Office Kitchen Chit Chat

Last week my good friend and colleague, V, left our little team of four to return to her homeland, Ireland.   In the year since I started, the four of us had become a well-oiled machine and despite having quite different personalities and interests, we gelled remarkably well.

V was perhaps my closest colleague and I enjoyed our daily routine of coffee making in the office kitchen where we would put the world to rights, discuss the weather, children, holidays, work and inevitably our weight.  She’d often bemoan the fact that she’d expanded out of control since having her daughter and I’d tell her how I used to play a variety of sports that meant I could see my feet without having to physically lift my belly upwards and inwards.  Ironically, and more often than not, these conversations took place as we both reached for a piece of cake from the endless supply of calorific goodies brought in by colleagues celebrating birthdays, holidays, house moves, the Grand Depart, football or just living.

There were two such conversations that still make me giggle when I think of them. The first involved an ill-fitting cream dress that V had shoehorned herself into.  She exclaimed that the multiple rolls of flab, accentuated by the tight dress made her look like a giant ‘witchetty grub’ – an image that fills me with mirth.   I hasten to add that V is not actually very large at all which makes the stories all the more entertaining.

I decided to draw the second conversation because it just sums up our chit chat.  I shall certainly miss V as I make coffee on my own and look longingly at the cakes.


Fat Club

So, pretty much every woman in history has at some point, looked down at their belly and thought to themselves…”Crikey! Where the hell did that come from?!!”

I am no different…and so with the new year spread out before me, I, along with a gazillion other women have given up my ‘syns’ and taken solace in group therapy for fat people. Yes, Slimming World, Weight Watchers, Fat Burners R Us…whatever you want to call it…January is the signal for women the world over to wave their carrot sticks and commence the annual battle of the bulge.

This is the first time I have tried ‘group therapy’, partly because I was bored one evening and partly because maybe, just maybe it might work. At the very least it is a delight for the ‘people-watcher’ within me. Who are these people confessing their deepest, darkest feeding habits to a room full of strangers?!

Our leader says:
“and so how did you do this week Betty?”
Betty (this is not her real name):
“well for the first two days everything was going well, then my grandson had a birthday party and my daughter left me alone in the room with the chocolate cake…I ate it all”

The group make a collective “aaaah” sound and there are several nods of ‘we understand your pain’.

The Leader:
“don’t worry Betty, you had a blip, we all do from time to time. Now you just need to get back on the band wagon and start again”

A round of applause follows

I think to myself – this is just like Alcoholic Anonymous, but for fat people. “hello everyone, my name is X and I am an overeater”.

There is no doubt that the support of a group is beneficial to some people. Last week I lent over to chat to a girl and asked her how she had done this week…’not bad she said’…I pry a little deeper to find that she’s lost 5stone in less than 10 months and is the Slimming World Woman of the year! Well if that isn’t inspiration, then I don’t know what is.

I think this particular group which is heavily weighted (excuse the pun) to the over 50s is seen as a social event. I plonked myself down next to a smiley woman the other week and got into the usual chit chat: ‘how did you do this week?’ , ‘Really! That’s great news – you lost half a pound!’ I could probably relieve myself and lose half a pound but we still congratulate each other on the effort and she starts offering me tips and advice. It turns out this woman has been coming to the group since 1996 and I wonder whether it has taken 16 years to lose the half pound.

I suppose I have to admit that each week I find myself anxiously awaiting the results of my ‘weigh in’ and secretly hoping it is more than two pounds so I can ‘announce it’ to the group and revel in the applause. This week was a bit disappointing, maybe I should have gone to the loo before I went…