Wednesday, April 06, 2011

How an FFG (former fat girl) stays a FFG.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
(Pride and Prejudice)
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a woman in possession of a good figure, must be in want of a meal...all day, everyday."
                                                              ( Tabitha, Bourbon & Pearls)

I previously spoke of my past life on the other end of the weight spectrum in this post  where I confessed to having once been 40lbs heavier and regularly taunted on  mean streets the world over with renditions of "who ate all the pies ?" And that was on a good day. But this is not a misery blog so I shall spare you any more details.
Many people who read that  have emailed asking how I stay thin whilst being saddled with the gene for obesity and giving Mr. Kipling a run for his money  in the kitchen, well, this is  more or less how I do it:

1. Embrace hunger: satiety is not your friend unless you truly desire a wardrobe of Crimplene elasticated waist pants from QVC. I don't, do you? 

2. Portion Control: now I am not advocating that one runs out and buy a melamine Beatrix Potter plate from which to dine upon but look towards the natural world for scale and favour the budgie over the St Bernard when it comes to filling one's plate; the former are  not called love birds for nothing.

3. Let Semper Vigilans be your motto. Set a weekly weigh in: Yes we all know that stepping on the  scales is an utterly detestable act but even if it takes a shot of bourbon to step on them at 7 am on a Sunday morning, put your best foot forward and hop to  it.

4. The two pound missile launch. If my weight escalates by more than two pounds, a klaxon immediately reverberates around the B&P household, iron shutters slam down on all of the kitchen cupboards, the fridge goes into lockdown and a  calorie seeking missile is launched which tracks me from room to room ready to detonate if I even think of  reaching for a bowl of custard smeared spotted dick. 

5. Cook and bake like Nigella: just don't eat like the raven haired temptress. I love to bake but there are some weeks when I taste no more than that which clings to the tines of a fork.

6. Be goal centric: I  would love to look like Sofia Loren or even Kim Kardashian but that body type will never be mine,  and so I have decided to try to look a diminutive Gisele/Elle (I'm only 5'4) at least until I'm sixty, after that the people around me better love for my personality, because I am going to eat like there is no tomorrow and eclipse the moon.
Hopefully QVC will still be flogging those pantaloons.

7. Don't ever ask me out to dinner, I won't come. 
Cocktails at 7pm  will be just fine, a dirty Martini with two olives can be quite the repast.

 I do exercise 5 mornings  a week but  whilst I find that it tones me and gives me the finest cardiovascular system seen this side of  a haggis, it has never, ever budged my weight or made maintenance any easier and yes there are weeks when the continuous  effort required to  stay slim seems  completely unbearable.

I take succour in the fact that  like that hardy fellow the cockroach, I am pre - destined to survive sieges.


  1. It is a complete horror trying to maintain my figure as I hit the late 30's.
    If I even remotely dream of a cupcake, one suddenly appears on my outer thighs.
    If I overindulged at a meal in my 20's I would skip the next as penitence and the world would move back into complete harmony.
    Now I allow Jillian Michaels to kick my ass almost every single morning with her masochistic cardio,yoga and kickboxing routines and nary does it move the needle for me either.

  2. Eleanor: there are lots of studies on exercising backing that up now, I think we would have to be training like an athlete every day before it impacted on our weight, then again so much is down to genotype, through finding out more about mine, I also discovered that I have very minimal correlation between weight loss and exercise - wonderful for the Neolithic age - what a survivor!

  3. Tabitha

    Phew! I feel that level of honesty deserves a confession in return.

    I wish I could say I am an FFG but...I'm just an FG(ish). I haven't quite got round to the whole regime. I'd like to say it was down to lack of vigilance and a negative relationship (now over) but I suppose the lack of vigilance alone is really to blame (the other didn't help. I neglected myself. Always a mistake)

    My photograph is recent and representative, I carry my weight quite well (I am the Sophia/Kim shape) but it is getting/has got a bit out of control. I am technically overweight (if only just).

    I have got into that dreaded zone of middle 30s where it just isn't that easy anymore (not that I was ever that lithe).

    I wish people were more truthful like you rather than the "I can eat whatever I want" brigade. Yeah right oh, if what you want is half a diet coke and a tomato!

    Exercise never really did it for me either. Well, the effort and result were always out of proportion.

    I hope I can get a handle on this before too long. I want my wardrobe back. The available choice is getting smaller...I am not.

    There, I said it. I am a bit embarrased but I guess I am amongst friends.

  4. Can 'you must be the most sttuborn and pig-headed person' be used in a positive way in english? Just insert the proper wording, you know what i mean. Hats of to you.

    But really,I'm not complaing- I'm not fat. I'm just short for my weight.:)

  5. Tabitha, cocktails and dinner? I promise I'll eat your meal as well as mine.

  6. VB: Thanks for the giggle there! What a perfect offer, the answer is yes. Will your wife be picking up the bill and running us home?

    Yemamaya: Cheers to hopping over language barriers! I know exactly what you you meant there, your way of saying it has a charm all of its own.

    Sally: OK missy with your mermaid hair and undulating hips, remind me never to walk down the street with you! I would love a womanly hourglass figure - at any size but when I gain weigh I look like Santa.
    Oh meant to say Bicester - Bisto - hadn't heard that thank you.

  7. *caught dangling stuck over the language barrier in a very charming manner*

  8. My daughter went from "more than a 3x" to a petite, curvy size 12 in the past 2 years. We talk about her transformation a lot, and mostly she says..."I'm hungry Mommy...all the time...and that's just the way it's going to be." I guess that I'll just have to suck it up and be hungry, too, to look like myself again.

  9. Sorry for the rant.

    I guess the grass is always greener but I'll see your "Santa" and raise you a "Matronly." It's all a question of keeping each shape within its limits I suppose.

    I'll quit moaning. I'd alk down a street with you anytime. The admiring glances will be for two attractive happy women. x

  10. It's true about the exercise, isn't it? It all comes down to diet.
    I am always hungry when I go to bed at night!
    Very well-written post Tabbers, I loved it.

  11. Well first congrats on maintaing the weight loss particularly hard if your genetic make up is always lurking to add on the pounds (triply hard) I love the wit you injected into thhis very informative how to post and think the bottom line is you need to know that eating has to be done in intelligent and rational amount, smart decisions need to be made and exercise, no matter how you might have a disdain for it...is a key part of the process. I don't know though how you never eat out.....eating out for me is one of the great pleasures in life....but again self control and moderation must be exercised here. I persaonlly also haven't weighed myself in over 15 years but everything for me, is measured in my clothing size (and I have them all from size 4 to 14)...just in case, lol! Everyone has to find their own individual formula but if not doing it for any other reason than to stay healthy and minimize the health risks..is a good enough reason to me!!

  12. I can relate Tabitha but in the reverse.
    My whole life I owned a dancers lithe frame and on occasion was much too thin even though I ate like a horse. You see even thin people can feel like crap.
    Now being a women of a certain age I have, let me tell you, little control over my fluctuating tummy circumference so frocks are my new best friend.
    Together we shall battle on.

  13. 5'4''!I had no ideal you are petite. I thought you were at least 5'8''.

    I totally agree with the 2 pounds missile launch.

  14. Thanks for a very honest post (I also went back and read the earlier post).

    I am currently 'average' weight (U.S. size 6), but I'd be heading into pudgy territory if left to my own devices. I have a bad habit of eating chips and drinking Coca Cola when I am stressed, which is often. I did manage to lose about 10 lbs. about 4 years ago but I had to exercise like a maniac and cut out all the snacks. Battling weight is grim, hard work. Hats off to you for your strength and willpower!

  15. Bravo from a FSM (Formerly Slender Man) who is now anything but. It's that damned appetite!

  16. I am always wrestling my fat girl--she never gives it a rest!! Thing is, she's just like Nigella, sassy and generous and enjoying herself so obviously it is hard to rein her in! It is so easy to have her around!(I even darkened my hair once and went as her to a Halloween party--my husband went as Mario Batali!)

    Thank you for sharing your true story of a footsoldier in the trenches--esprit de corps for us all!

  17. Been reading your blog for awhile. I rather enjoy your topics and quick wit.
    I went to weight watchers 13 years ago and everything you wrote is everything they teach, of course they were not as honest as you but the sentiment is there. Bravo.
    Oh, and during the last 13 years I have successfully managed to stave off 30 pounds. I totally get your post. There is a fat girl dying to get out in all of us.

  18. Check out Mark's Daily Apple and never look back. It will change your life.

  19. Anon: Thank you, I tried paleo eating for 7 months ( I stick at things) but it didn't work for me at all I'm afraid. I do however absolutely love the concept, even when I was heavy my diet was always built upon organic and non processed food.

    Anon: It's bloody hard work isn't it -it sometimes feels like a career to me.

    Dannie: I love that image of you both at the party. Yep foot soldier in the Battle of The Bulge.

    Reggie: I am clapping like a seal for getting a bravo from my esteemed Reggie!

    Louise: What's a snack?

    Paula: A lot of folk have said that who know me from the blog, I have a short body and long longs for my height which gives me the illusion of being taller.

    Anne Marie: Oh to have been slender, I think frocks look more elegant anyway and may join you on the frock bandwagon.

    Maravonda: How wonderful for your daughter to have achieved that.

  20. As a FSW, formerly skinny woman, I now weigh about 30 pounds more than I did at my most thin years in my mid thirties. I accept that spending 8-10 hours a day in front of a computer will keep my derriere fat...as will my penchant for good food and wine.

    But I agree with you that it is caloric intake, rather than exercise that makes all the difference. And I applaud you for keeping your strict regime of controlled eating and weighing.
    You look great!

  21. Tabitha, I've battled my weight since my late 20's. Thanks for sharing yours story. I started Weight Watchers with a friend 4 weeks ago and am down 8 lbs. The new program is retraining my brain to make better decisions and "think" before I chomp on that cookie, or pour a glass of wine. I am a foodie and I love a good adult beverage, so total deprivation will absolutely never work for me. And, like Dani, I'm going to bed hungry every night-which sucks. I'm hoping this new program will be one that becomes a lifestyle. So far so good :-)

  22. Hmmmm. I'm torn. I think "perfect" body type changes over time and the fuller figure - including fuller belly - was once considered the ideal. Even during most of our lifetimes the ideal has changed. I've lived through Marilyn Monroe and Twiggy. Glamazon, the impossibly thin and limby type with no hips but giant boobs, was the most difficult of them all for most to achieve and I believe caused a great deal of damage to the psyche of countless women. All of us have a body type that was at one time the one the have, whether it is now or not.

    I care about how I look. I like fashion and makeup and fussing with my hair. While I don't gorge, I want to be able to eat the wonderful things my husband cooks and bakes, enjoy lunches out with my friends (without making them feel awful by making them gaze at my plate of bare lettuce), and otherwise sample what life has to offer. I think moderation is key for me, since I cannot thrive under ban conditions. I worry that so many of us have self worth tied directly to weight.

  23. Bravo for a very honest post. A few years back I went from my heaviest to my "fighting weight", which is still 15lb heavier than where I was at 20 y.o. I dropped about 20 lbs, by cutting out carbs and doing cardio 3-4 times a week, took about a year to achieve. Half of it has crept back, mainly due to my desk job, not exercising enough, and not sleeping enough. While I'm OK with the way I look, I'd like to be firmer/more toned. I appreciate that you have found a regime that works for you, but I urge everyone to find the right work out, FOR YOUR BODY TYPE. I know I'm not the willow thin type aka the marathoner-build, so I've been working with a trainer on weights/deadlifts for strength and increase muscle mass. I don't even do cardio any more, just going for the occasional walk. After a month of twice a week, hour-long weight lifting sessions, my waistline went down by a whole inch. For me, that's what works. And yes, you know I indulge on weekends, I do maintain a calorie-sensible regime Mondays to Fridays.

    I think I'll start calling you the Iron Lady of the Highlands, for your determination to stave off the unwanted pounds.

  24. LOVE this post Tabitha and admire your discipline. I too am a professional dieter (but not as successful as you despite being the same height). However, since moving to Spain it has been much easier (than corporate life in London). Our main meal is at lunchtime which makes a huge difference; so dinner is only fruit. I cook from scratch every day. Good quality fish and veg are plentiful here, and the good weather always makes me want to walk everywhere. The heat also means you can't hide under winter clothing which helps also.
    p.s The image of your kitchen going into "lock-down" was hysterical.

  25. Hello! First time poster here, long time lurker.

    I think it boils down to what works for your body. I went to Italy, ate everything in sight, walked everywhere, and came home three pounds lighter. So, I do pretty well if I can watch what I eat, eat out no more than once a week, and walk a bit or hula hoop in front of the TV (fun!). I've also found that toning up is much easier and produces more results, for my body, than trying to loose weight.

  26. what a great post!! great suggestions too. I'm struggling with about 15 pounds and can't seem to get motivated. but maybe i should start using my sons plates and bowls to get used to smaller portions. hhhmmm ps-love your blog.

  27. Love your tips. Totally true and well put!

  28. If fuel prices continue to rise in our auto-dominant nation, more walking and less $ for food might be the new Atkins. I'll call it the walkin-everywhere diet.

  29. I'm the same height as you, and only started having to 'watch' what I eat in my early 40s (ie now). I think we must have a similar body shape - only when I'm at my slimmest do I have the semblance of a waist; otherwise I look like a sausage. Yoga keeps me strong, flexible and lean-looking, but the only exercise that helps me lose weight is running, which I don't really enjoy ... And I love to cook.

  30. Isn't eating just a b*&ch sometimes? Lately the suffering caused me to binge on pizza, Chinese take-out and Lemon Meringue Pie--when cravings hit, they are totally random! I finally walked away from a can of Pringles and told myself that Kate Moss says that being skinny is better than any food. Grumble grumble. You look fabulous--self-restraint is underrated!

    xo Mary Jo

  31. Absolutely brilliant, I can see that 2ilbs - run run, shackle down now. But no going out for dinner? Oh no! Once I've had a cocktail I ready to eat! But you're right as Kate Moss says - and Mary Jo points out and so does my sister: Skinny tastes best!

  32. #4 had me in stitches. Thanks for the laugh.

    Exercise, exercise, exercise, and no empty calories!

  33. I have to take exception to on of your rules. I'm over 60 and the last thing I want to do is get fat.

    Sorry, but that pudding is not going to be waiting for you when your reach your golden years. I'll wager a custard pie I'm right.

  34. Eve, that's so funny! I haven't had pudding for 17 years!
    I honestly think that come mid 50's I'm going to slacken up a little, I've been hungry for too long but my best friend doesn't think so either. I've already warned hubs that I'm putting on 14lbs after my 5oth birthday party in three years time.

  35. Preach it sister! I'm putting this on an index card and keeping on my person at all times...XXOO

    ps...don't ever ask me out to lunch unless it's down to the corner gas station for Diet Coke and pretzels.

    pss...you're 47?! I thought you were in your 20's!!! No s***!

  36. Tabitha,

    How did I miss this post? I completely agree with you...the part I have trouble with is embracing hunger. I'm 5'10" and would love to lose 10 pounds and I do pretty much everything else right...including 5 days of a very tough method of workout (called Bar Method), but like you, exercise does not change the number on the scale. It's not even what I eat...it's how much. This is very motivating...I'm so glad I saw this post on your sidebar. So here's to being a little hungry and losing 10 pounds!

    xo annie

  37. I'm in my 60's now. Trust me, elasticized waists aren't attractive from this end of life either. You won't stay the shape you were when younger, but it's not that tough to stick with smaller portions and no snacking. You'll feel more energetic, bend easier & not have as many back problems if you continue to be careful.

  38. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  39. I am trying to lose weight (in the form of a lifestyle change and not dieting per se) and I'm HUNGRY! I guess I just have to get used to it? Is this how slender people feel normally?

    1. No I think many slender people are that way naturally, it's harder for those who have lost weight to keep it off.

  40. This is the. most. wonderful. post I have ever laid eyes on (and that's saying something, being a huge Faux Fuchsia Fan!) Thank you, Tabitha, for your hilarity and honesty - so refreshing... and EXACTLY what I needed to hear, after battling with my weight my entire life (I'm 36)

    You're fabulous!


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