But I’m not about to go and find it. This is not a post about bad parenting (although I’m sure I could write reams about that subject) but an update on Operation 15kg that started last summer with not a huge amount of hope, but an awful lot of will power and sheer bloody mindedness.
I’ve said it before, I was fat. Not just overweight, but fat. I couldn’t tie up my shoes without feeling uncomfortable. I couldn’t climb a flight of stairs let alone run up them 2 at a time without being hideously out of breath and seeing stars at the top. I took up too much space in bed; on the sofa; in the car. My pyjama pants were straining at the seams. I bought bigger and bigger sizes of clothes and ran sobbing from changing rooms when the biggest size failed to fit and left me sweating and mortified. Buying clothes was a traumatic affair, buying food wasn’t. Food didn’t judge me. Food didn’t split at the seams. Food never looked uncomfortable on me. But it was food (and a severe lack of exercise) that was causing all the issues I was battling. Like many people who are overweight and dare I say it, fat, food was both a friend and an enemy. A sneaky friend who says all the right things while secretly bad mouths you to other people, spreading rumours and untruths.
I have credited my friend Sue for putting me on the right track to change my body weight but I never really thanked her for getting me to change how I thought about myself. We went to a wedding together and it was the image of my reflection in a shop window looking 8 months pregnant and desperately unhappy despite my smile, that cemented the notion that I had to save my life – from myself. I was killing myself, slowly and painfully and with absolute certainty. Sue made me realise that I deserved better. I deserved to feel good when I saw my reflection and I deserved to walk confidently into a room and talk to adults rather than children. That was my coping mechanism – it always has been in times of stress and public interactions when wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. Make a bee line for the kids – I’m good with kids and they don’t really care if you’re fat or not as long as you dance with them until they (or you) want to be sick and ensure they get a good bit of wedding cake. But what I really wanted was to dance without feeling like a beached whale and without my devil on my shoulder whispering poisonous words in my ear.
I’m not about to say it’s been easy or that I didn’t have to give some things up. I gave up eating how ever much I wanted. I reduced portion sizes, reduced my laziness and stopped smoking (again). I reduced the amount I drank and added in more work. I never ever allowed myself to be hungry though. It meant being inventive with food and occasionally having a blow out. I never felt guilty though if the blow out needed. It helped me realise how much I had previously been eating – my previous intake was that of my new “blow out” portions. The hard part was re-educating my brain into understanding when I was full – that I didn’t need to cook for 6 and eat all of it. I went running in broad daylight and felt horrendous. I hated feeling so heavy and slow, but I was damned if the fat girl would win. That fat girl was an unhappy, unhealthy, self-destructive person; not someone I wanted to be associated with.
Slowly the weight started to come off, clothes got a bit looser, my face shape started to change and I discovered I had bones under the coat of fat I had been wearing for so long. Collar bones long since abandoned rose to the surface, hip bones started to show a bit more and my face was melting away, revealing a smaller, happier, healthier and ultimately more confident woman who kept looking very startled in the mirror. My bed got bigger too, as did towels, shoes (yes, I lost weight from my feet too) seats on the bus and chairs in cafes. The fat girl didn’t even protest, but slipped quietly away – her life was over and it was time for her to die quietly and in a dignified silence. The new girl wasn’t too confident at first. Like all new girls, she had to work out her place in the pecking order. She knows now though – she is welcomed with open arms and a smile. Pictures of the fat girl still exist as a reminder – we remember her, but aren’t sure we recognise her any more.
Today I stand at 12st 7lbs (or 175lbs to those of you who prefer it) and I’m down 49lbs (that’s the size of the almost 6 year old daughter of a friend of mine) from my starting weight of 16st (or 224lbs). For those of you working in kilos, I started at approximately 101 kg. I’ve lost close to 22.2 kg making me approximately 79 kg. No matter how you weigh it up – it’s a whole lot of woman to lose. I’m not finished though, not by any stretch. Another 7 lbs to go and I will have hit the weight defined by the BMI bods as still overweight. My words to the BMI bods? Screw you. My BMI means nothing to me – my dress size, my muscle strength, my confidence, my smile and my happiness are a much better indication of how I’m doing. When I hit the 12 stone (168lbs) mark it will be a time to evaluate and have a quiet word with myself. Do you feel comfortable here? Is this it? Are you happy and do you think you can do any better? None of these questions are designed to trip me up, but they are meant to be serious look at just how much I’ve changed and recovered the girl I thought I’d lost forever.
So this post is dedicated to a few people who have given me the encouragement and support along the way. Firstly to Sue – without that wedding, that dress and that conversation I wouldn’t have had the wake up call I so desperately needed. You rock.
To Caroline – we had an awesome ride with some amazing food. I’m so proud of you, my slinky marinky. What’s for tea?
To my parents for all your kind words, support after each little loss and for never failing to be amazed even when the achievement was minor. I’m glad I fit in your arms again.
Lastly but certainly not least, to Me. Thank you for carrying me through the bad times, through being fat and unfit and miserable. Thank you for having the strength to carry me around all those years without too much complaining and thank you for giving me a second chance at life. I promise to look after you until we no longer need each other and we can slide into the grave grinning. Shall we go for a run soon?