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Thursday, 24 December 2015

Week Three! Don't Eat With Boys

This was a bad week.  I have wanted to eat a Pizza, Chipper and Chinese all in one night.  Fighting the urge to eat really bold food, while you have on your fork, a steamed piece of broccoli is nothing short of a miracle. Eating with boys is bad.  There was laden in front of me a Hogwarts style take away banquet and I managed to politely say no actually (it was more like, “go F&%k yourselves).  Don’t ask me how I did it. 

Have you ever gone to the cinema and had nothing? I did.  I spent more attention on the noisy guy in front of me with the buttery popcorn than the film.  I never realised how good butter popcorn smells and have you ever noticed how the butter glistens against the light of the screen? No, well I did.  After the cinema I went to my niece’s engagement party and drank slimline tonic water with NO gin.  This was torture.  I really wanted a drink.  Everyone was in great spirits and everyone was full of great spirits (being Vodka, Rum and Gin).

Later on that week I went for a walk in St Catherine’s Park.  A lovely spot to walk in the pissing rain.  As my athletic pal Lucy thundered through the woodland setting without skipping a beat I stumbled along behind her sweating like a small hospital and willing myself to fall down the steep hill into a tree just so I could abandon the walk and catch my breath that I was pretending was normal.  Once it was over I was delighted I did it, after all, it got me off the couch.        
Things went from bad to worse when I returned to the house and my seventeen year old dog (Flow) had a seizure.  I had to call my partner at work, how she deciphered what I was saying between the crying and the snotting I don’t know but she came home from work to bring me to the twenty four hour vet.  At the vets I continued to wail and cry while, poor Flow ended up mad out of it on Benzos and Valium.  When we got home that night I poured myself several G&T’s while lying on Flow’s bed telling her how much I loved her like a crazy person.

From worse it got dreadful.  I met the lovely Caoimhe of Magazine + to have a look at the proof that went for print of the first column of my challenge.  As I opened the article in the coffee shop in Talbot Street I could feel tears streaming down my face.  The article stood there, a full page, I knew at the time that Evan had to be a wolf in sheeps clothing.  I had visions of me storming into his studio and drop kicking him ninja style in his (there is no polite way of saying it) man tackle.  It was definitely worse than I look on a daily basis.  Anyone who knows me knows I would never step out of the house looking like that. The image that accompanied the article was horrendous.  I didn’t recognise that whale of a woman in it.  I couldn’t even bear to read the article and as I write this I still haven’t looked at it.

I can only say that the image that was printed alongside my first article will be forever engrained on my mind and if nothing else will be a constant reminder of why I am doing this. Week three, 8 pounds down, I blame the one pound loss on stress and gin.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Big Guys, Skinny Girls and All Else In Between

Just to fill you guys in... I'm two weeks in on my transformation challenge. I'm down half a stone and boy have I worked for those seven pounds! I've pounded the treadmill, yanked the shite out of the rower and lifted my body weight with my legs, arms and butt!

Now I could blog about the food I'm NOT eating and the alcohol I'm NOT drinking but I can't. This is because I am eating and I am drinking, I'm just making changes to what I'm eating and drinking! I shall blog about the food at a later date but right now I want to blog about the gym! 

Having spent a lot of time lately at gym I started noticing (once I'd gotten used to getting the sweat out of my eyes) quite a bit of what goes on there. 

When I started a couple of weeks ago I would spend my time looking at the floor, or the walls, anywhere that didn't involve me making eye contact with anyone who had a better body than I.

As the days passed I got more comfortable in the gym and started to glance around paying passing attention to others in the same boat. Not everyone there is a total fitness freak. There are many different types of people! 

There's the guys lifting the massive weights who all seem to have tiny legs. They spend their hours lifting heavy weights a couple of times before staring at themselves in the mirror and then staring around the gym to check out who's staring at them. It's quite entertaining. 

Then you have the women with the tiny waists who wear a bra top and short leggings. These fine ladies spend five minutes flitting between several machines, never really accomplishing much. Obviously I'm terribly jealous of these woman who manage to do nothing only flirt with the men with skinny legs and still look so fit!

I would like to commend the extremely fit older women. They are obviously very strong determined ladies who put in a lot of effort to keep themselves ship shape.  This can be seen in their toned limbs and positive spirit! I like these ladies a lot.

Then you've got the group I fit into. The podgie sweat balls who are puffing and panting but clearly trying really hard to shift the pounds and tone the flab. We all greet each other with a sly smile or a nod.  We will trod along beside the other on the machine before ever attempting to get on the treadmill beside the guy who looks like Linford Christy. 

We just want to get the job done and the session over with. There's no looking at ourselves in mirrors or flexing our puny muscles while trying to get the attention of the other podgies... We just want to train and leave. 

Last but not Least are the golden oldies... I love this group, they love the chats in the dressing room and if you're on a machine beside them they always and I mean always smile and tell you about what they are going to do after the gym - actually I take that back, there was one angry granny who told me I was to young to be stiff. She didn't smile either 😬

I don't claim to be anything more than an overweight person trying to loose weight. I don't mean to slag off the skinny leg guys or the skinny chicks with the high metabolism, clearly I'm just jealous that I can't pounce around with my baps out for all to see.

Now I'm sure you guys are sick and tired of me going on so I'll let you go and see how many of the above you can spot at your gym!

Friday, 13 November 2015

What A Cabbage: Weightloss, A Photoshoot and A Bloody Ear

What A Cabbage: Weightloss, A Photoshoot and A Bloody Ear: For those of you know me, you know I have struggled with my weight since my early 20’s when I was involved in an incident that left me on s...

Weightloss, A Photoshoot and A Bloody Ear

For those of you know me, you know I have struggled with my weight since my early 20’s when I was involved in an incident that left me on steroids for months.  I piled on the weight and never lost it.  My weight has since gone up and down like an escalator on a power surge.

Well, I am currently the heaviest I have ever been and while my friends and family tell me you’re not exactly fat, I know they are lying through their teeth.

Now not one to publicly embarrass myself I was recently approached to take part in a weight management program.  This would cost me nothing, but there was a catch.  I would have to have an article written about me in a Sunday Newspaper in January.  That’s not the worst news… There would be a BEFORE and after photo.  This terrified me. 

The thoughts of standing there, having my baps out, in a pair of knicker shorts, while the photographer made every possible attempt to make me look worse than in bits, was the most frightening thing to think about but my partner said “bub, this is exactly the motivation you need, you’ll do great”.  I said “Awe F@%k it, I’ll do it.

So I made an appointment with the lovely Karen Prendergast of Transform4Life and off I went, not knowing what to expect.  I met Karen and she made me feel totally at home.  When I arrived, the table was laid out with a heap of healthy eating options and I couldn’t help but notice the dreaded scales in the corner but I just ignored that.  I was soon totally at ease and after a two hour conversation about food, habits and triggers I went on my way with my eating plan and a 24 hour number to contact Karen if I needed to.  I was feeling positive and enthused. 

Then came the dreaded photo shoot.  I arrived early at Evan Doherty’s studio in Georges Street.  I was clearly a nervous wreck but had in my possession a little paper bag which contained the outfit that I wanted to wear for this shoot. 

When I met the guys I was totally at ease, they were handsome, fun and I would have loved to share a beer with them…but then I remembered, I was there to have someone photograph me, FAT.  I asked could I use the loo, I bypassed the changing room and tried to change in the toilet.  The room wasn’t small, but with the nerves I managed to drop my shoe into the toilet and then when I went to retrieve it, dropped the top of the vest that I was to wear, in on top of the toilet duck covered shoe.

After I left the bathroom, smelling of toilet water and dripping with sweat (from the nerves) I went out to the guys who had the lights and stuff in place.  As I tried to suck in my belly and keep my arms out, Evan kept making me laugh which put me totally at ease.  Now I was no Cindy Crawford but I relaxed enough for him to get a photo which I’m sure he felt got my fatness across.

After that it was off to the gym for my training plan.  Fear set in again as I hadn’t been anywhere near the gym since before the cycle for Console during the summer.  I went in, got changed and decided that I would use the facilities.  I went in with my music, earphones, towel and €2 for my bottle of water.  I entered and locked the door, dropped my phone, went to retrieve it, came back up, bashed my ear off the toilet roll holder and then dropped everything.

As I gathered my belongings and left the loo, I entered the dressing room to find an alcohol swab.  On doing so I ran into the personal training guy who looked at me as blood  poured down my neck (well it was more of a trickle but poured is more dramatic).  After a good five minutes of searching for a swab, one aged one, was handed to me and off I went, concussed, to complete my training.

With the first week nearly over and the impending first weigh in looming, I am feeling positive.  I haven’t been drinking, eating crap or buying shite.  I’ve been cooking in work and planning my meals.  I’ve been quite busy so the week has flown.  I have to be down pounds, this weeks lifestyle changes were huge, but manageable.  I know I have gone on a bit but this is my first post about this, I promise it will be shorter.  I hope you will follow my progress and if you see me with a donut in hand, a swift kick to the swollen ear should sort me out.

I shall update you following my weigh in, feel free to share if you dare. 

Friday, 24 July 2015

Cycling In Dublin - An Extreme Sport

As I pull out my lycra cycling bib and jersey, wedge myself into them secure in the knowledge that I look absolutely ridiculous, I convince myself that this is necessary equipment in order to complete a comfortable cycle.  Comfortable, maybe I should use another word.  Tolerable.  I turn and look at my (let’s pretend and say voluptuous) arse.  I grimace at the large padded area which makes said arse,  look less voluptuous and more grotesque.  I place my helmet on over my unbrushed hair, I don’t have to brush it when I know it’s going to be sweaty and disgusting under there in about 45 seconds.  After making sure I have a spare tube, tyres are at the right pressure and have I’m hydration bottle filled I’m ready to go after a mere twenty five minutes.

I drag my bike from the house making sure to bash every door frame on the way out, I drag the chain against my leg and take a chuck out of my shin as I slide it out the hall door trying to avoid my car which is parked too close to the front of the house.  I look like a fecking idiot.  After I make it out the door I walk to the curb hoping none of the neighbours see me pretending to be a professional cyclist.  I jump on, wobble a bit as I try and get my cleats into the pedals before I slow down enough to fall off, again looking like a fecking idiot.  After I recover very quickly and scan the area for onlookers I start to cycle out of the estate where I automatically feel a whole lot more comfortable. 

The weather is lovely, conditions are great and I’m flying along enjoying the feeling of the blood pumping through I’m veins and convinced I’m burning so many calories that it will be ok if I hit the chipper and the off licence later on because I have done really well and am so deserving of it.  All is going well until a truck pulls past me at speed and nearly sucks me under its wheel.    My heart beats faster, not in a good way, in a way that I actually think I might die.  The chipper and the beer are a distant memory.  A few miles down the road I start to recover and don’t look like I’m recovering from a hard night on the tiles and I start to relax again.

Then it starts to rain.  I hate the rain. The rain turns a nice gentle cycle into an extreme sport. Not one shite seems to be given about me or my beloved bicycle.  While I attempt to cycle straight through a junction, a car speeds up behind me, again to close, overtakes me only to turn left, without indicating might I add, nearly taking me out of it.  As I slam on my breaks the light goes amber, I try to take my foot out of the cleat, with much terror it sticks, the bike slows, I miraculously get it out in time.  The palpitations start again, I get myself under control, trying to look cool.  I am aware that I don’t.

I come to a giant hill.  I prepare.  I am conscious now that as I cycle up the hill and the pedestrians are passing me out on the footpath that I actually hate cycling and don’t know why I do it.  I hear some snide remark about how I should be “scarlet for meself”.  If my face wasn’t burning from the pain it would be burning from embarrassment.  I make slow progress up the hill and the joy hits as I speed down passing the pedestrians wishing I could give them the one finger salute, but I’m not great with racing handles and one hand, so I refrain.   I’m knackered now so when I slow down I attempt to take a drink from my bottle.  I concentrate so hard now I almost knock myself out.  I have the bottle to my lips, one hand on the bar and feel a little wobbly.  I finish and manage to place it back in the holder without veering out in front of traffic, SUCCESS, I almost scream. 

I’m about twenty kilometres in now and am about to turn and head for home.  I have the return journey to make.  Traffic is busy and I am cycling along possibly the worst surface ever.  I am trying to avoid pot holes and drains to beat the band.  I really want the cycle to be over. I am cold and wet and drivers are ignoring my hand signals, driving too close to me and all I want to do is scream.  I observe a car pull up on my left, the driver stops, smiles at me and signals to allow me to continue on.  I have the right of way but the fact that she stops, sees me and acknowledges this, reassures me that I might just make it home alive. I cycle on. I pull into my estate.  At this stage I couldn’t give a shite who sees me or what I look like.  I pull my bike into the house making sure I bash the pedals off both the car that is too close to the house and the door frame.  I pull my weary body up the stairs to get into a boiling shower which burns my now throbbing arse.  As I step out I feel great.  I realise I don’t hate cycling after all.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Vote For Me

May 22nd is just a few days away.  After Friday you guys won’t have to listen to me pleading with you to vote or listen to my reasons as to why you should vote Yes.  You won’t have to say ‘I’m sick of this referendum’ or for those of you not saying it I know you are thinking it. 

If you know me, you will know that I probably had the easiest coming out ever.  My mother practically dragged me out of that closet.  I remember getting ready for a Pride march and she was insistent on coming with me.  I begged her not to and told her she would make a show of me and that none of my friend’s mothers would embarrass their child like that.  What I wouldn’t do to have her here beside me now.  If she was alive she would be out screaming about equality for her child and wearing her YES badge with pride.  She would Vote For Me.

My dad was great, he never made me feel any different to my siblings.  My brother and sister never batted an eyelid.  I always felt ‘normal’.  It was never an issue, which is probably why I never had a problem telling anyone I was gay.  The only discrimination I really remember feeling was way, way back.  I was about 12/14 years old.  A kid I was hanging around with spray painted a six foot wall with a poem.  This poem was quite creative but extremely hurtful and made reference to me having balls (you know who you are) and not the kind you juggle.  That poem stood there for many years, reminding me that I was different to the others.

Bar that incident I have never felt discriminated against.  That was until this year.  I have been with my partner for nine years.  In those nine years we have been committed to each other.  She has been my family since the day we moved in together. To hear people speak publically about whether I should or should not be able to marry the woman I love is causing me great pain.  I say pain because that is exactly what it is.  I feel hurt and angry and most of all discriminated against.  I should be able to marry my partner.  My partner and I are not going to redefine your marriage.  We have had the joy of being pregnant and suffered the loss of losing children.  We are not going to run out and find a surrogate to have a child for us.  Surrogacy law doesn’t even exist in Ireland.  If I want to adopt a child tomorrow I can.  Being married to my partner doesn’t change that. 

Families with same sex parents exist already.  Civil Marriage for same sex people won’t change this either.  Gay people are going to continue to have children.  The Child and Family Relationship Bill which was brought into effect last month already protects these families so Voting No won’t stop these families being created and that’s what they are, they are Families.

I have cried over this referendum and am so afraid that this will not pass.  I spend my days trawling through articles both for and against a Yes vote and continue to feel fearful.  As I drive to the local shop I see these awful posters that the No campaign are putting up and wish I could just look away.  I feel, for the first time in my life, like a second class citizen.  I know this doesn't mean as much to some people as it does to me and I know I am filling your news feed with Yes articles but it is because this means so much to me.  This is my life. This is my partners life.  This could be your child's life, your sisters or brothers life.  But for me, it is my life and its now. 

That is why I am asking you, all my family, all my friends and anyone who knows me, to Vote For Me.  Please Vote For Me.  The divorce referendum won by only 9000 votes.  That equates to 1 vote per polling station.  One Vote.  So don’t think your vote won’t make a difference, it may make all the difference in the world.  Well it will in my world.  Please Vote, Vote For Me.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Being Aware of Your Own Stupitidy

This week has not been kind to me.. I haven’t done anything recently that has been deserving of a blog but after the goings on of this week I decided to share.  Monday started off grand…I had a creak in my neck from falling asleep sitting up but that was usual and doesn’t really deserve a comment. 

But then Tuesday came and the shit hit the fan.  I woke up and my car was like a small igloo. So after spending several minutes waiting for the engine to heat up and defrost the window I decided to pour some hot water over it… Now that was fine because I used luke warm water just tepid enough not to smash the window, I’m smart that way. 

After getting rid of the ice on the front and moving around the back I realised that the front was iced back up.  So with a frown I ran inside again and filled up the water and ran back out and decided if I turned on the window wipers and through the water on it there wouldn’t be enough water on the screen to ice back up so I ran around turned on the wipers and swung the jug of water in the direction of the front window…what a dipso…as the water flew through the air I watched in slow motion as the wipers flew in my direction.  The water hit the window at speed and then the wiper flung all the water straight onto my face and clothes.  I was not happy and my makeup was now falling off my face.  The window was half defrosted.

As I made my way down the M50 in horrendous traffic, driving at about 25k an hour, I couldn’t understand why my car was freezing when the thermostat was reading ‘STOP YOUR F’ING CAR’ but I gave the two fingers to the thermostat and made it to my place of work resembling that little snowman from Frozen.

I decided that as I was totally not qualified to check under the bonnet of my car that this would be a wonderful idea and popped the hood.  Steam was pouring out of the radiator.  Now my mother (God Rest Her Soul) always used to say “let a little air on it and it will be fine” I shouldn’t have taken her words of wisdom quite so literally when it comes to car engines.  I think she meant scabs and sores. But sure there I was unscrewing the radiator cap when next thing I know I am covered head to toe in water and my radiator resembles the Niagara Falls as water was spewing up like and upside down waterfall.  I stood in shock as my boss looked on in shock and several little faces peered out to see what the bang was.  I think it was at this moment that I realised I was an ‘absolute tool’.

After the shock of the explosion passed I noticed that my hand was a weird colour.  It didn’t feel any different but the skin was kind of wrinkled and it was blistering like a full pack of Nurofen Plus.  After much deliberation it was decided I would attend a clinic to have it dressed.  Turns out that it was a good idea as the burn was quite bad.  I was sent on my way with much sympathy from the nurse and told to return two days later to have it re-dressed.

So I assumed that the car was grand and was only overheating because it was so frozen that morning and left for home.  After travelling about two miles I looked and saw the thermostat was at ‘STOP YOUR F’ING CAR’ again and decided it was probably best to heed its warning this time and pulled over on the motorway.  I popped the hood again and for about half a second thought about opening the cap of scaldy steam again but then glanced with self-pity at my bandaged paw and thought otherwise.

I decided it was best to ring every mechanic I had a number for.  When one eventually answered he told me to drive a bit and stop and let the car cool, then drive and stop and so on otherwise I could blow a gasket.  I did so and it took me over two hours to get to the mechanics.  I got there and realised that I actually pay for road side assistance but obviously am too stupid to avail of this service.  I walked through my door, cold and sore and tired and was greeted by my two dogs.  One loving, gently waggy tailed angel and the other ….. the spawn of the devil.  My pup had decided I would love to return home to a fluff filled kitchen.  I looked around and wondered what kind of a cushion could have been destroyed this time when the shock of it struck me… The little fecker had eaten the couch.  My heart sunk.  I started to clean up the mess totally disheartened.

I won’t bore you with the next day only say that the bandage fell off as did the skin that was attached to it and I was bandaged up again and told to return to see how the new blisters were doing the next day. 

Then came Thursday.. With a new found love of life I came into work chipper and in flying form.  I went back to the clinic who said my wound was healing nicely and then it happened.  I was out in the yard in work, minding my own business when a hole appeared out of nowhere.  I of course didn’t see said hole and twisted my ankle falling to my knees and smashing my face off of something that did not resemble a soft fluffy pillow.  Looking around to see if anyone had seen my totally embarrassing fall I was in the clear… I chuckled with was a narrow escape.  As I walked towards the rear of the building I could feel something warm pouring down my chin, as I looked down I saw a stream of blood.  I was totally confused and walked back in to try and wash the wound..  It was off to the hospital then where I was told… It would need a stitch..

The staff at James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown are the most patient, friendly, gentle hospital staff.  As I sat awaiting my three stiches I heard a huge amount of abuse thrown at staff and they just retaliated with smiles and sympathy.   All in all I just want to give them a shout out.  They are total heroes.   The nurses who listen to every sick patient and their family members.  The doctors who stitch you back together and the floor staff and carers who do more than the average Joe pays attention to.  As I watched the guy from Derrycourt mop up and down the floor, changing the mop head every five minutes I realised that while people must walk by him paying him no nevermind he is part of a very important crew, his job was to mop, and mop and mop and he got very few 'hello's' or 'how you doing's' or 'thank you's'.  I gave a big thanks and goodbye to everyone I passed, but I'm sure with my swollen lip they couldn't understand me.  Hats off to all at James Connolly Memorial, you are the bomb.

To finish my first blog of 2015 and first in a very long time I would like to say, if you made it this far…thanks for reading and have a safe 2015!