Friday, 20 July 2012

Reality takes the biscuit...

I had a bit of a reality check this afternoon as I got on to the Victoria line tube at Euston station.

After feeling quite frankly a little smug at my successful weight loss over the last 2 months I was reminded that I've still got a long way to go before I'm happy with my figure.

My weight gain started when I was 20 heading into my 3rd year of university and moving in with my boyfriend at the time, I decided to go on contraceptive injections. I piled weight on going from 8 stone 3lbs to 10 stone 8 lbs in just 6 months. And the weight naturally congregated in one place.

I got stretch marks - vivid red angry lines across my lower back which shocked me when I caught them in the mirror and my sister advised me that she had only seen stretch marks like that when she was pregnant.

Everyone thought I was pregnant " the girl behind the bar is pregnant" my fellow students whispered amongst themselves and some even asked me outright. One guy, when I said I wasn't expecting pointed at my stomachs and said "then what is that?"  "ma big fat belly"  became my usual response. I'm not pregnant it's just ma big fat belly.

Over the years I got used to the fact that I had a weird body shape. I didn't like it but I accepted that while the rest of my body had stayed pretty much the same my belly looked that much more out of place and I totally understood the reason people assumed I was expecting. 

Social occasions became a nightmare because I could never find a nice dress to wear that didn't look like maternity wear on my odd shaped body.

I thought that I could work it to my advantage however in public places, buses, over crowded tubes etc...surely I would always get a seat, but I don't know what happened to the youth of the last 10 years, but not a single person offered me a seat on the inner mother to be was outraged while my common sense berated me for being outraged at not getting something I didn't need anyway. I was well as fat!

Finally I met someone who didn't notice or care about my odd shaped body and we settled into a fabulous relationship. But we ate lots of takeaways and watched a lot of TV and the rest of my body caught up with my least I was in proportion! 

I made a few attempts at losing weight, tried various diets but even if I lost a bit of weir I lost interest and piled the weight back on.

2 months ago  I decided I truly wanted to do something about it. I'm not aiming for 8 stone 3lb but something a little less maternity would be nice. I started counting calories thanks to a brilliant website and iPhone app called My Fitness Pal. I started swimming too - to earn extra calories to eat at the weekend. I calculated my calories and set my limit to 500 less a day.  3500 calories is roughly the equivalent of 1lb of weight loss and I've been losing 1 or 2 lbs a week.

I also started doing strength  exercises with free weights to tone up my arms and legs and stomach muscles. When I was 8 st I looked Ill, skin and bone, my head was too big for my body and I looked pale and withdrawn with hollow dark eyes. I don't want to look like that again but I was always afraid that in order to lose my belly I would have to return to that type of figure. But I realised that I could tone and strengthen my muscles while working on the fat loss and hopefully I can gain a nice shape rather than go from chunky to bony.

So I've been feeling pretty good about my weight loss, I can see some improvement myself and I feel healthier, more energetic and stronger. I was particularly excited about visiting friends in London who have been encouraging and advising me on exercise and weightloss because I hoped they would notice a difference better than I can, seeing myself in the mirror everyday and not really registering the change. 

So I arrive in London during rush hour and I get on the tube at London Euston and shuffle down the carriage and hold onto the hand rails when a youngish guy attracts my attention and offers me his seat. I frowned and said " no you're ok thanks" then I pondered why he'd offed me a seat and not the clearly older woman in front of me...and then it clicked. 13 years of looking pregnant and the first time someone offers me a seat is when I look slightly less pregnant than before... Actually the incident made me smile for the duration of the tube ride because it reassured me that there are still a few gentlemanly type young men in the world.

But even so, 12 pounds lighter is great and everything but I've got a long long way to go yet.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Fifty Shades

Well seems that everyone else is talking about it, and if you can't beat them...

I was completely unaware of the Fifty Shades trilogy until last Monday (2nd July) when I was driving to work listening to Radio City and the DJ was playing a game called Fifty Shades of Andy Grey, where a listener called in and had to correctly identify whether the quotes they were reading out came from Fifty Shades of Grey or Andy Grey's autobiography.

The DJ could barely read some of the quotes for laughing - particularly the Andy Grey quotes which had been chosen to try and confuse the caller - things like "He always has great control over his balls" and such like. Of course I assumed at that point that the other book was a bit pervy, although I'd not heard of it and yet from that moment on I noticed my Facebook news feed was littered with people  referring to it.

Curiosity got the better of me - why haven't I heard of it if everyone else has, although admittedly I don't watch the news and I don't read papers and most of what I know about current affairs is told to me by my other half or my family - so I fired up Wikipedia and searched for it. I've not read any of the Twilight books although they have been recommended to me. I am however a big fan of the Sookie Stackhouse books and I love True Blood so I was quite interested when I saw that it had originally been written as fan fiction and I assumed that the Christian Grey character was initially a Vampire.

But still I wasn't particularly tempted until my sister called in the next day and waxed lyrical about the whole trilogy. Now my sister has good taste, she's older than me by 16 years, and is sophisticated and smart and doesn't suffer fools gladly. So I was even more curious that she was completely taken with this book which sounded pretty trashy.

So that evening I searched the internet for it and downloaded it. "What are you downloading?" my other half asked, "urm just a book..." "Oh not that Fifty Shades book?" Even he'd heard of it!! But he understood my curiosity under the same curiosity I have about occasionally watching X Factor just to keep up with the office gossip - not that I have office gossip anymore being self employed but there's always small talk to be made with suppliers, customers etc.

So I finished the third book yesterday morning. Yep it took me less than a week to read the whole trilogy. Now I am a fast reader but I was quite taken with it because it was easy to read and although its hard to find the story line in the first book it does develop in the second and third books. However I think the genius of this book and the cause of it being so popular is not necessarily the sex scenes, which are abundant, but the simple root of most women's fantasy - finding the most attractive, richest single man who has no interest in finding love until he meets you because you are the only woman in the world he could love. Oh and he also has a huge cock to boot!

It's Pride and Prejudice with handcuffs.

Chistian Grey is actually a bit dull. I mean on the one hand he sounds a bit like a young woman's shopping list;

  • Tall - tick
  • Dark - well he's ginger but he's dark on the inside - tick
  • Handsome - only the handsomest man in the whole universe, obviously - tick
  • Rich - tick
  • Likes music - tick
  • Can play a musical instrument - like some kind of rock star - tick
  • Knows about stuff like wine and art and the world in general - tick
  • Kind - well he wants to feed the world and try to make sure no one goes hungry - tick
  • Generous - he's filthy rich and likes buying presents - tick
  • Good in bed - well he's apparently had a lot of practice but he never loved any of the others only me - tick
  • Well endowed - tick
Not only is he this perfect man character he also happens to fall in love and propose within 6 weeks. I mean I've had a few boyfriends in the past and I'll admit that in my younger days when I would meet someone and fancy the pants off them because they were tall, dark and handsome and played the guitar I would think "oh my God I would marry him tomorrow if he asked me" but a few weeks later the novelty has worn off and I'm very much relieved that normal blokes wait a few years or even forever before they consider proposing marriage. It's a bit of a fantasy in fact for a woman to be proposed to and say "I need to think about it" as opposed to the "Oh My God yesss!!!" that most women say when their beloved gets down on one knee (I imagine, I don't know, it's never happened to me - I imagine I'd laugh and find the whole thing a bit embarrassing.)

Then again I also believe that when you know, you know and who's to say 6 weeks isn't long enough to be dead sure you've met the person you want to tie up and whip everyday for the rest of your life?

Of course the other thing that's worth pointing out is that Mr Grey has an amazing libido and the pair of them together have an amazing recovery time enabling them both to have countless orgasms within the same session. I think there are few people who would read this book and say 'I don't know what all the fuss is about, doesn't everyone have sex 6 times a day with riding crops and butt plugs?' Because - and maybe I'm on my own on this one but - I tend to just fall asleep after sex. But weirdly while Mr Grey likes his 'kinky fuckery', he is only doing all this for her pleasure - expanding her sensations and opening her up to a whole world of pleasure...he doesn't get anything out of it other than the pleasure of seeing her experience mind blowing sex. 

I mean what a guy. He's all over her like an octopus all day long but only so that she'll have the joy of multiple orgasms.

Brilliant...and while I'm quite a big fan of orgasms I'm also a big fan of watching TV, cooking, going swimming, hanging out with my friends and you know generally not being tied to a bed and endlessly molested all in the name of my pleasure. Make me a cup of tea and I'll be more than happy!

On the other hand,  one minute he's being a massive perv and the next he's talking to her like he's her dad. If I was about to marry someone I wouldn't expect to have to ask his permission to got to the deli in my lunch hour to buy a sandwich. I wouldn't expect my boyfriend to buy the company I just started working for so he can keep an eye on me and I wouldn't expect him to get angry with me and fantasise about tying me up and beating me to within an inch of my life just because I didn't tell him I was going to visit my mum.

But it's an easy read, I can see why everyone is going crazy over it and perhaps if the sex wasn't quite so full on it would just be yet another adult romance novel - however I don't get the fuss about Christian Grey. When I invite a man to watch TV with me he better damn well watch TV and keep his hands to himself!