Monday, 31 December 2012

Post Christmas Flab Realisation Disaster Aversion Plan – Step Two

Okay, I did it.

I got out the dusty set of Weight Watcher’s scales from the dark and gloomy back waters of my bathroom cupboard and did the deed. I stood on them.

I must say, this took a lot of very serious mental preparation, as I was completely aware that the sight of the numbers could hit the black dog button in my at times very fragile psyche. To be honest, I was reasonably prepared for what they would tell me. After all, I’ve been this size before, and probably any size between twelve and eighteen at various times of my life, and I’m quite aware of the corresponding weight that goes with this amount of excess packaging. So to avoid that sense of ‘Oh my god!’, ‘Oh, I’m so fat!’, ‘How could I let myself do this?’ and ‘I will never be able to walk out in public again’, I played a little trick. I overestimated what I thought I would see on that glass appliance with its mysterious little window of numbers. In so doing so, I was almost pleasantly surprised! I have to say almost, because to be honest, the numbers are really a lot higher than they should be for my health and happiness.

So I know where to start, but now, where to go? Thankfully I haven’t waited a couple more months and let things get totally over the top. I have to set a goal, nothing unachievable. I should try and bring my weight down about half a kilo – a kilogram a week. I have an event to look forward to in three months, my graduation and then my 40th birthday a couple of months after. I know it would be nice to feel better in my clothes, wearing undies that don’t cut me in half, and feeling confident as I walk on that dreaded stage to accept my degree. It would be also great to choose something nice to wear for my 40th and to not be worrying about what I look like too much. I’d also like to avoid having a sore back all the time, as that is pure misery!

So I now have a six month plan. Step one is now complete (the fun activities list), Step two has been conquered (the scales) and now I will write these goals down in my Little Miss Sunshine diary, which I have chosen to use for my motivation in writing and in life.

Here’s to day two of a less flabby (and more energetic) Sue!

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Post Christmas Flab realisation disaster aversion plan

That feeling you get ... when everything you wear is just that bit too tight.
That feeling you get ... when even your undies cut you in half because your butt has expanded a size or two.
That feeling you get ... when you remember all the diets you’ve been on, the weight you’ve lost and gained and the hard earned crispy bank-notes you have wasted on Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers.


Is it time to panic? I can feel that black dog looming.
So what to do?
How not to fall into that reverie of regret?

Step one, is to list all the things I enjoy.

Particularly the ones that don’t involve sitting and eating or swigging down glasses full of Merlot and Baileys (as tempting as they are!) Not that this plan is going to involve eradicating those gorgeous activities, for the thought of such sacrifice is the morsel that the black dog desires. No, my first step is to list the activities which make me happy, which get me up and moving, which help me reach my goals. Here’s the list I have come up with so far:



Walking in forests

Sewing small toys


Bike riding



Walking at the beach

Walking with friends

Taking the dogs out to new places

Antique shops

Op shops



Playing scrabble

Playing with young children

Doll House

Playing the piano


Browsing nurseries

Visiting open gardens

Wow! There’s the start of a good list. I think the next step will be printing the list, putting it up on the wall, asking my partner to write his own list and choosing to do something from the list regularly … as well as adding to it as inspiration blows in. In fact, I plan to include at least three things from that list in my day - today!

Here’s to a fun and less flabby 2013 … without the pain of calorie counting! I would love to hear what activities you have chosen for your lists, looking forward to your comments,


Sunday, 23 December 2012

Very Annie Mary - go ahead, embrace your inner nerd! Film review

It’s not often I find myself totally engaged in a movie and actually enjoying the free flow of tears at the climax. That kind of movie where you relax into your own skin and feel the protagonist’s pain, frustration, desire and blends of various emotions as though those feelings were your own.

Very Annie Mary was able to do all of the above and I believe I slept with the story continuing on in my dreams, a strong sign that the characters have become part of my own flow of blood and immersed in the cilia of my lungs.

I have to admit, I often love a dorky character, someone who is not quite comfortable in their own skin. It resonates with my inner dorky child, that little soul who was chosen last for sports teams and sought refuge in the sick-bay during kick-ball sessions. I also love a wounded soul who shows strength despite adversity and Annie Mary retains her unique character which even a narcissistic Pavarotti-impersonating father and his snobby girlfriend fail to smother.

The relationship between Annie Mary and her terminally ill friend Bethany (the daughter of the fish and chip shop owners) is real and engaging. Bethan has the time and space to observe the community objectively and encourages Annie Mary to unveil her long hidden talent of singing and to pursue her dreams. The small community and its members are heart-warming and also true, showing how easily people can turn on those they think have done wrong or who haven’t met their stringent expectations and how difficult it is to break free of the role you were placed in due to circumstances.

Rachel Griffiths plays Annie-Mary to perfection and Jonathon Pryce is terrific as her father. Highly recommended by me, sit back on your couch with some good wine and nibbles and embrace your inner nerd. Love it!

Copyright Sue Oaks 2012

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Toast- the story of a boy's hunger - book review

For a near – forty woman who has spent far too many hours worrying about all things food related (think Jenny Craig, Weight-watchers, imagined food intolerances and digestive issues and a history of roller-coaster numbers on the dreaded scale), Toast: the story of a boy’s hunger by Nigel Slater would have to be a miracle-worker to engage the reader.

Well miracle worker he must be, for I could barely put the book down. For someone who has barely set foot in the kitchen except to read the labels of the packets and tins in the pantry and sweat about fructose, fat and carbohydrates, suddenly this descriptive delight of a memoir has inspired a rich and delightful chocolate cake, a caramel mud-cake ‘Mum, this is the best cake I’ve ever eaten’ and a curried chicken soup produced in the slow-cooker, all within a week of reading.
Based on Nigel’s experiences with food, this book become the ultimate ‘show don’t tell’ example (would-be writers take note), as the story emerges from between the engaging and palate enticing lines to bring the reader’s heart as close to the heart of young Nigel as a story could manage. The characters are brought to 3D life in the novel and they are all that characters should be; unique, quirky, imperfect and loveable in their humanity. Relationships emerge in scraps as scenes reveal the intricacies of the dance between human beings.

Memorable lines abound.

‘It is impossible not to love someone who makes toast for you … once the warm, salty butter has hit your tongue you are smitten. Putty in their hands.’

‘Mum drew the line at Mr Whippy cornets, which she considered beyond the pale … heaven knows what she would have said if she had seen me on my way to school, biting off the end and sucking the soft, grainy ice ream through the bottom.’

‘Cake holds a family together. I really believed it did. My father was a different man when there was a cake in the house. Warm. The sort of man I wanted to hug rather than shy away from.’

What a read! My taste buds are going to thank Nigel for this one forever, my hips and thighs will curse him and my family therapist will go broke, because now I have the answers! Five bloody good stars. Thanks Nigel.

Sue Oaks, copyright 2012.