Losing weight has been high on my life agenda since I was 11 and coming up with mad schemes to go on a bike ride every day after school so that I would look like Mary-Kate and Ashley before I started at high school.
Because heck, this girl wanted to be popular and fun, she wanted boys to fancy her, to want her, and she wanted to have ALL the friends. She wanted to be cool. She wanted to be the star of every rom-com. That blonde cheerleader type, y’know?
I’ve written countless times about my battle with my weight, which I guess, if my sums are correct, has been waging for 15 years. I wrote about my binge eating here, my bulimia here, and breaking free from my body insecurities here.
I gained a few puppy pounds around the time my parents separated and I started puberty, but was never an overweight kid. I don’t know if I comfort ate as a pre-teen, but I do know I became fascinated by the idea of anorexia. Not so much about the body shape and image that went along with it, but with the devoted attention the sufferer seemed to draw from everyone who loved them.
I dabbled with 725385 fad diets during my school years (my fave being the one where you had to only eat things that began with a certain letter of the alphabet – the first day being a, the second being b and so on). But my weight never stepped a toe over nine stone until my first relationship when all of a sudden LET’S EAT ALL THE SWEETS AND TAKEAWAY AND MCDONALDS became a running theme. Every day. All day.
I don’t know if something subconsciously made me connect feeling happy and feeling loved with eating bad food, but my bad ‘relationship’ food habits continued long into my single years and beyond.
And then whaddya know, I hit 11 stone and fuck.
And then 12 stone.
And then I crept towards 13 stone.
My 16-year-old self would be busy hurling her fingers down her throat at this announcement. And even as I’m typing it I feel in shock that I let my health and my weight get so drastic for someone who only stands at five foot two.
But, as I’ve admitted before, my weight – everything from the actual number on the scale to my eating disorder to the food I put in my mouth is down to my own mental health and emotional twists, rather than because of a lack of education or understanding of how to be healthy.
Because I KNOW what I should be eating. I know how to have a balanced diet. I understand how to exercise. But I was unable to put that knowledge into practise. Until now.
And so, in this last year, I’ve lost a stone.
Because something has finally made my brain snap out of its food funk.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve lost a few pounds here and there before (shout out to my homegirl MyFitnessPal for all you’ve done for me over the years – most notably for keeping my weigh-ins stored under my username no matter how many times I delete the app from my phone, so they’re always there for me to see how far I’ve come). But nothing on this large a scale.
The first few pounds of that stone were lost last January, along with the annual ‘health kick’ that anyone with so much as a millimetre of belly roll goes on. And then any efforts went out the window because NEW YORK and VALENTINE’S DINNER and TREK AMERICA and BRUNCH and ya get the gist.
After my Nuffield Health Assessment back in October (more deetz here), when I nervously giggled my way through all my results that put me in the red zone (looking at you BMI and you body fat percentage), Chris and I made a few small lifestyle changes. We stopped keeping any processed meat in the house (miss you chorizo, you boo) and we stopped eating red meat on the regular and eating a LOT of frozen fish instead.
I upped my quinoa and sweet potato intake, but continued to live a lavish prosecco and macaroni cheese fuelled lifestyle whenever I left the house. Nonetheless, these small changes helped me shift another few pounds in the lead-up to Christmas.
And then Polycystic Fucking Ovary Syndrome happened.
I guess the fear of never being able to poo yourself on a hospital bed whilst squeezing out a baby, will shake some EAT ALL THE GOOD FOOD fear into you.
Because I started this year feeling like something within me had finally clicked. That finally, after my long 15-year weight war, I had found something big, something that meant more to me than my appearance and self-esteem, to kick me up the butt.
And, as of this morning, I am a stone down on last January. And I have never felt so motivated and determined and sure of what I am doing.
I swim twice a week, I pilates once a week, I swear by the goodness of peanut butter on apple slices. I go through about 8 eggs a week. I am addicted to SNOG froyo and berries. Balsamic vinegar and pepper on fresh tomatoes makes my mouth saliva. Mashed avocado and lime gets me all excited.
And as I am typing this, sat in a Starbucks, there is not even a tiny bit of me that wants to throw everything in the air and squeal YOLO whilst ordering a blueberry muffin.
Because when the future of something you have spent your entire life dreaming about suddenly seems in jeopardy, eating sweet chilli beef in your pants on the floor with an open box of chocolates scattered around you, no longer seems like the dream scenario. Giving yourself a healthy body that will hopefully one day do the things you want it to, does.
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t turned into a total bore. This weekend I’m seeing two of my oldest, dearest, favourite friends (they came round my house in year 9 and downloaded me MSN Messenger whilst we ate pate on toast) and I will be drinking all the prosecco and eating all the pizza.
I guess it’s about getting the balance right. Of living and enjoying the moment and of not denying yourself, but of preparing yourself and your body for the future. For giving yourself the best chance to live a long and fruitful life.
And so to every anonymous commenter who told me I looked like a bloated sausage or needed to size up, to every ex-boyfriend who told me I needed to ‘fuck off and lose four stone’ and to every ‘friend’ who made digs about my weight because they didn’t know where else to throw a low punch, just know that your words didn’t cut as deep as I thought they did.
They never cut me quite enough to change my emotional attachment to food.
It is only now, when I can see what I stand to lose, that I have found determination that I didn’t even know existed within me.
Healthy and happy body, I’m coming for ya <3