“Losing weight would be easy if it wasn’t so tasty”

Today I had the delightful opportunity to watch myself giving a presentation and then be critiqued by ten other people. Twice.

My ability to give a presentation aside (I improved vastly in the second – got rid of any nervous gestures with notes, was more open and expressive, etc..) – the camera doesn’t lie. “Where has Anna been for the last two weeks?” you might ask, also wondering about the non sequitur there. Well, quite frankly, I was busy gaining that double chin that I thought I’d got rid of but took pride of place in the video clip.

I exaggerate, obviously. I was paying far more attention to everything else about my presentation for the most part, since I’m spending two days learning how to improve my presentation skills. However I couldn’t ignore the chin, no matter how hard I tried. It seemed to appear every single time I opened my mouth.

There is no doubt as to the reasons for the appearance of a second chin. Over the last three weeks, I have gained weight. Whether that is actual weight or water weight remains to be seen, as I’ve not stepped on the scales in about a month. What was I doing in order to gain all this weight? Well, having a good time I suppose!

First of all came the winter holidays, the time that almost everyone I know puts on a few pounds. You can’t help it – there are days dedicated to eating a huge amount of food. In our family we don’t just have a huge Christmas dinner and then eat leftovers for a few days. First there’s a Christmas Eve buffet at my aunt’s house, in which my immediate family is notorious for turning up, being the first at the buffet and then leaving pretty soon after we’ve stopped eating. Christmas follows with a big fancy breakfast (usually smoked salmon and scrambled eggs), followed a couple of hours later by an enormous Christmas dinner and pudding (often more than one), then bits and bobs for dinner. That’s not including any chocolates that might have been opened during the afternoon.

Christmas is followed by Boxing Day, in which my family tend to have an EVEN BIGGER dinner. This is because Boxing Day is usually the day that our cousins visit. The dinner is very similar to Christmas dinner, but rather than just having one roast meat there is also the leftover meat from the day before added. More desserts, snacks and chocolates throughout the afternoon, and then a fairly large supper that evening whilst entertaining guests.

For the rest of the week that I spent with the family, I got into the awful habit of eating tonnes of chocolate just because it was there. This is the precise reason why I don’t keep it in my house. If I have it, I’ll eat it, even if I’m not hungry.

Then on the 2nd January I flew out to Toronto to visit one of my friends. In an extremely bizarre stroke of luck, when it came to buying my tickets economy seats were three times more expensive than business class for the flights I wanted, so I flew in relative luxury for the first time in my life! The first thing I got extremely excited about was the free food available in the airport lounge.

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As you can see from the picture, I started my holiday healthy with every intention to continue. After all the food I’d eaten over Christmas (and chocolate particularly) I was craving fruit and feeling fresh! However my enthusiasm for healthy eating quickly descended into a whirlwind romance with everything bad for me but delicious (see previous video).

It started on the plane. Three course meal to start – nothing unhealthy. Cheesy salad for starters, mushroom pasta for the main and a decadent chocolate and toffee pudding for dessert, followed by sandwiches and scones later on in the flight.

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Poutine topped with pierogis, sour cream and bacon quickly followed upon landing, as I was informed I couldn’t start a trip to Canada without trying their famous dish. What followed was a week of eating many, many delicious carbs. I had several pizzas, many dishes of pasta (usually with pesto), poutine twice more (once drizzled with truffle oil), quesadillas, shawarma, more fries, desserts, muffins, and I’m pretty sure I’ve missed something out of that list.

On top of all that heavy food, we managed to watch nearly two entire seasons of Supernatural in a week. Rest assured, we definitely did get out and see the city, and I very much enjoyed visiting the ROM and the AGO. But when it’s -30C or snowing very heavily sometimes you’re just going to sit inside and watch TV.

So over the last three weeks I’ve eaten a lot more than usual, and foods that I wouldn’t normally consume in such large quantities. I also drank less water, definitely consumed more salt and did a lot less exercise. Is it any wonder I’ve gained weight? I think not.

But I’m back now and more in control of what I’m eating and how active I can be. I decided that rather than keep my goals vague – “I want to lose the weight I’ve gained”, I’m going to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. So over the course of February I want to lose at least 4 lbs. It’s a small goal, but it’s a start. It means I need to lose just 1 lb per week. If I pay much more attention to what goes in my mouth and start doing more exercise again, that’s definitely doable. I will weight myself at the start of the month so we know exactly what I’m aiming for.

And since I’ve told you that I’m going to do it, I will be keeping myself accountable, and I hope you will too! Ask me about it, remind me, make me feel awful if I don’t at least work towards it! Check in with me throughout February to see how I’m getting on.

Now onwards to plan!

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Mission Statement (for being 23)

As written in my Morning Pages, December 11th 2014:

This is the year that I can really throw myself into self-improvement and doing things that I want to do. I can and will lose the extra weight, both mental and physical. I will increase my fitness levels. I will write my blog regularly, and I’ll start off by uploading a post today or tomorrow.

I will become competent for at least a holiday in another language, working towards becoming conversational. I’ll travel more, and really try to live through every moment of my journey. I’ll be a better friend, I’ll socialise more and make new friends. I won’t automatically avoid office drinks or parties. I’ll read more books, and I’ll think about what I’m reading. I’ll take part in the book club with my mother, and encourage my sister to read books I’m able to discuss with her. I’ll watch more films. I’ll work on the tv show with Jamie.

Something will be written that will lead me one step closer to having a creative job. I will work on scripts, on novels, on my blog, on anything that can keep the cogs spinning. I will continue learning to draw, and I will take oil painting lessons. I will take more acting classes, and set a goal to complete by the time I’m 24. In the spring, inspired by those 23 year olds who have come before me and the music of my early teens, I will learn to skateboard. I will get over my concerns about drawing attention to myself in public. I will learn to enjoy myself freely.

I will do more yoga, and I will spend time on self-reflection. I will love and appreciate my family and friends and let them know how much they mean to me. Whilst I still have the job I do, I’ll stop coasting along and put effort into doing it well. I’ll learn more about the industry, and try to steer my career whilst I have it. I will make sure that work does not take over my life. I will try new things, have new experiences. I will make sure to keep a record of what I’ve achieved so that when I look back at the end of the year, I can be proud of all that I’ve done rather than wishing I hadn’t wasted so much of my time.

I am proud of what I did when I was 22. I started an MA and realised it wasn’t for me. That took bravery and courage to drop out and put my health and happiness first. I found a well-paid full-time job so that I could remain in London. I mostly recovered from depression and anxiety. I made new friends, I was a better friend. I picked up the viola again and worked on becoming fitter. I made a good start for myself. Now I need to continue.

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