It's been a long hard road full of ups and downs - but as I approach my 40th Birthday, I finally feel I have got to grips with my weight issues.
I've always been overweight, and been on one diet or another. But like so many others, I frequently fell off the wagon - largely through my love of food - both cooking and eating...
Last year was a tipping point. I hit 13.5 st, I was doing an MSc at the time (lots of late night study, rubbish food and hardly any exercise). At the same time, our daughter was born - contributing to the stress levels - and lack of sleep!!
As the MSc came to end and the little un got into a routine - the time seemed right to tackle the weight. It was kick started by being ill in the run-up to Christmas - I could hardly eat anything, which in many respects was a blessing. My looser clothes told me I had lost a bit of weight over Christmas. Thinks kicked off properly on Jan 1st. I cut out all the rubbish, alcohol, sweet things etc and started getting back into the gym. At first, I was doing 5km runs - puffing and panting for 30 minutes max, dripping buckets of sweat and getting stiff legs. I steered clear of the scales for the first couple of weeks, preferring to see the effect on clothing. Soon, I was breaking out items I hadn't worn for months, and then years. My first weigh-in was on the 12th Jan - 12st 7lbs, that was the first stone gone!
Onward I continued, maintaining the healthy eating patterns (lots of soups - heavy on vegetables) whilst stretching myself to further endeavours in the gym and the weight came off at a steady 3-4lbs per week.
As of yesterday, I weighed in at 11st 6.5lbs - a loss of just over 2 stone. In the gym, I am now up to doing 12km runs in just over an hour - no more doing steam train impressions - and loving every minute of being within the "ideal" weight bracket for my height.
I still want to lose a few more pounds - I would be happy at somewhere between 11 and 11st 3lbs - so not far to go.
It is bloody hard to lose weight. Every lb being approx 3000 cals (or so I read somewhere). But the combination of healthy eating and regular exercise is what worked for me. But more importantly, it was being in the right frame of mind. Last year, with all that was going on in my life, just wasn't the right time.
If I could offer any advise it would be to focus on a long term aim, not just the quick fix. Dieting is all about changing you way of life. Face it, we all got fat through adopting a bad life-style, and we can't ever go back - because the weight will just return.
I was also a serious coffee drinker - up to 7 cups per day - including full-on latte's etc. These too have gone (more or less), and I think this helped overcome the grumpiness and lethargy - enabling me to enjoy a healthier lifestyle - one I can enjoy with my family.
Good luck to you all in achieving your aims.