Saturday, 12 December 2009

My Hero... Marjorie Dawes

Marjorie: You see your problem is, Tania, you're fat AND old. It gets harder, and there's no man is there, you're on your own?

Tania: Yes, my husband left me.

Marjorie: Yeah, well, he would have done. Yeah, younger woman weren't it?

Tania: Yeah.

Marjorie: Forty-nine, yeah, so you're on your own now, every night crying and eating. Well, at least you've got all of us here at FatFighters to make you feel better. Off you pop. Oh, she stinks an' all...

Friday, 11 December 2009

Day 46 - update

Just a quickie to say I did another weigh-in yesterday and half a pound has gone. Hoorah! So that's four in total, not a miracle diet but certainly a healthy one which has made a difference.

I am officially on a break from the project now until after Christmas and will blog again then.

Happy Xmas to one and all, and... CHEERS!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Day 43 - A backward step

Despite sticking rigidly to my water diet again this week - bar one sneaky cup of coffee at a cafe - I have managed to let 1.5lbs slip back onto the scales. I have a feeling last week's fish and chips may have had a delayed effect as I had a fantastic weigh-in the morning after I ate those. Ooops. And my Tone class was cancelled AGAIN today so I am sacking it off for Thursday's step and aerobics workout, which a fellow (very polite) gym member said is really effective.

This is also my final week before I break for Christmas. I have a night out planned and it's also my birthday soon so there's no way I'm sticking to soft drinks. Sorry, I'm just not that dedicated. But I will try not to overeat over Christmas and bear in mind that those three and a half pounds I've lost are NOT to come back on again.

As if I needed any reminder of how important it is not to pig out, the bridal shop rang today and left a message on my answerphone saying they needed to speak to me. 'Oh my god, the dress is in,' I thought, at first with glee and then complete dread. I do want the dress in my possession as soon as possible just to put my mind at ease but I am currently 4.5lbs heavier than the day I got measure for it. I know it's eight months off the wedding and I should have plenty of time to lose it by then... but what if they wanted me to go in for a fitting? The thought of the assistant squeezing me into that frock and asking 'Are you sure you ordered this size?' had me feeling so repulsed that I vowed there and then to sew my mouth up over Xmas.

I picked up the phone and with a trembling whimper said: 'You wanted to talk to me?' And the assistant informed me that the groomswear prices were going up in the new year so I should come down and order it as soon as possible. PHEW! I had bought myself a few more weeks and, hopefully, months in which to get my behind into shape.

In a vain attempt to claw back some pride, I will do another weigh-in in 2 days' time, after the much-hyped step class. Let's hope today was just a 'fat' day...

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Day 36 - Rude, rude, rude

Before I launch into my gym rant, which has been simmering for some hours now, I would like to report that the water diet is going well and this week I have lost 2lbs. Amazing! So that's 5lbs in all, with no change to my eating habits but a strict focus on liquids. I did have a cup of black, decaff coffee last week which was my only wobble. And I didn't even enjoy it. Think I went overboard with the granules.

Anyway, on with the rant. We often discuss our exercise regimes at work - some of my colleagues are keen runners and others, like me, go to the gym. But, unlike me, most of my workmates HATE going to the gym. One reason is because they find it boring and another is because, as they put it, it is 'full of tw*ts'. I always argue the opposite: 'There are some nice people in the gym and the instructors can really help etc' but today even I was incensed by an inconsiderate gym member.

Having toddled off to the gym to attend my Tone class, I found it was - for the second week running - cancelled. So I used the hour to do a full workout instead. However, when I had been on the treadmill for about 10 minutes, I heard a man YELL across me to a friend, who was on the row behind. This stupid man didn't stop at shouting, he decided to hang over the front of his mate's machine to talk to him, loudly, for the next five minutes. Then, of all the godforsaken empty treadmills in the gym, he had to get on the one next to mine. Annoying in itself but hey. I don't own the gym.

But then came the really annoying part. He turned around and, in my (headphoneless) earhole, shouted his mate's name. I was so annoyed that I dropped my usual British stiff-upper-lip attitude and turned to glare at this reprobate for several seconds, until he made eye contact. 'Sorry love,' he said in a patronising way. 'Good,' I thought, before he promptly jumped off the treadmill to carry on his obviously pressing conversation with his pal. That showed him. I felt like the queen of the gym, like I had shot down a rowdy youth with a single withering look and perhaps gained some admirers in the form of the onlooking gym members who were probably as fed-up as I was with inconsiderate exercisers.

But he returned. Twice. The second time, he just blatantly retracted his apology by completely ignoring me and carrying on his conversation FROM THE TREADMILL. I only had five minutes left on the clock so dug my heels in and refused to move, even when the guy's overpowering scent (sweat and last night's tea) washed over into my airspace and he started sniffing very loudly, like he was about to get rid of a large globule of snot through his nose or, God forbid, his mouth.

I could not wait to get away. And thinking about it, it wasn't the first time I had felt tempted to shift machines just to avoid a nuisance gym bunny. Like the girl who ignored the 'no mobiles' sign and sat on a weights machine for 10 minutes having an argument with her new boyfriend. I could tell he was new by the way she kept telling him to 'stop being so possessive and this just won't work if you ring me 23 times while I'm out with my friends'. Or the old man who completely missed the fact that I had left my water bottle and membership card on a treadmill while I made the 8-second round trip to the weights bin. He had started walking when I returned to the machine and I tapped him on the arm to ask him to move but I caught the poor chap by surprise and he nearly fell off the bloody thing. And the number of leery fellas I see chatting up women while they are trying to exercise, leaving the girl no option but to sit/stand on her machine, nod politely and wait until the stupid sod goes away before she can resume her workout. That may sound sexist but, in my experience, it hardly ever happens the other way round.

So instead of the usual 'no mobiles' and 'please put the weights back' signs, I am going to draw up a new notice for my gym: 'Stop f**king messing around and do some exercise, preferably at least 3 yards away from any other member.' Then maybe people will finally get the message!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Day 33 - Hot n Cold

Apparently, the temperature of the water you drink can make a difference to your diet. Seriously. In the main I have been drinking chilled water during my project, either from the fridge at home or the water cooler at work. Once or twice a day, I will have a hot water with a slice of lemon. But a colleague informed me weeks ago that drinking cold water is more beneficial because your body burns calories as it heats the water to your body temperature. Rubbish. Or so I thought.

I decided to do a bit of research on this and, amazingly, it turns out he was right. Well, that's according to This seems to be the general consensus on the articles I've looked at, which say you can burn an extra 70cals a day by drinking 8 small glasses of ice cold water. It seems reasonable to assume that your body is working that little bit harder to warm up your freezing tummy. But 0 degrees celcius? Come on. That's like drinking a snowball and, in the depths of a Northern winter, it's not something I'm prepared to do.

And there is an argument for drinking warm liquids while on a diet. While reading - an article on drinking green tea to suppress appetitie - I was surprised to read the iced drinks theory only works in the summer while a hot drinks approach works best in winter. Presumably this is because you are trying to get your body to be the opposite of how it feels, temperature-wise (cool in summer, warm in winter). And this requires energy.

Either way, I'm not sure how much difference 70 cals a day will make to my weight loss programme. After all, there are 79 cals in a Lindt Lindor truffle ball. And I've had 5 already tonight...

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Day 29 (Eighth Post)

It's now been almost a month since I vowed to stick to water and ditch all other drinks. Apart from a rogue coffee and a cheeky orange squash last week, I was doing really well and had lost 3.5lbs.. until the weekend, that is. I had arranged to go to a comedy club with my fiancee and two friends and, just a few hours before, vowed not to touch anything at the bar. But as I changed my clothes and downed a couple slices of cheese on toast, my friends arrived and the party spirit began to surface. I ended up having three vodka and tonics at the gig and leaving on the merry side of sober.

The shame kicked in the morning after and I felt like such a hypocrite for writing last week that I was going to be extra careful. But that feeling was nothing compared to the disappointment I felt when I stepped on the scales this morning and found I had put half a pound on. Noooo!

But what really got my goat was that the vodka was not actually too bad, around 300 cals (two doubles and a single @ 60 cals per measure), but the tonic water contained around 360 (120 per glass). How annoying! There was no slimline tonic available but in future I'll just have it on the rocks I think.

However, I am staying positive and looking at it this way: I've lost 3lbs in a month, which means I am only about 5lbs off my target weight. And I have three more weeks to go until my next night out is planned, when I intend to break from my water diet for the Christmas period. So it's realistic that I can lose another 3lbs before Christmas. Now all I need to do is stay away from the mince pies! Why is Christmas food so calorfic?!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Day 22 (Seventh Post)

Today was slightly disappointing, I have to admit. My bums, tums and legs class has been rebranded as "Tone", and after a hearty workout I took myself off to the gym's fancy scales. The digital counter rolled through the numbers, up and down, before settling on... exactly the same as last week. To a tenth of a pound! I wasn't 100% confident when I stepped on them, I must admit, probably due to the odd biscuit and chocolate bar that just happened to pass through my lips this week. But I am placing most of the blame on the fact that I was wearing my full-length, jersey jogging bottoms as opposed to the lightweight cut-off pants I have been wearing for previous weigh-ins. That must make a difference of half a pound... surely!

I know I'm clutching at straws here, but many life-long dieters I know do exactly the same thing. Come on, how many times have you stepped on the scales and had a disappointing result, then gone on to blame that party you went to, or a bad week at work, or even the time of the month? It's so easy to divert the failure to something or someone else. And we shouldn't. I'm not saying we should feel guilty for putting on weight but I do think we need to take a look at our actions and take full responsibility for them.

So that's what I'm going to do this week. Yes, I am a sinner, but Lord I can change! I vow to go to Strictly-cise tomorrow, then do a proper workout on Friday. And I will stick to the water, even though I'm going out with friends this weekend who will be boozing merrily.
And for next week's weigh-in, I'll be wearing my cut-off pants!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Day 19 (Sixth Post)

I hate to sound smug but I've gone for nearly three weeks now without so much as a glass of wine. One of the most persistent offenders in the dieting world is alcohol - people can't seem to live without it. And of course, I like a drink as much as the next person. I'm certainly not teetotal and don't plan on giving up booze permanently, just for the duration of my Watergirl project. But when we drink our calories we really are sabotaging any other efforts to lose weight.

Think of it like this: what's the worst thing about dieting? I would say, feeling hungry and not being able to scoff treats like chocolate and pizza. But cutting out alcohol doesn't increase your appetite and those calories saved can be 'spent' on occasional choccies and the odd biscuit. Of course, this theory indicates that you're effectively cancelling out the good done by skipping a drink, as you're replacing the calories with food. But, there is a difference between calories gained from nutritional foods and "empty calories" consumed from sources like alcohol.

Say, for example, you shun two standard glasses of wine but eat a Snickers bar for 270 calories instead. There's roughly the same amount of calories in the two but a Snickers bar actually contains some nutritional value such as fibre, calcium and potassium. You don't get this from alcohol – although some alcoholic drinks like red wine can have a positive effect on your health, if you believe the experts.

So you've eaten the Snickers bar and it's stopped the hunger, result. But what happens if you drink the wine? You're still hungry and you're likely to think: 'Sod it, I'll have that Snickers bar anyway,' because now you're feeling a bit tipsy and, let's face it, couldn't give a toss about the stupid diet. So you end up consuming 500 cals and probably more because the bottle is half full (or empty, depending on your outlook in life!) and there's no point in letting the rest go to waste.

Anyway, I'm no nutritionist – this blog is just based on the knowledge I've gathered through the years by dieting and re-dieting, and talking to dozens of women about their experiences. But if you'd like to read a bit more about alcohol and why it's a good idea to cut it out while you diet, read

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Day 16 (Fifth Post)

It started soon after eating the aforementioned Chicken Tikka & Onion Bhaji Wrap. A bloated stomach accompanied with mild cramps. I've just eaten too much, I thought. But two days later the cramps had become considerably worse and I got the chills. Feeling grim, I took a day off work and stayed wrapped up for a while, eating small portions at mealtimes and avoiding snacks. I had simply lost my appetite.

The water continued to flow into my glass, with the occasional teaspoonful of Andrews salts to settle my stomach. And when Monday came and the cramps subsided, I realised that four days had passed where I hadn't overeaten. I hadn't skipped any meals either but I usually crave snacks in between, and I just couldn't face any extra food.

This led me to ask some questions about appetite: Was it all in the mind? I hadn't felt hungry at all but I still ate because I knew I should, and because I didn't want to make the cramps worse by having an empty stomach. Obviously appetite comes when we don't eat for a while but how can some people (thin people) keep the feeling at bay while others feel the need to quash hunger by eating immediatley? And is there a way of 'losing' your appetite other than contracting a virus or going through some kind of emotional trauma? Cos if there is, I want to know!

By yesterday I was feeling fine again and toddled off to my legs, bums and tums class at the gym. After 45 minutes of grapevines and sit-ups, I weighed myself and was pleasantly surprised to find I had shed 1.5lbs over the past week.

So now I know what to do this week: keep drinking the water and hang around sick people.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Day 11 (Fourth Post)

It's funny how, when you're focusing on a diet so much, you sometimes completely forget you're on one. I was all ready to order a coffee on Sunday until a lightening bolt hit me when I reached the front of the queue in a cafe. I had to dash to the fridge to pick up a water or it would have slipped out: 'A large milky, frothy, calorific capuccino please!'

And yesterday, I was caught unawares in the hairdressers when, while having my hair washed, an assistant asked me: 'Would you like a tea or coffee?' Yes, of course I would! It was only when she'd walked away with my order that I realised my mistake and by that time it would have been rude to refuse. Yes, I broke my drinks fast and had a brew. So sue me.

Anyway, I'm back on the wagon now but have felt a bit bloated since then. I'm sure it has absolutely nothing to do with the coffee, it's more likely the Asda Chicken Tikka & Onion Bhaji Wrap I consumed for lunch had more effect on my digestive system. They are to be avoided at all costs, by the way. Horrific.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Day 8 (Third Post)

Well, after sticking to my water-only diet for a full seven days, no cheating, I took myself off to the gym for my weekly weigh-in. I was amazed to find that I have lost 2lbs - the first time in weeks that I have actually manged to lose any weight at all.

Now, considering the amount of calories I have saved by shunning soft drinks, alcohol and tea and coffee (with milk), I shouldn't really have been surprised. Having totted up the calories in a bottle of wine (600) five glasses of fresh orange juice (550), and three pints of milk (750), I have saved at least 1,900 calories. And that's before the extras like the odd smoothie and extra alcohol on nights out. I did always drink diet fizzy drinks and low-cal squash, but for people who don't, they could save around 140cals per 330ml can of pop and about 30cals for a glass of squash.

What really surprised me about my weight loss this week was that my diet included quite a few high-fat treats. With it being my fiance's birthday, there were several boxes of chocolates hanging around. So a couple of nights were spent devouring Maltesers and Miniature Heroes. And two scones just happened to end up on my plate yesterday when I was feeling down at one point and need a pick-me-up. Oops...

So I have by no means been an angel on the diet front, and I think this proves just what a big difference the water has made to my diet. I feel much fresher and hydrated than I did before I started and my skin is really clear, which is a relief after getting some whopping zits in the past few weeks.

Spurred on by today's weigh-in, I have no qualms about continuing my water diet and hope that some of you will join me! I've already heard from some women who have ditched drinks, except water, and have seen massive weight losses. Please feel free to leave your comments and let me know if this has worked for you or if you think it's a waste of time!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Day 1 (Second Post)

Well, I am officially on my water diet. Instead of my normal orange juice at breakfast, morning coffee, cordial with lunch, cups of tea at work and a hot orange just before bedtime, I have only sipped water.

My morning intake was increased by a trip to the gym so all in all I think I've drunk 3 litres today. According to Government guidelines we should be drinking 6-8 glasses of water per day (1.2litres), so I'm doing OK.

I haven't drunk for the sake of it, only when thirsty, so am not in danger of overdoing it. Which some people have. Unbelievably, people have actually died from drinking too much water.

While doing some research for this project, a Google search for 'water diet' brought up this story: It's about a woman in her twenties who lived off soup and water to get down to 9st 2lb. She was still in her healthy BMI range but her body lacked sugar so ketoacidosis was triggered, where the body eats into its own fat reserves.

And this woman died after drinking 7 pints of water in one day, while on the Lighter Life plan:  Her over-drinking led to a swelling of the brain.

I have no intention of forcing myself to drink a specific amount of water and I am coupling this project with a healthy, balanced diet.

Today has been pretty easy for me, apart from noticing that I was REALLY hungry at about 2pm. This was after a gym class and having walked through town carrying a copious amount of early Christmas shopping, so I think that hunger was justified.

Although I know there are tough times ahead – parties, meals out, birthdays, brewtimes – I am determined to see this thing through at least until my birthday, which is seven weeks away. So bring on the Evian!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

The plan (First Post)

Having been a yo-yo dieter since the age of 17, I have, at the grand old age of 27, come to the conclusion that I must be doing something wrong.

I've tried everything: SlimFast, cabbage soup, the British Heart Foundation's 3-day diet (for obese people who are awaiting surgery and desperately need to shed a few pounds before doctors risk opening them up), Slimming World and, more recently, WeightsWatchers (WW), which worked.

It worked so well that I lost 20lb in three months and I thought I'd cracked it. With an impending wedding (August 2010) I rushed to a bridal shop and got measured up for my dream dress. Then, I promptly put 7lbs back on.

I know why, it's becasue I ate too much. There. I said it. No excuses... like the ones I've been using for the past few weeks, as my clothes got gradually tighter and I started catching people taking sneaky "is she pregnant?" glances at my swollen tummy. It wasn't because my WW meeting closed, or that I have been stressed after my cat went missing and we agreed a sale on our house. It wasn't because I decided to cut out sugar and my body was adjusting. It was because I ate too much.

So here's the plan... this weekend is my final blow-out. It's my fiance's birthday on Monday and we've already had a wine and takeaway to celebrate, not to mention a generous slice of the Nigella Lawson Malteser cake which I so lovingly baked for him. There's a day out shopping to come (with obligatory slap-up lunch) and a family party (complete with sausage rolls). Then that's it. I'm back on the wagon.

But this time it's different. I propose, stupidly or otherwise, to only let 1 drink pass my lips until I break for xmas week. And that's H2O. Corporation pop. Yes, water.

Whether at work, home or out on the razz, I promise I will only let water pass my lips. I will, of course, curb the biscuits and eat healthily too, but I really feel my system needs a good washout, a cleansing, detoxing rinse of the soul. So, from Tuesday 27th October 2009, I am The Watergirl.