Friday, 29 April 2011

A Right Royal To-Do.

Ok, so confession: I'm coming on here to gush...over just how beautiful the Royal Wedding was this morning!

I know, I know, everyone is sick of hearing be honest, I am as well. Or I was. After working in London for two weeks over the holidays I was sick to the back teeth of tourists flashing their Wills and Kate Oyster cards at me and asking me questions about which of the Crown Jewels are used for Royal Weddings (answer: none of them. Full state regalia is not used for Royal nuptials. The tiara Kate wore this morning was on personal loan from the Queen...and by the way, I totally did not read about that on our work noticeboard...). I'm not one of those English (because I'm English, not British) people who is totally in love with the monarchy. In fact, I'm fairly ambivalent towards them most of the time. However this did not stop me tuning in this morning.

I started off in a fairly cynical manner. I was half-hoping that it would rain, that Kate would trip over her train and that William would cock his vows up in front of the assembled Royals and celebs. My cynicism lasted approximately thirty seconds, until I saw the thousands of people lining the streets of London, waving Union Jacks and celebrating as if it were their own family members tying the knot in Westminster Abbey. Suddenly I was so proud to be English, to be part of this country and its history. Even from my living room, wearing my moo-cow print pajamas, drinking tea out of my Twilight Mug and eating Marmite on toast (never let it be said that I don't know how to live), I was caught up in the excitement and the atmosphere of it all. And ok, so the occasional sarcastic comment may have slipped out, but that doesn't mean that I wasn't loving every second of it. I loved the Royal Gentlemen, in their oh-so-dashing uniforms, I loved Kate's beautiful dress, I loved the assorted celebs, politicians and Royals who all showed up in their glad-rags (minus Samantha Cameron - the woman didn't even wear a hat! I mean really, make an effort love) to watch the couple make their vows in Westminster Abbey. What I loved most of all was when William leaned over and whispered to Kate 'You look beautiful'. It was just such a real moment - somehow you don't ever think of them as actual people, so it was nice to see their human side. There wasn't a dry in the house. Well, there wasn't a dry eye in my house. And that might have been because I was the only one in it, and I myself had been crying since the commentator said that 'the last time William and Harry were together at the Abbey was when they were following the funeral procession in 1997' - SOB. I was an absolute mess!

So yes, its safe to say that my cynicism and dislike for the human race as a general entity has been quashed. Trampled to the ground by an overwhelming sense of Patriotism and optimism, something that was shared by the entire country as well as many other people around the globe who tuned in.

Congratulations to the happy couple!

Now, where's my Prince Charming??

Lauren xxx

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Weighing-In And Paint Your Love.

Hi guys!

Well, its Wednesday, and as promised I went back to Weight Watchers this morning after almost two weeks of not tracking or pointing, and pretty much eating whatever I wanted. I said a couple of posts ago that I was fully expecting to gain anywhere between 4lbs and 6lbs, and that I would be ok with that because I really really really haven't been good food or exercise wise at all. So when I stepped on the scales this morning and heard the words 'you've lost 1lb', I almost had a pink fit. I've lost a pound? Lost? Are you sure? How in the hell does that work then?? I was tempted to ask her to weigh me again, but then I realised how annoyed I'd be if I got on the scales again and they showed something different to the first time, so I left it at that.

The best part about having a loss, even a really small loss, when you're expecting a gain, is that it feels like a huge achievement. I was expecting to put on 4lb, and mentally I was already working from that assumption and thinking in terms of how much I would have to lose to get back to where I was before Easter. Now I'm below where I was before Easter and even if it is by just 1lb really, it feels like so much more!!

So without further ado, onto the second part of this weeks post...Paint Your Love.

After I got home from weigh-in, I took my allotted time to stop and relax while painting my nails. After my good result at weigh-in I was feeling very positive and motivated, even more so by the fact that I am now just 3.6lbs away from moving down into the next stone bracket, which is something I'd definitely like to do before the end of my academic year, if not before. I'd like to see a good loss next week in particular, as its my last weigh-in at my current meeting before I go back home and back to work for the summer. I think its important to leave on a high note! So I spent my Paint Your Love this afternoon pencilling some gym sessions into my revision timetable and mentally planning my meals for the week, whilst simultaneously experimenting with some of my purchases from yesterday...

Yes yes yes, I know I'm about a million years late to the party, but I finally got some Barry M Instant Nail Effect Nail Paint. I will admit to having a bit of a mare when it came to deciding between the pink, blue, white or black one, but in the end I went for the black (with the full intention of buying the other three when my loan comes I said, its 3 for 2, and to be quite frank I feel it would be rude not to!). The blue polish underneath the Effects is Barry M as well (294 Cyan Blue) and I used Barry M's Basecoat and Topcoat as well. I am a Barry M fiend!! It took me ages to decide what colour to have this week, partly because I have so many that choosing one has now become a genuine dilemma. I finally settled on the blue because it reminds me of summery blue skies :)

Thats your lot for today you beautiful readers, I'm off to spend the evening with Moby Dick!!

Lauren xxx

P.S For your listening pleasure...

It reminds me of Summer '07, spent cruising round in my friends pimped out Gold 306. It had dragons painted on the sides...
I shit you not.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The Only Way Is Kent University.

Its my first full day back in Canterbury today, and its been a fairly productive one. I had a lovely wander down into town to post some ebay stuff and take some 'fat-girl' clothes to the charity shop. Then I swung by Tescos because my cupboards were literally empty. Oh and also Boots, where I accidentally bought three new nail varnishes, because it was 3 for 2 and I thought hell, why not? I am actually becoming a Barry M vail polish fiend, its beginning to be a bit of an issue if I'm honest. They're just so pretty!!

Anyway, back to my point...on my way into town this morning I was struck, once again, by how pretty Canterbury is. There are so many cute little cottages with lovely front gardens, and the bottom end of the High Street is just so quaint and oldy-worldy. I just love it. I've always been fascinated by old houses and towns and castles, which is probably something that stems from a school trip to Colchester Castle when I was in primary school. I remember being absolutely thrilled a year later when I found out my dad was moving to Colchester and would be living just ten minutes from the castle - I swear I used to drag him and my little brother there every time we stayed. This fascination has only increased over the years, firstly with my auntie working at the Tower of London and then with me getting a job there myself. I've been there almost two years and I still get a thrill out of it! And its the same in Canterbury. I get excited every time I walk under the Westgate arch-way or past the Cathedral. I think part of the fascination is just how long its all been there - its impossible to wrap your head around that many years of history! Plus its all so much prettier when there are beautiful clear skies as far as the eye can see! Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me in town, but I made a mental note to take it with me up to campus this afternoon and thought I'd share a few of the pictures with you all :) once again, please excuse my atrocious photography skills!

This is the view of Canterbury town centre from our campus. When term starts again in a couple of weeks this field will be literally covered with people studying and relaxing in the sunshine - one of the reasons I love Canterbury in the summertime!

My halls! I lived in this building in Freshers - in fact you can actually see my window! Its the fourth window from the ground on the right hand side of the white pillar. My window faced onto the fields and trees that are all around the campus, with the result that my room was always full of lady-birds! They used to drive me crazy!

I almost had a heart-attack when I got back yesterday evening to a front garden full of Bluebells - I love Bluebells! They remind me of spring walks in the woods near my mums house.

So there you have it - just a few snaps of some of the things I see day-to-day in my little world here in Canterbury. And I promise to remember my camera next time I go into town as well!

Love to you all, I hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful spring day!
Lauren xxx

Monday, 25 April 2011

An Easter Weekend Update.

Hello lovely beautiful readers.

It feels like ages since I last posted, but when I checked it was only last Thursday! I feel I am becoming a bit blog/twitter obsessed (I would say facebook obsessed as well, but I've been that for nearly four years so its kind of old news!) I think it probably feels like so long because I've had such a manically busy Easter weekend. I worked all weekend and had the happy-hijacked-pagan-festival/Easter roast dinner with the family on Sunday, whilst simultaneously attempting to pack and get myself ready for my return to Canterbury (which was orchestrated by Mumma Jones this afternoon. Via Pizza Express...more on that to come.)

Despite my numerous shenanigans over the weekend, I think my own personal highlight was me laying on my (recently turned off) GHD hair straighteners on Saturday morning. Its left a very attractive V shaped burn on my lower back that is extremely painful and unpleasant and looks something like this:

Sorry about the rubbish photo, as it turns out taking a photo of your own lower back is really frigging difficult! I nearly put my shoulder out trying to contort myself round to get a decent angle - such is my dedication to portraying the truth about my life on this blog. 

But yeah. Ouch.

Anyway - back to the rundown of me weekend! Mummy brought me back to Canterbury this afternoon, via Pizza Express where we enjoyed a very delicious meal. I was stuffed after my pizza, but I still found room for dessert.


This completely unnecessary but oh-so-enjoyable mass intake of calories brings me back to the actual point of this blog (and back down to Earth) with a rather sharp bump. I was very very naughty while I was at home and back at work, especially over the weekend. We're talking subway, cake, crisps, more cake, easter eggs, roast dinners, seconds, more cake, chocolate, ice cream and then some more cake for good measure (mum made a lemon victoria sponge type affair with miniature mini-eggs (yes, they exist!) and tiny little yellow fluffy chicks on it for decoration, and it would have been rude of me to have eaten anything less than three slices of it). This means that I've most definitely gained since my last meeting - I'm estimating anywhere in the region of 4-6lbs. Woops. As I already knew this was the situation before I got back to Canterbury, I decided to take full advantage of one more free meal before I was left to fend for myself again, and boy am I glad that I did. The cupboards are bare and the bank account is very deep into the red. Ahhh the joys of student life - looks like its dry pasta for me for the forseeable future! Can't wait...

Now that I am back at uni its also full steam ahead on revision as well, as my exams start two weeks from tomorrow. I have a few things to do tomorrow morning (including re-acquainting myself with the gym - is it sad that I'm excited by this?) and then I will be drawing up my fool-proof brainstorm, sorry 'mind-map', revision posters. Normally by now I would be freaking out over exams - the fact that I'm not either means that I'm very confident, or else very stupid. Personally I'm inclined to think it's the latter...

I'm going to go collapse in an exhausted heap in my bed now. Many apologies for the fact that this post reads like a diary entry - next time I promise to talk about something more interesting. Now I just have to cross my fingers that something interesting will happen to me between now and the next time I post....

Love to you all :) 
Lauren xxx

Friday, 22 April 2011

Let Your Love Flow.

This song never fails to bring a smile to my face. It reminds me of summer, sunshine and singing in the car with my mum!

I thought I'd share the joy!

Hope you're all enjoying this sunny Easter weekend - sadly I will be at work all weekend so I certainly won't be getting the most out of it!

Have a good one :) 

Lauren xxx

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Paint Your Love.

A few days ago I saw a link on my good friend Rosie's blog, for a project called Paint Your Love. It's being run by a fantastic blogger called Moorea, and despite only having been in practice for a few weeks, its obvious that Paint Your Love has already had a massive effect on hundreds of women. The basic premise of the idea is very simply - self-love. Women (and men - the project isn't mutually exclusive to the girlies) all over the world neglect themselves on a day-to-day basis. We don't take care of ourselves emotionally or physically. Whether this is because we feel that we don't deserve to be loved, or simply because we just don't have time to stop and take a minute to look after ourselves, the effect is still the same. Paint Your Love is about rectifying this, quite simply by 'painting' our love for ourselves on our hands. Every week (or however frequently you want to I suppose) you take the time to stop and look after yourself, simply by painting your nails. Then throughout the week as you sign your name, type on your phone, apply your make-up, tie your shoes or anything else, you can look at your nails and know that you took the time to look after yourself that week. You can read more about the project and what inspired it, in Moorea's own words, here.

This project struck me as something that I'd really like to get involved in, simply because the message behind it is one that I feel applies very definitely to me. As a morbidly obese person with clinical depression that I had ignored for at least three years, I wasn't looking after myself physically or emotionally. I've spoken on here before about my initial attitude to losing the weight, and how I thought that once I was slim I would instantly be happy. I realised fairly quickly that that wasn't the case, and took steps to treat the depression. I'm happy to say that the treatment is working very well, and I no longer recognise the person I used to be. Its not that the anti-depressants or counselling have changed who I am, because I know that I will always be a 'depression sufferer' - its not something that ever goes away. Just like I will never have a 100% healthy relationship with food. Both of those issues are things that I'm going to have to deal with day in and day out for the rest of my life. A year ago, that thought nearly pushed me over the edge. There were times when my mind wandered into the very dark realms of 50 sleeping tablets and a bottle of vodka...more times than I care to think about. I never made plans to do anything like that, and I don't think that I was genuinely suicidal - its not that I wanted to die, I just didn't care whether or not I lived. I think the turning point came when I saw somebody on TV who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. They were crying and saying they didn't want to die, and I very clearly remember thinking 'God, they're so lucky. They get to die without the guilt of killing themselves.' That's when I realised that I needed help.

(I feel that I should warn you now, its extremely likely that this post is going to be very long and fairly deep. It was a harrowing time for me (and my family and friends, although I didn't see that at the time) and its not something that I tend to discuss with many people. But I feel like I can't explain how important Paint Your Love is without explaining some things about myself first.)

Once I had addressed some of my issues and got help, I started to feel a lot better. And although I know that I will never be 'cured', the thought of living with it doesn't terrify me anymore. I can look to the future and feel optimistic about my life. I know that I have lots of exciting things to look forward to - graduating, getting my first 'proper' job, falling in love, getting married, having babies. Basically, having a 'normal' life that isn't dictated by my being extremely overweight or crippled by my depression. They will be things that I have to deal with in the same way that I have to deal with all the other issues in life - like not being able to afford the mortgage payments or the car repairs, or being called into the head-teachers office because my child is misbehaving. It won't be easy, but it will be manageable. Now that I'm dealing with my issues, nothing is impossible anymore.

Now, onto the heavy stuff. (Just to reiterate - long and possibly very boring. But then I suppose nobody is making you read it.) I don't remember when my depression really started. In fact, I don't remember very much. I have very few memories of between the ages of 12 and 19, and really none at all of being 19. I don't remember my first year at university at all. I know that it happened, but I don't have any memories of specific occasions or of how I felt about anything. I think I was so deeply unhappy that I blocked it all out. I was fat and miserable, but I didn't do anything about it because I wouldn't let my mind recognise how bad things had got. Honestly, it had been a downward spiral since I was sixteen and had split up with my first boyfriend, Matt. He was the first person that I ever really loved and he had given me all the things that I so desperately craved, like stability and affection. I've never had a stable family life, which I guess is the natural result of having divorced parents. And while I know that my parents love me very much, we have never been a particularly 'affectionate' family. We're not cuddly, say 'I love you' at the end of every phone-call people. Its just not us. With Matt I got the stability of a steady boyfriend, plus the stability of his very perfect, very stable, 2.4-children-and-a-dog nuclear family, who were always very welcoming and lovely to me. Plus we were quite an affectionate couple. I guess he just made me feel loved and wanted, something that every girl of sixteen wants. Understandably I was very upset when he ended things, using the excuse 'I don't want a relationship'. The kick in the guts was him saying 'I just need time, I'll probably change my mind and want to try again in a few weeks', thereby insuring that I remained on stand-by and didn't move on, because I was clinging to the hope that he would 'change his mind'. 

Needless to say, he never did. He carried on seeing me every few days, he carried on sleeping with me. In fact we pretty much carried on as we had been while we were together. The only difference was that we weren't boyfriend and girlfriend, so I couldn't get upset when he got involved with someone else. Which he did. And when they split up he got involved with another someone else, and then another, and then another. All the while still seeing and sleeping with yours truly. I soon came to realise that it wasn't that he didn't want a relationship, he just didn't want a relationship with me. This realisation led to the string of self-doubts that still haunt me today - what is wrong with me?? What makes me so unlovable? I'm good enough for him to have sex with, but not to be with properly - why? These are doubts and fears that I will never get over, and they have shaped my relationships with people ever since. I'm always waiting for people to leave. In fact I'm so sure that they're going to leave, that nine times out of ten I pre-empt it and leave myself, thereby sparing myself the heartache of being the one thats left behind. This is not mutually exclusive to my relationships with the opposite sex, but also those with my friends as well. I've been known to go completely out of my way to be difficult with people in an attempt to drive them away. When they inevitably get fed up and go, this vindicated my opinion - obviously I'm not worth the effort. I know that I'm doing this, I know that its completely self-destructive and irrational, but I can't help it. 

How does this relate to Paint Your Love, I hear you ask. Well, it comes back to this - I stopped respecting myself. As far as Matt was concerned, I was only good for sex. I wasn't a person worthy of a relationship, I was just someone who was always there and would always give him what he wanted. His attitude towards me began to be my attitude towards me, so much so that I came to believe that I was only good for one thing. I went completely off the rails, getting involved with guys who were totally unsuitable and putting myself in all kinds of dangerous positions. It didn't matter to me that these men only wanted one thing - as far as I was concerned I was only ever going to be good for one thing anyway, so it really wasn't all that important. Every guy who I allowed to treat me like shit vindicated my opinion of myself and of everyone else. And on the rare occasions that I found a guy who wanted something more, I deliberately sabotaged the relationship to make sure that I didn't have to go in too deep. If I didn't get involved I couldn't get hurt. This is a philosophy that still applies to me very much today - what I find most attractive in a man in unattainability. As soon as he shows an interest I'm off, because in my mind getting too close equates to getting hurt, something that I just can't be doing with.

This lack of respect for myself as a person is what ultimately led to me neglecting my body and mind for so long. I knew I was gaining weight rapidly, but I was so sure that society saw me as nothing more than a vagina that I didn't care. By allowing my body to get to the point where it was so unattractive by society's standards, it was almost like I was sticking two fingers up to the world. They saw me as good for one thing and one thing only, and I let myself get fat so I wasn't even any good for that anymore. And as for the depression...well, good mental health didn't matter because nobody was interested in my mind anyway. I had no reason to look after myself anymore.

This is where Paint Your Love comes in. It took a long time for me to realise that actually I am worth it. My body is worth taking care of, and so is my mind. To me, Weight Watchers is the ultimate symbol of me being worth the effort. Getting my weight under control, getting my depression treated, getting happy all comes back to that freezing cold Saturday morning in January 2010 when I walked into St. Stephens Community Centre in Canterbury. It changed my life for the better in so many ways. Its made life worth living again. Taking the time and effort to get healthy is a symbol of my love for myself, and to that end weigh-in days will become Paint Your Love days. Every Wednesday, after I've weighed in, I will take the time to stop and reflect on my actions in the previous week and how they've contributed to my success or failures at the scales. It will be my time to remind myself of why I'm doing this, and how important it is to me. I will paint my nails every Wednesday with all these thoughts in mind, and for the rest of the week my hands will be my reminder and provide the motivation to keep going.

Well, thats the plan anyway.

And despite having not weighed in this week, I've already started the challenge....

Please forgive the less-than-artsy picture, this is what you get for asking this idiot to take the photo for you:

What a cretin. In case anybody is interested, the nail colours are Barry M Shocking Pink and Limited Edition. I loves them.

I must run now folks, I have to get up and go to work! I'd like to thank (and commiserate) anybody who actually got to the end of this post. I know its kind of rambly but I felt like it was important to me to explain some of the motivations behind my attitude to myself and other people, as its those kinds of things that define you as a person.

Thanks for reading :)
Love you all lots!
Lauren xxx

P.S I feel like I should mention a little something more about Matt, after verbally bashing him for half of the post. We are still friends, and I still care very deeply about him. He's now in a serious relationship, and although I still find that incredibly difficult to deal with, I'm pleased that he's happy and settled. I'll never know what it was that he needed that I so obviously didn't have - maybe it was simply that I was too available to him and that I loved him too much; there was no challenge, and we all know the chase is half the fun. Whatever it was, its something that I'm going to have to deal with. I wish we'd got together now, rather than four years ago. If we had we might have gone the distance. Whenever we see each other now, I find myself thinking that if we'd been these versions of ourselves at the time then none of this would have happened. But then I guess it needed to happen for us to become these versions of ourselves anyway. There's no point dwelling on it anymore I guess, I'm just glad that he's happy and that we can be friends. xoxox

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Maxi-Skirts and Under-Wire.

I'm going to start this post with a confession - I am a terrible fat-fighter! I stuffed my face yesterday with all kinds of rubbish and probably ended up consuming about 100,000 points (slight exaggeration there but you get my point). I have plenty of excuses - I was tired, hormonal ( know what I'm getting at!), had a really bad afternoon at work and was genuinely feeling disillusioned with the human race, and like nothing was ever going to go right ever again. You could say I was being a tad over-dramatic. Just a tad, though. The icing on the cake was my train being delayed, and everything together just got a little bit too much for my teeny tiny brain to handle. Before I knew it, I was typing my pin number into the card machine at Liverpool Street Station Thorntons. Ok, so it was only two of the mini bitesize bar things. But it was completely unnecessary and just made me feel worse.

Somehow the 'feeling worse' didn't stop me eating a curry when I got in. Or half a bar of Galaxy. Or a tiramisu.

Ok, so there's my confession. I am a disgusting pig who has no self control and clearly I have only myself and my under-developed emotional capacity to blame for my grotesque obesity. And now that the confessions, justifications and self-hatred is done, I can draw a line under it and say 'I will do better tomorrow' - and so far, I have. I have now realised that one bad day is not the end of the world - nor is it any excuse to let a bad day turn into a bad week. Before you know it its a bad month, then a bad year....I don't want to be that person anymore. So I'm not going to be.

Now, onto more important clothes. And what we wear underneath them.

I'm pretty sure that every woman will agree with me when I say that a good bra is the most important part of their wardrobe. A decent, well-fitting bra not only supports 'the girls', but also offers support for your back. It makes you stand straighter and carry yourself better. If its been fitted properly it can also make you look a dress size smaller than you actually are, simply because everything is in the right place. But more important than any of that is the way a good bra makes us feel...when we're wearing our favourite bra (and the accompanying knickers - duh), we feel sexy.

I'm devastated to admit that I don't have a favourite bra, because none of them fit me anymore (please feel free to take a moment here in order to fully appreciate how tragic this statement really is). The only, and I do mean the one and only, good thing about being fat is that my boobs were bigger. Still not massive, but bigger. When I started losing weight, they were the first thing to go. In fact, they're still disappearing now. I swear for every 3lb that I lose, at least 1lb of it has come off of my chest. Its a very sorry state of affairs. How can I have only dropped one dress size, and yet I've dropped three bra sizes?! Its not fair. Not least because I'm far too poverty to buy new bras and am having to make do with the ones that are far too big, and are therefore not doing their job. I have lots and lots of lovely underwear indoors, and about 90% of it doesn't fit me at all. What a waste!! First thing I'm going to do when I get my student loan is hit up M&S for new bras. Ones that fit! I would go to La Senza, but I'm pretty sure I'm still too fat for their day though!

As well as my lack of bras, the other thing I am bemoaning today is the lack of maxi-skirts and dresses in my life at the moment. I am totally in love with the maxi trend, and this is in no small part due to my aversion to getting my legs out. Oh, I'll wear shorts and tiny little skirts long as I've got a pair of 80 denier tights on underneath. No tights, no deal. And tights are not the most comfortable item of clothing to be wearing in warmer weather, meaning the fact that maxi's are back for another summer pleases me greatly. After having a very brief scout around some websites this afternoon, I've picked the first three that I will be buying (when I actually have money, that is...)

Purple maxi-dress - Dorothy Perkins, £35
Pink maxi-skirt - Dorothy Perkins, £32
White maxi-skirt - Evans, £20 (white vest and denim shirt are also Evans)

(NB. Please note that there is not a single black item of clothing on this wish-list!!)

There are literally hundred of maxis around at the moment in all different colours and patterns. The three that I've chosen are simply the first ones that I saw that stood out to me. I love the rich colour of the purple dress, and that all three are simple and yet really summery and stylish. Pulling off current trends can often be really difficult when you're bigger, particularly in the season of micro skirts and hotpants, so I'm glad there's finally a trend thats fashionable and that bigger girls are more likely to feel comfortable in (not that larger people shouldn't wear hotpants and micro-skirts if they want to - its all about whats right for you). Plus maxi-skirts are the single most comfortable item of clothing ever!

Anyway, I think I've rambled enough for one afternoon! I'm off now to enjoy a delicious roast dinner courtesy of Mumma Jones before taking the doggy for a walk :)

Isn't she adorable??

Love to all, hope you're all enjoying this lovely sunny Sunday afternoon!!
Lauren xxx

Thursday, 14 April 2011

I Can't Go Cold-Turkey On Food.

So while partaking in my usual perusing of t'internet this afternoon, I stumbled upon a blog called Once Upon A Diet. And on that blog, I found the following quote.

"A name is just a box we put ideas in. What matters is that I understand my relationship with food. Then I can start figuring out the consequences my environment, my thoughts, and my actions have on that relationship and make plans to manipulate these things to my best advantage. I don't know what the official definition of addiction is, though I could look it up on or the DMV-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). I don't know if what happens in my brain when there is leftover cake in the break room is the same thing that happens when an alcoholic is inside a liquor store or a smoker is inhaling second-hand smoke at a bar. It would be interesting to know, but I doubt it matters unless you're working on a cure for addiction. Right now I'm just trying to cope with the way I am. Giving my problems a name seems less relevant than managing them."
Needless to say, it really struck home. I think anybody who has ever been seriously overweight will agree that food is an addiction. I know there are plenty of people who disagree, and who say that its simply greed or boredom that makes people over-eat, and to be honest for a long time I agreed with them. I found the thought that I was addicted to food utterly ridiculous. I've smoked since I was thirteen, and drunk alcohol regularly since I was fifteen, I've even dabbled in some stuff thats slightly more naughty than that. I've never been addicted to any of those things so no way can I be addicted to food, I thought to myself. Normally while polishing off an entire family-sized packet of Doritos, a tub of Ben and Jerry's Phish Food and a 'share-size' (yeah, right) bar of Galaxy. Even after I started Weight Watchers, I was cynical of the idea. Its only been over recent months that I've come to realise that my relationship with food is addictive.

That doesn't mean to say that I use it as an excuse - I don't. Never will you hear me say that 'I'm fat because I'm addicted to food', because I'm not. I'm fat because I failed to manage that addiction. The same way that an alcoholic or a drug addict hides their addiction from those around them, thats what I did. Secret binges on chocolate, sneaky takeaways, waiting until everyone was in bed before I made myself four rounds of peanut butter on toast. I knew this behaviour wasn't normal or healthy, but I chose not to think about it and not to address it. If I'd left it any longer it would have killed me. It sounds bizarre, and I know that many people will disagree with me on this point, but I think dealing with an addiction to drugs or alcohol or cigarettes, or even to gambling or sex, is much easier than dealing with an addiction to food. Alcoholics, smokers, drug addicts, in fact any kind of addict, can give up. It might be very difficult. Chances are it will be excruciatingly painful (I watch House - coming off Vicodin looks extremely unpleasant), chances are it will be a very long, hard process. Many people will relapse. But once they're clean, temptation is, for the most part, out of their way. They never have to go near a drink, a cigarette, a syringe, ever again. (I'm not sure how this works for sex addicts - do they just never have sex again!? Because in all honesty, I think that would be more likely to kill me than the 6000 calories a day...just saying.) But you need food to survive. Which means three times a day you have to confront your demons and find the strength to stop at just one sandwich, just one packet of crisps. Take it from someone who knows, its difficult to find that strength. A big part of being able to find it is learning to understand the real reason you need it. It took a long time for me to have the courage to really stop and think to myself 'why did I get like this?'

As I've mentioned before, when I was at my biggest I was deeply unhappy.

I thought that losing weight would automatically make me happier. After I'd dropped about a stone I realised that it wasn't going to be that easy. I wasn't unhappy because I was fat, I was fat because I was unhappy. I used food to medicate myself and it was only after I accepted that that things started to get better. Now I understand my relationship with food and myself so much better. I know what is going to trigger the impulse to eat until I can't move. I know that the phrase 'I'll just have half now and save the rest' means nothing in my brain, and if I buy the tub of ice cream then I will eat the entire thing. Same goes for chocolate and crisps and everything else. When I go through a phase when I don't want to eat meals, and I just want to pick at things all day instead, I know why that is. 

Probably the most important thing I've realised is that I can't depend on food to make me feel better. I've always been a loner - the truth is that I just don't have a lot of time for people. I have to be very close to someone to want to spend time with them (one of the reasons I'm apprehensive about my living arrangements next year - its all very well and good to not speak to your housemates when you all so clearly despise eachother, but next year when I'm living with people I care very much about...I'm not sure how I'm going to cope with being 'sociable' with them all the time). Food used to be my company and comfort. When I was bored, stressed, tired, grumpy, hormonal, homesick...anything, really, I used to eat. Now I can't do that, so I've found other ways to cope with those rambling on here ;) or talking to friends and family, exercising, writing, reading, even something like taking five minutes out to paint my nails can really help get things in perspective.

Plus I wouldn't mind looking like this again one day....

I guess the point I'm trying to make here, is that 'losing weight' is all very well and good. And I'm sure the majority of the time it has nothing to do with the deep-seated emotional angst that my weight issues stem from. It may just be a stone thats crept on over the years, or a new job thats led to less exercise, or whatever. But sometimes its not just about shedding pounds, you need to understand how you got there in the first place, and what you can do to make sure you never end up there again. How else can you kick the habit!?

Lauren :) xxx

Monday, 11 April 2011

Eight for Eight.

Ok, so I'm back at home in Essex and back at work at La Torre de Londres (I learn different languages from the guidebook covers...) for the next two weeks. This has resulted in my pathological need to stuff my face while at my mothers house rearing its ugly head once more. I haven't even got the excuse of 'no control over meals', as mum is away on holiday and I'm in charge of my own lunches and dinners, and yet I can't stop picking. I think its something about this house - everyone who lives here ends up overweight. Even the dog is a chubster.

However, I have a new incentive to keep my fingers out of the biscuit tin. Or my spoon out of the peanut butter jar, as it were. Yesterday at work, I had the supreme fortune of being put outside on the group entrance to the Tower....basically this means that I spent the day sat in the sunshine, overlooking the river, listening to capital radio and occasionally (and I do mean occasionally) tearing some tickets. While I was out there I got chatting to one of the security guards, who also happens to be a qualified skydiver. We got chatting about what he does and he printed some information off for me about skydiving courses and various other things. It got me very excited, because skydiving is something I've wanted to do forever. I looked into it a couple of years ago but there is a maximum weight limit which, needless to say, I far fact I'm pretty sure I still do but I'm not too worried about that for the moment. All the skydiving talk got me thinking about things that I'd like to do once I've got to goal, things that I've always wanted to do but haven't been able to because I've been restricted by my size or not had the confidence to just go for it. So here's my list of eight incentives - one for each stone that I will have lost by the time I get to goal.

1. Skydiving

Like I said, I've always wanted to do it. I've already recruited my friend and future housemate Jack to come with me when I get to goal. He did a bungee jump a couple of years ago and I figured he's the only one of my friends brave/crazy enough to do it!

2. Change my hair

I'm thinking of going blonde or red...proper red. But it depends on how brave I'm feeling at the time!

3. Get another tattoo

I've wanted a tattoo on my thigh for as long as I can remember, although I think it first started when I went through my pre-teen Pink obsession. I don't want one exactly like hers, I'm thinking more like trailing flowers from the bottom of my bum cheek around to the front of my leg, or something like that anyway!

4. Professional photos
Whenever a camera comes out, I normally dive for cover. Once I'm at goal I'd like to get some nice photos of  myself taken by a professional and with the help of a hair and make-up artist. A small part of me (and yes, I know that right now there is no small part of me) wants to do a naked photoshoot, a la Gok Wan and How To Look Good Naked, but I don't think I'll ever be that brave!

5. Wear a red dress
This one sounds really simple, but at the moment black is the basis of my wardrobe (much to the disgust of my friends). I'm looking forward to wearing colour and not feeling like the whole world is laughing at me for it!

6. Post my 'before' pictures
I mentioned this in a post a couple of weeks ago. I'd like to be able to show people how far I've come, particularly those who thought I'd never get there, or who treat all this as a source of entertainment. So even though they're horrifying, I'd still like to do it.

7. Go on holiday with friends
There is no way that I'd be able to go on holiday with my friends until I was at goal. I mean, come on, they're all size 10s! How would I look lying next to them on the beach!

8. Suggestions?
One last thing...something brave/crazy/stupid....what should it be!? Suggestions welcome.

Lauren xxx

Friday, 8 April 2011

Just Add A Good Splash Of Alcohol, A Drop Of Hard Work, And A Pinch Of Procrastination.

And there you have it. Spring term - done.

Thats right folks, spring term is completed and second year is drawing rapidly to a close. I completed and submitted both my essays this morning and am currently two thirds packed for my fortnight at home is Essixxxxxx. 'citing!

As I've spent the last week of my life being incredibly wordy and verbal (you'd be amazed at how many times I've used the words 'corruption', 'oppression' and 'sexuality') I've decided to make this post a little more visual than my normal ramblings.

So, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado...welcome to the S/S '11 wish-list post.

First on the list...the perfect summer body! Like it says on the photo, the women's ideal is a UK size 8 - which I will never be - but to be honest if I woke up tomorrow looking like the lovely Caroline, I certainly wouldn't be complaining!

Next come the lovely clothes in which to dress my new hot body....
 Jumpsuit, bag, wedges, bangle, sunglasses and bando are all New Look - perfect for summer!

And next, a treat for the newly discovered gym bunny in make sure I can maintain aforementioned hot body....
Embellished gym top and leggings are both Team GB by Stella McCartney - I'm officially in love. They can be purchased from, along with the trainers. The sweatbands are my own personal touch :) come on you irons!

And lastly, for now, the car....

'Cause a girls gotta dream!

Lauren xxx

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Weigh-In Wednesday.

Just a super super superrrrr quick one from me today as I need to get my bum in gear and get cracking on essay work!! Weigh-in this morning showed 2.5lb off bringing me to a grand total of 49lbs - 3 and a half stone! Considering I originally got to 3st in August I'd say its about bloody time that I added another little silver seven sticker to my collection! I was really happy with that result, and I'm hoping that over the next three weeks I can shift another 4.5lbs and take myself into the next stone bracket - exciting!!!

You'll also be pleased to know after my somewhat miserable post of Monday I'm feeling much better! Two gym sessions got the endorphins flowing, plus there is nothing better than being hit on to get your confidence soaring. Plus I got the ever-flattering honk on my walk down to town this morning as well. The perpetrator was about 60 and was driving a 40 year old red van, but you should never look a gift horse in the mouth I say!

Must dash now, Webster, Middleton and Rowley are a-calling...

Big snogs!
Lauren xxx

Monday, 4 April 2011

I Won't Be Fat For Much Longer.

A few months ago I was reading a blog, very similar to mine really, about a student who got to goal with Weight Watchers after losing over 8st (basically the same amount that I will have lost by the time I get to my goal). After every post, she signed off with the message

'I won't be fat for much longer'

because she said it reminded her of why she was doing Weight Watchers - so that one day, she could look in the mirror and not hate what she saw.

I know all too well what it feels like to look in the mirror and be disgusted - I think every woman, and most men, know that feeling, even if they don't feel it to the same extent that people with depression and weight issues feel it. My friends are some of the most beautiful girls you could ever meet, but not a day goes by when I don't hear from at least one of them that their boobs are too small/too big, they have cellulite, they have bad skin, their thighs are fat, or something else along those lines. If you saw any of these girls on a night out, you wouldn't know that these things had even crossed their minds. The same goes for the boys I know who have issues with their looks (which aren't so different to girls' issues, by the way. I've heard 'fat thighs' from more than one of my male friends). They look happy and confident and relaxed - the issues that they have with their bodies are something that is private to them (hence me, for once, not naming names - or numbers, for the quick-witted of you who are reading this) and that they share only with people who are very close to them. So for that reason I'm flattered that they think enough of me to share those things. I know better than most how hard it is to expose your weaknesses to somebody.

When you're overweight its much harder to hide your insecurities. Well, it was for me. I'm sure the same applies to people who are underweight as well, although I wouldn't be able to comment on that. When you so obviously don't fit the norm, you have to be prepared for your appearance to be scrutinized, because people do watch you and make comments about you. I was very lucky not to encounter anybody who was openly nasty to me about my size when I was at my biggest, and I was very careful not to bring it up with anybody - not friends or family. I was deeply deeply depressed, but as far as I was aware nobody knew that (I hadn't counted on my mother being able to read me like a book - of course she knew.) But to everybody else I was just the fat friend who didn't really care about being overweight. When I started Weight Watchers my friends were so shocked - they hadn't realised I was unhappy with the way I looked. I never told them, because I never wanted to draw attention to just how big I'd let myself get.

You might be asking yourself what the point of this post be honest, you probably ask yourself that even time you come onto this blog. And its a fair question because I do talk a lot of shit! I think what I'm getting at here is how brave it was of this other blogger to post her insecurities out there like that, to use her unhappiness as inspiration to succeed instead of letting it drag her under. 'Fat' is a horrible word, but the reality is that is what we are. If you're anymore than a size 14 in this society, you are 'fat' - both to other people and more than likely to yourself as well. And in a world where size 10 is beautiful, sexy and desirable, how could anybody draw any conclusion from this other than 'fat = ugly'. Thats the reality that we live in. As much as the Gok Wan's of the world try to tell us that 'size doesn't matter', that is simply not the case - it does. And the majority of people who are overweight will know that. By using that word, she accepted that that was her situation, and she did something about it. 

So now that is what I'm doing - using the prejudices of society who write off fat people as lazy and greedy as my motivation to get to where I want to be. There are so many anti-discrimination laws in this country, and yet overweight people are less likely to be hired. They're also less likely to find a partner. As a student I have very little experience of the job aspect of that statement, but I sure as hell know that the second part of it is true. When I'm out with my friends, guys just don't look at me. I've come to accept that now as an inevitability, because I'm not attractive. Sometimes that makes me want to give up, to crawl back into my shell and go back to eating 5000 calories a day, because surely staying home alone and gorging yourself is easier than going out and getting rejected because you don't have a 26 inch waist?

From now on, whenever I have one of those days, I'm going to post on here. About all the little things I hate about the way I look, or about the consequences of being my size. And I'll use them to motivate me to carry on and to get to where I want to be. Today, I had a fat day. A truly horrible 24 hours including a broken laptop and the headache from hell, combined with the fact that I felt like I hadn't stopped eating for two days. I hated what I saw in the mirror today, so much so that I only looked in it once. My thighs and bum and hips looked massive and my boobs are getting smaller and smaller from losing the weight. My skin is disgusting at the moment and four hours sleep had made me look grey and washed out. In terms of self-confidence it was not a good day - and when I get up tomorrow I will remember that feeling. It will be what gets me to the gym and stops me reaching for the buttered toast. Because I don't want to be fat anymore. I want to feel like I'm worth something again.

I won't be fat for much longer.

Lauren xxx

Saturday, 2 April 2011

A Thrilling Friday Night.

Here's the thing about my working style...I can't. No, seriously. I can't work or get anything at all done unless it's last minute. Every deadline I've had over the last two years at university have been preceeded by me staying up all night the night before to get the essays finished. Thats no exaggeration, I'm yet to hand in a single essay that isn't the product of an all-nighter. This would worry me, but as I'm averaging a 68 for second year without having actually done that much work, I'm not that fussed.

Essays are due in a week and I have two to write - and I still haven't got 'the fear'. I don't know what it is about that feeling that motivates me - when I'm feeling it I hate myself and curse all the hours spent watching crap tv and aimlessly perusing facebook. Every day this week I've sat down to do essay work, and every day this week I've done a miniscule amount that would take a normal person an hour. In fairness, this has resulted in me having two pretty solid essay plans a whole week before the buggers are due...but I've still got to actually write them. Which is what today was.

I don't have a desk in my bedroom, with the result that the rest of the house are banished from the living room so I can use the dining room table. Which ends up looking like this:

And yes, I know thats not work on the screen, I was on a tea break!! (See what I mean!? PROCRASTINATION.)

Anyway, my afternoon at the table has, by my standards, been fairly productive and has resulted in me having what I think is a pretty solid introduction to one of the essays - HURRAH. (I should add that I did do some reading as well, and had dinner, it didn't actually take me seven hours to write 350 words. Although stranger things have happened.)

I think this is called 'progress'.

With any luck this 'progress' will get me a first.

Now, moving away from the tedious subject of my tedious course with its tedious texts and tedious essay questions and onto more interesting subject - such as my social life. Because after all, thats why I really came to university...

Sophie's birthday bash, 30/03/2011.

I'm not a massive fan of these photos, but they were the best that the night had to offer. I was definitely having a fell-out-of-the-ugly-tree-and-hit-every-branch-on-the-way-down night - plus its impossible to look good when you're in a photo with Emma. Skinny bint! I despise her and her jumpsuit...but in a very loving way. Also, these pictures aren't exactly great in terms of from the neck down - I realise now that the jacket was something of a mistake and makes me look completely shapeless, which is why I've added another one. It's totally blurry and I'm headless in it, and you can see all my baby pictures around the edge of my mirror, but its the only one I've got that shows underneath the jacket!

I have also today, while in the process of looking for photos for this blog, stumbled across my 'before' pictures. OH. MY. GOD. Think elephant in bra and pants, and you're still nowhere near how bad they are. Every time somebody tells me how different I look, I assume they're just being polite because they know I'm doing Weight Watchers, but after seeing those pictures for the first time in about six months, I actually believe them. They're horrifying. I'm thinking one day, probably once I'm at goal, and when I'm feeling very brave, I may post them. Along with a comparison pic of me at goal so everyone can see I'm not that hideous anymore. As of right now, the only people who have seen me in any state of undress when I was that heavy are me (obviously), my best friend, who's seen the pictures, and my ex-boyfriend. That poor bastard got the live show - urgh. No wonder I was so miserable.

Now that I've said that, I'm going to go to bed and leave you all in a highly anticipatory state - I know you just can't wait to see pictures of the fatty in her bra and knickers! I need a good nights sleep so I can be up and at 'em for the gym tomorrow. The new equipment is AMAZING - but thats another blog post altogether.

Later peeps, love to you all :)
Lauren xxx