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 www.shootclay.co.uk 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.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Fat Woman and the unexpected contact

Personal Trainer had gone on holiday. Fat Woman was having a lovely time without Personal Trainer, sleeping in for an extra hour on Monday, eating carbohydrates at breakfast time and training late in the day. Fat Woman went to BoxFit class on Tuesday and had a reasonable time even though she was 25 minutes late because of unusually bad traffic (she wasn't the only one). The replacement class leader was cheerful and positive and had a nice enough manner, although Fat Woman thought it was a bit odd that he got someone to do pad work with him when there were even numbers, thus leaving someone punching a bag rather than working with partner. However, Fat Woman was aware that no one can do BoxFit classes like Personal Trainer so she let it slide.

Fat Woman went to the second BoxFit class of the week. This class was two-thirds filled with people Fat Woman had never seen before. Fat Woman thought this was a good thing; more people means more chance of Fat Woman working with someone who can keep up with her.

Replacement Class Leader got the class doing the same game as a warm up exercise that he did on Tuesday. The aim of the game is to tap the knee of your opponent. The theory is that you will get your heart rate up because you will be moving around a lot. Fat Woman isn't particularly quick at moving, but she plays this game with her Escrima teacher, Cal, who has no compunctions about actually hitting Fat Woman in order to teach her something if Fat Woman doesn't get out of the way or defend herself properly. Fat Woman found that instead of being massively outclassed as she usually is by Cal, she was quite aggressive compared to most people in BoxFit. Fat Woman was comfortable defending herself and would knock an opponent's hands off course when they tried to hit her. Most people were right handed, so by using her left hand to defend herself against an opponent's strike, Fat Woman could usually follow up by tapping her opponent's left knee with her right hand. Fat Woman was so enthusiastic in the early stages of the game that she landed herself on the floor before she even got hit, although the only thing hurt was her pride.

Fat Woman found herself facing a gentleman to whom she had not been introduced. Fat Woman noticed that the gentleman was free-spirited looking compared to the rest of the male gym goers. Most male gym goers at Fat Woman's gym have short hair, are clean shaven and wear shorts. This gentleman had long flowing locks of hair, a new age kind of goatee beard and loose linen trousers. The gentleman was obviously reasonably fit as he kept performing a movement that Fat Woman can only liken to a deep, deep lunge. The gentleman could lunge forwards, backwards and sideways and demonstrated this with enthusiasm.

Fat Woman thinks that if you are going to be performing deep, deep lunges whilst wearing loose, loose trousers during a martial arts exercise where a fat woman with limited capacity for movement is making wild swipes around your knees then you should be wearing underwear. Tight, form-fitting supportive underwear.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Fat Woman and the hardcore cardio

Fat Woman is a big fan on continuous improvement. Fat Woman seeks out truth, however uncomfortable, and had learned to take criticism. Fat Woman thinks that if you can't take criticism you are never going to learn, and if you never learn anything you're never going to change. That would  make you boring.

Fat Woman had said to Personal Trainer that he could criticise anything he liked about her and she would take note, although she would be grateful if he would keep the listing of her personality flaws to under six as she is a sensitive little bunny really.

Personal Trainer did not take this chance to tell Fat Woman she can be an annoying know-it-all (why should he when Fat Woman obviously knows this already?) or listing all the ways in which he finds her annoying. Instead Personal Trainer responded by critiquing Fat Woman's squat technique. Fat Woman feels that Personal Trainer threw away a golden opportunity, but thinks it's nice that Personal Trainer is focussed on her training.

Personal Trainer then made Fat Woman re-learn how to squat. This is all very good and useful, and Fat Woman is still learning how to squat properly as new issues keep emerging. The latest issue is that Fat Woman is tracking right during squats because a hip flexor (or something around that area) needs stretching. Osteopath was in agreement, so Fat Woman has yet another stretch in her repertoire.

The other criticism that Personal Trainer made was that Fat Woman doesn't do enough high intensity cardio. Personal Trainer pointed out that Fat Woman is great at low to medium intensity cardio work and can carry on rowing or walking or biking for hours. Fat Woman doesn't carry on for hours because she gets very, very bored doing cardio inside the gym. Personal Trainer said that Fat Woman could do with more intense cardio work, working at a higher heart rate. Fat Woman took this on board as she still hasn't got used to how fit she actually is, and Personal Trainer put high intensity cardio into Fat Woman's training sessions.

Personal Trainer went away for a week and Fat Woman thought this would be an ideal time to try doing some intense cardio at endurance levels. Fat Woman did a nice long set on the stationary bike, then stretched, and switched to the cross trainer. Fat Woman found a "cardio" programme that sets your heart rate at the "ideal" level and adjusts the resistance of then machine to keep you on track. Fat Woman thought this was an awesome idea and set off. Fat Woman set off and put her heart into the target range she works at with Personal Trainer (164bpm, which is a nominal 90% of the recommended max, depending on which algorithm you pick) and the machine started complaining and getting really, really slack in order to bring Fat Woman's heart rate down. Fat Woman had to reset the machine in the end.

Fat Woman was feeling very smug that she was so fit that the programmes on the machines at the gym weren't hard enough for her. Then Fat Woman did some reading and found out that recommended heart rate during exercise varies up to 15 beats per minute each way for individuals, so she could probably have worked a bit harder..

Fat Woman also did further reading and found many dire warnings about working too hard at 90% of your recommended maximum heart rate. Fat Woman is saving these to show Personal Trainer on a Cardio Friday when she doesn't feel like working hard.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Fat Woman and the Biggest Loser

Fat Woman was made aware of the television programme "The Biggest Loser" by people in her Twitter feed. A large number of the people Fat Woman follows on Twitter are keen on health, fitness and weight loss. These people called The Biggest Loser "inspirational" and were very positive about how it was helping fat people to become healthy. In short, the people Fat Woman thought of as her Health At Every Size community thought that The Biggest Loser was a good thing. 

Fat Woman fails to see how anyone could think that The Biggest Loser was a good thing. Right from the word go Fat Woman was reminded of stories of how people would visit Bedlam to watch the insane and even poke the inhabitants with sticks to get them to react. "Look! Fatties! Let's make them dance!" The utter lack of respect for the contestants was obvious from the minute they were made to appear showing areas of their body they would usually have covered. Fat Woman has been absorbing the messages from the world around her that her body is disgusting and should be changed since she was in the infant school, and there was no way that making contestants stand topless, or in the case of the women with bras on, was a positive display on the part of The Biggest Loser. It wasn't a celebration of diversity, it was an invitation to point and laugh at the different. Wearing something form-fitting would have shown the volume of the fat on the contestants without adding the humiliation of near nakedness and without showing up how none of the contestants had the perfect unmarked skin that people are used to seeing portrayed on television. Of course, most people don't have perfect unmarked skin, but you never see that kind of normal on TV, everyone has body make up to hide stretch marks and varicose veins. That wasn't offered to the Biggest Loser contestants.

The stories of unhealthy behaviour now leaking out about the practises at The Biggest Loser don't surprise Fat Woman in the slightest. The name of the show itself is all about weight loss, not functional fitness or body fat percentage. Fat Woman felt at her healthiest last year when she was training for strength and her body fat percentage was lower than it had ever been, but that meant fuck all when it came to lowering her actual weight.  Fat Woman is determined that when she reaches 30% body fat (the top end of the healthy 'normal' for women her age) she will start training for strength again. To make a show all about weight loss without even using a compensatory algorithm for differences in height and gender is fallacious and unhealthy in itself. Fat Woman wonders what people watching the show were thinking. Did they think that because these people were really, really fat that somehow normal rules on healthy behaviour did not apply? Is body fat so demonized that people think fat people need to get it off, off, off at any cost? Probably. Anyway, it should have been obvious by now to everyone watching that The Biggest Loser wasn't taking a person-centred, caring approach to its contestants. Surely you'd have to have dehumanised the contestants into "fatties" (as opposed to "fat people") to think that they should be treated the way they were?

Fat Woman was spurred on to write this particular post when the world erupted at the sight of Rachel Frederickson, winner of season 15 of The Biggest Loser. Rachel turned up at the last TV show having lost almost 60% of her bodyweight and weighing just 105lb. Rachel looked like the ideal body type that is presented to women every single day by images on TV, on the Internet and in print. Thin, delicate, fragile, Rachel looked perfect, according to the world around her. Fat Woman is amazed at all the people saying that Rachel had gone "too far". What part of the entire television series did they think wouldn't lead someone to this result? If you give fat people the tools to make changes to their bodies why on earth would they stop before they reached perfect? The whole TV series is based on the idea that more weight loss is better. If you watched the TV series you bought into this, you endorsed it, so who are you to say that Rachel has gone too far? First you sat there in judgement and said Rachel was too fat, then you sit there in judgement and say she's too thin. It would have been better if you hadn't sat there and judged in the first place. You, the people who turned in week after week, are to blame for this state of affairs. Had you all turned over when the exploitation started this wouldn't have happened.

Fat Woman can say now that if she had found herself on a path to being that thin she'd take it, even if she couldn't deadlift big weights any more. The world is a much nicer place for thin women than is for fat women, and even at her current weight Fat Woman can see the difference in the way she is treated. This makes Fat Woman doubly thankful for the people who have always loved her as a person, never mind what her bodyweight was. As it is, Fat Woman doesn't have the option to do what Rachel did; Fat Woman's mental safeguards stop her, her need for balance in her life stops her, and her intrinsic belief that she is a good and worthy person no matter what her bodyweight stops her from taking the steps to make such rapid weight loss happen. Fat Woman would still take that option if there was a magic wand to bring it about. 

Rachel Frederickson may have developed an eating disorder of some kind, or she may just have learned to control her body using the methods available to her. The question for Fat Woman is not whether or not Rachel is healthy, but why the hell people are buying into this exploitation and calling it "inspiration". 

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Fat Woman and the need for new friends

Fat Woman likes people. Fat Woman is an extrovert so likes to have many, many people in her life with whom she can interact. If you would like to stay in touch with Fat Woman you can find her on Twitter as @fat_woman. Tweet @fat_woman to say hi and Fat Woman will follow back.

You can also get email updates of this blog by putting your email address in the box on the right hand side of the front page. Fat Woman wouldn't mind at all if you wanted to follow her blog via Google, but confesses she can never quite work out the blog following thing herself so won't be offended if you can't either.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Fat Woman and the unbearable truth

Personal Trainer said that Fat Woman is one of the fittest people in the gym. Fat Woman is starting to believe Personal Trainer when he says this as he has said it several times now.

Fat Woman can believe that she is fit for a fat woman, but has a hard time believing that she is fit on the scale of everyone. Fat Woman knows that her recovery time after exercise is now impressive and that her endurance is pretty good and also that she is both flexible and strong. Fat Woman still isn't fast at moving because she is still heavy.  Fat Woman can go pretty fast and hard on the cross trainer, the stationary bike or the rowing machine and breezes through 45 minutes of BoxFit without breaking a sweat but is utterly pathetic at the bleep test and couldn't run a 1km let alone a 5km. Fat Woman would power walk 5km very happily, but not run it.

Fat Woman thinks it's a shame that her one weakness makes her feel inferior to people who aren't as strong, as flexible, as fit or anything else she is.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Fat Woman and the dangerous sticks

Fat Woman is a dangerous individual. This has nothing to do with Fat Woman owning a shotgun. Nor does it have anything to do with Fat Woman's rapier sharp wit, gift for sarcasm and intolerance of injustice. Fat Woman is very good at putting people down with the pithiest and most cutting sentences, but she is not proud of this. Okay, Fat Woman is a little proud of this but of her ability not the fact that she has in the past used it. These days Fat Woman does not like to do battle with those who are unarmed.

Fat Woman is referring to her study of the Philippine martial art Escrima. Escrima is basically fighting with sticks and, unlike some more gentlemanly sports, it is about fighting to win. Winning means putting your opponent in a position where they can no longer hurt you. This of course means that if you are attacked you counter-attack in such a way as to disable your attacker. Fat Woman appreciates this logic as she has applied it in the past to non-physical encounters. Fat Woman is not a huge fan of passive-resistance in her own life, considering it only effective if you have an attacker with moral responsibility and onlookers who share that moral responsibility and have influence over your attacker. Passive resistance might have worked for Ghandi but when it comes to dealing with individuals rather than governments Fat Woman prefers standing up for herself.

Fat Woman has been studying Escrima for a year or so. Fat Woman spent a year working on Tai Chi Chuan with a nice teacher called Cal. Cal was extremely sweet to Fat Woman when she was just starting her fitness journey and taught her lots about balance and movement to help prevent her Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and back problems reoccurring. Fat Woman duly learnt the first part of a hugely long string of movements (the form), to be performed on both the left and the right hand sides i,e in a mirror image of each other, but when her attention started to wander Cal shook things up a bit by handing her a stick and letting her hit things. Fat Woman likes hitting things and felt that having a bit of bamboo (or sometimes hickory) was rather like waving a light sabre. When Fat Woman and Cal clashed sticks rhythmically and at high speed Fat Woman felt like she was in a medieval sword fight. Cal actually has a large collection of swords including an enormous broadsword that Fat Woman had to admit was too heavy to be any fun for her to use. Fat Woman has seen Cal perform with a flaming sword and it was very impressive.

Fat Woman is not allowed a sword let alone a flaming sword but is allowed a stick. Fat Woman graduated from the padded sticks to the normal bamboo sticks and then on to hickory sticks, which are harder and denser. Learning to hold a stick was far more complicated than Fat Woman had expected. Cal started by teaching Fat Woman that she needed to hold her stick close enough to the end so her opponent couldn't grab the end of her stick and twist it far enough around to make her yell. Fat Woman had never had such a practical lesson. Fat Woman also learnt that what you do with your thumb when holding a stick is important; Cal can hit a sticking up thumb from quite far away. Fat Woman also learnt that you make your stick scarier by holding it up; she has a tendency to rest her stick over her shoulder like a member of the seven dwarves would carry an axe, which is more comedic than threatening.

Fat Woman has progressed to the stage of hitting her opponent with a stick, thumping with her opposite hand and hitting with a stick again. Sometimes it's a thump, sometimes it's a palm at a vital point such as the chin, sometimes Fat Woman has two sticks. This all happens fairly fast now thanks to much practising of drills and even some pad work. Cal spent a long time trying to break down Fat Woman's resistance to hitting people, even going to far as to put on a big wire helmet and make Fat Woman hit him around the head for twenty minutes.

Fat Woman was having trouble getting the economy of movement that Cal was hoping for. Fat Woman is inclined to be flamboyant with her sticks as she has seen far more movie depictions of fighting with sticks than she has actual fights where sticks are used. Cal handed Fat Woman two short metal bars to use instead. Fat Woman was unimpressed by the weights because Personal Trainer often hands her weights that are much heavier.

Fat Woman spent the rest of the lesson swinging 2.5 kilo weights instead of her usual light whippy bamboo stick in order that she could feel the distribution and direction of force that the weights were taking. Fat Woman found that working with weights increased her heart rate and her work out was the most punishing she had had in months.

Fat Woman is still feeling the distribution and direction of force that the weights were taking several days later.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Fat Woman and the parallel universe

Personal Trainer flirted with Fat Woman. More accurately, Personal Trainer flirted AT Fat Woman.

To say Fat Woman was taken aback would be an understatement. Fat Woman and Personal Trainer have a carefully cultivated relationship of client/trainer with a dash of mentor/mentee (can go either way, depending on the subject at hand) and a large dose of Auntie/Nephew. Personal Trainer denies the last one, but as Fat Woman makes him cake for his birthday and gives him money to buy an ice-cream on holiday and even  a lollipop after he went to the dentist it is hard to deny. Fat Woman and Personal Trainer have trained together, worked together, lunched together, met each others families, shot together and talked for hundreds of hours. Personal Trainer sharpens Fat Woman's knives for her and brings her pigeon breast. Fat Woman picks up cartridges from the gun shop for Personal Trainer and makes cake for his mother. The friendship is amiable and, Fat Woman thought, a genuine platonic one.

Fat Woman has never found Personal Trainer attractive, although she will happily admit he is the prettiest trainer in the gym and, since he started sharpening her knives, she will publicly declare him God's gift to women. (Fat Woman doesn't know what other women want in life, but decently sharp kitchen knives are damn near the top of her list.) The indisputable lack of Fat Woman's sexual attraction to Personal Trainer was quite a sticking point for Personal Trainer, who is still taking it personally and cannot see the irony of expecting someone to find you attractive on aesthetic grounds whilst holding an equal and opposite expectation that you will never find them attractive on those same grounds. Fat Woman doesn't mind this because she likes her men older, taller, more educated and with an appreciation of culture (see: Thin Husband), but she hasn't actually said this outright to Personal Trainer for fear of hurting his feelings. At the time Fat Woman met Personal Trainer she felt that she was fighting for an awful lot and was focussed on nothing but her health. By the time Fat Woman relaxed enough to get to know Personal Trainer she knew him far too well to ever find him attractive. Also, Personal Trainer really reminds Fat Woman of her father.

When Personal Trainer threw a flirt at Fat Woman he implied that he was standing behind her watching her behind. He actually said: "You don't know what I'm looking at standing here" complete with a Sid James leer. Fat Woman was incredulous. Fat Woman is fully aware that she has many attractive features, but even the ones that aren't esoteric are on her front side. Fat Woman is also keenly aware of what type of female rear Personal Trainer likes as he has told her so, mostly to wind her up but also because she suspects he gets a kick out of making her use words like "objectification". Personal Trainer's own rear is probably closer to his ideal than Fat Woman's own. Fat Woman doesn't usually pay much attention to these things but when the short shorts are on (leg days) one hardly has a choice in the matter. Fat Woman is a classic English pear shape, which means she has a fat arse. This is not exactly a worry to Fat Woman as she has many other fat bits, but it does mean that there was no way in five kinds of hell that Personal Trainer was eyeing her up for anything other than professional reasons. With the amount of work Personal Trainer has made Fat Woman do on squats and their form recently Fat Woman suspects he could pick her lower half out of a Big Beautiful Princess line up. Also, Personal Trainer is not usually stupid, and whilst in a parallel universe far, far, away he might have been lustfully gazing upon the trunk of his fat woman client, he wouldn't be so dim as to say so out loud directly to the lady in question.

So Fat Woman stood for a moment, jaw agape, eyebrows in hairline, and stared at the trainer she had trusted enough to let him do assisted quad stretching (when Fat Woman lies face down on the floor and Personal Trainer twists and bends bits of her) with outrage and horror on her face. Then it came to Fat Woman. Personal Trainer was employing a classic distraction technique. By setting off a bomb at one end of the street Personal Trainer was trying to distract Fat Woman from the petty theft at the other end, or in this case he was trying to distract Fat Woman from the fact that he had just let slip enough information to tell Fat Woman that (1) he had started dating a new lady and (2) that lady is someone with whom Fat Woman is acquainted.

Fat Woman views Personal Trainer's behaviour in the same way she would a child who tries to hide something they've broken under the settee, completely missing the fact that the grown up can see everything anyway and knows exactly what is going on. Fat Woman thinks this clumsy attempt to hide something is rather sweet. Fat Woman knew the young folk liked each other, had picked up that they were seeing each other and so long as Personal Trainer turns up for sessions on time (he'd been late twice that week, a big indicator) Fat Woman doesn't care in the slightest. Fat Woman likes a good romance and thinks it is sweet that Personal Trainer is protective of his new relationship. However, if Personal Trainer EVER tries such a blatant and disrespectful trick on Fat Woman again she will break his arms. Or tell his mother.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Fat Woman and the real benefits of exercise

Fat Woman has a god son. When God Son was a year old a friend was lifting God Son above his head. Fat Woman tried it because God Son loved being picked up and waved about but God Son was a hefty little boy and big for his ages and it was extremely hard. Fat Woman's repetitive strain injury meant she had trouble holding things, never mind repeatedly lifting them above her head.

God Son is now four years old and at school and still considered big for his age. God Son is in fact one of the largest boys in his class. Fat Woman is now the possibly the only person who will lift God Son as much as he likes. God Son begs to be carried constantly when with Auntie Fat Woman "Cos she's STRONG like Grandpa used to be."

Thinking of this makes Fat Woman happy.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Fat Woman and the manifesto

Instead of a "these are my resolutions, I am sharing them in the hope it will keep me honest" post, Fat Woman is outlining her priorities in 2014. These underpin everything Fat Woman does in her lifestyle and when Fat Woman feels under attack from people who are telling her that she's doing it wrong, she reminds herself that mostly they don't have a clue about what she IS doing. If you want Fat Woman to listen to your opinion please make sure you have read all three thousand plus words of this, the Fat Woman's Manifesto.

Fat Woman's Manifesto 2014
1. Stay awake
2. Do not smoke
3. Be functionally fit
4, Stay stable
5. Have a calorie deficit without feeling hungry

Priority number one: Stay awake

If staying awake sounds like something that you do naturally in the same way that you breathe then: lucky you. Fat Woman has an under-active thyroid with the associated auto-immune disorder, Hashimoto's Syndrome. This pleasing condition remained undiagnosed until Fat Woman was 25. After putting on a stone a year for her entire life it was a joy for Fat Woman simply NOT to put on weight and to know that it wasn't that she was stuffing her face with so much more food than everyone else. What was even more wonderful for Fat Woman is that with thyroid medication she is comparatively full of energy. When Fat Woman wakes up in the morning she feels she has finished with sleep. It used to be that Fat Woman could sleep 11.5 hours every day, and still feel exhausted when she work up. It took three years of dose adjustment to get Fat Woman on the right dose, including a horrible period when she was over medicated, which was worse than being under medicated, and then Fat Woman found that her dose needed to be correlated with bodyweight. Therefore Fat Woman would spend her time in a loop thusly:
  1. Be properly medicated. Have lots of energy and a healthy appetite and reasonable metabolism.
  2. Lose weight because of eating well and living reasonably.
  3. Thyroid dose is now too much. Body reacts by making Fat Woman put on weight until she is the right weight for her dose again.
Fat Woman went through this loop no fewer than four times in 2013, each loop taking approximately eight weeks. In the end Fat Woman gave up eating a calorie deficit for a while as it was too heartbreaking to lose the same eight pounds over and over. Eventually Fat Woman learned to run her dose at a slightly lower level than she felt perfect at to allow her time to change it before she became over medicated. Fat Woman has not quite got this down to a science as she may only have blood tests every two months (that is unusually generous for the NHS) but she is doing better. Of course, having Hashimoto's means that if the syndrome flares up then Fat Woman's thyroid itself could behave differently, which stuffs everything up. When your thyroid dose isn't right you get brain fog, you can't concentrate or remember or learn things as efficiently, and quite often the symptoms mimic depression, not to mention you have a whole host of physical symptoms. So staying awake is Fat Woman's topmost priority. Fat Woman would rather be fat and mentally functioning than walking around in a stupor, unable to concentrate on anything unless powered by adrenalin.

Priority number 2: Do Not Smoke

Fat Woman used to smoke. It was partly in self-defence as everyone she knew did it and it smelt disgusting unless you did it too, but also there was a vague idea that smoking stopped you eating and that made you thin. This was partially true initially and Fat Woman certainly lost a few pounds at one point at university when she was living off cigarettes and barely leaving the newspaper office, but actually it made Fat Woman short of breath and less likely to walk anywhere. Fat Woman gave up smoking for good the day she realised she was an addict. That was in 2003 and Fat Woman still won't touch a cigarette. This is made easier by the smoking ban and the fact almost no one Fat Woman knows smokes any more. Fat Woman is down to a crave once a year, but is ever-vigilant against slipping off the wagon. Giving up smoking still remains the hardest thing Fat Woman ever did.

Priority number 3: Be Functionally Fit

Fat Woman was always functionally fit, for some values of "functional", up until the 26th stone. That last stone was just too much and Fat Woman suddenly found walking incredibly hard. That only took a small amount of dieting to deal with, but there were more serious things to contend with.

Fat Woman took up swimming because it was a safe thing for a fat person to do, and hurt her back doing breaststroke, which meant she couldn't even swim. Swimming Coach may have been a bit of an arse on a personal level, but he knew his swimming and diagnosed Fat Woman as having a screw kick, and also said that breaststroke was really bad for making the back arch anyway. Fat Woman now does a lovely front crawl.

Fat Woman had terrible RSI all down her arms, caused by the muscles at the top of her spine not working properly and all the other muscles compensating for years. Fat Woman had always felt that what she looked like wasn't a problem in life as she could contribute in other ways such as in more intellectual things, but once she couldn't use a computer any more because of the sharp pain in her hands her life had to change. It took Fat Woman two years to face up to the fact that she had to give up her previous work completely and get better, but she was very glad she did.

Fat Woman had problems in her left knee from the age of 11. Fat Woman remembers her knee going out from under her in registration one day. Certainly it was never looked at by the doctor again after that so Fat Woman accepted she had a weak knee. By the time Fat Woman started working with Personal Trainer she had horrible sharp pain whenever she tried to put all her weight on that knee. In fact, Fat Woman's one rule of the gym was that she wouldn't do anything that required her putting all her weight on one leg and hoiking the rest of her weight up on top of it. Eventually Osteopath diagnosed patellar tendinitis. Between Osteopath and Personal Trainer Fat Woman worked through patellar tendinitis, compressed cartilage, embedded knee caps, various strains on muscles and ligaments, problems with the iliotibial band, and finally a badly tracking left knee cap. Fat Woman can now go up stairs without screaming and will admit that the one-legged squats and the assisted stretching were worth it.

So Fat Woman is concerned that she stays functional. Fat Woman likes being strong and healthy, able to lift and move and do what she likes. Fat Woman is fitter across the board than lots of her friends are now.

Priority number 4: Stay stable

Fat Woman reached 26 stone without developing an eating disorder, which Fat Woman thinks is something of a miracle. Fat Woman thinks this is pretty damn impressive, but also that it highlights that things such as mindful eating only work for you if your body is in good order. Fat Woman was told to listen to her body, that her body would tell her what it wants. Fat Woman's body lies. Fat Woman's body wants cake. Nowadays that's occasionally, but really mindful eating isn't the panacea some people make out it is.

Fat Woman found that having enough thyroxine in your body gives you an appetite off-switch that she'd never experienced before. The second day that Fat Woman was on thyroxine replacement she looked at her dinner and in tones of wonder and amazement announced that she was full. The feeling was completely different. Before Fat Woman had eaten until she felt "full", that is, that her stomach felt physically full. Then Fat Woman went through leptin resistance. Suddenly Fat Woman felt satiated by much smaller amounts of food. Fat Woman could eat little and often and feel a correlation between the amount of calories she ate and how quickly again she needed food. Fat Woman has no proof that this was the case but it was five months after she started resistance training and several people that month remarked on how good her skin was, which is listed as a marker of coming out of leptin resistance. Having hormones acting appropriately means that Fat Woman doesn't feel like she's going crazy when things don't work for her the way they do for other people.

Fat Woman gave up diet Coke. Fat Woman had thought that at least there was one thing in the world that tasted great and wasn't doing her any harm and that she could drink without feeling guilty for consuming calories. Fat Woman never noticed any side effects from the aspartame even when she was drinking a two litre bottle a day. What did happen is that Fat Woman gave up Diet Coke for Lent. On Easter Sunday Fat Woman was looking forward to a nice cold can of her favourite beverage but found instead that she was drinking overly sweet brown water. Fat Woman has tried diet Coke again but the magic has vanished. Interestingly, Big D PT told Fat Woman about the effects Phenylalanine has on the blood sugar of some people and Fat Woman is convinced that this was a bit part of her problems; she would eat normally but would suffer huge blood sugar drops. These mostly ended up in Fat Woman dinging her car. Fat Woman has just got another car so the proof of this theory is going to be in the driving, or rather the not-hitting. Fat Woman certainly doesn't miss feeling normal one second and in the next second feeling that she'll kill someone if she doesn't get fed in the next two minutes.

Fat Woman's mother provided a pretty healthy home diet but did have the habit of regarding anything sweet as a "treat". Fat Woman spent the first year she lived with Thin Husband shaking off her mother's food issues and finding out what her own might be. Fat Woman certainly doesn't reward herself with food, although she does have a tendency to show affection in the form of cake. Fat Woman would absolutely show affection in the form of marketing consultancy, but very few people take her up on that. Cake happens to be one of the few things Fat Woman does well that not everyone can do. Fat Woman developed a protein bar for Personal Trainer when he was weightlifting and "on a cut" and now serves them as protein pops, on sticks with a nice plastic wrapper and a bow, so it's not about what the food is, more about Fat Woman sharing her skill. No one wants to hear Fat Woman play the clarinet.

Fat Woman won't eat out of obligation. Fat Woman still remembers the first time Thin Husband refused to even taste any of the cakes that Granny had made because he wasn't hungry. Fat Woman's jaw dropped as she was so conditioned into politeness and showing appreciation for someone else's efforts. Fat Woman is very good at the apologetic refusal and will take home packages of sweet things for Thin Husband, or for the round filing cabinet under the table.

Fat Woman will not suffer abuse. Fat Woman did some training in trauma resolution. It turns out that the most traumatic experience in Fat Woman's young life was being denied food when she was hungry because she was a fat child and therefore didn't deserve to eat. Fat Woman got this particular traumatic incident seen to, but is keenly aware of the interpersonal politics around food. Fat Woman has to put up with the following:

  • People thinking that Fat Woman shouldn't be eating that BAD THING, as though single item is going to make the difference between Fat Woman remaining fat or suddenly become thin. This is stupidity and interfering and is a disjoint generally shown in elderly relatives, particularly those of the in-law variety.
  • People thinking that what Fat Woman considers to be part of her healthy eating is actually unhealthy and a BAD THING. Fat Woman has trouble getting these people to define the parameters of their arguments, usually because that requires investment and thinking about what they are saying, and they don't actually care about Fat Woman, they just want validation that their way is right. The only validation Fat Woman is going to give you is http://validator.w3.org.
  • People thinking that Fat Woman shouldn't be eating AT ALL, because fat people don't deserve food, they should stay in one room until they are thin. As all humans need food on a regular basis this is a dehumanising thing to think about anyone. Fat Woman likes being functional and not in pain from hunger thank you very much.
  • People who think that they know what is best for Fat Woman. Fat Woman knows what's best for Fat Woman, and is as far as she knows the only person with a full overview of her needs. Fat Woman is not going to work with anyone who doesn't respect her autonomy and the fact that this is not about them.
  • People thinking that they have some kind of moral superiority over Fat Woman because they are thin and she is not. Fat Woman likes what CS Lewis wrote in The Screwtape Letters about the inverse side of gluttony, delicacy. Fat Woman likens listening to these people to listening to someone boasting of how much money they make. You just shouldn't have to put up with it.

Of course, if people only thought these things it wouldn't matter in the slightest. It's the ones who let it leak out of them that that get up Fat Woman's nose. Fat Woman doesn't see why she should put up with bullying or control games from anyone, no matter how well they think they mean. Fat Woman is pretty sure that "meaning well" is a top-brain justification whilst your subconscious is actually getting its rocks off on your power games and sense of superiority.  Fat Woman is a fairly well-balanced human and likes to be strong enough as a person to consider the opinions of others rather than resorting to the defensive position of not caring what anybody thinks. It is now proved that fat shaming makes fat people fatter, which rather throws daylight on this controlling and abusive behaviour. Control is at the core of every abusive relationship. Now, if someone had been in an abusive relationship with a partner you'd understand if they were very good at spotting controlling behaviours, the red flags that signal abuse ahead. Fat Woman has had quite enough of these food-based abusive relationships over the years, thank you, and when she says that what you are doing is a micro-aggression and that is unacceptable, dollars to doughnuts she's right. Fat Woman isn't going to be in any kind of an abusive relationship, so she certainly isn't going to be in one with you over food. When Fat Woman says stop, she means stop. If you don't stop Fat Woman will push back, in as aggressive a way as is appropriate to get you to STOP. Fat Woman will protect herself as necessary from worry and hurt and any kind of mind game. Fat Woman now knows her food needs and has a right to manage them.

Staying stable means Fat Woman being able to take part in life, to join in outings and events where food is part of the occasion without her going into melt down, demanding changes in plans or denying herself. Fat Woman is a foodie and a social person and loves going out to dinner with friends or throwing dinner parties. Fat Woman doesn't want to have to stay on a tightly regimented diet with no joy or fun for the rest of her existence.

Priority number 5: Have a calorie deficit without feeling hungry

Fat Woman believes firmly in the idea that a calorie deficit means you will lose weight. Fat Woman knows that anything else is a violation of the laws of physics. Fat Woman is now skilled at eating a diet with a 500 calorie deficit each day without feeling hungry. Fat Woman could eat her entire calorie allowance in chocolate if she wanted to, but that isn't massively healthy and would also leave her hungry so she doesn't. Instead Fat Woman eats low GI carbs, and not very many of them, high protein, lots of fibre, some fat, and low sugar. Fat Woman denies herself nothing because that can end up working against priority number four, but makes her choices on a daily basis. It's about balancing needs, physical hunger with health and emotional needs. Fat Woman will eat salt, fat of all kinds, sugar, starches and anything else she damn well pleases. Fat Woman has parameters for her diet. Sometimes she keeps to them better than others, but that is what she works with.

Fat Woman hopes you can see that with all she has to worry about she hardly has time to be concerned about the long term effects of eggs on cholesterol levels or whether polyunsaturated fats are better for you than saturated fats. Fat Woman cooks mostly from whole foods, eats processed foods when she knows what they are made from or could conceivably make them herself and weighs and measures ingredients wherever she can. Fat Woman would be the Health poster girl for the NHS, if only she wasn't actually fat.

Fat Woman would like to congratulate anyone who got this far for their patience and interest. Fat Woman appreciates it and thinks you should have a cookie of whatever kind fits your macro. As this blog is hosted by Google you've probably had several already.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Fat Woman and the unfortunate leftovers

Fat Woman had a very good Christmas so far as food was concerned. As Fat Woman was hosting she was able to stock the foods that she liked and plan meals to be if not totally on her usual eating plan but to be her kind of healthy whilst considering the dietary preferences of others. There were plenty of unhealthy foods for everyone to indulge in, and Fat Woman even made some of her traditional mince pies with the correct ratio of pastry to mincemeat and with pastry made from lard and also without sugar. Fat Woman served gammon on Christmas Eve and turkey and beef on Christmas day, with the plan to serve cold meats at least once a day thereafter.

By the 29th December Fat Woman had had quite enough salt, sugar and fat and got back on her eating plan. Mostly. Fat Woman did have a mince pie in the afternoon, but no one else was going to eat them and they are really, really good. Fat Woman has won prizes for her pastry. On 30th December Fat Woman declared it was time to throw things away. The stollen bites that Fat Woman bought for Boxing Day tea, for example; Fat Woman shouldn't eat them and Thin Husband won't eat them, so they can go straight in the bin rather than sit around until they are too stale to eat or they go mouldy. Fat Woman is working up the mental courage to do the same with the perfect mince pies. Many things such as biscuits and crisps, can simply stay in the cupboard until they are needed or wanted by Thin Husband. Thin Husband is allowed to eat anything he likes as he remains the same weight as he was when he was 18 and if he does put on a pound or two he loses it when he stops eating biscuits for a week. Fat Woman is pleased for Thin Husband. Really.

Fat Woman's father had brought along a gammon as part of his contribution to the festivities. Fat Woman believed her father when he told her the gammon was three kilos, but given that (1) it took waaaaay longer to cook than a 3 kilo gammon would according to her Majesty Queen Delia and (2) Fat Woman had 2.5 kilos of gammon looking at her a week later, Fat Woman suspects that wasn't the case. Fat Woman and Thin Husband like the traditional gammon and even like cold gammon for a few days, but Fat Woman feels there are limits to the amount of processed pork she can be expected to eat. Even bacon becomes wearing after a few meals on the trot.

Fat Woman announced that she was going to throw the remaining three kilos of gammon in the bin.

Thin Husband said that Fat Woman couldn't throw the gammon in the bin.

Fat Woman said that she had a gammon joint in one hand and a green wheelie bin outside, so she didn't really see what was stopping her.

Thin Husband claimed the green bin was full.

Fat Woman said that wasn't true, but she could always use the black bin (for general waste).

Thin Husband said he was going to eat the gammon.

Fat Woman said that she could freeze some of the gammon for him, but wanted to know just how many gammon sandwiches Thin Husband was planning on eating over the next six months, as she knows that whilst she is happy to eat the same nice thing every weekend, Thin Husband likes variety in his diet.

Thin Husband refused to consider this question.

Thin Husband claimed that he would freeze the gammon to feed Fat Woman's father when he comes to visit.

Fat Woman pointed out that her father visits twice a year so that would be a long time to keep the gammon and also that he probably couldn't eat that much gammon in one visit, although if Thin Husband was very keen she could certainly invite her father over much more.

Thin Husband said he was going to take packages of gammon to Fat Woman's father every time they visited.

Fat Woman pointed out that her father had refused to take more gammon away with him as he had an identical gammon waiting for him at home.

By this time Fat Woman was enjoying watching Thin Husband wriggle on the pin of his childhood indoctrination that food cannot be wasted, especially as usually Thin Husband feels no responsibility for eating food before it "needs eating" and Fat Woman regularly cleans out lovely things from the fridge that Thin Husband has ignored. Fat Woman rejects all suggestion that she personally has any responsibility for eating food rather than letting it go to waste and is particularly unhappy about such claims when they also delivered alongside the message that she is morally reprehensible for being fat i,e. from Thin Husband's mother.  Fat Woman enjoys throwing away food that is not on her eating plan, even if it would have been nice to eat; it makes her feel empowered and slightly pleased that she is making food choices, not running on childhood programming.

Eventually Fat Woman took pity on Thin Husband and sliced the gammon so he could put it in the freezer. Fat Woman suggested that Thin Husband package up the gammon in 150g parcels and put them in the freezer. Fat Woman couldn't resist pointing out that if Thin Husband packaged up all the gammon then he would be having gammon sandwiches every  weekend for the first six months of 2014 and perhaps four portions would be quite enough. Thin Husband had nothing to say about this but Fat Woman noticed that his packages were closer to 200g. Thin Husband then shoved eight portions of sliced gammon into Fat Woman's freezer, taking up the same amount of freezer space as four to six portions of healthy home made meals.

Fat Woman is betting that Thin Husband makes a point of eating gammon sandwiches exactly once in 2014 and then forgets about them. If Thin Husband knows Fat Woman thinks that way he might manage to make a second gammon sandwich some time in 2014. Fat Woman thinks it far more likely that Thin Husband will wait until the weekend after Fat Woman has thrown away the remaining gammon and declare that what he really fancies is a gammon sandwich and then asks Fat Woman what happened to all his gammon he saved from Christmas.

Fat Woman is just glad that there is no question of freezing cheese as they have a positive cheese mountain waiting to be addressed.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Fat Woman and the food police

Fat Woman suffered the food police over Christmas. Not the overt kind of food police, who are easily dealt with when they stick their big noses in, but the undercover kind. The undercover food police are aware of what you are eating in the same way a stalker is aware of your every movement; it's unnatural and unhealthy and very disturbing when you realise it. You might not realise it whilst they are keeping watch but eventually they can't resist giving themselves away, because they need to feel superior, and part of that is making you feel inferior. Fat Woman views food policing as a kind of bullying and has never seen it used for good.

Fat Woman had said she was sorry, the only fruit she had in was seasonal fruits such as satsumas, she didn't have apples in the house because she doesn't usually eat a lot of fruit as it's a bit high in natural sugar. Food Policeman gave a nasty little laugh and asked how that fitted in with eating chocolate. Fat Woman snapped back that she doesn't usually have chocolate in the house either. Food Policeman retreated for the time being, but had given away the fact that (1) they were aware of what Fat Woman had eaten and (2) they had views about what Fat Woman should be eating.

Fat Woman hates being defensive about what she eats, but if she is honest she hadn't eaten that much, having been careful to eat enough but not lots at meals and having allowed herself only a very few treats. Fat Woman wasn't denying herself though, there had been at least four chocolates that day, and denial was what the Food Policeman wanted to see, that Fat Woman was punishing herself for her moral failing of fatness. Between this and the horrified cry of "More food?!" every time Fat Woman put out a scheduled meal - and all scheduled feedings were run on a help yourself basis, not presented as a serving or plated - Fat Woman had had quite enough of Food Policeman by Boxing Day evening and was goaded into playing "I'm better than you because I can go longer without eating". There was only supper on Boxing Day because Thin Husband declared he was hungry and offered some. Food Policeman was forced to admit that actually they did need to eat after all. Fat Woman didn't say anything.

Fat Woman does not have an eating disorder, but it's no thanks to people like Food Policeman. Fat Woman freely admits that she has issues with people who make her feel like she shouldn't be eating. Eating is a basic human need and to suggest that someone shouldn't be eating or isn't worthy of food is dehumanising in a terrible way. Fat Woman does not react kindly to people attempting to dehumanise her. When people stick their nose into Fat Woman's diet making Fat Woman feel that she shouldn't be eating, Fat Woman reacts by not eating enough at meals, which means she is terribly hungry later and is left trying to find extra food. This usually means that Fat Woman ends up eating more than she intended because its harded to find nutritionally balanced food on the go and if she doesn't eat the right kind of things Fat Woman is hungry more quickly.

Fat Woman doesn't have many holiday hills to die on but she isn't going to be made to feel uncomfortable about her basic human rights in her own home. Fat Woman anticipates a very small Christmas celebration next year.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Fat Woman and the walk outs

Fat Woman wasn't having the greatest training day. First, Fat Woman's breakfast omelette had been spoiled by some dodgy smelling bacon, and she had resorted to smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, which is just not fun without fruit juice, coffee and a copy of the weekend newspaper. Secondly, Personal Trainer had not had enough sleep. Fat Woman could tell this from the deep shadows under Personal Trainer's eyes but he confirmed it anyway. Thirdly, Personal Trainer is hopped up and waiting for Christmas like a four year old, which makes him silly and a bit of a pain. Fat Woman had spent forty minutes the previous day riding a lift with her four year old god son and had been very glad to give him back to his mother. Sadly, Personal Trainer is too old to give back to his mother.

Personal Trainer made Fat Woman do walk outs. Fat Woman hates walk outs because they always feel like she is doing way more work than it looks like, and making them turn into renegade rows is just adding insult to injury. Fat Woman wasn't made any fonder of walk outs when Personal Trainer nearly fell off his seat laughing at her because he said she looked like she Spiderman clinging to two sides of a gap. After making Fat Woman start the movement with a squat Personal Trainer then kept singing the Spiderman theme tune, and not even the 1980s cartoon theme that Fat Woman recognises.

Personal Trainer is getting coal for Christmas. 

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Fat Woman and the little piece of magic

Personal Trainer is very good at encouraging Fat Woman. Personal Trainer knows that Fat Woman responds incredibly well to positive criticism. As Fat Woman once explained to Swimming Coach, whilst there may be people who react to being told they are useless at something by showing that they are not useless after all, this motivational technique does not work with Fat Woman. If you tell Fat Woman that she is useless and will never be good at something then Fat Woman writes you off as an utter cock and fails to see why she should care what you think about the weather, let alone her. Personal Trainer doesn't often take advantage of Fat Woman's reaction to encouragement but will occassionally say things like: "I know you can do it!" or "Come on, I believe in you." Personal Trainer hasn't yet managed to say these things with sincerity but Fat Woman is tolerant of his youth and lack of duplicity, and anyway, saying these things to Fat Woman somehow works, although Fat Woman reserves the right to roll her eyes as she continues struggling up an incline on the treadmill/lifting a big heavy weight/doing the nth set of some nasty exercise Personal Trainer has thought up just for her.

Personal Trainer isn't big on actual rewards, thinking that the results of the work are reward enough. What Personal Trainer does say quite often is "Well done. Ten points to Gryffindor." Personal Trainer is a film buff and has seen all the Harry Potter Movies. This has been the cause of some friction with Fat Woman who is not a film buff but a book lover. When Personal Trainer asks if Fat Woman has seen some movie or another the reply is usually that Fat Woman hasn't watched the movie but she has read the book. This has been the cause of misunderstandings when the plot or characters have undergone significant changes between page and screen but none more so than in regards to the Harry Potter saga. Fat Woman has read all the Harry Potter books but has only watched the first film. Fat Woman thinks films can't possibly include all the subtleties and details that you can get from a book and once she's seen the visual world on screen she isn't overly keen to invest time in finding out that what she knows is going to happen actually does (or doesn't) happen.

The major clash between Fat Woman and Personal Trainer is that Personal Trainer is your full-on classic Gryffindor type. Chivalry, nerve and daring are all qualities Personal Trainer has in spades. Fat Woman finds the whole Gryffindor type unsubtle and lacking in refinement and rather hot-headed and finds chivalry faintly offensive. Fat Woman might have made it into Ravenclaw with her wit, wisdom and love of learning, but actually would probably have ended up in Slytherin. Fat Woman is okay with this as she is rather Slytherin in many ways; she certainly doesn't care what other people think about her, she thinks before she acts (even when kicking Personal Trainer on the chin) and she has the traditional Slytherin characteristics of cunning, ambition and resourcefulness. Admittedly, Fat Woman only ever said that in fact it should be ten points to Slytherin in order to wind Personal Trainer up, but now it has been said she is happy to go with it because Fat Woman had no idea how actually wound up Personal Trainer would get about the idea of points going to Slytherin. Fat Woman puts this down to the movies being less balanced in their portrayl of the Slytherin house than the books, painting it as completely evil. Certainly it only adds to Fat Woman's amusement.

When meeting a chum at Kings Cross Station Fat Woman saw that you could have your photograph taken at Platform 9 3/4 wearing a house scarf of your choice. So Fat Woman donned a Slytherin scarf and had a snap taken in order to prove to Personal Trainer that any points she earned should go to Slytherin.

Personal Trainer looked at the photo and whilst shaking his head sorrowfully said that all he saw was a red coat, which meant Gryffindor.

Fat Woman thinks that Personal Trainer can be a bit of a steam roller about these things and she wasn't having it. Fat Woman thinks that if you are going to allow adults to associate themselves with houses in a fictional magical boarding school then you should jolly well respect their allegiences.

The next week Fat Woman had another photograph to show Personal Trainer. Fat Woman said that she couldn't let the honour of her house be besmirched.

Personal Trainer looked at the picture of Fat Woman in her Slytherin scarf and green coat and for the first time since Fat Woman has known him appeared to be lost for words. Personal Trainer then asked Fat Woman how she had changed the picture.

Fat Woman replied that it was with magic, of course.