Today is a new day and the start of a determined dieting regime. Well another attempt anyway. First off is to find a suitable book to write down everything that I eat and drink. Then it’s planning menus as much as I can given the circumstances under which we live.
It is difficult enough finding the motivation to do anything these days but to add to it feels like climbing a mountain but it must be done. I know once the weight starts to reduce I will begin to feel better and definitely more positive about life in general. We cannot change our circumstances but the LSO and myself must find a way to live our lives without feeling so unhappy and more on our terms. Control over my weight will be a massive boost to my self-esteem and my ability to cope with everything.
Despite discussing her forthcoming trip to Scotland with my cousin, then putting everything on her calendar with me, the AP yesterday had a real whinge about being away for a month and said she didn’t know that it was going to be for so long but of course she did and has chosen to apparently forget. We have the same reaction to this every year, twice a year in fact and absolutely no thought is given by the AP to us or the fact that without these breaks we would be being admitted to the nearest asylum. We have come to the conclusion that she does this quite deliberately to stir things up but now we just say it is happening and it is what it is. I feel no guilt just relief that I am finally learning to detach myself a little more each day from her cloying tentacles.
Every morning I am asked how I am which I know is supposed to solicit the same response from me to the AP but I made that mistake once before. It is all part of the manipulation and I refuse to jump on that particular bandwagon now. It is quite amazing watching from a distance and realising how much the LSO and I have been used. Sadly I think we were played from the beginning with the earlier telephone calls saying she was lonely that are now denied to the lack of proper eating and looking weak and wobbly when we arrived at her home. Even down to saying she would never come and live with us before she had even been asked. I know now she was cunning enough to sow the seeds in our minds.
Well, we are certainly paying the price for our naivety and unfortunately at a time when we should have had our freedom but we will not be pushed around mentally anymore. The AP is extremely well looked after but she will have to realise that she must back off and be thankful for what she has.
It really is hard work looking after the AP. When I am feeling in good form I cope but when I’m a little under the weather as I am at the moment it really is difficult. The least thing irritates me and the more I try to remain calm the worse it gets. Do I mind that she is demanding and forgets to say thank you? Most of the time the answer is no. When I feel tired and emotional I am aware of every little thing but do I really care? I guess I must care in some way otherwise I wouldn’t react the way I do. I don’t particularly like what the AP is as a person, in fact that’s not entirely true, I actively dislike what she has now become. She can be pleasant one minute and nasty the next, she is unbelievably manipulative using a variety of ways to get her own way with others. The AP is self opinionated, self-centred and critical of others. She can be quite often hostile in her attitude and probably always has been but recognising it is one thing, dealing with all this is an entirely different matter. She can be extremely unpleasant towards the LSO especially if she thinks I am not around, only little things but they can be quite hurtful and do nothing to help towards a calm atmosphere.
Anyone who doesn’t know her well think that she is a sweet, dear little old lady and she tells them enormous lies about what she is capable of doing and we are often told how wonderful she is. She can no longer keep that charade up with those who know her better so doesn’t get away with much but that doesn’t necessarily make life easier for us.
At the moment I just feel unwell and tired. Is that because of the diabetes problem? I am not doing brilliantly well on the dieting front and find the grey, wet and cold weather hugely depressing. A sunny day makes all the difference but they have been few and far between in the last month or so and on top of that we seem to be bogged down with appointments all over the place and really just need a break from it all.
Well, April isn’t too far away and then we can hand the AP over to my cousin and his wife for a month. It really cannot come soon enough.
….then I’ll begin. Those of us of a certain age will remember a radio programme, in the afternoons, called Listen with Mother. It began in the very early fifties for the under fives and ran, I believe into the eighties. It was great for small children who could enjoy a magical story, a nursery rhyme and music whilst sitting with their mothers.
Well, the LSO and I seem to have slipped back in time and each day we have a session of listening to the AP relate yet another tale from the past. The only trouble is these stories are becoming mixed up with other happenings and no longer reflect the actual events at all but the AP insists her made-up version of things are right. The AP has a burning desire to be in control of us which of course is not going to happen so she becomes like a fractious child when thwarted and unfortunately having heard the stories many times we know the correct versions. It’s difficult to deal with because for one thing it doesn’t really matter if it’s all wrong most of the time. It was all in the past but we cannot sit there and say we remember these non existent events especially the ones that appear to involve us in some way so we find ourselves becoming silent as we try to think of a way of changing the subject. The other problem of course is that we are far from being children and are only too aware that our lives are slipping away in a sea of uncomfortable sameness.
Later the same evening a relative from New Zealand rang to speak primarily to the AP and we heard her saying how she walks often around the garden at a brisk pace. What nonsense. She hasn’t been near the garden for months, it has been too cold and too wet for a lot of the time and as for being brisk, well even more nonsensical but why not be honest and just say that. Sadly it’s all part of the fictitious image the AP insists on projecting.
We do understand her need to try to be ahead of the game, or rather her game but at some point some true honesty and acceptance would go a long way with just a hint of grace thrown in for good measure.
Actually I did laugh. The AP arrived downstairs yesterday after her weekly shower and announced it had been lovely. We do have awful water pressure problems here in the village and I asked her if there had been a good flow of water. Oh yes she replied followed by ‘but I’m not really the one to ask as I don’t need as much water as you do, being smaller’. For just a moment I was stunned as the implication sank in and I just had to laugh; you really couldn’t make it up. I was asking about the water pressure and didn’t expect a response that implied my much fatter body needed more water in the shower. I think the AP thought she was being very witty, not insulting in the least but it has made me smile at intervals throughout the day just because of the sheer gall.
I decided today, after a phone call from a good friend, that I really need to plan my menus in advance if I wish to have any success at losing some of my excess weight. That may sound easy for most but it isn’t for me. I tend to gauge how I feel each day about what to prepare for dinner. For instance ‘am I in a chilli or curry mood? Do I fancy cooking fish or shellfish? Perhaps a vegetarian dish would be something a bit different so as you can see I am not too good at wearing a straight jacket where food is concerned and I guess that explains partly why I have a weight problem.
The LSO has said that the AP will have to accept that if I am to lose weight she will either have the same as us or a ready or pre-prepared meal from the freezer. I will not be explaining any of this to the AP because I know from experience she will never be off my back. It will be a continuous stream of questions and useless advice based on no knowledge and I will become even more stressed out.
Low carbs are the way to go and tonight we are eating out which can sometimes present problems. But tomorrow, well I will start then.
It’s back to the fat issue! Is there really a fat gene or do fat people just eat the wrong things? I do eat a sensible diet, well balanced generally but probably a little too heavy on the carbs but that is something that can be lessened. I don’t eat or drink huge quantities and the need to reduce carbs is to do with diabetes. Just how much of the fat problem is genetically inherited? It would be great if scientists could discover a magic pill to just melt the fat away.
Yesterday evening the AP thought she was being really subtle by mentioning that she had been watching Tom Kerridge on the TV and was telling the LSO and myself how much weight he had lost and he has produced a book about it all, would I like it! For those who have read my previous blogs you will know that the subject of my weight is not a topic of discussion especially with the AP but in this case I was irritated but also slightly amused. Tom Kerridge probably lost a great deal of his weight by giving up a prodigious drinking habit. I am not in the habit of downing 15 pints a day although I do enjoy a couple of glasses of wine. The irritation factor is that despite asking her not to be so critical about my weight she still persists. If I felt it was a genuine concern about my health I really wouldn’t mind but I know it is all to do with vanity and other peoples perceptions of her. A fat daughter is not good for HER image. Unfortunately her constant ‘nibbing’ for want of a better word has done nothing for my self esteem and my general response when feeling down and frustrated by it all is to head in the direction of a nice comforting carb.
Also still on the same subject, all these dieting books are much the same and I have a cupboard full of them, The Hairy Dieters, Anthony Worral Thompson, Low Carb Cooking, Low Fat Recipes, books by Slimming World and WeightWatchers, the list is endless. That is not to say that these books aren’t useful because they are and they are great guides when meal planning. Interestingly they all have two things in common and that is the prevalence of punchy, spicy flavours and a variety of lovely crisp vegetables so once again we go full circle and are back to the problem that continually haunts me these days. How do I cook for us and also satisfy the AP and her love of bland, soft food smothered in sauces or gravy.
We have another fridge/freezer arriving next week to go in the utility room and the LSO has decided that one drawer will be dedicated to meals for the AP whether bought in or pre-prepared. Well, it’s a plan and sadly no magic pill for me, just diet and exercise.
I dread anything that arises to do with the AP’s finances, in particular the income tax she has to pay on her rented property. She has always been convinced she doesn’t need to pay any and every year when it comes to payment we go through the same rigmarole as the three previous years. We explain everything again and again and she gets more and more unpleasant as she obviously thinks we know nothing and couldn’t possibly be right either.
The AP has absolutely no grace and every time things are patiently explained to her she tells us she didn’t know these facts before and now its all clear, until next time when once again the whole scenario is repeated. She never ever says thank you for the effort made to handle all her affairs.
This lack of understanding would be easier to deal with if she was more accepting of her limitations instead of pretending she is so capable and mentally alert. I can understand that she is frustrated by being so old and forgetful but she does not help herself by talking over us all the time and telling us we haven’t told her anything. The implication of course is that everybody is out to fleece her and that must include the LSO and myself. That would be laughable if it didn’t hurt so much. The AP is basically a bully and I think always has been and her response to any adversity is to attack. She has kept this side of her nature well hidden, well from me anyway but I can only think that the deterioration of the old grey matter, through the ageing process, has stripped away the veneer of sweetness revealing a sour little monster that has lurked there all her life. She does make some effort to be a ‘dear old lady’ but these occasions are becoming less frequent and in fact are rather unpalatable as we know they are false and won’t last.
Astonishingly she seems to resent that we have done more than her in our lives and know more than her too. I am unable to comprehend this attitude; the LSO and myself are proud that all our family members have exceeded anything we have achieved and feel no resentment or jealousy, just relief and pleasure that they have done and are doing so well in life.
I am overweight and useless at dieting so what is the answer? I must have tried just about every diet available but nothing lasts. I hate dieting clubs and the boring meetings that leave me climbing the walls. I am not a failed dieter just a hopeless one. I did manage to lose a goodly amount of weight on the LighterLife diet and kept it off for over three years but then we moved and the weight along with the good life crept back on. Do I just accept I am fat? No, sadly now I am classed as diabetic that is not really an option so I really must do something to change my life. Even as I write this I am thinking about food or rather trying not to and I have even put on some gentle new age music by Enya in the hope it will induce a sense of inner calm.
I can procrastinate for England finding any excuse not to exercise and these range from looking after the AP to it’s too cold/ too wet/ too hot, anything really. Equally I am not a couch potato and can on an average day cover 8000 steps just trundling around the house and the kitchen according to my Fitbit. I do try to swim three times a week although lately that has been shelved while we renovate the utility room.
In fairness the bit about looking after the AP is not just an excuse. My passion is cooking but I love experimenting with strong flavours, the LSO and myself enjoy chillies, (we even grow our own), spices, herbs and discovering dishes from around the world. I can get hugely excited at reading a recipes but then realise there is no point in cooking it because unfortunately the AP just wants almost liquid food that is bland and takes little effort to eat. The downside to this is that I am losing all interest in cooking. I slump into disinterest and end up having a pizza and just buy cottage pie or something in lots of sauce for the AP. In all fairness she will eat a Chinese meal but only the sweet and sour or chicken with lemon sauce. The AP does not really like rice and pasta is preferred from a tin, she will go into raptures over a roast dinner with lots of gravy. Fish is treated with great suspicion unless it is trapped in a fat absorbing batter served with chips. I sometimes think that I could make a ton of lemon sauce and pour it over any dish I make, add extra lemon, a deluge of vinegar and salt and she would love it. You may think I am exaggerating but far from it, the real truth is worse and what I have just written is a tiny bit of the real situation.
I need to find a way of solving this problem that doesn’t always mean a ready meal for the AP then cooking something different for the LSO and myself. Ready meals are ok to a point but in fact the AP likes to pretend she eats like we do and objects to having a different meal even though she probably prefers it. It really is a case of lose lose for me.
I think what I really need is a personal chef as well as a personal trainer. Oh well, since there is no chance of either situation occurring I guess it is back to the dieting books, I need to cut carbs and be strong about the meals for the AP.