Tuesday, February 16, 2010

'That' section from Rainy Days and Tuesdays

... where Grace goes to a weightloss class as part of a bid to have her life transformed for the glossy mag she works for 'Northern People'.

I’m going to stand on the scales and Liam is going to take a picture (without looking at the result!) and my humiliation will be done and dusted for another day. The thing is, though, that I feel sick to the pit of my stomach. I have barely eaten a bite all day as if hoping my good intentions would be enough to shift an excess couple of stone of my body before stepping on the scales.

I’m wearing light cotton trousers and a T-shirt. I have flip flops on, and I have even declined to wear an underwired bra just in case it adds to my weight. I am more hungry than I have ever been in my life- my treat size Mars Bar going untouched in my lunch box today.

When Daisy phoned to say she would be late I’m sure I grunted something indecipherable down the phone to her in return. Seems one of her charge’s parents was running late and she couldn’t exactly leave little Katie to wait outside Happy Days on her own now could she? In my pre-weigh in rage and panic I thought Daisy was being entirely unreasonable to put the needs of a four year above those of her oldest, dearest, fattest pal!

Now my panic has switched to the silent variety, whereby I am in danger of chewing my nails, complete with fingers and most of my hands off, with nerves and I have broken out in a rather unattractive sweat- which is doing absolutely nothing for the make up I have caked on for my photoshoot. I seriously contemplate getting up and walking out, but then I would be falling at the first hurdle- letting Lollipop Louise, who had never needed to diet in her whole entire life, get one of over on me. Oh no, I must be strong- I’m in this for the long haul.

The door opens and I know Charlotte has arrived. I have heard much about Charlotte in recent years. I have even interviewed her over the phone in my Health and Beauty Editor days but I have never met her. She has a certain celebrity status in Derry. She is the woman who will help you lose weight, who will stick with you through thick and thin (literally) and who knows everything there could ever be to know about dropping dress sizes.

I’ve often wondered what she looked like- imagining some Derry version of mad Lizzie from TVam (Showing my age there!)- but instead I’m intrigued when I see a young, fairly normal woman in front of me. Yes, she is thin, but she isn’t gaunt. She looks, dare I say it, healthy and she doesn’t- much to my shock- look me up and down and give me a look which makes me think I am akin to something she has dragged in on the bottom of her shoe.

“You must be Grace,” she trills, shaking my hand firmly. “Louise has told me all about you. Are you ready to change your life?”

In the words of Lofty, the blue digger thing in ‘Bob in the Builder’, I reply: “Yeah, I think so.”

“C’mon then,” she says, “Let’s get you weighed and this picture thingy done before the rest of the class arrive. We don’t want to alert them to your secret mission do we?”

“I guess not,” I mutter, mentally visualising myself as Undercover Elephant- ready to set out on a new mission to find the leaner, slimmer, happier Mrs. Adams- last seen circa 2001.

Liam follows and starts working out lighting and focus and other such things. Charlotte takes her scales out, writes down my personal details on a little purple form, then asks me to stand on the scales and assess the damage.

I think about this for a moment. I can’t remember the last time I weighed myself. I’ve been in denial about my size for so long, it’s really not worth depressing myself by forcing bad news on me. I guess, given the comfort of my waist bands, the extra room I now like in my tops that I’m going to come in about the 14 stone mark. Taking a deep breath, I step on, my nerves jangling as Liam snaps contentedly from the corner. I can’t look down. I cannot bear to see those numbers glaring up at me, so I step off the scales again and take my seat beside Charlotte.

“Well done for making the first move,” she says, congratulating me on getting (or did she say fitting?) through the door to tonight’s meeting. “Right,” she says, “here is the deal. You weigh 15 stone and 5 lbs.”

“What the fuck?” the words jump out of my mouth as quickly as I can think them and my hand flies up to mouth as if in some desperate attempt to push them back in.

“Don’t get annoyed Grace. That is that last time you see that number again. It’s downwards from here on in. I promise.”

At that stage, my face crimson, I sense Liam is still snapping away and I want the ground to open up and swallow me whole- only I’m willing to bet even the ground would get full up before I was properly consumed.

“Do you want to set a goal?” she asks and I think about what I would like. I remember being 11 stone just before the wedding and feeling fabulous so I tell her to put that down on my card- ignoring the fact that I would need to four stone and five pounds to reach that goal (61lbs if you want to think of it that way- 122 packets of sausages).

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