Tuesday, 6 September 2011

You're the one for me, fatty

Studio portraits, I feel, are invariably utterly hideous. Grinning babies sat on a sheepskin rug, 'tired' looking ladies plastered in slap, soft-focus lens, inane grin or sultry pout - we've all pretended to like such a photograph.

"Why, then", I hear you ask, "have you go one as your new  profile picture?"

The Lucy in that picture was having a rather pleasant time, courtesy of a popular supermarket's promotional team.

After successfully losing a couple of stone using a popular supermarket's on-line diet programme, I received an exciting e-mail. I no longer have this e-mail, but it read something like:

Hi! Following your astounding weight-loss using our internet service, we wonder if you'd be willing to take part in a photo-shoot, to inspire others...

I thought, "astounding? 2 stone?"

...you would have to be able to travel to London (all expenses paid) some time in the next fortnight

Ooh! London, all the way to London, from Wales! A hotel, a make-over, a break from the children - why not?

So, I replied saying how excited I was to receive the e-mail, and that I'm available any time (you'd better believe it).

The next e-mail from the PR lady was an apology.

Sorry Lucy, the e-mail was sent to you in error blah blah blah

I was disappointed, but pretended not to be, a bit embarrassing, I suppose -  me thinking I would get a chance like that. I replied and added some 'before' and 'after' shots, I said I'd love to be considered for anything similar in future.

The next day, I was inundated with calls and e-mails, I was to be whisked to London, stay at a hotel, bring your partner, it'll be a great day out, you'll be treated like a Queen!

So, Rob, my youngest son, (then 9 months) and I got on the train, and had a wonderful time in London, fitting in a lot of  tourist - type stuff and exhausting ourselves lugging a pushchair on and off the tube at peak times.

The photo-shoot and make-over the next day was thoroughly enjoyable, I clicked straight away with the make-up artist and was amazed at how long it took to get me ready for the glare of the lights. I was treated well, met some great people and felt 'alive' for the first time in a while.

I think the clothes are dreadful, office-wear for the lady who hates clothes shopping - if I'm being polite.

"You can keep all the clothes Lucy!"
No thanks, haven't any room in my empty bag over there.

A few months later, in January 2010, I appeared on the cover of the supermarket's promotional magazine,  photo-shopped and airbrushed.

The spiel inside was all "lonely single mum gorges on pies, scotch eggs and synthetic cream chocolate éclairs all night, meets prince charming, he shows her she's beautiful on the inside, and she became less of a boiler, after our wonderful diet.

 The amount of weight I lost was exaggerated, along with the tale of how I got fat (having 2 kids in 16 months was more of a factor, with one of those screaming solidly for 2 years).

I was also given free membership to the diet programme for life, which, rather tenuously, leads me to explain 'why I blog' (bear with me).

I started to use the diet site's support forum, once I had free access, and discovered a section dedicated to word-play  games. I logged  on daily, and along with a couple of other ladies, composed limericks, took part in word-association games, A-Z games, and, most enjoyably, entered 'The Virtual Pub'.

I struck up a very good rapport with the moderator of the forum, and we 'became' 2 hapless old alcoholic tarts, making up weird and wonderful tales, getting very drunk, lost, arrested and shaming ourselves at the Virtual Pub. Outrageous 'ladette' type evenings were dreamt up, I never seemed to run out of new material.

I didn't ask much about Claire's personal life, but new her children were grown up, and that she travelled a lot, all over the world. We shared diet bores, and a toilet humour I seldom find with females I meet day to day.

Claire suggested I start a blog, said I obviously enjoy writing, and it'd be a good outlet. She was spot on. When I followed her advice, the diet, and indeed the banter on the forum, went out of the window.

I now need to lose about 20lbs to get back to the weight I was back in November 2009, when I went to London.
I can't complain though, perhaps I wouldn't have started blogging without the photo-shoot mishap. I'll leave my profile picture up until I'm happy with my weight again (I know - it's never gonna happen).

I'm very happy to be blogging, and despite being a starter and stopper type, I reckon I'll stick at it.

Meanwhile, I found a photographic reminder of the chaos I endured every day before dieting. Yes, I hate my kitchen, yes, I detest my nightwear too.
My body shape is not dissimilar to 'The Honey Monster's is it? All top-heavy.

Oldest son wearing all red because he was in team 'Coch' (Welsh for red) at school, I didn't dress him like that regularly.

Can you spot 20 dangerous things? I bet you can...

So, hope I have explained in some way, the reason for the gurning over-made up studio shoot, and what lead me to start a blog.  And to think, I was going to try and be 'anonymous'...

...I leave you with a rather apt song, and an apology, for ever being happy to promote a popular supermarket.



  1. Hello:
    We have loved reading this post which is funny, at times poignant, but always written with such wonderful self-effacing good humour. What an incredible story and one, if it were ours, we should use to dine out on for years to come.

    And how splendid that all of this happened for, had it not been the case, you might never have started your blog.

  2. I must say, you look fabulous in your photo shoot. Great story about how you started blogging too. Life is full of such haphazard moments, all we have to do is take advantage of them.

    Btw, just a note to say my blog address has changed, it's now http://www.sarahhague.com

  3. I'm really glad you blog Lucy and one of these days I'm going to sit down and write you a proper letter to tell you why...

  4. What a fascinating read, Lucy! I did notice the new profile picture and it's a stunner.
    You are very naughty calling yourself the Honey Monster but as you've linked to a Mozza song I'll forgive you. x

  5. Jane and Lance - why thank-you! I often wonder if cultured and sophisticated people, such as yourselves, find my posts vacuous, distasteful and inappropriate.
    No offence meant to anybody else who comments - you are all far more sophisticated than I could dream of being!

    Sarah - thank-you. I have added your blog to Google reader, I commented on your prison-plans post just now. Very cunning plan.

    Kylie - I'm intrigued. Please do pen that letter once you settle down with the Etsy shop. Hand-written letters are one of my favourite things ever.

    Sian - thanks, I just know the 'chaos' one is your favourite.

    Vix - glad I'm forgiven, I'd hate to be in your bad books following your admission of being a loud, bossy sort!

  6. Dearest Lucy you are so funny and entertaining I dont know why your not making money from your writings.I may not always comment but I love to read what you have to say and love to have a chuckle.

  7. I knew I recognised you! Even from your early electronic profile photo days - us cover-girls can always spot one another ;-)

    You do look great though, I'd clocked your new pic and thought it was very glam. Are you telling me you don't have an enormous Venture portrait of you, OH and the boys? All leaping gaily in the air in a white studio? Or maybe lying down together in a ball-pit?

  8. PS. You never looked like the honey Monster, although there is now a resemblance to the Special K girl.

  9. You absolutely did not look like the Honey Monster. No, no, no.

    Lakota brought up Venture portraits before I did - I don't know what it is but the forced merriment, the props recycled again and again and the thought that X odd thousand other families all have the same shots on their walls is enough to put me off.

    You looked gorgeous in the officewear - not very 'you' granted, but still - you rocked it anyway! I'm contending with a few extra pounds (read lots of extra pounds but you wouldn't believe me if I told you how many!) at the moment and it's inspiring that you've already been there and done it!

    Glad the whole thing started you off blogging because I so enjoy reading your posts!

    Jem xXx

  10. OMG I just googled the honey monster, NOWAY!!!!! I love your new profile picture, you are beautiful! I'm glad you were spoiled and able to take these pictures, you look great even if the clothes are a bit conservative.

    I love the picture of your chaotic kitchen, now that's life!!!!! Now that I am 40 I find that I can't eat like I used and well that really pisses me off, but what can a girl do :) I have been going to the gym regularly for about 12 years now, this helps me stay the same size. I don't have any children and I work from home all of these things really give me a lot of time and control over what I eat and how ofter I work out.

    On another musical note I wanna make you a CD, can you email me your address? t8nkgirl@gmail.com
    Talk to you soon!

  11. Oh Lucy, thank you so much for doing this post. You look beautiful in your pictures and as a fellow life long dieter i totally loved your honesty. Ive done weight watchers more times than i can count, been a gold member and then gone back up and down like a yoyo. Pregnancy was a dream for me - no sickness and an excuse to let myself have all those treats i denied myself during my ww years. I thus have now joined the dreaded ww again and been losing, still carrying more weight than I should be but not punishing myself now as much as I used to. I still hate having photos of me so thats why i rarely put pics of myself up on my blog.

    I would love to spend an afternoon having a cheeky drink with you Lucy, think we could chat for hours. Scarlett x

  12. Blimey, Lucy, you look gorgeous even with those clothes that are not really "you". Enjoyed your post - but then I always do. Oh and hoorah for Morrissey (I'm a big fan).

  13. Nelly - the feeling is mutual, and if only you lives nearer I'd be raiding your wardrobe, making a mess, and driving you nuts.

    Lakota - you win the cover-girl crown, definitely. Oh those Venture portraits are a joke, they will look so dated soon. My mum's colleague had one done, £500 later, shhe asked mum "what do you think" my mum's too honest reply - "not my cup of tea, you all look like members of a cult all dressed in white like that!"

    Jem - we should join forces, motivate each other in every aspect of life. Let's start our own cult!

    Krista - you sure have the work/life balance thing down to a fine art. I'll mail you later.

    Scarlett - You epitomise feminine glamour, we need MORE photographs. I'm too shy to wear red lipstick, but I really want to after seeing your make-up.
    Be warned - a 'cheeky drink' with me often results in all manner of regrettable endeavour. Losing my shoes, pretending to speak another language, stealing people's glasses and wearing them for the night - yes, I'm that person everyone wishes would just go home to bed.

    Loo - thank you very much. I think we all have a Morrissey - shaped space in our hearts, despite some of his faux-pas, he often speaks so much sense, a true National Treasure.

  14. I so enjoyed reading this, great timing when I'm in the midst of a 'god I'm so frumpy and old and I said I wouldn't let myself go when I had kids' funk. I wouldn't mind a make-over like that, you look like a model. I'd stick the picture on my fridge so I could return to my usual happily deluded thinking I look gorgeous state rather than actually doing anything about the reality!
    ps Glad to hear your a fellow 'entertaining' drunk x

  15. Well I love the pictures, the magazine spiel not so much...what did you think of it? Glad it got you started in blogging, together with the virtual pub :)

  16. Looking for Blue Sky - Part of the reason I did this post is that I've handed my address out to many fellow bloggers for swaps etc. I was worried that they'd do a bit of Google-stalking upon discovering
    my full name, and come across the weight-loss article. It doesn't sum me up at all, but that's not to say it's all lies. It just had to be written in a way which would 'sell' the diet. I suppose I felt the time was right to give my version of events!

  17. You look smashing in the modelled pics Luce. But I think you're maybe being a bit too hard on yourself regarding the 'breakfast' photo. To me, you look like any normal woman in the morning. And slightly overweight but not hideous and not monster-ish.

    Oh the cross we give ourselves to carry regarding weight loss! I am one of those on-off WW dieters too and lose 2 stones then regain them then lose them then regain them. Problem is that you really have to eat the WW way FOREVER if you want to keep the weight off permanently and it does get boring and difficult to keep up.

    Bon courage in tackling the 20 pounds you want to lose. I am sure you'll do it.

    I like reading your blog regardless of your weight and am quite certain I'd like you in reality too. Pounds schmounds! :)

  18. You look great, but I can see why you didn't take the turquoise top home with you! It must have been a huge confidence booster to be the star of the show for a day, then appear on the front cover of a magazine. Well done for losing so much weight - I know from personal experience how difficult it can be.

    I've constantly struggled to control my weight ever since I gave up smoking, but having seen what heart disease did to my father, I'm determined not to get fat. If the trousers start to feel tight, I eat like a sparrow.

    Anyway, this was a really interesting post - I didn't realise that your career as a blogger had such unusual origins!

  19. Wendz- women on diets are such miserable bores, yet we put ourselves through the trauma year in, year out. I'm not great with 'moderation' and definitely would have been one of those obese children if my mum hadn't provided such a healthy, treat-free diet. Gorging on chunks of cheese was my outlet!

    Stererforth - I wonder if I'm doing an equal amount of damage to my heart with the yo-yo dieting as maintaining a 'slightly overweight' status!
    I've pledged to exercise more, and that, of course, is the key.
    You'll have to find an outlet for your stress once the business really starts taking shape, for me it'd be biscuits, bread and beer.

  20. Biscuits, definitely. I avoid beer as it piles on the pounds, for me anyway, so I drink wine (a little too much, probably). I avoid bread as it makes me feel sluggish.

    I love cheese with a passion; also nuts, but if you've got heart disease in the family they're probably as deadly as cigarettes.

    I wish I could be one of those superfit men who eats vegan food, cycles 20 miles a day, never drinks too much and lives to 100, but it's never going to happen.

  21. Steerforth - I know a bloke who fits your description - he smells repulsive (if that is any consolation.

    My mother reckons selfish people live long lives, no stress.

    I'd hate to see all my friends and family die before me, but would like to see what happens in the fields of science/technology and culture. I'd probably be stewing in my own juices and dribbling as I watch a low-budget soap opera though.

  22. A great tale and what a fantastic experience. Oh how I wish some PR company would whisk me off to London (Dublin would do even though I live there!)and give me a makeover etc. I guess I'd have to lose a stone before that could ever happen!! Then, and ONLY then, will I update MY profile pic on fb and twitter;-)

    xx Jazzy

  23. Jazzy - I did really appreciate the whole experience, it was like a dream because I'd always wanted a professional make-over. There is such a difference between make-up artist and beautician. It was a bit of a come-down after, Christmas was looming (no treats for me) and I had the flu and an ear/sinus infection - highs and lows eh?!
    Thanks for the lovely comment.


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