I’m a Vegan!

So that’s me been a vegan for 9 hours now and all is going well.

I have been thinking about it for a while and have been reading up on it. Apparently all animals are given hormones to speed up their growth. And if they are eating hormones – then you are also eating their hormones when you eat meat. And as the balance of my hormones at the moment is decidedly precarious then this is perhaps a complication best avoided.

It is also claimed that eating soy and soy foods regularly can help alleviate menopausal symptoms because it contains something called phytoestrogens which reduce hot flushes. Even better some research says that soy can fight the diseases the Menopause Fairy likes to bring along such as high cholesterol, osteoporosis and heart disease.

However the deciding factor was watching Carnage while recovering from a hangover this morning. Me and my pal sat with piles of galaxy and found it on iplayer. We thought it would be funny coz Simon Amstell produced it. Well it wasn’t. Nothing has ever put me off Galaxy but when I saw the horrible man drag the crying calf away from it’s mummy so they could steal all the babys milk from its devastated mother to make chocolate bars I could not eat it anymore – I swear I could taste the despair. And just when I thought my menopausal moods were starting to stabilise, I spent some time alternating between crying my eyes out and feeling fury.

So it was off to the book shop to get some vegan cookbooks and onto Ocado to order all my vegan supplies. Then a quick trip to Lakeland to get a waffle maker for the sweet potato waffles and a Tofu press.

I returned home to find my partner less than supportive – especially when I lift all Lakeland bags out of the boot. “NOOOHHHHHH” was the response “You promised you would not go into Lakeland for at least a year when we worked out that we had £1400 worth of their products in the attic gathering dust”

“We are going vegan” I replied calmly. “It is a new way of living. If you want to eat meat and eggs that is fine but don’t expect me to cook it for you”

“I do most of the bloody cooking coz you always say that you are menopausally exhausted and can’t be arsed – so how exactly will that work” is the next response which is also less than helpful.

“Not a feckin problem” I say. “I will go for my tea at Wagamamas every night if that is how you feel and you can just stuff yourself full of dead cows yourself. So it is ABSOLUTELY FINE”. But all women know that ‘absolutely fine’ does not mean fine – it means ‘I am in a huff and you won’t be getting any for quite some time!’

“What about bacon sandwiches on a Sunday?” my partner says sensing a weak spot.

But I have thought of that. I do like a crispy bacon sandwich and even watching Babe didn’t stop me eating bacon. “That’s ok” I reply – “I will have them still – but for the rest of the week I am going to be completely vegan”

“Right….so you are going to be a vegan who eats bacon sandwiches on a Sunday… just so I am sure?” is the next response as my partner ponders my logic.

I don’t answer for a minute as I am looking at the Fat Gay Vegan website on my phone. But the silence is getting a bit deafening so I have to clarify. “I am not going to be a wankyvegan that thinks courgette and beetroot traybake is a good alternative to chocolate fudge cake – and makes a big fuss in restaurants to get attention. But I am serious – apart from that I will be totally vegan.”

“Oh for fucks sake” is the response “It is a bloody fad – like that time you went all Deliciously Ella and spent £400 on a magimix because she insisted you needed it to make almond butter. Then it was the Jason Vales juicing – £200 quid on a juicer and almost £3K on his retreat that thank god the credit card company rejected”

I sigh and start googling ‘vegan celebrities’ – but the rant is taking hold.

“Then remember the 5:2 when I had to pick you up from work at half four because you had fainted from hunger. And the Atkins when we became on first name terms with the butcher and he got his first holiday in years with the profits from our purchases”

This is all true to be honest – but I know veganism is the way to go. I try to distract from the rant “Look – Ellie Goulding… Miley Cyrus… Ellen De Generes – they look amazing and are all vegan” I try to explain but to no avail. My partner is on verbal vomit mode and can’t be stopped.

“Then that lighter life shite – £500 quid on packs of powder and where did that get you?”. I am getting annoyed now “Yes – but I lost 15lbs” I say indignantly. And I did – ok I put 20lbs back on but I lost 15!!.

“Then the hypnosis sessions and having to listen to Paul McKenna telling us he could make us thin every bloody night”

It’s time to interrupt and make a point. My partner though not as podgy as me has put on a few pounds lately. “Look at Kate and Jim down the road” I say triumphantly. “They are vegans and slim and healthy – we can be like that”

“Oh for fucks sake” is the response. “Kate and Jim are thin because they run marathons every few weeks and have personal trainers. When you are out getting pissed with your pals and eating kebabs on the way home, Kate is in the gym working out. On Sunday mornings when you are hungover watching Corrie in bed with bacon sandwiches, Kate and Jim are doing wild swimming. That is why they are thin. Not because they are vegan”

I am getting strong vibes that I am losing this argument because of my partners over reliance on factual information to back up their case. I try to think of a way to get the upper hand but my brain fog and the remains of a hangover is stopping me thinking as quickly as normal so I stay quiet trying to think of a smart final comment. Also I can’t get a bloody word in edgewise.

“Yes and their is another thing – running – you bought that subscription to Running World and bought two pairs of very expensive trainers and a ton of running outfits. You then signed up to run 10k for that Donkeys in Greece charity thing – which can I remind you is only 3 weeks away – and so far you have only been out twice and still can’t run more than 2k.

“And we still have cupboards full of that slimming world shite from the last fad” Finally my partner stops for a breath. I try not to let out the big laugh that is inside of me as I remember the scream from the kitchen last week when they discovered ‘frozen fingers’ in the freezer. Expect they weren’t – they were strips of banana which Slimming Word had suggested freezing so they could be turned quickly into ‘delicious banana ice cream’ when you had a sugar craving. I suspect this was a lie so didn’t ever take the plan to fruition. A big snort comes out as I remember that scream – as if we’d have frozen fingers in our freezer…

My partner is in a bit of shock as I am not arguing back – not realising I am trying not to laugh. Not used to having the upper hand they carry on full of hope that this ‘fad’ can be hit on the head. “And all your shoes – and those Michael Kors bags and purses…. leather – so are you going to get rid of them? You will have to if you are going to be a VEGAN”. I don’t like the emphasis on vegan… as if it is a dirty word.

“You are right” I say – “I cannot be a hypocrite – the leather would have to go”. My partner perks up sensing a victory. “The good news though” I continue ” is that there are vegan equivalents – Mink… Matt & Natt… all suppliers of vegan shoes and handbags. And it is nearly my birthday….so it is a great opportunity to replace everything”

“What?” My partner is now sensing victory starting to slip away and not quite sure how it happened.

I feel a bit bad and say ‘hold on – I’m off to get blindfolds – I have an idea’. I run and get the 2 eye masks we have in our kitchen shit drawer from a long haul flight a couple of years ago. I come back and cover mine and my partners eyes with them. My partner is wide eyed – could victory still be in sight – winning an argument and still in with a chance of getting it….that never usually happens,

But I beg to feckin differ. It isn’t happening as something is much more important. I feel my way into my bag and pull out 5 different bars of vegan chocolate as I must have an alternate to Galaxy. Time for a blind tasting session. We are delighted to find that the 45p bar from Tesco is better than the £3.50 bar from Holland and Barratt. But we have to eat quite a lot to confirm those findings and it gets a little messy.

The dog walker returns with Sweet Dog to find us in the midst of piles of melting chocolate and blindfolds and gets very flustered (note to self must remember she has set of keys) and quickly excuses herself. Sweet dog goes nuts and tried desperately to get to the remaining chocolate. Partner goes off to walk her again while I tidy up the chocolate mess and put all our vegan stuff into the cupboards throwing out quite a bit of slimming world crap as I go to makes space.

Half an hour later they are both back ….. with quorn bacon rashers!! On offer at Tesco apparently. And some squirty vegan ice cream. And a gleam in the eyes (of my partner – not the dog). Just as well i didn’t throw the blindfolds in the washing machine!

I think this vegan thing will work out just fine.

#menopause #vegan

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Summertime and the menopause ain’t easy

We had our Scottish Summer on Saturday morning. Summer as a menopausal woman is, shall we say, a little more challenging that Summer as a non menopausal woman.

It started well – I did wake early which is unusual (I sleep so much better since moving into the spare room. I have had a number of messages from women since that post saying they don’t know if their partner would like it if they moved but they deep down love the idea of their very own room. So my tip – tell your partner that if you are rested you will be much more ‘up for it’ – and eat their dust as they speed to Ikea to get everything needed to make the spare room yours!).

Early waking is a problem for the menopausal woman… sleep is oh so precious at this ‘time of change’. Bastarding birds do not respect this with their chirpy cheep cheeping, full of joy, at 5am. Finally found a pair of old earplugs from when I used to sleep in the Snoring room and fell back asleep. Only to be woken half an hour later with the feckin sun determinedly pushing its way through the black out blinds and curtains.

Feck it I thought – I will get up and enjoy the joys of our Summer as it is so very fleeting and may be gone by 11am. Into the bathroom and the usual cursory check in the magnifying mirror. OH MY GOD!!! The sun streams through to reveal a chin to rival Desperate Dans. A good ten minutes with tweezers follows – it’s not going to be long before I have to graduate to bloody gillette!

Then a quick shower. About to get out but then another brain fog moment – can’t remember if I washed my hair while in there – so wash again just to be sure. Then the tyranny of trying on the Summer clothes from the attic and realising that everything has shrunk again this year. Find a baggy maxi dress that is lovely and bright and makes me look like a hippie but will do as only alternative is to cut a hole in the duvet cover and wear it.

Find my sandals and wipe the dust off them. Bend down over my tummy (which takes some effort) to strap them up and gasp as I realise I have hairy toes!! This is some kind of sick joke by the menopause hormones – just as the hairs on my head start to thin so much that I am seriously thinking of taking my mums advice to ‘have a lovely perm darling it will thicken it up – Sadie will do it for a fiver – she isn’t qualified but that is just a bit of paper it will look so much better than the your current flat lifeless style’ – that extra hair sprouts up just about everywhere else. So deal with my toes and make a mental note (that I will instantly forget) to book a pedicure. My feet, if not my body, WILL be summer ready.

And it is only half six. I decide to surprise my partner with a healthy breakfast of fresh fruit and healthy juice and yoghurt in the garden. It is about a half hour walk to Tesco so I will get my exercise in and arrive just as it opens. Sweet dog agrees this is a great idea and jumps for joy. I put on my sunhat and sunglasses and look pretty cool though I say it myself.

Twenty minutes later and chub rub has arrived with avengence. Two naked thighs rubbing together and they are making a fire. Ouch. FFS. I remember watching something on morning telly about creating a thigh gap – it involved leaning slightly back and pushing your knees apart as if you were riding a horse. I try that and it does work though perhaps I do look a little ‘special’ to anyone walking past.

I get to Tesco determined to be healthy and regain my youthful figure. I have given up slimming world but as I bought a pass for ten million years I still am on the Facebook page – a cursory glance this morning revealed a suggested breakfast (and this is no joke) of a brussel sprout omelette so I think I made the right decision. I am thinking that maybe I will become a vegetarian or gluten free or maybe lactose free instead. Something like that. So I go a walk down the intolerant aisle and peruse the shelves. It is a little confusing so I just get chickpeas as I know for definate veggies like them and my fruit. And some mini magnums because they are tiny and reduced and I convince myself I can manage to just have one a night and not the full box in one day. Then I realise I’ve forgotten a feckin bag. The mountains and mountains of feckin environmentally friendly bags at £2 each that sit behind the door and in my car ready to be used remain there as always. I cannot buy plastic bags ever since seeing Blue Planet and the Mummy Whale that would not let go of its baby that had died due to suffocating with our waste plastic. My hormones take over and I start to well up remembering it – I wave away the shop assistants look of concern. I buy another £3.50 hessian bag to add to my collection. I then remember I was sad the night before watching I, Daniel Blake and the lady with no money for tampons. So as I have had no period for a couple of months (could this finally be it….) I buy some ‘feminine protection’ to fling in the foodbank bucket. . Go out to get Sweet Dog and realise I have forgotten the feckin yogurt. Back in again while Not so Sweet Dog goes ballistic thinking she has been abandoned. WOOF WOOF WOOF YOWL YOWL – it’s not a great alarm call I appreciate – but I am sure the occupants of the nearby houses would not want to waste the day by sleeping.

And finally I head home doing my John Wayne walk to keep my thighs apart. I think of how I will lay breakfast out in the garden and how lovely it will be to sit in the sun with our healthy breakfast. I arrive back to that amazing smell of sizzling bacon. Oh my days!!! I love my partner. Smiling above the frying pan full of lovely lovely thick smoked back bacon with a pile of white bread thick with lurpack at the side just waiting. I put the fruit in the veg rack where it will stay til it goes off and fruit flies start to circulate and grab the ketchup. I’ve had a good walk so I am due a wee treat. I can always go vegetarian another time.

Then the devil gets a hold of me -and I post a picture of my big bacon sandwich and the magnums on our slimming word page just under the aubergine and sweet pea wrapped in a lettuce leaf with the simple caption ‘Feck It – You only live once’.

Which is true. But if you do it right – once is enough!

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Fatter and Fatter!

So I was due to go back to Slimming World today after missing it last week on account of being a Fatso who had gained weight for the second week in a row.

And I thought it would be a hugely successful visit with lots of clapping for me and getting to share my story of all the exciting recipes I had used while every one looked at me with envy at my amazing weight loss. This vision was not because of the huge amounts of quark, yogurt in my cupboard and packs of steak in the fridge and tons and tons of fruit and veg everywhere. Not because I stuck to the plan (I mean – god who does do that for a full week?). But because I have had flu. And have barely eaten a thing. I started with an upset stomach but I thought it was because of my slot on Radio Cork (just dropping that in.. can’t help it…. I was on the Radio… ME! On the feckin radio). So no need to worry about being a fatty or the baldy bit on the side of my head or the baggy eyes…I have the body and the face for radio that’s for sure! They called me and wanted me to come on and talk about my blog. I was well cool about it then got more and more terrified as the time approached. You can find it on Radio Cork Opinion Show with PJ Coogan on 4/4 if you fancy a listen. (You may hear some echo in the background – as had to pretty much do it from the loo). So I thought it was nerves or maybe the magnesium supplements I am back on because they do help with the menopausal exhaustion. But nope – next day on fire, throat hurting, head hurting, bones hurting. Resulting in three days in bed with no meals. So I had predicted a massive weight loss.

Then I had a wee pre weight in – and was raging!!! I weigh the exact same as when I started – ie I have regained the entire half stone I lost. FFS!!!! How can that be? I am a freak of feckin nature. I was ranting and jumping naked on and off the scales so it was very brave of my partner to come and see what they could do to help.

I was emotional anyway even before realising I was once again a Fatty. Declining estrogen puts you in a permanent state of PMS. So when pre menstrual it is a double whammy. I had to pull over before I crashed the car earlier in the day as Ed Sheerans Supermarket Flowers came on and I sobbed and sobbed and couldn’t see the road or control the steering wheel. Then someone at work asked if I had any kids and when I said No they said ‘oh what a shame – did it just not happen for you?’. I am so over this shite – I do not need or want sympathy for being childless. I used to nod and say ‘yes oh well aren’t you lucky to have kids’ etc and try and hide the boredom as they told me about their offspring. But the ‘Don’t Give a Fuck’ hormones had taken over. She rambled on with smug smiles ‘I have three – I just can’t imagine life without them. I don’t think it would be worth living ‘. I interrupted her “What a shame?’ . She was most shocked ‘What? she gasped’. ‘Yes I said it must be awful to have three children and absolutely no life outwith them’. She wasn’t smiling now. But I was on a roll. ‘The tiredness. The cost. The sheer tedium. I don’t know how you do it? My life would not be worth living if I had three kids. I am so glad I dodged that bullet’. My quite nice work colleague said later I had maybe gone too far. But to be honest I was just getting warmed up – I managed to offend quite a few others by the end of the day. The thing with hormonal rage is that you just don’t know if you are hormonal or if the person you are dealing with is just a twat. Today I think I was mainly justified. I am just going to check our disciplinary process though just to see if declining estrogen is a mitigating circumstance…. just to be sure.

Anyway I digress – again. Back to bloody gaining weight when not even eating. My partner must have been feeling brave. ‘You did have lots of those honey throat lozenges – and all that cough syrup and lemsips’. ‘THAT’S MEDICINE’ I screeched. ‘IT DOESN’T COUNT’. ‘I think it does’ was the mild reply. I looked it up – feck – it is true – throat lozenges – one and a half syns each and I was necking about 20 a day. Lemsips – half a syn each and I was necking them back too with a massive shot of honey and a whisky in the evening one. ‘Remember as well you were having cans of coke coz you said the bubbles helped by scratching your throat’. Shit – yes I had forgotten about that – 7 syns a can and I had about 3 a day. ‘And remember when we got the dine in for a tenner deal?’ my partner continued perhaps not realising that I was about to do a menopausal equivalent of the Incredible Hulk as I was being made very angry by all these reminders… ‘You ate it all – the full chicken and the veg and the wine – I was too ill’ I snapped. ‘Yes but you said you would eat all the chocolate profiteroles as the cold cream inside them would help your throat. I suggested you eat some of the feckin tubs of quark that are in the fridge but you said they tasted like shit’. This is true – I had forgotten about that. And I suddenly remembered eating a tub of Ben and Jerrys for a similar reason while I was alone watching loose women from my bed. I decided not to vocalise that – my partner was having too much bloody fun without adding that in. ‘And remember your mum brought you a box of chocolates to cheer you up’. ‘i beg to feckin differ – we SHARED those’ I snapped. ‘Well no’ said my partner who is just a bit too feckin literal at the moment – ‘you gave me the coffee one and the nut one because you didn’t like them – but you scoffed the rest – even the strawberry one and you know that is my favourite’.

So it would appear that perhaps gaining weight is not so surprising but ffs I have been POORLY. It wouldn’t be so bad if I had been out getting bevvied having fun and scoffing three course meals. But seems totally crap that all the medicinal things have made me a chubster again.

So I am not going back to Slimming World. I don’t think it was really me. Almost 100 quid on the pass and the books and the shite hifi bars and stressing and worrying and chopping and cooking – just to end up where I started. And a night a week happy clapping and talking about how to make chocolate out of branflakes etc. Life is just too short for that bollocks. My decision confirmed by my pal who is rejoining as she stated ‘it is the only thing that works’. She has been starting and restarting for five years and is 2 stone heavier than when she first started. That is the definition of madness – doing the same thing but expecting a different result. So feck it

While on my sickbed I managed to figure out Twitter. I wasn’t going to bother coz I thought how on earth can I just write two lines about everything, I like to ramble (as you can probably tell). But I was watching (rolling about laughing) watching the Senate try to question Mark Zuckerberg about Facebook while clearly not having a clue about it so decided I wanted to be more Zuckerberg and less crusty old politician. So I have done it with some (a lot) of IT support from my 12 year old niece who kept telling me that Twitter was for old people and I should do Instagram. I kept telling her I am an old people so it will do for now. Anyway if you do want to follow my ‘mini rants’ then you can follow me on twitter @gallopingcatast. It was going to be gallopingcatastrophe but I didn’t have enough space so we had to go for that. So now I am a social media whiz!! Andrea Mclean and Kaye Adams have retweeted me already – I almost peed my pants when I saw it. I told my niece proudly and she said ‘who are they?’ FFS. She thinks I am a daft old fogey – just a few years ago she thought I was the most fabulous person on this earth because I made up Irish Dancing jigs for her and made quack quack noises when we saw a duck/ Now I am just an old fogey…. hey ho. Whatevers as she would say!

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Quark

Two and a half pounds ON at Fat Club!!! I kind of knew it coz I did stick to the plan but over and above it I had 6 bottles of wine, four meals out, three fry ups (not done in frylight), four bars of chocolate, six jack daniels and coke, a kebab and a fish supper. I gave up counting the syns after the first fry up as even though I am good at sums I just couldn’t be arsed – I was in the holiday mood. Two of my holiday companions were also fatter than me so I just made sure I stood beside them for photos. Also when I am a bit drunk I don’t really care about being fat anymore and I was a bit drunk for a lot of the holidays.

So it was all fun and games til I saw the photos on Facebook and had to spend quite some time messaging various people to get them to delete them and NEVER EVER to post a photo of me looking a size 20 again. And yes I KNOW I AM a size 20 but for god’s sake – photoshop!

So I decided to go back to Fat Club – but not to hang about in class – just do the walk of fat shame from the scales to the door and run for it. I was not the only one – the Easter Holidays seemed to have had the same effect on us all! We all had our excuses at the ready – some more plausible than others. One of the members declared that she knew she had gained this week as she just ‘hadn’t eaten enough’. I love her optimism!! Yep – another six easter eggs and you would have nailed it!!

Another felt she had just not drank enough water and that is why she gained 5lbs. And another had walked to work twice that week and had read that ‘muscle weighs more than fat’ and that was the reason for her 2lb weight gain. I was a little confused – surely a lb of muscle weights the same as a lb of fat? And also I can see the athletes at the Commonwealth Games in oz using that as a valid excuse but not someone who had done 2 x 20 minute walk in a week.

Another said in a quiet whisper it was her ‘star week’. One of the guys was most confused but regretted asking when he got a detailed explanation of her menstrual cycle. The Leader was most understanding and made a wee note beside her name. Another four weeks til she can use that excuse again!

I also couldn’t cope with more happy clappy stuff and was more than a little afraid that they might ask for the 7lb loss certificate back as officially now I have only lost 4.5lbs. So I decided to use the time to do something more productive – a trip to the supermarket as I have laid out our menu for the entire week to get back on plan. And it is a very long list full of ingredients that would not normally go into my basket so we may be there some time!

I had looked at our slimming world private facebook page for inspiration on recipes. Me and my partner invented an interesting game of ‘do you know what it is yet?’ using the pictures on the page – you are welcome to steal this game – it passes things like 2 hour delays in airports!. My partner guessed the first one to be deep fried dog turd on radioactive nuclear waste. That was wrong – it was actually Slimming World meatballs on brocolli rice. But we gave half a point because to be fair it did look like something you would use a poop scoop on.

The page may achieve its aim of ensuring it’s readers weight loss though – as after reading it I was so nauseous I did not want to eat for a good half hour. I have saved some of the pictures on my phone so I can look at them if I want to stop myself eating. I mean – really – a cabbage and leek omelette? I would not want to be downwind of the diner of that particular dish a few hours later!!

We did wonder if someone was talking the piss – one proud wife showed the dinner her husband had ready for her – a baked potato with a grilled courgette, fried mushrooms, ten crabsticks and a tin of beans on top!!! She declared him a ‘keeper’!

Another posted their breakfast – five fried eggs, ten rashers of bacon, mound of fried mushrooms, and six SW sausages. ‘All free food’ the caption boasted. Hmm – I like an avocado chopped up on my toast sometimes but avocado BAD. Very BAD – so full of syns that I would have to say several hail mary’s if I gave in to temptation!! But hey a heart attack on a plate is absolutely fine.

We decided to use a modicum of common sense. So we had a doughnut to take away the ‘taste’ of those images and planned out some meals using our slimming world app. We wrote them all up on our white board and were most impressed and had a good laugh as we looked forward to our slim summer bodies.

We were not laughing an hour later in Tesco. ‘Do we actually need feckin quark?’ my partner asked after a frustrating search down several aisles of yogurts and creams. ‘YES’ I said – we need it to make our curries smoother and our pasta dishes less dry and to put on meringues to make them delicious for just a tiny syn. It is the answer to EVERYTHING! Perhaps even world peace! We need them to cook every bloody thing for the full feckin week – KEEP LOOKING!!’. Finally I googled it – feckin soft cheese! Who would put soft bloody cheese on a meringue? We bought several pots as it IS mission critical for Slimming World success. And my partner will do anything that even just possibly eases the menopausal symptoms that have blighted me over the last few months. (not enough hail Marys in the world to atone for some of the things I have done and said….oops…. some were on purpose tbh but I just blamed the menopause anyway).

Another half hour of arguments and trailing up and down aisle after aisle debating such things as would mixed herbs would be a good replacement for the myriad of expensive spices required? Would we need a second mortgage to buy all this stuff? But no – if we are doing it we are doing it right so we bought every last thing on the list. But we were quite knackered then and I remembered two things – the sharpie pens that the lady at fat class brought in so we could ‘draw a line’ under our naughty few days and also the concept of ‘flexible syns’ where if you feel like it you just eat what you want and start again the next day. So as we passed the reduced aisle we spotted a curry meal for four down to a tenner so we got that and some onion bhajis and some of those cream doughnuts with the strawberry sauce on them. And a bottle of white. But we are DEFINITELY drawing a line under this and starting properly tomorrow.

We almost fainted at the check out when it came to £210 instead of our usual £40 but we reassured ourselves that most of this was stuff for our ‘cupboard essentials’ which up til now consisted of pringles, squashies and chocolate eclairs. But now we are doing things RIGHT. No more grabbing a sausage roll in the work canteen in the morning – NO Siree – we will be taking our Overnight Oats in. No more fish and chips for lunch – we will have our salmon and salad and fruit. No more meals out – we will be going a brisk walk then back for a tasty king prawn curry made with lovely creamy quark.

Note to slimming world – a spoon of quark on a meringue is NOT an acceptable replacement for double cream…. just saying!

Click on my picture then ‘follow’ to get regular updates 🙂

#menopause #slimmingworld #quark

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Fat Chance!

Guess what the Easter Bunny brought me?

A lovely big Lindt Easter Egg? Nope.

A fantastic Double Decker Egg? Nope.

Maybe an After Eight Egg? Nope

How about even just a smarties one? No – wrong again!

What about an entry into a 5K? Feckin Yes! Give yourself a prize if you guessed correctly!!

Yes I swear to fecking god – a feckin entry into a 5K in May. Apparently this is ‘supportive’ to my weight loss journey and will be a ‘good practice’ for the 10K I am doing in June which I only ended up signing up for because I was a little drunk.

OK – I did say that I didn’t want an Egg due to trying to lose weight. But OBVIOUSLY I did not mean that. And if a partner of 5 years cannot see that, then I am not sure if there is a future in the relationship. And I never once mentioned or hinted that I wanted an entry into a feckin race.

I should have seen it coming – my Christmas present when we first met was 20 chickens for some African Community. I initially had to pretend to be delighted as I was portraying myself as a non materialistic kind person (as you do at the start of a relationship). But we had a conversation over a lot of wine not long after where I explained the types of things that make good presents for me e.g. Chanel Number 5; Spa Vouchers; Posh notebooks from Paperchase; Lovely Jo Malone Candles. I don’t mind having the chickens etc – but they need to be an ‘extra’ present – not a ‘main’ present. And I thought we were getting somewhere – I was having to give less and less hints to get quite good presents. Clearly we need another chat!

A feckin entry to a 5K. I mean – fuck off. I feel I may have over-reacted somewhat to the ‘thoughtful gift’. But to be fair it had been a tricky few days as we were on a wee trip and as many know – the menopause can rip the ‘happy’ right out of holidays.

The stress had started when packing. PM (pre menopause) it was easy – fling a few pairs of knickers in a bag with a toothbrush and some make up and off I went.

Not now. Firstly and most importantly the tweezers have to go in. And a decision on which pair. The expensive ones that can clear a chin in 3 minutes flat or the cheaper ones that take longer but I won’t mind so much if they get confiscated at Airport security (because clearly a pair of tweezers is the weapon of choice for International Terrorists).

Then it’s the menopausal supplements. My magnesium as it stops me being knackered all the time. And the chromium as it stops me eating my body weight in sugar every day.

And the medication – thyroxine because my thyroid has packed up which is common during the menopause… Dermovate because I have some odd skin condition which only flares up if I forget it…. cream for my rosacea which is another lovely quite recent treat from the Menopause Fairy. Without it my face, in particular my nose, flares up making me look like a raging alcoholic.

Sanitary protection because feck knows if and when a period may appear.

Extra clothing just in case the sweats from a hot flush render an outfit no long wearable. Extra pajamas for the same reason.

And sods law – just as I need more clothes – my arse and belly increase in size and so my clothes are much bigger. Even my knickers now have to be folded before I put them in.

And my partner (who didn’t get me an Easter Egg) won’t let me use their case because it is full of crap including a 2010 AA roadmap for when we pick up the hire car because apparently ‘sat navs are not to be trusted’. I cannot bear to hear the story of the car that ended up in a river when the driver followed the satnav or have another argument about how an ancient map that half the roads no longer exist on is NOT preferable to my WAZE app that will avoid traffic jams and road closures. We can have that argument later. Also – I didn’t argue too much because I suspected an Easter Egg might be in there… which was patently wrong!!

‘Why not just pay to put an extra bag in the hold?’ my partner (who didn’t get me an Easter egg) said. ‘Because I can think of better things to do with a 2nd mortgage’ I reply. And somehow or the other I manage to cram all my stuff in to my little cabin approved bag. Andrea Mclean says we should all wear a menopause badge but I think it would be better if she perhaps campaigned for something more useful e.g. an additional bag for menopausal ladies when flying.

And off we go – three couples ready to explore the wilds of Dorset.

But not before Airport Security. My bag whizzes through – tweezers intact – ya dancer!! But I am stopped and the lady puts the long stick thing all over me – it goes mental beeping at my fanny area. OH FECK – I forgot about my fanny magnet – I meant to take it off. I was most apologetic and the lady was actually quite interested so in the end we had a nice chat about it.

Tina the Turner then waltzed through setting the beeper off too. She did it on purpose though! She does it all the bloody time with her special metal bracelet – due to some fantasy she has about being frisked. I have berated her for this several times but she just shrugs and smiles as she is patted down, imaging she is in Prisoner Cell Block H or Orange is the New Black depending on her mood.

Finally we arrive at our destination airport – all sober. We pretend we are supporting the designated driver but it is really because BA charge the GDP of a small country for a glass of wine and we forgot to pick up some vodka at the duty free to pour into our bottles of coke.

And after ten zillion years waiting to get our hire car we all pile in and we are off. No one is allowed to look at the map apart from my partner (who didn’t get me an Easter Egg) and no one is allowed to use Waze so it takes some time and a number of wrong turns and swear words to get to our final destination. So the first part of my healthy eating plan for the weekend is out the window (which was to stop and get porridge for breakfast and lots of fruit and veg) as we can’t be arsed going to the supermarket and instead stop at an off licence then order in Dominos pizza to our cottage. I am determined to log my syns though and get my little Slimming World record page out and start writing it down. Two dominos pizza… Garlic bread…. Ice Cream…. Two bottles of wine. After that the writing gets a bit tricky to make out. But I don’t worry too much because Slimming World have this great thing called ‘flexible syns’ where you can stuff your face, draw a line under it and start again.

The next day we are all a little tender and Tina the Turners loud and excitable nieces come to get us to take us to the ‘best bar around for afternoon sessions’. We get there and my gin and tonic is served in a jam jar. A jam jar? Why would anyone want to drink their drink out of a jam jar? Apparently it is the new thing. Who knew? So I am mutton drinking as lamb. The noise is incredible and I cannot bear it. So finally us old ones feck off back to the cottage, get our pajamas on and settle down to watch Ant and Dec. Well – actually it was just Dec. I think he did quite well on his own but I fell asleep half way through it so can’t say for definite.

Hot flushes, temper tantrums, fatigue and lack of an Easter Egg (for the first time in nearly 50 years) aside it was a lovely holiday overall. I was feeling fairly calm and happy as we boarded the plane to come home.

But then the Peppa Pig tune came from nowhere? I looked behind me and a kid was watching their ipad in wonder. No earphones. At times like this it is hard to know if you are moody or if someone is genuinely being a twat and needs to be told. So I calmly (proud of myself) ask the mother if perhaps she has earphones for her daughter. ‘Oh’ she replies ‘she doesn’t like wearing them’. ‘Oh’ I reply ‘that’s a shame because I doubt the rest of the plane like to listen to Peppa Pig all the way home’. She compromises by turning the volume down to an annoying buzz. Does everyone get pissed off with parents who feel that a blaring ipad with annoying cartoons is an acceptable way to behave on public transport? Or is it just me? PUBLIC transport – the clue is in the name!

Sometimes it is nice to get home!! Peace and quiet and comfy bed. My partner who didn’t get me an Easter Egg offered to go and get one. But I have refused as they are half price now and also it is Fat Club tomorrow and everyone knows you don’t eat crap the day before Fat Club – you save it for after weigh in. I also feel there may be better benefits to playing the martyr just a bit longer.

Happy Easter Everyone. Hmmmm – just reread this – I suspect hormonal mood swings are at a peak today. I best try to be nice for a wee while. I will start tomorrow. And if anyone has a problem with that then it is their problem and I would advise they don’t try to make it mine!

I hope you all got Easter Eggs from kind and thoughtful partners!!

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Thinner

So this happened!!

I was slightly worried heading off to Fat Club as the week could not really be classed as an overall success. My pal who lost four stone on slimming world says that she just took a day off each week and had what she wanted and that kept her going.

So I had Sunday off and had a great fry up then went out for Sunday lunch and had starter big main course then sticky toffee pudding with cream and ice cream all washed down with a bottle of Chablis. I then had a big bar of galaxy at the cinema and we stopped off on the way back for a kebab. Couple of glayvas with some thai chilli crisps concluded a very good day. And she was right – it does feel good to have a day off.

I was telling her about my lovely day and she was a little quiet.
I asked her what he had on her ‘day off’ and she looked a little bemused as she said she stuck to plan but had a creme egg and a glass of wine over her allocated syns. Feck – I didn’t even count the syns – she did a quick calculation for me and it appeared I had about 1000 which isn’t really good as I am supposed to have 15. I thought a day off was a day off ffs. I have told her to be a bit clearer in future and she told me to fuck off and it was obvious that you couldn’t have ‘whatever you want and still lose weight’. I told her to shut up. This is a typical conversation between two menopausal women.

But I did have the Leggara pizza at Pizza Express which was billed as the healthy low fat option. Wasn’t that impressed though as basically it is just a pizza with the middle cut out and some leafs stuck in. Feck you could do that with all your food and it would be low fat – just chop out the middle of your kebab, take out the middle of your nan bread, chop out the middle of your galaxy bar etc. I also had a little bit of an upset tummy for the first few days – finally realised it is the artificial sugar that my body doesn’t like – it wants the real stuff back so had to give up on stuff like muller light reluctantly as the laxative effect was probably quite conducive to weight loss. But the stomach cramps were more than I can bear. I had also given a pint of blood at the blood shop and ran 2.5K. And done lots of bum clenches due to holding farts in from having so much ‘speed food’. So was overall hopeful.

In I went determined just to weigh in and feck off before all the happy clappy stuff. The girl with all the heavy clothes on the previous week was before me. She looked at me appalled – ‘you still have your earings in’ she hissed. I was most confused – ‘yes – but they are just little silver studs’ I whispered back. She shook her head as I took in her outfit. Trousers so thin they were almost see through and a tiny vest top. It was all too clear she was not wearing knickers or a bra. She was frantically taking all her jewellery off. ‘Actually’ she said ‘I think i can manage another wee – keep my place’ and off she went to the loo. Fecks sake! She appeared back and I was trying to work out what was different about her. ‘I’ve had my hair cut’ she said ‘ I think it should also help with the weight loss’. She then regaled me with all the things I was doing wrong to ensure weight loss – not taking my jewellery off/not wearing lighter clothes/not starving myself before I came/not going to the loo. She was impressed with my blood thing though and said she might do that next week. Then it was her turn and off she went after reminding me to breathe totally out before getting on the scales as the ‘air can weight more than you think’. She looked a bit unsteady as she staggered to the scale almost missing it but the leader kindly helped her on – I realised she had also taken her specs off and wasn’t pissed but just half blind without them.

Well lots of me is falling apart – got a dodgy knee, the eyes are going and I am getting rather wrinkly – but one thing that is razor sharp still is my hearing. 4lbs off. Feck – she did good. No way I was gonna beat that. So it was my turn – she had buggered off and was engrossed in her phone no doubt updating her facebook to let them all know. How sad 😉

SEVEN POUNDS OFF – ya dancer!!!! I almost did a fist pump into the air I was so overjoyed but I stuck to the little smug smile I had seen so many others do. I decided I might stay for the meeting just to see ‘Fake Slimmers’ shock when I beat her. I mean the leader says we should not compare and we are all on our own journey. But I beg to differ! I am in it to win it. Then to clinch the deal there were raffle tickets. I love a raffle. No idea what the prize was but paid £2 for the tickets.

A pad was thrust into my hands and I was asked to be leader for something called fun tech or something like that. I worked out it was something to do with counting up the weight our team lost but there were complicated bits around if someone got a certificate. Not a good idea to give this to a menopausal woman who is easily distracted and suffers from brain fog. But I decided to try my best.

Then the Happy Clappy stuff all started. God it is so crap and endless. ‘Big round of applause for Rachel who lost a pound’ then ‘Big round of applause for Mavis who gained a pound but overall has lots 3lbs in the last 6 weeks – well done Mavis’ then ‘2lbs on for you Margaret – what happened? – oh you say your dog hurt its paw so you had to have a Chinese – well don’t worry life happens and that would upset anyone’ ‘Onto David – who has put a pound on but has been in Tenerife for a week so that’s really good well done David’. And on and on and on it went. Finally it go to me and I was overjoyed. SEVEN POUNDS OFF AND A CERTIFICATE FOR ME. My bubble was quickly burst by Fake Slimmer though who whispered ‘well you are a lot bigger than me so it’s much easier for you to lose’. Fucker – I almost stabbed her with my pen as hormonal rage started to erupt but controlled myself.

Then we had to guess the syns in some very appetising Easter eggs that were laid out. Seemed a bit odd – I mean I have never been to AA but am guessing they don’t lay our bottles of booze and try and guess how drunk each one would get you. But I played along guessing correctly that the big double decker one was highest – coz that is the one I wanted the most.

I didn’t win the raffle unfortunately – but wasn’t too bothered when I discovered the prize wasn’t the Double Decker egg but some real eggs with some crustless bread to make soldiers for Easter. I could have bloody bought that for £2.

We did win the fun challenge county thing though but tbh I cheated. I was so distracted going through my wardrobe in my head wondering what I could wear now I was so much thinner that I kept forgetting to write stuff down. So when the other team gave their result I just added 5 on so we would win. Not a single prize for that though!!! I can’t help but wonder what happens to all the Chocolate Eggs that are laid out.

We all pile out – Fake Slimmer walks in front of me with Margaret who is now her new best friend (I think she is jealous of my success) and declares she is off to get chinese and chocolate as it ‘doesn’t count’ as nothing eaten on the night of weight in matters as long as you get back on plan the next day apparently.

Not me though. I am going to get right back on it.

Well – I might have an Easter Egg – I mean I have to walk past the corner shop and I do believe in supporting local businesses

And I have been looking at them all evening.

Actually I will probably get two coz they have an offer on if you buy two.

Then I will have a whole week to make up.

#menopause #slimmingworld

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Running 4 It!

I’ve been thinking of becoming a Runner for a quite a while now. My partner and my two running friends say I should just put my trainers on and walk out the door and start running then I will be a runner rather than someone who just lies on the couch eating maltesers while reading Runners World. This seems a rather simplistic approach but I do accept they may have a valid point.

So today was the day due to a number of factors. My Menopause book tells me that physical activity and exercise can relieve many of the common physical and mental/emotional symptoms that accompany ‘the change’ and I am very much in need of the ‘runner’s high’ (tbh any high would do but running won’t result in a stretch in Cornton Vale). Also, my friend who runs says if you run enough you can eat as much as you want because you burn it off which clinched the deal.

And this is particularly important due to me having Slimming World class tomorrow and having not exactly stuck to plan. I can’t bear the possibility of going in having gained weight. I really wish I had worn heavier clothes last week. I am hoping that the running will help along with the pint of blood I plan to give at the blood bank tomorrow just before class.

Also, while me and the SW plan were on a ‘break’, I was persuaded by a friend to sign up for a 10k in June and now the cocktail induced cockiness has worn off I am slightly worried. Especially as we are doing it for charity so I can hardly just not bother to turn up without looking like a terrible person who doesn’t care about saving Greek Donkeys (cause was NOT my choice btw!).

But on the positive side the 10K coincides neatly with the end of my 12 week countdown at Slimming World so I am picturing myself 20lbs lighter floating gazelle like over the finish line then holding my 10K medal high for photos that I can then post on facebook and lots of people can say things like ‘wow how fit are you?’ and ‘you look totes amazing!’ instead of ‘Feck that is a massive cocktail’ and ‘wow you look so well’ which everyone knows means ‘wow you have piled the beef on haven’t you?’

Thankfully, as an organised person, my preparations are almost complete. So far I have:

• Downloaded Couch 2 5K app on my phone
• Bought lovely white trainers in Run4It that cost a lot but come from a proper running shop so will be of very good quality and will make me run faster
• Gone back to Run4It and bought navy trainers as decided I did not want to get white trainers dirty by wearing them outside (white ones will not be wasted though as I am putting them aside for indoor use and will be using them when I get time to go to the gym I joined 6 months ago)
• Bought 2 lovely running outfits from Marks and Spencer (would have got them from Run4It but they have a strange idea of what size XL is and hence nothing fitted me apart from my trainers and a lovely buff thing that you put on your head to keep the hair away (socks would probably have fitted me too but at £12 a pair that was not happening!)
• Drove past the meeting point for a running group but decided not to join them on account of being twice the size of the biggest man there and four times the size of the biggest woman
• Bought wireless earphones so I can run without getting tangled up
• Subscribed to Runner’s World and been very inspired by the adverts of smart Active wear and the images of skinny runners
• Visualised crossing the London Marathon finishing line and being interviewed for Runner’s World on how I had thought I was past it but now work as a Running Coach and attribute my new size 10 figure to my new lifestyle
• Bought two sports bras that are lovely and in time I may buy tops that will unbutton far enough that people can see the pattern of my sports bra peeking out. Actually if I get thin enough i might just wear my leggings and my sports bra when I go out running like some of the models in my magazine
• Been on Map My Walk and discovered some 5K routes around me that are off the road and quiet enough that few people will see me but not so isolated that I might get mugged
• Bought some special running sweets – ‘running gels’ to give me energy while I run

So it was time! Time to run!

Sweet Dog was most excited and wagged her tail frantically in support when I put my trainers on so I couldn’t bear to leave her behind. And also I had seen an article in Runner’s World where a gorgeous slim woman was running with her dog beside her and I decided I wanted to portray a similar image. I also suspected I might be too knackered to walk her after my run.

So off we went. I drove to the park with the Loch that has a path round it that measures exactly 2.5K. Sweet Dog jumps out the boot and skips around happily. We set off at a nice gently slow jog. All is going well. My supportive bra is doing its job though to be honest I was at the back of the queue when they were giving out boobs so a vest would probably have been fine. My tummy swings from side to side which is a big disconcerting but I soon get used to it swinging in rhythm with my steps. My arse is the most problematic as it seems to have got a life of it’s own and I seriously start to think of designing then pitching a ‘bum bra’ at the next Dragons Den.

Then Sweet Dog starts the Shit Twirl. FFS!! Thank god I brought poo bags. I am not to be put off so I scoop it up and run on trying not to boak when my hand comes up near my face (which they tend to do every few seconds when you are a Runner) and the stink of poo overcomes me. WTF does that dog eat! Two minutes later and another Shit Twirl. I now have a bag of dog shit in each hand. I try to think of them as weights.

Where the fuck is a dog poo bin for goodness sake? Or any bloody bin!

Then I notice Sweet Dog has fucked off into a bush and is struggling to drag something out from under it. Oh God – please not make it a baby squirrel or little bird. She emerges proud as punch with a Robinsons bottle of what I would like to think is diluted orange cordial but suspect due to its proximity to the road may be piss from some lazy bastard that could not be arsed stopping for a wee so just pissed in his bottle and fired it out the window of his vehicle.

Stupid Dog will not give the bottle up. So now I am running holding two bags of shit while the bloody dog runs beside me proudly holding the bottle of piss in her mouth. I am really concerned that the image I am projecting is not anything like any of the Runners World images I have pored over. I make a note to never ever ever bring Stupid Dog with me ever again. And I hope and pray I do not bump into my ex.

Finally I find a bin and lob the bags in and drag the bottle from Stupid Dogs mouth and fire it in but not before a bit of what I really do hope is Robinsons Cordial leaks out from where her teeth have bit into the bottle and splashes on my new running trousers.

I keep going and suddenly my tummy cramps – oh god – I need to go. I need to go RIGHT NOW. What will I do? Oh God – I run behind a bush and just make it. WTF was that – has my body gone into shock from moving? None of the Runners World articles mentioned this side effect (which I have since found is quite common and even has an official name – Runners Trots or Fecal Urgency if you want a more medical term). I stagger out feeling rather weak but secretly wondering if that will help with the weigh in tomorrow. I also think I have now got something else in common with Paula Radcliff (apart from the running thing) and at least no one was there to broadcast it to the nation.

I am knackered now as I have been slowly running with just those few stops for nearly 8 minutes. So I decide to walk the rest of the way. Running World warns against overdoing it on your first few runs.

I will obviously need to build up a bit more stamina before June.

And possibly shop for some imodium!

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