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The Weight-Loss to Home Improvement Correlation Theory

For the past few weeks I have been doing the Cambridge Weight Loss Plan. This was all sparked by my friend Sue – now forever know as “Non-Starter” for her immediate abandonment of the idea in the first week! – who thought we should both drop a few bags of sugar from our hips before the start of the new netball season. I gamely went along with it. I did not weep at the thought of twice – nay, sometimes thrice! – daily shakes or freshly-shat slurry masquerading as low-calorie soup. Nor have I moaned at the consumption of more lettuce leaves than a hutch full of fat lardy bunnies. No, stalwart that I truly am, I have just got on with it.

Five weeks in, the Man-Hog has just noticed that I slip easily through doorways and have to avoid storm drains more carefully these days lest I descend through the bars into the low-calorie soup below. Relief then – at least the old fella doesn’t need new specs just yet. Possibly a nursing home specialising in slow cognitive decline? But not new specs. Money saved – KERCHINNNNGGG!

Which is just as well really as I appear to have spent the national debt of Greece in a flurry of home improvements which appear to be directly correlated to the number of pounds I have lost. 15 DIY projects on the go at the last count. The main thrust has centred around creating the “WOM Room” as the Teen Pig has named it. WOM stands for “waste of money” – her principal beef being me squandering her potential inheritance on unnecessary structural alterations and the DFS sale. Such naivety! She doesn’t yet know I plan to blow every last bit on fast living and hard liquor before I shuffle off this planet. She’ll work it out eventually.

On Friday night, I sat in the WOM room for the first time, leaving barely a dent in my new cushions, lighter by degrees as I am each day at present *smug smile*. The WOM room is not yet finished – there’s still the installation of a ludicrously expensive woodburning stove, and the purchase of a decent reading lamp and a set of cast iron tongs to tweak my logs with.

Incomplete as it may be, this is no WOM. This is most definitely womb for me. No TV noise. No beeping of phones. No yelling. No mess and general stickiness. Come to think of it, no reason to be in here unless I invite you! The rest of the family have their own spaces for doing all the things they like to do. All I have ever had is the bed (sad) or the loo (sadder). This, then, is a proper, grown-up room for me to read in, listen to music in and have jolly mates round to. The stove will warm my seemingly permanently frozen cockles, heat will drift up the stairs and hopefully lower my gas bills releasing more money for shoes.

The House of Pig is slowly coming together. Mrs Pig is shrinking altogether. Non-Starter Sue has lost no weight whatsoever. Everyone is happy. Except the Teen worried about her own personal poverty following my clearly imminent demise. Selfish moo. But I do have to thank her for the WOM/womb idea – without those Pigs there’d be no blogs at all really.

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“You’re not fat, Mummy, you’re Squidgy….”

Yes, that was the phrase uttered at full volume in the middle of the cinema on Sunday afternoon by my darling son.  To his credit, it is meant to be a compliment.  My son does not “do”  Boney Mummies, as he calls them.  In fact I would say he has an almost pathological fear of them. Which has always been good news for me!

Weight, or rather how I carry my weight, has been an issue ever since my teens. I fluctuate randomly due to an underactive thyroid that no amount of artificial hormone replacement can seem to address. I can eat next to nothing for weeks on end and become bloated….then the next month shovel down a full English, curry for lunch and pizza for dinner every day and not seem to put on a single inch. I am a medical mystery – someone really should study me and there should definitely be some government funding in there somewhere.

I have deduced that it must be something purely to do with metabolism. I believe mine to be dead from the neck down. Or at least very sick. The slimmest I have ever been in the past 20 years was actually when I was pregnant each time with my two children. I weighed more at the outset of each pregnancy than I ever did at the end. It wasn’t because I ate particularly healthily, for while I did up the intake of greenish things, I also felt that no-one would notice if I choked down a couple of bags of Minstrels or Maltesers a day, together with a few muffins and it would have been rude not to have the creamy lattes to go with them. In addition, my craving with each pregnancy was the boiled egg.  I would consume them in vast quantities slapped between slices of white bread, doused in ketchup; then offend the general neighbourhood with the by-product. You can imagine, I don’t need to spell it out I’m sure! I apologise to the local chickens of the time whose backsides worked overtime to provide me with my daily fix!

But despite this gorging self-abuse, I lost weight and in fact at the end of each pregnancy, got into jeans and clothing I hadn’t been able to wear the year before or even many years before –  even with a “joey pouch”, as my friend lovingly calls her left-over pregnancy overhang. I was most definitely a “yummy mummy” for a few months after each baby. Then it would all slowly creep on again, even though I always immediately dropped the chocolate/latte/boiled egg fetishes. So my children have grown up with the reality of a “sturdy” mummy who is not in any danger of being blown over by a puff of wind. And a house without scales in the bathroom. This is their norm.

“Squidgy” is a term of endearment in our house, not something to worry about. Until its broadcast at top volume in the middle of a public place, that is. Then, and only then, did I feel that perhaps the time has come to really think about doing something about it. I play sports at least twice a week, walk my furry son (the dog) for an hour or more every day and am generally quite fit. But the labels in the back of my clothes, coupled with the fact that my back-fat continues to hold a conversation with the people in a room I have just left, leads me to believe this is not reflected in my current look.

So watch this space. Because by hell or by Zumba, something is going to have to give and I have decided it’s the name “Squidgy” – sweet, endearing certainly, but absolutely no longer to be permitted. I won’t upset my boy by displaying any actual bone structure, of that I am certain. Realistic is my middle name, after all. But I am convinced I will feel a lot more comfortable in my skin if that skin is no longer the size of a small South American country.