A truly abysmal week

There is little to say this week. I’ve not stuck to the plan at all. Life has taken over a little bit and I have found that I’m able to move house a little bit sooner than I’d anticipated, so this week has been taken over with 3 flat valuations (insane – the last 9 and a half years have treated me well) and handyman visits.

I’ve eaten carbs. Pitta breads and eggs. Bagels and cashew nut butter. Takeaways: salt and pepper squid and four cheese pizza. I’ve really screwed up. I’ve exercised once all week and it nearly broke me. In the midst of this, I came to the end of cycle 1. It was fairly anticlimactic to be honest. 2 inches off each of my hips and my waist. I measured my “chest” wrong at the start of cycle 1 and measured my bra strap rather than my actual boobs (error – 1/2 an inch off the former, clearly tons off the latter – hurrah – except I missed it!), nothing at all off my arms (HOW?? My coat didn’t fit my arms before and now it does – even with a woolly pully on!) and an inch off each thigh. 

So those are the measurable measurements. Disappointing. But the photos tell a rather different story. I’m still appalling from the side – seriously gross. But my front and my back are definitely slimmer. I have ankles! And calves! I wish I was brave enough to show the 4-week comparison photos but many of you know me, so I’m not, so I won’t. And I’m sitting here wobbling my flabby belly for fun. Blublublublublub. 
Cycle 2 beckons. I need to tell myself that I don’t need bagels and pittas and pasta and get back on it. Cycle 2 looks a bit scary. Exercise increases from 25 to 45 minutes a session, 4 times a week – HIIT, weights, HIIT, weights. I love a bit of weight training and I’ve just bought these bad boys: 

I AM NAILS!!!!! Ralphie doesn’t dig them, they’re clunky and noisy. She’s rather fond of the receptacle though:  

Anyway, this week was valuation, valuation, handyman, exhaustion, cheering up a friend, hangover, Sunday roast. Copious room for improvement. Tomorrow I see a friend from home home, so cycle 2 starts on Tuesday. Carbs increase – you have them at all three meals on an exercise day. I made this rather delicious looking granola this morning:


Things are simpler – it’s a mix and match style thing, choosing one thing from each of a number of genres (protein, veg, fat etc), so there’s a flexibility now, which I hope will be good. 4 weeks of prescribed recipes was driving me pretty insane. I’ll definitely be haranguing my sister (who is 1/2 a week ahead of me, and a recipe writer by trade) for ideas. 

Aha. I remembered an app where you can edit out stuff. Here’s my legs. 4 weeks difference: 
There’s a difference, right? More shapely? Or am I imagining it? 

Bed time. I think it’s clear I shan’t be thin by the end of the year, but maybe that’s ok. Maybe it’s ok that it’s slower with habits developing and then maybe it will stick. Maybe. All I can think about right now is little houses, period features, roll-top baths. Bliss. 

Quandaries and more eggs than you can shake a stick at

This week has been a bit of an unmitigated disaster.  I planned all my meals and then life and absent-mindedness took over. 

On Monday I forgot to take chicken out of the freezer. I have now remembered that I have a microwave, but I have also remembered that the defrost setting on it doesn’t exactly work. Half remains stubbornly  frozen, the other half cooks itself until it is hotter than the sun. I’ve had salmonella. I got it in Greece many moons ago in a place where the hotel’s cats spent their days sitting on and licking the grills on the barbecue. It’s not the most fun I’ve ever had – sure, the weight loss is pretty spectacular – but I’d rather not willingly poison myself. 

Prawns defrost quite easily. The only problem is that the only prawn recipe on this plan is absolutely revolting. Cue panic! Now, I like cooking and I think I’m fairly good at it, but I am not one of those people who opens a fridge and conjures up something magical from the odds and ends contained within. I would fail horribly at an invention test – you’d get stir fry or spaghetti carbonara and you would bloody well like it. 

So with the prawns, I turned to my trusty favourite recipe – the satay. I thought it would be rank, but happily I was wrong. Delicious! 

And that is pretty much where the good ends this week. Actually, I lie. Tuesday wasn’t so bad either, except I sacked off what should have been the first HIIT of the week as I just couldn’t be arsed. Dinner was a bit weird: 5-spice chicken with the courgetti stuff and, for some unknown reason, I added some sweet chilli sauce to the courgetti. It wasn’t right, but it wasn’t a total disaster. 

Wednesday. Home late. HIIT. Anger, rage, I really wasn’t feeling it. Nor was I feeling any of the carb recipes – I really don’t like them much, and it’s safe to say I’m getting pretty bored of everything I’ve eaten. BORED. So I improvised. Sweet potato, eggs, ham, a mountain of broccoli…it was so dull and I learnt that eggs should never, ever be paired with sweet potato – I may as well have smothered them in jam. 

Thursday and Friday I was at work until late. Too late. Once again, I had failed to defrost any chicken, I had no time, no energy or smiles, no joy. I ate eggs and bagels and couldn’t even enjoy the illicit carbs.  

Saturday was a weird day. I spent most of the day feeling totally wired after 3 strong coffees on an empty stomach. I had my flat valued so was in a state of nervous anxiety/excitement: Am I really going to move? But Fran doesn’t like change! Maybe just stay here forever then?? But I could get a HOUSE! But who would buy this tiny flat? etc etc ad infinitum. 

I forced myself to eat in the evening and made something new – this is called “lean muscle mince”.  It is minced beef (which I was hoping would make a nice change from the bloody chicken), onions, mushrooms, smoked paprika and this weird BBQ sauce that has no calories or fat or anything that’s nice in it:

It was absolutely revolting. I ate the egg. I ate the vegetables. I struggled through just under half the mince and admitted defeat. That BBQ sauce is so sweet and so synthetic, and it is now being washed out to sea, via my kitchen sink. 

You may have noticed that this week hasn’t exactly been exercise heavy. Sunday morning was my second and final HIIT session of the week. I don’t think I even care enough to feel guilty, I’m SO EXHAUSTED. On the plus side, I stepped it up a level and did 15 rounds instead of 12 for the first time, so that’s a small achievement. And, actually, despite it being somewhat disappointing and lacking in exercise and adherence to the diet plan, I’ve actually lost 3.5lbs this week, so I can’t really complain. 
I’m approaching the end of cycle 1. Day 30 is on Wednesday, after which I’m supposed to submit my measurements (weight, tape-measure all over) and my 4 week photos. They then send you cycle 2 around 3-5 days later. So here’s my quandary: do I (a) tack on an extra week to make up for the poor exercise and diet performance this week? or (b) carry on as planned and submit my results on Wednesday on the basis that it’ll almost be like adding nearly a week on anyway if I have to wait for the next cycle?  

Another quandary and, frankly, a far more critical one:

That’s me on the left. I’m blonde-ish. That’s also me on the right, but digitally enhanced. Shall I go brunette???? 

On that note, I’m off to the cinema to see Spectre. 

Week 3: Fruity hair

I started this week with really good intentions.  I planned all my meals and decided to try some of the weirder sounding recipes just to mix things up a little (tuna and flaxmeal fishcakes anyone?!)  THIS is how organised I was:

Menu plan

Monday didn’t start so well.  I’d slept badly and was in a zombie-like state.  As such, I managed to get two, rather different, things confused:


On the left, curl cream.  On the right, lime, raspberry and avocado smoothie.  No prizes for guessing which I slathered on my hair.

An additional hair wash and half a day at work later, I got a last-minute invitation to a gin and seafood event at the Gherkin from my friend Janie.  So much for getting my mincer out and thai-ing up some chicken, this is what I actually had:

Monday dinner

Clockwise from top left: smoked halibut, a 12-year old scallop, blackened mackerel and confit salmon.  Not technically on the plan, but it wasn’t very carby, so I’m not sweating it too much.

Tuesday was scheduled to be my first HIIT day for the week.  I really wasn’t feeling it after another terrible night’s sleep and getting home late, and yet I did it and I killed it – it’s definitely becoming a little more manageable, although I’m yet to work my way up to 15 rounds rather than 12.  Ralphie wasn’t feeling the HIIT either – apparently my exercising induces extreme rage in her, as she flung herself at me and attached herself to my leg using her teeth halfway through a set of boxing punches.  Fun times!  After dealing with her, I was rewarded for my efforts with 5-spice chicken with brown rice and rather a lot of toasted sesame seeds:

Tuesday dinner

Wednesday was planned to be off-plan again as I had dinner at Brawn which was BRILLIANT.  Loved, loved, loved it.  I more or less forgot to take pictures, so here are some half-eaten snails and some totally eaten clams:


(Pretty sure that these pictures are the sole reason why I’m not a successful restaurant blogger.)  For what it’s worth, the snails with the garlic and mushroom goos were PHENOMENAL, and Marina O’Loughlin was right when she said that Brawn’s pannacotta was the best she’d ever had.  Game-changing.  Ditto the black pudding and squid.  It was a happy-making meal – go, go, go.

Thursday was supposed to be a HIIT day but, frankly, I couldn’t be arsed so decided to shift it to Friday.  I was meant to be having steak and sweet potatoes, but I forgot to buy steak and no exercise = no carbs, so that dream ended there.  Happily, I had remembered to defrost chicken breasts which I turned into mince and did my favourite spicy chicken mince with double avocado, because I hadn’t fancied my breakfast smoothie.  No picture, you’ve seen it all before.

I was in a rotten mood on Friday.  Work was manic and in the afternoon, illness in the form of throat, jaw, ear and head pain crept up on me.  I left work in a terrible grump and, by the time I got home, there was no way I could do any exercise.  I had lost all of my beans.  Even more anger-inducing was the fact that the chicken breast that I’d got out in the morning hadn’t even vaguely defrosted, so there was to be no dinner.  I conveniently forgot about the fact that I’ve owned a microwave for the last 18 months (genuinely – I’ve only just remembered) and so I stuck two fingers up to the plan and ordered a takeaway.  Suffice to say, two hours later I was struck down with terrible remorse, so I shan’t be doing that again, even though the salt and pepper squid was SO delicious.

Saturday started with a liquid breakfast because there was no food in the house other than a now-defrosted chicken breast, which wasn’t appealing much.

liquid breakfast

Lunch was meant to be the tuna fishcakes, but my sister (who is also doing this plan and is a week ahead of me) had texted me this earlier in the week:


I may be a glutton for punishment, but slimy bloating is a step too far, even for me.  Luckily, I had a little more energy than on Friday so I did my HIIT and rewarded myself with something other than chicken.  Steak!  And sweet potato chips!  It was ace.


Dinner was satay chicken – you know how that goes.

Sunday started with some HIIT so I had a giant protein pancake for breakfast.  This meant that I wasn’t so hungry at lunchtime, so I tried something from the plan that I hoped would be a little lighter – the tuna salad.  It was nice enough but mammoth in size and something wasn’t quite right with the dressing – it just wasn’t punchy enough – and my avocado was rubbish so it was a bit off-putting.  Definitely a recipe that needs some developing.


Finally, beef stir fry.  This was GOOD:


All in all, not the best of weeks.  3 meals totally off-plan and only 3 HIIT sessions, so I’m a bit disappointed in myself.  That said, I think that my shape is changing.  My arms look to me like they’re getting smaller, as do my legs.  Even better, Janie greeted me on Monday, with: “You’re wasting away!”  and when I saw Andrew on Wednesday, his first words were “Where’s the rest of you?”  HUZZAH!!!  I must be doing something right, right?.

However, something that I’m struggling with is the HIIT.  My knees aren’t feeling great and the outside of my calves hurt from the star-jumps and I don’t know how to stretch them.  Basically, I just can’t jump.  Running on the spot seems to be fine with a knee support on.  Boxing punches – fine.  But what else can I do?  I think burpees, mountain climbers and squat jumps will absolutely annihilate my knees, so I’m a bit stumped. My back feels like it might go any minute.  I don’t think I was born to exercise – it really doesn’t suit me much – and yet when I decided to do an exercise video on Saturday morning, I got frustrated because it was just too slow and not exhausting enough, so I abandoned it for my normal HIIT.  What’s happened to me??

I could definitely do with some non-knee-ey HIIT suggestions, so if you have any (bearing in mind that I don’t have a gym membership at the moment) please let me know!

The week of five HIITs…did I do it?

This time last week I was feeling stuffed full of protein and apprehensive about the exercise part of this plan.  Foolishly, I had dared myself in my last blog to try to do five HIIT sessions over the week, on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.  Up to this point in my life, the maximum number of times I had ever exercised in one week was twice and, frankly, that was a pretty rare event.

So.  Did I do it?

Monday:  I’d spent Sunday feeling like I’d been hit by a bus, so Monday was a significant improvement.  I discovered that cold omelette for lunch isn’t so terrible if you’ve forgotten to make a double dinner the night before, and this is coming from an omelette-phobe.  But did I do my HIIT?  Why, yes.  Yes I did.  I hurried home from work, worked out and then rewarded myself with this:

Monday dinner

Study in beige #1

Brown and beige.  Brown and beige is a bit of a theme on this diet.  Monday’s dinner was a strange combination of 5-spice coated chicken and spiced sweet potato wedges.  The chicken was overcooked and the wedges covered in too much gritty spice.  6/10

Tuesday:  I did my HIIT again!  Dinner was chicken coated in a honey, chilli and garlic marinade with little roasted potatoes.  Getting a bit bored of chicken to be honest, and the chicken was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too garlicky.  Fine on Tuesday night when I’m home alone, less fine on Wednesday when I was eating the leftovers in the office.  Sorry colleagues…

Tuesday dinner

Study in beige #2

Wednesday:  A lovely, lovely rest day with a free dinner out including caviar with tiny blinis, chateaubriand with a couple of spoonfuls of mashed potato and crepes suzette.  *Most retro meal ever klaxon*  In the grand scheme of things, and given that this was a free meal where I could have gone WILD, I think I behaved myself pretty well.  For the love of god, there was foie gras on the menu.  Foie gras – and I go for little fish eggs.

Thursday:  Working from home day.  When I started this plan, I had it in my head that it was going to be easier to exercise on the day that I’m working from home: I’d get up early, jump around and sweat buckets, get some carbs in, all before work starts at 9:30.  In reality: blatantly never going to happen.  Stay in bed until 9:15, log on, straight into work.  I find it impossible to motivate myself to exercise when I’ve been sitting around in my pyjamas all day.  HIIT FAIL.  HIIT did not go down.  However, not doing the exercise did mean that I got to eat the the best thing that I’ve had on this plan so far:

Thursday dinner

Study in beige #3

Chicken mince (impossible to buy, I had to mince my own) made spicy with red curry flavours, peppers and topped with avocado and sour cream.  LOVED this, and frankly it was a welcome departure from the texture of a chicken breast.

Friday:  I had options.  Option 1, aka The Naughty Option: dinner with my friend Andrew.  Option 2: go home, exercise, BATHE IN THE SMUGNESS.  Reader, which option did I take?

Friday dinner

OMG it’s not beige!

I took the exercise option.  I DID!  I DID!  I was feeling pretty excited about earning the above rice.  Sadly, it was completely ruined by the fact that this meal tasted like a big bag of poo.  These were Thai king prawns.  There’s two problems here: (1) king prawns are basically flavourless rubber protein – why do people think they’re good?  Little ones are so much tastier; (2) 60g of green curry paste is about 45g too much green curry paste.  Good god, this tasted crap.

Saturday: I was hungry, which was probably the first time I’ve felt hungry in 10 days, but then I didn’t eat much of last night’s dinner.  Once Ocado had dropped off the weekly (mind-blowingly expensive) shop, I climbed back into my exercise gear, worked out (keep up – that’s the fourth session of the week!) and then I made these bad boys for lunch:

Saturday lunch

Study in beige #4 – Dimensions of Red

These are the protein pancakes that I’ve wanted to try since day 1 and which would probably be nicer if I hadn’t bought the mocha flavoured protein shake.  That said: not chicken, so they got brownie points for that.  With my carbs for the day done, this was dinner:

Saturday dinner

I’m a bit baffled by this one.  It’s called “Italian beef and sausage casserole”, the sausages in this instance coming from – you guessed it! – a chicken.  It was cooked from scratch, fresh vegetables, stock, tomatoes etc…so why did it taste a bit synthetic, like a (fairly good) ready meal?  Baffling.  Also: chicken sausages?!  They be slimy.  The fact that I quite liked them gives me all of the shame.

Sunday:  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh the end of British Summertime.  Of COURSE I woke up super early.  That, there, is the law of sod.  I tried to get back to sleep to no avail, so had a chat with myself: a mere half hour of misery would mean that I achieved my totally unrealistic, over-ambitious goal.  So I did it.  And you know what?  It is getting a little bit less horrible each time.  I had more pancakes with yoghurt and raspberries for breakfast and then made these funny little protein muffins for snacks:Snack 1

Dinner was satay chicken, the only meal that I repeated from last week and which was vastly more successful this time (1 tsp of cayenne pepper is a BONKERS idea):

Sunday dinner


So that’s my week.  I’ve stuck to my diet 95% of the time and the exercise, 100%, which I never thought I would actually do.  Things I’ve discovered:

  1. It’s easier to exercise on days that I’m in the office.  It gives me a good reason to leave more or less on time, I psyche myself up for it on the walk home from the station, get in, exercise gear on, dinner prep done, HIIT, slump in recovery while dinner is cooking.  BOOM BOOM BOOM.  It really isn’t so bad.  It’s 25 minutes!  Anyone can do that, right?
  2. I prefer the low carb meals that you eat when you haven’t exercised.  This is a bit of a bummer, but also means that I’m not really missing carbs – yay.
  3. I still hate exercising.  I tried to do a burpee…ahahahahahaha.  NO.  My current exercise formula is high knee running on the spot (exhausting, makes my knee hurt, I’ve had to buy a knee support), then boxing punches wearing weighted gloves, then star jumps.  But I’m already thinking that even though this exhausts me and makes me sweat buckets, maybe it’s not enough?
  4. It’s working.  In June, I bought myself a new belt.  In late August, I had 3 new holes put into it.  On Friday, I started using the last of those 3 holes.  I can now fit into trousers that are 2 sizes smaller than those I was wearing in April.  And I’ve lost 5lbs in the last two weeks and am nearly down into the next stone bracket which is unbelievably exciting.

I’m already nearly halfway through this first cycle of the plan, which is crazy, but I really have the fear that I’m not going to have the amazing transformation pictures that other people seem to get.  What’s worrying me is that so many people on this plan aren’t actually proper chubsters when they start, so OBVIOUSLY they’re going to look good at the end.  I still have about 2 to 2.5 stone to lose; there’s no way that’s going to be achieved in the next 90 days.  So: The Fear.  And what if I plateau?  Plateauing whilst eating stupidly large amounts of food, with coconut oil coming out of my ears etc…then what will I do?  And how sustainable is this, really?  Do I want to eat like this for the rest of my life?  I’m conflicted.  It’s working, and yet something about it is making me feel uncomfortable and unnerved.

HIIT me up with some chicken

Last time you heard from me, I was feeling a bit blue.  I’d ditched the PT, ditched the gym and suffered a world of pain from spinning.  Since then, I’ve done zero exercise.  Diet-wise, I’ve not been too bad, nor have I been too great, so my weight has stayed more or less the same.  I have felt de-motivated, de-skilled, bored.

My sister came to stay with me in September.  We had previously been discussing this thing called “The Body Coach“.  Basically, this guy is like a hotter, possibly more annoying, Russell Brand.  If, like me, you occasionally enjoy the feeling of being enraged by other human beings, check out some of his Lean in 15 meal video thingies on Instagram.

Are you feeling suitably irritable?  Great stuff.

Aside from the videos, the other thing that he puts on his Instagram the body transformations of people that have done his “90 Day Shift, Shape and Sustain” plan.  Now, I’m a fairly sceptical person.  I tend to err on the side of my glass being half empty (always where there’s wine involved), but there’s no getting away from the fact that some of these transformations are pretty amazing.  Yes yes yes, I know, I’m sure lots of them are sucking their tummies in and so on, but so many of them have properly changed shape.  And loads of them have changed dramatically in just four weeks.

After some pondering, a lot of freaking out and a bit of alcohol induced bravado, my sister and I signed up.  The basic idea of the plan is lots of protein, minimal carbs, lots of HIIT (for those, like my brother, who are blissfully ignorant as to what HIIT is, it is “high intensity interval training”.  Here is Hotter Russell Brand doing some HIIT and nearly dying.  And he is stacked.)  The plan is divided into three cycles, each of 30 days.

After submitting my lengthy questionnaire and The Dreaded Photos of me in my underwear (utterly revoting, and that’s after I’ve lost 2 stone) I disappeared on holiday for a week which was utterly blissful.  What was less blissful was that cycle 1 of the plan landed in my inbox the day I arrived.  THE HORROR.  Firstly, it was 100 pages long.  Granted, lots of those are recipes, but 100 is still a little much to take in on an iPhone.  Secondly, there is a lot of turkey involved.  Not to get all TMI on your ass, but FatFran can’t eat turkey.  Turkey is massively illness-inducing.  I had told them this; they appear to have ignored it.

When I returned from holiday, I sat down and made a shopping list.  Chicken.  Chicken.  More chicken.  Spinach.  Chicken.  Eggs.  MISERY.  And, man alive!  Expensive.  I was feeling very deflated.  The recipes all sounded weird, the quantities were odd (12g coconut oil, anyone?) and the exercise looked terrifying.  But despite all my misgivings, I started on Tuesday…sort of.  I had intended to do HIIT on the first day.  This was scuppered by a long, late call with my boss, so I was going to do it on Wednesday.  This was scuppered by getting home from work at 9:15pm, needing to eat dinner and make breakfast and lunch for the following day.  So the HIIT actually started on Thursday.

In the interests of full disclosure and shiz (the “shiz” being “maybe this will motivate me to actually get off my arse and do the HIIT), I’ve decided to be brave and show you my pre-workout photo.  WARNING: Lycra is involved.

Fat Fran (2)

HORRENDOUS.  You see why I need to do something about this, yes?  HIIT session one didn’t feel very successful – it’s incredibly hard and sweating gives me major anxiety.  I only managed to do two-thirds of what I intended to do, so I felt pretty defeated. Since then, I’ve only done one other HIIT session which was yesterday morning, before I’d eaten anything.  It went a lot, LOT better.  I did it all, so HURRAH!  I had been meaning to do it again today, but it turns out that I’ve spent all of today feeling nauseous and like I’ve been hit (HIIT?) by a bus.  This means that I’m going to have to get On It next week.

Onto the food!  There’s been a lot of it.  The quantities have stressed me out.  Part of the reason that I’ve already lost 2 stone is because I’ve been eating a lot less, so I wasn’t particularly thrilled to suddenly be faced with enormous portions.  I freaked out a considerable amount on day 1, but I’m starting to get used to it.

Meals 1

Clockwise from top left: omelette with spinach and feta (this is the first omelette I’ve had in years following an incident in America where I was force-fed an omelette filled with bananas and sour cream – I’ve thus avoided them for the last 22 years); cashew chicken curry (delicious but too darn big); post-workout fragrant brown rice with spiced chicken; chicken stir fry.

Meals 2

5 kilos of chicken for £20 (SUCH a bonus working near Smithfield Market); revolting chia/flaxmeal/oatmeal stuff – slimy and disgusting – the one truly unpleasant thing I’ve eaten this week; post-workout bagel with three types of protein; satay chicken with courgetti;(really delicious).

Meals 3

Scrambled eggs with tomatoes, spring onions, feta and spinach; aaaand again, because it was SO GOOD – Ralphie even wanted to get involved and she doesn’t even like human food; teriyaki tuna with courgetti; mushroom and mozzarella omelette (check me out with my omelettes!)

So. Much. Food.  Until today, it was going quite well, but I think I’m in the midst of a protein overload.  I feel a bit nauseous, I feel like I’m cooking constantly, eating constantly, washing up constantly. I’m making double of every meal to have for lunch the following day.  Breakfast is difficult – Hotter Russell Brand basically wants you to eat these types of meals for breakfast which just isn’t happening.  It takes me a lot to even get a coffee down me in the morning so chicken stir fry just isn’t going to happen.  I’ve therefore become overly reliant on this:


No, not a liquidised Mr Blobby, it’s an avocado, lime and raspberry smoothie.  Apparently this should only be had twice a week due to its low calories (it has avocado in it…low calorie?  Really?) but I’m sticking two fingers up to the plan and doing what I need to get through this.  The smoothie stays.

So there we are.  This is me for (hopefully, if I can manage it) the next 3 months.  It is not going to be easy; the food is better than I’d expected it to be, but the volume is borderline stressful.  The exercise is going to be my biggest challenge as I just hate everything about it.  My aim: 5  HIIT sessions this week on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday.  Tune in next week to see whether I came even close to managing it.

Saddle sore & confidence compromised

I am a perfectionist. Most people don’t particularly know this about me, probably because I’m mostly crap at everything and just have to get on with life regardless, but my perfectionism is really the root of why I am fundamentally a lazy cow. If I can’t nail something straight away, why the hell am I doing it?  So I choose not to try new things, thus avoiding the risk of failure.

My friend, Jordi, started going to a souped-up spinning class called Psycle about 18 months ago.  The amount of weight she’s lost is amazing and she has turned into the energiser bunny, exercising at least 6 days a week. She’s been trying to get me to go to Psycle with her since day 1, as she is completely addicted.  Other friends have gone with her and, similarly, have ended up a bit hooked.  Meanwhile, I have spent 18 months considering her insane and telling her to stop asking me because It Is Never Going To Happen.

Unlike Jordi’s, my own exercise regime has been a little more…relaxed.  My original personal trainer weirdly disappeared off the face of the earth around a year ago and, true to form, I took full advantage of this gap in my regime to do nothing, eat loads and get fatter.  Eventually, at the end of last year, I decided to take myself in hand and signed up with a new personal trainer at my phenomenally expensive, luxury gym.  And I love him.  I love him SO MUCH.  He kicks my ass, he openly laughs at me when I moan and tells me I have no right of veto when he’s making me do the hated step-ups, he gossips with me, high-fives me and, most importantly, he showed me how to lose just shy of two stone in weight (so far) through changing my diet, without even trying.  I LOVE him.  I cannot emphasise this enough.

And yet, last week I had to break up with him.  I nearly cried.  He looked a bit sad.  I don’t want to go, but with my gym membership factored in, he effectively costs me £100 per week.  For one hour.  I am not loaded.  I have debt.  This is not sensible.

So he’s going, my gym membership is being frozen, and the new plan is to sign up on 1st September to Class Pass with Jordi and try out different things.  Quick synopsis of Class Pass: lots of studios sign up, hundreds of different exercise classes are available across London; if I have a Class Pass, I can go to an unlimited number of them each month (small print – maximum of 3 classes at any one gym).


Let us bid farewell to my beautiful gym…*CRIES*

Last night, I finally caved and went to Psycle with Jordi (Note: Psycle is not on Class Pass, just for the avoidance of doubt).  I knew I’d hate it, but there was a small, hopeful, part of me that thought “You are two stone lighter lady! You look OK! You have more energy and confidence than you’ve had in years and YOU CAN NAIL THIS!”  As it turns out, I couldn’t.  Most of the class is done riding out of the saddle…except not in my case.  I could barely manage the first 5 minutes of standing cycling – man alive, the burn was REAL.  I then had to sit there for another 40 minutes, peddling away but noticeably not doing what everyone else was doing, feeling useless, very exposed and miserable.  I detested it.  [NB: this was nothing to do with Psycle itself or the instructor – everyone else in the class was clearly loving it, but I just don’t think spinning is for this FatFran.]  Walking today is a struggle.  My arse and legs are broken, which is a bit of a puzzle given that I basically didn’t partake in the class.

It’s safe to say that the experience has knocked my confidence a little and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t do a small cry about it.  The real problem is that it’s making me reconsider the whole Class Pass thing, as the defeatist part of me is worried that I’m just going to hate absolutely everything that I try because I won’t be able to do it straight away and I will feel like a big fat failure.

So – what to do?  Do I give in, stop exercising and just cross everything and hope that dieting alone will get me to a point where I like myself enough to risk dating actual human men, thus reducing the chances of ending up dying alone, undiscovered for weeks and being eaten in desperation by Ralphie?  Or do I sign up to Class Pass, try stuff, go through a rollercoaster of emotional turmoil a few times a week but, hopefully, at least be provided with some self-deprecating content for this largely defunct blog?  While my body and ego hurt as much as they do right now, this isn’t a decision for today.

I had no idea I was going to write this blog post as it only happened in the dark (both figuratively and literally) hours of the night when I couldn’t sleep because my butt hurt every time I turned over.  Being so unprepared for my venture back into FatFranGettingFin, I have no exercisey photos with which to decorate this blog post and we all know how I love a good photo.  SO, with no further ado, I give you Ralphie and my delightful new shoes!

new shoes cat


Maybe I’ll see you again soon, maybe I won’t…this very much depends on how brave I am feeling on 1st September…


An anniversary…of sorts…

Today is my friend Jordi’s birthday and tonight we have celebrated with schnitzel and spritzes at Boopshi’s and it has been lovely.

What today also marks is the anniversary of the thing that (dramatically) nearly shuffled me off this mortal coil. This time last year I arrived at Jordi’s birthday party at Honey & Co and promptly burst into tears on my friends because I felt A Bit Unwell; my chest hurt and I couldn’t breathe properly and it was all a bit weird and scary.  And then I decided to ignore it for two weeks. Probably not the most sensible decision I’ve ever made, but sod it – I got to spend a week on holiday with my mum at our cottage when I would have otherwise been in hospital.  I had a fabulous birthday, with lots of wine, a spectacular tasting menu and presents, when I would have otherwise been in hospital.  I was also around to be made godmother to these gorgeous girls, before I admitted myself, later that night:

So I have no regrets about waiting two weeks before I submitted myself to nearly a week’s residency in hospital and 6 months of stressful, weekly(ish) hospital appointments. (DISCLAIMER: obviously if you get chest pains and can’t breathe, go to A&E sharpish, yes?  I do not encourage flippancy.)
So I’m a year down the line and I haven’t felt like blogging much because I haven’t had a lot to say.  It’s safe to say that it’s been a strange year, full of highs and many deep lows. The months after my pulmonary emboli were very, very dark.  I was very unhappy and really quite shocked by what had happened to me.  I had always known that I was overweight and unhealthy and, if I’m honest, I’d been waiting for something bad to happen, but I didn’t really think it would actually happen to me.  So it took a lot of adjusting.  Happily, it was only really 6 months of true hideousness and I came out the other side feeling pretty invincible.
I was given one hell of reality check.  I’m naturally a fairly fatalistic person – I think that when it’s your time to go, it’s your time, and had that happened to me last year, so be it.  I’m OK with that – I was then and I am now.  BUT. But.  Patently, it wasn’t my time.  I’ve been given another chance and – however wanky this may sound – I feel very strongly that if something or someone has dictated that I’m going to live, I’d better bloody start living a bit better, because I was making a real hash of it.  I was lazy, depressed and unappreciative.
I struggled for months to find my way until my dietitian said to me in a particularly dark moment “You know how to diet.  You’re just not doing it.  It’s time for you to throw some money at this.  You need to try a personal trainer.”  I did a bit of crying – frustration, patheticness – and then I contacted someone that night and I have never looked back.  That was about 3 months ago and, let’s not be under any illusions, I’m still a fatty, but I’m a little bit less of a fatty.  Jordi even said I looking thin tonight (LIES, but I’ll take what I can get.)
I am now seeing my personal trainer twice a week and those hours are absolutely my favourite hours of the week.  I’d see her daily if I was loaded.  Do you know how much fun boxing is?  And weights?  I’m a bit of a hard-ass and strong so it’s FUN.  I’m getting fitter and stronger and more determined which is all good and great, but the best bit is I’m HAPPY.  Or, at least, happier. I always thought it was bullshit when people said that thing about endorphins from exercise making you happier, but it turns out I’m the stupid one because it’s absolutely true.  We’re going to start running soon and apparently we’re going to sign up to a 5k race in September/October.  I’m lucky – my personal trainer is rapidly becoming one of my most favourite people, so she makes it easy.
And my diet is starting to get better again. I’m working slightly silly hours at the moment and I spent a few weeks living on spaghetti and instant noodles and feeling so carby bloated, until I bought this guy:
I don’t care what anyone says, Tilda microwaveable brown rice is brilliant. Ditto Innocent’s Thai coconut veg pots. And the absolute king of foods?  Unearthed garlic prawns.  Mixed with half angel hair spaghetti and half spiralised courgette, they are the ultimate fast, healthy food that makes you happy.  I can also heartily recommend mini magnums.  170 calories of pure, unadulterated joy and one really is enough.
And I have a goal for this diet malarkey.  DECEMBER 25th.  Yes, it is the day that the baby Jesus was born and when we get to overeat turkey.  It’s also the day that I’m flying to Australia to go and visit my sister and her family in Melbourne.  This will be my third trip to Melbourne and I am DETERMINED that I won’t be fat when I’m there, if only because it could be over 40 degrees celsius.  I cannot even begin to fathom how hot that will be (London was 27c today – I WANTED TO DIE), but it probably means that thick black jeans and long sleeved black tops won’t be weather appropriate.  So, the challenge is set.  I’m (mutter mutter) XXX stone and 8 lbs today.  I have 161 days until my holiday and I’d like to lose 3 stone in that time.  That’s 42lbs which is nearly 2lbs a week which is probably a tad ambitious, but hey.  AIM HIGH.
And in other positive, uplifting news, I appear to have a date (or two) in the pipeline.  Watch this space.
Life is on the up, I think.