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Anna’s Diary, Week 5

For the past month, Anna’s been keeping us updated on her weekly progress. If you’ve missed her earlier entries, you can find them all in the Diarist category. And without further ado from me, here’s Week 5…

The perennial question of “How did I get so big?”

I have a lot in common with a fruit bat in this weather. Since starting my weight-loss journey I have had to learn how to eat again. No don’t snigger, the assumption that because I was A Very Large Person I was also a complete glutton is not strictly true. I have tried of late to understand how I got so big, or sooooooooooooo big if you do the hand movements of hugeness!

I hadn’t got a clue about portion control, that much is true, and if I cooked rice or pasta I made enough to feed a family of 4 for a week and usually there were no leftovers, but I was very good at going whole days without eating! I have read so many articles on understanding eating and eating disorders in an attempt to try and understand myself, but perhaps its symptomatic of the fact that I was totally unaware of just how huge I was until the seatbelt incident that I really don’t fully understand why I was so fat.

Well, perhaps the whole family-sized bags of Kettle crisps might have contributed, and a love of all things yellow and fat or blue and smelly. Cheese … please hold on a moment whilst I have one of those moments when the bubbles come out of the top of my head and I dream. Stilton oozing off the plate, walking out of the fridge. Ok, snap back to now and cheese is one of the sacrifices I’ve made at the altar of trying to be a size 12. Maybe I do understand, maybe half a pound of cheese at one sitting is a bit excessive. Given that it’s a whole day’s calories now. Ooops – is this a light bulb moment?

Resisting breakfast buffets – but with no reward?

I digress, you want to know about last week. Travelling again, and I decided to have a healthy breakfast and stick to fruit during the day. Like thin people do! I am currently fighting myself to not give in to the temptation to eat less to lose more – because I know it won’t work but I want to get there soon. “There“ being 10 stone and normal, well normal for me. What is normal? Whoa, no more digression, back to the week that was.

I’m over the tempation to have a full cooked from the hotel buffets now, a poached egg and a slice of wholemeal toast may not be a fraction of the price you pay for breakfast but hits the spot. I even braved the hotel gym and apart from not realising it worked in miles not kilometres and setting it to 9 with the result that I have never run so fast in all my life or hit the STOP button quite so quickly. Quick look round to see if anyone noticed or was sniggering in the corner and gave in and asked the resident gym bunny for help.

The net result on the scales? Nothing. Nowt. Zilch. Zippo.

No wine with dinner – although goodness in the company I was in a half pint of Chardonnay would have helped – no bread, nothing vaguely caloried. Annoying! Time for some navel gazing – now that I can see my navel in roughly the right place that is and not more south pole than north pole if you know what I mean. I wanted to cry but decided that I hadn’t had enough water for the day so couldn’t spare the tears. I often feel that ‘dieting’ is so unfair but the only person setting the expectations is me. I don’t attend meetings where I have to fight to be the star loser of the week so what does it matter if I haven’t lost the 2lbs per week that my rate of loss according to scientific principles says I should on day 7? It doesn’t and that’s the hardest lesson of all to learn. Looking at the bigger picture isn’t what I want to do but it’s the most sensible. I abhor the word bigger now, I wonder why?! When you weigh daily as I do you have to be a very brave girl and accept that hidden salt, water, even the weather can change your weight by a little or a lot. That is goes as quickly as it comes and it’s the overall trend that matters. I hope I’m listening to myself now!

A happy ending to the week after all…

Back to the office and home and going every second day to the gym has broken the deadlock though and combined with sticking to the basic principles of eat right and move more, I have at last lost another pound. Which just goes to show me that I do need to eat, that fruit all day is not the answer for me, and that going without is counter productive. Not because I reach for the crisps or the cheese (a Stilton moment coming on), but because I have to learn to understand me again. It also takes me to just (JUST!) 21lbs to go. To go? To go to where? I think I’ll ponder that one for next week.

(Image above by fensterbme)

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Anna’s Diary – Weeks 3 and 4

Anna has had a hectic couple of weeks, but she’s been sticking to her diet: read on to find out whether or not her hard work has paid off… and to learn what DPIO stands for!

(And if you missed the earlier weeks, you can catch up with Week 1 and Week 2.)

Anna’s Third Week

“I would love to go on a time management course, but don’t have the time!” The old ones are definitely the best and most cringe worthy, and no excuse for failing to get my diary to The Office Diet on time to let you know how I’m doing out here. I have given myself another strict talking to and will now bring you up to date…

I’ve written off week 3, I gave a whole new meaning to the yo-yo diet and proved to myself – as if I needed proof – that not eating makes you fat. Combined with a good dollop of anxious moments on the work front and I actually put on weight! I am baffled as to how you get that worried thinness, how you can have ‘nervous energy’ and end up in size 8 jeans and still have chocolate for breakfast. I can only dream of a metabolism that goes into overdrive in tandem with my anxiety threshold!

The week was spent in hotels and on the road, and avoiding the urge to indulge in a dinner that wasn’t based on a bouquet of lollo rosso tested me. Just once I’d like to read the menu and order what I want and not what I think I should have. I know that life is for living but the regret the next day is overwhelming – I know, its obsessive, sad and all of those other phrases. But I have an addict’s personality, the more I have the more I want and therefore I have to have less! Are you keeping up with this? Don’t worry, I don’t have that much willpower and devoured the chips that came with my healthy tuna steak. Ho hum.

It was dinner at night and complete starvation during the day as I enforce my own no-eating-in-the-car rule. As you might recall I have a fascination with the mountains of chocolate (which I don’t like really) endeavouring to find themselves into my car and then on to my hips. I decided that it had to be an all or nothing approach and after having blueberries wedged in places they shouldn’t be following a healthy trip to one of those not-just-any-motorway-shop but … you know what shop, have decided to do an Amy and its no, no no. No surprises to find that my official weigh in (Sunday) told me I’d not lost a bean. Or an ounce. Or a gram.

But in my world STS is ok, as long as I DPIO (don’t put it on), I can live with myself but still get in a bit of a private pity party over the fact that when I look at my projected day for achieving goal I’m now looking at September and not August. Big resolve to get smarter and manage my business trips a bit more sensibly. Given that I’ve managed to lose the bulk of my weight while still doing my crazy commute around Europe and the UK it’s a bit bizarre that the closer I get to my chosen target I lose the plot more often than read from the script! I wonder why I’m getting so good at treading water?!

Anna’s Fourth Week

Week 4 and despite four days away from home and the safety zone of my own kitchen I ate reasonably well thanks to it being Asparagus Time in Germany. Delicious big white juicy somewhat phallic stalks of lusciousness (no thanks to the butter but yes please to the air-dried ham), lots of walking and water helped keep it all in check. I’ve got a wedding to go to at the end of the month and its motivation enough to send me into the gym every day and Sunday’s reward was a 2lb loss. Loss!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m a Loser Again.

Which all goes to prove that I can do this, that it is consistency that counts, and one bad week doesn’t ruin it all. Phew!

(Image above by hoveringdog)

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Anna’s Diary – Week 2

If you missed the first part of Anna’s diary start there, before carrying on here to read about “the bloat” and to learn what the acronyms VFW and STS stand for…

Anna’s Second Week

I have discovered that having been seriously overweight, I’ve been missing out on more than just slipping into a size 12 pair of jeans for over 20 years. Yes, I’ve been missing out on the bloat! When your girth exceeds that of most women’s hips you tend not to notice the little thing in life like bloat and scoff at friends who advise you that they feel 6 months pregnant after a heavy meal. Doesn’t happen when your navel caresses the top of your thighs, as you are indifferent to any sensation other than that of taking the table cloth with you when you squeeze between tables that seriously shouldn’t be that close together in a restaurant. The look of horror on diners’ faces as you approach to endeavour to shimmy your corpulence through a gap intended for a child, and their clutching their plates in fear, have you apologising even before you are within table-clearing-with-your-stomach party trick distance. Far safer to sit at that draughty table near the door than risk that humiliation!

Now that my hips are actually hips, and the jelly lump is confined to that area normally reserved for washboards but in my case is still a great candidate for the old vacuum cleaner – I have of late noticed THE BLOAT! It’s lovely – a real wake up call to the fact that even though I am restricting calories and watching everything to the point of almost saying the calories out loud before eating, I can feel very full on smaller amounts!

And to a previously Very Fat Woman (VFW), it’s yet another reason to celebrate. My jeans actually get tighter! My belt hurts! I stop eating! Yes, yes yes!

The downside is of course that now I have to agree with all those bland conversations about gaining at “that time of the month” where before a 4lb gain made no different in the grand sea of lard that was my stomach. Now it does and so I too can sigh and join in with the one-upmanship of monthly gain!

For that reason this week is a STS – which is not some kind of nasty picked up on holiday but Stayed The Same. Oh yes, there is a whole new language to this dieting lark! But I can tick all the boxes, the food, the exercise, the nutrition so it’s been a good one. Next week has to be a down one though, otherwise my diary could make very unhappy reading!

(Image above by Pete Reed)

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Anna’s Diary – Week 1

Anna’s post really made me grin (and cheer her on in places!) A great first week – read on for great tips on snacks when driving, coping with hotels, and much more. Brilliant advice for all of us who have to occasional travel for work – Anna does much more of this than me, though, and I’m jealous! 😉 I’ll give you her first week in her own words…

Anna … snacking healthily in the car

I travel a lot with my job and so you’d think by now I’m immune to the lure of the mini-bar and its overpriced contents. So did I to be honest, as I decided after putting my toe in the web page diarists’ murky pool that I no longer had any where to hide and couldn’t fool you lot so this WAS IT. Bring on a day of only eating fruit in the car – can you explain who decided that chocolate should come in BIG bags – I don’t even like it but feel so deprived when I don’t pay an entire week’s worth of calories when I’m paying for my diesel. I digress, I neatly avoided anything other than grapes as they don’t make a mess, and managed to slurp mango pieces without getting them on me, my car, or dropping some on to the floor mats to retrieve later covered in fluff and other unmentionables. It’s roughage after all, and waste not want not, don’t you know.

Anna … coping with meetings

Anyhow, after a meeting which saw me uttering words like ‘ I take mine black’ so as to avoid full fat milk and thinking I was having an out of body experience, I was truly ravenous. Make that starving, could have eaten a scabby donkey. Sorry donkeys; it’s just an expression.

Anna … enjoying a relaxed dinner in the hotel

So what did I do? My strategy for avoiding over eating in hotel restaurants alone in the corner trying to read Cosmo and not look sad and alone is not to do it. Instead I go to a supermarket and buy a salad, some pre-cooked prawns or chicken and a small pot of a nice dessert (all calorie counted) and a little bottle of wine. Go to my room, do some work then get in the bath pronto flushing anything left down the loo. Usually works.

Anna … experiencing the chocolate monster

A certain supermarket has wine on 50% offer. I do the maths and discover that buying a whole BIG bottle of wine is the same price as a little bottle. Clever girl me. The salad didn’t touch the sides. Neither did the prawns. So I drank the wine. And the chocolate monster struck. You’re right, I didn’t buy any but there was a crunchie and a twix in the mini bar. There wasn’t in the morning and I was a whopping 500 calories over for the day. I don’t really like the stuff, give me olives & goats cheese any day!

[Ed: I firmly believe that willpower dissolves in alcohol… 500 cals isn’t bad, though, I’ve been known to scoff whole family-sized bars of chocolate whilst drunk!]

Anna … having a successful end to the week!

I spent the rest of the week undoing the damage I thought I’d inflicted, you’d have thought I was training for the marathon. Anyhow, the week has ended up with a 1 1/2 lb loss, a lesson well learned, and next time you check me in a hotel, please empty the mini bar for me first, thanks!

(Photo of grapes by joyrex)
(Photo of crunchie bar by yum9me)

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Introducing Anna

I’m thrilled to introduce our new diarist, Anna! She’s someone I met on a weight-loss forum, and from the first messages I exchanged with her, I was impressed with her forthright attitude to life, and her incredible dedication to her weight-loss journey. I’ll give you her story in her own words…

Anna’s Introduction

Hi, my name is Anna and I am on a diet because I used to be very fat, and now I’m not so fat. Except I’m not on a diet, because if I were I would be reaching for the chocolate biscuits as I type because this is hard work! I’m managing my weight, the intention is to push it down but I’ll settle for not going up if I have to. Well, no I won’t but its not plain sailing. Or eating.

Personally I hate smug dieters, I endured Weight Watchers when I was 13 and vowed then I would never be a girl who could make a lemon meringue pie using low fat cottage cheese, and still have some left over to make supper for 4. So let me assure you right now that this is very much work in progress. But when your hips (ok, they were in there somewhere) started off at 60″, you feel positively slinky when they read 41″ and there are bones. I’m sure Posh is thinking ‘what a heffer’ as she reads this, but hey, something to hold on to David.

I used to tip the scales at over 20 stone, except I didn’t tip them at all because I didn’t go on them and I didn’t ever look in mirrors. I used to charge into Evans and head straight for the size 30’s hidden at the very back (cursing if the only top in the shop in that size was just too high for me to reach), and hand over wads of cash grateful for something that fitted me. But it wasn’t me buying that size 30, oh no! I was in denial. Then I had a Hideously Humiliating Moment. At the hands of a steward on a flight who decided that in the case of an emergency I would get stuck in the exit window and he might be last off after all. Me and my discretely coloured orange extension seat belt were very loudly told we could not sit there as we were of limited mobility and in breach of the rules.

Thanks mate! Thanks to you I have now lost 8 stones and have only 2 to go to be ‘normal’. Thanks to you I decided to wake up and smell the coffee (skinny, 25 calories), and get off my rather well padded posterior and move. Those mini tremors? Me running for the first time.

It has not been as easy as they make it look on Fern & Phil (and no Mum, I don’t look like her anymore even in her slimmer version) and I could weep with despair at times at the sheer unfairness of effort in versus results. Here I am though, a formerly very fat girl, still semi-fat, going to be slim. I’ll be revealing my weekly ups and very hopefully downs every week and then when I do get to the holy grail of a size 12 and 10 stone, we celebrate together.

Good luck, Anna!

All that it remains for me to say is a big thanks to Anna for her openness and honesty (especially about her Hideously Humiliating Moment — did you cringe in sympathy and want to slap that awful steward? I know I did!) And, of course, to wish her the very best of luck from me and from all The Office Diet’s readers.

(Image above by 96dpi)

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Yaz – Week 1

Yaz’s Diary


Day one

For breakfast I had a dried fried egg and slice of toast. I went shopping and bought pitta breads, salad, low fat cheese spread and fruit for my week day lunches. During the day went very well but it was my sister’s 30th so I had a curry and cream cake for dinner! But I had the lentils with plain rice on a small plate instead of on a dinner plate. For the first time in a long time I didn’t go to bed feeling uncomfortably full.Day two

We had a lunch meeting at work today. Sandwiches and rolls were on offer; I tried to pick the healthiest looking ones but couldn’t resist the chocolate mousse dessert. I didn’t get home from work until 8pm so had some pasta and pesto. I think my portion may have been a little too big. But after I’d eaten I didn’t raid the cupboards for snacks.

I went running today. About 20 minutes in, my ankles became really sore; I tried to run/walk through it but couldn’t. By the end I was in so much pain I was hobbling.

Day three

The Weekend: I managed to stick to it all day and then had a McDonalds in the evening whilst out. I’m really disappointed with myself.

Day four

For lunch I made a huge pasta salad. It was delicious. In the evening I finally got around to cooking one of Rosemary Conley’s recipes; low fat shepherd’s pie. I had a pomegranate and banana as snacks. Once again I went to bed without feeling horribly full.

Day five

Breakfast: No time for breakfast so I grabbed a granola and yoghurt pot from Marks and Spencer.
I went out for lunch with one of my colleagues today. She is what I think is known as an ‘enabler’. Whenever we go out we eat! The annoying thing is that she eats like a horse and doesn’t put on any weight. We went to Wagamamas, which is a Japanese restaurant. I think the food is quite healthy but the portions are huge. I had a clear soup with noodles. I promised myself that I would have something really light for dinner but ended up having home made lentils and rice. I went to bed feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Never again!

Day six

I didn’t have time for breakfast so I had a banana and a mandarin, which actually did the job. I’m trying not to eat until I’m full, but eat until I’m satisfied. For lunch I had my pitta, salad and cheese. I can’t believe how delicious it is! I snacked on the fruit I’d bought on day one.
Dinner was salmon with garlic butter and vegetables. I did try to pick the part with the least butter. Because I work such long hours it’s sometimes easier to eat what’s already prepared at home then to cook. But I have to get out of this habit or try to get my other half to cook healthier things. But once again I didn’t raid the cupboards afterwards.

Day seven

Someone brought in pastries today and I had one.
For dinner I had grilled salmon with new potatoes and vegetables. It only took 15 minutes to cook. I have no idea why we always assume takeaways are the quickest and easiest.

Weigh day

11st 1lb
I’ve lost 2lbs, which is my weekly target.
I’ve been really disappointed with myself this week. I did eat a lot less than I normally do but I didn’t stick to the rules I’d set up for myself at the beginning of the week. Normally someone would expect to lose a lot more weight in their first week.

This week I’m going to aim to follow the rules to the letter and try running again. I haven’t told anyone at work that I’m trying to lose weight; I think I will today. That way, hopefully, I’ll feel too embarrassed to accept the Millie’s Cookies that will be going around this week. And my ‘enabler’ won’t want to go out for big lunches or offer to get me the cheese and marmite Panini from Starbuck’s.

The Office Diet Says

Yaz is being really hard on herself after what looks like a good first week. We all need to take time away from dieting to enjoy special occasions – such as birthdays – and many people find it easier to stick to healthy-eating long term if they have a few treats at the weekends.

It’s great that Yaz is experimenting with new recipes, though the dinners she already cooks – grilled salmon with new potatoes and veg or rice and lentils – are great options. My main recommendation would be to weigh everything, especially dried pasta and rice. Many people are shocked to find what they considered a “healthy” portion is two or three times larger than it should be.

Making the decision to tell your colleagues that you’re on a diet is difficult: I hope Yaz will meet with lots of support from hers. And resisting those cookies and pastries in the office will be easier if she manages to make time for breakfast every day.

I think Yaz should be proud of herself for a good first week, and especially for the following points from her diary:
– She realised that it needn’t take long to prepare a healthy meal
– She ate until satisfied rather than until stuffed
– She knows she can’t blame other people (such as her colleagues, or other half) for making her “fail”
– She lost two pounds: a great start!

We’ll hear from Yaz again next week. And tomorrow I’ll be posting about keeping a diet diary, exercise log or healthy living journal, for all those who want to try this themselves.