I haven’t written much about my weight loss on my blog. Because it’s been quite a long and repetitive thing. I have done weekly video updates, over on my YouTube channel (I have a whole playlist of week-by-week weight loss on Slimming World), because it’s been easier to sit and talk about my progress, my struggles and my eating habits.
I think weight loss is such a bone of contention. I remember, when I was much larger, I used to almost hate people who had managed to shift the weight when I hadn’t. I used to resent it. I was jealous. I was fat. And I was unhappy.
And being overweight is a really hard thing to talk about. Because, I am a big supporter of being comfortable in your own skin. You are the one who has to live with yourself for the rest of your life. This is your soul’s home, so to speak, so it’s up to you how you live in and love your body. But, when it comes to me personally, I have finally accepted that I am a greedy person. I overeat. Sometimes I still do. I have a very happy relationship with food. And therein lies the problem. I love to cook. I love tastes and flavours and the way I feel when I’m eating. I love to eat socially, passing forkfuls of food over to Mark, and sharing. I love to eat alone, when no one is watching and therefore calories don’t really count…
Except, they do. I just wasn’t able to face up to the fact that I was making some really bad choices. And I was destroying my confidence, and my health.
Fat wasn’t who I was. But I was fat.
And I was coasting my way through each and every pound gain. One more wouldn’t hurt would it?
Except it did. When I finally decided to try and lose weight. And I mean actually try.
I was 15st 2lbs.
With a BMI of 34.2. Obese.
Now, I am 3.5lbs away from losing three stone. And I have given myself two weeks to do that. Mainly because we are going away on holiday after that, and I’d just like to know that I reached it. Finally. It will have been about six months by then since I started. I used to read those weight loss messages about in a year’s time you’ll wish you started losing weight today. And it’s true. I wish I had this weight-related epiphany years ago.
Every time I’ve tried in the past it’s been a fad. I’ve lost before, but never kept the weight off, or got as far as I have done this time around. And it’s strange to be here and now, because, while the scales say I’m lighter, and my dress size says I’m smaller, there are still days where I look in the mirror and I don’t really see any difference. I still feel bigger than everyone else, when everyone else is trying to reassure me that I’m not.
And then, there’s the flip-side, the perk of working hard at your health – feeling good. Some days, (the better days) not only do I have more energy, my joints are less sore and strained, and my outlook more positive, I feel good. And it takes me by surprise when I don’t have to squeeze myself into clothes, in hot frustration, when it only ends in tears because they don’t fit, and they were never going to. I don’t get abuse from strangers in the street – I have had a lot of that in my time. I can let myself be naked in front of Mark and be confident enough about it that I don’t have to walk with one arm across my chest, and the other across my stomach and groin. Apologising. Always, always apologising. Lights off. Scurrying from rooms. Changing clothes under baggy t-shirts. Sucking in my belly. I can just be myself. Something he has always wanted me to do. He’s loved me regardless.
My belly is saggy from two children and weight gain. My breasts are still big, but much smaller, and less buoyant after breastfeeding and expressing my children through their early months or years. My thighs are still dimpled. With a bottom that could eclipse the sun. But I love it now. I am proud of it now.
The thing is with weight loss – it’s not about being more beautiful when you are smaller. Because one size does not fit all. And beauty has never been more subjective than it is today. And that’s the beauty of beauty. But weight loss, and getting to this point, has made me feel empowered. I have taken back my health, I have found my confidence beneath the layers of fat that I had gained, and I am proud of it. The biggest success in all of this, for me, is that I was treating myself like shit. For years and years I have abused my body. I have added baggage after baggage, with each molten mouthful of cheese, each salty crunch of crisps, each bite into fudgey sweetness, each tickling swallow of fizzy wine. It was so short-lived. But I felt full.
Now, I feel a different kind of full. I don’t want to go back to those days of tugging down t-shirts, or wearing itchy cardigans in August, because my arms were thicker than most people’s thighs.
I ran down the road this morning, pushing a buggy with a bemused baby staring back at me. Our friends were just ahead of us on the way to school. I heard Bill shout his friend’s name, and: “Come on Mama!” So I started to run. My little boy was to my right, and he was running, half-laughing, half-breathless with the rush of it all. He was shocked at the delight of running down the road with his mother as we raced to our friends.
It was sunny, but blustery still, the air was cool. And I could see my breath plume around me ever so slightly. I found myself laughing. And I tossed my head back and shouted: “Come on Bill!”
We arrived to a laughing mother and son. “Morning! Just a night gentle run to get the day going!” I laughed.
And we burst into conversation as the boys scampered on ahead and Daisy stayed confused at what on earth had just happened.
And I realised, as we neared the end of the street.
I wasn’t out of breath.
I ran with my son.
And I felt like I was flying.