Thursday, March 29, 2007

I am no longer on a diet!

Sorry guys, this is such a girly post but it might give you some insight into how women feel about their bodies.

I'm no longer on a diet! Most girls I know, even those ones who seem to be effortlessly slim, have some hang-up about their bodies. Most of us just want to be a bit slimmer. I have been on a diet more or less since I was about 16. Name it, I've tried it. The Cabbage soup diet, Atkins, Slim Fast, the Cambridge diet, Weight Watchers ... the list is endless. If you'd like to know, the Cambridge diet is the most effective but it's hard core and I think you have to be at that point where you're very desperate to do something about your weight before you can commit to it. On the plus side, it's a nutritionally balanced plan. And my personal fav has to be WW because it gives you such a healthy and well balanced approach to food. It's the only diet that I ever committed to as a life style change without balking. If I've learnt anything, it's that crash diets are stupid, you will put the weight on again because ultimately you haven't learnt anything so eventually, your old habits will return and the weight will creep on again pound by pound.

At my heaviest, I was about a stone and a half heavier than I am now and that is a lot for me because I'm not particularly tall. At my slimmest, I was about a stone lighter than I am now and in my mind that's my ideal weight. For as long as I can remember, I've been dieting in an attempt to get down to this 'ideal', I've only ever reached it once (and that was because I was ill and didn't eat for 4 days) and my biggest motivation for reaching it has been the thought that when I get to my ideal weight, I'll be able to eat what I want and not have to diet anymore. So I've been dieting so I can get to a point where I no longer have to diet. A bit like working your a*se off to get a stage where you no longer have to work. The other day I was out with a couple of friends who I've been friends with since uni and as usual, the conversation turned to our weight and I said, 'to be honest, if I stay the weight I am now and I don't lose any more weight, I'll be fine' and as I said it, I realised I meant it. And when I realised I meant it, I thought, 'aren't diets for people who are trying to lose weight? If I'm not particularly bothered, why am I still dieting?' I still don't have the perfect figure but I think I've embraced my shape a bit more; I'll always have big hips and a big bum and I've actually learnt to quite like them.

The other reason for my new found body confidence is running. Thanks to London Buki's
'I will be fit' blog, I started running last September when I could just about run for 2 minutes before collapsing in a heap. Now I run three times a week, including a long run on the weekends; the last couple of weekends it's been a 12 km run. Buki and I are doing a couple of 5k charity races which by the way you can sponsor me for. If you would like to sponsor me for one of the races, check out my Race for Life and Sue Ryder Care sponsorship pages. Don't you just love that shameless plug! We're also going to do a couple of 10k races, a 10 mile race, and my ultimate goal is to do a half marathon by the end of the year. So the fact that I'm constantly pushing my body to limits I never thought I was capable of, and the fact that I feel so strong and so healthy makes me proud of my body and I guess that offsets any negative opinions I might have about how I might look. The long and short of it is that I'm no longer dieting until I have a real reason to diet, and hopefully that won't be until I've started popping out babies, which won't be for a while.

Now I'm not saying I'm going to go around eating loads of stuff that I know is bad for me. No. The one thing I can say about all those years of dieting is that I know which foods are good for us and which aren't. I'll try and eat as much of the good stuff as I can and only eat the bad stuff in moderation. So I baked a chocolate mud cake yesterday and in the past, I'd have eaten loads of it yesterday (easily half the cake) and then refused to touch it from today. Instead I had a piece last night and today, along with my roast beef and tomato wrap that I made for lunch, I have also brought a small piece of cake with me. And I intend to enjoy every bite and have a piece every day until my housemates and I finish the cake.

While I’m perfectly happy with the size and weight I am now, I have to admit that I don’t want to put on weight so I’ll continue to weigh myself weekly and if
I find my jeans getting a bit on the snug side then I’ll maybe cut back on those slivers of chocolate cake or add another long run session to my week but I’m determined that it won’t be drastic and it’ll be healthy.

I can't tell you how liberating I feel knowing that I'm no longer on a diet! Now I’m off to research all those amazing recipes that I can cook and savour now that I’m no longer counting points, or carbs, or … mmmm, oven baked southern fried chicken, sounds good!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Another 35 sentences about Me

Dresses are my favourite type of clothing. Especially 50s style dresses. I would move to New York in a heartbeat. I want to settle down and have kids in Canada. I have 2 tattoos. I have a butterfly on the upper left hand side of my back and three stars on my left hip. My sister also has the same three stars on her left hip. I want a few more and the only reason I haven’t had them yet is because I don’t want to run out of good spots on my body to tattoo. I wrote my Undergraduate dissertation on feminism and porn. It was titled ‘Pornography: Men possessing women or freedom of expression?’ I have a Masters in International Business Law. I was a cheerleader for the basketball team in university. We were rubbish.

I think I’m a tomboy. I hardly ever wear make up and live in jeans and trainers. And yet, people tend to describe me as a girly girl. I don’t understand it. I am very secure about myself. My new year’s resolutions are to go to church more often, finish my book and run a half marathon this year. I’m doing well on the first one and the last one, but finishing my book? Hmmm. I have lots of different handwritings. I hate being centre of attention. I have a green belt in Karate. As a child, my parents made me take French, Piano and Guitar lessons. I really wanted to learn to play the violin. As soon as they gave us the choice to stop our lessons, I gave them all up. I wish I hadn’t. I’ve dressed up as a school girl, a sexy devil, an angel and a gangster for Halloween and fancy dress parties over the years. Oh, and my mum dressed me up as a hula girl for my first birthday party. My fashion icons are Nicole Richie, Rachel Bilson, Carmen Electra and Laura Bailey.

As children, my sister, brother and I would put on plays and shows to entertain guests. The cities I’ve visited other than places I’ve lived in are New York, Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria, Budapest, Rome, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Athens, Rhodes, Crete and Cairo. I’ve lived in Kaduna, Benin, Lagos, Sutton Coldfield (near Birmingham), Aberystwyth (Wales) and now, London. I have attended 8 schools over nursery, primary and secondary.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

So there's this guy ... he lives in Lagos and was in London for a couple of weeks on holiday. At first I only wanted to be friends and I genuinely thought he felt the same. In fact I was convinced that he thought I was cool to hang out with but he wasn't attracted to me, and I'd made my peace with that. But pretty soon, I realised that he liked me. I still thought I wanted to be just friends. We hung out while he was here, went for dinner, went to the movies, mostly just went for drinks where we'd talk about all sorts of things. He even brought flowers to my office on Valentines Day. And before everyone goes awww, it was more of an arrangement than anything else. He'd mentioned that he had never gotten anything on Valentine's Day before so I said I'd send him a card, and he said he'd send me one too. On Valentines Day, he sent me a text asking me for my office address and I started wondering why, only for him to stroll in a few hours later with a bunch of flowers. My theory is he forgot to send me a card the day before and panicked on the day and bought me flowers. I still thought it was sweet. I still wanted to be just friends.

I really enjoyed talking to him, and we'd talk about the kind of stuff that I don't really talk about with anybody else. And he said he told me things he didn't really talk about with other people. If he called and I didn't pick up my phone, he'd always call back and leave me a little jokey voicemail 'threatening' to only call me one last time and never again, or to ask me if we were 'beefing'. It was sweet. Soon, I'd find myself smiling when he's name flashed up on my phone, or when I heard his voice on my voicemail and I'd look forward to seeing him. I realised that I actually quite liked him and I was getting used to having him around. Oh, did I mention that he's extremely hot! Even though I decided I liked him, I still played it cool because I felt I never knew where I stood with him. So unless he asked me if I wanted to hang out, I wouldn't ask him and so on. It's funny because on his last weekend, he said he'd blown off his Friday plans to hang out with me, but he didn't tell me this. Instead he asked me what I was doing on Friday really conversationally and I told him I was busy. I was busy, kind of. I had had a load of late nights that week and really just wanted to go home and have a night in but obviously I would have blown that off for him but he didn't say 'oh, I was thinking we should hang out', so I didn’t find out until a couple of days later that he’d cleared his schedule for me.

Anyway, his last night came around way too quickly and he met me after work (and waited even though I was 30 minutes late because my phone had just been stolen so I had to get it cancelled and I didn't have his number to call and tell him I'd be late). He suggested we go to Trocadero and go on the bumper cars. We went twice and it was so much fun, there's something about fairground type rides that makes me feel like I'm 5 again! Then we walked past a bar in Piccadilly Circus and decided to go in for a drink. We just made the end of happy hour and we stayed there until about 10:30 drinking (2 jugs of Mai Tai, 4 tequila shots each - he gave me one of his slices of lemon when I dropped mine on the table, red wine for him) and then we went to another bar where I started drinking water because I was getting kind of tipsy and I had work the following day. It was the first time we kissed and it was nice.

I couldn't call him to say bye the next day because I didn't have a phone. A few days later when I got a new phone, I sent him a text saying hey, hope he got back okay; it was nice hanging out with him etc. He didn't reply. A couple of days after that I sent him an email just saying the same stuff and I mentioned that I'd sent him a text which he didn't reply to. He replied a couple of days later saying hi, reminiscing about his last night, how much we drank and how surprised he was that we were both relatively sober and said that next time, we'd have to get there at the start of happy hour. Then he told me a funny story about being back in Lagos and finished by saying 'miss ya babe'. I realised I did actually quite like him because the email totally made my day. I replied a couple of days later and that was the last I heard from him. I still can't figure it out ... is this one of those men are from mars, women are from Venus things? Any suggestions?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Their Love Story

I went away with my family a couple of weekends ago and over lunch; I heard the story of how my parents got together. Although I'd heard the story before, it was different this time. Firstly, because I got to hear the details. Also, it was the first time I'd heard my dad talk about it. Because both of my parents were present, my dad told the story and my mum interjected here and there so what follows is more or less a pretty accurate account. I think it's a very sweet story.

Athens, Greece ... sometime in the late 1970s.

She stood with her friend outside the door of the apartment where the party was taking place. Their host was her friend's brother. My dad opened the door and greeted his brother. Then he introduced himself to her and then announced to both of them, gesturing to her; 'This is the woman I'm going to marry'. He says he just knew. She glared at him, Who the hell does he think he is? She thought as she walked past him and into the party.

As fate would have it, over the next few years, they bumped into each other occasionally. He recalls driving down a main road one day and on seeing her walk past; he hastily parked his car and ran out to chat to her. He owned a fashion store and he saw her in there once and again made a point of talking to her. Every single time they spoke he would end the conversation by asking 'When are we going out?' She was always friendly and gracious towards him and her answer was always the same; 'Never'. She explains now that as well as the fact that she had a long term boyfriend, she had found herself very drawn to him from the beginning and believing that he was all wrong for her, she had made a conscious choice to avoid him. As time passed, her initial reservations were confirmed; he was a playboy (his words), seventeen years older than her (though she didn’t know this at the time because he has always looked younger than his age), he had a daughter and he was black. She was always polite but made it clear that there was no chance that anything would happen between them.

A couple of years after they met, he went back to Nigeria for a while, and on his return, his brother gave him her number asking him to call her just to say hi. He did call and they started to talk on the phone occasionally. He would end every conversation by asking her out. She always refused. He recalls that one evening he had an overwhelming urge to call her. He didn't. The next day, sitting in his office around lunch time, this feeling that he should call her would not leave him. It did not make sense, it was the middle of the day and he knew for a fact that she would be at university. Unable to ignore the feeling, he called her. She answered the phone, he said hi, and she burst into tears. Her father had died from a heart attack that morning. Unable to talk, she put down the phone. He scoured the afternoon papers till he found details of the funeral that evening, then he went home, changed into a suit and went to the church. As the family walked down the aisle after the funeral, she spotted him and stopped in her tracks, staring at him. It was only a few seconds but very noticeable since she was following a procession. He went to the wake after to pay his respects to the family. They went back to talking on the phone.

A few months after, my dad was having a party at his flat and it occurred to him when the party was already in full swing that my mum might want to attend so he phoned her. She made her apologies, she lived on the other side of Athens and it was late but she thanked him for inviting her. As he said good bye, he once again asked, 'when will I see you?' And she replied, 'when do you want to see me?' She had broken up with her boyfriend a while ago. He was so surprised and pleased that he suggested that he take her out for dinner that very night. He waved away her protests that he had guests and left his own party to drive across Athens and take her out for dinner. And they have been together ever since.

26 years, 3 countries, 3 children, numerous fights and uncountable differences later, I don't they'd have it any other way.