That Itsy Bitsy Kayla Kid With, Like, 5 Million Followers

Men can often be quite dof but they can also be pretty sharp… When we were at university, my friend had a crush on a male model. (Literally). Her sister’s boyfriend was encouraging the crush, so my friend felt she should show him the competition: the male model’s girlfriend, who was also a model. She duly pulled up a picture of the Spanish schmodel online and said “See? Isn’t she stunning?” He took a good look and then responded by saying that whilst she might be considered attractive to most, he had to point out that she didn’t appear to have nostrils…

My husband’s response to my discovery of Kayla Itsines on Instagram was similar. “How is that BODY?” I wanted to know. “Mmm,” he mused, “great stomach but her legs are too skinny”.

Smart move, babe.

I had no idea who Kayla Itsines was, when I created an Instagram account in January. I was on a mission to shed a few kilos after the holidays and I started following a lot of fitness-type people. The hashtag “bbg” was all over Instagram. In fact, it was so widespread that it became very difficult to uncover the actual meaning behind the acronym – it had become part of the everyday lexicon of approximately 4 million people by then. After some digging, I discovered that it stood for “bikini body guide” – a workout and eating programme that one could purchase online if one wanted to look like Kayla. And one does – want to look like Kayla, that is. Skinny legs and all.

According to interviews, Kayla dropped out of university to become a certified personal trainer. Her rise to female fitness stardom began when she started posting pictures of her clients’ body transformations. When I started following her, I was inundated with “before and after” photos of women in bikinis, underwear or skimpy active wear. There were a fair number of Brazilian-style bikini butts: those bathing suit bottoms that aren’t quite dental floss but that don’t leave much to the imagination either.

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With her beautifully bronzed bod, a name like “Itsines” and a bevy of transformed online clients, posing in next-to-nothing, with the kind of sass that I imagined only South Americans can muster, I assumed that Kayla was Brazilian. Not so: she was raised in Adelaide, Australia, by Greek parents, hence the olive skin and year-round tan.

In my early Instagram days, when I was only following a handful of people, I saw a lot of transformed bikini butts but I also saw a lot of Kayla:

Kayla in itsy bitsy gym shorts with her head cocked to the right:

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Kayla in itsy bitsy gym shorts with her head cocked to the left:

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Kayla’s bicep looking impossibly large for her tiny frame

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Kayla’s bullet-stopping abs:

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Kayla’s bullet-stopping abs sore from “period pains”:

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After a while I didn’t think I could, er, stomach another Kayla selfie… Those legs… those abs… they were just too nauseatingly perfect. (And did I mention that she doesn’t drink alcohol at all, ever?) The interesting thing was, however, that many of her online clients around the world, looked about as good as Kayla in their “after” photos: ripped stomachs, defined arms, toned legs. Obviously, for every successful transformation posted, there must be hundreds or even thousands of drop-outs who bought the Bikini Body Guide and didn’t get anywhere near to achieving their dream bodies. But tons did. And I am pretty sure I know why – besides having an online Greek goddess for inspiration.

In 2006, I was attempting to lose weight for my wedding with Weigh Less. There was a free personal training session up for grabs for the person who lost the most weight in a particular week. I dutifully showed up at the next meeting, climbed on the scale and hadn’t lost a gram, but I was in the fortunate position of being the only person who actually attended the group meeting, so the personal training prize was bestowed upon me. I pitched up at the gym all eager for my freebie workout. Instead, I was subjected to a body assessment (hooray) and sales pitch. The monthly cost was way beyond my budget at the time, but I decided to go ahead. It was a turning point in my life, in the sense that the trainer got me from doing zero exercise to working out at least two or three times a week. Since then I’ve seen a personal trainer twice a week for the better part of ten years. I can recall eight different trainers offhand. (Almost all were good, I just like to mix things up). The thing is, not one of them handed me a nutrition plan and told me that if I didn’t largely stick to it, I would wouldn’t see results. The fact that transformations are at least 80% diet, is not new to anyone, but personal trainers don’t seem to recognise that if they don’t devise eating plans – even generic ones –  and spend five minutes of every session monitoring diet, most of their clients will never see results. In my opinion, personal training in the traditional sense needs to radically change.

As for Kayla’s 28 minute home work-out session, I thought it was devised for people with time-consuming careers, long commutes, no childcare etc. But going for an early morning run in winter is ridiculously hard and even making it to the gym before the school run is a challenge in the cold and the dark. So last week I decided to do Day 1 of Week 1 of the Bikini Body Guide. I was literally stiff for five days..

Diet Diagnosis: The Get Fit Challenge

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THE BACKGROUND: POST CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY SELF-LOATHING

By late December, the amount of holiday headspace that my weight (about 3kg more than my new normal) was occupying was unacceptably high. I was spending an inordinate amount of precious sea, sun, sand and family time thinking about how tight my pants were. It had to stop. I needed an intervention and I needed to be invested – financially and emotionally. That’s when I found The Get Fit Challenge. I’d come across a year or so before in a fitness magazine or on Facebook but I’d decided that Peter Place was too far to travel for an exercise class. Fast forward to January 2016 and I was willing to to commute…

90% DIET, GIRLS. (AND SAY BYE BYE TO BUBBLY)

A few days before the challenge started, we were invited to a briefing. Lesley, the female trainer, looked us in the eye and said that getting in shape was 80% diet. She added that for women, it might even by 90% diet. She told us that was no allowance for alcohol during the challenge. Not one drop. We all looked at one another in shock with our post holiday bellies and diaries full of dinner plans. What? No alcohol AT ALL? (I lasted consecutive 34 days before succumbing to a glass or three of Cap Classique. 34 out of 84 days. Not even halfway).

THE GET FIT CHALLENGE DIET

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It’s spartan

The Get Fit Challenge was started in Durban by two personal trainers from Virgin Active who wanted to help their clients actually see visible results. The key is obviously the diet. I’m only able to review it from my perspective, obviously, but also only from a female perspective. Without giving away Get Fit’s intellectual property, I’ll give you an idea of how the diet works. In short, it’s what I call… ahem… “spartan” – i.e. light on content (but probably contains sufficient calories for health purposes).

Say cheers! (to your social life)

I won’t lie, I found it very challenging (but I would say that about every diet). It’s simplicity suited me though. Travel/ holidays and social engagements made it much, much harder for me. I don’t have a hectic social life, so that helped, especially with the “no booze” policy but I found myself making fewer plans which involved drinking or eating out. As a result, my lame social life went from below average to pathetic.

There is sugar in, like, everything

If you stick to the diet to the letter, you consume: no dairy, no fruit, very specific, healthy carbs only and no carbs after lunch. (I didn’t even attempt cutting out milk in coffee and I ate some fruit, but tried not to eat lots of it and tried to choose lower sugar/ lower calorie fruit like strawberries, blueberries or melons though I sometimes went a bit wild and consumed banana or apple).

Breakfast

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For breakfast they tell you to have protein and carbs, but ideally no bread as breads off the shelf contain sugar. (I’ve never really understood before why bread is evil unless you are gluten intolerant. Now I know.) I either ate three scrambled eggs with 100% rye toast or Oats (the original ones that are really, really bland as a result of having no crap added to them) with some whey protein. Let me tell you now that I cannot stand pills and potions (aka supplements and shakes). I often eat my breakfast post work-out while driving kids to school. One morning Chiara’s classmate was sitting behind me in the car when he got a whiff of my whey protein. “Eeeeuwww!!!! What’s that SMELL??” he shouted so loudly I think the whole of the Sandton CBD could hear. Chiara then gave a good sniff and together they began a cacophony of mock-vomiting noises from the backseat. I kind of agree. Whey protein is fake and gross.

Snacks

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Mid-morning and afternoon, you’re supposed to snack on biltong or protein shakes or half a can of tuna or such-like. I tried to avoid this: I don’t think biltong is healthy and it makes me even thirstier than usual. I also loathe drinking my “food”. But if you’re on the run, it’s not so easy to carry around your half handful of smoked mackerel for your 3pm snack…

Lunch and dinner

For lunch and dinner you eat a very small portion of lean protein with veg and/or salad. At lunch you need to have some brown rice or sweet potato and somewhere in the day you throw in a tiny morsel of healthy fat. I don’t like nuts so I would have half an avo at lunch which was like manna from heaven and at night I would half choke on my bone dry chicken breast or piece of fish pan-fried with Spray and Cook.

In short, the diet is a riot but it obviously works if you can stick to it.

THE GET FIT CHALLENGE EXERCISE CLASSES

You sign up for a 6-week/ 8-week or 12-week challenge. (I did the latter – it was the one that started the soonest in January and that’s why I chose it). You pay up-front to attend a Get Fit class once, twice or three times a week. If you work it out, you pay about R180 per class so the cost is similar to a Sweat 1000 class, for example, if you’re able to attend all the classes you pay for. I signed up for twice a week at a cost of R4,200. During the twelve weeks, I was out of town twice for a total of two weeks. I also got gastro which put me out for a week. So I ended up wasting about 7 sessions which I wasn’t able to catch up because of times/ location/ traffic/ other commitments etc.

The classes consist of intense resistance training for short intervals at a time. Not totally dissimilar to “The Grid” at Virgin Active, but what sets the Get Fit classes apart is the awesome, super-fast paced music. I found I could cope fairly easily with some of the exercises in a class and others were really challenging for me. Some people were super fit, in great shape and were coming to class purely for fitness maintenance purposes, others were trying to start exercising after a long break, it appeared. The theory is that you can sort of go at your own pace. I battled to remember what to do at the different stations (it gets explained up-front before the class starts) so I would also try to pair up with at least one other person which made the experience easier and more fun.

RESULTS & RECOMMENDATIONS

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BEFORE: Jan 2016: 64kg. AFTER: April 2016: 61kg

For me, it was a great kickstart to shed the extra 3kg that were really bugging me. I’m bummed I’m not able to put up a picture of a six-pack. According to Get Fit’s assessment, I am a mere 4kg away from body fat of 18%, which would be “excellent” for my, ahem… age (37). So close and yet so far… For real inspiration, check out the Challenge’s winners and finalists here.

I would definitely recommend the Challenge if you live or work close to Coachman’s Crossing in Peter Place and you need to have something to lose like your time, money or dignity, when you don’t stick to a diet after Day 2. I lost all of these in spades in those 12 weeks but am happy to report that at least I lost a few kilos too, so I consider the experience worth my while.

(The next challenge is a 12 week challenge and it starts on 9 May. You can sign up here.)

(I wrote this post entirely independently with no payment or input from Get Fit. These are purely my views and my experiences).

One (Wo)man’s Fat Jeans…

…might just be another (wo)man’s goal weight jeans…

In my post Is Your Body Lotion Making You Fat? I joked about how that diet’s literature counselled users not to use body lotions as the creams could be “absorbed by the skin as fat”. I still find the statement hilarious. As to its veracity, I can’t say I bothered consulting with anyone in the medical field (apart from the medical practitioners you pay to give you the diet) so I have no idea if it’s true or not. It just sounds ludicrous. Nonetheless, since I first started eating meals that looked like this:

A typical lunch or dinner on "the body lotion diet"
A typical lunch or dinner on “the body lotion diet”

on the body lotion diet, I’ve lost 13kg – with the application of body cream (believe it or not).

This is me at 71kg in mid-March:

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The head that goes with the body to prove it really was me
The head that goes with the body to prove it really was me

I look drab because I dressed drab and I dressed drab because I felt drab. I didn’t have “no energy” and sure, I wasn’t morbidly obese (although, technically, I might have been had my body fat percentage been taken) but my new favourite Country Road pants were cutting into me at the waist and I just felt kak. I hated getting dressed in the morning, I hated catching sight of my body in the mirror. And it pissed me off that I had gained enough weight to technically make me need to buy size 14 pants – all in the space of a few months (not that I was skinny before).

I felt like I needed to do something really drastic and different to change the central role that food and eating was playing in my life (and has always played ever since I can remember). I was also pissed off that my weight was taking up so, so much of my headspace. I mean – what a serious waste of brainpower and energy, right? Because I knew that it didn’t have to be this way. I knew I could look – and feel different. I was the only thing standing in my way.

Fast forward four months. This is me last night just before a rare and wonderful date night with my husband:

58kg on 13 July
58kg on 13 July

I’m stoked, to put it mildly. I now weigh 58kg (butt naked, first thing in the morning “pre-coffee and post-wee” as Susan Hayden once elegantly put it). I am 1.66m tall and according to Weight Watchers I should weigh between 55kg and 69kg. That’s based solely on height, not bone structure but I know I’m not a mesomorph (Serena Williams) so I shouldn’t weigh 69kg and I know I’m not an ectomorph (Kate Moss) so I doubt I need to weigh 55kg. I have tiny wrists but I have child-bearing hips (as my first ever personal trainer was frank enough to put it), my mother’s non-existent arse, her broad back and my paternal grandmother’s “problem” thighs. And thanks to my recent weight loss I no longer have boobs. Yip, I am officially an A-cup. But I have two skinny friends whose boobs disappeared after breastfeeding so I have been well counselled in the way of push-up bras. And my very generous husband is happy to buy me boobs. And I am more than happy to accept his generous offer. Feminist shock horror, I know. I actually do consider myself somewhat of a feminist – albeit a far less fervent one than I was in my “youth”. I’m just a vain feminist and if buying boobs is on offer, then I’d like a pair. Thanks, Babe.

Despite exercising 4-6 times a week on average for the past 5 years (including resistance training twice a week with a personal trainer), my tummy and thighs are still – even at 58kg – soft and spongy. But for the 3 weeks a year a spend in a bikini in public, I can totally live with that. Or I can train harder for a harder stomach. Whatever. Life is short.

As for other (wo)mens’ fat jeans… I distinctly remember my neighbour letting slip what she weighed when we were both around 6 months pregnant with our second children last year. 53kg. I think I might have weighed that in Standard Three – before I got boobs. (I used to have boobs). I am now very proud to say that I am wearing her “fat” jeans. Okay, they are incredibly low and I can’t bend over but whatever – they’re Replays and they once belonged to someone who weighed 53kg when she was six months pregnant. Who needs to bend over? These are them jeans:

Proudly wearing my neighbour's fat jeans
Proudly wearing my neighbour’s fat jeans

Naturally, I am so thrilled with my new body that I could get slightly evangelical about the body lotion diet. But I am not here to punt it at all. I found it soul destroyingly difficult at first – yes, soul destroyingly difficult. I have no other words. The extreme deprivation was literally soul destroying. I didn’t (couldn’t) follow it nearly as closely as I was advised to by the doctor and nurse who counselled me. I didn’t really enjoy the fact that you’re advised to only do light cardio a few times a week owing to the low calorie intake. (I’m a stay at home mom – I now LIKE going to the gym). And I didn’t fully listen to that either. I took breaks from the diet many times which wasn’t advised. I gained back a bit of weight when I took my first two week break but when I took the second two week break, I exercised alot, ate a bit more carefully and didn’t gain back the weight.

I can honestly say that getting down to even 60kg has been sort of life changing. I like looking in my full length mirror. I like getting dressed in the morning. I enjoy shopping for clothes. And I don’t really mind what the size tag says – as long as they fit. (Okay, I won’t buy a size 14 even if it’s a Lilliputian size 14 but maybe one day I’ll get over that too). The nude coloured spaghetti strap top in the picture above is a top I bought from Witchery yesterday. It’s an XS and I truthfully I am just teensy bit stoked. (I have a medium-sized bone structure and I am not really an XS and Woolies is really generous with their sizing but whatever. The label says XS, okay? I might frame it…)

I feel on top of the world writing this post. I know there is a very real risk that I could gain all the weight back and more, but that is one of the reasons I am putting this in writing and making my experience very public. And it’s a very vain and shallow post to write but I am a stay-at-home mom and/or a housewife and it’s taken me years to utter those words out loud so I’m okay with calling myself vain and shallow.

But I’m not really fundamentally vain or shallow. Which is why I want to end off this post with something written by Amber Jones from Go Kaleo. Leigh – a close friend of my sister’s and a trained nutritionist “introduced” me to Amber Jones by posting a comment about her on my blog when I wrote about the deprivation of the body lotion diet. I don’t identify with absolutely everything Amber says about diets and food and weight but she sounds highly intelligent, I do relate to many things she writes and I have no doubt that she’s changing lives as we speak. This is an extract from something she wrote recently. It is so magnificently written and so profound, that I get a lump in my throat every time I read it. Despite the vain and shallow things I’ve written above, I agree with every single one of Amber’s words below:

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This picture of me does not tell you how happy I am. It does not tell you how much value I bring to the lives of others. It does not tell you how many people love me. It does not signify that I am better or worse than anyone else. It does not convey the works I create in this world.

Being fit is awesome, because it keeps me healthy and strong so I can go out in the world and do awesome things. Being fit, itself, is not the goal. Being fit is a means to accomplish my true goals. If your goal ends at ‘being fit’, think bigger! The world has so much more for you!

This is one of many links to Amber’s full article. To my fellow Fat to Fit challengers on Gaelyn Cokayne’s programme, entering Week 5 of the challenge, think about Amber’s words when you feel guilty for sharing a pizza with your toddler.

And to the love of my life: thank you for your unwavering support on this journey. You inspire me to be better – in every way. I look forward to so many runs, hikes, rides and adventures with you and our beautiful children.

Is Your Body Lotion Making You Fat?

When I started Weight Watchers five months after Chiara was born, I resigned myself to the fact that no matter how long it took, I wanted this to be the last “diet” I ever went on. A year later, I was 13kg slimmer. I wasn’t super skinny but I was within a few kilos of the lower end of the healthy weight range for my height and build. Then I fell pregnant with Joe and I used this as an excuse to indulge. By the end of my pregnancy I had packed on nearly 14kg.

Thanks to an easy birth and a wonderful night nurse, I was back at Weight Watchers 10 days after giving birth and back at personal training when Joe was two weeks old. My gynae explained to me that it would be difficult to shift weight in the first 12 weeks following child birth and he was absolutely right. It did get slightly easier after that and by the December holidays, I had managed to shed close to 11kg of the 14kg gained in pregnancy. But then came Mauritius, overseas guests, Christmas, New Years, my birthday, kiddies’ birthday parties… Every excuse in the book for me to gain back 6kg out of the 11kg I had managed to shift. And if you deduct Joe’s birth weight from the equation, it meant that 8 months after his birth, I was exactly 1.7kg slimmer than the day I gave birth.

Enter severe self-loathing and the decision to do something drastic.

I knew of someone who had shed a fortune of weight very quickly through one of these expensive medical slimming programmes. I generally don’t like diets that make me drink my food instead of eating it, nor do I like ones where I can hardly eat anything. This diet had both of those elements plus one added bonus: a daily injection in the arse. Awesome.

Nonetheless I made an appointment, had a big fat pizza the night before and went to the consultation prepared to starve myself to thinness. I had to smile. The questionnaire wanted to know why I was overweight, as if it were one of life’s great mysteries. “I eat too much,” I wrote.

The briefing with the nurse offered some good news and some bad. The bad news was that the hormone we were to inject daily would take a week to arrive. Psychologically I needed to start immediately. So this was really bad. The good news was that exercise wasn’t really encouraged since you’d be eating basically “eff all”. I could work with that.

Another bad sign was that I was asked three times, by three different people (therapist, nurse, doctor) whether I’d done this before.

“No!” I felt like screaming, “if I done this before I’d be skinny, right? Right? RIGHT?”

Of course the worst news of all was the daily meal plan:

– 30ml of skim milk
– 2 small fruits (excluding bananas and grapes)
– a shake for breakfast
– lunch and dinner: 75g of lean chicken/ fish with 120g of steamed veggies but not the yummy ones like butternut
– 3 provitas (and boy do I look forward to those three bad boys)

The theory behind the programme is that when you inject yourself with the hormone that is activated when humans actually face potential starvation – the HCG hormone – your brain tells your body to attack your fat reserves. But you can’t trick your brain into thinking that you’re starving if you’re not – hence the fact that you can barely eat.

Although I haven’t felt starving on the programme (supposedly the hormone means you don’t feel hungry) I have felt utterly deprived and at times miserably depressed. It has honestly been the hardest diet I have ever been on – and boy, have I been on plenty in my life. However, I have managed to shift 5.5kg after 20 days of (more or less) sticking to the regime in a 30 day period. So, I would argue that it has been worth it, even if I do gain back 1kg after eating one Easter egg this weekend.

Having said this, winter is not the most ideal time of year to go on this diet, because, according to the programme’s literature, you could be giving up cupcakes only to have your starving body guzzle up the calories in your cocoa butter. This is the warning:

“Body lotion and body butter: You will be surprised at the amount of calories body cream, oil, body butter and lotions contain. During the initial 6 week period, it is advisable not to apply any body lotion or cream or oil to your body. The absorption of fat by the skin can make a difference to the total amount of calories consumed…”

So with the beginning of winter and Joburg’s high altitude, I look and feel like a crocodile but at least I’m a slightly skinnier crocodile than I was a month ago…

Little Girls & the “F” Word

I don’t know how long we’ll be able to maintain this, but for now, the “F” word is banned in our house. “Fat” is not a word my daughter – nearly three – has ever uttered. I know this will change but when it does, I’ll pretend not to notice. We still read Jack Sprat to her and she sees the picture of the morbidly obese Mrs Sprat in her Richard Scarry nursery rhyme book, but I don’t think she has any negative associations towards the poor woman who could “eat no lean.”

I was in no way conscious of body size when I was a little girl. That is, until I went to school. I turned 6 a few weeks after starting Sub A. (I never went to play school or nursery school). Shortly thereafter, and ever since then, I have thought of myself as some form of “fat” – overweight, slightly overweight, downright fat – somewhere on that spectrum. I am pretty sure it began when the Std 5’s chose mascots for inter-house Athletics. I wasn’t picked and it wasn’t hard for my 6 year old brain to figure out why. The girls who were chosen were tiny – short and skinny and just miniscule and adorable. Those of us who were taller – and perhaps chubbier but not necessarily – were not destined to be mascots for the Blue Team. And that’s how I knew I was fat and that fat did not equal cute.

At the age of 6 I had come face to face with the concept of body image in the Western world. I was probably fortunate to have this realisation relatively late. But I lived in a seaside village with a generator and no TV and I can’t see how I will be able to protect The Princess in the same way that I was sheltered for so long.  Still, I would like to try and keep the “F” word as a banned word, for as long as possible. And I would more or less like to put into practice exactly what blogger and university student, Sarah Koppelkam, wrote last year in her post, “How to talk to your daughter about her body.” Sarah’s article was picked up by The Huffington Post and it quickly went viral. I came across it randomly when a London-based school friend of mine shared a copy and paste version of it on Facebook – one that had initially been posted on Facebook by a personal trainer in New Zealand – to give you a sense of just how viral we’re talking. I think it went viral because so many women identified with it. It is also incredibly beautifully written. If you haven’t yet come across it, here it is, with a link to the original post on Sarah’s blog below.

How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one: don’t talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.

Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.

If you think your daughter’s body looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:

“You look so healthy!” is a great one.

Or how about, “you’re looking so strong.”

“I can see how happy you are – you’re glowing.”

Better yet, compliment her on something that has nothing to do with her body.

Don’t comment on other women’s bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.

Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.

Don’t you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk about your new diet. In fact, don’t go on a diet in front of your daughter. Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals. But don’t say “I’m not eating carbs right now.” Your daughter should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to shame about yourself.

Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that’s a good thing sometimes.

Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you’ll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn’t absolutely in love with.

Prove to your daughter that women don’t need men to move their furniture.

Teach your daughter how to cook kale.

Teach your daughter how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.

Pass on your own mom’s recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.

Maybe you and your daughter both have thick thighs or wide ribcages. It’s easy to hate these non-size zero body parts. Don’t. Tell your daughter that with her legs she can run a marathon if she wants to, and her ribcage is nothing but a carrying case for strong lungs. She can scream and she can sing and she can lift up the world, if she wants.

Remind your daughter that the best thing she can do with her body is to use it to mobilize her beautiful soul.

http://hopeave.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/how-to-talk-to-your-daughter-about-her-body/

On Khloe Kardashian, Self Esteem, Liz Hurley & White Jeans

Having a new baby means being awake at all sorts of ungodly hours. Thanks to The Husband’s generosity and pragmatism, we have a night nurse. I say “pragmatism” because he knows how grumpy I get when I am sleep deprived and he knows there is a practical – albeit costly – solution. Her name is Precious. She taps me gently while I am sound asleep and says with urgency:

“He’s awake!”

I fly out of bed in response to the urgency in Precious’ voice, dash to the nursery and then flop into the feeding chair and sometimes even fall asleep while Precious changes The Prince’s nappy and readies him for his feed. And then I generally sleep through the feed until she prods me and tells me it’s time to change sides. I can safely say that I would trade in my car if I had to, for the luxury of a night nurse. I feel human the day after Precious’ shift and like a dead woman walking the day after her night off.

Most nights I crawl back into bed and pass out after the feed, but some nights (and, fortunately, so far, not many) I simply can’t get back to sleep. This was the case a few nights ago. I was so wide awake that I eventually crawled out of bed at 4am and crept to the TV room.

I happened to turn on M-Net just as a show called The Talk started. It featured a bunch of women sitting around a table. Amongst the women, I recognised Sharon Osborne. As the introductory music ended and the audience applauded, one of the women introduced the first topic of the talk show with the solemnity one would expect were she reporting on a grave political crisis: Khloe Kardashian’s poor self esteem.

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The camera then cut to this round-table of female presenters looking traumatised by the news and brimming with empathy for the reality TV star. In order to give viewers a real taste of the emotional hardship endured daily by Khloe, the presenter quoted Khloe who had said that “being compared to somebody else every day does sort of beat up your spirit and soul.” Apparently Khloe reported that she had been called the “heavier” and “less attractive” of the sisters. Luckily for Khloe, Sharon Osborne was the first to comment with a statement that is bound to reverse all her psychological trauma:

“I just think she has the BEST personality out of everyone!” Sharon gushed, to rapturous applause from the in-studio audience.

Thanks, Sharon. You do know that you basically just called her ugly? When my dad was at university in the sixties, the prevailing catch phrase for an unattractive woman was: “She sure can cook!” With the emancipation of women and Woolworths microwave meals, the modern version of this maxim has morphed into: “She sure has a great personality”.

I konfess that I just kan’t watch Kris, Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Kendall and Kylie Kardashian/ Jenner and their show at the best of times, although I can’t think of a better cure for insomnia than Khloe Kardashian’s complexes. If only I’d been able to keep the TV on for an extra minute or two, I would have been able to pass out from absolute apathy.

Aside from bad TV at 5am, the weeks following the birth of a child can be tough. Especially when they happen to be the very weeks when Hyde Park and Sandton City go on sale. About a week after The Prince was born, The Husband’s favourite Hyde Park store was offering 50% off all their merchandise and he was looking to spoil me. What could I do under the circumstances other than engage in aspirational acquisitions? I was immediately drawn to a gorgeous pair of white, skinny jeans with gold zips. Tres, tres St Tropez or tres, tres Sandton. But as I picked them up, I was reminded of something a friend told me last year. She told me that it had been said (by some famous and fabulous male stylist, I think) that if you’re a woman and your name is not Liz Hurley, you simply should not wear white jeans. Sorry, honey. Although I agree that I am not Liz Hurley and that I should not wear white jeans, I have always loved white pants and am delighted that white jeans have made a comeback. So I now have this pair – that cost 50% less than usual – hanging in my cupboard, staring at me and taunting me. I should somehow sticky-tape them to the fridge…

Liz Hurley Leaving Her Home London June 17, 2008

But since that’s not terribly practical, I decided to re-join Weight Watchers instead. I polished off a cupcake in the car on the way there and arrived ready to take a deep breath and step on the scale. The last time I attended Weight Watchers was before I found out that I was pregnant with The Prince – a time when I weighed a lot less than I do now. For this reason, I made a point of mentioning to the Group Leader that I had stopped Weight Watchers because I’d fallen pregnant (they don’t allow pregnant people to follow the programme) and that I was returning because I’d just had a baby. Clearly, however, I did not place enough emphasis on the word “just” because a few minutes later I climbed on the scale to hear the Group Leader say (raised eyebrow and all):

“I see… yes… well…your weight has gone up quite a bit.”

“I literally just had a baby eleven days ago!” I snapped.

To this, my fellow members responded as one would hope the Sisterhood would respond with remarks like:

“Oh my gosh, I’d still be in bed!” and

“You look amazing for someone who just had a baby!” (From my observations and my own behaviour, women say this to one another post babies, no matter what, but somehow it’s still nice to hear even if you know it’s a big, fat lie.)

I automatically felt better.

But sisterhood or no sisterhood, I still have to find a way into those designer white jeans before they go out of style again.

Jennilynn’s Amazing 20kg Transformation

As regular readers of this blog can attest, I’ve sometimes used this platform to vent about my dieting triumphs and tribulations. Because I feel that dieting is such a quintessential part of my blog (and my life), I’ve created a special page for it: On Diets & Other Disasters which lists all dieting-related posts.

I spent over a year shaking off 8kg of pregnancy and post-pregnancy pig-outs, followed by a further 4-6kg of post-married travel indulgences which I’d been carrying around for four years before falling pregnant. It was a long, hard slog, filled with cheating, going off the rails, getting back on the bike, trying new diets, taking up running again, personal training, you name it… I tried most things. Unfortunately, before I fell pregnant for the second time, I was still around 4 – 7kg and plenty of toning away from my goal weight and my dream body. I sometimes look wistfully at the bottle of Veuve Cliquot in the back of the drinks cupboard that I have vowed to myself I won’t touch until I reach my ultimate goal weight one day… and wonder if I should just pop the damn thing already…

But in December last year I saw a picture of an acquaintance and Facebook friend, on Facebook, that completely blew my mind. Jennilynn Barnard announced proudly to her friends that since April 2012, she had shed 20kg. When I saw a picture of Jen sporting her new, smoking hot body, I changed my goal: I will not crack open that bottle of Veuve until I look like Jennilynn. Here’s what Jen looked like before her transformation at 76kg (she is 1.62m tall):

Jennilynn: 76kg, April 2012
Jennilynn: 76kg, April 2012

And here’s what she looks like now:

Jennilynn, 55kg, December 2012
Jennilynn, 55kg, December 2012

Pretty impressive, huh? And this is a REAL person whom I actually know.

I’ve always been a sucker for a good, inspirational weight loss story, but to see someone that I know make such a transformation got me so excited that I asked Jen if I could “interview” her for my blog. This is her story in a nutshell:

I met Jen in Stellenbosch in November 2010 when we were both bridesmaids at a mutual friend’s wedding. At the time, she probably weighed somewhere between 65kg and 67kg and she looked pretty good. As the talk between four bridesmaids and a bride invariably would, it turned to the topic of weight. Over the few days I spent in Jen’s company, she often referred to times when she was much skinnier and I could sense that although she did not look particularly overweight, her weight really bothered her. She also told us that she had gained around 10kg in recent years, mostly the result of losing her beloved dog, Holly, and also as a result of hormone treatment she needed to take whilst she was an egg donor (which she hastens to add was an incredibly rewarding experience despite the negative aspect of weight gain).

But when I interviewed Jen this year, she told me that she has struggled with her weight since she was 18 (she turns 31 this month), she’s always been an emotional eater, she has tried every quick-fix diet known to man, she has lost weight, picked it all up again and then some more when going off the diet… and has just generally had an unhealthy relationship with food. After Jen got married in 2011, she gained a fair amount of weight (eventually getting her to 76kg in 2012) through her and her husband’s love affair with take aways – they’d apparently work hard all day and get take-aways at least five times a week.

One morning, Jen and her husband, Ashley, were watching SABC 3’s magazine show, Expresso. The show was calling for entrants into the USN Body Makeover Challenge. Ashley turned to her and said what no man in his right mind should EVER say to the love of his life:

“You should try that, honey!”

Jen was understandably livid, wanting to know if he thought she was fat, if he thought her body needed a makeover, etc, etc. Still fuming a few days later, she relayed this experience to a friend. I can only assume that this friend of Jen’s is either practically a sister or had recently experienced a severe blow to the head, because, instead of making Jen feel better about her body, she proceeded to show her a recent photograph, declaring:

“See how much weight you’ve put on since you got married, my friend?”

Fortunately, this didn’t cause Jen to knock her friend to the floor. Instead, she bravely absorbed this girl’s words and decided to go straight to USN’s web-site to download their twelve week diet and exercise plan. Over a five month period from April to September 2012, Jen lost around 10kg – a great, steady, but intense weight loss achievement, if you ask me. She says there were times when she wasn’t all that strict, particularly during a two-week overseas trip near the beginning of her diet when she went off the rails and regained most of the starting weight that she had lost. But when she returned home to Somerset West, she got back on track and achieved her 10kg weight loss. During this time, Jen mostly followed the eating plan on USN’s site. She also religiously followed their gym programme – going from someone who loathed doing resistance training to absolutely loving it – and she finally had the confidence to take up dancing again which she’d given up at the age of 20. (She now does weight training three to four times a week and cardio three times a week.)

Then came Expresso and USN’s call for Cape Town entrants for their annual challenge. From September to November, Jen went into competition mode, not drinking one drop of alcohol, as one example and she lost an incredible 10.5kg in only three months – the greatest loss of all the Cape Town contestants.

That was when Jen started mentioning her amazing transformation on Facebook and posting pictures of her shoot as one of the competition finalists, looking absolutely fabulous in a bikini on Camps Bay Beach. Despite being married to Ashley, a total beach junkie, Jen hated the beach because she never wanted to be seen in a bikini. Only eight months later, she was being interviewed in her bikini on national TV! And she looked phenomenal. In the lead-up to the announcement of the winner, I followed all Jen’s posts on Facebook, watched all her interviews on You Tube, voted for her and eagerly awaited the announcement of the winner on the Expresso show one Friday morning in December. I was so excited when she won, I was practically in tears. Of course I was biased because I know her, but I really felt like she had made the most impressive transformation and therefore wholly deserved to win.

Well done on your win, Jen, and, most importantly, on your amazing new body! And thank you for sharing your story with me… Here is a video clip of Jen describing (in her bikini, of course) how she and her dog, Seba, both trimmed down:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkMjTOLF8QI

Jennilynn on beach

Jennilynn strapless bikini

On Cupcakes & Frozen Custard in New York

As friends and regular readers of this blog well know, I am fascinated by diets, weight, food, fat etc. So basically, I’m a girl 🙂 In all seriousness, I know thin girls, fat girls, slightly overweight girls, super skinny girls and obese girls and no matter our size, most of us obsess over our weight and/ or food in some form or another. I may be on the slightly more obsessive end of the scale, (if you’ll excuse the pun), but I’ve come to realise, over the years, that I’m a lot more normal than I used to think, in this respect. And so, it should come as no surprise that when I travel, I can’t help taking note of the food/fat phenomenon amongst other cultures (for example, on the ski slopes of Austria in 2010). My trip to New York at the end of May was no exception.

My main observation was: THERE ARE NO FAT PEOPLE IN NEW YORK! I looked and looked and searched and searched – purely out of curiosity –  and I honestly couldn’t find any. I’m sure they must exist somewhere, in some part of the city…(and no, I did not leave Manhattan) … but they weren’t making themselves evident during my three day visit there.

As a case in point, The Sister and I stood in a 45 minute queue at The Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, trying to buy one of their famous burgers.

Home of delicious burgers in Madison Square Park, New York

The kind folks from The Shake Shack have a method designed to a) keep their long-suffering queuing customers in good humour in 30 degree New York heat and b) entice you with their yummy, junk food. What they do is they hand out free nibblies. The Sister and I got handed a tiny, teeny pot of something that resembled ice cream. For all my food weaknesses, I can usually say “no” to ice cream, but it had been a long wait and I decided that one little bite wouldn’t hurt. The waitress handed it to me and declared it to be “frozen custard”. Now, I have tasted custard, I’ve tasted yoghurt, I’ve tasted frozen yoghurt and I’ve tasted ice cream and I’d like to declare that the American innovation   known as “frozen custard” is un- frigging – believable!

“Oh my God!” I exclaimed in awe. “This is amazing!”

“What’s the difference between ice cream and frozen custard?” I asked The Sister (given that they look so similar).

Before she had a chance to answer, I heard a Southern drawl from the person next in line. She spoke as though she truly, in her heart of hearts, understood my excitement at my first taste of frozen custard and she explained the difference with a dreamy look in her eyes. I don’t remember the details, but I do recall her looking at me sadly and explaining that one of the key differences was that frozen custard had more fat in it, than ordinary ice cream. I believed her – frozen custard definitely tastes way too good to be true. The point is, this very sweet, very friendly Southern gal was the only person I saw who actually looked like someone who would know the difference between ice cream and frozen custard in the whole of Manhattan.

Instead of queuing for burgers at The Shake Shack, I saw New Yorkers with bodies to die for doing the following:

… sunning themselves in Madison Square Park, right next door to The Shake Shack

I mean, why wouldn’t you lie around in your bikini in the middle of the city if you look like a million bucks in your teeny weeny bikini?

… doing yoga in Central Park

…and running and cycling in Central Park and all around the city. Before I left for New York, I asked The Husband what he thought I should not miss out on, given that I had only three days there. Being the sports obsessed psycho that he is, on the top of his “to do” list was: a run in Central Park. And so, on my second day in The Big Apple, The Sister and I got dressed in our running kit, caught the subway to the Upper East Side and set off on a 5km run in Central Park.

Entering the famous Central Park for the first time…

It was a Sunday morning, overcast but not cold, so yes, it was a perfect day for some cardio but I have to say that never, ever have I seen so many people being so active in one area at one time. I kept on wondering whether we weren’t perhaps running “against the traffic” – we just passed jogger after runner after cyclist after walker after runner after sprinter after roller blader. The throng of exercise freaks seemed absolutely endless. Then, the next day, we took a stroll along the river, heading towards Wall Street and the Financial District. That morning was absolutely sweltering and yet, once again, we passed a constant throng of people running, cycling and playing tennis. Watching all of this was so exhausting that we were forced to stop for breakfast. This is what a place called Bubby’s in Tribeca ordinarily serves one person:

Breakfast for one, at Bubby’s, New York

The sight of all these ripped people (and the sight of our neighbour’s gigantic portion and the organic/ grain-fed/fair trade/ local farm-around-the-block price tag of $22 per portion) led us to share one between two…

Besides endless amounts of cardio, the other potential secret to New Yorkers have for limiting calorie intake is the institution of “brunch” over the weekend. On my first day, The Sister made “brunch” reservations for us – at 12:45pm. As far as I’m concerned that’s almost a late lunch, but as I would learn in the coming days, “brunch” in New York is basically any daytime meal eaten over the weekend. And you can’t eat two brunches in one day, can you? So, with a mere change in terminology, you have wiped out one of your three meals for the day. Pretty neat, huh?

Still, the extent to which New Yorkers are in shape is completely at odds with the extent of tempting yummies on EVERY street corner. Red velvet cupcakes, cheesecake, giant chocolate chip cookies… delish tasting calories are simply ever present in this town. And someone has to be consuming this stuff, or else the gazillion bakeries simply wouldn’t survive. The only possible explanation is that there are just SO many people that when you divide the calories up between everyone who can only but indulge from time to time, that leaves you with an insufficient number of calories for a red velvet cupcake boep… that’s my theory anyway.

Because cupcakes truly are the epitome of evil. I found this out when I picked up a stash of American magazines at the airport. According to an article in Bloomberg Businessweek, the state of Massachusetts had attempted to “ban school bake sales of non-nutritious foods”:

Long live the Great American Cupcake!

While people with mouths rejoiced in Massachusetts, The Sister and made like her fellow New Yorkers and brunched on brown rice sushi at Dean & Deluca after our run in Central Park. We couldn’t quite face the soy milk cappuccinos, though.

Maybe next time…

“Brunch” at Dean & Deluca

 

 

 

Man Cannot Live By Chocolate Alone

This is a magnet I’ve had on my fridge for years. I’m starting to think it may have been subliminally fuelling my love of chocolate…

It’s Monday today, which means my new diet starts today. (If I had R1 for every Monday that I intended to start a diet, I would be a bazillionaire.)

I think I need to change this slogan. I need a little inspiration from Little Britain’s Marjorie Dawes, the delightful Group Leader of her local Fat Fighters club. Here’s a quote from the rather voluptous Ms Dawes, who is trying to introduce her members to a new, zero calorie food substitute:

“Dust. Anybody? No. High in fat? Low in fat? Dust…It’s actually very low in fat. You can have as much dust as you like.”

Awesome. New motto:

MAN CANNOT LIVE BY DUST ALONE BUT NATALIE CAN

Granted, about a month and a half ago while I was standing on the Weight Watcher’s scale, holding my breath, sucking in my cheeks, wearing a dress so light it could be mistaken for a nightie… I had officially lost 10 kilograms since 22 July 2011. And yes, I remember that fateful day in July when I stepped onto the Weight Watchers scale and told the Group Leader that her scale was definitely broken as there was no way in hell that THAT number represented my weight.

But since the happy 10kg loss I have backslid somewhat a gained a kilo or so. Now, my goal of losing millions of kilos before leaving for New York on 25 May is no longer possible. Isn’t it amazing how time flies when you’re stuffing your face?

The Husband’s cycling buddy went on one of those insane diets where you lose like 5 kilos in 15 seconds. You know – those lovely diets where you inject yourself, eat two steamed peas for breakfast, drink a putrifying shake for lunch and snack on dust, air and your own saliva. She lost 5 kilos in two weeks, to be precise and went on to lose 14kg over three months. I know I should be happy for her but I am absolutely GREEN with envy. I decided drastic action was required.

So I checked out her diet and was really keen for a split second, but I’m just not big on jabbing myself daily like a druggie. And The Husband has been known to pass out at the sight of needles, so he’d be no help with my morning stabs. I also have an absolute abhorrence for shakes. Five months of Herbalife in first year varsity means I cannot stomach the smell of a shake – milkshakes aside, obviously. Five months of liquid for breakfast, liquid for supper. (The Herbalife plan allowed you to splash out and eat solids for lunch – YEEHA!). Of course I lost a fortune of weight but the minute I ate solids again – even just a freaking toasted sandwich now and then – I packed on the weight.

So that put paid to the 14kg in five minutes cycling diet, tempting as it was, seeing the results in the flesh.

I then voraciously consumed Tim Noakes’ theory which states that a high protein/ low carb intake is the business. But The Husband’s uber lean cycling friend who lives off things like chickpeas, lentils, wheat free Bircher muesli and fruit (and has body fat of about 7%), told me it was a bad idea. I trust thin, healthy people, so I took his word for it.

Okay, so then I checked out Dr Dukan’s diet on-line (“five million French people can’t be wrong”) but then I remembered reading a blog post last year by Mushy Peas on Toast. She started on Atkins, lost 2kg in a month, decided it was B.S and moved on to the Dukan Diet. Dukan is the diet that Tim Noakes implies Elizabeth Hurley got Fatboy Shane Warne onto. (Apparently Shane Warne is now looking rather ripped, but clearly I’m behind the times because I thought Liz Hurley was married to a Pakistani cricketer – can’t keep up with these celebs).

Anyhoo, so “Peas” from Mushy Peas on Toast tried Dukan with her colleague. Here’s what her colleague said about the experience:

Eating only skinless chicken breasts for 3 days made (me) go on a weekend binge fest that involved making love to vatfuls of cake.

Not ideal. With all the kiddie birthday parties The Princess get invited to I am confronted by alarmingly yummy butter icing cup-cakes. Mmmm.

So I scrapped the idea of the Dukan diet. I then got obsessed by a diet that my new mommy friend from down the road told me about: Healthpoint. I was ultra keen until a Google search revealed that this is an Amway product. I am not buying YET another diet. If I could get back all the money I have spent on diets and pills and shakes over the years, I’d also be a bazillionaire. So there went Healthpoint.

I then walked past the dieticians in Atholl Square and their first opening was this Thursday. Are you kidding me? No ways. First of all, you can’t start a diet on a Friday and second of all, this is freaking urgent, people!!!

Then I remembered a dietician I used to go to years ago. When she first handed me her diet plan I asked if she was trying to kill me. I later discovered that a friend of mine was also seeing her. She was referring to her as The Food Fascist and that set off a recognition trigger in my brain – OMG! Same girl! Aptly named, I have to say. Nonetheless, her very spartan diet did actually work, so I figured I’m going to do a combinantion of Weight Watchers and The Food Fascist’s diet and I’m going to go to my weekly Tuesday weigh-ins at Weight Watchers just so that I have an affordable policeman involved. There’s something about stepping onto the scale under the watchful eye of someone else, that can actually alter behaviour…

On The Food Fascist Diet I get to eat the following: (it’s so spartan, I can actually type it up for you in like 10 seconds).

BREAKFAST: half a cup of cereal with milk, 1 small fruit

LUNCH: 1 tin of tuna OR 2 eggs OR 2 small chicken breasts AND 2 teaspoons of margarine

SNACK: (Yeeha! I thought she’d outlawed snacking): 100ml Activia yoghurt OR 1 small fruit

SUPPER: same as lunch but can substitute with two hand size portions of fish

Veg (and dust) are free, but the good stuff like butternut and pumpkin are limited to one serving spoon full, so there goes my favourite butternut and avo salad from Tasha’s where they give you like half a butternut…

When I did The Food Fascist’s Diet in 2008, I lost 3.8kg in two weeks but I’ll settle for 3kg in 18 days. I’ll worry about the other 5kg post New York when I plan to drink my body weight in cocktails on top of the Empire State building or wherever it is that New York people drink cocktails. Everywhere – if The Sister’s stories are anything to go by.

Sounds like a plan.

Diets are always good in the planning stage.

Fortunately for my master plan, we had date night at DW Eleven-13 this Saturday night – i.e. BEFORE the commencement of The Food Fascist Diet. Oh my greatness, the food was amazing. And original. Normally, I am not a big fan of original and experimental. I like the food I know and like and I want it to taste GOOD. And I don’t want teeny, tiny French sized portions. And that’s what I like about DW. The overall cuisine and influence I would call French but the portions are Saffer size. Not ridiculously huge, but substantial. No room for dessert and side orders if you have a starter and a main which is just how I like it.

Plus, even though the chef and restaurant have won awards they are completely not up their own arses. They are so NICE – it’s really refreshing. When you call to see if they can squeeze you in last minute, they try their best. They don’t scoff and clear their throats and condescendingly tell you to call two weeks in advance.

Divine, divine up-market, fine dining restaurant. I highly recommend it.

Right folks, with the distant memory of DW‘s lamb and porcini lasagne, I’m off to measure out my half cup of All Bran. Eighteen days and counting…

New York, Crispy Cassava Snacks & Kit Kat Singles

The Princess first started to display signs of separation anxiety around 7 months or so. I think around 8 months is text book or something, so I wasn’t too surprised when it happened. Yesterday, however, her separation anxiety reached new heights. I literally had to go to the toilet with her on my lap. Her reaction was so violent when I tried to put her down that I thought she actually might injure herself if I laid her on the floor – albeit right in front of me – with her toys.

Fortunately for me, around the time her separation anxiety started, she became a Daddy’s Girl through and through. There was about a week where she would cling on to me and then she started putting her arms out for her Daddy while I was holding her and refusing to come to me from her Daddy’s arms. Part of me is mortified by this, but in many ways it makes life easier. For example, the guilt at jumping on a plane bound for New York will be cushioned by the fact that she will be having a ball with her Daddy for the four days I am not here.

Yip, for four days I will be trying to keep up with The Sister’s glamourous new life in New York City. On Saturday, I got an e-mail saying that she was about to head off to a private party in a loft apartment in Tribeca and that she thought she’d wear her leather pants. My knowledge of New York has been almost exclusively gleaned from Sex & the City. I don’t know where Tribeca is and I don’t own leather pants. When I started writing this blog, it was 11:49 on Sunday morning and I was still in my pyjamas. Not because I went clubbing until 4am that morning but because The Princess and I were embroiled in a battle of wills from 8am to 11am. She was supposed to go down for her morning nap at 8 or 8:30 at the latest and she finally, finally passed out at 11am. That’s a three hour long sleep battle with a ten and a half month old and I felt as though I had just run a marathon. I can’t imagine anything more exhausting. I can’t imagine that a 17 hour trans-Atlantic flight and four-day jet lag can come close.

So, in some ways, I am very ready for New York at the end of May and in some ways, I am so far from being ready. When I booked my flight, I set myself a goal to lose 8.5kg in the 17 weeks before leaving for New York – an average of 0.5kg per week. Sounds healthy and feasible, right? But it’s now three weeks later and whereas I should have lost 1.5kg, I have  lost only half of that – 800g. So now I have exactly 14 weeks to lose 7.7kg. I may need to move the goal posts a little but many kilos are going to need to be shed before I see myself in leather pants…

Enter the dieter’s version of crack cocaine:

1) Crispy Cassava Snacks from Woolworths.

1 small 20g packet = 1 point on Weight Watchers, out of a daily total of 20. Not bad, right? The bonus is that there is so much sh*t on these bad boys that one tiny little packet burns the living crap out of the roof of your mouth, thereby making further eating for the day somewhat painful. A dieter’s dream. My personal faves are the “Cream Cheese & Chives” variant. I find the “Vinegar & Lemon Pepper” flavour tastes like a lemon and I’m also not such a fan of the “Lightly Salted Flavoured” type. Lightly Salted Flavoured: sounds wrong, I know, but that’s what it says on the packet.

2) Kit-Kat Singles.

1 “finger” = 1 point on Weight Watchers. Totally worth it to satiate those chocolate cravings.

I was about to eat the whole bag bag on Sunday as I sat in my pyjamas, hair unbrushed, feeling totally mangled by my sleep fight with The Princess, while The Sister must surely be tottering home from her Tribeca loft party in her heels, ready to sleep off a hangover until midday. Fortunately, for my waistline, The Sister called just then. She said the loft was amazing, there were waiters serving French champagne and little canape thingies. It was, however, mainly populated by thirty-something New York women, looking for husbands. (Evidently, you can say this when you’re 28, you’ve just moved to New York and you’re blonde and hot). Unfortunately for all females concerned, men were apparently thin on the ground and the uber eligible bachelor owner of the amazing Tribeca pad was firmly up his own arse.

And it is armed with this information about the trials and tribulations of New York singletons, that I find the strength to put away the packet of Kit Kat Singles, brush my hair, slap on some make-up and walk to Tashas with The Princess in the Jozi sunshine.