It wasn’t that I was being vain it was that somehow I’d managed to stack on the weight since the cruise. My jeans didn’t fit…in fact nothing fitted and I was getting into that whole self loathing state of mind. I had to stop eating my way into oblivion and get back control…or start shelling out big bucks for a whole new wardrobe of plus size clothes!
I’d been avoiding the scales, knew the numbers would be bad…so 39 days ago I finally confronted the weight and took a good hard look at what the mirror reflected back.
And here it is… the whole hairy and unadulterated truth! This is what 10 kilo’s over my BMI looks like. I debated whether I would use the shot and reveal so much but I needed to be honest with myself… so I might as well be honest with you.
This is not an unfamiliar tactic. If you’ve read my first novel, ‘Awakening the Lost Woman’, my heroine Christina uses the photo method of getting in touch with her body, losing the weight and reclaiming a more healthy relationship with food and her self esteem. Bizarrely I would take a leaf out of my own fictitious heroines book and let life imitate art and let fiction become my own personal reality…!
Here is how I wrote about Christina’s body issues in book one,
What She Really Saw.
Even though I loved my ‘Raphael day’, it had taken a lot of effort. I could now look in the mirror and actually see myself. I loved the new woman Raphael had awakened. What I didn’t like was that I had gotten fat. I still could not go into any dress shop and just grab something off the racks. Women my shape had to choose from the dull plus size section. I hadn’t weighed myself for years, but my clothes told the truth.
I’d been good at covering it up. No one really knew how big I had become, not even me. People were too polite to say. I guess everyone was getting bigger and the sight of someone extremely overweight was no longer that unusual. I needed to know what was normal and so I began to do some research.
I had 30 kilos to lose to reach a normal weight. I would turn 40 in November and was determined to lose it before then. This would be my goal. I had eight months.
This time I wanted it to be different. Like most women, I had tried to diet before. For the first few days I would attack the diet with vigour and like most women, the regime was unsustainable and before long my old habits would return.
The other complication was food had been the only way Paul and I connected. Cooking was one of the things I excelled at. It gave me a sense of self worth. Unfortunately, I was equally as good at eating. Food comforted me when I was down.
I’d been in a relationship where I was no longer touched or desired. I had stopped looking in the mirror, accountable to no one. And there was the answer, I would be accountable to the mirror, to me.
I decided, that once a week, I would photograph myself. Same bra, same underwear, nothing else. By being honest with myself, I would stand a chance. Today was as good as any to start. The mirror was not going to get any kinder.
Click, first shot, print the photo, paste it into a diary. Day one, zero kilos lost.
Week one was over, photo morning, but first the dreaded scales. I couldn’t believe it, four kilos in one week and it hadn’t been that hard. I printed the photo, stuck it in next to the first one. Could I see just a slight difference?
So the fiction was much more dramatic, Christina had 30 kilo’s to lose and I only a trifling 10. I am also pleased to say my marriage is nothing like Christina’s. My husband is alive and well and has absolutely no issue with my body…and quite frankly would be happy doing way more ‘research’ for the book than would ever be necessary!
It is now the morning of day 39. The chart, the fasting, the long walks, the smaller amounts of food and being accountable to the camera (and to me) has worked and, although I didn’t quite make the 10 kg goal, I’m happy that after the marathon effort I managed to ditch a very healthy 9.5 kilo’s… or around 20 lbs for my American friends.
This is the new shot and I’m pleased to report that the bikini (and my entire summer wardrobe) fits!
In front of me are the weapons of torture I used to deforest a winters worth of undergrowth. The talc and cream were on hand to repair the damage delivered by the evil depilatory device which ripped the hair out by its roots and left enough welts and bruises to make it look like I’d been given a lashing by Christian Grey in the ‘Red Room of Pain’! There is no such thing as an ‘EMJOY GENTLY’!
I have one day to go and, even though I’m extremely pleased with results, still feel obliged to stay true to the chart and keep up the routine. So for one last time I would brave Melbourne’s ferociously cold weather and go on the 8 km walk. It was raining and about 5 degrees c. Even the coffee shop had put out a pile of cosy rugs so that patrons could fend off the Antarctic frigidity that was plaguing the East Coast of Australia. I could barely comprehend that tomorrow I might be lying on a beach in the tropics.
Once again I faced the base of that bloody hill and was almost tempted to catch a tram…it was drizzling with rain and I was so over the drudgery of that same boring trip in the same foul weather…but where was the calorie burn in that!
I must have been getting fitter and before long I’d reached the top, not out of breath and just keeping ahead of the storm that was about to unleash its wrath on the city.
My phone rang. It was my daughter wondering whether I was free to take her driving this afternoon. Neither of my adult children have a driver’s licence. We live in the inner city, with unlimited public transport and the need to drive has never really arisen. But she now wants the freedom to explore parts of this country that are further than a tram trip away. I tell her to meet me at home in an hour.
Cold and wet we defrost with the last of the ‘diet world’ soups. I look on at her plate full of toast soldiers and contemplate nabbing a few of these forbidden treats…only one more day and the white bread will be back on the menu!
We decide to take a 30 minute drive up the freeway to Mount Macedon. There is the possibility of snow…a very rare treat in Australia. My son comes along for the ride and reminds me that he’s never actually seen snow falling.
The closer we get to the mountain the heavier the rain falls…or is that sleet? We contemplate how extreme Australia’s weather conditions can be knowing, that tomorrow morning, we’ll be jumping on a plane and heading to the tropics… no passport, no language or currency change, just a three and a half hour flight North to sunny Queensland.
We finally reach the top of the mountain and walk to the summit where a memorial to the soldiers of the two World Wars has been built. The irony on this cold wet day is that the cross was a replacement for the original monument which burnt down during a particularly savage bushfire in the Summer of ’83.
On the way back down the path I look to see I’m covered in a patina of icy crystals and that rain has now become very light snow… and we all get a little bit excited!
None of us are ready to go home so we head to the café and order hot chocolates. Secretly we’re all hoping for a bit more of a weather event and just a little disappointed at this poor excuse for snow.
But our plan had worked and by the time we’d finished our drinks and got to the car lovely big, soft flakes of snow were falling from the sky and the ground was turning white. I can hear all of you people in the Northern Hemisphere laughing at this pathetic attempt at a blizzard…but here it’s a ridiculous treat and has left us all jabbering like little kids!
By the time we get to the bottom of the (very small) mountain and hit the freeway again it’s pouring with rain and we’re back amongst the gloom and the busy peak hour traffic. We all agree that our holiday tomorrow will be a welcome relief from this bleak and shitty winter.
That night, as I pack a bag full of summery clothes (and the notorious bikini), I struggle to comprehend that somewhere in Australia it will be warm enough to NOT wear a coat… let alone don a bloody swimsuit!
The following morning we walk across the tarmac and the rain is still torturing us.
Three and a half hours later we touchdown, grab our gear and like all the other passengers are a little shell-shocked by the presence of bright sunshine and warmth as we emerge from the plane. My father-in-law is waiting and he whisks us away to his place on the beach.
the water beckons…not a soul in sight! We have the beach, the sun and the water all to ourselves.
My husband grabs a bottle of Prosecco… I take a sip…it’s been a very long 40 days, but right now I feel completely and utterly fabulous. The hard work and the impossible winter is finally over and it’s now time for a swim…and maybe just a little bit more ‘research’…!
Cheers, Anna x
Love you to read my books
The Lost Woman series follows the sexy adventures of Christina as she makes her way through a world of new media, design, fashion, travel, and … men.