Putting Myself Into Special Measures

In the UK, when a school is found to be continuously failing, it is put into Special Measures.

I am putting myself into Special Measures.  I simply don’t know what to do anymore.  I’ve woken feeling sick and self-loathing from yet another binge.  I don’t know why I am bingeing so badly, so continuously.  There are many factors in my life right now I could attribute it to, but I think it’s something deeper.

Anyway, I have drawn up a 2 week meal plan and my Special Measures dictate that I will eat what is on the plan and nothing else.  I must not – yes, must not – deviate from it.  Clearly, there is nothing with sugar or wheat on it, just healthy meals I love.  The plan is that not having to think about food, because it’s all laid out for me, will allow me to stop obsessing about food and get on with my life;  and that when the urge to binge or eat those trigger foods comes, I’ll say to myself

untitled-1_0 ‘You cannot eat it because it’s not on the plan’.

Of course, I’m sure I will often rebel against myself, but I intend to suppress rebellion with draconian measures if need be.  I do not want to have to turn myself into an Academy (little joke only UK readers will get there).

But joking aside, this really can’t go on.  I cannot go on feeling this sick, this defeated, this hopeless, this trapped, this horrible.

I’ll post every day as to how I’m getting on, and frankly I’ll welcome all the support I can get.

The Sunshine Blogger Award

The very lovely and wonderful Middle Aged Warrior has nominated me for The Sunshine Blogger Award – so thank you MAW for making me positively blush with pleasure!

As required before I can accept it, here are my answers to your 11 Questions –

1. If you’ve learned anything as you’ve got older, what have you learned? That everyone else is so busy thinking how rubbish they are, they’ve no energy left over to think about how rubbish I am.  All that wasted worrying what people thought of me!

And what I’d like to say to all the young women, my own daughter included, is that if a man (or substitute “woman” and “she” as appropriate) wants you, he will find you.  Ask, but don’t beg.  The man who makes you cry isn’t worth your tears, the man who is worth your tears won’t make you cry.

And finally, that money is not for buying things, it’s value is in giving you power in situations you find yourself in and in making you safe – something you only learn when you really have none.

2. Why do you blog and what got you started? I started because I had got trapped in a deprivation-binge cycle and couldn’t shift the weight that’d caused me to gain;   and I thought a blog would help me to drag myself out of this ditch.  And it has.  But I continue blogging because I just love writing and I love reading and I love connecting.  I’m astonished that I can just dip my toe into the world of blogging and find a dazzling array of people, of women, of misfits and bloggers too cool for words in it, and I can access their thoughts with a touch of my fingers.  Astounding.

3. What’s your confidence boosting go-to outfit? A Scarf.  I have always loved scarves, ever since I first saw Bob Dylan’s nonchalantly-slung-over-one-shoulder specimen on the front cover of Blonde on Blonde.  I probably need a walk-in-wardrobe just to display all my scarves for choosing.  When I go to Europe, I always come back with more and exhausted with all that sighing over the effortlessly cool scarves casually and winningly knotted around flawless necks.

4. What’s the best comment you’ve ever received on your blog? That you had nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award!

5. What makes you laugh? Dark, dark humour.  Teenagers.  Strangely, my ex-husband.  And I actually mean that as a compliment.

6. What’s the last thing to happen that made you lose your temper? Wow.  I genuinely can’t actually remember the last time I lost my temper.  It’s all that working in a high school and cultivating Professional Patience!

7. Write a line of poetry you can remember off by heart – no googling! And aye, in the very temple of delight, veil’d Melancholy has her sovereign shrine.   (I think that’s how Keats punctuated it!  I can still remember that from A Levels!)

8. What song ALWAYS gets you on the dance floor?  None.  I never, ever dance. And that’s a true story.

9. If you had an unexpected relative or friend turn up to Christmas and you had to find them a present – what would you give them? A scarf.  I always have a few around I haven’t worn yet, and some that would even suit a man.

10. What’s your guilty pleasure? Boston, More Than A Feeling / Deep Purple, Black Knight / AC/DC, Whole Lotta Rosie.

11. Tell me a joke…

Knock knock

Who’s there?

Interrupting Sheep

Interrupting sh….



I will now think about my 11 nominees and the 11 questions I’d like them to answer.

Thanks again, MAW!

Guts, Ice Cream & Love

Guts are, I’ve noticed, the upcoming Heroes of weight loss.  The theory is that your microbiome (the mixture of bacteria in your intestines) can massively affect your physical and even your mental health;  and also prevent or encourage weight loss.  Essentially in the field of your intestines (think of yourself as a farmer and your beneficial bacteria to be your crops, and your disruptive bacteria to be your weeds), you want to be cultivating beneficial bacteria and eliminating disruptive bacteria.

Apparently, amongst other things, your intestinal bacteria will even affect how many calories you take from certain foods.  If you have unwittingly cultivated sugar-loving bacteria, they will hassle you to feed them sugar, draw – as they are designed to do – maximum calories from it and so flourish. They will then scream ever more loudly for sugar, you will be ever more inclined to give it to them, they will grow ever more powerful and take over ever more of your intestinal wall.  It’s a bit like a superhero movie with you as the Batfarmer trying to defeat the Sugarjoker.

Think about that.  So two people eat a doughnut and one person takes 450 calories from it and the other 350 calories.  How unfair is that?

Anyway, there’s alot more to be learned and understood about guts and how they affect us, so as an intrepid nutritional explorer I’ve been reading Eve Kalinik’s ‘Be Good To Your Gut’, which is mercifully free of Gloopish silliness and full of good sense.

She sets out a Weed, Seed and Feed programme – the Weed phase eliminates the disruptive bacteria and gives your gut a well-earned rest;  the Seed phase feeds your intestines with the kinds of bacteria you want in there and the Feed phase provides them with what they need to flourish to triumph over the disruptive bacteria.

So I’m adding her wisdom to my alkaline, low glycemic, time-restricted eating diet.  I’m also adding ice cream.

Now here’s a thing.  I don’t particularly like ice cream.  There have been times in my life it has been a pleasant garnish to a warm apple pie, but it really isn’t something that calls to me.  I can’t remember the last time I ate it and I have never bought any for myself.  However, I recently watched on Channel 4 an episode of How To Lose Weight Well in which a woman pleasurably lost almost 3 stone on the Ice Cream Diet.  The idea of the Ice Cream Diet is that a daily scoop of ice cream is a compulsory part of your 1500 calories per day.  This will apparently help banish cravings and feelings of deprivation, enabling you to stick to it for the long haul.

Because binge eating is something I struggle with I thought, what if I used that technique to break the deprivation-binge-deprivation cycle I’m stuck in?  So I’ve started adding a small compulsory treat to my daily diet and, actually, I think it is helping keep the Bingemonster at bay.

Or it could be that writing my post on here The Hell of Binge Eating made a difference. Maybe writing about my shame and sense of defeat so nakedly drew the venom from the Bingemonster’s fangs.

But whichever it is, I’m feeling all warm ‘n’ slushy so I just wanted to say – thank you everybody!


Dieting Disaster, Dairy Decision and D-Day

So I had some bad news this week, a real blow, and it really threw me.  To my surprise I didn’t initially leap off the wagon, but a few days later without warning I did, with full force and, even for me, uncharacteristic vigour.  Who would have thought a stomach could hold so much junk?

But I’ve dragged myself back out of that hole again now and feel, curiously, finally, really motivated.  I’m going to do it this time.

While I was in that hole I contemplated the Dairy Dilemma and I came to the conclusion no dairy.  Last night I made my first non-dairy ‘butter’ – although I had no intention of even trying to replicate butter, because frankly who could?  Butter is from the gods and no hand of man could conjure it.  What I wanted was a fat that I could use in the ways I had butter, namely to fry in, to spread on and to melt over.  I don’t bake (just as well!) so I wanted something a touch savoury.  I could say a touch ‘umami’ but as all it means is savoury, I think that would be a touch pretentious.  Anyway, it’s turned out pretty good, and when it’s spectacular, I’ll post the recipe on here in case any dairy-freenies want to try it.

I am, incidentally, loving the no-breakfast-9-hour-food-window (or ‘time-restricted eating’) regime.  I tried breakfast one day for comparison and I hated it, feeling that I was constantly stuffing stuff into my mouth.  My body had liked the rest no-breakfast gave it.  So that’s staying.

So – I’m going alkaline, dairy-free and time-restricted and today is D-Day.

Wish me luck, chaps!

The Alkaline Diet Day 1 – So far, so smoothie

So I spent yesterday gathering together all the information I’d need to set myself up for the Alkaline Diet, and remembered – although I haven’t done it before, but I have read it before – that a big problem with it is the lack of consensus over which foods are alkali and which are acid.  For instance, mushrooms are rated by some ‘highly acidic’ and by others ‘mildly alkaline’.  I eat alot of mushrooms, so being human and so self-interested I’ve decided to label them ‘neutral’ so I can keep on eating lots of them.

Elle Macpherson’s passionate advocacy for the Alkaline Diet is what inspired me to try it, and yet even her writings on it are contradictory – she blogs (on Get The Gloss) that the nutritionist who put her onto the Alkaline Diet (Dr Simone Laubscher) tells her enthusiastically to eat walnuts.  Walnuts are acidic.  She says she always has organic butter and eggs in her fridge – but both are highly acidic.  She eats fish every day.  Acidic.  Of course, you’re only supposed to eat 80% acidic, but it does make it all rather confusing.

Incidentally, I’m not doing it because I adore Elle’s body – for the record, I prefer my women to have more womanly proportions.  I’m never quite clear why an example of perfect womanhood has a man’s shoulders, no hips and strangely elongated limbs.  Of course, Elle is perfectly entitled to, and should, love the body she’s in – but I do resent her example being held up to other women for us to aspire and compare ourselves to, always unfavourably.  We don’t look like that because that isn’t actually what women are supposed to look like.  And if that sounds a bit mean to Elle, well I wouldn’t say it about somebody who hadn’t chosen to put their body out there to be admired;  and hadn’t chosen to be fabulously well paid to work in an industry that is all about making women feel crap about being normal.

So the Alkaline Diet is clearly going to be a largely vegetarian diet but I’m good with that.  I’ve always preferred plant foods, which does make me wonder how I managed to Low Carb for a decade or so.  Mind you, I did say I always found it difficult.

I’ve always had a passion for vegetables, and one of the things I love about French food is that they take vegetables seriously and create culinary wonders with them, rather than just seeing them as a slightly damp chore on the side of your plate.  As the wonderful and much-missed Phil McCarthy once memorably said,

in Britain we boil our ‘veg’ to death, and then give it another 20 minutes to be on the safe side.

Curious that the British call it the very unglamorous ‘veg’, as if it was something dull and faintly unpleasant,  like cutting your toenails.  Mind you, I have to admit to feeling a certain disdain for the current use of the word ‘veggies’ – as if vegetables couldn’t be called vegetables anymore but had to be rebranded, to make them attractive to the gullible public who might then actually think they aren’t vegetables at all, but something new and cheerily appealing.  They don’t need rebranding, they just need cooking properly!

And what, with the rising cost of food and particularly meat, I’m not sure who will be able to afford to eat meat soon, but I won’t be among them. Could be we may all have to make much better friends with vegetables soon.

Anyway, from the many conflicting Acid/Alkali charts, I’ve compiled one that makes sense to me;  I’ve had a Tesco shop delivered this morning busting at the seams with nut butters, kale and almond milk;  and I am SO BORED WITH BEING FAT that I guess I’m good to go.

Wish me luck!

To weigh or not to weigh

For every expert who says that weighing yourself frequently is detrimental there will be an expert who says that weighing yourself often is beneficial.

The very sweet Joe Wicks calls the scales ‘the sad step’, which made me laugh out loud and for which I like him very much.  He has a point.

Also, it isn’t just weight I’m looking to lose – I want to lose fat but not muscle;  so the scales alone will not be the measure by which I judge my success.

But personally, I find weighing myself daily keeps me on track and boosts me when I see that what I’m doing is working.  It’s also going to be an important marker for my being able to tell  whether certain foods or behaviours are beneficial or detrimental to my efforts.

Of course, there are the days when my weight stubbornly refuses to drop, which is upsetting and has sometimes caused me to go ‘oh f*ck it!’ and go binge eat everything appealing in my kitchen – and sometimes to scour my very patient youngest’s bedroom too.

He’s agreed that while I’m trying to lose weight he’s happy not to have cereal or bread in the house, because those are the two things that in the middle of the night I can find myself half asleep and gorging until I have a barrel for a belly.  How fabulous of him is that?

Anyway, to weight or not to weigh – it’s a very personal choice, but I will be weighing myself daily.