I’ve been writing this blog for some time now but I’ve not really spoken too much about a major part of my life and that has been my relationship with food, how it contributed to weight gain and ultimately how changing it led to a big weight loss that I have maintained more or less for 15 years.
From a young age I was obsessed with food, it was very important in my childhood. I would visit my nan every weekend and eat til I was stuffed on her delicious rice pudding, bread and butter pudding, cheese and beetroot sandwiches and the bag of sweets we got with our pocket money. Memories of my childhood are still strongly associated with this food.
Unfortunately at the same time my family was also very concerned with weight and appearance. I remember being weighed in front of my sister and cousin and of course I was heavier than what my older relatives believed was the “right” way to be. This did not stop them feeding me up as always with the food I loved.
Not surprisingly, this gave me some very mixed messages and put me firmly on the route to disordered eating. Over the years I suffered my weight went up and down and while I was never massively fat I was always slightly overweight.
That all changed when I got to about 18, various medications and starting college led me to pile on the pounds and even though this time saw my bulimia return with a vengeance I still couldn’t control my weight. I did start treatment for my eating disorder though and was able to stop the harmful behaviours I engaged in. The only problem was that once my therapy ended and I had no one keeping an eye on me, I started to binge on all the things I had denied myself. Before long I was up to 18 stones.
During this time my now husband stood by me and I wore nice clothes, no one really mentioned how big I was possibly for fear of sending me off on a downward spiral again. It wasn’t until I saw a photo of myself at my sister’s wedding that I woke up to the problem.
So one day after my 21st birthday, I resolved to get healthy. I changed medication, picked up a healthy eating leaflet from my drs and started walking for half an hour every day. Soon I increased this to an hour a day and started swimming.
My eating was sensible and balanced and included plenty of carbs and a treat day every week. Chocolate and booze were out except for Christmas and holidays. It took 18 months to lose all the weight and was a long, slow process. Some times it was frustrating but bit by bit I was improving my life and showing that I could stick to something. The worst bit was losing the last stone which took six long months of losing and regaining the same few pounds!
Losing the weight was a revelation, I always believed I was healthy even when I was big. Now I realised how much of a toll it took. I could walk faster, not get out of breath and didn’t feel tired all the time. However mentally it took years to see myself as slim. Even when people complimented me or expressed disbelief that I had ever been overweight I still had many “fat” days. Looking back I regret worrying so much as I can see I was very much in shape. Sadly we are the product of our experiences, it takes a lot of work to overcome unhelpful thoughts.
Anyway, 15 years down the line here I am. I’ve maintained the bulk of my weight-loss for that time. I find it annoying that there seems to be a popular belief that it is impossible to keep the weight off. I think that is true for those stuck on the cycle of dieting, extreme exercise and bingeing but that is not the only way to lose weight.
It’s not popular but the only healthy, sustainable method is good old fashioned healthy eating and challenging exercise that you enjoy enough to stick to. Understand that if you have a lot of weight to lose you need to commit to spending as long as it takes. Even if it takes 2,3,5 or more years the fact is you will still be getting slimmer and healthier every day. You are worth taking the time!
These days I find weight training very effective at controlling my weight and choose the right nutrition to get me to my goals. I actually eat more than I ever did but I understand that I need to feed my muscles for them to grow. Again it is a slow process but it is so nice to see new muscle and shape appear and best of all it is all down to me😊.
I hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions then please ask!