I made a little goal a few months ago. It was a bit of a “wouldn’t it be brilliant if” thing. Wouldn’t it be brilliant to get my target weight by the time we went on honeymoon. At this point my goal weight was 10.7 stone. I remember setting that target when I joined Slimming World. I uttered the words but knew deep down that this would be just like all those other times that I threw out an arbitrary number to the person who was weighing me. I smiled and went through the motions. I nodded at the “no better woman” comments. Not me. I’m just meant to be overweight.
Last month I found myself lowering my target weight. Like, what is actual life? After eighteen months I had gone from a size eighteen to a size 11. You know, most size 12’s were that bit too big on me and I fit in to the odd size ten. I was absolutely very nearly at the point where I was happy to maintain. It felt amazing to talk to my consultant about lowering my target weight. Another half a stone would work really well and that’s what we’ve gone for. I am currently 10 stone 5 and my target weight is 9 stone 12. It will mean getting my five stone award and that pretty much blows my mind.
We’re going on honeymoon this week and I am 4.5 stone lighter than I was eighteen months ago. I had no idea what lay ahead. I didn’t know that I would be getting engaged, married fourteen weeks later and finding myself at a healthy BMI for the first time in my life. You just never know do you? That’s what I tell myself now. Never say never because you really just don’t know what lies ahead.
It’s been eighteen months since I embarked on this journey. I joined in August 2014 and was practically dragged there by my sister. It’s February 2017 and I feel better than I have ever felt. It’s a cliche. The biggest of all perhaps but it is so unbelievably true. I would have considered myself to be a very confident girl my whole life. I didn’t feel as though my weight held me back too much. I realize now that it did in more ways than I have time to list. It’s been a life-change on so many different levels and all for the better.
I have learnt so much over the last eighteen months. I pretty much learn something new every week. These are the things that really stick out in my mind though and I hope they might give another person some perspective on what can only be described as the best thing I have ever done for ME.
It Is A Forever Thing
In the past when I joined Weight Watchers, The Gym or Slimming World I viewed it as a short-term thing. It was for a holiday or a wedding. It was never a lifestyle change. In that sense it felt more like a sentence. Something I had to stick to for X amount of time to achieve my goal. And then what? Go back to the way I was before I made the changes? That is pretty much what happened to me over and over again. I went hell for leather, lost weight and eventually went back to my old lifestyle and ended up heavier than I was before I joined. The biggest change of all has been accepting that something needed to change for good. Instead of being an angel 100% of the time I have found a way to make this plan liveable for me forever. I am genuinely delighted to comit to this for the rest of my life because I adore the food I can eat. I adore the wiggle room for treats, holidays and LIFE. I will never go back to the way I was before. My weight has been slow and steady because I choose to enjoy myself as often as I can while still maintaining a really healthy diet the majority of the time.
Food Was My Drug
I often pride myself on the fact that I have never tried a drug before and never will. I have always been extremely anti-drugs. Well, food was my drug for a long time. I was in denial about the fact that I had a food addiction and I used food to medicate myself. If I was depressed I would binge, in secret, to numb the pain. I would stuff so much food in to my body that it HAD to push down the emotions. Anything was better than facing up to the turmoil I felt. As soon as I combatted the comfort eating and food addiction I found myself much more at peace with who I am.
I Enjoy Food More Than Ever Before
I have never enjoyed grub as much as I do these days. After a couple of days of being super good, organised and “on it” I just adore a treat. If I crave a particular bar or dinner at the start of the week I make a plan to have it. Just this week I sat down with a packet of rancheros and a kinder bueno bar after weigh-in. I had seen both earlier in the week and craved them. Instead of mindlessly eating them I bought them and planned to have them after my weigh-in. I enjoyed them so much. Food has never tasted better. It is no longer in secret. It is no longer a coping mechanism. It is a joy.
You Have To Love Yourself Then & Now
I often hear people refering to their “old” selves and the way they used to eat. They used words like “disgusting” and “ugly”. I choose not to do that. I am not better now. I feel happier, that’s for sure, but I am not better. I am no more worthy of love and respect than I was at sixteen stone. That is ME. It’s not a random person in a photo. It is me. The person I am. It is me at a heavier weight but I bloody love her. You have to love yourself at every stage. I really think that is so important. It takes you away from that school of thought which tells you that you will be happen WHEN you get there. Wherever that may be. It can’t be a race that leads you to one moment of happiness. It needs to be an acceptance of the now. Enjoying everything as it comes. Facing everything in the moment and loving yourself for who you are and not the way you look. Your confidence will soar when you lose weight but you need to be able to look in the mirror at every stage and tell yourself “I Love You”. Happiness doesn’t come with seeing a certain number on the scales. It comes with loving yourself and treating yourself with kindness. This has been a huge realization for me.
I Can Say No
I literally didn’t know how to say the words no in the past. If food was offered to me I said yes, whether I really wanted it or not. God forbid I’d never taste another morsel of food again. I didn’t want to miss out. Ever. Now I can go to a party, friend’s house or restaurant and be in control. I don’t feel sorry for myself or put on a “diet face” ( I love that term) because it is my choice. Nobody is telling me to say no. I am choosing to say no because I want to feel amazing when I step on the scale a few days later. Instead I say no and focus on the treat I’ll have in a couple of days.
Food Affects My Mood
I am notorious for going a bit mad at the weekend food-wise. It has been the very thing which has made this so liveable for me. I have very few syns during the week and have some big treats on a Friday night and Saturday. I have noticed on a Sunday or Monday I’ll experience a low mood and I really think this is associated with eating crap food. Don’t get me wrong I’m not going to stop my treats but it is worth noting. The flip side is that after a day or two of eating healthily I feel brilliant. It has given me a sense of “get up and go” that I never had before.
Guilt Is Self Sabotage
When I treat myself at the weekend I don’t spend a single second regretting it or feeling guilt. Guilt is just self sabotage. If I’m going to have it I’m going to enjoy it or there is no point. I have it, enjoy it and get back on the wagon. It has been a huge revelation for me. I tried to lose weight so many times in the past and this is where I continuously went wrong. I would do great until a weekend away or night out came along. I’d make some “bad” choices and spend the next week beating myself up about it. This lead to more comfort eating and the endless spiral of chasing my tail until I eventually got back to where I was. Then I’d “ruin” it again. It was an endless cycle. Now I do not feel guilt. Life is to be enjoyed. I love healthy food but I also adore junk. I’ll continue to enjoy ice-cream, pizza, spice bags & butter popcorn. Not just the Slimming World versions. I am not perfect and I just need treats to look forward to. They keep me going and give me something to look forward to.
Losing Weight Has Positively Impacted My Entire Family
My mam cried the other day when I sent her a picture of my four and a half stone award. She said they were happy tears. As a mother she had hoped and prayed for years that I would one day feel good about myself and get healthy. That meant so much to me. Knowing that it has affected my mam in a positive way too. This lifestyle change has also dramatically changed the way my husband and my son eat. We are all healthier. Our future is brighter.
I Want To Help Other People Feel This Way
I wish I could bottle the way I feel right now. I still have bad days. Days where I feel crippled with anxiety. But overall I feel so happy in myself these days. I want to help other people feel this way too. And I will. This road has lead me to fulfilling a dream of mine. In a couple of months I will open the doors of my very own Slimming World group. I cannot wait to help other people feel great and make changes that will affect their lives in so many positive ways.