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:

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:


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.

Party Mommy

I officially feel like a student again. Why? Because I have just waxed my own legs. The only difference between now and my student days is that I can afford Veet strips, whereas before I had to rely on good old Mandy's Wax. You'll know exactly what I mean if you've ever had the misfortune of having to wax your own legs.


The reason I'm waxing my own legs is also one of the reasons I haven't been blogging in the last month and a bit. The Father Figure fell ill in early October and has been in various hospitals dotted around the Western Cape. Tomorrow, The Princess, her nanny and I, will make our way to George while The Husband is in London for work, so that I can go and visit my dad. Hence, I am missing my wax appointment on Monday and hence the return to studentdom.


Although it is still early days in terms of The Father Figure's overall recovery, he is out of danger, thankfully. And one thing this whole ordeal has taught me is that he is way, way tougher and stronger than I ever gave him credit for. Turns out he's a fighter! It is very scary confronting the reality that your parents are not immortal but I suppose it makes one realise that our time with our parents is right here, right now. I read an autobiography by a recovered alcoholic, Alice King, a few years ago. Although she was still a fully-fledged alcoholic when she lost her father, she describes how she coped well with his death, despite being very, very close to him. She put it all down to the fact that she "had no unfinished business" with him. Isn't that great? I can't say I would have felt the same way had my dad not pulled through and so I feel very, very fortunate to have been given a chance to work on any "unfinished business" between us.


One piece of business that my dad's illness put paid to, was my half marathon goals. I would love to lay the blame at The Father Figure's feet, but that would be grossly unfair. The truth is, I probably would have clung to any old excuse to get out of my self-imposed running commitments. Whilst I feel I am living proof that anyone with two working legs can run if they put their minds to it, the fact of the matter is that I am just not a runner. I find it incredibly hard, incredibly painful, incredibly uncomfortable. Not to mention the mental anguish I put myself through before hitting the road.


Instead, The Princess and I have become serious walkers. Walking with a baby really is a win-win situation: the baby sleeps, you get exercise, the baby gets fresh air, you get out of the house. There are just advantages all round. On weekends, I sometimes bump into my neighbour going for a run with his two and a half year old daughter in a jogger. Now he's a really, really good athlete but recently he confessed to me that running with a jogger is approximately twice as hard as running without one. That is just not something someone like me can cope with.


So while the Irene half marathon was taking place two weekends ago, The Husband, The Princess and I were enjoying a lazy day out at a Latin themed picnic. Way more fun than running 21km! As for the Surfers Marathon in East London in Feb next year that I made such a big noise about on a previous blog… well, apparently it's physiologically not good to run it. Something about all that uneven sand and what it does to your joints etc… Anyhoo, it sounds VERY dangerous and I, for one, am not about to take those kinds of unnecessary risks with my body. So I will either be drinking a glass of wine and congratulating myself on my prudence or I'll fly to East London and walk the route with my half-sister.


On the weight loss front, I've been more successful than on the running front. I'm a few hundred grams away from my lowest weight in the months leading up to my pregnancy. That does not mean I'm near my goal weight, it simply means I "only" have those 10 kilograms to lose that I've been trying to shed since Std 8. But at least it's 10kg once again and not 17kg, which is what I was facing in July this year, after a winter at home with a newborn baby and finding friendship in food.


And so it was, 7kg lighter, that I managed to squeeze myself into an LBD from 1999 for The Husband's 40th birthday party the other day. It literally was a little black number from the late nineties. I remember the date well, because it was The Husband's first Christmas present to me in the year we started dating. In my defence, it is a fairly timeless black dress, so it seemed okay to dust off the cobwebs and whip it on, twelve years later.


What also seemed okay at the time, was to drink my body weight in sparkling wine. In fact, that probably would have been fine, had there not also been some shooters enjoyed with another "new" mom, who has also barely left the house after dark in the past 8 months.


After my pregnancy, my first reconciliation with champagne came when The Princess was about three or four weeks old. I was not coping. I was being advised by a rather fascist breastfeeding consultant who had me on a three hourly expressing regime around the clock. I was seeing her every other day out of desperation and every time she came around, it seemed I had yet again done something wrong. It was either "your baby's not getting enough sleep!" or "your baby's starving!" or something indicating what a failed, first time parent I was proving to be. So, after I'd decided I'd had enough of this woman, I called for the help of the woman who had taken the ante-natal classes I'd been to at the Morningside Clinic. She was also a qualified Sister, but one who wore make-up. In short, my kind of girl. Her parting words to The Husband and I were:


"Right, here's what you're going to do now. It's Friday night and your nanny's on duty. You need to go out for dinner, order a bottle of champagne and celebrate the birth of your baby."


My protests about alcohol being bad for milk production were tut tutted and dismissed with the words: "Nonsense! Champagne makes milk!"


I was pretty sure that was an old wives' tale and basically, just too good to be true, but who was I to argue with a fully qualified Sister?


The long and short is that we were both so exhausted we were out for dinner for about 45 minutes flat. I downed as much French champagne as I could physically stomach – can't let the good stuff go to waste – and then proceeded to pass out on our bed while my bath overflowed. So much for Party Mommy.


Now, nearly eight months later, I was determined to party all night at The Husband's 40th. Needless to say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and I woke up at 6am the next morning with a headache from hell, still wearing my party dress from 1999. The bad news was that I couldn't quite remember how or when I'd crawled into bed but the good news was that The Princess' nanny was there and so I rolled over and went back to sleep again.


Party Mommy might be out of practice, but at least she's back on the horse and getting in gear for the festive season…

Back on the Scale

I am proud to say that my holiday reading was entitled The Self-Hypnosis Diet. And I actually read it from cover to cover, while in the land of du vin, du pain et du Boursin (the land of wine, bread and Boursin cheese – and if you have not sampled the latter, go directly to your nearest good Spar or Woolies and indulge. It is to die for).
Anyway, so whilst in France, I was reading this book. I even listened to the accompanying CD, consisting of trancework. Trouble is, you have to lie down and close your eyes to do trancework and for me, lying down, closing my eyes and not sleeping is just an impossibility. The authors do say that the “message” contained in the trancework is “still received” by the unconscious mind – even if you are asleep. If this is the case, then that is indeed a score. Lose weight while you sleep. I like it.
Perhaps my unconscious was not hearing so well, though, because in the past three weeks of taking a sabbatical from Weight Watchers, I managed to gain 0.8kg. I suppose it could have been worse but of course I would have preferred no gain at all. I guess those many, many glasses of French wine and all the yummy French restaurants had to go somewhere. So now I have a measely 2.4kg loss to report over a 7 week period. Not exactly the stuff that dieting records are made of.
The plan of action to step this up and get serious again is to run a half marathon. There, now that I’ve written that in black and white and posted it to a public domain I will have no excuse but to do it. Else I will appear lame. And that’s because I will be lame. I planned to start running yesterday but found myself lying in bed absolutely paralysed with fear. Fear of the pain and exhaustion that running when you’re not running fit, causes. Whilst in France, I announced my running plans to The Husband, which is another sure way to make them stick. He suggested “we” (which means him running way, way ahead of me) enter the Irene half marathon because it’s “flat”. After consulting a friend who’s an experienced runner, I heard a different synopsis of the Irene half. There’s only “one bad hill”. Hmmm. Sounds alot scarier already…
During the same wave of enthusiasm for half marathons that hit me in France, I suggested to my half-sister, an East London resident, that she and I do the Surfers half-marathon in East London next year. I was initially attracted to the idea because it’s only 16km, instead of 21km, but here’s what expert friend had to say about the race:
Nats, the Surfer’s is an awesome race, but don’t be misled by the
distance, personally I think its much harder than an ordinary half
marathon. You run in the middle of the day, boiling, start off running
on soft churned up sand, and about three quarters into the race you have
to run over boulders for a good stretch. You also have to swim through
2 rivers (on the upside, there are young hot life guards to help you
The Husband also swears he’ll run this race with me, but I’ve heard that one before. Shame, his ego just can’t handle running as slowly as I run and after the first five or ten minutes, he starts to speed up… he can’t help himself… and before I know it, he’s gone. Maybe I can try to make him jealous at the prospect of hot, young lifeguards hauling me across a river… That said, I’m not sure I want to suffer the indignity of being hauled across a river by anyone… Oh boy, what have I got myself into?
On a less exerting note, I have booked myself in for my very first hypnosis session. The Self-Hypnosis Diet inspired me to the extent that I want to try hypnotherapy for weight loss. Obviously I’m hoping that the therapist unlocks some sort of childhood key to my weight issues. The authors give an example of a chick who discovered during hypnosis that her granny told her that ice cream would always make her feel better and so in her adult life she ate loads of ice cream and got fat. Simple. Key to weight issues unlocked. I’m hoping I also get to blame someone from my childhood for my food addictions. I can just hear The Mother Figure rolling her eyes right now and going “It’s always the mother’s fault!”
Anyway, let’s see what the therapist uncovers on Thursday. Hopefully I’ll manage to go into a state of trance instead of a state of deep sleep as I am most probably about to do right now. Yip, it’s time for The Self-Hypnosis Diet CD. Hopefully tonight I’ll be able to advance beyond track 3: “clearing the past”, before I pass out.
Night, all.