Since my teens, I have had a precarious relationship with food. I can’t pinpoint exactly when it started, but it is undoubtedly linked to my mental health. Comfort eating has always been a big part of my life. At the age of fifteen I was heading down the road to bulimia, but luckily for me my dad found out in the early stages, and was able to help me nip it in the bud before it escalated.
The thing is, I love food. But I don’t like what it does to my body when I overindulge: the full-to-bursting sensation; the heavy feeling in my limbs; the bloated feeling. I especially dislike the pounds that then creep on as a result. These physical reactions are then coupled with negative thoughts about myself, which can send me into a downward spiral. It’s a hard cycle to break, but break it I must!
I was a skinny child, and my shape didn’t really change until I reached the age of twenty. Other than my bust, of course, which suddenly appeared one day. Measuring 34DD, it was disproportionate to my small frame! I then started to go a bit podgy around the belly, my bust got bigger, and at eleven stone I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. For my height, that weight is at the very top of my healthy BMI, so I decided I would do something about it: I was going to join Weight Watchers. I’d heard a lot of good things about it, and when I did my research I found that it centred on making healthy food choices, rather than cutting out certain foods completely. They also fully encourage exercise, in order to create a balanced healthy lifestyle.
Three days before my first meeting I found out I was pregnant with my first child. Morning sickness – coupled with the desire to eat healthily for my growing baby – meant that when I gave birth I was a stone and a half lighter than when I fell pregnant.
Another nine months and I was back up at my heaviest weight. I took myself off to Weight Watchers, just as I’d originally intended, and found a healthy way to control my eating habits, my weight, and my mental health. I loved going to the meeting every week, loved listening to other members’ stories, and loved watching my shape change. I was three pounds away from my goal weight when I found out I was expecting my second child. Unless medically advised, you aren’t allowed to attend Weight Watchers when pregnant, so I had to stop going to my meeting.
I did go back after having my second baby, but I started to help out at the meetings, so it became more like a job than a weight-loss journey for me. I had a different leader this time (who is now one of my best friends), plus my head wasn’t in the right place. Apart from a couple of fluctuating pounds, my weight didn’t really change. When my local meeting closed I didn’t look for another one.
Then two years ago I started afresh at a meeting taken by the first leader I had. Two months in I discovered I was pregnant with my littlest ray, so halted once more. Today I went back to the meeting. I’ve joked that it’s her last chance, as that’s now twice I’ve fallen pregnant within a few months of joining her meeting!
I know that Weight Watchers works for me. Anything that creates a calorie deficit will in fact work, but I know that this plan in particular fits in with my lifestyle. As a family we eat home-cooked food, so meal planning will not be a problem. I’ve also looked out my exercise DVDs, so that I can tone up as the pounds shift. My littlest ray’s morning nap is the ideal time to burn off some fat, as well as boost the endorphins.
My aim is to lose around a stone and a half. Although I have that number in mind, it’s not the final goal. I want to focus on non-scale victories too: inches lost, clothes fitting better, and feeling fitter. My first goal is to fit into a dress for my step-sister’s wedding next month.
My biggest aim is to show my children the importance of making healthy choices – getting them to “do as I do, not as I say.” We are our children’s first role models, so it’s imperative that we step up and demonstrate good choices to them, instead of simply waxing lyrical.
I’ll be posting updates of my getting-healthier journey here. I’ve realised that I need to have accountability for my weight-loss, so this will be my sounding board! Have you set yourself any health goals recently?