Monday, 21 July 2014

Being A Fat Girl & Losing Weight

I think, since around my second year of university, I've been overweight. But not just in a "couple of pounds" way. I've not been healthy. A new lifestyle, a new freedom, and a taste for onion rings and too many alcopops, led me to pile on the pounds pretty quickly.

And I've always labelled myself as curvy in private. "It's okay Charlotte, eat that extra slice of pizza. You're invincible. You're curvy remember?" It's been a label I felt more comfortable with. Except I would self-depreciate publicly so I could beat other people to it. It was a defence mechanism. I said it first, so you can't hurt me.

And yes, I'd like to say that you can be any shape or size that makes you happy. This isn't me saying that big isn't beautiful. I'm saying that this is my body, my weight and my journey.

And boy it's been one hell of a journey.

Roughly around this time last year, I finished work and went straight to my grandparents' house to see my cousins and my auntie who had come up from Radlett to visit.

I was playing with my son and my cousin just so happened to snap some photos of me and Bill on my DSLR and, only when I flicked through them did I realise how big I had gotten.

And it caused me to look back at photographs of myself and really see myself clearly. And it hurt.

Because I had been damaging my health. I was a mother. And I was eating myself into an oblivion. I was not giving a second thought to my future. I just cared about the food in front of me, and whatever excuse I could use not to exercise.

That's the good and honest truth.

Looking back again, at the photographs below, make my face flush crimson. I feel ashamed.

I was still the exact same person inside, as I am now, but I was so unhappy, because being the fat girl does make people see you differently.

I used to get abuse in the streets. I tried to run once and I was yelled at and laughed at. Once, walking down the street, a man felt the need to roll down his window and shout to Bill's father: "Your girlfriend's got a fat ass!"

And that's not fair. But I've come to learn, in the harsh way that you do when you're an adult, that I can't change society. But I can take a long look at myself and change myself. Because their words, though hurtful, weren't making me unhappy. My weight was.

It wasn't really, until Boxing Day last year, that I realised that, for the most part, it was just me and Bill from now on. So I owed it to him to be a healthier and happier mother.

And slowly, but surely, it also made me realise who I was again. I felt more confident, bit, by bit. And I remembered how it felt to leave the house and feel happy and healthy.

And, if I'm really honest? I was falling in love with someone. And I wanted to feel like I was beautiful enough for him. Not because he made me feel like I wasn't. But because I couldn't, and still can't understand why someone like him wanted someone like me. You can frown at that all you like - but find me one woman, or man, who hasn't wanted to look good for the person they love. You can't.

I still have days where I feel like the girl in the photographs above - it's a very hard image to shake and I have become very aware of my reflection. Not out of typical vanity, but out of that sort of feeling where I need to check it wasn't all a dream sometimes. It's actually why I take so many selfies - as I want to capture my good moments as a reminder to my less confident self.

All of the above photographs were taken in the last two weeks. And I have to stop and scroll up and down as I write this, because I know there's a big difference there.

Even if I still feel like I have far to go.

Before, I was an 18 pushing a 20.

Today I'm a 16, sometimes a 14 if I'm lucky, but someone that keeps buying size 18 out of habit.

But this is the difference, side-by-side.

You can see that my stomach is still a little plump. And my thighs are pretty chunky too. But - you know what? They're improving.

So what did I do?

Honestly? I changed my diet and quit lying to myself. 

  • I don't drink wine every night anymore. I have it Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, if I really feel like it. 
  • I have cut out fizzy drinks, pretty much all of the time. Aside from treats or mixers. 
  • I drink much more water than I ever deemed possible. 
  • I'm making the very taxing journey of cutting my one sugar in my coffee down to zero. I'm at half a spoon now. Go easy on me.
  • I don't eat sweets or chocolate often anymore. I've actually found sweet joy in strawbs. I love the things. 
  • I just think about what I'm eating. It's actually very easy. I don't put a load of cheese on something that's already got some good carbs and protein going on. I don't need it. 
  • I've swapped my lunchtime meals of burgers and heavy food for salads and healthier sandwiches if I really fancy some bread. But I've noticed that wheat makes me sleepy and sluggish. And so I avoid it where I can. 
  • I do eat a pizza when I want one. Because what is life without pizza?
  • I try and keep moving in the evenings and weekends. Park trips and walks with Bill. Endless chores or DIY. And it helps. 
  • I don't starve myself. 
  • I haven't tried crash diets.
  • Because they don't and will never work. 
  • And they are bad for you. 
I honestly wish I could say that I did one thing and it made me lose weight, but I didn't. It's been hard. I've had mouth-watering moments of jealousy. I've fallen off the wagon countless times, and woke up after a cheese-induced food coma, red with shame. 

But this is my achievement and my hard work and my body. And it's worth the hard work. 

And no, I'm not 100% happy. I know I'm no ten out of ten. And I'm presuming I'll always be a little chubby in places. Sometimes I leave the house feeling good, but then I see all of these beautiful people walking the streets of Manchester and I feel myself hanging my head again.

But I'm soon to go away on holiday. With that person that I never imagined would want me. And my little boy. And I want to be that mum running after her son and splashing around in a pool without worrying about how my belly wobbles as I dash around. I just want to enjoy it. And I also want to be the girl that appears in the doorway, looking nice, and ready for drinks with someone who feels proud to be with her. 

So I am upping my game. I imagine the 30 Day Shred will feature. And I will try and be a little better behaved and stop nibbling on the bad stuff, when I get bored. 

Because I've kind of got a nice bikini to fit into. 

And I'd really like to look nice in it. 

Cushion For The Pushin'

Excuse the title of this post, sometimes you just have to take your kicks where you can find them.

Since buying our new sofa on Saturday, I've been planning out our lounge in my head and, as you often find with these things, it becomes rather addictive.

While our sofa may be on the neutral side, I have every intention of jazzing it up with some bright and fun pillows. These are some of my favourites, mainly from H&M, as you do.

Volkswagen Cushion - I already own.
Fox Cushion - I already own.

I still feel like I need a pop of red or something. I'm not sure? I also want to add my love of chevron in there too. So any suggestions are welcome...

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Living Room Makeover – Part 2

If you saw my first update, you’ll know that, finally, I’ve finally started the very slow process of doing up my house – starting with my living room.

You can see the state it started in here – crazy carpets, exposed electrics and horrible wallpaper.

A lot has changed since then, and I’m really proud of how it’s going. It’s not impressive – don’t get me wrong – there’s still much to be done, but I’m so excited seeing it come together.

As you can see, the walls have now been skimmed, along with the secondary door, that we had filled in to maximise on space. I’ve dragged the wooden fire surround out of the garage, which is all cleared out you’ll be pleased to know, and I can’t wait to crack on and paint this with Annie Sloan’s Old White. The centre will be filled with MDF, painted with blackboard paint. I’m so excited to share a tutorial on that once it’s done.

I’ve managed to save up enough money for a new carpet, which I’m beyond excited about – my current carpets leave much to be desired. I did consider wooden flooring – as I do love the look – but I’m going to save that for our hallway that is just next door. I’m thinking a biscuit-y colour will be best. Not too light so that it may fall victim to Bill’s mess, but not too dark as to darken the room.

I also went sofa hunting this weekend and we have found the sofa of all sofas. Mark and I are practically having fantasies about curling up on the thing, as a family, to watch a film. We have leather sofas at the moment and they are quite firm and can be quite cold at times, so they don’t exactly scream comfort. We chose the Lullabye corner sofa from Harvey's, which we've got in a neutral mink colour, without any patterns or frills. This corner sofa is big enough for all of us and it's just so comfortable. I plan to have an assortment of quirky cushions on there, so it won't look as neutral as it seems. It takes nine weeks to get here, but it'll be something fun to look forward to.

But before all that, it’s paint time. I’m still not sure what brand or colour to go for yet. I’m drawn towards an off-white shade. I have great plans for the walls and the colour accents and I like the idea of switching them up in the future and not having to repaint anything.

What do you think? Should I keep it neutral and let my accessories, photographs and creations do the talking? Or do I make my walls more colourful? And what paint brands do you recommend?

Oh! And if anyone can recommend an affordable, white/teal/yellow stag's head, please do!

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