13 Nov 2007

Action stations!!! Fat Bloke ahoy!

Right then, I'm back ladies and gentlemen. This time it is personal....

The time for action has finally arrived. Don't know why but who cares - I'm here and ready for action.

Weigh in this morning was 'disappointing' to say the least. Though not that disappointed I suppose when I consider the near suicidal diet regime I have been following.

I am presently engaged in an attempt on my life which shall be known as 'death by Panini' - moving offices to within a few yards of EVERYTHING that is both bad for me and utterly fantastically tasty is NOT helping.

So here we go (drum roll...)

Weight - 248.6Lbs.

Well, there you go - all that excitement and over a 10 pound gain - TEN POUNDS!!! Hang-on, I just have to read that again.. TEN BLOODY POUNDS!!! How could I do that to myself - Muppet!

Right - I'm not going to dwell on it, just get on with it.

Target 1 - get back to 239 (my lowest previous weight).

That'll do for now.

I will try and post at least every other day to let you know how I am getting on but this is IT now - no prisoners!

9 Nov 2007

Courage comes in many sizes...

A great rock is not disturbed by the wind; the mind of a wise man is not disturbed by either honor or abuse. Dalai Lama

I got an e-mail today. A short, nice thoughtful e-mail. It goes a-somefing likka dis....


I’m Brian and I’m a 58 year old fat Buddhist – there aren’t many of these around. I was actually looking for some Buddhist magic to do the dieting for me when I stumbled across your site.

It’s great and I’m 100% behind you and will even try to lose weight myself. I’m starting from a sylph like 256 lbs.

Most of my Buddhist friends are thin veggies and I tend to stand out on photos, weighing twice as much as most of them, so some serious weight loss is long overdue.

I will follow your progress with great interest and hope that it will provide me with inspiration.

Good on you FBT lets see your smiling face in Dharamsala ( pies permitting ).

Kind Regards & Metta


Leaving aside that my progress is minimal, this is still a nice thing to receive. I am not too churlish to appreciate some encouragement, however random it's arrival. Thanks Brian, and good luck to you too!

This is not the first one I've received and it's not the first time I have considered blogging about their arrival/contents. Sometimes I feel it is not very 'Buddhist' to bang on about these sorts of things. Think less - do more! Resolution for 2008....
Anyway, thank you to those of you that continue to take time to contact me via e-mail. I do appreciate the thought and I feel I should really start living up to your image of FBT.

Slowly but surely I am dealing with the other things in my life that are mentally dragging me down and stopping me getting on with the single most important thing I will ever do - get fit and healthy for my son.

I love him in a way I can't really explain - sound stoopid? Who cares!

Dharamsala fells a VERY long way away at them moment but I have not given up and I have not lost the notion of where I want to be - I may have put the map down somewhere and forgotten where I put it but sooner or later I will lift an old copy of Private Eye and find it lying there waiting to show me the way.

I dare not weigh myself but I am building up to it. I have not exercised in the gym for weeks and my diet is fairly abysmal....but on the bright side, life can always be worse.

We are coming up to Remembrance day in the UK - a time to reflect and give thanks for the sacrifice of others. A sobering time for all of us fretting about sub-prime debt and the price of the latest Jimmy Choo's or whatever! Real courage, real hardship, real fear.

A strange day for a Buddhist, but then I'm not your average Buddhist......

Thanks for your comments everyone - when I'm back in the loop I'll come and sit on all your porch's and have a chat - that's a promise. Tea, milk no sugar and don't show me a biscuit unless it's got chocolate on it! Got it?

There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea. Bernard-Paul Heroux

14 Oct 2007

The glass is still half empty...

I haven't posted for a while, I've not had much to say. I also turned off my comments (sorry Celeste!), I just needed some space.

I am not usually a half empty glass sort of bloke. I'm English, we don't really do public emotion (though you should have seen me last night when England beat France to get in the Rugby World Cup...cripes! Not a dry seat in the house! That may have been the London Pride talking though,...) - this blog turned into something far more emotional than I ever envisaged and this meant I delved much deeper inside myself than I ever intended to go - when you delve, you can't control what you find, it you could they'd be not much point delving now would there?. That is not necessarily a bad thing, just a thing. OK, cards on the table, I am acutely embarrassed by my emotional outpourings - there you go, I said (wrote?) it!

Some, not many, but some people know me in the 'real world' and know I blog as FBT - this is a problem, as soon as you have lunch with someone who knows you spilled your 'dharmic guts' the night before, it makes it very difficult to keep on spilling. Does this make sense?

I think I just need a gap and then I'll be able to start again. I am on holiday this week (but at home) so I intend to do a bit of redesign of the look of the blog and do a bit of a re-launch to get the ball rolling again.

So finally, Celeste (any anyone else who feels the need to get in touch) please comment whenever you like as I have turned the comments back on. But if you expect me to understand or involve myself in FACEBOOK, you may have to long wait as I don't think 'social networking' is for me...yet!

Anyway, off for a night at a hotel with the wife (child free time!!!) - a chance to relax and think (as if I don't do enough of that already!).. Pictures to follow!

See you soon.

2 Oct 2007

Still looking inside...

I received an e-mail this morning - it was from Facebook, saying that Steve Vaught wanted to be my friend.. ahhh that's nice!

I know what a face is (I have one after all) and I have a whole host of books, so clearly I am familiar with their appearance. Facebook, however remains a significant mystery to me - what is it and what is it for??

Anyway, I am now officially a friend of Steve and that's a good thing. He's a nice bloke who did a very brave thing when he embarked on a journey across America. If I had half his courage I would be a happier man than I am today. Reading between the lines, he has established the same connection as me between weight and spirituality. I think - maybe not, thats for him to say I guess.

Due to the 'spiders-web' nature of the internet - the way that moving from link to link transports you to places you never dreamed of visiting - I got to read some truly inspiration words today thanks to Steve.

If you have a little 'too much junk in your trunk' - read it here.

Oh, and Karoline, you're right in your Dharmic assertions....the negative stuff will be removed forthwith! Only positive thoughts - self depreciating humour not withstanding - will grace this blog!

Anyway, how am I doing?

I have not weighed myself (other than visual 'man-boob check' every morning - a very accurate indicator of weight fluctuation in my experience..) for way too long. My eating habits are not great but have been worse - I am clinging on so far....

More soon...

Live in Joy

Live in Joy, In love,
Even among those who hate.
Live in joy, In health,
Even among the afflicted.
Live in joy, In peace,
Even among the troubled.
Look within. Be still.
Free from fear and attachment,
Know the sweet joy of living in the way.

There is no fire like greed,
No crime like hatred,
No sorrow like separation,
No sickness like hunger of heart,
And no joy like the joy of freedom.
Health, contentment and trust
Are your greatest possessions,
And freedom your greatest joy.
Look within. Be still. Free from fear and attachment,
Know the sweet joy of living in the way.

24 Sep 2007

Mental dump on the subject of ‘Chickless Headings’ and far more besides

We don’t really get Tornados in England (well not real ones like this) but today we had some little ones not far from here. Sky News got very excited as usual, but then they get excited about a particularly fruitful nose-picking…but only if someone has got some grainy mobile-phone derived video footage of it!

I feel I have been in a mental tornado of sorts for a while now myself. Whilst I may feel I’m getting blown from pillar to post all the while, I still manage to put up the appearance of serenity (just like the proverbial swan). Well sort of…

This may get a little rambling, but bear with me if the mood takes you!

I began this journey because I felt INSIDE that it was time to get something done. It was time to lose weight, time to get fit and time to expand my spiritual horizon. It just felt right, I can explain it no more than that. So far I have lost some weight, got a little fitter – not using my Asthma medication for months now is a MASSIVE non scale victory that it easy to overlook sometimes – and begun to more deeply explore my spiritual side (no sniggering at the back!).

The thing is, I know what I need to do to kick start my weight loss etc and it is mostly mental. I need a fresh beginning and a clean slate – in my mind that is. But like the beginning of this journey, I do not feel that this is in my control. I feel I will know when that time is right, and it most definitely isn’t now. I just wish it was….

Right. Positives. I am maintaining my weight at around 242Lbs – not my lowest but still nearly 30 Lbs down on my start weight. My eating is better but the wine and savoury treats are creeping back in – I know where I am going wrong and like I say, I know what to do but I have to FEEL its time to sort it out.

I am not ready to resume my full-blown ‘blogular’ duties (and I do see them as duteous – rightly or wrongly). It feels like something I really SHOULD be doing rather than something I can just play around with. I hope that doesn’t sound pretentious as it is not meant to be.

Anyway, since April, I have received a few unsolicited e-mails brought about by this Blog and they have been very humbling to be honest – to find that just one person takes inspiration and encouragement from my inane ramblings should be the fillip I need but it doesn't always work that way. I read a lot of Blogs (well I did until I fell into this slump) and I seldom take the time to contact authors directly and discuss their work. This mild and infrequent appreciation of my work actually contributes in some way to my feelings of inadequacy in a bizarre way and may even contribute to the base problem in the fist place.

As a consequence I have inadvertently (and ridiculously) placed enormous pressure on myself to write regular ‘high quality’ posts. At the moment, I don't have it in me...

Basically, since a child I have always wanted to be ‘good’ at something (the roots of this are probably far deeper than I want to go today). Something difficult, something that would challenge myself and impress others – I want to experience the adrenal thrill of achieving something that brings enormous pleasure to others. All I lack is talent, effort and application! No problem then….crack on!

I still have plans and I hope they will bear fruit soon but I am suffering ‘bloggers block’ and talking about it is not going to shift it I’m afraid. Clearly, the time IS coming when I will feel ready to ‘get back on the horse’ and turn Fat Bloke into Fat Bloke Thin. If not today, then sooner rather than later.

This whole thing is turning into the biggest challenge in my life by far – a challenge that I do not intend to give up on but a challenge that must be met on my terms and at a time of my choosing.

I know there are those that wish me well and I would like to thank you for your kind words. It may seem that I ignore you but you would be very wrong.

I will be back when the time is right.

He is able who thinks he is able.


13 Sep 2007

The Chewing Gum proverb and other cathartic meanderings...

Life can sometimes be very much like used (not-second hand..) chewing gum.

When you stick your gum to the bed post of an evening, though it may still be there in the morning, regardless of the question of flavour, it will almost certainly have hardened somewhat!

What do you mean; you don’t stick your chewing gum to your bed post, doesn't everybody?? Next thing, you’ll be telling me you get out of the bath to have a wee!

Anyway, like the chewing gum, some things in life get harder the longer you leave them. This Blog is one of those things.

Like most things I do, I start with huge and unbounded (sometimes almost evangelical) zeal and make great fantastical (mental) plans of what I intend to achieve in the future. I am not so ashamed of this as a 'fantastic' methodology of life, as there are doubtlessly many worse things I could be doing. The longer I leave it between posts though, the harder I find it to ‘get back on the horse’.

At times like these (there have been too many) I so often feel, like now, that I have let myself and others down – I feel depressed, deflated and also oh so slightly embarrassed when the ‘cold light of day’ of reality shows my great ideas and grandiose plans to be heroically out of reach. So often they have stalled through either a debilitating lack of self-belief or an equally chronic loss of primary focus. I am also embarrassed, to be frank, at my rather pathetic inability to confront problems and my penchant for looking the other way and pretending nothing is going on. I am also acutely worried about how people view me (though I regularly deny this) – not entirely though vanity but rather I have extremely high expectations for myself, and when I fail to reach these dizzy heights my black dog arrives snarling away like before!

I am sure if I was losing 2-3 pounds a week still I would be posting daily and rambling about all sorts of rubbish. The question for me is that am I unhappy because I am not losing weight or am I not losing weight because I am unhappy. This conundrum is a recurring one and I think I have answered my question many times before.

I MUST be happy to lose weight – and happiness comes from positive thought… so start thinking positive!

As a consequence of this unspecific ‘black dog’ episode, I have clearly neglected the development of the weight loss challenge, and more importantly to me I have neglected the regular contributors to the Blog including all those of you who kindly entered the challenge.

You all deserve better, and I apologise to you all.

I sadly have no real excuse for this, no obscure references to ‘personal problems that I don’t want to discuss’, no mental demons that torture me at night.

I just stuck the chewing gum on the post one night and now I find myself here….

I now realise that I created this Blog only in part to assist my weight loss journey. To a greater or lesser extent I also created this Blog for purely selfless reasons of aggrandisement. I wanted to show the world how clever I am and have the thoughts of Chairman FatBloke published in little red books across the globe. I only slightly exaggerate for comic effect – I know now that I need to reign in my expectations for this project and pick myself up and get on with it.

The primary focus for this Blog should be and WILL BE to encourage myself and others to live longer through better health and spiritual well being.

Whilst writing this post, I am reminded of some truly inspirational words. So many times, the word ‘inspirational’ is extravagantly attached to words, images or sounds that patently are no such thing but this, I hope you will agree, is the ‘real deal’.

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt

We as human beings are more complex and diverse as possible anything else in the known universe and we all deal with things differently. Tempting though it is to dream of being a simple ‘dumb’ animal, our friends in the animal kingdom are born without the awesome gift of cognitive thought. Cognitive thought is a twin-edged sword though…as I clearly think too much on occasion!

I have set off down a road to enlightenment using a combination of mental and physical challenges. Changes in the way I relate to food & exercise my body along with changes in my cognitive thought process, will hopefully combine to be a new way of living my life.

This fairly major bump in the road appears to be the first un-navigable obstacle in the journey – an obstacle maybe in my own mind, but an obstacle nevertheless. I believe that it stems from my long held belief that I have consistently under achieved in my life.

It should be understood that I do not mean under-achievement in the most conventional sense. I have a very highly paid job, I have a warm and loving family; I live an extremely comfortable and secure life. If Maslow were to use his pyramid to determine my position I’m a long way off the ground! But am I truly happy? Define happy for a start...!

I feel I have under-achieved in a spiritual and human sense. To judge me in the modern currency of material things, I am as rich as Solomon compared to literally billions of others in the world. But spiritually and emotionally, I feel not exactly bankrupt, but certainly short a bob or two! The older I get, the more things are becoming clear to me. I have spent too long concentrating on the what instead of the why.

Anyway, as Teddy so eloquently put it above, it’s time for me to get back in the arena…

As a reminder of just how lucky I really am, this is a photograph I took outside our house a couple of weeks ago. I need to look at these more often...

I hope everyone is well and thank you if you have commented recently and my apologies for my lack of reply - I will try to do MUCH better in the future.

And on that note, I leave you with this question…

‘If tin whistles are made of tin, what do they make fog horns out of?’

7 Sep 2007

I AM so sorry, no really..., I REALLY am sorry!

I am still here, fasting away like fury trying to shift the pounds....

I know I am VERY late with the update for the weight loss challenge (if anyone was interested) - usual excuses, blah, blah! It will be done tonight!

Until then, have a think about this...

Since my acts are caused by my choices and my choices caused by my beliefs and desires and my beliefs and desires are not in my direct control, how can it be that my acts are free?

Question - courtesy Show Me The Argument.

Loads of other stuff to talk about - check back tonight if you like or if you have some mind blowing, earth shattering, epoch making observation based on the question above, drop me a line.

31 Aug 2007

30 Aug 2007

Mrs Fatbloke lives to tell the tale!

Well, 5k in around 29 minutes (slightly off world record pace maybe but impressive never the less) - full results and times haven't been published yet but we think she finished about 85 out of 200 ish so well in the top half!

So, if you needed any incentive NOT to go running tomorrow, here is a before and after comparison of the good Mrs FB clearly demonstrating that there are better things to be doing than running around a lake (only joking, I started screaming at her down the back straight to go faster, bless her!!).

Next is a 10K for Cancer Research at the end of September 07 - then it's straight to the Olympics in 2012!! Get in there!

Before the ordeal!

After the application of intravenous Evian....

Things to feel good about...

1. I had recently got out of the habit of weighing myself each morning, so imagine my surprise when I weigh myself this morning and find that I am 239.8! This is ALMOST the lowest I have been since the beginning of this weight loss meander.

I had to weigh myself twice just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating! Clearly Tony's inspirational powers are stronger than I thought!

2. I didn't wake up jettisoning blood out of my 'nether regions'! Hope you are feeling better soon Chris!

3. My wife begins her running 'career' tonight! She embarks on a proper 5K run for the first time! Go girl (pictures tomorrow). I am so excited for her!

I am great at encouraging others but not so great at encouraging myself...time to find my own race maybe!

4. My friend AB came second in a writing competition! Whoo! Well done, you richly deserve the recognition. The story is great too - have a read here.

5. I took this photograph a few weeks ago, and every time I look at it, I realise just how damn lucky I am! Nothing else really matters. It's a dad thing, if you don't own one of these, you probably wont understand...

Behold the son of FatBloke!

29 Aug 2007


Weight - 242.3Lbs.
Exercise - 45 minute cardio workout Saturday & Tuesday

I have just stumbled upon this blog. Please take a look - you will NOT be disappointed.

Wow! Tony started at around the high 280's and is now at 239. His goal is 220lbs (nice to see a realistic goal that has nothing to do with BMI - very refreshing). His journey appears to have a very similar genesis to mine - a revelation of our own weight and how it will affect the relationship with our children.

What really shocked and impressed me was the difference in his appearance in photographs from Christmas 2006 and by contrast, now. Blimey!

Don't get me wrong, I am genuinely REALLY happy for Tony and feel really motivated by his efforts but I can't help thinking 'why don't I look that different' - lol!

Sure, he has lost a bit more weight but I have lost around 30 pounds and it has mostly disappeared off my already bony arse and legs (I realise I am built all wrong and that is never going to change, but we are the same damn height and near enough the same damn weight and he looks SO much better than I do) .

I know I have lost weight, I feel so much better and maybe it's vanity, but I wished I LOOKED better (NOT better , I mean Thinner).

Fat is BAD, thin is GOOD - no STOP it, call the acceptance police, quickly!!!

I'm only half joking, we all have our pride and a big part of motivation (for me anyway) is seeing noticeable changes in my body (size of manboobs, belt overhang etc) - in fact, it has been so long since I lost any weight that I really am starting to question whether I can do this.... :(

Well I was, until I read Tony's blog! Bring it on - the man boobs are history!

28 Aug 2007

Stream of unconsciousness...oh and cart horses!

If you are looking for this weeks FBT weigh-in results - scroll down or look at this.

I have just noticed that my previously prolific levels of 'postage' (creating posts not licking stamps you understand - by the way, why DID it take over 160 years to come up with a self-adhesive postage stamp - they've put men on the Moon for pity sake....!), has dissipated somewhat in recent times. I have been mostly thinking about why this has happened.

1. I have the attention span of a gnat that is really preoccupied about something very VERY important that keeps gnawing away at him even when he's not really thinking about it.

2. If I don't get results, I get fed up and change tack very quickly - not big on hobbies, me...

3. This blog has turned into a digital millstone in some ways. I really like to read other peoples blogs and comment about what they are talking about but the act of commenting starts a reciprocal relationship.........

Sh*t, I have just bored myself TO DEATH with number 3!

Alright, I admit it, the real reason is that I'm lazy and want to wake up tomorrow weighing 195 pounds and find myself as fit as a butchers dog (not a Gypo's dog, that's something else entirely..) and I KNOW that this is not going to happen.

My eating habits have gone completely to pot since last Wednesday when a Curry and lager was applied to my internal waste management system. Since then there has been wine, BBQ, chocolate, more wine - SUN DRIED TOMATOES (can't someone do some utterly rubbish EU funded research to find that they are carcinogenic and BAN them??), er more wine..etc etc etc.

I went to the dreaded CHAMBER OF GYM 3 times last week and pretty much managed to do everything the evil Frances wanted me to do - except for the unusual cruelty that is the 2nd helping on the Elliptical (I'll swing for the bloke that invented that bloody machine - almost certainly FRENCH if I'm not mistaken!) but the notion that I am going to have to do this FOR EVER is gut wrenchingly dismal is so many ways as I can barely mention...

By the way, the devil that is Frances surpassed herself this time with her thoughtless blunderbuss of perkiness - whilst I am torturing myself on the treadmill on Saturday she bounces up to me and chirps ' How's it going then?' - 'Er OK', I grunt, 'Getting there I suppose...'

She then tells me that it will all be worth it when I go for a riding holiday and 'they don't offer you a cart horse!' - OH NICE ONE - YOU ARE PROPER HILARIOUS! Hey, I'm not exactly sensitive, but really, it that meant to be motivational? Bloody hell!

Anyway, I'm sorry to ramble on like a geriatric old clown who's lost not only his marbles but also his exploding car and bucket of confetti, but I really need to find a way to get going and do what needs to be done! I NEED HELP!

The sad fact is that I wasn't built for hard work - I like to imagine that I'm some poncy pondering thinker of great thoughts and I should be in a log cabin somewhere putting down on paper my unique philosophical creed for the benefit of all mankind but actually I am a professional 'avoider' (both of effort and occasionally responsibility) and this is the biggest single barrier to dealing with my weight loss.

Christmas seemed miles away when I started this journey and now it is looming in the distance like a tip of a very big iceberg.... 40 pounds to go keeps taunting me like the cool kid at school throwing old Biro's at me and calling my lardy!

RIGHT THEN - this weeks resolutions....

Blog more often (and actually mention your weight once in a while, this is meant to be weight loss blog after all...doh!), go to the gym at least 3 times a week, stop eating like it 'doesn't really matter cause you go to the gym now' ( honestly, how spectacularly, heart-stoppingly stupid is that? I should be put down for that alone...!!) stop effing WHINING all the time (you want to be a Buddhist when you grow up, so GROW UP!), visit more blogs and don't mention WAL-MART again (they obviously don't like that...)... well, that's a start then!

Get the kettle on people, I'll be around for a cup of tea tonight and I want to know ALL about it!

Weigh in results - NOW HEAR THIS!

Righto, without further ado.....(drum roll)..the winners of this weeks FatBlokeThin weight loss challenge!

Laura N - another sterling effort from Laura giving her a massive 4.2% weight loss so far!!

Mr Fat - no change this week for Mr F but still basking in previous glories - 3.3%!

Celeste - no change this week either for C, so holding station at 3.2%...watch out Mr Fat!

Tigerlilly - poor Tigerlilly, a little increase but still in the hunt at 2.8% lost so far!

Kathleen Crowley No Blog - another great loss this week, now with an overall loss of 2.2%

Well done everyone and especially to Laura who continues to show us all how it should be done! Get in there (as they say where I come from, well I do anyway....)!!

Remember it's only one week to go to the first ever Monthly FBT weight loss weigh in!!! I have lots of special things planned for this occasion and more will be revealed soon!

Finally, Please commiserate with 2 of my most loyal and supportive blogger-buddies, Jojo and ChrisH - If I had an excess of wooden spoons to hand, they would be in the care of FedEx as we speak...

Jojo has been on holiday (we all know what happens there, don't we?) and now leads the bottom of the list (can you lead at the bottom? hmmmm...) with a 3.9% increase! Sorry to blow the whistle but this is about encouragement, right??

And Chris, well what can I say? A full blown detox diet and got herself a 1.7% increase! As she so eloquently put it, 'you do the math?'

So, until next week, remember this is about %age weight lost since the first time you weighed in for the challenge so if you forgot this week or you haven't weighed in since you got all excited and told me you were joining in, you can STILL send me your weight next week for the big monthly 'weigh-a-thon' - everyone is welcome and 'you have to be in it to win it!'

24 Aug 2007

Anyone got a soapbox handy?

I had an e-mail from my friend Jojo a couple of days ago. It was about this. The insanity of the basic premise left me speechless.

This e-mail seemed to crystallize a lot of thoughts that have been rolling around in my head for some time. The future of China can go either way in my view - at the moment we (western democracies) seem hell bent in exploiting every last bit of cheap labour and in part payment we are fairly happy to 'overlook' the horrific way in which they treat their citizens in general and their workers in particular.

China worries me, a lot. But maybe what worries me more, is the way western big business is flooding into China. I get the distinct feeling that we are giving fuel to our own destruction, not today and not tomorrow but nevertheless we are helping to build an economic powerhouse that shares NONE of our values of freedom and democracy (no matter how much they spend on PR, I'm not buying 'China-lite' one bit).

When I get wrapped up in my own problems and preoccupations I try to remind myself that things can ALWAYS be worse... how lucky am I to live in a country where I have pretty much total religious and political freedom. There are lots of things wrong in ALL countries, but we pretty much have the basics taken for granted by now. I live in a country where state and church are for all intents and purposes separate. A country where I can babble on about anything and everything and not fear state persecution.. not everywhere can say this....

For those of you who are new to this blog, I started this journey for 2 reasons. One, to get fit for my family and two, to find a spiritual direction for me to follow The welding of mind and body is central to my philosophy of wellness.

A book by HH The Dalai Lama was the initial motivation for this journey - the Buddhist way seemed right for me and it just 'clicked' into place. A book so simple in its philosophy but so profound in it's affect, it has fundamentally changed every aspect of my life (I haven't flipped out, I just got a bit excited - fear not..)

I am really looking forward to a new film next year about him (trailer below).

Everything he seems to utter makes crystal clear sense to me but by a perverse logic actually makes my situation worse. The WAL-MART Movie is a perfect example of this paradox - the more I grow and develop my Buddhist understanding, the more I get depressed by the suffering and greed around me.

The film shocked me in some ways and not in others. The awful way WAL-MART go about their business in China was to be expected - I am no longer surprised by the ways of international commerce. What did shock me was the way this company treats it's staff and customers in the US - incredible!

In essence, I feel utterly impotent to effect any change in the world - I have neither the time nor the resources to jump off the 'exercise wheel' of corporate life to REALLY make a difference (I also lack the courage if I am honest...).

Perhaps I should just 'GET A GRIP' and heed the great mans words....

'If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them'. HH Dalai Lama.

If only WAL-MART felt the same way!

20 Aug 2007

Weigh in results - NOW HEAR THIS!

Week 2 is upon us already!

So, without further delay, I give you, the winners of this weeks FatBlokeThin weight loss challenge!

Laura N has burst to the top of the leader board with an awesome effort of 3.73%.

Mr Fat is narrowly pipped at the post with a superb 3.33% (so close my friend).

Celeste is in the top 5 for the first time with a superb effort of 3.22%

Groovybabe is snapping at their heels with a solid 2.04% loss

Kathleen Crowley (blog-less but hopefully this will spur her on to get into the blogosphere) - sneaks in with a great first effort of a 1.38% weight loss.

Well done everybody!

So Laura, stand by for the tacky prize!

I will try and get a proper results sheet out along with developing a separate challenge website (yada yada yada...) - I will get there !

One thing though - of the 31 people that have so far registered for the challenge, I only received 14 weigh-in's. Its true what they say, you have to be IN IT to WIN IT!

The biggest of drops...the highest of mountains!

If you get a chance, pop over to a new weight loss buddy just starting out on the road to wellness. He is going for the Big Drop and will need our help to get stuck into it!

He might even join the challenge....

Hell has a face and she answers to Frances....

Weight - 241.6lbs
Exercise - near death gym based shenanigans (see below for gruesome details).

'I'll be gentle' she said. Hmmmm....see what you think....

I arrived for my gym assessment (heath and lifestyle assessment included gratis) right on time. As predicted, I was met by the perkiest, most health obsessed person you are ever likely to meet, her name was Frances. A lovely lady it must be said. What follows is MY intepretation of the the first 45 minutes of our 'relationship'.

After the usual height and weight checks, I had my blood pressure taken and found it smack bang in the middle of 'normal range', this was even better than my recent check-up so things are starting to happen. Next was the realisation that I have shrunk as I appear to be an inch shorter than used to be, hopefully I haven't lost anything too important....

By this time I was starting to enjoy myself, but the black clouds were looming - she asked me 'Which machines DON'T you like' - this was a difficult one as it's like an Islamo-fascist asking me which knife I would prefer he DIDN'T use to hack my head off with live on the inter-web!

To be polite, I picked the worst looking one - the rowing machine. In my previous infrequent gym visits I always seemed to see some fit looking bloke going 'hammer and tongs' on the thing and looking like he was close to death moments after starting - not a good indication of suitability for my purposes...also, lets be honest here, I've tried the soddin' thing before and for ME it's like trying to row a dingy across a lake with all your winter coats on at ONCE! My body was not designed for this type of machine - I look like a bull frog with it's feet stuck to the wall....

Anyway, after deciding what I didn't want to do, I was introduced to my 'pain routine' :

10 minutes warm up on the bike (fitness program L9) - halfway through this, she uttered the fateful phrase 'I'll be gentle on you'. By glorious ironic coincidence, this was the moment my thighs let out a (silent to all but dogs) blood curdling cry and expired - I was trying to be a M A N about it ( i.e ignore the obvious and plough on regardless hoping no-one will notice my tears...) - it was then that she remembered to inform me that 'if you slow down your peddling, the resistance gets higher' - eh? how does that work exactly, just when I need a breather and slow down you turn the treacle up?? Insane! Anyway, I coughed and said I thought I had got the hang of this one and best we move on...I think she bought it..!

Next came the treadmill - ahhh, a nice relaxing walk maybe? She prodded a button called nine hole course and off we went. This innocuous sounding program (surely a gentle amble around the leafy fairways of a golf course??) turned into what can only be described as low level mountaineering - the damn thing started going up in the air! More insanity! Thankfully, she got bored before I did on this one so that was definitely a result as I could stop without further embarrassment. She was obviously getting worried about me by then as she looked at me with a serious 'you're not gonna die on MY watch' look on her face and instructed me to take on water and NOW!

Suitably refreshed, so to the final part of the 'holy trinity of torture', the cross trainer (cue - Phantom of the Opera organ music!). I have NEVER been so out of bodily control as when I used this (drunk or sober sadly...). I cannot begin to explain the complete mess I made of this contraption - legs and arms flailing everywhere totally out of sync with what the machine was doing - NOT helped by some bloke nearly twice my age (I exaggerate only SLIGHTLY...) on the next machine going at it like it it was the Olympic qualifications or something and STILL finding the lung capacity to condescendingly tell me that 'it takes a while to get used to it' - OH REALLY!

And then there were the exercises with some sort of space-hopper ball thing! Dont get me started on that! Things as they say, can only get better...


Finally, if you got this far and you are a member of the FBT Weight loss challenge - PLEASE remember to send me your updated weight as soon as you can today so you get included in the weigh in tonight!
Best of luck everyone.

17 Aug 2007

Dawn of a new era.

Weight : 242.2Lbs

So, finally I have joined the gym. I could put it off no further. My spangly shoes have twice graced the high-tech torture devices to be found in a very modern gymnasium and I will be going again this evening for gym & swim. The plan is to go 3 times a week.

I have my fitness assessment (groan...) on Saturday (I could save her the trouble and just take my death certificate with me...), so I am getting prepared for the endless perky optimism of the fitness instructor (why can't they have some fat, miserable ones.. not a very good marketing strategy I suppose), I will doubtless be bombarded with countless facts and figures that I will instantly forget as soon as my thighs are made to burn on the step machine (the very cruelest of the torture machines for sure..), about a minute should do it!

I really want to get fit, so fit that I can run when I want for as long as I want (within reason you understand, I am not planning one of those 'uber-iron man' marathon idiocies that last 3 days and you poo & pee yourself uncontrollably when you cross the line as the bit of your brain that controls your bodily functions has joined the rest of the organs and gone completely berserk..) - I just want to be able to do a 5K and not look like a Muppet. This is not too much to ask in my view, is it?

Somebody recently (probably her or her and maybe even her) told me that I will not believe how differently I will feel when I get fit. They are right as I have NEVER been fit, that's the problem. I do not know what I am missing and I often lack the motivation to find out because I have never had any real level of fitness in my life. That is a shocking thing to say and I got depressed during the writing of that last sentence, nice!

The problem that I have is that I FEEL I am in a 'complete gold plated Catch 22 in the first degree with great big knobs on' situation. Basically, I struggle to run because my legs hurt almost instantly and the reason my legs hurt is that :-

a) they were CLEARLY designed for someone else (possibly an Ostrich or very large 'gamma rayed' experimental Chicken) and cannot support the 3 JCB tyres I have metaphorically strapped around my waist....sigh..

and b) I am not fit enough to run.

The reason I am not fit enough is because I can't run, and I can't run because I am not fit - do you get it? Catch 22 or what!

I know what you will say. Do something else, ride a bike, swim, pogo up the Khyber Pass or whatever, anything in fact that does NOT cause impact to my desperately small and spindly legs.... Listen, I know you are right but I cannot help thinking you are wrong!

I want to run, I want to lose weight and I want to be 'normal' ( in my book, slightly better than wanting to be a tree, nice though that might be in the summer with little birds twittering on my branches and children running around beneath me...oh dear I think the medication has worn off again..NURSE!). Before the fat acceptance Gestapo go into attack formation, me wanting to be 'normal' does not imply that being FAT is abnormal (it is life threatening though...stick I LOVE MY BODY on a grave stone and see where that gets you...anyway I'm straying again..) - normalcy for me is being able to run and do 'fit' stuff without feeling a failure.

I weigh 240ish pounds, there are plenty of professional sportsmen of this weight and my height that can easily run a competitive marathon - so it isn't the weight, it's the distribution (back to the JCB tyres again..) and more importantly my general level of fitness.

Basically, this whole post boils down to one word.... 'impatience'.

This has been a FBT mind dump, brought to you as a public service. Please give generously on your way out...

Perhaps there is only one cardinal sin: impatience. Because of impatience we were driven out of Paradise, because of impatience we cannot return.
W. H. Auden

14 Aug 2007

Inspiration & re-dedication!

For all of you that are struggling with weight loss (you KNOW who you are...) and the impasse of the dreaded 'plateau', hopefully this offering will amuse, entertain and maybe re-ignite your journey!

A Buddhist monk on his journey home comes to the banks of a wide river. Staring hopelessly at the great obstacle in front of him, he ponders for hours on just how to cross such a wide barrier.

Just as he is to give up his journey, he sees a great teacher on the other side of the river. The monk yells over to the teacher, "Oh Master, can you tell me how to get to the other side of this river?"

The teacher ponders for a moment, looks up and down the river and yells back, "You are already on the other side."

I still believe that EVERY obstacle can be overcome through either thought or deed. I have finally realised (started reading my own message more like....) that I will never lose more weight if I do not exercise more and the running is really not working yet.

I need to recommit to this journey and NOW!

Seeing how well so many of you have done in the FBT Weight loss challenge is both inspiring and depressing at the same time. The days when I could effortlessly lose 2-3 or even 5 pounds in a week are long gone as now the merest thought of lard is likely to pile the pounds on with abandon...

So, it's gym time folks! Yes, I have joined a gym and this time it's personal.

I must admit to being a 'serial gym joiner' - I have been a member of this one at least 3 times before over the last few years.

This time though it REALLY is different, I have a goal and a community to interact with - this is why I think the weight loss challenge is so great - we can all do this together and really start to heal ourselves inside and out.

13 Aug 2007

Weigh in results - NOW HEAR THIS!

Fresh off the press, the results for week one of the FBT weight loss challenge!

1st Tigerlilly with an awesome 3.3% weight loss in week one! Congratulations
2nd Groovybabe chased her all the way down with an equally impressive 2.9% drop.
3rd Lady T gets the bronze medal for a healthy 1.9% weight loss!
4th Mr fat gets first reserve to prove that real men can lose weight too (all 1.85%)!
5th Laura N completes the roll of honour with a great effort at 1.81%.

Well done to everyone that entered and especially to the 5 biggest losers above. Please visit all their blogs and congratulate them on their superb weight loss efforts!

As for the rest of you, I am still missing a few starting weights and some updates. This weeks challenge is over but there is always next week! Anyone can join in at any time - just e-mail me to get the ball rolling.

New recent entrants are :-

Sarah Aarssen http://www.sarahsweightlossjourneyblog.blogspot.com/
Lady Rose http://thedietpulpit.wordpress.com/
John http://www.johnisfit.com/

Welcome aboard and best of luck for next week!

And as for you Tigerlilly, expect an e-mail VERY soon explaining the true delight that awaits you in the form a priceless and timeless prize for your stunning achievement!

12 Aug 2007

Not dead, just thinking!

This weekend is turning into a never ending round of parties and excitement. Thanks for the e-mails and comments. I WILL answer them all as soon as I can and the first weigh in the FBT challenge is tomorrow!

I will be migrating the challenge stuff to a new blog (on blogger)soon - everyone will get a link if you participate and all the weight loss info and stats will be there in one place. I think this is the best way to get the community going. I will let everyone know when this is done. This challenge has never been about bringing traffic to this blog, its about community and supporting each other!

Good luck everyone and speak soon.

Shelly, the book post is coming by the way, I bought some today (Buddha, Rwandan Genocide and Churchill - I sure know how to throw a book party...)!?*

10 Aug 2007

No words necessary...

Thank you Karoline.

View the movie trailer here.

8 Aug 2007

FBT Challenge update

Right then, phasers on stun, the e-mail is out to all participants.

If you want to be involved in the challenge and you DID NOT receive an e-mail a few hours ago, either I don't have your e-mail or I'm stooopid or sumfink!

If you want to get involved, e-mail me (address in LH side bar) with the following information :-

1. URL of blog (if you have one, you DO NOT need one to participate).

2. Your e-mail address for updates etc.

3. Your starting weight in pounds , kilos or stones.

Below is the e-mail sent to today to all registered participants, this should answer any outstanding questions. If not, let me know!

Basic challenge rules.

Anyone can submit their starting weight at any time to join the challenge.

Weights can be submitted in either pounds, Kilos or stones.

Weight loss (gain?) will be judged by %age of weight lost NOT poundage - this will even out every ones performance regardless of starting weight.

Weight updates must be submitted by e-mail to me BEFORE 12.00hrs GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) each Monday.

Each Monday by 23.00hrs GMT after submission the blog http://www.fatblokethin.co.uk/ will be updated with the 5 biggest losers for that week and special mentions for anyone else that takes my fancy..(i.e anyone consuming a large piece of furniture by accident etc). The biggest loser will receive a trivial and probably quite insultingly tacky prize of my choosing.

On the First Monday of each month, the blog update will include a list of ALL participants and their respective weight loss performance. The biggest loser on these occasions will receive a marginally less tacky prize of my choosing.

First weigh in.

Now I have (nearly every ones) initial weight - the games have begun. As only a very few of you have given me Monday weigh-ins this week, I propose to begin the challenge with the first official weight loss weigh in on Monday 13th August 2007.

Please e-mail me before 12.00hrs GMT on that and each subsequent Monday.

Kirk out!

7 Aug 2007

Flat out like a lizard drinking....

Weight - 240 (-30lbs)
Exercise - 8 hours marching around Kew Gardens in 29 degree heat - hi karumba!

I have had a rather full head this last week and have consequently been neglecting my 'blogular' duties. I'm now back with stories to tell and pictures to show.

The short version is that I have my gotten my head straightened and the diet is fully back on track (the graph is now heading in the right direction - i.e. down...!).

More soon dear reader..!

3 Aug 2007

The black dog has passed.....

Weight - 244 (-26lbs)
Exercise - loads (eh?, how does that work...)

Well, thanks for all the shouting through the letterbox recently, you'll be pleased to learn that I'm not slumped in a crusty armchair decomposing with a half-eaten pizza balancing on my chest and the TV blaring away to itself. I'm not feral cat-fodder quite yet!

I have however been 'proper out of sorts' this last week, without the decency to have a particularly good reason either, but then black dogs seldom need a reason...anyway that was then and this is now (hhmmm, name the eighties popster that sang that, answers on a postcard to the usual address...).

Sadly I must point out, the only thing I share with my hero, Winston Churchill is his propensity for 'black dog days' - more's the pity...

Right, the reason I started this whole malarkey was a lady called Pam - she is the Asthma nurse I see every month or so and she is also the lady that metaphorically kicked me out of my slumber and made me determined to lose weight and get fit. I saw her yesterday, and more than anything, she is the reason I am posting today.

It's a fairly obvious given that our achievements are usually best judged by others and she did not let me down...she was delighted to see that I had lost around 30 pounds and that my Asthma symptoms were improving. Some days it's just really hard to see how far I have come when I'm too damn busy looking to see how far it is to go....(blimey, that deserves a T shirt..).

One of the more obvious effects of obesity is raised blood pressure and I was shocked back in April to learn that I had very high blood pressure as this had never been a problem before.

In April my BP was 145/93

In May my BP was 135/98

Yesterday my BP was 119/86

I don't have the first idea what the hell these figures mean but its lower, so that's good, isn't it??

My wife and son have been out of town for the last 3 days and as normal, my diet self control went with them. I have been fairly good on the food but I have had a bottle of wine each night (my nemesis along with crisps and sun dried tomatoes in olive oil... - damn I'm hungry!!!!).

Also we are off to visit family for the weekend and they are incredibly generous hosts so I will struggle to avoid the vino there as well, I am resigned to putting everything on hold until Monday and then it's time to be deadly serious.

Anyway, I have nearly gotten every ones starting weight so I will be 'kicking ass and taking names' for the weight loss challenge tonight with an e-mail to everyone in the game. I'm sorry it has hiccuped before it really began but I'm back on it today and for the rest of the year.

No Buddha quotes today, as one of my jobs to do whilst the 'boss' was away was to sort out the figurative mountain of letters, documents and bills etc that needed filing... amongst them all was a very interesting little booklet that I had completely forgotten I had.

It is Dale Carnegie's Golden Book - and in it he lists some of the most obvious and simple techniques to stop worrying and to start living - so obvious that I (and most of humanity) had forgotten all about them....

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. Dale Carnegie.

I will try and visit all of you soon who have left comments and e-mailed me over the last few days - thank-you for your friendship!

31 Jul 2007

Doing the right thing is sometimes the wrong thing...

Yesterday I read a very eloquent and thought provoking post about community (or the lack of it) and it made me think about the Internet and what may be termed the 'electronic village'.

Shellys blog is the epitome of thoughtful blogging and she exemplifies the best of the Internet in terms of her ability to engender and support a virtual community spirit. I am using Shelly as a counter-point to my own experience of attempting to 'support' fellow bloggers in the 'electronic Village'.

Where Shelly is thoughtful and a good listener, never thrusting her views on others, I appear to have fallen into the habit of being an evangelical Buddhist (what a awful thought THAT is...).

My lead feet wade in with reams of advice when all that's required was maybe a sympathetic murmur and best wishes. I deeply regret this and in particular I regret a post I left on this blog post yesterday, particularly as I may have contributed to her decision to stop blogging. The reasons for regret are fairly self evident when you read her response....

The lesson today dear reader is as follows...listen, listen and then listen some more and don't assume that everyone shares your belief in Karma and positive thought. Oh, and I can be an I D I O T occasionally..

'Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.' Buddha

30 Jul 2007

Dead birds, cat herding and bowels you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy!

Weight - 241.6 lbs (-28.4).
- swimming and aborted jogging (twice)

Well, I haven't posted much over the last week or so. This is for various reasons but mostly because I have been feeling sorry for myself. I have no reason to feel this way but emotions never come in clearly marked tins showing their 'country of origin' so to speak....

I rather rashly decided to run a weight loss challenge and then almost instantly lost anything approaching interest in the basic mechanics of losing weight, i.e. diet, portion control and exercise. I also found that I am REALLY good and telling people to think positively and then wallowing in a bucket of my own self pity.

Oh, and I felt really ill last week as well - ahhhhhh!

I felt generally under the weather ALL last week - I'm not sure if the mood caused the illness or maybe the other way around..either way it manifested itself as a severe disruption to the 'trouser department' if you will, i.e chronic IBS and various feelings of nausea and general prolonged periods of unspecific 'utter shiteness' - a term not to be found in 'Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary' to the best of my knowledge, but wholly descriptive nonetheless...for your sakes I will elaborate no further...

Needless to say, it completely put me off my stroke, fitness wise and diet wise. The self control and focus flew straight out the window like a jet-powered cockatoo and I succumbed to the old twin evils of comfort eating and drinking. Double bugger!

Thankfully, towards the end of last week, my bowels regained some composure and my outlook (like the weather in the UK) started to improve. And then came the Pheasant....

As you may know, the central tenet of Buddhism is compassion for all living things - usually something I am able to cope with quite easily (except when shopping in IKEA that is - if you don't know, don't ask, it'll only set me off again....).

On Saturday, we spent a lovely day, firstly at Woburn Safari Park checking out the wild animals and then a relaxing swim at Whittlebury Hall. Well it would have been relaxing had this not happened ....

Yes, that IS a real Pheasant rammed up the air intake of a Land Rover Discovery - and yes, you CAN get a 6lb bird through a 2 inch gap if you hit it at 90 miles per hour. I know this for a fact....

Not only did I kill it (thereby blowing most of my Buddhist credibility in one go) but I proceeded to drive it around all afternoon and didn't notice it until I got back in the car after going shopping much later in the day (much to the amusement/disgust of 3 spotty youths riding their little bikes around Waitrose' car park - their faces were indeed a picture...!)

So what you may ask is the point to all this, I wish I knew. More importantly, where does the cat herding come in? Well, starting this challenge has made me realise that I was not cut-out for 'cat herding' - a notoriously difficult profession at the best of times. Trying to get every ones starting weights, e-mail addresses ( half of you have 2 e-mail addresses, some have 3 or more blogs each and you call yourselves up to 4 different names for Christ sake!! ) - but herd those cats, I most certainly will.

The one thing this last week has proved to me is that I need a challenge and also at times like this I need to remind myself that life can ALWAYS be harder...

The Fat Bloke is back - let the games (nearly) begin!

A busy weekend!

Thanks for all your comments and e-mails giving me starting weights etc for the challenge.

I will respond to all your e-mails over the next day or so - this will include a re-statement of the challenge rules and confirmation of the next weigh in date.

Hope everyone is well and I will be visiting very soon to say hello!

27 Jul 2007

Good start to the challenge!

Sorry folks, but I am struggling to get the e-mail out to all of you as many of you do not publish your e-mail on your blogs. I have employed a guard to look after your e-mail addresses to make sure they are not kidnapped and sold into spammery (see picture below) so don't worry about sending it to me!

Time for PLAN B!

Please e-mail ME (its in the left hand column) with your starting weight in Lbs, Kilos, stones, bags of flower or snickers bars, whatever suits!

Once I have every ones e-mail and starting weight, I will set up a distribution list to update you all on updates, prizes etc etc etc. I would rather do this than clog up my blog too much with organizational stuff.

I will post weekly with the top 5 etc and monthly with every ones progress. Sound fair?


26 Jul 2007

2007 FBT Weight loss competition.

Thanks to everyone that has registered for the challange! I will be e-mailing you all tonight to give you the last instructions and then off we go!

'I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done.' BUDDHA

24 Jul 2007

2007 FatBlokeThin Weight Loss Challenge..(UPDATED...AGAIN!)

Right then, does anyone else want to join the 2007 FatBlokeThin weight-loss challenge ?

Anyone can join at any time but to be a founding member of this thrilling challenge, you need to let me know by Thursday 26th July 2007 (i.e. 2 days times !!).

The Rules.

Starting weight - the weight as measured on Friday 27th July 2007. I will e-mail all contestants to establish their starting weight (no helium or hover-magic shoes allowed..)

Weigh ins - there will be weekly weigh ins every Monday and a monthly weigh in on the the first Monday in each month (staring on 3rd September 2007) all weights to be e-mailed to me at the address shown in the LH side bar..(no, the OTHER left!).

Prizes - small but exquisite prizes will be awarded for biggest loser each week (if I'm feeling generous) and definitely every Month!

Remember weight loss will be measured in %age of starting weight lost to make it fair for everyone. I will publish a chart detailing everyones progress (not sure how or where yet but it'll come to me soon!).

By all means use the graphic above to publicise your involvement - I can supply different colours/sizes if required, just let me know or design your own if not, I'm not proud. There is NO requirement to show a button on your site if you don't want to. This is just a bit of fun.

Finally, F U N...this is what this is all about, it is not about starving yourself or doing dangerous things to your body to lose weight quickly. This is to create some community and some sorely needed motivation for each other. I reserve the right to discount contestants excessive weigh loss if i suspect naughtiness of any kind. Keep it real people!

Contestants registered so far :-

Chris H at http://diet-coke-rocks.blogspot.com/

Spunk http://www.100poundstogo.com/

Laura at http://lauramarie36.blogspot.com/

Manie at http://the-me-i-was-meant-to-be.blogspot.com/

Lady T at http://2whommuchisgiven.blogspot.com/

M at http://balloongirl.blogspot.com/

***** UPDATED 25TH JULY 2007 *****

new additions to the challenge...

Evita Sawyers at http://jeanstootighttomention.blogspot.com/

Victoria at http://diet-journey.blogspot.com/

Amelia at http://somethingelse.geekfamily.net/

Totegirl at http://pudgebudge.blogspot.com/

Marianne at http://practiceliving.wordpress.com/

Cory at http://dragonsloss.blogspot.com/

Tigerlilly http://whereistigerlilly.blogspot.com/

Sparkys’ Girl at http://lovinglowcarblife.blogspot.com/

Amazon Alanna at http://tri-bologna.blogspot.com/

Shrinky at http://www.shrinky.net/

MORE new additions to the challenge...

Jojo at http://toafk.blogspot.com/

Twisted Cinderella at http://tc-twistedfairytale.blogspot.com/

Flabuless at http://www.findingflabuless.com/Blog/

Not so Snow White at http://its-notso-bad.blogspot.com/

Groovybabe at http://groovybabe.wordpress.com/

Spread the word, the more the merrier!

22 Jul 2007

A wet fish swifty applied to the chops!

Blimey, I wish I had trusted my instincts and not contributed a moaning meme (it's not your fault Jessica but you'll see below why it wasn't such a great idea...) negative thoughts can be so destructive and I have gone and proved it AGAIN in such a graphic way!

I have understandably upset my blogging pal JoJo, and I never wanted to do that! She is a passionate motorbike rider and to generalise my negative thoughts to cover all bikers past, present and future was in hindsight crass and stupid. JoJo, I apologise. I am human, I get annoyed, but I have have put tremendous effort into reducing my negative outlook and reactions - I should read my own posts more often it seems to remind me what I am trying to do here!

The one slightly positive aspect of the whole 'moaning meme' saga is that it reminded me of why I am where I am.

I began to get serious about my weight loss when I began to get serious about the other aspect of my life that was in crisis - my spirituality.

I am where I am because of a spicy cocktail of Spike Milligan* and HH the Dalai Lama (well...sort of). I read a lot of Spikes books in my teens and some of the great Milligan imagery has stuck in my mind.

One of the most vivid memories is a passage in one of his later memoirs dealing with his well documented PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) during the latter stages of WWII whilst stationed in Italy.

Trust me, there really is a point to this!

Spike was struggling to deal with the harsh noises of war (that's why they used to call it shell-shock in WWI) and he had a particular hatred of the low flying fighter planes (both Allied and German) that 'buzzed' his army camp from time to time.

He took to yelling at the pilots expressing the sincere hope that they would "bl***y well crash and die!". This diversion to his day pleased him greatly until the inevitable happened and after yelling at one unlucky British pilot, the plane crashed near the camp killing the poor pilot.

Spike was immediately racked with guilt and blamed himself (quite irrationally as you'll appreciate) for the pilots fiery death.

And now to the point.....

A few months ago I was travelling through a large city in the UK and witnessed some unusually impatient road-craft from a 'gentleman' on a very high powered Japanese motorbike. Once he had dispatched me into the distance with a shake of the fist for daring to impede his hundred mile an hour qualifying lap, I came across another of his kind who obviously fancied a challenge as he set off in hot pursuit of the other rider. My well-worn reaction to these types of encounter is, in finest Spike Milligan fashion, to hope they "bl***y well crash and die!"...

Like Spike, eventually you know it had to happen....As I crested the brow of a hill about 30 seconds after my negative thoughts, a number of cars were slowing in front of me and as I came to a halt I could see in front of the cars a clearly terribly injured (and obviously unconscious) motorcyclist lying in the road with his bike almost implausibly far up the road..I felt sick. My son was asleep in the back of the car during all this. A number of people were offering assistance and calling for an ambulance on mobile phones, so I maneuvered around the obstacles and carried on my way.

I have seen accidents before and usually shrugged them off in my certainty that they were stupid and 'asked for it'...but this was significantly different. I easily rationalised that I did not cause the accident even if I had wanted it to happen but I felt deeply shocked by it nevertheless - for some reason, this was a far more visceral reaction than I had ever experienced before.

I was not shocked by the accident as much as by my extreme reaction to it. My negative thoughts made the accident almost personal in some way and as I drove home I began to think more and more about that rider - thinking of him as a person rather than an impersonal irritation. Yes he rode with arrogance and carelessness but he is as likely as not, a son, a husband, a father and a good friend to someone....I knew then that I had to learn to show compassion to all people, good and bad.

This thought reminded me of something that I had recently read in His Holiness The Dalai Lamas' book "The Art of Happiness". In it he shared the view that if we treat each other as just plain human beings, communication is so much easier. To ignore our differences and concentrate on our similarities allows us to communicate more effectively and allows us to find true happiness.

By the time I got home, I realised It was a another human being on the motorbike and I needed to treat all people with kindness no matter what they may do or however they might treat me.

See, there WAS a point to this after all! If only I had remembered it BEFORE I wrote the 'moaning meme' although I stand by the Racism one - that is a cancer that is destroying us all (regardless of colour and creed) from the inside out.

Still, I have learnt a big lesson today. I have a VERY long way to go to reach enlightenment and these set backs serve to show me the full exent of the journey still left. For that I am grateful.

* information about Spike Milligan from here (shame on you if you need this though...unless you live in Peru, then I forgive you) .