Tag Archives: weight loss

Snarling #12wbt: One month in – what’s stuck?

I’m now a month into the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation. What’s the verdict so far?

Not as triggered as I thought…but by design.

I knew going into this program that there would be loads of triggering shit in the videos and the forums and the articles, so I’ve chosen pretty carefully and wisely what I read and when. I’ve basically avoided reading anything on days I’ve felt like crap, and just followed the food plans and done a bit of moving.

I’ve definitely had more “weight loss-esque” thoughts and feelings than I’d like, and there’s definitely moments where I’ve been more focused on my moderately shrinking body and how it looks in the mirror than the joy of moving and eating with joy and structure. But I would say those moments have been in the minority. And because of the intentionality with which I approached re-ordering my eating (I’m surprised at actually how big a part that has played in making me not go off the compulsive deep end), I think I set up some good decisions that have shaped my approach throughout. I’m coming back to my mantra of “happy habits” (doing things that make me happier in the short and long-term) rather than worrying about my waist.

For instance, I’ve worked out that I just generally do not want to work out five to six days a week. I get that some women doing this program “religiously” follow the exercise plans, but I can’t be fucked. Really, if that’s your bag, go for it. But ill health and exhaustion aside, I simply just cannot be bothered getting to the gym full time. I’ve discovered that it is more important to me to be ENJOYING and WANTING the movement I engage in, than to go hard and slam myself. I am just not interested in that.

I’ve also discovered that unlinking my brain from any kind of feeling of obligation to the program (oh I’m paying for this! I should be following everything it says!) is of less value to me than being a grown ass woman who makes decisions for herself based on what she can and wants to be doing, guilt free. Don’t want to go to the gym? Want to go for a short walk instead, or crochet and decompress from a crapper of a day? Don’t mind if I do. We are not obligated to move. It should be a joy. And when I’ve done it over the last four weeks, it has been increasingly a joy, not an obligation.

I like exercising with people AND THEN AGAIN, alone.

Oh the duality of this! I have discovered that some days I want to be walking and chatting with my honey, and some days I want it to just be me and the cross trainer. Makes sense that movement can be a lot of different things, and that it doesn’t also have to be the focus but instead a backdrop to social engagement, chatter, thinking aloud, laughter, or time alone. Just as eating is more than fuel, I’m discovering that movement is more than reps and time goals.

My eating is radically fucking different and BETTER.

Biggest differences to eating in this house for both myself and my husband include:

  • Low sodium cooking. I never realised how much salt I used in my cooking until it wasn’t there. I rarely use salt in my cooking now, and when I do I only use a very very small amount, and I really notice it when food had added salt (such as the presence of soy sauce, or when I eat a meal out). My husband says he’s finding some meals a bit bland (but then he can add salt. I choose not to and am perfectly happy). I’m enjoying how food tastes without being massively salted – it seems like my palate has reset, and I like it.
  • Much less oil, and when it is there, sparingly and deliciously enjoyed because it is appreciated for it’s own unique flavour rather than being the baseline of my cooking that drowns out a lot of other stuff.
  • Way more fruit and veg. WAY. It’s a joy to open my fridge and BAM, there’s so many pretty colours to look at.
  • A sudden influx of new recipes has meant I’m never bored, and I’m more creative in the kitchen. The cook in me is very happy with new ideas to tinker with, new ways to play with food. None of the food is boring or unattractive. It all looks very pretty indeed in my plate (especially things with red cabbage and snow peas. And we’ve covered my weakness for sweet potato.)
  • Satiety. I feel more full more of the time and the temptation to snack is covered by the two snacks a day inbuilt. I’ve finally broken my habit of eating all of my food in one go at lunchtime – the gorge effect – and I’m learning to pace myself so I can idle along at a nice rate of fullness most of the time. My pattern is somewhat addled by shift work, but mostly not too bad. I eat around 6:30am/7am, snack on fruit around 11am, eat my lunch at 12:30/1:30 and then have a proteiny snack when I knock off, as I’m catching the bus home. Then dinner happens around 7.30/8pm. Eating every few hours means I’m not hangry and much less likely to compulsively eat or teeter into weird ethereal low blood sugar highs which lead to fucked up OMG I’M SO INVINCIBLE WITH MY DIGNIFIED HUNGER, LOOK AT ME, I COULD STARVE LIKE THIS FOREVER. (Yeahhh…disordered eating thoughts are FUN.)
  • I always always always pack my lunch. And our wetbags from Planet Wise arrived so we can kiss disposable glad bags a big fat goodbye.
  • Husband is learning to cook, and is quite good at it. That man can really rock a wok. I love having dinner made for me!


Veggie kebab skewers and a couscous salad (above) and our new PlanetWise wetbags for taking lunch to work - no spills!

Veggie kebab skewers and a couscous salad (above) and our new PlanetWise wetbags for taking lunch to work – no spills!

Gone are the days of eating at all hours, relying on takeaway, eating lakes of dhal and feeling sick aftwerwards, giving myself heartburn from using so much damn oil, and never kind of understanding what it meant to stop eating when full. Gone is the scavenging for protein at work and coming up with noodles. Gone is the snacking on random sugary shit from the seven eleven.

Just goddamn decent cooking and plenty of it. Pow!

I’ve still got eight weeks to go and I plan to start saving lots of the recipes and menus so I can keep at it once this round is done. I am beginning to get the inkling that doing the #12wbt will have been a game changer for me in many wonderful ways.

Bring on week 5!

Ready for this Jelly: part 1:: The overview.

This is a blog post I believed I would never write.

In July of this year I weighed myself on a scale in my parents bathroom. I looked at the number and felt quite sad. I had been looking down at scales since I was in my teens and feeling sad for a number of reasons.

Sometimes the sad feeling had been because I felt self and numbers on scales were intertwined truths, or perhaps the number I saw was an echo of some truth about me. The larger the number, the greater the likelihood that I was a lazy, worthless, ‘bad’ (oh that word) person. Ugly, undesirable. Fat. Fat, for so many of us, has become a catchcry in our heads for outright disgust for ourselves, and our certainty that others share that disgust.

Often the sad feeling around my weight was a convenient catchment for self-destruction, depression and deep bitterness. It was a convenience that allowed me a trench of sorrow in which I could hunch and glare out.

As I got older, I stopped feeling so bad. At some point in 2009, I started to go easier on myself, and by 2011 my mental health was improving. Bipolar is a wacky ride fitted with highs and lows that exhaust you, and spates of starving myself and overeating (with lots of self-justifying behaviour, of course) went hand in hand with mood changes. I was the King of Everything one day, in charge of my breakable body, captain of the fragility of my living ship. The next day I was a furious storm of cooking, eating and living large – a nutty Nigella decrying moderation.

This is a good place to say: I believe in Fat Pride. I believe in being the people we want to be, and for many, that is being fat and fucking proud of it. I champion this.

The truth is, it always felt a little hollow for me. I was not proud, I was not being the person I wanted to be. I just made really good activisty fat pride sounds. I had a spinal injury and it hurt, and the weight was making it worse. I did not want to be fat because it was making me ill. And I did not feel able to run and jump and bend and fuck as I wanted to; I felt constantly inhibited by my fat body, that I no longer resented as fat, but merely quietly acknowledged as fat. With the endless possibilities of fatness came certain limitations that I was no longer enjoying.

So in July, I stepped on the scales – having not weighed myself in a long time, generally hating the process – and saw a number that I felt sad about. This time it wasn’t so much the number, but the feeling that I was doomed to my fat, my future of ever-expansion because my many attempts at ‘getting healthy’ as Mum has often put it, had petered out before. I was the Queen of giving up, and felt each loss of drive through the lens of a keen sense of anger at myself. I wanted the fruit but for some reason I couldn’t ascertain, I was unable to scale the tree. It was fucking irritating and reinforced all the feelings of hopelessness and failure I’d been mired in, years past.

I knew my partner loved me just as I was. I had pretty good self esteem, lots of friends, work I enjoyed, was educating myself. My fatness was only a factor in that it was making my daily spinal pain much worse, and so my seeming inability to pull myself up drove me crazy.

Sometime in August, after my partner had left for Canada for many months away, I called my psychologist. I wanted intervention, I wanted to feel I was helping myself and moving forward in some way. No matter how token.

Jo said several things that felt so controversial that I didn’t know if I could actually comply with them. Firstly, she told me to make friends with my hunger, because at the moment I was oversupplying my body with energy and I needed to stop doing so. My body would argue while I adjusted to smaller serving sizes, so I needed to make friends with it, with that feeling. That felt so anti-feminist that I wrangled with it in my head for weeks. Being told to be ok with a feeling of starvation seemed like the opposite of good advice. For a while I think it did disorder my eating – I took it on board to the point that I was enjoying my hunger too much, and scaring myself by eating too far below my lower calorie intake margin. Soon I got back on track and self corrected by talking to some friends and Jo about it, and I also got used to eating about a third of my previous servings. Making friends with my hunger was more about reconciling myself to a transitional period of serving size adjustment, and not about being ok with deprivation as a rule. Unless you’re a monk, deprivation is not a principle to live by.

Secondly, she made a couple of flat guidelines: no fried foods and no softdrinks (not even diet drinks). I have observed the first one and found it to be a good idea, because even the scent of fried foods makes me want to dive face first into a bucket of oil in total abandon. It’s like sprinkling a little coke on someone’s nostrils and expecting them to be totally fine and able to control themselves if you then plonk a cup of it nearby. It’s a sensory overload that opens a gateway to undoing the most important weapon I have had: focus.

The last thing she asked me to think about was saying to myself, when I felt panicky and hungry because I wasn’t eating as much or as often or as instantly as I would like was ‘this is not an emergency. I will get food soon. It’s ok, body. We are not going to die.’ And this worked, as a wee mantra, and continues to. It’s a form of mindfulness I guess – I see the hunger and panic and understand why I’m feeling it (horribly self-abusive attitudes to food as I grew up due to unstable homelife) BUT I just let it go by. And it does, and I am ok.

I have found this whole trek to be hard slog, but I’ve made solid progress towards reducing spine pain and yes – I’m also aesthetically happier in this body than before, even though there are many who watch my diminishing curves with despair (D, S). I feel more free in this body to do what I’ve wanted to, but this is not to say that my bigger body was inherently bad. I think apologising for our desire to inhabit a certain form is just as bad as the critique of those opposed to fatness, so I won’t do that, for my body and my journey with it is mine. Choosing to change your body is not an inherently anti-feminist position. Choosing to think you have the right to school a woman on how she handles her body IS.

I will be fat again when I bear children and that will be a challenge even greater for my spine. But I’ll face that too, and I’m sure I’ll be ok.

At the moment the greatest task in front of me is to consolidate my self confidence and work on trusting myself. I feel a strong sense sometimes of worry that I will fall off the horse, be unable to keep going, and so many other concerns. I am working right now on trusting myself, being gentle with myself, and quieting the yucky self esteem demons that are constantly pouncing out from under my quilt to poke and prod me. Being able to be mindful and let the eating and exercise maintain themselves each day, without emotion attached is an unattainable goal I think. But the striving towards it is so worthwhile.

I am able to appreciate the gifts of health this is giving me, and not in that ridiculous hyped sense of LIVE YOUR BEST LIIIIIFE!!1!, but instead in a quiet understanding that these things I do daily make a pregnancy more viable, make an overseas walking tour easier, make bending to lift up a pen less giddyingly painful. It is also nice to see my waist and hips do brain-bending tricks in a very tight black dress but though I may emphasise this to Facebook, it is not the grail.

To live well is always the grail.

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