It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change… bleugh!

Please Let it fit

Last week I had a “oh my god, I am not going to fit into my dress at my next fitting in two and half weeks” meltdown. It wasn’t pretty. Ever since putting on a bunch of weight during a very difficult year of my life six years ago, I have struggled to love my body. I get angry at myself when I think about how healthy I used to be and how easily I ‘let myself go’. I make all sorts of deals with a potential higher power – just let me go back to how I was then, I swear I won’t let this happen again! PLEASE! But our choices determine who we are and my choices have made me fat.

Everything was as easy

Last year I turned a corner and finally exited the denial phase. The phase where I thought an entire year of bad eating habits and limited movement could be undone with a little bit of walking and eating more vegetables. I needed dramatic change, which required dramatic efforts. And so began the lifestyle change.

I started exercising in earnest, personal trainer and all. I started eating healthily and cutting back on the junk food. My mood started to lift and the grams started to fall off, albeit very reluctantly. The buffet of tablets I take for my epilepsy makes losing weight extremely difficult (excuse #1?). By Christmas I had lost 4.5kg; nothing to write a book about, but enough to make me proud of myself. Fast forward to last week and I have put it all back on and then some.

What happened? I’m not really sure. Wait, that’s not entirely true… I have a fair idea. I fired my personal trainer (irreconcilable differences), I sat still a bit too much and took comfort eating to a professional level. Turns out I lied to the potential higher power – Even if they returned me to my original state, I would probably end up making the same bad choices.

People tell me to go and see a dietician, but I feel like that would be a waste of time and money. I know what I’m supposed to eat and what I’m not supposed to eat. A knowledge gap is not the problem here, a lack of willpower is. But during last week’s meltdown I discovered what truly powers the will – the love and support of friends and family. Everyone I reached out to came back with words of encouragement; none of the blame and belittling that was going on in my head; no self-righteous suggestions, only reassurance and inspiration. I could do this. I can do this!

Dress Workout

Mixing a bit of everyone’s thoughts together I came up with this: being overweight is just like any other battle one has with oneself. It’s an addiction to hedonism; to the easy way out. It’s unfair. Others are blessed with a fast metabolism and skinny genes, I am not. And so I must fight. One step at a time, one minute at a time, one day at a time. This isn’t a sprint, or even a marathon; it’s my life. This may have a starting point, but there is no finishing point, I can’t let there be. Some days I will sail through, other days I will need my friends to carry me. It’s a fight I have to win.

It’s only week one but I’m ok. I managed to avoid the birthday cake for a colleague and the roadtrip to KFC during lunch hour. I managed to drive past two McDonald’s on my way home from work every night without insisting that we go there for dinner. I know there will be days when I eat the cake, days when I join the roadtrip and nights when we go to McDonald’s. And that’s fine. Because I will be kind to myself. This isn’t a race, this is my life. Once step at a time, one minute at a time, one day at a time.

I hope to update you regularly on my progress (or lack thereof). Please share your stories in the comments below. Maybe we can help each other.

Levels of Betrayal: Watching a Series Together

Hooked to TV

If there is one thing I love about the advancements in modern technology, it is how they have enabled us to binge watch an entire season of one television show over the course of a weekend. And in this vein there is nothing better than finding a show that already has five or six seasons for you to catch up on. Hours and hours of entertainment at your fingertips, free from the interruption of adverts and free from the agony of having to wait an entire week to find out what happens next. I mean, how did people live like that before?!

Spoiler Alert

But as with anything good, you have to watch out for its evil, yet subtle downsides. First there is the Spoiler Alert. This can happen in a number of different ways. Maybe it’s taken you a bit longer than everyone else to discover this particular show. Colleagues discussing the latest episode around the water cooler, or a crucial character’s death during mid-season finale of season three while you’ve only just started season two… And while I’m on the subject, when did mid-season finales become a thing?? Like torturing us for months at a time once a year wasn’t enough, we now we have to suffer twice?? I feel this merits a blog post of its own, so back to the spoilers…

When a season is in session, social media is your biggest enemy. As discussed in a previous post, I am not one of those people capable of watching a show week by week. (Unless it is something where suspense is not built into the long-term plot – like The Big Bang Theory, or Grey’s Anatomy these days). As such, I have to painstakingly wait for the entire season to end (or half season – please see mini-rant above) before I can begin watching. This necessitates not only un-following all of your favourite shows on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. It demands that you un-follow all of the actors’ pages as well, not to mention fan pages that you may subscribe to. You also have to be vigilant when scrolling on Buzzfeed and 9gag is just a warzone. It takes commitment, and it’s exhausting. It only takes a second, a lapse in judgement, or in some cases, an act of sheer brutal betrayal, to bring it all crumbling down.

Couple Watching TV

Let me set the scene… As you may know by now, Husby and I have a strict TV watching regime. One “thirty minute show” and one “sixty minute show” an evening; shows selected at random from the Cookie Jar, no Power of Veto. Roughly three weeks ago we very ceremoniously selected Scandal (also known as The Fixer in South Africa in order that it not be confused with the popular (?) soapie of the same name). I had been skeptical about adding this one to the Cookie Jar. We all love a bit of Shonda, but Grey’s has really been testing my resolve in recent seasons. But hey, the world is nuts about it and although they may have been wrong about The Walking Dead (jury still out on that one), my friends’ persistence had got it into the Cookie Jar and the Cookie Jar cannot be denied.

And so we settled in to watch it, and twenty minutes in, I was hooked. By the end of the first episode all thoughts of a watching regime had been tossed out the window. We had hit gold; a series that would ruin our lives; leave us sleep deprived; wrought with anguish over characters’ futures. And there were four glorious seasons to catch up on (season five still in progress at time of typing and we all know my feelings on “still in progress”.) We swiftly devoured three episodes and by the next night had finished season one (which only has seven episodes before you get too judgemental). On to season two the next night and TV addicts’ heroin had firmly taken hold.

It was three weeks later when the anxiety (more than usual) started. Only four episodes left. Should we save them, return to the “one episode a night” regime and really savour the final moments? Or should we face the unavoidable oncoming emptiness head on, devour all four episodes in one mini-marathon and then hold each other close and consume too many milkshakes as we fall into that void that inevitably follows running out of episodes of a show of pure gold? As fate would have it, the decision was made for us, sort of. It was the weekend and I was being subjected to a ridiculously over the top bachelorette party stay over at some spa in some mountains somewhere that probably still counted as Joburg. A whole weekend of sisterly bonding with ladies I only sort of knew. Oh how I love family commitments. What ever happened to a good old kitchen tea?

Bored at a Party.jpg

It was every bit as awful as I had anticipated, maybe worse. There were games; mandatory games. And a lot of alcohol was consumed as I sipped surreptitiously from my Coke Light In A Can. But all was not lost, I was coming home to Scandal (and Husby of course); a mini-marathon would be had and the trauma of an extrovert’s dream weekend would be washed away.

I should have noticed something was wrong the second I walked in the door. Everything was just so clean; dishes washed, counter tops wiped down, I think a broom may even have made its way across the floor. The milkshakes had been blended, the popcorn had been popped, there were milk tart cupcakes in the fridge. Now Husby has his moments, and making an extra effort after I’ve suffered an ordeal of a weekend is not beyond him. I chose to feel warm and fuzzy; until I saw his face – a picture of guilt. He’d broken something, that must be it; something I treasured, a gift from my late Gran maybe. Or worse yet, he’d broken a promise, caved in in my absence and invited his Uncle Cyril to our wedding. But turns out all he broke was my trust. He had watched the last four episodes of Scandal without me.

Olivia Sad

Words cannot describe the hurt. He made his excuses; he was lonely, there was no Grand Prix that weekend, he didn’t want to delve into the Movie Hat without me, his brother was meant to come for a braai but had cancelled last minute; but nothing could fix this, he had ruined everything. For three weeks we had been in this together; side by side through the “will they / won’t they”, the torture scenes, the kidnappings, the blackmail. We had been a team (just like Fitz and Liv, dare I say) *sniff. And he’d thrown it all away with four precious episodes in solitude. He made his apologies, all kinds of promises to make it up to me. He didn’t mind watching it again with me, he said. Dear god; why couldn’t he have just cheated on me.

Review: Daredevil S1

Daredevil Cover

You know how every now and then you discover a TV show that completely destroys your life. You stay up until 2am the night before an important presentation, just to watch “one more episode”, which turns into two or three. You start to care more about the characters’ lives than those of your friends and family. The storylines consume your thoughts and you actually get quite emotional when things aren’t going the way you want them to. Sometimes you’re able to snap out of it momentarily and remind yourself that it’s “just a TV show” (the worst thing anyone can ever say to me, ever btw) but for the most part, you are completely consumed. Well… Daredevil Season One is not one of those shows.

I enjoyed it fine, don’t get me wrong. I think there was one night when we stayed up past our bedtime to find out what happened next, but there were also a few nights when I fell asleep in front of it well before my bedtime. But I persevered because the trailer for season two looks so fricken awesome, and Foggy is just so sweet and likeable I had to make sure nothing bad happened to him.

Daredevil polarised my friends, they either loved it or gave up after two or three episodes. Being a Netflix series, each episode lasts fifty-ish minutes and sometimes that just feels too long, which is unfortunate. It’s got a decent premise though and the action sequences are superb; by far the best in anything currently out there. It seems entirely plausible that Matt could kick Jason Stratham’s ass; even Killer Elite Jason Stratham. Being overly analytical by nature I appreciated the fact that they provided good background and a believable explanation for how a blind man can kick ass in such a manner. All of these are positives.

Fisk

The acting… also polarised. Some excellent performances, many inconsistent performances, and if the secretary lady had been killed off I wouldn’t have been too disappointed. I don’t think watching Jurassic World slap bang in the middle helped. Seeing the chillingly eerie Wilson Fisk (played by Vincent D’Onofrio) acting as an annoying, ignorant capitalist with a full head of hair and hipster beard probably didn’t do much to help my interpretation of his character. By the end he was annoying rather than scary. And why does he have to talk so damn slowly?! And it all just seemed too simple in the end, like Al Capone being done for tax evasion.

Anyway, with all that being said, I am looking forward to season two (when it eventually gets picked out of the cookie jar) Matt finally has his costume and as mentioned, the trailer looks epic, The Walking Dead’s head rubbing Shane given a chance to redeem himself; possibly as the hero that Hell’s Kitchen needs… oops, sorry, wrong franchise.

 Daredevil

Verdict: Very watchable; only 12 episodes; worth your time; 7/10.