Saturday, August 30, 2008



For most of my adult life I was a trim 7 stone, 12lbs. That's 105 lbs for those of you who do things that way. If you’re working in kilos you’re on your own.

I had kids and lost the weight without any special effort. The pointer on the scales seemed glued to that 7/12 spot.

Back in 1991 I had a day job helping to organise the Brecon Jazz Festival and twice a day I tackled the steep hill from my house to the office, usually at a run (I also had two teenage kids so I was doing everything at run). I was writing in my spare time, stories a little girls picture paper called "Twinkle". The odd magazine article. Had a ghost story published.

Then I gave up the day job and concentrated on my writing and within a year I'd reached the goal I'd set myself when I sold AN IMAGE OF YOU to Mills & Boon. We moved that year and started building our own house. I am, of course, using “we” in its loosest possible sense. For the best part of a year, while the dh was on site doing man-stuff, I was holed up in a room in which we’d stored most of our furniture. There was just enough space for me to slide into my chair and get at the computer.

That Christmas, because I’d put on a little weight, I decided to buy a size larger skirt – it’s hell sitting all day with a tight waistband. With the twenty-twenty vision of hindsight it's clear that what I should have done was cut down on the fast food (building a house and writing four books in a year, the faster the food the better) and started jogging. Instead I kept my butt attached to the chair and went on writing. And the word number wasn’t the only thing increasing by the day.

It isn’t called “Writer’s Bottom” for nothing.

I’m not going to tell you my present poundage, just that I’ve tried diets – the Atkins was fabulous and had me whizzing around like a three-year-old on speed, but you begin to crave bread like a junkie craves a fix. I’ve done the really healthy diets, too, I’m on one now. I even joined a gym (I really, really hated that). I’ve lost weight. (It’s easy. You exercise more and eat less.) And then I’ve put it back on again.

Three weeks ago I decided that I needed to lose half a stone (7 lbs) before I do my mother of the bride bit so I treated myself to a wii and I'm suddenly an exercise junkie…

Five lbs of the Liz “mii” have already disappeared, the tummy is flatter, the legs are looking a little thinner. I get up each morning and put in half an hour of yoga, and stepping and even running and it’s not a trial. For the first time in my life I'm actually enjoying taking a little exercise. But there's no getting away from the fact that there's a long way to go before I begin to approach my ideal weight -- 117 lbs. (Apparently I was underweight for all those years.)

But I really, really wish that when I'd reached for that large size skirt back in 1991 someone had tapped me on the shoulder and said, "DON'T DO IT!"

So for any new writers out there who've got their butt glued to their chair for ten hours a day, for the writer whose skirt is getting a little tight around the wait, consider this a friendly tap on the shoulder from someone who's learned the hard way that it's a lot easier to take off 5 pounds than the 37 that I've still got to shed.

Award-winning author Liz Fielding's novella, The Temp & the Tycoon is published as part of the Mills & Boon Centenary Celebrations. Her next Mills & Boon/Harlequin Romance, Wedded in a Whirlwind, will be published in November.


Donna Alward said...

Your warning is too late!

I did the calculations the other day and my magic number is 50. OY. The good news is it's almost fall and that's the time of year I lose it easiest, believe it or not? I think it's something about back to school and getting into routines, to be honest.

Michelle Styles said...

Ah I know the loose skirt all too well. I think the defining moment came when I purchased an elasticated skirt.
Currently I am paying for the writer's bottom and very sagging middle with sessions on a rowing machine. The olympics inspired my dh. And the thing is sitting inthe sun room. I am getting fitter, but to show how unfit I was/am, I drop a half stone (7 lbs) in a week. Currently, I am finding that I am rowing faster. The other benefits are having more energy and the ideas appear to be flowing.But this could prove illusionary.

Estella said...

I need to losr 20 lbs, but have had foot surgery, so it will be a while before I can exercise.

Michele L. said...

I know the feeling well! Since hitting my 40's I have developed the spread also! Ha, ha!

I hope to get on a diet again after jury duty is over. Yup! Lucky me had jury duty all week. We are still not done and I have to go in on Tuesday next week.

Oh the joy of elasticized pants and skirts! Who ever invented them is a genius!

Michele L.

Liz Fielding said...

Donna, I never had any problems when I was walking the kids to school, running to work -- the day job back then was secretarial so it was still a bum-to-seat life. I suspect giving up that combined with the age when beating the "spread" becomes a battle. A double whammy!

Congratulations on the 7 lbs, Michelle. That first week when the weight falls off is so exhilirating. The trick is to keep at when it slows down. I'm stepping up the exercise as I get stronger -- my wii was quite excited by the fact I managed 30 minutes this morning!

Liz Fielding said...

Take care, Estella. I hope the foot is fit for active duty soon.

I hope you took plenty of reading matter with you on jury duty, Michelle. And no high calorie snacks!