So where do I start!?
Well to begin with, I can't believe I'm actually writing my story in the 'Success Stories' section! I joined Minis back in January 2010, at around 18st 12lbs, but the reality is that I'd already been dieting for the previous 9 years, repeatedly losing and gaining large amounts of weight, but never getting anywhere close to where I wanted to be.
My original start weight back in 2001 was 20st 11lbs....I had always been overweight as a child, but people just descrived it as 'puppy fat'...unfortunately that puppy fat didn't dissapear, and I became a fat teenager and then an obese adult. But despite knowing that I felt different from my peers, I'd always managed to bury my head in the sand about my weight and how much it affected my life.
that's until I agreed to support my mum by joining a local Slimming World class with her in 2001...I didn't really want to diet as such, so I took their 'free food' policy at its word, and ate mountains of slimming world friendly food. Luckily, the weight started dropping off, and I eventually lost 5st 10lbs with Slimming World, taking me to roughly 15 st 1lb.
Unfortunately, that's where my yo-yo relationship with food/dieting began...something 'snapped', causing me to go off the rails food-wise, and I learned that I have an inbuilt self-destruct button that enables me to block out all the consequences of overeating from my mind, and go on food 'benders' lasting months, and causing stones worth of damage....
I won't bore you with all the details, but over the course of the past 11 years I've done Slimming World, Calorie Counting, Xenical, Reductil, Weight Watchers, and finally a VLCD....Exante to begin with, but I also use(d) products from Boossh, Slim and Save and Atkins amongst others.
I started this part of my journey in September 2011 with my boyfriend (AKA The Man) weighing 17st 2.5....he was attracted to a VLCD because he's impatient, wanted to lose weight quickly, and didn't have the food knowldge/interest to start counting calories or to join a slimming club. I just wanted to shift myself out of the 15-17 stone bracket that I'd been inhabiting for what seemed like an eternity.
We both planned to do the diet strictly until Christmas, but that would be as long as we thought we could manage....Famous last words, because here I am, over a year on! We both lost a lot of weight in our first week, and more than we ever expected to by Christmas. It was hard saying no to so many social occasions, but doing the plan together made it easier.
Since Christmas we've taken a slightly more scenic route, allowing ourselves breaks for holidays, birthdays, weekends away etc. but the majority of the time we've been sticking to our 650kcals rigidly.
I must admit that recently, I haven't only used the VLCD food packs, I've introduced vegetables, fish, meat and other low calorie/carb, but high protein foods. My Fitness Pal helps me to track everything to ensure that I've got everything planned and recorded accurately within my 650 calorie allowance.
Like I said earlier, my original plan was just to get into the low 15s before Christmas 2011 and then go back to WW or whatever....but when I acheived and surpassed that, I decided that I would carry on this year and get down to my lowest weight of 12st 7lbs (which I did using Xenical in roughly 2007). And then when I acheived and surpassed that goal too, I eventually decided upon 10st 5lbs as my ultimate goal....
I wasn't sure if it was even do-able as I'd never been anywhere near that light, but it just seemed a good weight to aim for, as it would be half my original body weight...pretty mind blowing really.
But slowly and surely, I've got here somehow! It hasn't been an easy ride....I've battled with my tendency to binge when I'm off-plan, and I've also had periods of feeling afraid of food and deviating from the plan. As you can tell from reading my diary I'm a bit of a 'thinker', and I do tend to over-analyse myself and my behaviour around food. Maybe I need to do that though, I can't take the risk of pressing that self-destruct button ever again... so I need to think things though, to understand myself properly and to develop strategies so I NEVER have to do this again!
So onto the positive stuff....how does it feel to be a goal??? Absolutely AMAZING!!! My body may not be perfect...I have stubborn pockets of fat, and lots of loose skin, and yes, I'd love surgery at some point. But for now they are my battle scars, and a reminder of my journey to where I am now.
This is the post that I wrote on my Exante diary recently that I hope illustrates just how great this feeling is....
Well it's taken me a little while to post this – I didn't get around to it on Sunday after the weigh in. In fact the day itself passed in a bit of a blur because.......drumroll please.......something unbelievable happened.....after all this time
I GOT TO GOAL!!!!!!
I really couldn't believe it to be honest (and still can't really!)....my mid week weigh in was a STS, and I didn't 'feel' any lighter, so I was totally unprepared and completely overwhelmed when I got onto the scales and saw 10st 4.5 looking back at me!!
I'm not ashamed to admit that I just stood there and cried for about five minutesafterwards. It felt like all the pressure of the last few weeks lifted off my shoulders...just to know that I've done it, I've finally got here after eleven years of dieting.... eleven years of losing and regaining massive amounts of weight, but never ever feeling the achievement of reaching a goal.
So after that, the day passed very quickly with a mix of celebration and reflection –firstly I celebrated with a nice cup of tea () and then we started taking some 'after' photos of me to mark the end of this part of my journey. First of all I got my biggest trousers out...the pair I wore back in 2001 when I was a size 28 (who should have really been wearing a size 30 if I'm honest). I'm so glad I kept them for all these years now...the photos we took are such a big visual reminder of the person I used to be, and they're quite funny too.
After that I got dressed in the outfit that means so much to me at the moment...the Topshop jeans that I spoke about here recently, and a jumper that I bought from Oasis on Saturday. Both from normal shops in average sizes (14). To me, they sum up the reason for this journey more than anything else. Just the feeling of blending in and not feeling restricted or self-conscious or awkward because of my size.
So I pictures taken in those clothes too, and then The Man put together a couple of photo montages which I'll post later if the file sizes aren't too big.
Despite not wanting to celebrate with food as such, we did have a special meal in the evening to mark the occasion. It wasn't an off-plan meal though, it was a calorie/carb counted steak with salad, garlic mushrooms and just a few home made oven baked chips. For desert we each had a meringue nest with a bit of Rolo ice cream on top (sounds very naughty but I only finished the day at 1100 kcals and roughly 90g of carbs in total)
My only real indulgence other than that was a glass of pink bubbly that I got from M&S the previous day (just a mini bottle)....well if you can't have a bit of fizz on the day you get to goal!
So now the hard work starts...I've been feeling very out-of-sorts this week so far...one minute I'm euphoric about meeting my goal, but the next I'm scared of what comes next – maintenance at this time of year is gonna be hard so I need a strategy.
I've decided that I'm not gonna worry about carbs too much. But I'm gonna stay between 650 and 1000 calories for the time being (kinda WS I suppose), in the hope that I'll lose a few more pounds to give me a Christmas buffer.
Then, on 10th December or thereabouts I'm going to do JUDD/intermittent fasting. That's when my Christmas social stuff kicks off, so I need a plan that will keep me in check, whilst allowing me to give myself permission to enjoy these social occasions.
Or at least that's the plan....
I know this has been a VERY long post, but it's been a very long journey so it's kinda hard to sum up in a few lines!
I just hope that my story gives hope to anyone who's struggling, or yo-yoing, or re-starting, that you CAN do this. It may have taken me years to do, but that is the only regret I have....I just wish I'd got on with it 10 years ago
Thanks for reading
x x x