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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!

Saturday, 1 April 2017


Sixty-Three pound off. Fifty-seven to go.

Or ... Four & a half stone off. Four stone one pound to go.

I don't do kilos.

Can Resist/Can’t Resist: CRISPS!

Your first line of defence is the supermarket. I finally learnt I can’t buy six packs of crisps. Or large bags. When it comes to me and crisps there’s no such time as later. But my crisps rule has become THE LAW. Shop with your conscious head on. In the supermarket, I choose my two small bags of crisps at the sandwich section as I start my shop. They act my talisman as I brave all the other aisles. It’s amazing; there are new brands out that I haven’t even tried. If they don’t come in a small bag I can’t have them. Simple as that! The rest of the time I keep my crisps in the Londis and they don’t even mind when I refuse the bogoffs and the three for a pounds. Crisps also come after work and after exercise. My days of buying a bag or two from the Spar on my way in are over and that's fine. 

Every time I shop I think about what I can and can’t resist. I’ve made mistakes but try to learn from them. It’s not always about whether a particular food is healthy/unhealthy, high in fat/low in fat it’s more to do with can you keep a pack or jar and only eat one modest portion at a time. My example would be mayonnaise. I like it but I can keep a small jar in the fridge for weeks without getting a sundae spoon and guzzling the lot. Well ... some folk might! On the other hand if I bought a pack of butter I could polish it off in a couple of days, having lots of extra crackers, bread & toast in the process.

Apologies to those who have to buy food for others in their household. In this respect, I’m lucky in living alone. On the other hand, there’s no one here to say ‘You’re not going to eat all THAT, are you?’ and no one to be/stay healthy for. As I said in part 1, advantages and disadvantages, swings and roundabouts. And I do cook for children at work. Roast potatoes for seventy. Massive amounts of cheese grated from a 5kg block, USUALLY without eating any. If I think I'm in danger I have chewing gum while I grate. Cheddar & spearmint is just wrong. 

Get Angry

Not with yourself. Not even with the food. With food manufacturers and supermarkets who want you to eat loads. They have their sneaky ways. Sharing packs and grab bags in the front of every shop. They don’t care if a 'family bag' is eaten in five minutes by someone so fat they can’t get out of bed. They just want your money. But really I’m referring to getting angry with The Impossible Thing itself. Take that! I’ll show you, ya bastard. You won’t beat me, not this time. I am stronger than you!

That sort of thing ...

Noticing Change

If you’ve gone down three jeans sizes then of course you’re smaller. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. Sometimes I can see it, sometimes I can’t. It’s almost like body dysmorphia. I think the brain, bless its clever little grey-matteryness, needs a bit of time to catch up. I hardly noticed my weight loss of thirty years ago or at least I only have one memory of noticing it; that of trying on size 16 jeans. Will that day come again?

This time I’m making a conscious effort to notice change. Got to confess I look in a lot of mirrors and shop windows. Not car windows as they seem to make everyone shorter and fatter. Re-watching my reading videos on youtube from 2012 the other day gave me a shock and it was only about face, neck and shoulders. Once you’ve lost a couple of stone have a look at some old photos. I have a ring I found in my aunt’s house after she died in 2010 that only fitted my little finger but now miraculously fits my ring finger. I had no idea I'd lost weight off my fingers or even that you could. Keep trying to see it in any way you can.

And the changes you get that are as much from exercise as weight loss are even more fascinating. Is that a bone? Is that muscle? What the hell’s that? I think it’s a tendon. I had no idea I even HAD tendons. I may even have ribs. Amazing! And that's my body. As my fitness guru extraordinaire says ‘the body adapts’ So true.

As for other’s noticing, I’ve been lucky so far with the majority of comments being positive, though I was told I’d lost enough after about two stone and had to do some fast talking. 

'I'm a size twenty two now. What size do you think I COULD be? Sixteen? Right. There you go then.'

It may only be a matter of time before someone tells me I look old and tired. I suppose you do begin to look your age a bit more. Its really just that we all have to get used it, me and other people, and this is another good reason for doing it slowly.

The Five Percent

Most of us will have heard that 95% of people who lose weight put it back on again and then some. This fact could be used as an excuse. There are many reasons why the 95% fail but ... why can’t I be in the 5%? My fitness guru extraordinaire is in this 5% & has been for some time. I sometimes think about my plan for maintenance. I've even recently thought about going further than my top-of-the-ideal-weight-range target. But I don't really know how hard its going to get. I am prepared to swim more and take longer. Eating less might be more tricky and the words 'Don't get too cocky, Sal.' are springing to mind.

Keep Going

Regardless of the result you’re seeing on the scales or in any other way just carry on. You don’t have to be perfect. Treat yourself occasionally. A planned treat. I go for chips or something with butter I can have in a café or restaurant (See can/can’t resist.) I simply cannot be trusted with a pack of butter any bigger than 10g.

Learn these things about yourself. Accept them. Use them. A time when you feel you’re getting nowhere will happen but ignore it and keep going. Keep those habits in place. Don’t let the old ones back in. Don’t give in to feelings of this-is-too-hard-I-might-as-well-give-up. Over last November/December I struggled and only lost a few pounds but I just kept going regardless.


Just Keep Swimming
(My half-way non-food treat)

And that’s what I continue to do.

It may take another two years or more. Will I ever be walking around still ME - still SAL - but not fat? What on earth will that be like? Will I suddenly fall over? Will I get my head around it? Is it exciting or scary or both? I can barely imagine it.

Impossible, surely? We’ll see …








  1. Assuming crisps are the same as chips, I have the same craving. I changed my diet just over a year ago. No more fast food or Coke or sugar in my coffee etc.. I won't budge on keeping those out. But chips...well, I decided to indulge when I need to. I buy a better chip, only 4 ingredients & less salt, but it's still a chip. Like you, I've lost weight. And losing weight makes me focus more on my skin care and clothing and whatnot. It changes everything for the better. Anyway, congrats on your weight loss and your new eating habits. You'll be one of the 5% and I will too.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Chris. Good to hear. Yes, crisps are what you call chips. Chips here are what you call fries/French fries. All fried potatoes! I gave up the coke almost completely two years ago. Totally do without that caffeine. Really messes with your head. Yes, it does change everything for the better. What about exercise. I think this has been the biggest thing for me. Here's to being in that 5%! :-)

  2. Looking forward to part 3 . . . Well done Sal!

    1. Thanks, Stella. Part 3? Is there one? I'm sure there'll be another post sometime. I'll see what comes up ...