Dear Fatty

(Yes, I know I shamelessly stole the title)

New (academic) year, new challenges. But this year marks a big one and a massive personal challenge for me. If you’re reading my blog, then you’re probably already know about the fun & games I have with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome – TLDR; it’s shit & cramping my style, but this month marks the 1 year anniversary of fracturing my spine and just over a year since my hearing dropped to unworkable levels. Life went on. But without my beloved racing that was an outlet for lots of rage – but now I’m back! Wonkier, in more pain, and with an extensive arse (the image below is my “thinspiration” – a combo of being stationary & evil painkillers has wrecked my weight).

So, with new work challenges I knew that I needed to build in some head space and get back to racing, but with our club now super popular it would be difficult to have a chair set up for my weird & wonky limbs. I’d saved up a percentage and reached out to The 53 Foundation for support – then after completely forgetting I’d contacted them I got an email telling me that they’d love to help me fund the rest of my chair & to go ahead and order it!

As an able bodied peron, the financial layout for going for a run is as simple as some trainers & leggings – an entry level wheelchair is £625 (professioal chairs start at £3k), so this grant was quite literally a game changer.

With my chair winging it’s way to me, I knew I had to pay this kindness forward and whilst I’ll be racing to raise money for the 53 Fondation soon (I promise!), there is one woman who I can’t ignore for my first race.

That’s me in the lurid pink alongside team mates who made sport fun for the first time ever.

That's me in the lurid pink!

At the end of October, to prove I have properly taken leave of my senses, I’ll be participating in the Great South Run (oh the delicious irony!) in my chair supported by my amazing friend Rachel & Mr Geek. Instead of sponsoring me for a big charity, I would be eternally grateful if you would consider making a donation towards Shona’s powerchair GoFundMe. It breaks my heart that this amazing young woman who dedicates herself to helping others in the bendy community has to resort to crowdfunding to get an appropriate chair, but lots of us have been there.

Training starts in earnest now and I’ll be posting updates on how we’re doing (even if that is elongated whining about how much everything hurts!). I’m not aiming for a PB – because Ive never pushed that far, so it will be a PB! I have no aims for elite sport – I simpy want to finish in as few pieces as possible (and have the following week already set aside for bed rest).

Wish me luck!

Big Brother is Watching you… Introducing my FitBit

That sounds far ruder than it should. No no, don’t leave. I can explain!

My FitBit is a bracelet. You wear it 24 hours a say and it records every move you make. Did I mention that you don’t take it off?


I ought to quantify a little bit further. I’m not on some kind of electronic security tag, but have bought a device which is designed to track just how much I actually move in a day. It’s like a pedometer in bracelet form which also synchs to my laptop wirelessly, and monitors how I sleep. All this monitoring then gives me some very pretty graphs and is trying to tempt me to hand over an extra £40 per year for even prettier graphs. For a numbers nerd like me, that is really rather tempting, but having just paid out £80 for the device, the graphs will have to wait. For now.

Why is this useful? Well, after much moaning (on here, on Facebook, to my husband) about being on a low carb diet, I chucked it all in, ate some cheesecake and downloaded MyFitnessPal and just went in for the balanced 1200 calorie diet with a decent recording of exercise. But the exercise needed to be recorded properly (read: without me cheating) so when biking & walking, I have the free app Endomondo linked into My Fitness Pal which records my route, calories & hydration needed. Then for general movement and BMR I have this funky little bracelet that tells MyFitnessPal exactly how many steps I’ve taken, and how active I am at any particular point during the day.

Essentially, I have no way of cheating. This is good. Because I diet like a child gives up sweets.

So how did I offset my measly 1200 calories with exercise today? (The more you move, the more you can eat. It really is carrot on a stick!). Well, the kids and I rode the bikes to and from school (430 extra noms), then after school we did an hour and a half at the roller disco hall where we opted in for the 30 minute lesson. I can officially stop! Without falling on my arse! And we started going backwards. And yes, I am just as happy that I can go backwards as my seven year old is. I don’t care. This is progress! I am one tiny wobbly step closer to derby! And, to top it all off, 90 minutes of whooping about, crouching, balancing on one leg, playing catch with beach balls and making snakey backwards moves burnt off 1200 cals! Result!

And just look at how happy they are!


I’m not going to mention that my thighs feel like the Spanish Inquisition has had a team building day out on them. If they were possibly hurting, that would be because of the skating squats we were doing all in the name of ‘balance’!

Day Four – Head, Shoulders, Knees & Ketosis

The primary goal for Stage 1 of Atkins is to put your body into a state of ‘ketosis’. In English, this means making your body burn fat instead of glucose for its main energy source.

Basically, your body is lazy. If it can get hold of glucose, it’ll burn that. Next, it’ll try the complex carbs (takes longer to turn into glucose). Once there’s no carbs to burn, it’ll turn to the protein & fats which is what I’m eating on this ridiculous diet and which I also have a plentiful supply of on various wobbly bits of my body.

Protein is harder to digest, so to keep up the energy, the body has to turn to its current stores (a bit like the day before grocery shopping where you have to make up crazy recipes from whatever is left in the fridge.

Once you’ve moved onto this, the idea is that you have more control over your cravings as the body stops getting used to it’s quick hits of sugar and when you are really properly hungry it knows it’s going to have to work to digest the next meal. There’s also a bit of a high achieved mentally from breaking through the ‘snack barrier’ – not always. During the day I get it. In the evening I am so not there yet. It’s going to take a while to separate food from mental state. Fasting helps with this.

Stage 1 is meant to last a minimum of 2 weeks, or until you are 6.8 Kg away from your goal (that’s about 15 lbs). Right now, I’m 6.7 Kg away from my goal, so as long as I keep dropping I can move to stage 2 at the end of this week. Alternatively, if you’re 4.5Kg away from goal, you move onto stage 3.

Breakfast. EGGS!



Off to to the shopping. Ha! Never shop hungry.

Lunch. I have 10 minutes before I collect the girls from school so quickly nosh a Babybel Gouda and two slices of roast chicken.


Get the kids. Oh arseholes and woozles! I forgot to buy eggs & sugar free jelly!! Take kids back to the supermarket in the current 30 degree heat (that’s Celsius) to acquire the staple Atkins food and promptly spend £18 on eggs, jelly and splendour (how?!).

Home. Time to get ready for the Brownie beach BBQ where we meet the people taking the girls on their brownie camp this year. Just time to slice open the big watermelon I bought today for the kids. Big juicy slices for the girls…


…. And I blow 5g of my 20g carb allowance on a teeny slice of watermelon.


Ooh it was lovely in this heat. I regret nothing. See?


I dropped the girls off at their BBQ with a mild sense of impending dread as this is the ‘pre-meet’ for brownie camp. The first time the girls have been away from home. I’m half terrified that they’ll be sad away from home, and half terrified that they’ll act up for someone who isn’t me.

Went home to make dinner for me & parents (LSH is out at kickboxing – aka getting his arse handed to him by particularly fit ladies. Best not to think about that really). Meatballs & mushrooms with pasta for them and a regulated salad for me (ditched the cucumber and celery to try to remain inside my carb quota).


Dammit. I’ve gone over by 1.4 grams. I’m quite up on the calories too at 1616 for the day. In terms of Atkins calories, I’m fine. It should be between 1500 – 1800 rather than the obscene 800 that the Cambridge diet aimed for.

How did I go wrong? Well, that slice of melon for starters, and I probably could’ve coped with just three meatballs instead of six. On the upside, I’m not rocking and crying over my lack of chocolate or pizza. In fact, I’m not even peckish. If I do get ansy later in the evening, I also have a fridge full of sugar free jelly which is now my safety net.


Fingers crossed the extra 1.4 grams doesn’t kill tomorrow’s weigh in. I’m really happy with my 4lbs so far this week.

Tomorrow could be interesting. I’m going with my new school (large bunch of overheated and overexcited teenagers) on a trip to London and need to try out my low carb packed lunch without completely wilting.

I’ve not been hungry at all today. Hello ketosis, nice to ‘meat’ you, here, have some of my belly flab, oh no, no charge at all. I’ve been saving this for years and have no use for it anymore.


On the scales yet again…

This is becoming an obsession. Wake up, run to bathroom, step on scales (look hopeful).

After much bitching last night about medically needing some M&Ms, which I didn’t so much resist as avoided by whining like a little kid at LSH until we gave up and went to bed. It does seem Atkins is slowing down the initial weight crash, but not by too much.

This morning the scales pronounced me 83.7 Kg (that’s a total loss of 3.2Kg in 18 days). I stepped on them again just to make sure, and yep I have lost another 0.4 Kg since yesterday morning. That’s despite eating a steak the size of my own arse last night.

I’m pretty sure this is doing nothing for my arteries, but one thing at a time eh?

Today is shopping day, so the plan is to find almond flour and sugar free jelly (jello for my American friends) to beat these sugar tantrums into their place. Especially as I dreamt last night that LSH got pissed off and moved to Japan with his recently acquired hot new bod (he’s not on a soul destroying diet, but eating more protein and hitting the gym almost every day which is working for him – I, however don’t really fancy being ‘stacked’).

To battle!

Day Three – the definitely not Cambridge diet (as it’s now Atkins)

Day three. Much better.

Breakfast – three egg omelette with cheese & spinach. (Cue happy me)

10am – celery with Philadelphia (bliss)


Spent the afternoon helping Dad build the foundations of the patio…


Did some laundry, and even though there was a distinct rumbling, I didn’t really feel hungry (or I’m used to there being a constant ‘edge’).

3pm half a protein shake.

Pick up kids. Then disaster strikes! Cook kids dinner – sausages, chips and broccoli. Look up how many carbs are in a sausage. Arse. Keep walking past leftovers and sniffing them like a dog who knows its in trouble if it steals the food.

Drive to butchers and buy huge slab of steak. Stash this in fridge. Check out what veg I can have. How the actual arsing hell does one carrot have 5 grams of carbs??!?

Graze box arrives. Am saved!!!. Read nutrition info. No, am DOOMED. Three tiny brownies take up my whole 20 gram limit! I’ve realised that I’m going to die, maybe not physically, but my soul belongs to a well known chain of Italian producers of circular bread based foodstuffs. Eat a Babybel cheese – these little life buoys of protein are wonderful.

Dinner. One very large and excellently cooked (by LSH) with a side salad of spinach, half a grated carrot, three slices of yellow pepper, cucumber, olive oil & balsamic.


I’m full. I’m no longer going to fade into the ether. Atkins is definitely less painful than trying to exist on protein shakes.

I’m apparently not quite in ketosis – I still want a pizza.

Day Two – the Not Cambridge Diet

Day two and three are the worst I’m advised. Just keep drinking water. Right oh.

Morning – woke up hungry. Not interested in coffee, give me my shake! Half a shake later (I’m now making them with 200ml of water, 8 ice cubes and half measure of powder), I’m sated.

Get kids ready for school. LSH on lunchbox duty as I can’t bear to smell the food. LSH promptly makes himself a cheese omelette for breakfast. Bastard.

Sporty running friend arrives and we head out for a swim. I manage 20 mins of breast stroke before my back is screaming stop! No matter, there’s Powerhoop later!

Get back & have another half measure of strawberry foam protein yuck.


Get ready for Powerhoop class. Eat half a box of grazebox black pepper pistachios to prevent fainting in class.

Go to Powerhoop and discover that using a multicoloured hoop to tenderise the flesh on your waist is a very funny, if rather painful experience (photos of bruise belt to follow).

Arrive home. Drink another half ass flavoured shake.


Feel wobbly. Eat a babybel (60 cals, all protein).


Hate this diet.

Rest of nuts.

Go out to buy salad & collect the kids. Bloody hell I want to eat that salad now…

Go out to have nails done. Have a headache and feel awful. Seriously consider shoving my face in the family sized bag of M&Ms in the kitchen. Resist.

Make chicken salad with no tomatoes (they have carbs) with olive oil & balsamic creame topped with sunflower seeds.

Still hungry.

LSH asked if I want anything from the shop. I answer “bread, pasta, CHIPS”. He says no. He clearly doesn’t love me. He’s left me to die of potato deficiency while I put the kids to bed. I’m too knackered to even get cross at them for arsing about.

Go on without me followers. Tell people I made it through without the carbs. Tell my bread rolls children I love them. The second day was the hardest.

Stepping on the scales…

I was dubious about weighing myself this morning in case absolutely nothing had changed (or worse, I’d gone up despite subjecting myself to protein shake ice cream!).

But, here’s the numbers:

1st July: 86.9 Kg
14th July: 85.5Kg
15th July: 84.9Kg

It’s probably all water, but its the visual kick start I need.

Day One – the Not Cambridge Diet

Apparently keeping a food diary is proven to help you get results from a diet, so here’s today’s morsels (frankly I’m writing about it because I can’t eat it).

Breakfast – graze box nuts. 98 cals (no protein shakes in house)

Lunch – half a protein shake with water & crushed ice. Frappe style! 97 cals


Dinner – small serving of vegetable risotto & a pork chop. 400 cals


Now? Bollocking hungry.

Evening – I made a full protein shake into ice cream this afternoon and divided it into two guilt free tubs! (I have 200 cals left for the day – fake ice-cream should do it!)

I am told that the first 4 days are the worst. Right now EVERYTHING tastes better than thin feels.

*Edit – it turns out that protein shake ice cream is not that bad.*

My Not the Cambridge Diet

So I’m investigating the science behind the Cambridge diet and inventing my own version which is not based on me being sold vast quantities of miracle food in a cup. Then I’m going to base the summer around this & see how it goes. I’m not promising anything, but it can’t hurt to try. That and I can’t stand counting calories, syns and god know what else.

Before we went away, I was 86.9kg and convincing myself that I was fine with it (yeah, I’m not). In two weeks of reducing down the carbs and general size of meals (mainly due to the heat!) I’ve dropped to 85.5kg this morning after the long flight home. I’m at a stage where I’m ready to do something properly to drop the rest before I start the new school term.

This means I’m at a BMI of 27.9 (down from 28.4). To dip into the ‘healthy’ range of under 25, that number on the scales should read 76kg or lower. That’s 1st 7lbs (See? Imperial looks way easier than 9.5 kilos!).

The Cambridge diet works on the basis of reducing carbs, ingesting protein based liquid foods and massive calorie restriction in order to put the body into a starvation state of ketosis which means that it will turn to the body’s fat reserves to keep running. I’m going to be blunt. It’s a crash diet. It flies in the face of all standard information about slow weight loss and regular eating. It’s probably not that healthy, but then neither is walking around being twice the woman I want to be.

There are a number of phases of the diet which starts off at the extreme end and gradually adds in more ‘real’ food until you are eating ‘normally’ but with a reduced stomach capacity and an understanding of your actual eating habits (eg. Why you snack or eat until you hurt).

I’m still not totally convinced.

The phases are:

Sole Source: 3-4 Cambridge Diet meal products. 415-554 cals a day (1 week minimum, 12 weeks maximum) – only advised of you are clinically obese (I am clinically ‘overweight’ by 9 kilos, so no fortnight of crying from total starvation for me!)

Sole Source +: 3 Cambridge Diet meal products plus 200ml of skimmed milk. 615 cals a day – only advised of you are clinically obese

Step 2: 2 Cambridge Diet meal products plus protein-rich foods, skimmed milk and some vegetables. 810 calories a day. (1 week minimum) – this is where I’m starting

Step 3: 2 Cambridge Diet meal products plus skimmed milk, breakfast, salads for lunch and dinner. 1000 calories (2 weeks)

Step 4: 2 Cambridge Diet meal products plus skimmed milk, breakfast, lunch and dinner (2 weeks)

Step 5: 1 Cambridge Diet meal product plus skimmed milk, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack (2 weeks)

Maintenance: A healthy diet plus your choice of Cambridge Diet products. (Indefinitely)

Ok, so what’s so special about these particular food supplements? (More so, I am not visiting my own personal food salesperson – it seems way to much like a drug pusher for me!). Well, the calories are set, there are additional vitamins to help keep you alive and there’s no faffing with portions, cooking or weighing.

So the nutritional information of one of these Cambridge shakes is:

1 sachet + 230 ml water (+ ice if you’re turning it into a frappe)
Prices are estimated at £2.10 per ‘meal’ (but you have to sign up to the £44.10 per week price)

Main ingredients: soya protein & skimmed milk

146 kcal
14.1g protein
14.4g carbs
2.9g fat
3.3g fibre

Random vitamins & minerals

USN Diet Fuel low GI Shake
(1kg tub – we reckon around 20 servings…)
If we’re right on servings, that’s £1.40 per ‘meal’, although buying at 1kg costs £28 in Tesco

2 scoops + 250ml water + 10 ice cubes

Main ingredients: whey protein & soya protein

193 kcal
25g protein
16g carbs
2g fat
5g fibre

Random vitamins & minerals

With the higher protein content, no ‘diet consultant’, and no financial tie in, albeit slightly higher calories, I’ve opted for the low GI shakes. And it turns out I can’t actually stomach a whole one anyway – so instead I’m going for 3-4 half portions throughout the day with extra water in between as they’re really flipping filling! I’m then combining that with the usual evening meal which I won’t be counting calories on, just eating generally healthy food.

I’ve not included Slimfast in this as after seeing the 30g of carbs which are all pure sugar, I’ve disregarded them completely. That’s more sugar per serving than Cola!

Wish me luck!