Saturday, 22 February 2014

Where I'm At

I've recently hit a huge milestone...

I've just managed to lose a whole stone in just 7 weeks. This for me is probably the biggest weight loss achievement I've ever had! The people who know me are also amazed with this, and a lot of people have been asking me for tips and advice. So I thought some of you out there might also like to know about my journey, take some bits from what I've achieved, and maybe even use them to help your weight loss .

So who am I?

I think to follow any journey, you need to have a starting point. The best starting point for this journey is knowing more about me and where I come from. Why am I even slightly qualified to talk about weight loss? Well, all my life I've been a 'big girl'. From my cute chubby cheeks as a baby, to my curves as a teenager, to being slightly more, well... rotund as I now approach 30 in a matter of weeks. I've always been big.

I first became aware of weight and body shapes when I hit puberty early at the age of 8 or 9. I developed early , became a different shape to my classmates, and people started noticing my body. This started the very much love/hate relationship I have with my body. Part of me liked that boys in particular had started to notice me, but part of me hated standing out as it did become a reason for other people to pick on me. As we all know, kids can be cruel.

The connection with my weight/size came later into my teenage years. I have always avoided the scales but back then it didn't enter my head as much to weigh myself. I noticed I was a bit bigger than the other girls as I was always around a UK size 12 and they were around UK size 8-10. I first remember exercising to get into shape at about 16 when I wanted to wear a crop top and mini skirt to a party (the only crop top I've ever worn I might add!) and I spent a whole week working out to my mums exercise videos in the lounge. It probably didn't make that much difference at the time, but I think that was when the connection was made that to look and feel good in certain clothes, you needed to be a certain weight and you needed to work for it.

I then hit a period of depression which I won't go into too much detail about, but those of you who have also been through that particular battle will appreciate that in that state, any flaws you perceive yourself to have are magnified and completely focussed upon. My weight was such and became the first thing that would get me down the most. Unfortunately I also comfort ate which lead to me becoming stuck in a vicious cycle.

I was lucky enough to meet my future husband at the age of 17 so although I was frustrated with my weight, after meeting him it was never about losing weight to attract a partner. I was probably around a UK 14 at this stage so while weight was definitely an issue, it probably wasn't enough of an issue to actually do something about. I definitely gained weight as a side effect of being comfortable and happy, and most days it wasn't a problem. It just became one on my dark days.

I lose the chronology a little at this point in the fog of depression as for many years I was walking around in a bit of a daze. I know at some stage I discovered Weight Watchers and stuck to it on and off. I learned that I could do some exercise to earn enough points to have a beloved bag of crisps (my Achilles heel). I also started yoga, 30 mins a day in my bedroom, for a period. However my weight still steadily climbed.

Luckily I came out of the depression, probably helped in no small part by a proposal from my husband to be. At this stage I was about a size 16 (again avoiding the scales) which I had pretty much stayed at for most of my 20's. There had been some periods where it had gone up a bit but it rarely dipped below. I began to be haunted by visions of myself being a 'fat bride' and for the first time really decided to take the bull by the horns and go on a proper diet.

In the company of both my mother and mother-in-law to be, we all vowed to shift some pounds before the big day and signed up to our local Rosemary Conley exercise class. This was the first time I'd really hit the scales and faced weekly weigh ins, and to be honest I was horrified when I was first weighed. I was over 13st. Disgusted with myself I did try my best with this diet, but I'll be the first to admit it was only as the wedding was maybe 6 months away that I really got stuck in. I loved the aerobics classes and found the diet reasonably simple to follow. I even started going to the gym and discovered exercise wasn't as bad as I'd always thought and even got a bit of an endorphin buzz from it. I managed to get down to just under 12st over a period of maybe a year and was really proud of myself.

After the wedding, as expected, having nothing to motivate me, I gained it all back. Again I did do weight watchers on and off but got bored with having to work out the points for everything and religiously record it all. I couldn't be bothered exercising and all my good work was completely undone.

I was incredibly lucky enough to fall pregnant with my first child in 2012 at the age of 28. It had been a dream of mine since childhood to become a wife and mother and I couldn't have been happier. I started my pregnancy weighing around 13 & 1/2 st, a dress size 16. I was very ill with morning sickness for the first 16 weeks, surviving on water and ginger biscuits alone some days. I lost 1/2 st over that period and thought it was a great start! I embraced my growing shape and was more comfortable with my body than I had ever felt before, happily showing off my bump in tight clothing. However, due to many reasons, (the main being having our kitchen remodelled) my diet was not great and I also gained a lot of fluid all over and my weight ballooned.

I won't go into too much detail about what happened at the end of my pregnancy. I developed pre-eclampsia on my due date and, without being too dramatic, did have a short battle to stay alive whilst also bringing a new life into the world. Luckily, thanks to the brilliant doctors/nurses/midwives who looked after me, we all came through it fit and well. I had been nil by mouth for a while so I know I lost weight, but obviously actually weighing myself was the last thing on my mind. I decided to breast feed, so all things considered I was off to a good start with getting back into shape. In theory.

In practice, I was exhausted. I had been through an utter ordeal in hospital and couldn't get the rest I needed to recover as I had a little life to focus on, one that was a million times more important than my weight worries. I didn't think about weight loss at all and happily gorged myself on food using the excuse that I needed more calories as I was breast feeding. I did try with the healthy snacks for a few weeks but that fell by the wayside eventually. I also wasn't exercising as I was recovering from C-section, and you are forbidden from doing aerobic exercise for the first 6 months. I however took this as licence to do nothing.

The first wake up call came at one of my oldest friends weddings last year. I was lucky enough to be asked to be her bridesmaid and had vowed during my pregnancy that I would be back in shape for her wedding. I didn't factor in not being able to do aerobic exercise but once the 6 months had passed I signed up for Zumba classes with the lovely Aimee. This later turned out to be the best move I could have made but I wasn't to know that for a few more months. I really threw myself into it and at one point was doing a second class a week with another instructor. However, I had finished breast feeding, I wasn't eating right and the second class ended up being cancelled. I very naively thought one class a week would be enough but it wasn't.

The big day approached and due to certain circumstances I hadn't managed to try the dress on. I asked my friend to get it in a 16 as that was the size I had always been and assumed that worst case scenario I would at least be that size on the big day. I was a bit concerned that on the day it was a bit tight but didn't think about it and just focussed on my friend and her big day.

Then I saw the pictures. I was completely horrified. In my eyes, I looked like I was wearing a rubber ring under my dress. I couldn't believe how big I had got. This was also repeated in the photos of my son's first birthday. To anyone else that probably would have been enough motivation to do something about it, but not me. True to form I just tried to shut it out and convinced myself one zumba class a week would be enough.

By now I was back in work 2 days a week and walking to and from work (about 30-40mins walking in total). I was going to baby groups and running around after an increasingly mobile child. The zumba classes I was attending were a freebie through my work and that was probably the only reason I kept it up. My son had started attending nursery on one of the mornings while I was working and he was loving it. However, I wasn't so much.

I'm very lucky to have help from my mum with childcare so between myself, my mum and my husband, we do the majority of the caring for my son. As any parent will know, as soon as your child starts nursery, they start bringing home germs. All three of us got hit with illness after illness. I have never known anything like it and have never in my life been so frequently ill. Needless to say this wiped out all motivation and energy to exercise or eat right and my weight again steadily crept up.


Well, that nearly brings you up to date...

We're now approaching the time in my journey where the big changes happened and I started to take control. I've waffled on enough for one post so I will save that for my next one, but turn things around I did.

I hope now you understand a bit more about me and my relationship with food and my weight. Fingers crossed I've not bored the pants off you too much and you'll stick around for the next part.

From here, it really does only get better!

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