Friday 30 April 2010

Life is there for the eating

While on holiday in sunny New Zealand, we spent a fair amount of time on beaches. Which meant a fair amount of time in swimsuits. A bikini to be exact. Foolish, I know, but I was on the other side of the world, far away from the people who see me on a daily basis.

Except that there were people there with cameras....

So, upon returning home, jet lagged and in need of some comfort eating not to mention intense alcohol consumption following the flight from hell, I got to view photographs of myself looking like an out of shape rugby prop forward. And believe me, you do not want to see prop forwards in a bikini. Ever.

It was the catalyst I needed to kick my not-so-bony arse into diet mode.

I've been on proper diets twice in my life. Once before I got married. I did Weight Watchers online (because there is no way I'm going to a dreary building to get weighed in front of a bunch of people who all would just like to eat each other). It was while we were living in the NYC. It was easy. No children's leftovers to nibble on. Hours of free time to work out. Delis with low fat salads to choose from. It was a cinch.

The second time was after the birth of child number 2. I went on the GI diet. For 3 months we ate our body weight in lentils, wholegrain rice, leafy greens and high fibre bran. We were like a farting von Trapp family, belting out gassy tunes with gay abandon. I managed to teach my mouth to prefer skimmed milk to semi-skimmed and to choose sweetener over sugar. I even genuinely grew to like some of the recipes - Chermoula Chickpea Burgers anyone?

And this too worked. While there were kids leftovers to nibble on, there was less of them as only one child was on solids and his food was pretty bland and unappetising. I didn't get much chance to exercise, other than run around after a two year old and all the lifting and carrying that goes on with a baby. Through sheer bloody mindedness, I lost the baby weight. Or most of it.

But gradually over time, the wholegrain rice reverted to white. The chickpea burgers became the full fat juicy beef variety. The sweet potatoes became good old Kind Edwards. And so the fat accumulation recommenced....

This time round, dieting is a whole lot harder. I have two children who eat (or rather don't eat) very tasty food. I can't stand food waste (all those starving children in African and all that) so I tend to eat theirs ...and mine. And we guzzle lots of wine (Ok - I do, it's all me dammit). And due to my husband's bad influence, curry take outs are a regular occurrence. I also love cooking. And baking. Cakes. And I love eating the things I cook. Not being allowed to eat takes away not one, but two big loves of mine. It's just plain mean.

But with a good deal of motivation (i.e. those hideous bikini shots), I signed up to Weight Watchers online again this week and so far, have been the very picture of virtue. I've been well below my allocated points most days. I've gone for 3 mile runs or done 30 minute work outs on the cross trainer every day. I've been wearing my Reebok Easy Tone trainers (which the kind people of Reebok sent me, obviously knowing in a psychopathic way that this is just what I needed).

And I can feel a difference. For the first time in a long time I've actually felt hungry. I haven't felt that horrible, uncomfortable over full feeling. I've also had headaches and sod all energy and a definite loss of the will to live. But, to hell with that, my butt feels firmer and my tummy is definitely not quite as easy to confuse with a half melted jelly.

But I have a way to go.

And now it's Friday evening. And I really, really want some wine. Sure you'll say. Have a glass. WW allows it. But it's Friday. One glass isn't going to do it. And then there's dinner. I've already had to cook the kids pork chippolatas with potato wedges and veg - and had to resist eating any of it. The mind control could have bent spoons had I been glaring at one.

Instead I am waiting for my husband to return home. And because it's Friday, I have a sneaky suspicion that he might suggest a curry take out. And I have a sneaky suspicion that my will-power might decide to pack its bags and leave for sunnier climes.

But if I fall off the wagon now, I still have a three day weekend to get through complete with a pub quiz with friends on Sunday night during which it is imperative to drink your body weight in wine AND they give out free pizza. I'll have to have a glass and a slice and that will be my full day's worth of WW points. Weep. Dieting is just so sodding dull. Life is there for the eating!

So for tonight at least, I think I might just throw the scale out of the window and run 6 miles tomorrow.

Monday 26 April 2010

Sleep is for the weak

Well we survived the billion hour flights. There and back. Even with a sodding Icelandic volcano to add to the joy. And you know, the kids weren't even awful. We had one weeing in pants incident that resulted in a very over tired little boy crying because he couldn't understand why he was wet, and a mother who didn't really want to cuddle him too closely because of said wetness, and several extremely grumpy Germans who felt the child should stop crying, and a mother who wanted to tell them to knob off but couldn't remember any German swear words having had no sleep for 48 hours.

But besides that, they were fine. Except that they were small boys in a confined space for 26 hours a pop. Even as an adult, getting free drinks from the wine trolley (and believe me, I had many of those) and having a full understanding of how to use the remote controls for the on-board entertainment system, 26 hours is a long, long time to sit in one small space.

So this is sort of how it went:

son1: Can you help me get the games on? No, not that game, this game.
son2: I also want the games on.
me: attempt to juggle two remote controls, finding games for son2 and a film for me.
son2: I can't work the controller. Show me how.
me: sigh. Like this....10 seconds of peace. I choose a film of my own and watch 2 minutes of it
son1: I'm hungry. When can we get food?
son2: I'm also hungry. Can we have a sweet yet?
me: food is coming. They only have to serve the 200 people seated in front of us, then we'll get ours. And no, you can't have a sweet yet.
son2: are we there yet?
me: No. We still have 25 hours and 50 minutes to go.....

The food trolley finally arrives, just as the nagging and cries of 'I'm starving' start to get quite volumatic. We're served our little over-filled trays of plastic nastiness. The children rip their cutlery packets open like presents on Christmas morning, immediately dropping their knives and forks on the floor under their seats with no way of getting them out without me loading up three trays in front of me like the leaning tower of Plastic, while they scrabble on the floor looking for their feeding implements. As I set their food trays back in front of them and am about to take a bite of congealed egg (which may have been breakfast, lunch or dinner but my body clock is way out of kilter and it's hard to know what meal it's meant to be) one of them will announce that they need to poo.

It will invariably be the child closest to the window that needs to poo, thus requiring the three way tray pile again, only now less evenly balanced as things have been openened and rearranged. It wobbles ominously. The child will attempt to walk across the seats but will stand on his brother which will prompt a swift punch by the stepped on brother to the legs of the brother in need of a poo. He will then attempt to bunch / kick back resulting in the teetering food tower to wobble precariously.

We'll finally manage to extricate ourselves from our seats, wait with a small boy holding his hand on his bottom, indicating the immediacy of the poo while the food trolley moves painstakingly slowly out of the aisle. When we finally make it there and the job is done, we will have the usual angst of having to block our ears while we flush as airplane loos are a little loud. Why is that?

Then we go back to our seats and repeat the whole performance.

Eventually one child will fall asleep. I will attempt to fall asleep. The other child will wake me just as I finally manage to drift off asking me to put a different film on or perhaps saying he needs a wee or a drink of water or a blanket. As that child drifts off to the land of nod, the other will wake up and ask for a film, a wee, a drink of water or a blanket. The result is absolutely no sleep for the lone parent trying to juggle this.

After hours and hours and hours of this I give up all hope of sleep and opt to watch films instead. Here are the films I started watching:

It's Complicated
Up in the Air
The Hurt Locker
An Education
Blind Side
New Moon
Couples Retreat
The Time Travellers Wife

I don't think I saw the end of any of them, due to previously mentioned interruptions.

All in all, from when you wake up on the day you are due to fly out, to going to sleep in your destination, it will be roughly 48 hours. That is 48 hours of no sleep, eating crappy food, sitting in a teeny space getting a very numb bum, constantly whispering: DON'T KICK THE SEAT, and dealing with foreign customs people who aren't blessed with humour or understanding.

Once you get to your destination, you might think you can now sleep. But jet lag kicks in. And even though your body is way overtired, it's also telling you that it's day time, not night time and you should be awake. So you lie there wishing yourself to sleep. And just as sleep eventually steals over you like a heavy blanket, you hear: 'Mummy, I can't sleep.' And just as you settle that one several hours later, you hear the next one say the exact same thing.

And then the sun rises and you have to face the day. Your brain feels like its clogged with soggy cotton wool and your vision is slightly blurry around the edges.

It took me 10 days to get over the jetlag going there. We got back home on Friday. Today is Monday. I can still barely lift my head off my desk. I might be this way for some time to come.

PS - we had a fab holiday. But next time, I want a Star Trek Beam me up Scottie machine to get there.