MY TINY WIFE PRECEDES ME

So, yeah, I’ve joined Weight Watchers. In fact, as you’re reading this, I’m sitting outside the meeting room, waiting to start my third meeting.

It’s Luscious’ doing, really. She joined some months ago, swallowed the pill without complaint, and has worked so hard she’s lost a fifth of her body weight and been approached to become a coach.

Faced with that sort of dedication and positive results, what chance did I have?

So, I’ve a fitbit on my wrist and my sneakers packed in my work bag, and all the crisps and choccie bars and pizzas and beer have been banished to the you’ve-had-your-share shelves. And I’m eating lunch at my desk and going for walks at lunch time, and generally just trying to follow in Luscious’ tiny, increasingly-light-on-the-ground footsteps.

I weighed 85 kilograms when I had my car accident, maybe a kilo heavier when Sharon died. What I weigh now is no longer the fault of those experiences. So, no more excuses, or justifications. Tackle the weight, and the pain and lifestyle will fall into line.

First week in I lost 2.6 kilograms, which felt like a good start but also gives you some indication of just how much I have to lose.

I’ll keep you abreast of how I go.

A RETURN TO WORK

Two weeks into 2014, and the only reasonable response to life is to build a blanket fort.

Watch for the parade. But it’s okay, they have the proper permits.

This last weekend has been the hottest I’ve experienced in a number of years. Saturday night was, apparently, the hottest night Perth has ever recorded. Naturally, our air-conditioner has shat itself and died already– thanks to the fucktarded cowboy air conditioner repairmen who couldn’t even fulfil their job description last year– so we’ve resorted to living at the swimming pool, walking around with ceiling fans strapped to our heads, and this: you can’t see it, but there are three fans inside this bad boy, and the kids slept like, well, kids in close proximity to fans in an enclosed space. Still, as far as family projects go, this was a fun one.

On the personal front, ten days break over Christmas gave me the opportunity to engage in daily exercise for the first time since the last time I had ten consecutive days off, which is going back more than a year or two. Thankfully, I’ve managed to maintain the habit since returning to the day job, and I’m seeing the benefits of it. Since December 24 I’ve lost 3.2 kilograms. I’ve still got somewhere in the region of 18 to go before I’m in sight of my optimum weight, but that’s at least 3.2 that I don’t have to lose again.

I’ve been walking laps of our suburban block, playing basketball with the kids every Thursday night, and have hit the pool on several occasions to walk laps and build up my core strength by throwing children around. Cool drink had been dispensed with in favour of water– although Ginger ale and Lime made an appearance over the weekend as we tried to keep cool– and biscuit & sweeties based snacks have been discarded in favour of lashings of fruit. Nothing revolutionary, just actual changes, all at once.

And writing work has borne fruit: over the Christmas break I completed the text of a picture book entitled I Watch Monsters, and have sent it in to a publisher. It was the first– and, admittedly, smallest– of my writing goals for the year, but it’s still nice to have one scratched off this early in the piece.

So, here we are. Lyn and I are determined to achieve a much more positive year than 2013, and we’re both working hard to achieve the goals we’ve set out. Up next for me: completing the submission package for Father Muerte & the Divine and pushing the 15 000 words of Cirque up towards a full manuscript.

A WEEKEND MOST PRODUCTIVE

It started out well: Lyn rang me on Friday afternoon to tell me she was picking me up a couple of train stops early, because she was at our friend Tehani’s place and they’d decided to stay for dinner. And a fab evening it was, too: I committed Australian Man Adultery (cooked on another man’s barbecue without his consent), we sat and chatted far past the kids’ bedtimes, and Tehani let me borrow her copy of X6, Coeur de Lion’s collection of novellas by 6 Australian authors. I’d forgotten just how much I love sitting around and jawing about writing and writers. Part of the reason I’ve yet to really find a village for myself in the writing world– I’m a writing geek, not an SF geek, when it all comes down to it.

And much satisfaction there has been this weekend. I’ve completed another 2 cartoons, and sent out another two short stories, as well as inputting line edits for half of a third (dinner calls me, or I’d be finished that one too). I’ve finally finished chopping down a diseased hedge that’s been spoiling our front yard, spent an enjoyable afternoon drawing with the kids, and even managed to fit in a couple of good exercise sessions with the Wii Fit Plus– love that rhythm karate, folks! Luscious and I even found the time to watch a DVD together without the kids– looxury, bloody looxury.

The new week starts tomorrow: I intend to lose another 500g, finish another couple of cartoons, and start wading my way through the first round of Corpse-Rat King edits, as well as send out the remaining shorts in my ‘In Progress’ folder. But for now, it’s dinner, relaxing with a nice glass of Myalup Vines Wineries port (okay, my second glass…) and resting my bones before heading into the new week.

Slainte!

HITTING THE GROUND

It’s been a good start to the year.

  • I’ve lost just over a kilogram in weight. I set myself a loss of 12 kilos for the year, so this represents a good beginning.
  • I’ve completed and submitted Plot or Pants?, an article on novel planning to WQ, the monthly magazine of the Queensland Writer’s Centre
  • I’ve line-edited the five stories currently in my ‘In Progress’ folder and submitted the first of them. My plan is to have all five out in the world by the end of next week. Not a big goal, perhaps, but I only saw print twice last year, while I was focussing on Corpse-Rat King, and that’s just not up to my usual standards.
  • I’m up to date with reading for Midnight Echo #4, and about to start filtering the stories I kept for a second stage of reading. If you were thinking of submitting but haven’t got around to it, might I suggest you do so soon? I’ve received 157 submission so far, of which 33 have made it to a second reading. Submissions close 31st of the month.
  • I’ve completed 2 cartoons of the 24 (minimum) that I plan to complete and submit.

Not bad so far. There’s a lot of year left, and some big goals to achieve (2 novels to edit and submit, ya know?). But I’m on the way…

WEIGHT UPDATE

After some big losses over previous months, my weight has plateaued recently. Try as I might, I’m stuck between 93 and 95 kilograms, and I’m finding it impossible to break that barrier and push towards my get-me-a-new-wardrobe weight of 90kg.

It’s prompted me to examine the way I’m fitting weight-loss into my day, and to see what changes I can make to help me drop these recalcitrant kilos.

The first thing that has become apparent is how difficult it has been to maintain my program of not eating carbs after 4pm. To this end, Lyn and I are keeping much closer track of what we eat, and when: our eating habits become lax quite easily, as we’re both snackers by nature, and love our pasta, our rice, our bread (and, let’s be honest, our sweeties, our chocolate, our Chinese takeaway). I’m also making a concerted attempt to eat six smaller meals a day rather than three big ones, and to control the type of food I eat at particular times.

I’ve also noticed that much of my incidental exercise has dropped off since I’ve started attending the gym. I’ve fallen back into using the lifts at work instead of the stairs, and am catching the bus right to my destination, instead of getting off a stop away as before, or walking home from the train station, as I did on a number of occasions. With the wet weather has come a reduction in my gardening time, too, which has meant less digging, less chopping with the axe, less carting about of paving slabs and broken tree trunks. So it’s back to the stairs, and a concentration upon finding exercises I can do at home and in the in-between times.

And whilst I’m hitting the gym three times a week, and usually working at a pretty high intensity, I’m prone to muscle strains and pulls. Part of that, of course, is down to years of inactivity. But it results in a loss of intensity, and a willingness to give in perhaps a little too easily when the ‘wall’ approaches. From this week, I’ll be gymming it up an extra day per week, 4 visits instead of 3, and setting myself a higher calorie-loss total per visit, concentrating on a rotation of exercises to maintain my interest and provide a balance between strength, toning, endurance and ‘burst’ exercising.

I’ve also recognised the need for regular intervention. The Biggest Loser was great for that: a nightly example of other overweight people working hard and seeing the benefits. Now that it’s over, I’ve been on the lookout for some sort of replacement. Lyn bought me a copy of Men’s Health magazine a month ago, and I picked up this month’s issue during the week. With recipes, exercises, and factoids dotted in amongst the adverts for deodorant and hair products, there are a welter of inspirational moments for me to draw upon as I progress.

The goal is this: my birthday falls on the second day of the Night’s Edge SF convention here in Perth. The night of the 10th, I’ll be throwing a birthday party in our room. Some time during that party, I’ll be pulling out the scales and weighing myself.

I will be down to 85 kilograms by that moment.

UNDER THE MARK

I’ve passed halfway.

When I weighed myself this morning, the scales recorded 94.2 kilograms. For the first time since I started this weight loss, I’ve crested the halfway mark, and have less than 15 of the original 30 kilogram target left to lose.

This is a big moment for me. For one thing, it means I’ve earned myself a new set of clothes, which was my self-appointed gift for reaching this point (I also need them- “Baggy Trousers” is a song, and should remain so…) For another, it means that my first weight loss goal has been achieved, and from here, they get smaller.

One thing I realised very quickly when setting my mind to finally shift my fat ass and do something about my weight, was that I simply could not lose thirty kilograms. It was way too much. I could, however, lose five. I could probably, if truth be told, lose five kilograms six times. In fact, I could lose fifteen, given all the help and advice and inspiration I was getting, before I had to think about the rest. So that’s what I set myself: lose 15, and get a prize. Then lose another five, get another prize. Another five after that, and another five, and a couple of prizes along the way to commemorate each milestone. Then add them up and consider the thirty.

I’ve passed the first milestone. I’m sore, I still hate going to the gym , and none of my clothes fit. But it’s a start.

EVERYTHING IS MOVING INWARDS

One of the nicer things about losing weight is the feeling of accomplishment when you have to take your belt in and create a new hole to make it fit. I reached that point about a week and a half ago, and was certainly chuffed with myself.

Saturday I had to go shirt shopping because all my shirts are now too big. And that night I took a link out of my watchband so that the damn thing would stop sliding down onto my hand all the time.

Now that is a feeling of achievement.

A LITTLE FILM GETS BIGGER

The Memory of Breathing continues to gather pace on the road towards production. Producermatt has transformed into Directormatt, and production duties have now passed to Producerjenny at Azure Productions, who is off on a trans-Atlantic jaunt to Cannes, London, New York and Los Angeles with three scripts under her arm, TMoB amongst them.

If our luck holds out, and the trip is a successful one, we could find ourselves with some names and numbers attached to the project that send it into production. Wouldn’t that be fun?