Thursday, 21 August 2014

Fat Woman and the hobbit diet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Fat Woman and the glory of competition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Fat Woman and the best investment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So there. 

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Fat Woman and the bans

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

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

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

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

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

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