need to shop in Top Shop with their children. No, more accurately, they still need to tell all the other mums in the playground that they shop at Top Shop with their children as no normal women post-childbirth still shop in Top Shop so we don’t recognise the outfits, we buy our clothes when we’re buying food.
Yeah sweetie, F&F you Tu*.
But there’s no denying that I’ve changed nothing much except dropping out those two foodstuffs and I am experiencing relatively effortless weight-loss and the alleviation of a wide range of other icky symptoms, some that I didn’t even fully realise I had.
Much like the evangelical newly-quit smoker, everything tastes better. Not better actually, clearer, more nuanced.
Diet coke: OMG.
Suddenly it’s gone from delicious dirty little secret to the palate-nauseating-equivalent of a toxic ex-boyfriend who did nothing for me, everyone told me he was no good but I couldn’t resist and kept going back for more… eventually I see sense and break it off. Sometime later Mr Toxic comes by, tries the same old charms, my reaction:
Oh. Huh? Eew. Gross. Really? What was wrong with me? Double eew, I’m gonna have to spit.
THAT’S diet coke to me now.
My sense of smell has also become heightened. Husband opened a bag of fresh bread from the bakery yesterday and the warm yeasty smell was so unpleasant, I felt more like reaching for the Canestan than the Lurpak. Weird.
As for not eating tomatoes: a little more frustrating. My specific familial/lifestyle health risks are identified as heart disease, osteo-arthritis and osteoporosis, against all of which tomatoes help to fight the good fight. They are also absolutely my favourite food. Looking for positives, I suppose it is yet more proof that there’s no flipping God.
I’m not quite at the “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” stage (never. gonna. happen.) but I’m definitely at the “nothing tastes as good as a normal bowel movement feels”. Maybe that’s enough to save me. Maybe if you have control of your bowel movements, taking up a spot of yoga and other exercise isn’t quite so daunting.
You’ll never get me off the crisps but I’m more than happy if some of them are kale… Maybe I’m finally on my way to (slowly) curbing my curves for good.
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* Did you like that? F&F you Tu. I fucking LOVE that. I feel like a g-e-n-i-u-s.
You don’t get it? Hmmm…. never mind….
Hey, I was just about to say that I love how your delicate lace bralet contrasts with your oversized check car coat and vintage boyfriend cut jeans, did you get them from Top Shop?