Weightloss Chronicles

HAPPY NEW YEAR DEAR DIARY {Weightloss chronicles #2}

Happy New Year Dear Diary,

2015 and another year of promise.

You know how ill I have been this past year.  And you know that illness has gone so much deeper than skin deep.  And you also know that I have been avoiding the inevitable, the obvious, the thing I must confront before I can even begin my journey back to mental health.


I haven’t wanted to face it. I haven’t wanted to take responsibility.   I have been waiting for some divine intervention, some bolt of motivation to enter my body that would render me incapable of doing anything but answer the call of fitdom.

None came.

And so my body broke down.  Again and again.

I am a slow learner it seems.

I will often imagine the time when I die and pass over to wherever it is my soul might go and I interrogate the people that handed out willpower and motivation and ask them why they didn’t dole out copious amounts to me.  And I imagine imploring them as to why they not only decided to make me fat, but also bald and an alcoholic as well, like some cruel twist of sadism.  I imagine them cowering at my anger, spewing out excuses promising never to do that to me again.  I look at them, smugly, nodding my pleasure at my indignant voice and how they bowed to it.  I feel vindicated, pompous, my job is done.

Except it isn’t done.  I’m dead.  I lived my entire life lamenting my weight, my hair, my inability to drink and a whole heap of other things besides.  And in all likelihood because I failed to act, my demise has come early.  I never did get to taste the sweet taste of health, vitality, peace of mind.

And that is the point.  As far as we know for absolutely sure, we only have one life.  We only have one crack to make it a good one. What a good one looks like is different for everyone and what looked good yesterday might not be good today, but without your health it doesn’t matter.  Without health we have nothing.  And when we have done being not healthy, we die.  Often earlier than expected.

Nearly two years ago, I came across this youtube video.  Two years.  Despite all the evidence I ignored all the signs.  I did not want to get up off my ass and do something.


But today, dear Diary, this the first day of the new year, I am making changes.  My body is not liking it one bit.  My body is yelling its displeasure at me, but I am overruling it.  For today, I am overruling it.

For that is how I conquer my addiction to alcohol each day.  I simply don’t drink for one day.  Nor the next, or the next.  One day at a time, I am taking my sobriety to five years in just a couple of weeks time.

I have to be able to replicate that for my body.

And so it is, my first step to HEALTH this year – Exercise.

Just writing it, my mind recoils.  We have never enjoyed exercise, my mind and I.  I have stark memories of coming last in every race, of never hitting the hockey ball for the entire match, of being selected for the netball team based on my height alone and being told to avoid the ball at all costs due to my inability to actually catch the thing, of being wonderfully at home in the water swimming, but never being fast enough for any team.  My brain is screaming at me “why are you putting us through this!

But this time, all I am doing is walking.  I have invested in a Fitbit and all I am going to do is move my body every day.  For the recommended 10,000 steps.  I am told that this is about an hours worth of walking every day.  I can do that.  I absolutely can do that.

My brain, as you know, dear Diary, is telling me I can’t and I won’t lie the walk around the lake was tough.  As Mr C and I walked, all I could think of was the jiggling belly and the chaffing underarm fat, and the sweating back fat.  I kept imagining people looking out of their net curtained windows, in shock, some laughing, at this lily white obese woman walking past their door.  But 7,000 steps later and I had made it home.  Sweaty and slightly red in the cheek I grant you, but after my 30 minute walk I had made it two thirds of the way to my goal.  I still have to walk the dogs tonight, so I am hopeful I can achieve it.


It’s so much more than just losing weight isn’t it Diary?  People think that willpower alone would cure the obesity problem, but it won’t.  It doesn’t.  It requires facing your demons.  It requires facing your fears and doing it anyway.  And that is no mean feat.  No one tells you that really.  No one tells you the gut wrenching fear that grips you as you step out into the sunshine to take your first walk, or your first healthy food shop, or your first green smoothie (which taste surprisingly good, by the way).  No one tells you that.

You see it, of course, on programs like The Biggest Loser, but until you experience it, you can’t know.  Much like giving birth.

But today, I pushed through that fear.  I did it.  And tomorrow I may just do it again.

Until next time Diary,

SHW Signature


The seductress and the middle aged woman who is learning to live

How, when you have depression, do you find the light in the day?

I have no idea to that question.

I am only me.  The glass is half-empty me.  The “some days it’s hard to live” me.

I find life really really hard.

So hard in fact I became a raging alcoholic.

Raging might be too strong a word.

I was functional.  Sort of.

I always managed to take my children to school.  I always managed to get their dinner on the table.  I always managed to get their clothes washed.  I hardly ever managed to keep the house straight.

I have friends who didn’t fare so well.  Miss J used to go to school with a girl whose mother constantly kept her at home for “family” days.  In reality, she was too hungover to take her daughter to school.

I didn’t get that bad.  But, lordy, I could easily have done so.

I decided today that I was going to take control of my life and lose weight.  I enrolled at the Tony Ferguson centre near me.  Yes, it’s a milkshake thing.  That’s not the point.

The consultant spoke to me of what was and was not allowed and the rather sticky subject of alcohol came up.

Um,” she said, “alcohol isn’t really allowed.”

That’s okay,” I said, “I’m a recovering alcoholic.  I’ve been sober for nearly five years.”

Her eyes lit up.  “Good girl,” she said.  “If you can do that, you can do anything.”

Giving up alcohol never really seemed that big a deal to me so when people react this way I am always so surprised.  It’s the living of life that I find so fucking hard.

I looked at her.  “Yes, I suppose I can do anything.”

I don’t feel like I can do anything.  I don’t.  There are days when I feel I can’t breathe, never mind do “anything”.

But I did stop drinking.  I made that conscious choice not to pick up a glass of wine.

In AA there is a saying that one glass is too much and a bottle is not enough.  That’s what it is like for an alcoholic.  There is no moderation.  There is no “just a couple”.  That first sip of alcohol is the beginning of the end.

For us, alcohol is a seductive mistress.  We don’t want to sleep with her, but her allure, her promise of a good time, her promise of helping us to forget how fucking hard life is, is just too tempting.  And we give in.  Hard.  Only to bitterly regret it the following morning.  Oh Dear God the remorse.  But not enough remorse to stop us doing it again.  Usually the very next day.

And so I decided to look that mistress in the eye and say no more.

She didn’t want to let me go.  She kept knocking on the inside of my brain willing me to take just one sip of alcohol.  Just one sip.  What harm could it possibly do?  One sip, and all the pain of living can be eradicated once more.  And you can be the good time girl again.  The one that laughs with abandon and is jolly and sociable and fun to be around.

But I held on.  I resisted her.  Just one day at a time, I resisted.

And here I am.  Learning to live life without my mistress.  Like a child learning to walk.

I want to be cheery and laugh and see only good in life.

I just don’t know how right now.

I will get there.  Dear lord I hope I get there before I die.

I keep telling myself that I can do this.  I CAN FUCKING DO THIS DAMMIT!!!

And so I keep waking up.  Willing myself to push past the seductress, followed by the “I want to die” thoughts.

And I tell myself “Just for today I am going to survive“.

Because that’s all I have right now.  Survival.

Living will come another day.  Living will slowly emerge as I learn to take off my training wheels and learn to embrace life in all its fucked up glory.  I imagine it prancing over the mountain of shit on its trusty steed saying in its deep strong voice “Here you go Sarah, life is for the living, and here is how you do it.  Now go. Live.  Make your mark!

I’m trying.  I promise I am trying.

Please know that.

Until next time,

SHW Signature




Conquering the addiction of sugar takes planning

I had a really terrible night last night.

The heartburn was excruciating.

Surgery was meant to have fixed all that, despite reservations that the success rate would in fact be 100%.

Who am I kidding.  I ate like a sugar-crazed demon yesterday.  Not one shrapnel of goodness passed my lips.  It was all danishes, tim tams (I love those suckers) and shit.

My body revolted.

It literally yelled, ENOUGH!!

And so I lay in the spare room bed, with Mr C blissfully unaware on the other side of the house, writhing in agony.

Why is it that when you don’t need them there is an abundance of antacids but when you need them like an addict needs their next fix, they are nowhere to be found?

I retreated back to bed sans medication, propped myself into bed and drank heaps of water, riding out the searing burns that were convulsing across my chest.

It took hours before I finally drifted off.

I woke up this morning with a dull ache in my chest.  It has been with me all day.

I need to lose weight, I thought, I need to take better care of myself. 

Care takes planning.  We rush from one thing to the next, day to day, with little time for self care.  We need to plan.

I had no plan today.

Result: a muffin, 4 rice cakes with cheese slathered in branston pickle (oh how I love thee branston pickle) and an apple and walnut slice.

My body is not happy.

I am not happy.


It takes planning to take the first step on the journey away from self-loathing.

I am in the triple digit weight range {do you like how I minimised my affliction?}.  I need to be in the double digit range, like way down the double digit range.

Shit, losing weight is hard.

Well, it’s meant to be easy if you have the determination and the willpower.  Clearly those two items have escaped my capacity.

I read a while ago that sugar is an addiction.  That the same feeling a smoker gets when they are trying to give up smoking is the same feeling a sugar addict gets when they are trying to give up sugar.  I am SO addicted to sugar.

I am actually a drug

Around about 3pm, I get a hankering.  A gnawing for something sweet.  At times, it can drive me demented.  So much so that if there is nothing in the house, I will get in the car, drive to the shop, and purchase a shed load of chocolate to eat.  I don’t even taste the chocolate.  I just shove it in my face to quieten that hankering.

And then I loathe myself.

Not enough to prevent me from starting the cycle again the following day though, apparently.

My car is a shrine to the chocolate wrapper.  Not content with stuffing my body full of the sweet sugary nectar of sugar, I also then leave reminders to myself of just how little willpower I have.

I recently cleared out my pantry of all the crap.  Literally, all the crappy non-nutritious food was binned.  I have a pantry full of stuff that would make a Paleo guru weak at the knees.  I kid you not – you name it, I have it – chia seeds, almonds, coconut oil, coconut flower, cacao nibs, cacao powder, goji berries and the like.

Yet, rather than make myself something yummy and sugar free {is there such a thing}, I make the trip to the shop.

Is it me?  Is it the addiction?  The addiction isn’t me. I know that.  And I have conquered addictions before.  I just have to PLAN to conquer this one as well.

I hope you will join me.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Until next time,

SHW Signature

Weightloss Chronicles

A heart thing, alcoholism + the need for weightloss

Heart and weight

Last week I was in hospital.  I went in for a “small” “procedure” that was meant to be an in and out job, but I ended up staying a week.

The procedure (which really is surgery in my opinion) is called an Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography involving a tube being put down your throat until they reach your bile duct and pancreas and then having a good look around.  I also had to have a Sphincterotomy as it was discovered that I had Sphincter of Oddy dysfunction which is where the sphincter isn’t working properly.  

As bad luck would have it, I ended up getting pancreatitis, which resulted in my admission.  Just as I was about to be sent home after a couple of days, however, I got a palpitation in my heart and before I knew it, I was admitted to the cardiac ward.

For over 18 years I have suffered with palpitations of the heart.  They are very intermittent (about 8 – 10 a year).  They start with a massive thump, then the heart palpitates like crazy, and then they end with another massive thump.  I am usually breathless, dizzy and have to lie down.  Most of the time, I think I am having a heart attack.  Over the years I have been to the doctor a number of times, but because the palpitations have usually stopped by the time I get there, I have always been told it is just a minor palpitation thing, quite normal.

Except, it turns out, it isn’t normal.  Whilst in hospital, they managed to get one of the palpitations on the monitor that I was forced to wear for 24 hours a day.  They happen so rarely that it really was lucky to get it at all.  Transpires, I have idiopathic non-sustained ventricular tachycardia.  Try saying that fast!  This is where a rogue electrical impulse fires off, interrupting the natural rhythm of the heart, forcing it to go into palpitations – like a lone ranger looking for attention!

Thankfully, it isn’t all that serious and I am more likely to be run over by a bus than fall down dead from a heart attack.  It requires periodic monitoring as I am now at risk of developing heart damage, but all in all it’s a good heart condition to have.

Except it isn’t really all that good at all.  Whilst my heart is strong it was pointed out to me during my cardiac stress test that I am considerably overweight and extremely unfit for my age.  I loathed the guy for saying it, but the truth is the truth hurts – like shit.

I’ve been home for five days now pondering my options, whilst stuffing my face with chocolate – my drug of choice.  I have been on every diet known to man.  You name it, I have done it.  Yet the motivation to lose weight, even under the threat of death by heart attack bus, eludes me.

Why is this?

I have no bloody idea.

I do know that I didn’t start putting on weight until I was 32.  I mean, I thought I had a weight problem before then but it transpires I didn’t – I was a very healthy weight for my height.  Go glossy magazines and unrealistically skinny models for a dose of body image issues!

My mom moved in when I was 32.  She had temporarily left my dad and moved in with me.  She loved to drink wine from around 4pm almost every night.  I didn’t want her to drink on her own, you know, because I am altruistic that way, so I drank with her.  Within 18 months I had put on 20 kilos.  I actually weighed more than when I was 9 months pregnant.

Mom only lived with us for a few months before realising she actually missed and loved my dad, but I kept the drinking thing going.  I never lost the weight, instead I continued to gain.

My drinking increased, I gained a bit more and so it went.  I started to notice that my normally outgoing personality started to change.  I hated going out, I hated having my photograph taken and I hated my body even more.  Suddenly, in a relatively short space of time, I had become a recluse.

My drinking took on new proportions.  I prided myself on the fact that I never started to drink until after the kids went to bed.  This was my way of kidding myself that I did not have a drinking problem.

I tried every diet going.  Of course, each one required me to restrict my alcohol intake.  Yeah right!  So I drank, and became more lonely, more obese and more sad.  So I drank some more again.

Four years ago, I became sober.  I stopped drinking, expecting my weight to miraculously drop off.  It didn’t.  I replaced alcohol with chocolate.  I have been known to become a raving lunatic if there isn’t chocolate in the house.

So I ate chocolate, and became more lonely, now in a new country, without family, and became more sad.

I really don’t want to give up chocolate.  My cardiologist (yes, I now have a cardiologist) asked how much chocolate I eat.  I told him – two bars a day.  He gasped.  He actually gasped.  I don’t think that’s all that bad.  Okay, it is.  “That has to be knocked on the head immediately,” he said, once he’d composed himself.  I said okay, but the truth is, I have had those two chocolates every day since I left the hospital.

They don’t taste as good.  It’s true.  I know I’m damaging/poisoning my body.  That knowledge fucks with your taste buds.

Today a friend of mine whom I haven’t seen in a while posted a photograph of herself having lost 20kgs.  She puts it down to being completely happy, living her truth with a bit of modification of the diet.  I stared at her photo for ages. And secretly I was as jealous as hell.

I want to feel comfortable in my own skin.  How on earth am I going to do this.  I’m not wanting to lose weight for vanity.  I NEED to  lose weight.  I am 30 kilos overweight.  My heart and its mischievous impulse might not be so tolerant of my size in the future.  Reason tells me that this is not a good thing.

I wrote in my diary a while ago that I need to lose weight.  I wrote it and then forgot ignored it.

So, I am going to try to do this thing.  I can’t make promises.  I know, I know – if I am going to achieve something I am meant to say I CAN do it and then set myself the goal to actually do it.  Truth is, all I have, all I can do is try right now.  But by writing to you guys, perhaps I can hold myself accountable.  It will be like the gazillionth time I have tried, but hey, never give up, right?

Did I mention I am really not a fan of Twiggy?

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Til next time,

SHW Signature



Weightloss Chronicles

Dear Diary {the weightloss chronicles} #1

Dear Diary

Depression is a bitch!  It saps you of any semblance of sanity.  Your view of the world becomes so distorted.  Like the woman in The Yellow Wallpaper, you imagine things that are simply not there, you descend into a pit of hell.  It is indeed Hades on earth.

There are days that I feel so lonely, so alone in this self imposed pit of despair, I feel so powerless to dig my way out of it.  Yet I must.  This is no way to exist.  No way to live.  This is not living.  This is breathing, with no colour.

I long for simplicity and calm.  Peace of mind.

I need to start digging.  One messy clump at a time.

I’m overweight.  I hate that.  Technically I am clinically obese.  Who makes up these charts anyway?  The irony is that I don’t even really like food.  I don’t like to cook, though I wish I did.  I eat purely to fill the bottomless void that constantly tugs at my soul.  Food: my friend, my nurturer, my executioner.

We have booked a holiday.  In the sun and sea.  I am dreading it.  I don’t want to dread it.  Lord knows, we need a bit of sun on our pale, exhausted skins.

I need to take control.  I need to feel like I am not a victim in my own circumstance, need to feel that I am not just a bobbing, rudderless ship on a merciless sea.  Grab that rudder, place your hand firmly around it’s girth, look into the distance, know your path.  Steer.

Losing weight will be my first step to being the captain of my ship.  It isn’t easy.  Food is a sly mistress.  A siren that calls you when you least expect it, when your defenses are down.  She sings her eery call and submitting to it brings such sweet relief.  From the pain, the yearning.  She has you in her grasp, she knows it and you know it too.  Life is slowly ebbing away from you.

Control.  I need to take it back.  I can do that.  I CAN do that.  I will do that.

One day at a time.  Start today.  One step at a time.  One muddy clump at a time. Not a diet, but a lifestyle change.  Find a community.  A lifestyle community.  Found it.  Now start it.  Plan, eat well, exercise, be well.

You can do this.  I have faith in you.

I love you,

SHW Signature