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Losing That Lockdown Look!

Posted by Lesley Greenwood on August 20, 2020


A close up of Lesley, who is wearing a red top and looking towards the camera

When I thought of writing about ‘losing my lockdown look’, my intention was to talk about finally getting my hair cut. The photo that accompanies my blogs is not the real me! The real me has short hair. As I gazed at enough hair to stuff a large cushion that was now lying on my kitchen floor, I felt fresher, younger and, to my horror, as I looked in the mirror – fatter! No longer could I pull my hair around my face to hide my chubby cheeks. The truth was there, staring back at me!

So, gentle reader, it’s official. I am overweight!

During a visit to the rehab centre, I finally gave in. I allowed them to weigh me, which is something they always offer to do and something I, since marrying a ‘feeder’, always decline. However, as I am now hoisted and not smartly popped onto the bed by said ‘feeder’ who, if he ever regrets piling my plate with his extraordinarily tasty mashed potato, utters nothing more than a barely audible groan, the bald truth was unavoidable, as the ceiling-track hoist is also a sneaky set of scales! Who knew? Certainly not I, Mrs-Double-Your-Weight-In-Ten-Easy-Years! Yes, that is exactly what I’ve managed to do, I’m ashamed to admit. Well, not actually doubled, but not too many helpings of garlic bread and Chicken Tikka Masala off, if truth be told, and it is time to face the truth!

Ten short years ago, I was weighed and informed that I was underweight and had ‘a bit of room to play with’ so, naturally, I took them at their word and played! Too much, obviously!

In my efforts to control my MS and keep as fit and healthy as possible until the glorious day a cure is discovered, I had tried every diet going. I had eaten things, not eaten things, injected and ingested drugs that are mainly used to treat certain cancers, had the veins in my neck inflated by balloon and ventured off to India in a foolhardy and costly mission to have stem cells, all to no avail.

I followed a no yeast, no dairy, no sugar, no gluten, no legumes, no fun kind of diet until I pretty much existed on fresh air and spinach! So, it’s no surprise I weighed next to nothing.

I was an avid label reader, rejecting an item if there was even a sniff of anything that was on my rapidly expanding list of foods that had become verboten. I became the dinner party guest from hell. I presented numerous chefs in hotels and restaurants with what I could and couldn’t eat. I let them think I was allergic to practically every morsel known to man, rather than try and explain that no, I had no concrete evidence to support these theories. It was merely a vain idea that, by doing so, I would stem the progression of an insidious and spiteful disease. Did any of it work? Sadly not.

What it did do though was to make me very, very slim. Well, thin actually. People began to make comments. Now why is it that no one would ever dare greet you with, ‘My God, haven’t you got fat?’, and yet have no compunction in telling you that you’ve always been ‘ridiculously thin’?

Ok, I’m aware that being told you look well can actually be a veiled way of someone telling you that you look fat and often comes from the mouth of someone, who themselves, looks like they have more than a passing acquaintance with a doughnut! Still, not many people would actually have the audacity to tell someone that they are fat.

If you’re thin however, then all bets are off, and you’re fair game. Now, I’m not saying that this is every slim person’s experience, but it was mine, and hurt just as much as being told I’ve put on weight, because I felt great! I felt I was at my fighting weight! I had loads of energy, and I was fit, which I suppose is quite ironic from someone with an incurable disease.

So why, I hear you ask if I felt so good, did I abandon this diet and chomp my way steadily to the weight I am now? Truthfully? I got bored.

Sure, I loved the lighter me, and it was certainly easier to move around, but I love food! I love to cook. I love to eat. I love planning meals. I have an extensive library of cookery books that I would read like other people read novels. My super-restrictive diet had definitely made me a more adventurous cook, as I strove to create an appealing and tasty meal from a dwindling number of ingredients. However, as the results of all this effort were not what I longed for, i.e. to be up on my feet again, I lost heart. What was the point of constantly denying myself one of life’s greatest pleasures – a Whopper from Burger King?

All joking apart though, I felt I had denied myself so much and achieved so little, I decided I deserved a break. I’m not a huge fan of cakes, biscuits and chocolates, possessing a more savoury tooth, but thick slabs of toast slathered in real butter and Marmite, or weekend takeaways have been as damaging to my waistline as any amount of sticky buns and Snickers and now I am suffering the consequences.

In my defence, your honour, I feel that there are one or two mitigating circumstances, and the first is my ongoing hate-hate relationship with my bladder. It bites me frequently, and no amount of Paracetamol can persuade it to desist. However, a large slug of gin does the trick very nicely and quickly.

Unfortunately, apart from the obvious health drawbacks, alcohol contains hidden calories. How unfair is that? The second is that I don’t move around quickly enough to burn off any calories, because whizzing hither and thither in my power chair apparently doesn’t count!

Most diets expect you to exercise regularly, or at least try and include a walk every day. I often have to quell the urge to slap, until they’re sick, anyone who tells me that their Fitbit has just informed them they’ve done 12,000 steps, or how brilliant jogging is for helping with weight loss.

Am I jealous? Of course, I am! Wouldn’t I just love to do those things? Absolutely! Did I do it back in the day when I had the chance? Nah, not so much, because I never foresaw a time when I wouldn’t be able to. I was so cavalier in my attitude towards exercise and diet. I could always do it tomorrow. Except when my tomorrow came, I discovered it was too late, and playing squash until I was puce in the face was just a distant, sweaty memory.

Still, I believe I might have found a diet that has worked for other ‘differently-abled’ souls. Those, like me, who find moving at their own volition challenging, but still allows for life’s little pleasures or my magic medicine as I like to call it. It’s not going to happen overnight, after all it took a few years of concerted effort to gain, but now I’ve persuaded my kindly and well-meaning ‘feeder’ to help me exert some semblance of portion control and stop indulging me, I feel there’s a chance I might return to a more manageable size and it has to be done.

As you know, I hate being hoisted. I hate being that disabled. I hate being at that point. But what I hate more is that my adorable husband hurt his back lifting me, because he knows how much I hate the fuss and attention that being hoisted brings and was desperate to spare me that because he loves me. And how have I repaid that love? By merrily noshing away until I’m the weight of a small car!

Of course, it’s not really that much, but it kind of feels like that now I know the truth and am having to face the realisation that it’s not going to come off in a hurry, no matter how much I want it to.

So, this is my mission. Watch this space.

Hopefully, as the weeks go by, I’ll take up less of it!


Lesley Greenwood enjoyed a modicum of success in a previous incarnation when her children were smaller, as a writer of pre-school children’s stories under her maiden name of Lesley Rees. These days, she lives in the countryside with her fabulous and long-suffering husband and has developed a passion for oak trees.

While officially classed as ‘severely disabled’ by certain short-sighted and ill-informed medics, she prefers to view herself as amazingly and extremely ‘differently-abled’ as she hurtles across the field in her super-sparkly, turbo-charged power chair.

Lesley lives with MS (multiple sclerosis) in the Midlands and has written previous blogs – The Day I Was Bitten By – The Beast!Trains, Planes and Hotels and The Highs And Lows Of Retail Therapy.

Watch out for her next blog – it’s bound to be an interesting read!