All posts for the month July, 2013

Post holiday or post prozac blues?

Published July 29, 2013 by Crystal

Durdle DoorRecently back from a lovely holiday in Dorset, I am finding that even my loosest jeans no longer fit.

For many weeks, it’s been so hot and sunny I’ve gotten away with flowing dresses, and tunics and leggings.  Everything is forgiving and hides all those bumps and lumps.  But on Sunday I had to pop to the supermarket and squeeeeeezed into my jeans.   My inner hater voice saw the perfect moment to attack;

 “You’re so fat.  This is the fattest you have ever been.  You’re lazy.  And fat.  You need to diet.  Honestly.  You have no self control and you’re fat.”

Fortunately I have a lovely group of ladies to reach out to in moments like this, thanks you those Beyond Chocolate sisters!  I know when my gremlin strikes, I can go share my experiences with others who have their own noisy spiteful voices, and I can look at the deeper issues.  I think there are a few things going on at the moment.  One is that I stopped taking prozac a few weeks ago, having started a course in January.  In that time I have gained about a stone, and am now at my heaviest I have ever been.   The knee jerk reaction is to start looking to the diet clubs.  I want to lose this weight fast!  Horrid extra weight.  Horrid fat.  Horrid me.  Should I take some milkshake of some sort?  That aways shows a nice quick loss after all…..or maybe some juicing, it’s summer after all.  Some juice might be nice.  But then what diet haven’t I tried?  Maybe there’s something out there that will work the way nothing else has?

Or I could tune in to myself.

What is bothering me?  Besides my jeans not fitting?

Well, I’m anxious about speeding up my power walking times to get ready for the Cheltenham Half Marathon.  I feel like I’ve failed before I’ve even done it.  But to address that I’ve committed myself to walking every evening and invited friends to join me. One walk at a time!

I veered away from my mostly vegan diet for a time, and noticed I felt less healthy.  I felt I was constantly letting myself down…..have now ordered several staples for the cupboards and can eat better for myself.

I am anxious about how the prozac has affected me physically.  Has it messed up my metabolism?  Only time will tell on this one, but I know one thing; googling does NOT help.  For every positive message there are 10 messages of despair!  Hopefully moving my body and eating foods that nurture will help me feel grrrrrreat!

And finally, yep, it’s the end of our family holiday.  For the next 4 weeks it’s me, and my kids, and the animals.  How will I keep them entertained?  How will I keep sane?  How will I get any housework done?  I downloaded the Flylady app before we went away on holiday.  I shall be putting it to good use in these coming weeks and developing healthy habits in more ways than food and movement!

So there you have it.  Inner hater voice silenced.  For now.  She’ll be back.  But for now I have the upper hand!

beautifully broken


But if I love myself I might not want to change?

Published July 24, 2013 by Crystal

On a long drive down to our camping destination I noticed, in the wing mirror the curves and shapes of my arm. I realised I like the softness and the shape of that arm. It was a strange sensation. Actually liking some part of my body! Instantly though, panic set in. If I like my body as it is now, how will there ever be any incentive to change?
But then I’ve spent years and years hating my body and where had that helped in losing weight and keeping it off? Hating and self loathing has led, again and again, to the cycle of losing, bingeing, regaining, and then some! I never saw diets as anything more than a way to lose weight and become acceptable.
So the question remains, if there’s a part of my body I actually like now, as it is, at this weight, how will I be motivated to lose weight?

But actually I feel free. There may be no motivation to lose weight whatsoever! I may never think about losing weight ever again. Would that be such a bad thing?  To actually be happy in my skin and not be endlessly counting calories and envying the slim women who can wear what they like? Would it be such a bad thing to instead focus on ways that I can feel great inside and out? Mind, body and soul?

As the focus moves evermore from how I look to how I feel I become evermore aware of the things that make me feel good. Walking, for the sheer pleasure of discovering new places and getting a bit out of breath in the process. Walking up flights of stairs to reach the top of a water slide that will then leave me screaming and twisting and turning as I descend. Choosing a humous and salad sandwich for breakfast rather than scrambled eggs with the rest of the family. And all the while not worrying about what other people think, but just wanting to enjoy myself and treat my body well.

So I like my arm. With its curves and softness. And it’s not the end of the world!

My achilles heel.

Published July 16, 2013 by Crystal

When I completed the Moonwalk I was exhausted, but in 24 hours I was so keen to move on to my next challenge, and got it quickly in my head that I wanted to train to run the London Marathon.  I’ve applied in the public ballot, but won’t find out until October.  In the meantime, I wanted to do something desperately.  Something else to keep me motivated and moving.  Walking done, running seemed the logical step, and I signed up to the Cheltenham Half Marathon, thinking even if I can only run a few miles of it, it will be something to aim for.

2 months on, my plans have changed, and it is with some disappointment, but also with a whole lot of relief after deciding that for now I will continue walking, focus on improving my personal best speeds, and aim to complete the half marathon in less than 3 and a half hours.  I have a lump on my achilles tendon, and feel pain and stiffness on a fairly regular basis at the moment, and I have decided that rather than give up all together, or go to the other extreme of pushing myself and doing damage (I am after all an all or nothing person, I frustrate myself) I would rather allow myself to enjoy walking, enjoy going as fast as I can for as long as I can and build that up.

But in my head at the moment there is some sort of shame going on.  It’s as if walking is not as relevant or important as being able to run.  I almost feel like I am giving in through deciding to stick with walking for now.  As if I am letting myself down.   Today, though, I have walked about 5 miles (done my 10000 steps).  The last couple of miles was completed in half an hour as I raced to school to pick the kids up!  Already I am feeling it in my left ankle.  There is already pain and stiffness, and I so in my heart and head I do know that running would be a bad idea when walking already has an impact.

The problem is, it’s easy to get caught up in the “fitspiration” messages that are flooding the internet these days.  “Push yourself to the limit”  “No pain, no gain” “Run fast, run lean”.  It’s easy to think you need to go that extra mile because that’s the message you keep hearing.  My thing is, I get scared, scared I’m going to fail, so I may as well give up before that happens.  By deciding to only walk, I almost feel like I am giving up on my dream of running a long distance, even though at the moment I know it is the sensible option, and will still keep me moving like I want to!

Gah.  I have no words of wisdom today.  I have to shut my gremlins up, and celebrate the things I can do, here and now, with my body as it currently is!


If it’s working for you, then why would you want to stop?

Published July 11, 2013 by Crystal

I appreciate I may have been very doom and gloom with my post about losing pounds.  A lot of you reading can relate and have experienced similar.  You can remember the guilt when you had that meal out, the one where you didn’t go for the calorie free, naked lettuce, and instead had the carbonara with garlic bread.  You recall the morning after the night before when a healthy fry up was not such an appealing option, and you had extra toast and hash browns.  You have removed so many food items from your diet, you feel like all you eat is salad and soup.   But then there are those of you who may feel I am attacking you because of your lifestyle choice.  I’m here, writing that diet clubs suck, but you are having a great time, and are proud of your successes.  Nothing that I wrote resonates, I must have gone to a really bad diet club!

The fact of life is, that if it is working for you, you don’t need my approval, or acceptance, or agreement.  If you are enjoying your way of life, and weighing each week, following a plan, and feel empowered and happy then I wholeheartedly congratulate you, and wish you every success.

Because the beauty of this world is that all of us are different!  We all view food and weight and our appearances differently.  If you know going to a diet club will be something that will support you in reaching your goal and you will maintain a weight loss, and maintain that lifestyle after, and are happy to accept the cost, then you don’t need me to tell you otherwise.

But for many many women, it’s a thing we’ve done more than once.  We went, we lost, we left, we gained, we went back.  We were then fed the idea that it wasn’t the diet that failed us.  It was us that failed the diet.  We weren’t disciplined enough, we “let ourselves go”!  Diets nowadays are touting themselves as lifestyle changes, because they know that “diet” has become a dirty word.  But “lifestyle change” is an equally loaded phrase.  If you don’t adapt to the “lifestyle change” and gain weight after you’ve lost it, it’s your fault because you didn’t make the necessary changes and maintain them!

In any other part of life, where something didn’t work for you, you’d go try a different way.  Say some antibiotics didn’t get rid of an infection, you’d get some different ones, not keep trying the same ones!  If a recipe you tried was a disaster, you’d try something different, something that would suit you.  So many times, we adapt and change so that things can work for us.  And making lifestyle changes should surely be similar.  But time and again, people, predominantly women, buy in to the lies fed to them by the big dieting companies, that the diet is fine, it is them that is lacking.  We don’t have the discipline.  We obviously don’t want it enough.  We didn’t try hard enough.

I refuse to believe this lie anymore.  I did want to lose weight, I did want to become more healthy. Every. Single. Time. I. Joined. The Diet Tribe.  But the diet lifestyles were never maintainable.  They left me craving “illegal” foods more and more.  And social situations were a diet nightmare.  I was constantly sacrificing enjoyment for the promise of weight loss.


You might not feel this way.  And that is fine.  I am not asking you to give up what you love, and what makes your body sing.  But please accept that there are many who need a different way.



Salad Days and Sweetcorn

Published July 10, 2013 by Crystal

I was just thinking earlier how I’ve “legalised” certain foods that had been taken out of my grasp during my dieting days, but have found certain foods still hold many triggers to me.  Foods that should NOT even be an issue.  We’re talking fruit and vegetables here, people!  Not sweets, not Death by Chocolate cake, but good old, gift from mother earth, unprocessed, fruit and veg.

It took a while to make peace with avocado.  I mean, they’re loaded in fat, aren’t they?  Goodness, if you’re going to waste points on an avocado, you may as well have a Mars Bar!  There’s less fat in a Mars Bar, after all, just ask the “experts”!  But this was one of the first items on my list of foods to become at ease with.  They’re full of goodness, and I’m not going to bore you with all the blurb, you can find it out for yourself.  They taste divine, and add a perfect creamy smooth textural contrast in a salad of crunch and bite.  They’re incredibly versatile, will go with a host of other ingredients, and are equally delicious on their own.  Yes, making peace with avocado was a wonderful moment of freedom for me, myself and I.

But then come the more bizarre things that need legalisation.  Such as the humble banana.  Now I don’t personally like bananas all that much.  Which is a huge shame, because I know they’re loaded with potassium, a great feel good food.  Ideal snack food product on a day after a night before, when you’re feeling just a little fragile.  Again, they are great on their own as fast food, or whizzed up in a blender with juice or milk.  But I remember, at diet club, the endless discussions that too many bananas might make you maintain or even worse, gain at the scales!  Bananas, the fattening fruit!  Go for something lower in calories or points, and even if they’re free doesn’t mean you should have lots, because bananas will make you fat!  Go on, how many of you reading this remember hearing or reading the same?   This leads me to a slightly deeper thought though, on the discussion of legalising foods.  You see, if you knew you could have as many bananas as you wanted, but equally, you could have a piece of chocolate if you wanted, and there was absolutely no guilt around either of them, I wonder how many bananas or bits of chocolate you’d want to eat.  If you tell yourself you can have it, what you want, right now, to the point of satisfaction how much would you actually need to satisfy you?  I think about those poor people gaining weight during a week when they ate too many bananas, and wonder if, actually, they’d had a little of what they fancied, they’d have stopped eating sooner.   It’s not the poor banana’s fault that people eat three of them, instead of a bowl of ice cream.  How many times have you been sitting wanting a particular food, and tried to substitute your desire with something different?  You’ve eaten through your fridge, grapes, tomatoes, piece of ham, boiled egg, when all you wanted was the Twix that your other half had brought home after work?  You ate and ate lots of low sin, low point foods, hoping the craving would go away, but it didn’t and in the end, you ate the KitKat anyway, but now you feel guilty because you ate lots of other things first, and when it came to it, you wolfed the bloody chocolate down so fast, you didn’t even taste it?

Poor banana.  It’s taken a beating by the diet brigade.

Today though, my thoughts started over sweetcorn.  Lovely sweet, beautifully bright, crunchy, sweetcorn.  “Only free on green!” Don’t go making the mistake of having it on a red day, and don’t over fill that table spoon.  It’s full of sugar!  And will make you fat!  If you’re going to have a salad on a diet, sweetcorn is not a free for all luxury!  But again, it is a great vegetable!  Full of things your body loves!  Why do you need to think before you eat this?  Why must we be so conditioned into labelling this deliciousness as wrong or bad in too big a quantity?  Again, telling me I can have it only under certain conditions will make me crave the whole tin, just in case I can’t have it again any time soon!  But now it’s legal, now I can enjoy as much as I want, a table spoon or there abouts, mixed in with a medley of other salad vegetables is just right.  I enjoy it, I may even leave some.  It’s legal, and I feel at peace.

In fact, I’m a bit salad mad at the moment!  I’m craving the different textures and flavours.  I am sitting dreaming up combinations of foods I might try at my next meal time, and knowing that I can have whichever I choose, with no strings attached, is giving an appreciation of salad that I never EVER had while doing any of the diet clubs.  Salad was almost a necessity to fill me up.  I would load up my plate with lettuce, and eat it first, just so my portion of the main event would actually seem to fill me by the end of meal time.   No dressings, because they needed to be counted in some way, unless fat free (and in my opinion pretty grim tasting).  No cheese, unless counted, no nuts or seeds, unless counted.  It took joy away.  I could never see salad as a meal in and of itself!  But now, while the world is my oyster, and the options are endless, I can think of no better meal to enjoy than a salad on a sunny day!

Now, what shall I make for lunch?……..



How many pounds can you lose over 10 weeks?

Published July 8, 2013 by Crystal

I won’t pretend the idea of joining a weight class again didn’t appeal in just the slightest way the other day!  The excitement of getting the plan in your hand.  Reading it all through, absorbing it all.  Learning what’s off limits, what you can have in excess.  Planning your menu for your first week, looking forward to the triumphant moment of stepping on the scales after your first week, anticipating the success after 100% determination and devotion. Joining fee was £9:95, weekly class fee £5

And maybe the next week goes well. The euphoria of first week of successes, obediently avoiding the bread, or having some diet slice of air.   Making sure at least a third of your plate at each meal has fruit or vegetable.  Another £5 on class fees, but it’s worth it, because you’re losing weight and you can’t do it by yourself.

The third week, you only lose a pound. “Only” a pound after two weeks of good losses, 5lb the first week, 3lbs the next.  You got a certificate to mark half a stone, you put it on the fridge to remind you to avoid the naughty things, next to your “before” photo. Why did you only lose a pound?  £5 spent, and you’re feeling a little low now.  You’ve been working so hard.  Sod it, tonight you’re going to treat yourself to some chocolate and a bottle of wine.  Might get chips on the way home because it’s getting late.

The fourth week.  £5 down.  You’ve had a hectic week.  Last weigh day you overindulged when you get home. Had a bit of a binge, truth be told. The next day you felt a bit miserable, and decided to treat yourself to lunch out with a friend, and you’ve been so good for so long, you just needed a bit of a break.  Work got a bit mad, and you didn’t have time to shop and plan and ended up eating in a rush a few times, just grabbing what you could.  Stepping onto the scales, you’re not surprised you’ve maintained.  You let yourself down, why can’t you be organised and control yourself?  Where’s your willpower?  Why did you choose fish and chips over a salad? Why did you eat so much chocolate and crap?  Right, new start.  This week, you are going to start all over.  New beginning.  You’ll get the books out, plan everything, go home and do a shopping list. Fail to plan and you plan to fail, don’t you?  New beginnings, new beginnings.

The fifth week.  You must have a good loss this week.  You were an absolute angel!  Living off lots of soup and salad.  You went to bed hungry more than once.  Determined to show a loss on the scales!  And it’s worked!  1.5lbs.  Not the greatest, especially with all your sacrifices, such as the cakes in the office, and the after work drinks where you drove so you couldn’t drink. £5 on class fees.  But you decided to buy a new cook book too for inspiration “50 5 minute meals” £5.

The sixth week.  Is this really how life has to be from now on?  Sacrificing all the nice foods just to fit into that dress that you haven’t worn in 6 years?  All you can think about is food, the next meal, what snack you can have.  Forcing yourself into liking things you really do not like!  Sugar free yogurt, with sugar free jelly. Yuck.  Even the caramel flavour is dire, and no, it isn’t a good subsitute for a nice bar of chocolate!  On the plus side, people are noticing your weight loss.  Your jeans are a bit more baggy. Result.  2lbs off.  Well I guess it’s worth it. £5 down.

Week seven.  Let’s not even talk about it.  Everything that could go wrong did go wrong.  A big bust up with your partner saw you reaching for the chocolate, and you decided to sod the diet. Skipped diet club.

The eighth week.  Back on an even keel. Weighed in, had to pay for last week’s class so £10 down. 2lbs on, but considering the week you had, you’re less upset than you might have been.  They’re starting the countdown to Christmas.  12 weeks to fit into a little black dress.  New beginnings.  Going home to look up all the recipe books and reread the plan.  You need to lose this weight!  Especially with Christmas looming!  At least then you’ll be able to eat at Christmas and not worry about it!

The ninth week. It is all feeling pretty monotonous.  All you really want is a big old pizza.  There’s a recipe for a substitute in the book. Maybe you’ll give it a go.  Though the thought of pizza, proper loaded pizza, is making you salivate.  Maybe just tonight, as a treat.  Especially as you lost a pound, and it was hard work! £5 class fees.  They have some chocolate bars over there, maybe I’ll get a pack for a sweet tooth fix.

Week ten.  Only ten weeks to Christmas!  But now you come to think about it, there will be parties and nights out in December.  Are you going to have to be careful on every single night out just to get into the little black dress, which you’ll wear, well, when will you wear it?  You’re missing all the social events for fear of sabotaging the diet.  And you’re so fed up of salad.  10 weeks on and you’ve lost 12lbs and it’s cost you £60.  You could have bought a lovely dress that fits you now for that price!  Something flattering to enjoy your social events.

And through this time you’ve become so obsessed with food.  Items that are strictly off limits are so much more appealing now you can’t have them.  And salad has become loathsome.  Which is a shame, because you used to enjoy salads and fresh fruit.  But it’s become a chore.  Everything is a chore.  Preparing food that you don’t really want, while dreaming of meals you can’t have.  You even dream about going into bakeries and buying huge slices of cake.  You spend hours in the deli, gazing longingly at the cheeses.  And you wonder if there might be another way.


I had to write this down.  To remind myself of what I’m giving up when I say I’m not going to diet clubs again.  I want to lose weight, I want to get fit, but I don’t want to be a miserable food obsessed diet bore.  I want to enjoy my life, because it’s special, and there is more to life.  So much more than your number on a scale or in an item of clothing.

So I’ll keep reading my Beyond Temptation book, and stop punishing myself with ideas of self loathing and criticism.

What other people think of you is none of your business.

Published July 3, 2013 by Crystal

I have an interview this evening for a course I hope to be on come September.  It’s a Certificate in Counselling, and would be the first big step to becoming a counselor.

I’m nervous.  How will it go?  What will he think of me.  Will he think me a fraud?   Will he be watching how I move, what I say, all those little give aways that we try to hide?  Afterall, he’s a counselor himself, who’s a specialist in reading body language and nuances.

Will he pick up on something I don’t even realise and think me completely unsuitable for a life in counselling?

What I did learn in my 10 week course was that I definitely over think every event, and come up with a hundred possible outcomes!  I worry constantly about what others are thinking, about how they look at me.  A single glance can send me spiralling into a mind reading chat with myself.

Did she just glare at me?  Does she think she’s better than me?  Is she critiquing my choice of clothes today?  What does she know?  I’ve had a tough day.  I can wear what I like.  Bet she’s sniggering now.  She just laughed with her friend.  I bet it was about me.  The bitch.  The gossipy bitch!  I’d like to see her looking so smug in my situation.  She thinks I’m fat because I’m lazy.  She is making all these assumptions about me without even speaking to me. The cow.

Ever had that sort of conversation in your head?  All because of a single glance or look from someone?    I used to do it all the time.  But the fact is, they probably didn’t even see you.  They are quite possibly preoccupied with their day, their life, their sick mum.  They aren’t scrutinizing your tracksuit bottoms and sweat shirt.  They have no interest in scowling at you and making you feel inferior.  They have their day and their life.

And this is what I try to remember now.  Am trying to remember for this evening.  He may well place judgements as I walk in to the room.  He may make some decisions about me through what I wear or how I talk.  But I won’t know what those judgements are, and they’re none of my business.   He is in charge of the course, but I can only be myself.  I can only be as honest as I can, as authentic as I can.


In day to day life, this has been very liberating.  I am no longer over analysing every situation with negative connotations.  I am not placing assumptions and perceptions where there doesn’t need to be any.  I am liberating myself and others.



And so what if someone did intentionally glare at me?  So what if they dislike me so much they cannot look at me with anything but contempt?  Is it my problem to fix?  There will always be people that dislike us, but we don’t have to live with this knowledge as a burden.

We are beautiful people.  All of us.  All of us wonderful and perfect to someone.  But to those that we aren’t.  Well, it’s none of our business!