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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

A Fat Lot of Good: January Drear and Diets

I made the catastrophic mistake of weighing myself on Monday. First day back at work and I added to that joy with a painful arm and a horrific number on the scale. And as the writer of this blog, dear reader, I choose to abstain from printing it here. Just know that I'm currently limited to a wardrobe selection of pyjama bottoms that have no elastic left in them, and a reindeer onesie I am supposed to put away after today according to Twelfth night traditions. Oh and some leggings. I am a wearer of leggings now. And giant sweaters.

Yes it's been a stellar week so far. I'm officially on a diet and I know that ahead of me I have weeks of it to come if I have a hope of shifting all the stuffing I have oh so casually stuffed myself with. And I'm delighted that the gabapentin I'm taking as well as the other pain medication and the antidepressants are such a tonic to this diet, for their potential to make people like me, who are, quite frankly, depressed enough without their help, thanks, able to help us to gain weight. It's an overused word, I know, but, frankly, and not without my classic British sarcasm: awesome. And now we add to it the fact I mentioned in my last blog: that another operation on my elbow is needed, meaning more time without being able to swim (it's not the right kind of physio) and only walking as the exercise option. Or cleaning. And let's face it, I'm not writing a blog about being a domestic goddess here. The house is tidy because I'm living mostly in bed.

So, "We get it," I hear you cry. "You're unhappy. It's January. Get over it. (Whatever the 'it' is you wanna focus on. Just get over it. Already." And okay, I should.) But really, this is the best time of year to embrace being miserable. We're all at it. I can scarcely rouse myself from my bed to turn on my laptop in the morning without my eyes moistening at the thought of work. They stayed like that all day today. Moist. Moist when I ate my Rice Krispies (being carefully calculated as part of my get-thinner-even-though-you're-on-weight-gain-meds diet by myFitnessPal). Moist as I went for my lunchtime walk listening to Hard Times (depressing month cause for depressing literature) and moist throughout the rest of the day. Moist now.

Ugh Pills. This is what mealtimes feel like.

Why is January so hard when I can hardly tolerate Christmas and find New Year's Eve stressful too? I would have thought I'd be happy to have it over with. Perhaps it's all those additives and the hangover (both booze and booze-free) from the partaking that has left me in this sorry state. But it is a pretty sorry state. Thankfully, everyone else is miserable too, or so it seems. If August is the silly season for news, January is the dreary destination for deadly dieting and depressingly downcast outlooks. People are giving up or cutting back on the booze (me too), cutting the calories (me too) and getting on the treadmill again (not me too, worse luck). I spent most of yesterday wondering how much of my medication I could forgo for the sake of my figure (I'm an idiot. My arm hurt a lot today.)

Now I'm just saying roll on April. Which is the cruellest month, but by which time I'm hoping I won't need some kind of fat sucking device for my normal jeans to fit, and my darned elbow should be screwed firmly together and actually behaving itself. (I'm giving my body my sternest teacher-like stare.)

The only odd thing I can say amidst this depression is that I can read the most sad and haunting things at my bleakest moments, because it's not the sadness or the despair which is the worst time, it's the feeling that this will never end, and since it may never end, and there's a numbness, why not try poking myself with something really tragic. At twenty one I watched The Ice Storm in such a state. It was the perfect film to get over with while so morose. Today I am going to read a new book on depression, and think about last year when I was travelling back to New York to erase my life there. Unfortunately I think the real life element of the latter is too close to actual trauma, so I will look for fictionalised versions instead. Safer. Distant.

Not an answer to the question: "What's a happy film we can watch?"

I did talk about New York though, and being lonely there while I lived there, recently, so if you want to join me in embarking on exploration of a topic that's important, though not perhaps one to get out with the Christmas crackers or happy birthday music, you can listen to me talking at about 22 minutes in about loneliness on Five Live. They put it on at 00:00 on Boxing Day. I.e. in the small hours when we were all stuffed with turkey, it was already time to stop being cheery (or fake cheery) and start being dreary.

What I think we need is a #joinin for January. In fact that's it: #joininjanuary. Who can come up with the most sardonic tweet for jaundiced January? I challenge you, reader, to join me and cheer me up by telling me that your tape measure doesn't go round your waist either, and that you've got your old step out from behind the wardrobe / from the greenhouse where you were using it as a shelf for pot plants. If you've managed to slice open your finger as my friend Lucy has whilst being middle class using a mandolin (it's a dangerous way to live, the middle class life) or similar, then #joininjanuary. And by the way, I'm still eating a few nice things on my diet hoping not to fall off the wagon before the pounds fall off first. So thanks, Marks and Spencer, for keeping your Extremely Chocolately Roll in stock. I may only have a sliver, but it's enough to make my eyes water. In a good way.


  1. I love this post, it's the second time I'm reading it.

    1. Thanks Robin! I'm glad January is out of the way now, and it's time we all looked back on the last month and a half and started exclaiming, "I can't believe it's nearly the middle of February already! Where has the time gone?!"
      Thanks for reading, and keep in touch! Jessica