Saturday 20 December 2014

Fat Woman and the arrival of Small Baby

Small Baby has arrived. Fat Woman is utterly besotted and totally in love with Small Baby, who is good and beautiful and everything a mother could want her baby to be. Small Baby is widely acknowledged to be a very pretty baby, which surprises Fat Woman as she had not expected to have a pretty baby. Fat Woman concludes that Small Baby takes after Thin Husband, who, judging from the photos, was also a terribly pretty child. Fat Woman is also glad to report that Small Baby has nothing wrong with her hearing what so ever, which means that the advice she took from medical professionals about it being safe to shoot whilst pregnant was sound and the rude old men who insisted that she shouldn't be shooting are full of their own self-importance and not medical evidence. Fat Woman notes that she stuck to 21g cartridges and using shotguns in the open air, as this kept the noise levels below 150 decibels, but she only mentions this in case anyone wanted to cite her as a reference. Fat Woman avoided using loud shells at particularly echoing trap grounds. but she was never much cop at trap anyway.

Fat Woman is home after a c-section. Apparently Fat Woman's recovery and healing have been extremely impressive. Fat Woman has no previous experience to judge by but is happy to take this under advisement. Fat Woman's midwife says that Fat Woman's excellent levels of fitness that she kept up throughout pregnancy are paying dividends now. Fat Woman only stopped training two days before she went into labour. What it did mean was that Fat Woman was out of bed immediately the drugs wore off i.e. first thing the next morning, and was barracking to be allowed to go home by 6am the next morning. Now Fat Woman has kicked the co-codamol and is surviving on the occasional ibuprofen/paracetamol combination. Fat Woman also has incredibly expensive blood thinners to inject twice a day, but apart from that she has been able to come off all the extra drugs. Unfortunately, Fat Woman's thyroid levels have gone utterly crazy but at least that was picked up straight away. That will take at least six months to sort out.

Fat Woman isn't sure how the rest of her fitness is going to go and is trying to remember that she's had a major surgery and that it's okay not to spend time elevating her heart rate or lifting weights. Fat Woman misses being able to exercise like hell especially as she can't even walk very fast thanks to her c-section cut. In fact, Fat Woman was explicitly told not to elevate her heart rate by a health visitor, although Fat Woman is not entirely sure that she trusts the health visitor yet. Fat Woman isn't sure that she'll get any time to do anything like go swimming once Thin Husband goes back to work, so she has stashed an Olympic bar and 100kg of weights behind the sofa and has kettlebells and dumbbells under the stairs. Fat Woman is suffering rather from a lack of mobilisation and has started back with her Tai Chi warm up and form. Fat Woman has no idea if she will be able to resume training with Personal Trainer again or even if she will be able to go out shooting either competition or with the Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club, but she remains hopeful. In the meantime, Fat Woman has decided that this is a good place to end this incarnation of her blog. Fat Woman started writing Fat Woman Fit in January 2012 so the end of 2014 seems a convenient place to leave things. Fat Woman got fit, lost 100lb, dropped six to seven dress sizes and managed to get a handle on her thyroid condition, learned to love several sports, represented her County at one, and met at least a hundred really wonderful people, many of whom became friends. And of course Fat Woman had Small Baby. That's about as much of a happy ending as anyone ever gets in life.

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Fat Woman and the eternal wait

Fat Woman is still pregnant. According to the NHS Crown-to-rump measurements at her 12 weeks scan Fat Woman was due on 23rd November. Fat Woman thinks that her due date is actually 7th December, because she is old-fashioned and goes by LMP, but she is rather tired of being pregnant and won't mind at all if the NHS turn out to be right. Oldest Friend's psychic predicted pink storks on 27th November and Fat Woman would be quite happy to oblige in this instance. Small Baby is definitely sitting much lower that she was previously and is currently head down like a good child should be. As the crown-to-rump measurement after 11,5 weeks has a 10 day window, Fat Woman is happy for everyone to be right so long as she can sleep on her front again. 

If Fat Woman is ever allowed to sleep again that is.

Fat Woman has kept up her visits to Osteopath because of the agonising pain caused by her sacroiliac joint (hip) if it isn't seen to regularly. Osteopath practices Western Medical Acupuncture. Fat Woman approves of acupuncture being used on muscles and fascia, having read at least one decent paper on how efficacious it can be and, more importantly, why it works, although she won't believe anyone who tells her that needles can fix asthma/hayfever/depression etc. Osteopath has encouraged Fat Woman to keep up her visits so that her hips can be kept as flexible as possible. Fat Woman wasn't sure about the need for this but she generally breaks a part of her on a regular basis and has given Osteopath lots to do in recent months.

Today Fat Woman was so tired of huffing and puffing and rolling around like a beached whale that she said to Osteopath that if he wanted to stick any of his acupuncture needles into the bits of her that Chinese medicine purports as pressure points to bring on labour, he could go right ahead. Osteopath is never one to miss a laugh and was happy to oblige whilst Fat Woman was waiting for the needles in her shoulders to come out.

Fat Woman has no idea if acupressure points will bring on the labour that someone else's psychic has predicted but she won't mind if it does.

Friday 31 October 2014

Fat Woman and the gentle rubbing

Personal Trainer has gone and qualified as a sports masseuse. Hurrah for Personal Trainer!

Fat Woman was made quite unwell by the thought of taking her trousers off in front of Personal Trainer, but she did concede to give his new sports massage service a go when she reactivated her RSI (repetitive strain injury). Fat Woman knows she has triggered her RSI when the muscles in her arms and neck feel tighter and tighter and won't respond to stretching or foam rollering. Sometimes Osteopath sorts this out for Fat Woman, but Fat Woman had credit to use up with Personal Trainer. Fat Woman was also a bit tired of explaining to people that she needs accommodation for being both fat and pregnant so when Personal Trainer said she could sit on a Swiss ball during treatment Fat Woman was sold on the idea.

Personal Trainer used a lavender oil, which was a great improvement on the pine scent that Fat Woman's last masseuse had used. Being covered in pine oil makes Fat Woman feel like a newly cleaned toilet for the rest of the day. In a previous discussion about base oils Personal Trainer had told Fat Woman that he couldn't remember exactly what the base oil he used was made up with, but if Fat Woman was worried about sensitivities he could use baby oil. Fat Woman has a pretty good idea why people without babies have baby oil in the house and would rather avoid being in any situation where Personal is putting hands covered in baby oil upon her, never mind her sensitivities.

Personal Trainer explained to Fat Woman that it's very hard to make a sports massage relaxing when someone needs some work doing, but it's extremely hard when someone is sitting up rather than lying down. Fat Woman didn't want to lie flat on her back because currently it makes her hip joint hurt. Anyway, the idea of a professional sports massage being relaxing is utter poppycock in Fat Woman's opinion. If a massage is relaxing you probably didn't really need one, or whoever had their hands on you didn't work hard enough.

Personal Trainer certainly worked hard at massaging Fat Woman. Starting at Fat Woman's hands, Personal Trainer worked his way up Fat Woman's arms to the back of her neck. Fat Woman concedes that Personal Trainer's work is thorough and extremely effective. The major symptom of Fat Woman's RSI is tight fascia, and Personal Trainer certainly addressed all that plus many trigger points. Trigger points are dealt with by pressing on the knot until the client screams that the pain has reached an eight, and then allowing the pain to die away to a four, and then ramping up the pain again. At least, that's Fat Woman's understanding of the process.

Fat Woman has been practising hypnobirthing to help her deal with pain during childbirth. Self hypnosis doesn't help much when someone keeps drawing your attention back to how much what they are doing hurts on a scale of one to ten. Still, Fat Woman was encouraged that she was able to cope with the pain visited up on her by Personal Trainer, mostly by keeping up the regular deep breathing, and thinks that childbirth surely can't be that bad after all.

It did occur to Fat Woman that really she wasn't really appreciating the finer details of the moment, when a young handsome man in a tight t-shirt and short shorts was rubbing oil into her and she was trying to imagine herself alone and relaxed on a beautiful beach somewhere else entirely, but all Fat Woman can say is that such things are completely different in reality.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Fat Woman and the limited choices

Fat Woman went for a 36 week scan of Small Baby. Fat Woman didn't really need a scan, but is being monitored for diabetes, as that's what fat people get. Fat Woman hasn't yet got diabetes as she is fit and healthy, so Small Baby has remained an appropriate size.

The NHS has decided that Fat Woman is two weeks further along than she actually is. Fat Woman has found there is no point in wasting breath explaining that they are wrong because they just bleat "That's what the scaaaaaaan says!" Fat Woman doesn't care what the scan says, she's very confident that she knows all her dates. However there is no point arguing with people in the NHS. They like to do things by policy and procedure and Because That's The Way We Do It. Employing logic and reason let alone independent thinking is apparently not often done.

Fat Woman had her allegedly 36 week scan and it was shown that Small Baby is currently breech (head up rather than down). Fat Woman isn't worried about this particularly because she considers she is just 34 weeks along and knows that Small Baby is still moving an awful lot. Fat Woman was sympathetic to the procedures that the ultrasound technician had to follow though, and allowed herself to be taken up to Clinic 22 to talk to a midwife. Fat Woman hasn't been near Clinic 22 because she's had no need and because she wants as little to do with the hospital as possible. This is why Fat Woman has an independent midwife.

Fat Woman let her midwife know what was going on by text. Fat Woman's midwife outlined the options for her: have an elective caesarian, have an external cephalic version (ECV) when an obstetrician turns the baby, have a breech natural birth and of course Fat Woman's preferred option of just waiting and hope the baby turns. There is lots of time before Fat Woman is actually due to give birth so lots of time for Small Baby to turn. When the random midwife came in Fat Woman found that she was presented with just two options, the ECV or caesarian section. There was also a lot of pressure for Fat Woman to pick one NOW NOW NOW.

Fat Woman invoked the clause of having an independent midwife and made a hasty exit, her prejudices that the NHS is narrow-minded and prejudiced and incredibly limited cemented firmly in place. Fat Woman doesn't know right this second what she's going to do, but she's fairly sure that Small Baby is still very much on the move.

Saturday 25 October 2014

Fat Woman and the cold turkey

Fat Woman has given up shooting. Fat Woman had intended to finish shooting at the end of September, but there was a national inter-counties event to attend at the start of October, and Fat Woman wanted to finish her shooting at a Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club. Fat Woman had a lovely day with the Eastern Region S&CBC ladies and left with a rosette that was very hotly contested. Fat Woman's coffee cake didn't get any votes, but then it was an after thought when the zebra-patterned cake turned out badly and besides, Fat Woman really made it because she likes it.

The only sour note to the day was the old man at the presentation who after hearing Fat Woman was giving up shooting enquired how long she had to go and then entreated her not to shoot any  more. Fat Woman ignored him because she had just given up shooting, and she certainly didn't feel that it was polite for a random stranger to give her medical or health advice he was unqualified to give in public, but the old duffer collared her again outside. Old Duffer started off giving his opinion on Fat Woman shooting and Fat Woman cut him off and informed him that she didn't wish to discuss this with him. This is the point that Fat Woman considers polite people would back off, but Old Duffer was determined that his opinion was so valuable that Fat Woman was going to hear it regardless of her personal wishes. Fat Woman held on to her temper by her fingernails and retorted that she had researched foetal hearing loss due to noise exposure and had sought medical advice and was happy with her decisions. Fat Woman was incredibly annoyed that she felt forced into justifying decisions that were simply none of Old Duffer's business, as well as Old Duffer's assumption that (1) Fat Woman was stupid or ignorant enough to put Small Baby in danger and (2) He knew better than Fat Woman about her body. Fat Woman particularly dislikes the "he was only trying to help" excuse for this kind of behaviour. Fat Woman knows what it sounds like when random men think they might have information about foetal safety that she might not yet know and they are prepared to be respectful about it, and it starts with a question such as "Have you considered..." It doesn't start with a stranger telling Fat Woman what to do. Fat Woman would have liked to have told Old Duffer to fuck off, but didn't because she is socially conditioned not to make a fuss.

Fat Woman thinks it incredibly ironic that everyone in shooting has been very respectful of her decisions and continued presence at shooting grounds  right up until the point when she has fired her last shots.

Friday 10 October 2014

Fat Woman and the fight of her life

Fat Woman is not a fan of diet porn and has posted before about how she disapproves of The Biggest Loser and its exploitative methods. However, Fat Woman can admit that she has found herself watching "Fat: The Fight of My Life" for several episodes in a row. 

Fat Woman caught one episode of "A Year To Save My Life", which is the previous incarnation of the show, and was fascinated to see a fat person exercising. Not just a single cardio class but swimming, running, even doing a triathlon. Fat Woman simply hadn't ever seen that before. It was amazing to Fat Woman in the same way black people have talked about seeing another black person on television for the first time. Fat Woman didn't think it would ever happen, that people like her would ever be considered worthy of portrayal or representation in a positive way on screen. Fat Woman likes seeing people like her; she remembers what is was like to get to the point where everything felt out of control and even diet and exercise weren't working for her.

Personal Trainer said Fat Woman only liked the show because she fancies Jessie Pavelka. Fat Woman is not denying that Jessie is quite attractive for a US TV star but she realised that he looks rather like Thin Husband (tall, handsome chiselled features) crossed with Personal Trainer (big muscles, trendy hair cut) and that was like being dowsed with a bucket of cold water. Fat Woman did consider the possibility of applying for the show so she could get hugs from Jessie in the bit after the third advert break where the fat person has to have a big breakdown about how hard they are finding it and then pick themselves up and work even harder but like weight loss surgery she suspects she is now too fit. 

Fat Woman is jealous of the weight loss people on these shows get in a comparatively small amount of time. Fat Woman tries not to beat herself up about it because she does still have months at a time where she struggles with a metabolic disorder, putting on half a stone in a week. Ironically, the harder Fat Woman works the smaller the gap between times when her hormones are messed up. It actually works better for Fat Woman to lose weight more slowly as she is more likely to manage her thyroid levels better and not fall into being over-medicated and having weight gain as a result. Fat Woman also accepts that she would never have stuck to healthy eating if she had been limited to just 1500 calories. Fat Woman was eating a deficit of 500 calories each day and could manage a reasonable life that way, not being hungry or unable to eat out. If there is one thing that really stomped on Fat Woman's celebrity trainer crush it was that. Fat Woman doesn't think that someone with a basal metabolic rate of 3500+ calories a day - and that's just to exist - should be on a just 1500 calories a day when they are doing two hours of hard exercise and certainly not for months on end. 

Fat Woman was also really jealous of the last person because they got to do proper open water swimming for 10k and were talked about as a "proper athlete". Fat Woman was just at the stage where she was going to pick a sport to commit to when Small Baby appeared on the scene. Fat Woman misses feeling fit and like she can do anything. Shooting is a great sport but it doesn't make you feel like you're working hard.

Fat Woman would love to know where they get the wetsuits for the fat women. Fat Woman actually tweeted the production company once but didn't get any response. Fat Woman has an open water swimming course all lined up and had resolved to go but couldn't find a wetsuit.

Fat Woman also thinks the boxing pad work shown is a little suspect but she might just be being snobby.

What really put the nail in the coffin of Fat Woman's celebrity crush is that Jessie Pavelka is joining the team of the Biggest Loser. Fat Woman considered Jessie's shows the most positive and helpful thing she'd seen for fat people in popular culture, but to join the Biggest Loser with it's unhelpful short termism, unhealthy regimen and bullying and humiliation is just unforgivable. 

Fat Woman and the mind bending requirements

Fat Woman is doing rather well at pregnancy. So far Fat Woman has
  • Managed her thyroid condition, with variable help from the GP surgery
  • Aced the glucose tolerance test (fat does NOT mean diabetic so yah! boo! sucks to you, NHS mandarins)
  • Been able to wear her jeans until the bump simply made it impossible - no fat gain
  • Kept up training three times a week even though Personal Trainer won't let her do half the fun things in the gym.
Fat Woman went for a meeting with the consultant anaesthetist. Fat Woman had to do this so the anaesthetist could check that she wasn't so fat that they couldn't stick needles in her spine, her arms, or her hands. Fat Woman was also asked about the state of her teeth (currently excellent according to her dentist, no gestational gingivitis) and if her enlarged thyroid caused any problems swallowing in case there was a need to intubate. Fat Woman felt really sorry for the consultant anaesthetist who had a high, falsely sweet voice and who sounded like a breathy mummy talking to a six year old. Fat Woman reckoned that it must be hard to work in medicine if people think you're talking about ponies and fairies and rainbows. The midwife who accompanied Fat Woman said that the anaesthetist was in fact incredibly patronising, inappropriately so when Fat Woman is obviously intelligent and well informed about risks. Fat Woman is not so bright that she had noticed she was being patronised, but as she was having fun letting the consultant advise her that she really ought to be giving birth in the hospital despite her birth plan being "I'm only coming near this place if something goes wrong". The anaesthetic consultant asked three times in tones of concern and horror if the obstetric consultant was aware of Fat Woman's plans. Fat Woman shrugged, said she'd had a letter after one meeting saying that it all seemed under control and that if the anaesthetic consultant felt there was something the obstetric consultant should know then she should feel free to go ahead and pass the information along. Fat Woman is not sure at what point in the process she is expected to beg permission to stay out of hospital and not get sliced and diced but when the obstetric consultant has not requested another meeting Fat Woman sees no reason to bother her with niff-naff details. The anaesthetist can take her surgical prejudices and stuff them up her arse because she embodies just about everything wrong with NHS obstetrics so far as Fat Woman can see, and kept citing guidelines and policies to back her point up. Fat Woman is certainly not going to base a birth plan about making life easier for the anaesthetic department. There was a marvellous point during the meeting when Fat Woman leaned forward and said in confidential tones that of course if she did need anaesthetic she would be seen by the consultant rather than a registrar, as detailed in the hospital's own guidelines on treating patients with a BMI >40. Fat Woman had her crocodile smile on as she said this and watched the anaesthetist squirm about how that might or might not happen. Fat Woman has seen exactly one piece of NHS policy that benefits her personally and that is it, so she's damn well not having any junior staff sticking needles in her spine, not if her high BMI makes her so fucking dangerous that they've banned her from even setting foot in the birthing centre.

When Fat Woman got home her resolve to stay as far away from hospital as possible was strengthened enough that she was actually motivated enough to start listening to the hypnobirthing CD. This is meant to train Fat Woman into being able to manage pain so she

It turns out that Fat Woman isn't a natural at hypnobirthing.

First, Fat Woman finds the "breath in through your nose and out through your mouth" thing terribly irritating and not at all relaxing. Fat Woman is a singer and a woodwind player and has excellent breath control and finds that either she has to make some concious effort move her epiglottis to change the way she is breathing from nose to mouth, or she has to leave her mouth open the whole time, which gives her a dry mouth.

Secondly, although Fat Woman finds visualisation a useful tool in some circumstances she is quite literal about physiology. So if you tell Fat Woman to visualise breathing in golden air that's fine, and she will quite happily visualise said golden air filling her lungs but you can't suddenly turn around and say that the golden air is sinking lower from your lungs because AIR DOESN'T DO THAT. You would be dead if it did. Fat Woman isn't keen on visualising suffocating to death. Fat Woman has good suspension of disbelief when it comes to fiction and films but not when it comes to basic biology and resents that visualisations are apparently for people who don't remember any GCSE science.

Thirdly, Fat Woman would like to know why visualisations always require you to think about being on a beach. Fat Woman is not a fan of beaches. They are sandy and too hot (or if in Britain too cold) and so far as Fat Woman is concerned the only reason to travel to a tropical beach is so you can go diving in warm water. Fat Woman would rather be able to visualise being in a nice English wood, late summer or early Autumn. Beaches are such a chavvy cliché. Fat Woman actually yelled at the CD at this point.

Fat Woman hasn't managed to get past 25 minutes into the CD yet but knows she is going to have to have another go. Fat Woman would find the whole thing less irritating if you could listen to hypnobirthing CDs on the cross trainer, but no, apparently you have to be lying down and relaxed. If there's something Fat Woman doesn't find relaxing it's having to lie down and be relaxed.

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Fat Woman and the testing times

Now that Fat Woman has Small Baby on board she is being treated by the NHS as an unexploded bomb. Rather than being regarded as an expectant mother Fat Woman is looked upon as a series of problems waiting to happen that must be managed in the most heavy-handed way possible. Fat Woman knew she was going to be in for it when practically the first thing she was given by the community midwife was a leaflet specially written for pregnant women with a BMI greater than 30. Fat Woman has said it before and will say it again: BMI is a statistical tool that is completely unsuitable for individual case management and unless you are going to talk body fat percentage with her she doesn't care to hear it. Fat Woman scores very badly on the BMI scale thanks to all the weight lifting. Thin Husband delights in referring to Fat Woman as his dense wife. Fat Woman has actually read the policies held by the local NHS trust on dealing with fat pregnant women and is deeply unimpressed with the blinkered and frankly bigoted attitudes displayed. All this is covered in a veneer of "It's for your own good" and topped with a good slice of "But think of the baaaaaby!" Fat Woman was most unimpressed by the decision that she should be on blood thinners. This was done purely because Fat Woman is fairly old for a first time mother and fat. Fat Woman then went through a huge palaver of getting the drugs, learning how to inject them, having horrendous allergic reactions, having to try two more brands in case she was allergic to the carrying solution and not the actual heparin, trying antihistamines to alleviate the effects, and then disposing of three lots of needles. Fat Woman was deeply annoyed at the hours she sunk into this only to find out that "double the risk" of blood clots meant the risk went from one in 6000 with the drugs to one in 3000. It turns out that exercise is a much more effective predictor of danger, but of course everyone assumes that fat women are lazy greedy couch potatoes.

Fat Woman would love to be a lazy greedy couch potato but can't seem to get the hang of it.

One thing that came out of Fat Woman's visit to the obstetric consultant was the request for a hospital administered glucose tolerance test. All pregnant women get a glucose test at their doctor's surgery, but in the hospital they make you fast, give you a glucose solution and then make you sit down for two hours whilst they take blood at intervals. Fat Woman was rather pissed off at the form letter which said "You have been invited to take this test because you have shown signs of high blood sugar" because that was absolutely not true. Diabetes is the sword of Damocles that doctors and the media like to hold of the heads of fat people. It's true that being fat and diabetic is a health issue that leads to complications but there is a convenient mis-thinking of the situation that means instead of referring to "fat people who have diabetes and who drink and smoke and take no exercise" as being a drain on the health system the media and the medical establishment have shortened that to "fat people". Being fat in and of itself does not mean you have these problems, and if you are fat, have a healthy diet and take exercise you are going to be much more healthy than someone in with a lower body fat percentage who doesn't look after themselves. Fat Woman has been mostly eating a diabetic diet for years because she eats food that is low on the Glycaemic Index. This mostly affects what carbohydrates you use- whole wheat everything, and brown basmati rice instead of any other - but also affects your choice of vegetables. Fat Woman doesn't consider sweetcorn a useful vegetable because of it's high sugar content and low fibre content. Fat Woman reckons that you might as well eat a boiled sweet and take a fibre pill as eat sweetcorn, This also means that Fat Woman doesn't eat a lot of fruit usually, and certainly doesn't drink fruit juice or smoothies on a regular basis. Fat Woman has managing her blood sugar down to an art, especially since she gave up Diet Coke, which was really fucking with her blood sugars, leaving crashing into sudden hypoglycaemia. Fat Woman hasn't felt that awful, desperately empty feeling or the rage and fury that would come with it, since before Lent 2012, and is in no hurry to experience it again. Fat Woman is fairly sure that Thin Husband is grateful not to have seen it for a while as well.

Fat Woman consulted with her midwife and decided that she would take the Glucose Tolerance test at the hospital on the grounds that at least it could be properly measured whereas the one at the doctors' surgery is rather hit and miss. The thing that Fat Woman was most worried about on the Glucose Tolerance Test was drinking the dextrose mix. Fat Woman can't remember ever having had to do so before, but she really hates chemical drinks. It has been nearly fifteen years since Fat Woman was convinced that an electrolyte replacement packet (for diarrhoea sufferers) was a good cure for a hangover. Fat Woman was thoroughly ill after trying to drink the horrible stuff and avoids anything similar. There are numerous shared stories of women being similarly ill after drinking the dextrose solution at Glucose Tolerance Tests so Fat Woman was incredibly relieved when the blood tech gave her a bottle and a bit of Lucozade and said she had to drink that instead. Fat Woman fails to see the point of Lucozade as a drink in its own right, but it is at least reasonably inoffensive and doesn't make her ill.

Fat Woman had to hang out in the hospital for two hour and get three blood tests in total, but despite feeling desperately hungry by half past ten she didn't suffer too much and nor did those around her. Fat Woman had been briefed on the need to take food with her and had a careful schedule of eating and sleeping planned for the rest of the day so she could turn be functional at her shooting lesson. Fat Woman has found that low blood sugar means her shooting goes to utter shit.

Today Fat Woman got the results of her Glucose Tolerance Test. Fat Woman has learned to check the laboratory ranges for blood tests. Sometimes you can be told that you are "normal" when you are actually only just inside "normal" and will be left feeling utterly terrible when actually you could be greatly helped if your levels were considered as low or high in conjunction with how you actually feel. This is called "treating the patient clinically" rather than relying on laboratory results associated with a statistical distribution called "normal". The lab print out stated that gestational diabetes millitus in pregancy is diagnosed by one or more results at or above the following:

Fasting 5.3 mmol/l
1 hour  10.0 mmol/l
2 hour 8.5 mmol/l

"mmol/l" stands for millimoles per litre. Fat Woman had to look this up, but her grasp of chemistry isn't going much further than that so suggests you check out the wikipedia page if you want to know more.

Fat Woman's actual results:

Plasma Glucose Fasting 4.2 mmol/l
Plasma Glucose 1 hour  5.4 mmol/l
Plasma Glucose 2 hour  3.9 mmol/l

What Fat Woman didn't realise at the time was that the old blood sugar percentages are no longer used. Thankfully Diabetes UK provides a handy conversion form at

Plasma Glucose Fasting 2.5%
Plasma Glucose 1 hour  2.6%
Plasma Glucose 2 hour  2.5%

Fat Woman's Glucose Tolerance Test results were so amazingly good that someone has actually written "Good result" in pen on the print out sent to her, with a little asterisk alerting her to the "normal range."

Fat Woman was so pleased at this validation of her healthiness and the news that she is not any kind of diabetic that she ate a Rolo cookie and a piece of shortbread, partly because she likes cookies and shortbread but mostly because she could.

Friday 5 September 2014

Fat Woman and the application of strength

Personal Trainer has been making Fat Woman do a lot of power walking. This is because Personal Trainer has banned Fat Woman from doing almost anything interesting in the gym such as lifting heavy weights, boxing, ab work or rowing. Fat Woman doesn't mind being marched about the area around the gym too much as the paths are good and the fence surrounding the driving range has useful posts that can be used for sprint intervals.

The biggest advantage of being outside is to be away from the terrible music the gym is now playing. Fat Woman can live with current chart music but really hates canned music that isn't even a cover version of something famous but is just a really low-rent version of gangsta rap. Fat Woman complained about the music but has only succeeded in getting it turned down a little bit. So being outside means that Fat Woman and Personal Trainer have more chance to chat and catch up.

Personal Trainer keeps Fat Woman informed of his own training. Today Personal Trainer announced that he had reached a 2014 personal best by back squatting 150 kilograms. This is not Personal Trainer's best ever as a couple of years ago he was training purely for strength but it is still quite impressive.

Fat  Woman assured Personal Trainer that this was indeed a fabulous weight to squat and that he was obviously a very strong individual. Fat Woman wondered that as Personal Trainer could lift so much, more than even Fat Woman weighs, would it be possible for her to get a piggy back?

Personal Trainer said it might be possible for him to give Fat Woman a piggy back but this was her training session and she needed to finish it under her own steam, and at a quicker pace than the last set as well.

Fat Woman would have offered to give Personal Trainer a piggy back but with all that muscle he is heavier than he looks and Fat Woman hasn't lifted any decent weights for weeks.

Fat Woman and the dubious way with words

Personal Trainer is having a website built. Fat Woman entirely approves of such things and is being very careful to offer supportive advice, but only when asked.

Fat Woman offered to write Personal Trainer an updated recommendation. A year ago Fat Woman wrote a testimonial with photos saying how wonderful Personal Trainer was and how much success she had working with him. This was incredibly generous of Fat Woman who does not like photographs of herself.

Personal Trainer wanted to know how a new recommendation would be any better than the old one. Fat Woman said she could angle a recommendation to appeal to any market segment Personal Trainer wanted to attract. Personal Trainer wanted to know what Fat Woman meant by this. Fat Woman said that for example she could write a testimonial saying that she wanted a baby, had employed Personal Trainer and now has baby on board.

Personal Trainer said a testimonial about weight loss would be fine, thank you.

Thursday 21 August 2014

Fat Woman and the hobbit diet

Fat Woman is on the hobbit diet. This doesn't mean that Fat Woman is eating hobbits. Fat Woman would never eat hobbits, partly because they are fictional creatures but most definitely because Tesco don't stock them. This means that Fat Woman's three-meals-and-a-snack regimen that has kept her sane, healthy and in calorie deficit for most of the last three years is no longer working for her and that she is eating two breakfasts, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea and supper/dinner. That makes six meals, like Bilbo Baggins in the book The Hobbit. In the film of Lord of The Rings Pippin lists seven hobbit meals, putting supper and dinner separately. Fat Woman is fairly sure that this is a cultural misinterpretation as supper and dinner were considered by Tolkien to be the same thing. Fat Woman explained the difference between supper and dinner to a friend as being roughly the same thing, but you'll probably get more courses at dinner and it will be served in the dining room. If it's supper you are welcome to help with the washing up.

Fat Woman has a lot more calories to get in to her these days what with carrying Small Baby as well. It took Fat Woman a while to work out what she was meant to be doing about diet whilst pregnant because the NHS likes to push contradictory advice and make ridiculous statements. The NHS is very sure of itself that fat women should make themselves unfat before getting pregnant, happily ignoring the reality that weight loss of more than 5lb works long term for hardly anyone and also that if you are only 5lb overweight you are hardly properly fat. Fat Woman has little patience with this doublethink and considers that the institution will have to work with her as she is now.

Then the health service gravely informs all unfortunately fat women who happen to be pregnant that they shouldn't put on as much weight as normal women. Fat Woman would like to tell them to fuck off at this point, but frankly the NHS got in first with lovely leaflets about how awful and terrible and dangerous giving birth is if you have a BMI greater than 30, and how you need extra special care, which so far as Fat Woman can tell is fifteen different ways of slicing, dicing and traumatising you. Anyway, having been told to fuck off and only put on 10-20lbs rather than the usual 25lb-40lb Fat Woman has also been instructed that it's good if she happens to lose weight. Fat Woman was okay with this as losing weight is what she's been doing for years, and she's been doing it rather successfully despite a screwed up endocrine system that is poised ready to undo months of work at any moment. But then Fat Woman is gravely informed that she absolutely must not diet.

Now, Fat Woman is not averse to following a diet. Fat Woman has had great success in following the low GI diet, and then a modified I-lift-weights version of same which is high in protein and includes some fat. Fat Woman likes calories because they inform you as to what you are putting in your mouth, and knowledge is power. Recently Fat Woman stopped at Burger King for the first time in about five years and nearly died when she saw how many calories there are in a Whopper, not because calorific food itself is bad but because to jam that many calories into something that size you have to use really low quality ingredients, lots of cheap fat and sugar. Fat Woman ate the Whopper and is not sure if she was so thoroughly unwell after because of Small Baby or because she just isn't able to tolerate junk food like she could when she was younger. Fat Woman is not going to Kentucky Fried Chicken whilst pregnant just in case she can never eat KFC chicken pieces again and she would have NO IDEA what to ask for as her last meal. Anyway, Fat Woman isn't opposed to diets, but she would like to know how The Powers That Be think she should be able to lose weight whilst pregnant without being in calorie deficit. If calories in are fewer than calories out your body takes from storage and you lose weight, right? To claim otherwise is to claim that your body violates the laws of physics, and Fat Woman is fairly sure that is impossible.

Having looked at the breakdown of what pregnancy weight gain actually consists of Fat Woman concludes that what TPTB means is that if you have lots of lovely fat on your body you don't need to put on the extra 8-10lb of fat your body requires for breast feeding. Fat Woman concedes, this point, but would like to point out that if hormone changes mean extra fat storage the fact that you already have fat is neither here nor there. Fat Woman thinks that this attitude is incredibly unfair to fat women, who have enough of a hard time with people blaming them for their existence as a fat person without TPTB making them feel bad that for once their bodies are acting normally.

Fat Woman found a very useful breakdown of from what the average pregnancy weight gain is made up.
At birth, a baby weighs about 3.3kg (7.3lb).
The placenta, which keeps your baby nourished, weighs 0.7kg (1.5lb).
The amniotic fluid, which supports and cushions your baby, weighs 0.8kg (1.8lb).  
The other two thirds of extra weight is due to the changes that happen to your body while you're pregnant. On average:
The muscle layer of your uterus (womb) grows dramatically, and weighs an extra 0.9kg (2lb).
Your blood volume increases, and weighs an extra 1.2kg (2.6lb).
You have extra fluid in your body, weighing about 1.2kg (2.6lb).
Your breasts weigh an extra 0.4kg (0.9lb).
You store fat, about 4kg (8.8lb), to give you energy for breastfeeding.
The bit about this that Fat Woman really doesn't fancy is that "your breasts weigh an extra 0.4kg". Fat Woman would like the universe and her body to know that she does not need anything extra in that area. If a pair of D cup breasts weighs 15-23lb Fat Woman could have practically hit goal weight by having a double mastectomy because she is waaaay further down the alphabet than D. Fat Woman has heard horror stories of how breasts can grow, and cannot fathom than more than three cup sizes is possible but the midwives exchanged looks and were very honest and said that anything was possible. Between the boobs and the bump Fat Woman is going to have to carry lead in her back pockets from October.

Fat Woman hasn't actually stood on the scales since she found she was pregnant. As she'd just lost 100lb and was at her lowest weight ever she is going by the fit of clothes. Fat Woman can still get into her jeans, although they are tight over the baby bump now, and Fat Woman uses a Bella Band when sitting or driving. Fat Woman is worried about slipping off the wagon though, because although she has an extra 700 calories each day (500 for not being in deficit, 200 for being pregnant) it is really, really easy to slip into the mentality that you can eat what you like. Fat Woman and Thin Husband got through a staggering number of biscuits during the two weeks that Thin Husband was on holiday, and have agreed that perhaps they wouldn't bring any more into the house for a while. Thin Husband is allowed to eat biscuits because he is Thin Husband. Fat Woman should not be eating many biscuits because they are not part of the healthy eating that keeps her feeling well. However, when Fat Woman confessed that she had eaten a white bagel for lunch followed by not one but two chocolate cookies the midwives weren't at all bothered. Personal Trainer would have had a fair amount to say about that kind of meal that wasn't even the once-a-week cheat meal. It's not going to kill anyone in one sitting but it's not healthy.

The trouble Fat Woman has with the hobbit diet is that she actually genuinely hungry very soon after meals during the morning. Small Baby has taken to kicking Fat Woman awake around 5am and then Fat Woman has to get up and eat breakfast because she is so hungry. Even if Fat Woman manages to sleep longer and eat breakfast between seven and eight o'clock she is ready for second breakfast at 10am, and although elevenses can be pushed back to 11.30am there needs to be three incidences of feeding before lunch, especially if any exercise is involved. The hobbit diet requires small, regular meals and Fat Woman is running out of inspiration. Fat Woman is used to eating high protein meals with lots of bulk at meal times and then forgetting about food until the next meal time. Now it seems that to stay out of calorie deficit but not get over-supplied Fat Woman is eating all the damn time, which means large bulky meals don't work for her any more. Fat Woman eats half, gets full up and then has to face finishing off leftovers two hours later. This is worst when Fat Woman is out exercising. Even walking around shooting sends Fat Woman's heart rate right up and her metabolism goes crazy. Fat Woman has always been seen at shoots eating cereal bars and bananas in an attempt to keep her blood sugar optimal for concentration but without slipping out of calorie deficit. Now Fat Woman is ordering a bacon sandwich before shooting and is quite happy to have lunch afterwards. The afternoon snack is now slightly larger, and dinner is the least interesting meal of the day.

Fat Woman has had two cravings so far. The first is peanuts, which she was having in the form of Picnic bars but is now having as peanut butter. The second is raspberries. Fat Woman has raspberry cordial, raspberry jam and if she is really lucky fresh English raspberries from the expensive grocery shop. Blackberries will do if no raspberries are available, and on Wednesday you could have seen Fat Woman stripping bare the two bramble cables that happen to grow in the gym car park. Fat Woman nearly went crazy when she went shooting and there was a whole bank of perfectly ripe blackberries just out of reach behind a wire fence. Luckily not even Fat Woman in the grip of a craving is fool enough to start wandering around in fenced off areas at shooting grounds. Fat Woman has her eye on several places that should be bearing fruit in a couple of weeks.

Fat Woman used to say that cut flowers were her favourite thing but what she really wants is an all-you-can-eat pass to the local pick your own. Or someone to arrive bearing punnets of berries. It used to be that Fat Woman thought an invitation to shoot on someone's land was the best of all invitations but now she'd much prefer permission to blackberry if someone had a decent patch.

Tuesday 12 August 2014

Fat Woman and the glory of competition

This year Fat Woman won a place on her County skeet team. Mostly this was because Fat Woman turned up to her County championships, but the most important part of competing is the turning up so Fat Woman is happy to have qualified. Fat Woman doesn't need to beat anyone else for a place to count, which is lucky as she was fourth out of four. Well, technically Fat Woman was third out of those who competed and also made up the inter-counties team but as the person who didn't compete at the County level is way better than Fat Woman that isn't really anything to brag about.

Fat Woman is candid about her skeet prowess, which means that she isn't very good and there's no point in pretending otherwise. However, what Fat Woman lacks in ability she makes up for in enthusiasm and willingness to participate, which is mostly what is lacking in women's shooting. So Fat Woman was a proud member of the County team for the inter-Counties skeet championship.

Fat Woman is also very frank about the fact that she only got into this skeet thing for the privilege of the County Shooting Team skeet vest. What did amuse Fat Woman no end was that in the year since she last put on this particular vest she had lost size. Frankly, it was worth going through the whole rigmarole for that. Fat Woman doesn't like to wear her County skeet vest when not competing because she thinks people are thinking like Shooting Coach once said: "Nobody cares, put it away." More importantly, Fat Woman is still a bit rubbish at shooting by competition standards and her existence in the team is more a reflection on the state of ladies' competition shooting than her personal ability. Fat Woman has been told not to put herself down about her ability, but she feels she is simply being clear-sighted about such things. In sporting an average of 60 makes you a reasonably competent C class shooter, but it doesn't mean you're actually much good when compared to those who go out and compete on a weekly basis. Not does Fat Woman's personal best of 80 at skeet mean she is any good at anything apart from actually finding the shooting ground and booking in. However, Fat Woman doesn't actually give a rat's arse about comparing herself to other people so long as she gets to wield her bang stick and break some clays.

Fat Woman jokes that it's always fine when she shoots sporting, although mostly that's because she's inclined to stay home if it's raining. It certainly rains a lot when Fat Woman shoots skeet. The County championship was shot in torrential rain. Fat Woman has had practice sessions in downpours, and the Inter-Counties skeet championship 2014 was shot in a hurricane. An actual hurricane was passing over and although there might not have been winds measuring force 12 on the Beaufort scale on the skeet ground itself there was certainly lots of wind, lots of enormous rain drops, thunder and lightening. Fat Woman definitely took more than ten seconds to shoot a couple of birds because the concrete slab was covered in a full inch of water and she was sloshing around slowly and carefully so as not to soak her jeans. Before the last round the squad stowed their guns (not good to be underneath an electric storm waving a metal pole) and had an argument about how far away the lightening was. Fat Woman was intrigued to know that the old metric of one second a mile is rhubarb and you should count the seconds and divide by five. There was quite a lot of argy-bargy over this point, but given the extensive scientific and mathematical education of two of the squad it was eventually agreed that the storm was at best a mile away. Fat Woman prefers her squad to be arguing over the possibility of imminent death by weather than how fast she shoots.

Of course, the minute the squad had finished shooting the sun came out and the rain moved along.

Fat Woman didn't get to improve on her best score, but Skeet Coach said that Fat Woman shot well and should be proud of her performance. Fat Woman is incredibly grateful to Skeet Coach for all her help. Skeet Coach is amazingly analytical and is incredible at finding the root source of a problem. For example, Fat Woman had switched to wearing trainers instead of her usual flat boots. Skeet Coach noticed that Fat Woman's balance was shifting and that Fat Woman was lifting her heels. It turned out that those particular trainers might be optimal for gym work but aren't much good for planting yourself firmly in the square before shooting. What was important was that last year Fat Woman was very nearly bottom of the ladies' class. This year Fat Woman was half-way up the list. Fat Woman also closed the gap between her score and the young lady who is naturally much better at skeet that Fat Woman but who isn't bothered about practising.

Fat Woman's team won the Ladies' competition. Fat Woman is very pleased about this even though her score was one of the ones dropped. Fat Woman has stopped beating herself up about not being good enough at shooting and is now firmly convinced that what is actually needed is more women shooting who aren't A and B class. If more women put in low scores then other women wouldn't feel so useless when they don't score similarly to the winners.

Fat Woman got some interesting feedback after the event. A squad mate had noticed Fat Woman got a little tired after bird 60 and suggested that she might like to try lifting weights. Fat Woman nearly killed herself laughing but did thank the chap for the suggestion and explain that she was indeed tiring by that point, but that was because she is in fact pregnant. Squad Mate enquired if Fat Woman had considered the effect of noise on foetal hearing, which Fat Woman has, in great technical detail.

Fat Woman wonders what happened to the days when the only acceptable response to "I'm pregnant" was "Congratulations!"

Skeet Coach said that Squad Mate's other feedback was wrong and that Fat Woman needed to shoot the first one of her pairs earlier, not wait longer before shooting the second bird. Fat Woman trusts Skeet Coach on these things.

Fat Woman likes being able to shoot skeet well, and thanks to Skeet Coach she can shoot skeet well and stylishly. Not all the time, because Fat Woman hasn't yet managed to do everything that Skeet Coach has taught her on every stand and score a 25, but she thinks that if she went out and did some practice that time wouldn't be long in coming.

Skeet Coach says it's all very well Fat Woman being grateful for the coaching but it would be good if she could apply it to her sporting and help the County win the inter-Counties ESP competition in September. Fat Woman will do her best. Fat Woman doesn't like to say it to Skeet Coach but sporting is her first love and being on the County sporting team feels like an achievement.

Sunday 3 August 2014

Fat Woman and the best investment

Fat Woman likes shooting. Sometimes Fat Woman shows promise. Sometimes, like recently, Fat Woman clings to the idea that shooting is fun even if you miss. Fat Woman majors in English Sporting, is enjoying learning skeet, hates DTL with a passion (slow, floppy birds!) and adores Olympic Trap. As Fat Woman isn't going to be able to commit to anything for the rest of this year apart from the expected Small Baby she is having fun with the shooting experience and is less bothered about improving and competing. This is lucky because Fat Woman's shooting ability has rather gone to hell since getting pregnant.

There have been several factors that have helped Fat Woman's shooting progress well during her 18 months of gun ownership. Without the Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club Fat Woman wouldn't have shot half as much or a quarter as well or anywhere near so often. Fat Woman is also grateful to have found Shooting Coach, who taught her how to build a score, and Skeet Coach, who sorted out her gun fit and hold and rebuilt her shooting style from the ground up. Fat Woman was also lucky enough to get her own reasonably good gun fairly early on. But the thing that made the greatest difference to Fat Woman's shooting was finding the right pair of shooting glasses. 

Fat Woman doesn't have brilliant eyes but they are healthy and her corrected vision is excellent. Fat Woman was shooting in her polarised sunglasses but after leaving them at a Tai Chi class she faced up to the fact she needed to find a new solution. Fat Woman found she couldn't wear cheap contact lenses because of dry eyes so couldn't wear cheap safety glasses over the top of corrected vision. Eventually Fat Woman ended up visiting Ed Lyons, sports vision specialist and optometrist extraordinaire. Ed cut swathes through the confusing options of sports vision and found Fat Woman a selection of frames that would accommodate her astigmatism, her long-sightedness AND her preference for prisms. Fat Woman was very impressed at this because she hadn't been able to find a supplier who would do that on an individual basis, plus there was an actual choice of frames. Fat Woman chose the ugliest but largest and clearest on the grounds that they offered a fabulously large field of vision and she has no vanity about these things. Having seen later photos Fat Woman wishes she had slightly more vanity, but as she's said many times before at least she doesn't have to look at herself. Fat Woman wears a baseball cap instead of a tweed cap now because tweed cap + big aviator lenses looks so ridiculous that even she can't ignore it.

It is inarguable that Fat Woman had the right shooting glasses and could now see to shoot. Fat Woman also chose some polarised clip on filters, which she rarely takes off her shooting glasses. What was a really, really nice surprise was when she was given the chance of taking part in some research Ed was doing into customised tinted lenses. Fat Woman ended up with the same kind of custom-selected tint as worn by fabulously successful trap shooters (and we're talking Gold Medal, World Championship kind of successful), the most recently successful being 2014 Commonwealth bronze medal winner Caroline Povey. Fat Woman suspects that having seen her shoot DTL (really, really badly), Ed invited her to take part as a kindness, but she doesn't care about why she was included because the custom tinted lenses are utterly amazing and she doesn't care how many people have 46N purple lenses, or whatever the current fashion is. Fat Woman is confident that she couldn't get any better filter for blaze clays.

Fat Woman could see from the first demonstration of her initial personalised tint that the science behind the choosing of the exact tint was pretty damn good but it was out shooting that Fat Woman began to realise exactly what she had been given. Shooting a flush Fat Woman found that whilst wearing her custom tinted filters she could perceive the blaze clays much more quickly. There isn't a lot of time to measure between the release of a clay and your visual pick-up, but the difference between the timings of appearance of the blaze clays and the black ones was so different that Fat Woman was taken aback. Of course there wasn't any actual difference in how fast the clays were flung but there was a lot of difference in how fast Fat Woman recognised that they were there. Fat Woman isn't fast at visual pick-up, which made the difference more obvious.

Fat Woman tested the lenses as she went about her sporting shooting. It could be a coincidence that she was inclined to straight stands where pairs of blaze clays were used because often blaze clays are used on closer targets and Fat Woman is not great at far away stuff, but Fat Woman has observed enough difference in success over several hard competitions to be pretty sure that wearing the custom filters puts a significant edge on her performance. Fat Woman tested the filters at skeet grounds where blaze clays are used and found again that she performed significantly better. Sadly, Fat Woman's skeet is let down by her apparently inability to put all the things she's learned together, but hopefully she will stop getting her foot position and her hold points wrong one day soon. Skeet Coach has custom tinted lenses from the USA a gazillion years ago and approves of such measures. Skeet Coach is inclined to win things so Fat Woman takes that recommendation on board.

Fat Woman has found that forgetting to take off her custom filters for blaze clays in order to return to her standard polarized filters could mean that she ends up blanking a stand of black standards on a sunny day. Or it might have been that Fat Woman was being a bit useless there of course. Fat Woman isn't often quite that useless though. 

It was doing Olympic Trap (OT) that Fat Woman found the custom tinted lenses were the most use. Olympic Trap is fast with blaze clays but Fat Woman finds it easier than DTL. On an overcast day at esteemed trap ground Nuthampstead Fat Woman saw very little contrast between the blaze clays, the sky and the grass. The light levels with a cloudy sky and parched grass meant everything seemed rather yellow through clear glasses, yet when looking through the custom filters the orange clays would burn much brighter. An American might say that the colour "popped". Whatever you call it, Fat Woman's life was made much, much easier by her custom tinted lenses and her shooting was made much, much better. Fat Woman isn't claiming to be a natural at OT by any means, but is pretty sure that she did not disgrace herself and in fact did pretty well for a fairly new shooter using a sporter. 

Fat Woman loves shooting, but freely admits that love is partly because she finds it fun to learn and relatively easy to progress. A huge wedge of that enjoyment comes from having invested in the right things. Investing in getting shooting glasses from Ed Lyons was definitely the right decision, and if Fat Woman ever lost or broke her custom tint lenses she'd be back for another pair because they are the bees knees. Fat Woman thinks that if you are going to shoot trap you should be booking in to get yourself a pair of custom tinted lenses because even if you aren't such a Muppet as Fat Woman when it comes to shooting trap you can't possibly not benefit from the advantage that the custom tint gives you. 

So there. 

Saturday 2 August 2014

Fat Woman and the bans

Fat Woman is in a massive sulk. First, Personal Trainer stopped Fat Woman from dead lifting anything over 50kg. 50kg is about half what Fat Woman used to be able to lift. Fat Woman was just about to go for her 100kg lift when she got pregnant. Fat Woman didn't make too much fuss because Personal Trainer can exhaust her using much lighter weights, but as the weeks have gone on the weights have got lighter and lighter. Fat Woman thinks Personal Trainer is being a little pre-emptive about the weight reduction and really resents dead lifting the kind of weights she used to clean and press. Of course, by not lifting heavy weights for weeks on end Fat Woman has probably lost the ability to lift them anyway.

Then Personal Trainer said no more sit ups. Fat Woman hadn't got a problem with this because sit ups are one of those exercises that don't really do you much good because it's too easy to engage your hip flexors and not really do any work. Fat Woman remembers her first BoxFit class when she could manage five sit ups and felt like she'd given birth two days later. Fat Woman would sneak off on Tuesdays fora  45 minute ab work session because she wanted to keep up with the class. Personal Trainer didn't find out for several months as he was never around the gym on Tuesday afternoons. Currently Fat Woman wouldn't want to do a sit up as she has this weird lump in the way, or Small Baby on Board. but all the other mat work has disappeared from her routine too.

Next Personal Trainer banned Fat Woman from BoxFit class. At first it was a gentle ban that Fat Woman didn't notice because she was too tired to go to class anyway. Then, when Fat Woman was feeling better it became a solid ban, as in "No more boxing class". Fat Woman tried arguing that surely pad work would be fine during the second trimester because it's lots of arm movement and not too much ab work but Personal Trainer said there was no point in her not using her abs properly when boxing because it would under everything he'd taught her.

The latest ban Fat Woman has is from rowing. Fat Woman has always like rowing, it being one of the few forms of gym-based cardio that doesn't bore her rigid. Fat Woman didn't even get the chance to try out rowing with bump on board before the ban came down.

Personal Trainer says that Fat Woman can spend as much time on the treadmill as she likes. Or on the stationary bike. Or on the cross trainer, although Small Baby doesn't really like that. Fat Woman hates the treadmill so much - it makes her feel like she's in prison - that Personal Trainer has introduced walks into the countryside as a replacement for her previously hard core Friday cardio. Fat Woman doesn't mind this if it isn't too hot outside. The reservoir near the gym is quite pretty and she got away with eating quite a lot of blackberries during last week's session.

Fat Woman is not sure that blackberrying itself will be regarded as effective cardio.

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Fat Woman and the nice sit down

Fat Woman is still pregnant. 20 weeks pregnant in fact. For those who aren't clear on these things this is half way through a standard length pregnancy. Small Baby might actually be quite advanced for its foetal age as the ultra scan people keep trying to push Fat Woman's due date forward, which means Fat Woman is feeling like she is several weeks further on that she actually is.

Having breezed through her first trimester Fat Woman was feeling pretty smug and was preparing to carry on with normal life until the end of the year when Small Baby would arrive. The universe decided to show Fat Woman that being smug is unbecoming and that smug people get punished. At week 18 Fat Woman suddenly found herself feeling unusually tired. Since Fat Woman got her thyroid under control and took up exercise she has lots of energy. Small Baby also started kicking Fat Woman awake at night. Small Baby has an objection to Fat Woman sleeping on her front, so Fat Woman has had to purchase an enormous "pregnancy pillow", which is a U-shaped bolster six feet long. Fat Woman is utterly in love with this strange and frankly unwieldy addition to her bedroom as it allows her to sleep on her side, no mean feat when she has slept in the same position for her entire life. Thin Husband is not so sure about the magic pillow but as a generous husband with survival skills finely honed after 18+ years with Fat Woman he has not complained about the amount of room the pillow takes up. This might be because Thin Husband is sensitive to his pregnant wife's needs, or it might be that Fat Woman plus two bolsters takes up as much room as Fat Woman did a few years ago. Whatever, it is generally agreed that a sleepless Fat Woman is a danger to health and - well, everyone really.

Fat Woman is living with feeling a bit tired even though she's starting not to do things she'd like to do. What Fat Woman is finding incredibly strange is how much she is enjoying sitting down. Fat Woman has never been one for "a nice sit down". Either you sit or you stand, what's the difference? Yet all of a sudden Fat Woman is finding that she doesn't just change between the two states, she finds herself really enjoying the fact she has a seat in the same way her beloved Granny would say: "Ooh! A nice sit down" in a kind of jokey way but actually being very glad that she was finally seated. Fat Woman is enjoying the actual experience of sitting far more than she thinks is normal or natural.

Fat Woman was coping reasonably well with training, although her weights seem to be getting lighter and lighter. Fat Woman had never had any problems with Escrima (fighting with sticks) but today she suddenly found herself learning how to defend herself from a sitting position. A proper sitting position that involved an actual chair. Apparently this is really high-level Escrima stuff and not something patronising you put on for the pregnant lady.

Fat Woman is just glad she hasn't ended up in Pre-Natal Yoga. Yet. And also that she is writing this from a seated position.

Monday 21 July 2014

Fat Woman and the dubious future

Fat Woman is now 20 weeks pregnant. According to various helpful websites Fat Woman is now carrying a baby that is the size of a banana. Fat Woman is assuming that this is the very large kind of banana you get in Waitrose rather than a Tesco Value banana.

Fat Woman isn't into taking selfies of her baby bump because frankly she just looks more fat than she did. Baby bump selfies are thin privilege. Fat Woman might not be able to clearly see her baby bump but she can sure as heck feel it. Bump is starting to get in the way during workouts. Rowing is now out as leaning forwards is difficult, and on the occasion that she uses a machine for weights where you sit and face inwards Fat Woman can't sit forward enough to brace herself. Personal Trainer is patient but the weights he is handing Fat Woman are getting lighter and lighter. Today Fat Woman did deadlifts with a 20kg power bag. Fat Woman regards deadlifts of less than 50kg as playing, and weights of 20kg for pressing, or at least she did.

Fat Woman remembers how she felt in February. Fat Woman felt fit, healthy and able to do anything. Fat Woman could train at the gym in the morning, go home and do three hours of gardening and go back for a BoxFit class. Now Fat Woman goes to the gym and goes home for a sleep. People try to be helpful and assure Fat Woman that her fitness will come back, but Fat Woman wonders how if she isn't free to go to the gym five times a week. Fat Woman lived doing no exercise for most of her life, and is terrified that she will end up feeling too tired to do anything again.

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Fat Woman and the unexpected feeling

Personal Trainer always asks Fat Woman how she is at the start of sessions. Partly this is a courtesy, partly it is to check if any part of Fat Woman is broken. Usually Fat Woman says she is fine as there is no point in mentioning tiredness, DOMS, or general aches to Personal Trainer. Fat Woman gets far more sympathy if she is a big brave soldier, carries on and lets the bits that hurt show when she is working.

Fat Woman announced that she felt fat. Personal Trainer was rather taken aback by this. Fat Woman has always been very accepting of her fatness in a forthright way that Personal Trainer has always struggled with. Personal Trainer made gentle enquires as to whether this was down to what Fat Woman had been eating. Fat Woman shrugged it off and put some effort into her lifting to increase her calorie burn.

It turns out that Fat Woman was feeling fat because she was pregnant. Small Child is expected at the beginning of December. Personal Trainer will be godfather.

Sunday 29 June 2014

Fat Woman and the reality of competition

Fat Woman shoots for her County. Fat Woman doesn't boast about this because it's for skeet and Fat Woman isn't very good at skeet in comparison to lots of people and she only got in the first year because she is female and willing to do it. In fact, if Fat Woman is brutally honest the only reason she was interested was the chance to be able to say she shot for the County, plus any personal shooting development that came out of it.

Fat Woman booked on the County skeet championship. You have to shoot the championship in to be in consideration for the team. If you're better than everyone else but you don't shoot the championship you aren't on the team, unless everyone who does turn up and participate declines their place. This does happen. Fat Woman had been practising hard with Skeet Coach and had filled in the gaps in her skeet knowledge - she was shooting pairs on stand 4 in beautiful style - and was hopeful for a good showing in the competition. Fat Woman wasn't unrealistic enough to think she'd win, but she had hopes of second place. Fat Woman gave her apologies for a fairly important musical rehearsal and packed up and went off to another county where the championship was being held. It was a disgusting wet day and Fat Woman would rather have been in at home or even at rehearsal where she was meant to be, but she felt she owed it to Skeet Coach to participate.

Fat Woman was on the end of the squad, which she prefers as she is less likely to bother anyone. Fat Woman had shot the inter-counties shoot but this was Fat Woman's first registered skeet shoot and was a pretty big deal for her personally. Fat Woman had spent a lot of time before the inter-counties shoot worrying and practising being coached and had needed every moment of the whole process in order not to come dead last. Fat Woman was fifth from last in the ladies section, which she counted as a success. This time Fat Woman wanted to put in four solid rounds and be a credit to Skeet Coach.

Fat Woman shot her first round and was reasonably pleased with her 21, the one more than the highest scoring round she did in the inter-counties. 84 would have seen Fat Woman in second place that day. Fat Woman was very careful not to bother any other shooter on the squad as she didn't know them - they were all old men and much higher letter class than she was. Fat Woman didn't stand too close to them, or talk to them, although they were passing remarks between themselves, and didn't complain about the smoking.

When Fat Woman stood on the first stand for her second round the referee said to her: "You need to shoot faster." To say Fat Woman was shocked was an understatement. Fat Woman has read the CPSA rules and although she hasn't memorised all of them she had got through an inter-counties without incident. Fat Woman has a great respect for referees in sports and whilst they are not always right, she understand their responsibility. So when a referee speaks to Fat Woman it comes with the weight of authority, and if a referee says you have to do something Fat Woman usually respects that. Except that in this case Fat Woman couldn't have shot any faster. Fat Woman's pre-shot routine goes thusly:
Stand on square, put feet in correct position.
Load gun with two cartridges, already held in hand ready to go.
Close gun and mount it, rifling up to be in the right position.
Point gun into hoop and wind back to one-third in.
Put eyes to the left (or right!), breathe once and call pull.
Fat Woman has no idea how she is meant to go any faster than how she does already. Perhaps if Fat Woman had a lighter or better fitting gun she could be faster, and perhaps if she was better and more experienced at shooting she would be faster, but she saw no way that she could make the change demanded of her by the official referee.

How was Fat Woman meant to feel at this point? Attacked is how Fat Woman felt. Fat Woman knew that some skeet shooters preferred to shoot on a fast squad and had warning that some might complain about slow shooters, but that is hardly the same thing as an official telling you that you are doing something wrong. Fat Woman couldn't believe than an official would wait until she was on the peg to say something like that to her, it gave her no chance for thinking or even discussion. Fat Woman was now caught in a situation where a referee was demanding something of her that she simply didn't have the ability to deliver and by saying "you HAVE to shoot faster" was also implying that she was not within the rules. The referee might as well have demanded that Fat Woman not miss.

Fat Woman does not do well when she feels attacked but she also feels she can't fight back. Fat Woman really wanted to say "Fuck off!" which is what a fellow lady shooter advised her to do in these situations, but Skeet Coach knows everyone and Fat Woman owes it to Skeet Coach not to embarrass her. Fat Woman limited herself to starting at the referee and telling him he couldn't say that, that these other shooters were previously international standard and he couldn't expect her to be as fast as them. The referee wasn't budging and said that nevertheless Fat Woman needed to shoot faster.

Fat Woman didn't know what to do. Fat Woman didn't know what would happened if she walked off then in order to complain but didn't think that getting another chance to shoot that day was likely. Fat Woman didn't have a copy of the rules on her, but suspected that she was caught up in a situation where she was being pushed around to someone else's preference, not because she was breaking the rules, but she wasn't certain. So Fat Woman shot her next round, wondering if the next minute she was going to be disqualified because she was too slow. This was a big blow to Fat Woman's concentration and of course therefore her scores. Fat Woman finds it hard to concentrate on technique when she's under the imminent threat of disqualification for something she can't change.

Fat Woman was on a squad with the County team manager. Now, Fat Woman may have been foolish at this point but she spoke to the team manager between rounds 2 and 3 and said what the ref had said and asked if this was a rule. The team manager simply looked at Fat Woman and said it was a very fast squad. Fat Woman knew this and didn't feel her question was answered so said: "But is that a rule?" Fat Woman didn't feel she was out of line for asking someone who is in a position of responsibility what she considers a simple question that an apparently incredible experienced shooter could reasonably be expected to know. What surprised FAt Woman then is that another shooter exploded at her saying "If you don't like it, you can leave." Fat Woman was taken aback by (1) the intervention by someone she didn't know and (2) the viciousness of the comment. Fat Woman is trying to remember the exact words used but remembers the huge amount of anger thrown at her and suspects that it was this gentleman who pulled the ear of the referee to tell her to be faster. Fat Woman can't imagine why else a fairly young referee would say such a thing to someone who was constantly moving and not holding anyone else up.

Fat Woman finished the next two rounds and went home, filed a report with Skeet Coach and left it at that. Then she ran into Skeet Coach at a trap ground to be told that she had made the team for 2104 but< "We must have a chat about skeet etiquette." Fat Woman then found the following added to the website: "there will be a committee member in attendance at each championship, who will also be presenting trophies. Please contact that member if you have problems on the day, although please keep non-urgent enquiries until after the person has shot, if they are shooting that day - the committee are all volunteers and deserve to be allowed to enjoy their shooting un-distracted too!"

Fat Woman is not inclined to consider everything targeted towards her personally, believing you should never attribute to malice what can reasonably be considered incompetence, but she's pretty sure that this is. Fat Woman is pretty disillusioned with the whole County shooting thing. So far as Fat Woman sees it she is effectively told she is at imminent risk of disqualification (because that's what happens when you do things referees tell you not to do) is a pretty big emergency for a shooter, especially when she really can't control what is going on. Fat Woman wouldn't have minded if the team manager had said "can't think now, sorry" or even "Talk after" or "don't worry about it" and simply doesn't think much of someone who takes on such a role but can't manage to be available for the smallest bit of help when actually needed. What really gets up Fat Woman's nose is that her behaviour was following the example of committee members: when she shot the inter-counties there was lots of talking between rounds, including one committee member who came up to her and said: "You seem to be having a bit of trouble out there!" Fat Woman was undecided whether to reply "Yes, I'm shooting like shit" or "That's not trouble, I'm always shooting like shit." Fat Woman has been given this example at the skeet doubles registered as well. There is quite a "one rule for me when it suits me, one rule for you when it suits me" attitude to what is and isn't considered polite behaviour around this kind of thing.

Fat Woman looked into the rules and found that there is no rule on how fast you have to shoot. The "general rules" in book 5 says you have to call for the target within ten seconds of the referee "acknowledging shooting may commence." Fat Woman has tested herself and is pretty damn sure that she was inside ten seconds, even if she might have been using nearly all of her ten seconds at times. Fat Woman doesn't know if she was actually penalised for shooting slowly as she was at least a point shy on what she thought she had shot on one round, but she didn't see the referee with a stop watch.

Fat Woman isn't impressed by all of this and thinks that when she hears whining about how no one wants to shoot for their County any more she's not surprised, you put all the time and the money in and for what? For the glory of saying you've done it. No wonder the really good shooters don't bother. What Fat Woman takes from all this is that team managers are saying: "Turn up and shoot when we want you to, but that's as far as our commitment to you goes." And as for getting new shooters into the sport, Fat Woman thinks it no wonder that they don't want to bother either.You can shoot a commercial competition for nothing but money and enjoy it far more.

Fat Woman used to think that the person who told her to develop a "fuck off" attitude when shooting was just a bit grumpy, but now is inclined to think that it's necessary.

After all this Fat Woman spoke to someone who knows lots about skeet and found that the gentleman in question is known for being unsporting. Fat Woman feels a lot better  knowing that it wasn't her that was the problem.

Friday 18 April 2014

Fat Woman and the whirly birds

Fat Woman went to shoot helice. Fat Woman had no idea how hard helice would be but expected it to be pretty hard as she is utterly rubbish at DTL and didn't hit very many when she tried Olympic Trap (OT). Actually, Fat Woman is better at Olympic Trap than she is at DTL, which isn't saying much but certainly makes her think she's missing a trick and should get a lesson on how to shoot DTL.

Fat Woman loved helice. The little whirly helicopter birds  were nowhere near as fast as Fat Woman expected them to be. Fat Woman scored 7 ex 10, with two of her misses being counted as such because the white part you shoot out of the helicopter holder didn't land inside the boundary line. Fat Woman learned to be a bit faster!

What Fat Woman found was that the little bit of instruction she had at OT helped immeasurably with helice. Fat Woman might have finally cracked on to how you focus behind the birds and the react instinctively in a trap situation. Fat Woman would go and work on this except Shooting Coach says to stick to one discipline lest you get confused. Still, it was fun to have a go.

Then Fat Woman had another five shots in a row and missed them all, showing that trap is definitely a head game.

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Fat Woman and the easy solution

Fat Woman had been having terrible trouble with her shooting. The amount of lead a clay would need seemed to vary enormously. Fat Woman was also having awful trouble with her gun, but had hopefully got a fit that would allow her to develop a consistent mount. Fat Woman wasn't going to try shooting gun down until she had developed a consistent gun mount, and no gun down shooting means no FITASC, and although Fat Woman isn't that bothered about actual FITASC it does seem that FITASC events are more fun outside the actual shooting than lots of other disciplines. It's all the sitting around waiting for a chance to shoot that allows for partying.

Fat Woman booked a lesson with Shooting Coach because she was sick of being unable to scale up shooting crossers. Fat Woman reasoned that if she could shoot a clay at 20 yards and at 30 yards she should be able to shoot it at 40 yards and maybe even further away. Fat Woman finds it heinously embarrassing that she seems to spend the first twenty minutes of every lesson relearning how to shoot, although Shooting Coach says that's normal.

The lesson started off on the skeet range. Fat Woman missed the first two crossers but managed to hit the next few. When put in front of a simple 30 yard bird Fat Woman missed it and hit it and missed it again. Shooting Coach pointed out that when Fat Woman had successfully hit the 20 yard birds on the skeet range she had been using swing through.

Fat Woman stared at Shooting Coach and asked what "swing through" was.

Shooting Coach then had to gently explain to Fat Woman that whilst she thought she was shooting using the CPSA approved pull-away method what she was actually doing was letting the clay go past her gun then rushing to catch it up and pull past it. This method is "swing through" and requires more lead than the pull away method.

Fat Woman made a face a bit like a fish for a bit as the pieces of her experience fell into place. It was slightly embarrassing to realise that it wasn't the gun that was the problem it was (mostly) her, but it was a terrific relief to finally be able to make sense of what had been happening. Fat Woman then went on to shoot clays at 35, 40 and 45 yards. Fat Woman didn't get the 55 yard clay to break but Shooting Coach said he wasn't sure why it hadn't broken at least one of the times she shot at it.

Thanks to an impromptu demonstration from Shooting Coach Fat Woman is now confident that her gun with quarter chokes and 21g cartridges can break clays at 55 yards, although possibly not yet with her behind it.

Fat Woman now has to pick a method of shooting. Initially Fat Woman thought she'd pick pull away, but actually she likes the bolder style of swing through. When Fat Woman is feeling confident and even a little aggressive she breaks more clays.

Fat Woman would like to refer the readers once more to the shooting commandments as issued by Shooting Coach:

  1. It's not the gun, it's you.
  2. It's not the chokes, it's you.
  3. It's not the cartridge, it's you.

Fat Woman has a lot of her to practice away. Shoot Coach says Fat Woman can pick whichever method she likes and even learn both so long as she doesn't switch around between pairs.

Monday 24 March 2014

Fat Woman and the mental fightback

Fat Woman is feeling stabby. Fat Woman doesn't say much about how much weight she's lost but when a friend mentions it to new people Fat Woman allows herself to accept the praise for losing a hundred pounds in a gracious and appropriately modest fashion. What Fat Woman doesn't expect is for someone to immediately trump her achievement with their own, but she can let it go as it probably comes under wanting to share experiences. What make Fat Woman want to start poking sharp metal objects at people is when her weight loss achievement is trumped by someone who has lost weight through surgery. If you announced you'd made £100 by working hard for two days and someone else announced they made £10,000 by putting all their money on a horse you'd feel rather like they were suggesting that their way was better and that they had achieved more. There would also be an implication that they were a bit smarter than you. This particularly rankles with Fat Woman because she could have had her pick of weight loss surgery on the NHS. Instead she chose to invest huge amounts of time and money into getting healthy. It's like someone saying to you "My self-mutilation is better than your self-control." Fat Woman is not going to validate anyone else's weight loss choices, especially not by decrying her own.

Fat Woman felt slightly less defensive about this issue when she found out that someone who had been upsetting Fat Woman quite a lot hadn't actually lost any weight since her surgery. Fat Woman feels very sorry for surgery woman, but felt very glad that wasn't her after all.

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Fat Woman and the alternative route

Fat Woman is feeling bitter. This is not Fat Woman's normal state of being, but it is definitely how she feels today.

Fat Woman has been working really, really hard at exercise, both in PT sessions and in BoxFit class. Fat Woman has gone to the time, effort and expense of eating a really good calorie controlled and also healthy diet. All this effort is slowly, slowly bringing Fat Woman results. Small results, certainly, a pound loss here and a pound loss there, but definite hard-won results. It has taken thousands of hours and an absolute fucking fortune for Fat Woman to lose the weight she has lost.

Fat Woman could have had weight loss surgery on the NHS. Fat Woman didn't. Fat Woman thought that major surgery that wasn't strictly necessary was a really bad thing. Fat Woman chose to work on getting control of her body and her mind.

Fat Woman wonders why she bothered when there are people swanning around telling her how EASY it is to lose weight now they've had their stomachs butchered. Oh, no! It's not hard at all. They feel just soooo great! They've lost kilos this last month. They just don't want to eat now.

Fat Woman is trying very hard to remember that their story is not her story and that she should keep her nose out and her head down, but she is finding it very hard. Fat Woman is jealous that these people are getting quick and easy results when she spends so much time working and sweating for every little loss. Fat Woman is trying to stay away from any thoughts that might hurt her karmicly, but she can't help herself, she's only human. Fat Woman wonders what is going to happen when the people with the gastric bands work out that it's still perfectly possible for them to eat more calories than they burn.

Fat Woman is not feeling very happy with herself, especially not as she ended up reading a piece about the truth of weight loss surgery on the Daily Mail website. This did not make Fat Woman feel any better about herself and frankly the attitudes in it made her feel a bit ill.

The sad thing is that Fat Woman is still fat enough to meet the NHS guidelines for weight loss surgery. Fat Woman thinks it's even more fucking sad that the NHS will pay for weight loss surgery
but isn't going to give her any help in all the costs of losing this weight that is apparently such a drain on the economy.

Sunday 2 March 2014

Fat Woman and the fitting problem

Fat Woman owns a shotgun. Actually, Fat Woman owns three shotguns, a 12G Browning 425, a Baikal side by side and a 20G Beretta for Thin Husband. Thin Husband doesn't yet have a shotgun licence and likes to remind Fat Woman that if she divorces him she might have her guns confiscated. Fat Woman tolerates this kind of talk because she cannot imagine wanting to divorce a man who not only supports her shooting but doesn't sulk for days when she shoots better than him. It is also true.

Fat Woman's first and primary shotgun is the Browning 425. Fat Woman fell in love with Personal Trainer's DT10 but that was probably because it was stock heavy and was easy for her to shoot with. That gun was coming out of Personal Trainer's cold dead hands, so Fat Woman spent a while going into gun shops and picking up guns. Fat Woman didn't like the Silver Pigeon because of how the forestock felt in her hand but was encouraged to try the Browning 525. Fat Woman ended up with a second hand 425 because it was slightly nicer to hold than the 525s she tried and also was a grade V that was cheaper than the second hand grade 1 525s.

Fat Woman shot with her gun for a month and then went to get it fitted. Fat Woman knew that she might change things as a beginner, but she reasoned that her arms weren't going to get any longer. The CPSA shooting instructor and the CPSA shooting coach that were in charge of Fat Woman's initial shooting experiences recommended a local gun smith and oversaw the fitting process. Fat Woman was measured and the gun was taken away. When the gun was returned to Fat Woman it had a suitably short (13") stock and a Kickeze recoil pad on the end. Fat Woman liked her Kickeze recoil pad very much, although not as much as the Isis recoil pads she has since tried. Fat Woman shot well with her new gun, put in a 39 at her first registered shoot and went about her business. Fat Woman still remembers how proud she was to take her own gun to the Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club at A1 Shooting Ground, and how shocked she was when this made her part of the "experienced" group. That was when Fat Woman won her first rosette and made her bestest shooting chums.

The following month Fat Woman broke all ties with the CPSA instructor and coach because the coach had a massive strop that Thin Husband wasn't learning to shoot immediately and said also kinds of disgusting things to Thin Husband about not bothering to try again. Thanks to the community at Thin Husband was reassured that the issue was with the coach not him and was very kindly offered a free lesson by the gentleman who became known to Fat Woman as Shooting Coach. Shooting Coach had Thin Husband hitting two thirds of the clays within an hour. This blog post is not about Thin Husband's shooting, but Fat Woman can report that after a few more lessons Thin Husband knows he can shoot and Shooting Coach will forever have Fat Woman's gratitude for being amazing at instilling confidence in nervous people. The CPSA were utterly useless in providing any help at all in dealing with this situation, and would not give Fat Woman any details of any formal complaints process, so if you are looking for a CPSA coach through their directory and want to check in as to which person it was, ask Fat Woman through Twitter (@fat_woman).

Fat Woman didn't need a coach for the next few months as she had her Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club membership. At every Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club event Fat Woman got to shoot with a coach and as there were lots of events over the Spring at lots of different grounds Fat Woman got experience working with lots of different coaches. Fat Woman discovered that not only did she like shooting she also liked the little bits of ribbon and cardboard that she got for winning. Fat Woman started working harder at shooting when she realised that she was outclassed in the cake competitions.

By the end of May Fat Woman was feeling the need for some more focussed help, and as she was going to be driving Thin Husband to his shooting lesson she booked herself in with Shooting Coach. Happy months passed where Fat Woman would turn up and say to Shooting Coach "I need a remedial lesson on teals/rising going away birds/crossers/quartering crossers/quartering crossers again/still more quartering crossers" and they would spend the next hour on that subject. Fat Woman felt she was getting the hang of the stick that goes bang, even if she still doesn't shoot teals on the way up like she should. Fat Woman couldn't get the hang of going gun down like some of her friends did, but wasn't too worried about this as shooting gun up for English sporting clays is fine and she was hitting things. Once Fat Woman got her shooting glasses sorted there was no stopping her.

In September Fat Woman was recruited for inter-county shooting. Fat Woman is a woman and a CPSA member and can stand unaided and thus qualified for a smart shooting vest with the name of her county team. Fat Woman was needed as a warm body in case of someone else not turning up, but didn't mind that because of the aforementioned shooting vest. Fat Woman agreed to do this, but then realised the magnitude of what she had agreed to and begged Shooting Coach to teach her skeet. Shooting Coach was very tolerant of Fat Woman going into meltdown at the thought of humiliation on an inter-counties stage and spent a lesson helping Fat Woman to shoot skeet. Fat Woman is not accustomed to being scared of something - mostly because she doesn't usually bite off more than she can chew -  and badly needed both the lesson and the patience from Shooting Coach. Also the extra patience. After nursing Fat Woman through the early stages of learning skeet all Shooting Coach needed was a break from Fat Woman.

Fat Woman was put in touch with a woman whom she refers to as Skeet Coach, although Skeet Coach also excels at lots of trap disciplines. Skeet Coach taught Fat Woman to shoot skeet according to geometric principles. On the first lesson Skeet Coach spotted that Fat Woman had never mastered mounting her gun and got Fat Woman to change her hand position on the forestock. Fat Woman was amazed at the difference it made. Skeet Coach said what Fat Woman had been doing wasn't wrong per se, but she herself had had the same issue so she recognised it. All was going well until Fat Woman brought the wrong gun with her, a 20G to a ground that only sold 12G cartridges. Skeet Coach kindly let Fat Woman use her Browning B25.

Fat Woman shot like an angel that day.

Fat Woman shot so well with that B25 that watching skeet shooters were complimenting Skeet Coach on how well Fat Woman was doing and saying she was one to watch. Fat Woman can still remember how utterly amazing it felt to have everything working the way it should do. Of course, it all went to pot at the next lesson.

Skeet Coach is an analytical person. When Fat Woman's went from wunderkind to witless in the space of a week Skeet Coach wanted to know exactly why. Skeet Coach compared the two guns, which both being Brownings were superficially similar, same length of barrels, same stock length, very similar grip, similar trigger position and so on. Then Skeet Coach looked at the thing that differentiated the fit, and threw a fit. The stock of Fat Woman's gun had been undercut so badly that it was impossible for Fat Woman to mount to gun into her shoulder. Fat Woman had had no idea that this was a problem; she assumed it had been done because she had large breasts, and no one had ever said differently. Skeet Coach wanted to know who had done this heinous thing to a poor defenceless gun, and when Fat Woman told her, Skeet Coach had a few choice words to say about how that gunsmith was known for undercutting women's stocks and shouldn't be allowed near a gun. Skeet Coach used words like "sexist" and "old fashioned" and was crosser than when Fat Woman didn't switch her feet between shooting H4 and L4.

When Fat Woman had further problems during a registered skeet doubles competition due to her gun stock now being too short for her because of weight loss, Skeet Coach declared that something had to be done and introduced Fat Woman to a trusted gunsmith who was kind enough to put a temporary fix on Fat Woman's gun in the form of a big light wedge of wood. Fat Woman went off and shot the skeet competition and was very glad she had done all the panicking and practising because although she wasn't last, or even second or third or fourth last, it was a damn close thing. So close that it took Fat Woman two weeks to actually check her scores. The ladies team came second, so Fat Woman got a badge anyway but Fat Woman knows that she isn't very good at skeet really.

Fat Woman went off and shot her gun with its temporary fix and was feeling reasonably happy with it. Then Fat Woman started losing weight again and the gun started feeling wrong. The first time her gun slapped her in the face Fat Woman felt like her own dog had bitten her and couldn't understand what had changed. At her last social shoot Fat Woman felt like she was fighting the gun the whole way around the course. Fat Woman clung to what Shooting Coach always said ("It's not the gun, it's you") and arranged to do some back-to-basics practice on crossers with a friend. At the shooting ground Fat Woman ran into the gentleman from the shop who had suggested the Browning 525 to her as a suitable gun and enquired if they sold lead tape; she was unhappy with how front heavy her gun was. The salesman whisked Fat Woman inside and filled her stock full of lead shot. Fat Woman was happy about this because not only was the balance much better (a) it was a temporary measure and (b) it wasn't going to rattle because it was absolutely full of lead. Salesman got Fat Woman to mount the gun and that was when the problem started.

Since Fat Woman's got her shooting glasses her gun mount has always been based around her sight picture. Fat Woman has two beads on her barrel so closes one eye and rifles up the gun. Then she opens her eyes and stops looking at the gun, trusting that the gun will be pointing where she is looking. This means Fat Woman is bending herself around the gun, and sometimes twisting the gun as well to make the beads line up. Salesman declared that Fat Woman was shooting a left handed gun. Fat Woman was massively taken aback on the grounds that no one had mentioned that before. Salesman proved it to Fat Woman, by getting her to mount the gun properly into her shoulder instead of next to her neck where she usually does, when it looked to Fat Woman the barrels were pointing off to the left, and then with a plumb line. Fat Woman was pretty sure it wasn't a left handed gun when she bought it, because surely someone would have said something? but Salesman said it happens sometimes with central heating.

Salesman then wanted Fat Woman to give her gun to his gunsmith, but something about the conversation and the lack of measurements made Fat Woman uncomfortable. Fat Woman texted Shooting Coach to ask if she should give her gun to that gunsmith and Shooting Coach replied back instantly saying that he wouldn't trust the guy with his second best broom. This was particularly nice of Shooting Coach who was in the middle of a big international competition. Fat Woman made excuses about needing her gun to shoot right then, and took the cowardly way out and simply didn't go back that day. Shooting Coach said by text that he couldn't do anything without seeing the gun but that it was odd that it suddenly needed changing. Fat Woman felt that she had not been moaning enough to Shooting Coach if that's what he thought.

By the time Fat Woman had been out for an hour of serious practice her frustration was reaching nuclear levels. Fat Woman felt utterly trapped in a loop, where the gun didn't fit her so she wasn't holding it properly, but then she was holding it properly she couldn't get the right sight picture because the gun didn't fit her. Fat Woman knows from the principles of evolution that the egg must have come before the chicken, but she definitely couldn't work out which issue about her gun needed addressing first.

Fat Woman felt that she was on the verge of not loving her gun any more. This made Fat Woman very sad as she had thought she would be with Gravy (Browning) until she made A class i.e. forever.

It was left to Skeet Coach to provide Fat Woman with some perspective.
"Cast is left handed? So what? you were shooting fine with it before."
"Of course it doesn't fit you if you've lost that amount of weight off your face. "
"You're a beginner, of course your first gun is going to need altering as you learn more."
"You've probably developed horrible habits that need sorting out before we worry about the gun."
"What does the balance matter? "
"Yes, the stock is too short, you knew that back in October. It's probably even worse now if you've lost more weight."
"Every time you change the gun needs changing. "
"Don't ask advice from gun shop salespeople."

Skeet Coach didn't actually use the phrase "don't be stupid!" but Fat Woman could feel it floating around in the ether. Regardless, Fat Woman felt reassured that Skeet Coach and Shooting Coach said much the same thing.

Fat Woman met up with Skeet Coach at a new shooting ground to shoot some trap. Skeet Coach knows everybody and asked the ground owner to have a look at Fat Woman's gun fit. The ground owner said that Fat Woman needed lots of cast to the right in order to make the gun fit. Fat Woman felt like puzzle pieces were dropping into place. Ten minutes later Fat Woman was introduced to a gunsmith who came with recommendations from friends with very expensive guns. Gunsmith came up with a marvellous solution for Fat Woman's gun; he had a back plate that you could angle to suit. In just five minutes Fat Woman was mounting the gun and Gunsmith was altering it to fit. It took Fat Woman a while to twig but finally she worked out that Gunsmith wanted her to mount the gun as it should be mounted so he could adjust the gun to the mount, rather than Fat Woman adjusting herself to the gun. Skeet Coach stood over Fat Woman and corrected her every time she made yet another beginner mistake such as not moving her head forward enough or tilting her head. Eventually Fat Woman had a proper sight picture. Then Gunsmith took Fat Woman outside to shoot some teals. Fat Woman shot six teals perfectly in the middle and felt like she wanted to go and shoot another hundred birds. Finally after more than a year of ownership Fat Woman had a gun that fitted! Fat Woman could mount her gun into the shoulder where it should be, and didn't have to balance it further in.

Fat Woman was massively grateful to Gunsmith who didn't even charge her because he was so disgusted at what had been done by the first gunsmith. Fat Woman was especially sorry that she forgot to mention her stock was full of loose lead shot before Gunsmith took the back pad off. Fat Woman was also grateful to Skeet Coach who spent  so much time working with Fat Woman on the issue. Fat Woman really feels like she has broken out of the vicious cycle.

Of course nothing in life is perfect. The left hand cast of the wood has not changed, only the angle of the back plate so Fat Woman's stock is now pressed so firmly into her face she worries for the safety of her teeth. Fat Woman's gun is now heavier than a DT11 as it has a stock full of lead, so it's a good thing Fat Woman can lift heavy things. And to be utterly honest the whole contraption looks a mess. However, Fat Woman is going to have to live with a messy gun until she settles at a maintenance weight. Fat Woman doesn't care so long as she has a gun that works for her. Fat Woman likes shooting but it's not so much of a priority for her that she would give up increasing her fitness for it.

Fat Woman isn't sure how much of the initial stock butchering was prejudice about women and how much was prejudice about fat women, but she is very, very, very glad to have got to the bottom of all the issues that have been bothering her for a year. Now Fat Woman should be able to get a consistent gun mount, and that means perhaps eventually she might be able to shoot clays gun down. And as Skeet Coach said, once you know what a correctly fitted gun should feel like you'll know the minute it goes wrong as well.

Fat Woman can't wait to go and shoot again.

Fat Woman would like to offer the following guidance on gun fitting for women:

  • Do not cut the toe off a stock just because women have breasts. If you take a really good luck at actual natural breasts (as opposed to the silicone ones you see in porn movies and the airbrushed ones in porn magazines) they don't usually really start until after the place where a gun should sit. Look at the person to whom you're actually fitting the gun. Do what's right for them and their actual body, not some prejudice you have in your head. Oh, and look with your eyes, not your hands.
  • If you're mounting a gun so someone can see if it fits you, prioritise mounting it into your shoulder. Fat Woman has had loads of people fail to notice that her gun wasn't in the right place. Then work out what you can see. 
  • Know what sight picture you're aiming for before you get your gun fitted. Fat Woman found these double images pictures very helpful in knowing what her options are.
  • Find someone to help you with fit who will make sure you have a proper gun hold AND have the right eye position in relation to the gun. Fat Woman needed two people at once for this. 
  • Don't think that because someone has a coaching qualification from a recognised shooting body it means that they know what they are doing. It means they paid a lot of money and passed a course.