ABOUT ME

My photo
Morecambe, Lancashire, United Kingdom
In the mornings I’m a Nursery Cook, the rest of the time a Writer. Been writing for decades: short stories, plays, poems, a sitcom and more recently flash fiction, Creative Writing MA at Lancaster Uni and now several novels. Been placed in competitions (Woman’s Own, Greenacre Writers and flashtagmanchester) and shortlisted in others (Fish, Calderdale, Short Fiction Journal). I won the Calderdale Prize 2011, was runner-up in the Ink Tears Flash Fiction Comp & won the Greenacre Writer Short Story Comp 2013. I have stories in Jawbreakers, Eating My Words, Flash Dogs Anthologies 1-3, 100 RPM and the Stories for Homes anthology. My work’s often described as ‘sweet’ but there’s usually something darker and more sinister beneath the sweetness. I love magical realism and a comedy-tragedy combination. My first novel, Queen of the World, is about a woman who believes she can influence the weather. I’m currently working on a 3rd: Priscilla Parker Reluctant Celebrity Chef. Originally from West Midlands, I love living by the sea in Morecambe, swimming, cycling, theatre, books, food, weather, sitcoms and LBBNML … SQUEEZE!

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Resolutioning : Possible & Impossible Things


 
Don’t usually make such a comprehensive resolution list or at least haven’t for a long time. For ages the only resolution I had was to lose weight. Yawn! As if that could ever happen.
But it has. I can barely believe it but it has. Well, I’ve done it. It didn’t just happen. But it’s in progress so even though it’s first on the list, I ain’t worried about that anymore.
So …
  1. Get further on with The Impossible Thing. Hope to reach the ‘merely overweight & can use the work step ladders’ stage & then towards the ‘seven stone off’ stage by early February. Okay … March. Something special happens then. Present from my Fitness Guru Extraordinaire (known hereafter as FGE) that’s waiting patiently in a drawer. Then I’m heading towards the ‘one hundred pounds lost’ stage’ & then the ‘lowest weight since school’ stage and, by the end of the year, past the ‘eight stone off’ stage aka the ‘OMG, I lost the equivalent of my FGE’ stage and with maybe less than a stone to go. Possible? Impossible? Just keep swimming, Sal.
  2. Drink more tea and alcohol. Kind of funny as ‘drink less’ would be a more expected resolution. Especially with ‘Dry January’, which I suspect would be followed by a celebratory ‘Wet February’. Like if I tried giving up cheese or crisps I’d go mad for them when I started back on them again. So why bother. Surely January is bad enough without at least a little of what you like drinking/eating? But the reason for this resolution is that I always want to eat but it seems more normal to be drinking a load of tea or alcohol. Just a mug of tea and some folk are quite happy. And, as for alcohol, why don’t I drink more than just occasionally? Most people do. Maybe it would make me happier. Maybe I’ll finally try gin. Maybe I’ll even try that ‘write drunk, edit sober’ thing.
  3. Get a cat. I often think this when I see cat videos on Twitter. I liked that one where a cat jumped on a small child and brought it to the ground. They’re so cute, loveable and fluffy, especially when they’re dressed up. A ginger one would be nice or something stripy like a tiger. Not a dog ‘cos I’m allergic. A cat would be company. Might even save on kettle boiling for hot water bottles, though it might be more likely to give me a scathing look as it walked away.
  4. Swim outdoors in a Lido. There’s one in IIkley – never been - or perhaps I could head South. It would make a good change from the endless back-&-forth in the pool at the VVV, which of course I love and never ever tire of. The Ilkley pool is shaped like a mushroom. I like mushrooms.
  5. Keep my flat clean and tidy. No washing up from three days ago lurking in the kitchen, a toilet you could eat your dinner off, books dust-free and colour coded, carpet devoid of hair and crumbs. Visitor-ready at all times.
  6. See either Squeeze, Nick Lowe or both on stage. Somewhere in this country, preferably – remembering my lovely Nick Lowe in Glasgow trip - a place I’ve never been before. Wherever I go I’ll just walk and walk and walk. And maybe do a bit of eating too. I’ll see Chris Difford in March, when he comes to Morecambe. Almost as if he knew I was here. And I have tickets booked for David Baddiel and for Danny Baker too.
  7. Do more beach walking. Like last August bank holiday, to include finally seeing those rusty men at Crosby beach who stare out to sea waiting for something to happen. Hope we get some good weather on days I’m not at work.
  8. Front crawl. I only ever do breast stroke and a bit of walking. I'm going to give front crawl a go, even if its just a length or two to start with. Must dig out the goggles and nose clip I got a few years back, at the encouragement of the FGE. Got to confess although I don't mind sticking my head in the water I did say she'd 'taken all the fun out of it'. Time to give it another go.
  9. Decorate bedroom. This is the next room on my list. Will start in the spring. I plan to buy a fabulous painting by Frances for above the fireplace. For years I’ve had that framed Woody Allen vodka ad from 1966. He’s temporarily covered up by pictures of Chris and Glenn from Squeeze. Woody had to go.
  10. Do at least one reading. If I get my act together I could have another go in the Pulp Idol heats. I have several novels started that I could work up into something. Could give Kite Children a whirl, though I can imagine the judge’s puzzled faces as I try to explain myself already. Oh dear …
  11. Finally finish Priscilla Parkin Reluctant Celebrity Chef. The dreaded third novel. Poor Priscilla always gets pushed to the end of the To Do List and ends up falling off into the abyss of stuff-still-not-done. I have four days booked off in Feb when I want to do a full read-through of what I have and tackle the dreaded synopsis. Then I’ll submit to agents again. Third time lucky? Still don’t want to self-publish, which is just as well as I don’t know how to do that.
  12. Organise a family party for my Mum’s 80th. Am I capable of getting my parents and maybe fifteen other people – some of whom don’t have email or their own transport - to the same restaurant (perhaps The Royal at Heysham) on the same day and add a speech and whatever else and for some of it to be a surprise? Probably not. I wish my brother and I had another sister and brother, maybe older and good at organising. Step up, Sal, you’re fifty-two now. And once that’s done, I need to start planning my Dad’s 80th for the year after.
  13. Get stories into a couple more anthologies. There are fourteen on Amazon's Sal Page Page (Never fails to amuse me. Thanks Dad, for giving me a good writery name.) There will be one anthology out this year with a story of mine in that I already know about. I came third in the Save As Writers Writing the City competition two years ago, which included doing a reading in Canterbury. The original version of the story was written in 2003. Blimey! Only a decade and half later it gets into a book. Too slow for words.
  14. Buy a second bicycle. To keep going with the named after sitcom character thing, I’d either call it Lance, after Lance in the detectorists, or Shelley after James Shelley in Shelley. I’d need to make a bit of space in the shed next to Brenda but other than that, no problem.
  15. Keep adding to my notes for my The Impossible Thing book. I’ll be a millionaire! Or … I just want to help people. Sal solves the obesity crisis single-handedly. Or maybe just inspires a few people. Can’t really write it till I’m at target and maintained but when I think of something I make a note of it.
  16. Take a class at the health club. It does get mentioned occasionally by one of the staff. ‘Mix it up a bit?’ she says. I’m going to be really daring and try Zumba, I think. I won’t like it but I’ll give it a go. Might take earplugs for if the music’s too loud.
  17. Finally get to tweet food. I’ve been saying this for years but surely this will become a reality soon. My Dad says you need all the ingredients in a 3D printer the other end and that’s aside from the actual cooking. What does he know? Well, he tells me he predicted the internet, email and social media in 1970. He didn’t mention it at the time though, unless I forgot. I guess at 4 years old I’d have believed anything. So if – massive IF - 2018 is the year of the first ever food-tweeting I want to be in on it. I’ll be able to tweet Stella a mug of tea when her butler is out & she can try whatever I’m cooking. I could tweet AJ a Beef, Bacon and Beer Pie. (All the Bs!) and all of my 1,066 followers could try my Shortbread and Cheesy Oat Cakes. Get everyone hooked then start charging. Free for FlashDogs though, of course.
  18. Stop buying clothes that don’t fit. Bide my time and save my money. Waiting to be at target. Then, I’m going mad with proper shopping in a big city. Many, many bags and pizza for lunch.
  19. Laugh more. I reckon I laugh loads anyway but when I got that rail replacement bus the day after Boxing Day and everyone in the long snaky queue was cross and moany and stressed and ‘it’s ridiculous’ ing, I chose to just laugh. If anyone noticed, they probably thought I was laughing ‘with’ somebody. (I wasn’t) or just that I was nuts (I love nuts) but it was great. Yeah, laugh more. Just for the sake of it.  
 
 Okay, at least two of these are joke resolutions. Up to you to work out which.
* A HAPPY & BRILLIANT NEW YEAR TO ANYONE WHO READ THIS FAR*
 Sal

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

#TheImpossibleThing: Two Thirds of the Way


 Progress Update aka ‘There’s Definitely Something Wrong With These Scales’


Total lost: 87lb (6 stone 3 lb)

Amount left to lose: 43lb (3 stone 1lb)

Percentage of original weight lost: 28.3% (Well over a quarter!!) 

BMI: 31 (moderately obese) Started at 43.6 (morbidly obese)

This time round there will be no complaining about how much it messes with your head & no moaning about things from far back in the mists of time. This is …

ALL THE GOOD STUFF

So much easier walking uphill

This is really just another way of saying everything feels that bit easier but walking uphill is when you notice it the most. How I managed to carry these two sacks of potatoes and the carrots with me everywhere or indeed anywhere I do not know.



25kg + 10kg + 2.5kg


At least once a week I walk up Bridge Road after work just to check this is still correct. I really have to breathe but no longer have to stop to ‘admire the view’ or feel like my heart and lungs want to explode. I can get to the top, even the last very steep bit. On my recent visit to Glasgow there were many steep hills. I now see these as an opportunity rather than a right pain. The first one was Garnet Street, near Tenement House.  




Garnet Street, Glasgow

I was walking slowly but keeping going. A man ran past me. A proper fighting fit runner. But I still made it to the top without too much hardship. Yay!

At the top there were some scaffolders and one of them called ‘Have you got the time, pal?’

Pal!?

The use of pal is one of the clues to that dreaded realisation that you’ve been mistaken for a man. AGAIN.
Mate. That’s another one. And I once heard a man say ‘Mind that man’ to a child though the child was on the floor of the supermarket so he was only looking at my feet. This is something I’ve heard both Miranda Hart & Roxane Gay talking about. I think it’s mainly being tall and big, something I’ll always be. But it may also be to do with how we dress. But … if I went for high heels and a flowery dress would they think I was a man in drag?

Better sleep.

I am fairly certain I didn’t/don’t have something as serious as sleep apknee-ah (can’t even spell it!) I think it’s just now I wear myself out more exercising, though there could be other reasons. The main thing is when I did used to wake in the night it would be the time for thinking ‘I really should do something about this.’ But now I’m more likely to be thinking ‘I can’t believe I’ve actually done this and am doing it.’ I like that.

I like summer more

Cycling to work, wearing sleeveless tops and getting brown shoulders, going places and not wanting to rush home. Actually wanting to be out. I want summer back. We’ve just not had enough. Ah, but by next summer I will – hopefully – have less than two stone to go AND the weather will be fabulous. More beach walking like I did on The Wirral for a day at the end of August. Even if I have to have sunstroke again. Must buy a hat.





Getting a reputation

In the leisure club pool I’m becoming known as someone who really swims and keeps going. Several people now ask how many lengths I’m doing or am I doing ‘the mile’ and one even lets me go in the end lane because he knows I keep swimming and he’ll stop for chatting if the opportunity arises. I have no time for chatting. Got #greatlengths to do.

The first time a relative stranger asks ‘Have you lost weight?’

I knew this would happen at some stage and last week it finally did. Maybe people notice but don’t say. It took someone’s Nana – she’s picking up her granddaughter from the nursery just as I leave after my morning shift - to be daring and ask.
‘I hope you don’t mind me asking?’

‘No. I appreciate it ‘cos half the time I can’t see it or believe it.’

She also said ‘You look great. Not that you didn’t look great before.’

This made me laugh. It sure is a sensitive subject. Though if someone asked you this and you hadn’t lost any you could hardly be insulted. It might just mean you'd chosen a flattering outfit. Anyway, I told her I’d lost six stone two, that it had taken nearly two years and that slow was the best way. I said I’d done it mainly through lots of exercise as I cannot diet.

Got to admit this made my day. I wonder if it will happen again. I did have a bet with myself on it being one of the university cleaners who are often on the same buses as me. They are quite vocal, shall I say. And I had high hope for my hairdresser, who I see infrequently and who is someone into gossip and knowing and remembering everything.

The idea of people noticing and drawing attention to it used to scare me. When you’re fat it really is a case of ‘the elephant in the room’. (Must stop wearing those grey trousers and top!) But this time it’s different. One of the reasons is I’ve been so honest about it all online so it would be daft to get shy in real life. And another is that I’ve not been doing that terrible soul-destroying-depriving-yourself-of-what-you-love dieting thing. I’ve been doing that positive-life-affirming-getting-out-and-about swimming, walking and cycling thing.
When you begin to lose weight you draw attention to your fatness. There’s a fear of what folk will think when it goes back on but I guess I know that’s not going to happen now.

That Feeling of finally being in control of something I’ve never been able to control.

This is the big one. In any area of life, I hate the feeling of not being able to control things. I never really thought I could do this even to the extent I have so far and so easily. Relatively easy. And this feeling, I can carry around with me at all times. It’s great.

That’s it for now. The plan is next time I blog I’ll be a) No longer ‘obese’ but merely ‘overweight’ and b) Finally able to use the step ladder at work. Eight pounds to go. Wow!

I’d like to say a big THANK YOU for all the encouragement in the form of comments here & on Twitter and Facebook and for all the likes and retweets too. Massively appreciated. You’re ACE, the lot of you.

Sal
 

 

Sunday, 23 July 2017

The Impossible Thing: Reading, Being an Inspiration and Wanting to Help


Progress Update (aka There’s Something Wrong With These Scales)

Total lost: 80lb (5 stone 10 lb)

Amount left to lose: 50lb (3 stone 8lb)

Percentage of original weight lost: 26.3% (Over a quarter!!)

BMI: 32.1 (moderately obese) Started at 43.6 (morbidly obese)

 
2013

2017


Reading

Over the past year I’ve been reading around the subject of weight loss & obesity in the form of memoirs, factual books & novels with fat/obese characters. With the latter I began with Lionel Shriver’s Big Brother which, in the way it’s written, has something in common with Life of Pi. The main character is hard to care about, as is Michael Kimble’s Big Ray who deserves all he gets. I also read the highly entertaining but sad Butter by Erin Lange & Liz Moore’s Heft, which I found to be beautifully written and had great characters to really care about.

The most recent was Eating Bull by Carrie Rubin, a thriller which explores all the issues connected to obesity & centres around a nurse & a teenager intent on suing the food industry, as well as a serial killer targeting obese victims! He gets his comeuppance of course; shot by bow & arrow at the hands of the sweet fat boy who gets his happy ending. Hurrah!

Weight loss memoirs vary in quality. I read one which was shabbily written but I was still impressed with the man’s story. He goes from forty-one to twenty-five stone, which is still way above most of us, even me. He went to a clinic & was put on a monotonous very low calorie diet for the first year. The theory is it gets a lot of weight off quickly, which is seen as the priority. Not sure I agree with this. His evening meal was ALWAYS chicken, cauliflower & broccoli with nothing added and the rest of his day was protein shakes. I kept wondering why he couldn’t have a carrot and a bit of beetroot for a change. Nothing like normal eating, is it? But his determination with exercise was inspiring. He walked a marathon at thirty stone. Might have been more sensible to start with a half. He began swimming at forty-one stone, which must have been hard. Especially for a man. Belly out, you know. At least women can get a well lycra’d swim dress and be almost glamorous. (I may be deluded here!)

Some of the memoirs cover pasts filled with bullying & the psychological issues of a changing body, the latter particularly harsh for those who choose to lose ten stone in under a year through surgery. Many contain tips. Much contradiction here of course. One written by an Australian comedy performer contained some dreadful self-deprecatory jokes but she still had a core of determination to succeed that was impressive.

I recommend Jeanette Fulda’s Half-Assed. In her twenties she lost very nearly half of her original weight, a total of two hundred pounds, which bearing in mind I’m aiming to lose a hundred & thirty in my early fifties, is astounding. Jeanette explores many aspects of her weight loss & fitness journey & wider issues surrounding it with intelligence & humour.

I read What Have You Got to Lose by Shelley Bovey, a woman who wrote fat acceptance articles in magazines for years. In the 80s & 90s there were magazines called Extra Special & Yes! which were good for finding clothes but I was never completely convinced by the movement. Up to a point acceptance is a good thing but when does it become an excuse? Is it really fine to be so fat if you can’t even buy clothes at Evans or you are struggling to walk?

Shelley Bovey began wondering, at fifty, what was the difference between the 95% who lose and put back on and the 5% who don’t. She uses her journalist skills to find out by interviewing those who had done so and then she went for it, losing seven stone. Her book explores every aspect of weight loss and she does a good job of convincing herself & the reader that losing most of your weight AND fat acceptance can go together. One thing I totally disagree on is her dismissal of exercise as something no one is going to keep up. Not necessarily true.

I recently read Roxane Gay’s Hunger. It made me want to read more by her. She’s good. Also it made me a bit ashamed of my preoccupation with the names I got called by boys when I heard what happened to her. Boys again. But then she put on two hundred & seventy more pounds than I ever did. She’s lost a hundred & fifty over the years & I believe she will one day do the rest. Use your intelligence & determination, that’s what I say.

And I’m now about halfway through Fat is a Feminist Issue. I remain unconvinced about much of this. I’m sure it’s true that we sub-consciously get fat for a reason but I can’t buy into many of the reasons. And where is the very obvious ‘People get fat because food is DELICIOUS.’? Surely there’s as much truth in this fact.

So … Do I want to write a weight loss memoir? Not sure. There’s hundreds out there & do I want to be known for this? On the other hand, maybe I could help others. All I know is if I did this, I’d want to be maintained for a least a year and that the words ‘Impossible’ and ‘Thing’ would feature in the title.

 

Being an Inspiration

Many people have said told me ‘You’re an inspiration’. I’ve had this a few times before but never imagined it would ever be connected to fitness & weight loss. I’m slightly embarrassed by this even though it’s my own fault for going public (which feels great & I don’t feel under pressure in the slightest. Must mean I’m convinced I’m going to do it) & am even more embarrassed by those three people who’ve said they’re jealous. None of them have anywhere near the amount to lose as I had or still have so it seems strange. I’m often jealous of others but would never tell them.

Anyway, I don’t think I’ll really accept this until I’ve done the lot, maintained for some time AND got my head around it. Then, I will accept all the ‘well done’s and even the word awesome if I ever do The Impossible Thing.

 

Wanting to Help Others

For years I almost never saw someone fatter than me. Then I heard there was an obesity crisis and soon I started to spot them. These days I see quite a few of course, especially now I’ve lost some. It makes me notice it more. Very wrong to be asking ‘Is she fatter than me?’ as I walk around town. At least it’s only in my head. Like I said last time, very hard not to become obsessed.

In the eighties there were people who wore badges with the words ‘Lose weight now. Ask me how’ on. But it was apparently part of a scam. Something called Herb-a-life, which still exists. I think I’ll close the door on the research of trying to work that out otherwise it will need its own separate blogpost.

If it is a scam that’s a shame ‘cos I’d sort of like to have a badge like that because recently I’ve seen several folk who are clearly struggling. Twice I’ve recognised that keeping coat/long cardigan on even on a very warm day thing. As if you can cover it. And I’ve seen someone trying to do a delivery job at what looks like getting on for thirty stone.

And I want to say ‘You can do it. If I can you can. There is a way.’ But as my fitness guru extraordinaire says ‘Would you have wanted someone to say that to you?’ The answer’s ‘No WAY’ of course but I keep having this feeling of wanting to help others, which is weird because it’s not something that comes naturally to me.

But ultimately you have to help yourself. It’s about determination and stubbornness, about forgiving yourself for not being perfect but still pushing yourself forward, about doing it your way, keeping your cool, notrushing to get there, adapting as you go, realising this is your life and about never ever giving up.
 
2011


2017
 

Till next time …

Sal

Friday, 21 July 2017

Priscilla's First Reader



A couple of weeks ago my first reader, Stella, sat on my sofa and read the seventy-four thousand words I have of Priscilla Parker Reluctant Celebrity Chef. As she read, she said she really wanted to find out what happened, drank her usual buckets of tea (where does she put it?) and of course, being my friend, proclaimed it good. Thanks for taking the time to read it, Stella!
 
 

I love it when Stella’s finished reading and we talk about the characters and events as if they were real. She pointed out a few things as she went, which I made a note of for later. Where did I put that piece of paper? And she confirmed certain ways of telling the story are working. I’m not sure what a faux-autobiography is supposed to be like but let’s just say me and Priscilla are blagging it together.
We also discussed changing Priscilla’s name due to the name-in-title of a Flash Dog’s self-published novel (You know who you are) being the same. Great minds think of an alliterative title. So it’s now Priscilla Parkin, which is actually a nice quirky food-related name. And I do know a Parkin so it IS a name! Glad she’s still Priscilla though. Priscilla, who doesn’t want to make a show called Priscilla’s Puddings & makes a fool of herself explaining why then ends up making Priscilla Queen of Desserts instead. Priscilla, who hates being recognised and being in the papers and just wants a quiet ordinary life. Priscilla, who nearly drowns then suddenly decides she wants to go swimming.

And Stella even laughed a few times, because it IS supposed to be funny. Not enough though, so I need to work on that aspect, among many others. So hard when you long to be Sue Townsend or Victoria Wood and you’re just Sal Page. Ah well …

So, lots needs sorting but this wet weekend I will be having a big read through and note scribble, which I can do from my bed if necessary.

Onwards …
 
My next #TheImpossibleThing blogpost is coming next week: The Impossible Thing: Reading, Being an Inspiration and Wanting to Help.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

The Impossible Thing: Ups and Downs/Roller Coaster Effect

 
Lost: 5 stone 3lb (73lb)
Amount still to lose: ONLY 4 stone 1lb (57lb)
Percentage of original weight lost: 24%
Feeling: Pleased, confused, proud, frustrated, delighted and downright paranoid.
 
To be at this stage is weird. I imagine that somewhere there is a woman my age and height seeing herself at the same weight I’m at & being appalled at how fat she’s got. Yet it seems such a low weight to me. A weight I’ve not been for maybe a quarter of a century.
So … I’m sure there’s something wrong with these scales. I can’t possibly have lost that much. Can I?
I’ve had a couple of ‘run ins’ with the Boots scales. I wanted to check whether mine were telling me the truth. If there is such a thing as truth when it comes to scales. I think not. Can I really be three stone more than I thought? Do they ever calibrate these things? My considerably cheaper but new scales have been happily telling me I’ve lost a pound a week for some time now so did I weigh even more when I started? Head totally messed with.
But enough about the scales crisis. There are better ways to judge these things than scales.
You want it to be done but you know it will take time. You want to get there but the thought of getting there is scary because it’s a place you’ve never been before. You want to get there so you can at least find out that you CAN get there. But if ‘there’ is a weight you’ve not been since you were about twelve … Twelve? I’m nearly fifty-two!
I can look at myself one day and be completely unable to see any weight loss. Then another time I think ‘Yes, I can see it!’ Okay, I’ll admit I’m a tad obsessed but I’m coming to the conclusion that you have to be or you’ll never do it.
What follows are examples of, if it isn’t too much of a cliché, or pair of clichés, the ups and downs/roller coaster effect. All in the past few weeks …
Arriving at work to hear a colleague saying she was now 9 stone 3 pound and used to be 11 stone. I immediately compared this to what I’m aiming to lose (new target after discovering I’m 2 inches shorter than I thought), that is 9 stone 4! I responded to this by feeling like seven kinds of freak and I had to give myself a talking to that mainly included the words ‘But you’ve lost five of those stones already, Sal.’ But what it boils down to is, if I do this, I will have lost a whole, admittedly quite small, person. Hmmm … no wonder it messes with your head.
Seeing a reflection of me and Brenda and thinking ‘That’s just a fat woman on a bike not a REALLY fat woman on a bike.’ Bit backhanded but true. Kind of nice. It’s Brenda making me look good, of course. What would I do without her?
 
 
Brenda Posing by the New Sea Wall
 
Getting paranoid feelings that people are looking at me and thinking/saying ‘No WAY has she lost five stone. She looks the same as she always did. She’s lying.’ Lying or deluded. I have no evidence to support this but that doesn’t stop me thinking it.
I recently went out to the cinema and for once didn’t want to rush home scared of people and being out. I was quite happy to be out on my own. Nice handbag and all size 20 clothes (the mix of sizes I wear some days is just silly). On the way through town, I saw my reflection. I love shop windows. I force myself to look and think ‘You ARE smaller.’ Feels like I have to do this over and over and over again. Till I get there. And no doubt beyond too.
Is that really me?
I look the same as I ever did.
What if these scales are wrong and I haven’t lost any weight at all?
Yeah, ridiculous.
And so it goes on. Of course it makes no sense to think like this when I can also see how much different my neck, shoulders, knees and hands, for example, look. And yet still I think I’m no different.
And I can’t quite believe that losing another four stone & a pound will put me at ideal weight. It seems such a small amount to be overweight by. Therefore the scales MUST be telling me the wrong weight. I can’t be …
And so it goes on …
Even though I carry on with my exercise – my swimming feels locked in place as something I will always do & cycling continues to be really enjoyable – I often think I’m eating too much and am one pizza, a tube of Pringles (BBQ) and a Vienetta (Mint) away from going back to my old habits. Sometimes, it feels like every extra bit of eating I do is sabotaging myself, holding myself back from getting any further. But then maybe this is a good thing. If I was better at reducing my food intake I’d have done this faster and it would be even harder to cope with. Because it really is all in the mind. And mine is playing tricks on me. It’s probably laughing at me right now.
But despite the paranoia, body dysmorphia and self-obsession, all I can do is keep going. I’ve come too far to go back. (I HAVE come far. I HAVE. I really HAVE.)
I want to be at five and half stone off for the first week in July, which I always have off for Stella’s visit … like I said last year I’d be at. Then another three pounds and I will ONLY be twice the weight of my fitness guru extraordinaire. Okay, I’m eight inches taller. And under a certain weight – getting into ‘normal’ territory - by the much-looked-forward-to Nick Lowe concert in Glasgow in August.
Thanks for reading, whether you got to this line or not.
Sal
 
Next time … Being an ‘inspiration’, weight loss memoirs and wanting to help others.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Swept Away



Last week on Twitter my brother retweeted this picture posted by You Had One Job, with the words 'Short story inspiration/challenge?' I, of course, accepted the challenge and here it is ...


Swept Away

The river was the high that day. Flood alerts on the local news. The water lifted vehicles out of carparks and from waterside streets the previous evening. They floated downstream to be left on the banks miles further up. Like that old UPS van behind Joe. It washed up from the car museum in town. We saw a Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang car too. It should have flown away when it saw the water levels rising.
Stopping a passing policeman to take our picture was a bit daring but he was too preoccupied with the flood water and washed up vehicles. We'd just come out of the register office, you see. Sixteen and getting married. We’d known each other since we were twelve. We had no family with us. We did it in secret. We knew what we wanted. Why wait?

I asked Joe to hold my bag while I switched to selfie mode to check my hair and redo my lip gloss. My little sister bought me this novelty handbag. I’d have preferred a plain one but she was so pleased it. Sewing’s my job and my hobby. I made my own dress. A very simple white maxi dress with silver sequins at the neck. You’ll see it on the other photos.

Of course I love the photos of the two of us together but this photo does make me laugh. Joe appears to be holding a sewing machine. So random. And look at his cute smile.
Yeah, I still use the bag. I keep Joe’s ashes in it.

The floods were even higher the year after. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He got swept away.

Monday, 1 May 2017

The Impossible Thing Gets Even More Impossibler


After a conversation with my Dad about how the scales in Boots measure your height and they'd told me I was just under 5ft11 when I've always thought I was 6ft, he said he would measure me. I'm certain it was quite accurate; a piece of card, a pencil, a wall and a metal tape measure. I was stunned at the result. I'm 5ft10.

5ft10!!!

After a bit of googling I found out that women shrink two inches and men shrink one inch as we go from our thirties, into our forties and fifties. But, I soon realised, the big implication is - more googling required - a lower target weight.

So, I need to lose another ten pounds to get to one pound below the top of the ideal weight range for my height. 130 pounds in total as opposed to 120. The good news is I'm still past halfway. Phew! 67 down, 63 to go.

This new target is a weight I think I've not been since I was about twelve/thirteen years old. See? IMPOSSIBLE.

Sigh.

Am I downhearted? Nah! If that's the weight I have to be to find out what its like not to be fat, then that's where I'm heading. Slowly. Onwards and back-and-forth-in-the-pool-&-on-the-prom-wards and downwards.