2012 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 12,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 20 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.


Being Good: To Splurge or Not To Splurge

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So much for my 12 stone at Christmas dream! The scales have stood still since Monday, so I realised yesterday it was time to call it a day and go in search of mince pies. There’s nothing more infuriating than when the numbers refuse to move on the scales, especially if you’ve set yourself a target, which makes me think – is there any point setting targets? Is it better just to take one day at a time and see what happens? Anyway, I have decided to try and put my weight-crazy aside for the next few days, and just enjoy everything that Christmas brings – i.e. food. I have finished the year at 12st 5.5, which is more than I wanted, and 1.5lb more than last year; but I guess that’s not bad for a year in which I’ve been trying to wean myself off attending a slimming group every week, and wean myself onto living life as a normal person. Normal people put on weight after a period of excess, then take it off again when they return to normal eating. This is what I’ve been trying to emulate! Hopefully 2013 will be a year of normality in this sense. And hopefully, at some stage, I will breach the elusive twelve stone barrier – one day at a time though. As long as I can keep a lid on the German Biscuit / Reisen cravings, I should do ok.

I had a typical hissy fit yesterday when I saw the scales in their frozen state, but to be honest, I’m sick of having hissy fits over my weight. Or over how I think I look like a fat bastard because I weigh a pound heavier than I did last week. This type of angst is a huge waste of energy and time, and very insignificant when you compare it to the real pains that everyone around us goes through on a daily basis in private – not whining about it on a blog or on Twitter/Facebook. Things could be a hell of a lot worse for me, and I bet there are lots of severely overweight people who would be overjoyed if their only problem was some loose skin on their stomach. Turning 30 has gifted me some wisdom and perspective, but not enough to tear myself away from the mirror, or to stop myself absent-mindedly pinching my love handles to feel how far they stick out (not a lie). So to those of you who are weight-obsessed, fuck up and enjoy yourself. Your health is your wealth, and your friends and family couldn’t care less about how your Christmas jumper sits around your muffin top, as long as you’re fit to eat your turkey. And for those of you who feel trapped inside a body you don’t like, use this coming New Year to make the change. Be honest with yourself about your eating, and start making plans now about what the best way is to tackle it. It’s not your fault that your body responds the way it does, but you need to take responsibility. So when it’s December 2013 and you’ve lost three, four, five stone (or more), you can stand back and know its been all your own work; and nobody can take that away from you. You just have to try.

That’s enough gay motivational nonsense for today. I have a party to throw tonight, and the turkey won’t stuff itself!

Merry Christmas Slimming Worlders and fellow runners!


Being Good: Week Three / Why The Shelbourne’s German Biscuits are Best.

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Phew! After my little lapse during the week, where I ate my weight in saturated fat and sugar, I recovered admirably to lose 1.5 pounds this week. I am now 12st 5.5 pounds, less than half a stone away from my Christmas Miracle target weight.


See? I tell thee no lies! Needless to say, I am kicking my heels up a little this evening in terms of food; but from tomorrow on, I am giving it my all on the Original/Red plan. Hopefully I can get as near the mark as possible, but to be honest, I’d be happy enough if I was 12st 4lb on Christmas Eve Eve – the exact same as last year. Time will tell! The weeks are slipping by at an alarming rate, with the prospect of 2013 looming large. This time last year I had the m******* to aim for/shit myself about, and this year I don’t, as such. Perhaps I need to set myself some sort of challenge again…..meh! That can wait til New Years Eve! Until then, I am content to immerse myself in yummy things, which brings me to the second part of my blog post this evening:

Why The Shelbourne’s German Biscuits are Best

For those of you who don’t know what a German Biscuit is, what the hell is wrong with you?? They are the most exquisite of all baked goods. This whole losing weight thing has summoned a certain renaissance in my taste buds, whereby I much prefer the likes of biscuits and buns as opposed to the chocolate orgy I used to have on a daily basis in the days of Fat. Put a Dairy Milk and a scone side by side, that scone is getting destroyed. Anyway, as the post weigh-in feedfest became the highlight of my week, so began the quest for the best German Biscuit of all…….

The essential components of the biscuit:

Two biscuits, not quite shortcake, not quite shortbread. Somewhere in between.
Jam. This forms the filling in the biscuity sandwich.
Soft white icing on top of the upper biscuit.
A glacé cherry on top. This is sometimes substituted with a sweetie.

Sounds fairly simple, right? WRONG. Most German Biscuits (also known as Empire Biscuits) are an abomination. The biscuits can be undercooked, soggy, soft, too buttery, or too well cooked/burnt. The icing can sometimes be rock hard, causing severe roof of mouth trauma; or it can be soft to the point of running off the sides. Ugh. Another icing problem is when the icing is confined to one crummy blob on top. No no no! Cover the WHOLE biscuit please. As for the cherry on top, I can take it or leave it. Most times, I throw the decorative bit on top away, as it doesn’t enhance the overall product. However, I really hate those midget gem type, sugary jelly things that sometimes appear. They are usually rock hard and inedible, plus immature people may construe them as looking like nipples. Hee hee hee.

Finally. The jam. The jam is the most important part of the biscuit. Unfortunately, this is where most purveyors let themselves down a bagful. They simply don’t use enough, which is just disrespectful and stingey. Too much, and the sandwich will slip and slide around the place, too little and you end up with a mouthful of stodgy sweetness. You should be able to see the jam when you look at the side profile of the biscuit itself, otherwise, don’t bother. I can safely say that I have tried every German Biscuit available in the Newry / South Armagh area, and very few of them even make the grade. It’s actually quite sad that where some bakeries have excellent products as a whole, they get lazy when it comes to their traybakes and biscuits. I may be fat, but please don’t insult me with a substandard biscuit.

I hate to admit it, but The Shelbourne Bakery’s German Biscuits stand head and shoulders above the rest. The veritable giant of Newry bakeries/patisseries, this place doesn’t need any promotion from a balloon like me – it was trading from before I was born, and I’d reckon it’ll be trading long after I depart. But credit where credit’s due! Their German Biscuits are consistently delicious, with all the said components working together in gastronomic harmony. Honourable mention must also go to the Sunray Bakery on Hill Street, but they excel moreso with their pineapple/strawberry creams.

Are you a German Biscuit devotee? Have you found your perfect biscuit? Or are you still searching? Have you had a regrettable experience with one? Please share your story with me, as I am eager to hear your tale. Maybe you are a German Biscuit virgin? In which case – go hunting! Risk it for a biscuit! And let me know how you get on! Until then, here’s a photo of this evenings treat. I can feel the 1.5 pounds making their way back to my love handles, but I don’t care. In the words of JFK, ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ – and proud of it.


Being Good: Being Bad

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Bollocks anyway.


After a good three weeks of being well behaved and exercising restraint, I capitulated and had a mini-rampage of gluttony. I won’t go into details, but suffice to say that I was very much off-plan today. Extra Easy became Extra Lazy. It seems like such a good idea at the time! But when the crumbs settle, the guilt flows over me like someone has cracked a giant egg on my scalp and it trickles slowly down my head; a cold and gloopy mess of regret and shame. Who knew food could be so dramatic?!

In the good old early days of Slimming World, weigh-in day was also shameless nosebag day – I’d enjoy everything I scoffed because I knew I had earned it. It didn’t matter how much I ate, getting back to business the next day and for the rest of the week meant my weightlosses kept coming. Then again, that was when I had lots to lose. Nowadays, I find it hard to generate a sense of achievement, therefore any ‘treat day’ feels illicit and undeserved. My relationship with food is seriously out of perspective, and has led me to the conclusion that I will always be fat. ‘Fat’ is a state of mind. A personality, a trait, a predispostion. It’s up to you whether or not it manifests itself physically. I said in a very early post that ‘fat’ was such a hurtful term as it conjures up other undesirable adjectives – weak, greedy, selfish. Truth be told, I am all these things. I find it hard to resist the temptation of sweets and chocolate; when I do indulge, I just want to repeat the delightful experience over and over because it tastes good; and most of all, I certainly do not want to share! In addition to all of these, I am irrational. Irrational and hungry.


Not a great combination! But at least I recognise my weaknesses now. I know there are times when I can’t be trusted to keep on the straight and narrow. Today was one of those times. I was in the house all day on my own as I was waiting on a gas engineer to sort out my boiler (not nearly as sexy as it sounds). I also let myself get quite hungry. When I have a lot on my mind, I tend to turn my brains inside out by thinking and overthinking, to the point where I need to switch off and find some kind of release. Cigarettes can only do so much, I don’t really drink, and I don’t bother with drugs; so food is my go-to thing. Believe me, the marriage of hunger and nervous energy is a potent union! So I throw myself into it, and try to rationalise my bingeing by telling myself “it’s ok, it’s just today, I deserve it, I’ll be good tomorrow”. Rather than have one naughty meal/snack, I go all out. In for a penny, in for a pound. I shouldn’t have even put myself in that danger zone. I should have filled up on free foods, drank lots of water, got out of the house, found something else to do. But I didn’t. It was easier to revert to type, and just be fat for the day. Truth be told, I sometimes miss indulging the ‘fat’ side of my personality. It’s fun! At the time. Living in the moment and all that.


But then comes the guilt. You’d think I’d have come to terms with all this crap at this stage, but no such luck. My guilty reaction is equally as irrational as my attempts to justify the binge in the first place. As soon as I fall off the wagon, I instantly feel like I’ve put on weight and that it’s instantly noticeable. I don’t want to put on weight again, ever. So then I panic. Panic that people are going to see me and think I look physically fat again. Now I know that is completely irrational, I know that now six hours after the event. But in another six hours, I’ll feel the same again. The guilt will return and I’ll wonder why I consciously decided to impede my weightloss. How stupid of me. How weak, greedy and selfish of me. How fat of me. See my point? There’s a Slimming World inspiration quote somewhere that tell us to say to ourselves “I am a slim person, but I am just overweight at the minute”. I am paraphrasing there, but the essence of the quote remains. I guess it’s a comforting way to look at things, but the opposite for me is true:


“I am a fat person, but I am just slimmer at the minute”!


This weightloss success story is always on a wing and a prayer, maintaining a normal weight is the dream and will be the real success story. There but for the grace of God etc. So if you’re a fat person reading this, chances are you may always be fat on the inside; but if you give yourself a chance, you don’t have to be fat on the outside anymore. Your brain will catch up in time.  While that’s happening, you can throw yourself into all the things that being a normal weight offers, and live the life you deserve.


For me, tomorrow means back on the wagon. Again. Whether or not my lapse has an effect on Mondays weigh-in remains to be seen, but I hope I get lucky and maintain Mondays weight, or maybe even sneak a pound loss. Hopefully I manage to avoid dangerous situations like today! What a ramble.

Thinking skinny thoughts,


Being Good: Week Two

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So! Another four pounds off this week – I’m twelve stone and seven pounds exactly as of 6.30pm this morning. Happy days yes? Well, no. I was quite disappointed. You see, because I’m a bit of a dick, I weigh myself at least twice a day. Sometimes three times. Now I know that this is ridiculous, and it merely fans the flames of an unhealthy obsession, but I continue to do it. I’ve had the Other Half hide the scales before, but I usually find them or plead like a gypsy in an airport to get them back. The most crucial weigh in of the day is first thing in the morning, and on Thursday morning I weighed in at 12st 4.5lb! This wasn’t an anomaly – my weight had been going down steadily since last Monday, and even though I kept telling myself not to get carried away, I was over the bloody moon. Needless to say, what goes up must come down. Or in this case, the opposite is true!

I can’t explain this spectacular loss. I didn’t do anything differently. Lots of soups, superfree* and Extra Easy yummy dishes! Having said that, I find I’m eating less food in general on Extra Easy as opposed to Original/Red – I’m definitely less hungry. Carbs really aren’t the enemy! Also, I’m not using my full Healthy Extra A. I find it hard to keep track of it – ie if I have two cups of coffee, or use a splash of milk in scrambled egg – I don’t want to syn these ‘splashes’, so I have cut out cheese to accommodate this. I’m getting plenty of calcium from my daily Mullerlight and my greens, so I’m not worried too much. Again, I can’t explain the big drop, but it doesn’t matter now as it has been eroded! If I hadn’t been weighing myself during the week I wouldn’t be having this minor huff now, so let this be a lesson! Weigh yourself ONCE A WEEK, otherwise your head will explode. Metaphorically.

HIGH POINT OF THE WEEK: Thursdays weight of 12st 4.5lb
LOW POINT OF THE WEEK: Not maintaining the above weight!
DISH OF THE WEEK: Last nights Beef Rump Strips with Stir Fry Veg and Curry Noodles

Onwards and upwards. If I carry on in the same vein, I will just edge the twelve stone mark for Christmas Eve – then again it’s equally as likely that I’ll be found balls deep in a tin of Roses on the 21st and spend all of Christs Birthday in a onesie, ‘sucking in’ furiously and crying in the bathroom.

Ding dong Merrily on Pies.

Final Score

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So it’s just over a month since……….the marathon. I have come to loathe that word. The whole thing took over more of my life than I ever thought possible; and it seemed to be all I thought about, talked about, and looked forward to for the best part of a year. You can imagine the disappointment when the whole thing was cancelled – the first time in its history. The year I picked to run! Well despite the cancellation, we ran anyway. Laps of Central Park, followed by a very meandering route back to the hotel. No starting line, no finish line, no official time, just 26.2 miles completed. A marathon in New York.

I know all of you out there were probably fed up listening to the endless updates, not to mention the requests for donations to Southern Area Hospice Services and/or Alzheimer’s Society. There’s nothing worse than a timeline bore, but in this case I don’t feel one bit guilty. The BigFatMarathon Attempt 2012 has raised £4620.50 in total. Moody and I both paid our own way to get to New York, to stay there, and to enter the race – so this amount, in its entirety, goes straight to the charities. So thank you and fair play to everyone who donated online, to the local businesses who supported us, to the random people who gave me money in the street, and to the people I’ve never even met in person but only know of me via Twitter and this blog. We’ve raised so much more than we ever anticipated, and that’s the big result from this whole endeavour. I always said that I was running the marathon because it was something I wanted to do, just to say I did it; but it would have been remiss of me not to try and raise some money at the same time. I’m glad I did it this way. It wouldn’t have felt right signing up to run on behalf of any old charity, just to secure myself a holiday. That’s maybe a wee bit cynical of me, but that’s how I roll. Anyway, a list of thank yous, just to get them out of the way. Needless to say, this list isn’t exhaustive, and I apologise if I’ve missed anyone out.

Thank you to:

Moody – for supporting me throughout the whole weight thing and for running the marathon too
My parents – for putting up with my marathon huffiness, and for whipping up sponsorship
My Granny – for threatening the local community for sponsorship
Aunts and Uncles – for the same
Roisin, Fiona, and Shane – for providing listening ears on a daily basis and enjoying the gory details of training horror stories
Potat – for being an oasis of sound advice in a desert of fitness shit talk
The Twitterati – for all their kind words of support and empathy regarding running and weightloss

To everyone who beeped their horns at me when I was training, who roared out their windows, and politely ignored the sweat, snot and camel toe.

To the local businesses who gave generously:

John Mc Mahon and Co Accountants
Newry and Mourne Enterprise Agency
Whitegates Community Centre
Art Bar Funkel
Hughes Central Filling Station Camlough
McElroys Butchers Newry
The Bank Bar and Bistro
Deirdre Donnelly Massage Therapy
Cranney & McCabe Communications
Northern Confectioners Dungannon
Sweet Supreme Fermanagh
Tullys Bar & Lounge Belleeks
Urban Roots Hairdressers
O’Briens Sandwich Bar Buttercrane
Seamus Mullan Newtownhamilton
Eugene Hughes Whitecross
Commons Furniture Newtownhamilton
Floral Expressions Newtownhamilton
Today’s Local Newtownhamilton
Elegance Beauty Camlough
O’Reillys Off License Camlough

Special mention also to the pupils and staff of St Malachys Primary School Ballymoyer, including Mrs Kathleen O Hare, for their generous donations and for inviting me to the school to say hello to the enthusiastic and inquisitive pupils!

Like I say, I will most certainly have missed someone out. I can only apologise and blame it on the fact that running makes you lose brain cells. I actually believe this. What other explanation can there be for all these people I see running around in the frost? I will finish on this note – what has running a marathon taught me?

1. Running can be fun.
2. Running isn’t always fun.
3. Always keep at least £2 in your bra for emergencies.
4. If you meet someone who knows everything there is to know about running, listen to them, then forget everything they tell you. You need to work things out for yourself.
5. Keep your iPod playlists fresh, but don’t run with music all the time. You don’t really need it.
6. Your underwear is more important than your outerwear.
7. There’s no shame in walking. Just don’t stop.
8. When you truly believe you can’t do something, that’s the time to try.
9. Give yourself a break. Just because others are faster, or more consistent, or thinner, or more beautiful – who cares? You’re doing your thing, your way. Don’t compare. We’re all different.
10. Don’t listen to the haters – when’s the last time they tried something new?
…..and finally
10b. Try to heed your own advice.

So that’s that. If you’re a local yokel, keep an eye out in the paper over the next week or two for cringey novelty cheque photos. For the not so locals, thank you all once again. I never thought I’d buy into the whole notion of cyber friendships, but I have been pleasantly surprised! I owe you all a drink. A real one, not the stupid Facebook ones from years ago. I faithfully promise not to pollute your timelines again with endless rants about running. If, and I stress if, I run another event again – I will be keeping it on the down low. And I will never mention the M word again.