Before Red was born I had a nice figure - I always thought I was like the side of a house but with hindsight I was probably an ideal weight for my height. Put it this way - when I was 8 1/2 months pregnant I wasn't too heavy to be almost blown over a lowish wall on the main road by a great gust of wind whilst I was shaping along in my leather coat (probably to buy 20 Rothmans....I was on the ciggies big style in those days) and pixie boots. If I hadn't executed a pretty nifty scissor kick as I was buffetted diagonally from behind, passing drivers would have been dialling 999 rather than just being plain gobsmacked.
After Red was born I was scrawny. Walked everywhere with the pram; still puffing away on the Rothmans; no Big Man around therefore no need for any nourishment other than black coffee. When Mr Charming was born two years later I'd given up smoking, had a brand new car and didn't do any walking ("Look at me! I'm in a J-reg Astra!!"); consequently I started to get fat. And fatter. I've put on roughly seven stones since the pre-kids days; I've lost up to five stones at a time in the interim but put it on again and currently I am looking like the proverbial Mullingar heifer. Never heard of her? When I was growing up in Dublin the disdainful description of any girl whose legs were a little bit chunky/a little bit cankle-y (at least I don't have those...thank you God!!!) was 'she's beef to the heel like a Mullingar heifer!'. I really don't know what the significance of Mullingar is in this by the way - it's a little town in the midlands of Ireland and Googling it I can see that famous Mullingarians include Joe Dolan, Michael O'Leary of Ryanair, Tina Kellegher (if you've never seen the film 'The Snapper' I command you find it and watch it NOW!!) and Niall Horan of One Direction, they of the totally knobbish haircuts - but I find no reference to heifers and fat legs. Go figure. It's almost as insulting as that withering putdown for those with skinny shanks....'last time I saw legs like that they had a message tied to them!' People can be cruel and usually I'm one of them, but then you already knew that....
Heifer with attitude. A bit like me. Lol.
So here I am, a fat lady. Not at all happy. Any fat woman who says she is happy with how she looks is a big fat liar. All the 'oh, let's celebrate curves' and 'oh, real women are the new black/new 30 etc' and 'oh, so many proper designers are making clothes for bigger women' doesn't hide the fact that fat girls look crap in just about everything they wear. My opinion, don't hate me for it.
I'm not only fat, I'm very top-heavy so fairly slimmish hips, not much of an arse but a mahoosive chest. Which I hate, hate, hate. I'm pretty sure we've been here before but titless ladies, trust me, if you had my bangers you would not be happy. It's the curse of the females in my family, from Southampton (pretty sure Red has been the cause of more than one male patient going down to theatre with a beaming smile on his face when she's the duty porter) via Dublin, to Minneapolis and beyond. Think of four 4x4 Duplo bricks on top of an upright 2x8 Lego brick and you get the idea. Older ladies might remember William 'the Refrigerator' Perry from the days when we were being flogged the idea that American football was what British sports fans were waiting for. A linebacker, that's me.
My ass is only half this size - o joy!!!
A couple years back I lost a stack of weight using a combination of Slimming World (me and Big Man were our group's Mr and Mrs Slimming World...the sense of achievement was exhilirating!), gyming and Spinning. I don't like exercise but I turned into a bit of a gym obsessive and I was crazy about Spinning. When I hit a plateau, which slimmers inevitably do, I decided to mix my exercise programme up a bit by trying British Military Fitness - it was just getting going in Southampton then and sessions were held on the Common. I went along and was a bit worried to see that almost all of the others were students or (what seemed to me) yuppie-types. Slim young women and men who'd obviously just come straight from their jobs in law or marketing...no middle-aged, still hefty mothers in TK Maxx sweats. Firstly we all had to go on a run around the Boating Lake and back to the start point by the entrance to the Common. I puffed and panted my way past the shrimp net-wielding Eastern Europeans, hoping vainly to catch a carp, me obviously bringing up the rear. Everyone else had moved onto the next exercise by the time I made it back. This involved pairing up and doing sit-ups, each holding the other's ankles in turn. I was matched up with a young, scared looking studenty chap, not unlike Mr Charming is now.
Can you see where this is going?
His sit-ups passed without incident, however half -way through mine I let out a smallish but audible fart. His face was a picture, I don't think he knew where to put himself. I should have been mortified I know but I do believe that I might have actually laughed and said 'oops!' quite gaily. Maybe I should have leapt up and run and hidden myself in a little copse until the session ended but I just carried on doing sit-ups until the whistle blew. Needless to say the poor young fella was off like a greyhound out of a trap and I often wonder whether he got as many laughs out of the story as I have. In fact, am I wrong to sit here sniggering as I think of it even now?! And no, I never went back.
All this is a bit of a roundabout way of saying that I've started back to Slimming World again. There are a couple of reasons, apart from hating what I look like, not having a very good level of fitness, eating loads of snacky crap (not chocolate though...not really a fan) and not being able to wear lovely clothes. First, I've got another new sidekick at work who is very slim - I'd make two of her - and I don't want my residents calling us Laurel and Hardy. Second, Big Man has booked a holiday to Vietnam and I just don't wanna look like She-Hulk next to the petite Asian ladies.
She-Hulkeshling, but with a waist
I'm not telling anybody this time. Not Babcia, not anybody at work...even Red doesn't know but then she's hardly ever here and if she did know she might want to come with me then she'd drop out after a couple of weeks and people would keep asking about her and I'd have to keep saying she was doing shift work...blah blah blah. Been there, bought the t-shirt.
So, can y'all keep it a secret? I'm not gonna bore you with weekly updates or recipes or ideas for syn-free snacks. I'll just let you know each half stone, deal? And make sure you stick with me every fart of the way.
PS Ulysses Annotated: Notes for James Joyce's Ulysses informs me that '...the plains of Westmeath around Mullingar are noted for fattening cattle.' So there you have it.