If you know me on any of the instant gratification social media channels I live on, you’ll know I’ve been dieting. And I’ve been needily posting up my successes for cheerleading and praise 😆 If you remember back here when I was just starting out, I was already feeling a lot better. That photo was one of the fitst where I looked at myself and thought “oh yes, not ugly in fact” and believed it. I’m still not sure if it was what I saw in the photo I liked, or the eyes that saw it. Maybe the biggest difference was that my brain saw “I’m trying to alter my weight and succeeding not failing”. Maybe I just saw confidence in being able to make a change.
I’ve never really succeeded at weight loss particularly; I’ve tried Slimming World (I’ve even been a SW consultant) but I struggled with a part of my brain which always wants to cheat. I tried to push the boundaries and then when that resulted in staying the same, week after week, I got cross. I tried WeightWatchers after Maddy when I needed a rigid framework, but I got hungry. I did get down to a weight I was pleased with but I didn’t stay there. After Josie and after Freddie I tried not dieting but exercising; actually that was pretty effective – especially between the boys – to my surprise I found I liked running and although in the time I did it I didn’t lose as much as I have done now (or even close) I was fitter and slimmer than I am now. I tried to get back to it but again, I insisted on pushing the boundaries and this time I didn’t have the element of control grasping freakery that kept me so focused in that grief soaked year.
So before I started this time I had to confront a few realities about myself.
- If someone gives me a rule I automatically want to break it.
- I’m not good at portion control, counting or making special meals.
- I’m incredibly lazy, especially with food, because it bores me and I don’t want to think about it.
- I cannot be hungry, or I fail.
- If I cannot have a reward, or choose to slip, I will fail.
- I was determined not to diet in an unhealthy looking manner in front of the girls; they are at an impressionable age.
I decided I’d try Slimfast shakes and bars for a while. Since I’d just hit 15 stone, I knew I could undoubtedly augment their suggestions. I had to not be hungry, so I went for unlimited fruit alongside 2 of their main products a day, our ordinary, perfectly healthy sit down evening meal together and a little Slimfast choc snack bar in the evening as a reward. 9lbs the first week and a steady 3-4lb as week followed until I had lost 1.5stone. I was thrilled. I was back to the weight I had been when Amelie was little.Clothes that had been stashed as too small for ages where too big. I went away on holiday full of confidence that I could manage my eating; I walked lots, I ran daily, I had the odd treat – and I was a little disappointed that I came back the same weight.
In fact, I then lost 4lbs the week after but that little flat line broke my confidence – and I’d hit a new problem too; I was bored. I’d overcome “rule breaking” but allowing myself to break my own rules if I needed to (the odd glass of wine, the odd cake or ice cream on holiday, especially if balanced with lots of steps or a run), I’d overcome portion control with regimented preprepared bars/shakes, I’d overcome lazy with the same and hungry with fruit. My girls knew I was doing great but still saw me eating meals at night and looking well and with enough energy to run and enough flexibility to have a treat. But bored came from the fact that I prefer savoury to sweet and Slimfast is almost entirely sweet.
I found myself stuck at 13.3 as surely as it that fat was a more dense variety.I stuck for weeks and week and weeks while I flailed around, nibbling at things instead of having my structure. I didn’t get fatter, because I have learned how many calories I can stay the same on and I’ve got into the habit of walking far more too but I needed savoury and that was enough to break my resolve. Luckily, in the same week I finally found an answer (a friend with a vast stash of diet soup and porridge sachets from a well known brand that she had tried but not got on with), we got a vile tummy bug. By the time I fancied eating again and could face more than water, I had slipped below 13 stone and I didn’t want to go back up!
And suddenly, I’ve lost 35lbs, 1/6th of my original body weight. I’ve gone from a bmi of 37 to 31 (which means one more point and I’m only in the ‘overweight’ category *hollow laugh* ) and it is a very good feeling. It’s great to be thinner, though truthfully most of the lbs I lose make me realise more how big the problem is, and I’m 1/2 stone away from my Xmas target to feel good for my brother’s wedding. The greatest difference is how good I feel about myself for taking control of it. In a way the thin or thickness of it matter less than feeling how I’ve always felt, that people judge me as lacking in personality strength because I’m fat. To be fat has always felt the definition of worthless. I know, I absolutely know, that I’ve been judged as less able, clever or wise because of it – and maybe some of that came from the fact that I believed that about myself.
I know I’m not thin – I’m never going to be either. I’m so short I’d have to get to 10 stone just to be at the top end of a normal weight bmi band and frankly, that’s not going to happen. I’m just not that interested in being thin. But I can wear size 16’s again… I actually had to not buy a coat this week because the size 18 on the shelf was too big, and I’m feeling so much happier. And twice in the last week or so, someone has take a picture of me and I’ve liked it. (PS, my mirror is not that dirty, I had to zoom in a lot to avoid the awful mess of the bathroom and it went splotchy!)
For the first time, I don’t hate pictures of myself. I don’t look and see fat, ugly and not how I imagine myself in my head. I’m no longer feeling frightened that I’ll be fat and forty.
I’ve got some goals in my head – next year I would love to run a 5km and hopefully a 10km. I’d like to see myself at about 11.5 stone. In my head 12 something is an okay weight, the highest place I want to be but it could slip to 13 something all too easily and I don’t want that. 11 something I think I can maintain. If I can be fitter alongside that, in 14-16 clothes, I’ll be thrilled. And I just, absolutely, don’t want to ever go back up again.