This is me!


Full Member
This will be a long one, so you don't have to stick around. If you choose to, thank you.

This is something that I’ve wanted to write for a while now, mostly for myself, but to be able to admit it to people, I feel, could be very cathartic. I’m hoping in doing this, I can start to break old habits, have a more positive mindset and believe in myself.

This last year I have really struggled with loving myself. I've yo-yo dieted for more than half of my life (I'm 31 now) and I can never get to where I want to be. I lose and then gain more, lose and then gain, and it's a perpetual, vicious cycle that I can't seem to break. I always tell myself that this is it. This is the time I will lose and be where I want to be. But it never happens. I love food. There's no two ways about it. I love it. I have some bad habits of emotional eating, reward eating and secret eating and there have been times when I've eaten 4 cupcakes or a tub of mini donuts while sat in my car. Sometimes I have no control when it comes to food. Though, I am glad to say that episodes like this have not happened in a very long time. One thing that does really bug me is that I know exactly what I need to do. The food and the exercise, but it seems out of reach for me. I also feel such a hypocrite when I comment on someone else’s diet or try to give them advice. I mean look at me! (FYI – the profile pic is me at 18 years old, when I was happiest with my body. Though I don’t think I’ll ever be 100%happy)

I moved to Saudi in August last year to work as an English teacher. Initially, I came on my own and my husband stayed at home. I had these grand ideas of exercising as I'd have my own place for the first time ever. But it didn't. I ate a lot of takeaways because I couldn't be bothered cooking and I was lonely and started to become a bit of a recluse. I got to the biggest I've ever been. Not sure exactly, but close to 15 stone I'd imagine. It's really easy to put on a lot of weight here. There's soooo many take away places and it's all relatively cheap and everywhere delivers. Having to wear an abaya to cover my body in public means that I can wear what I like underneath. Most of them time it's leggings and a t-shirt. Wearing elasticated waists all the time makes it easy to not even notice the weight piling on until it's too late. I look like I’m pregnant and I hate myself. I stare into the mirror and it makes me want to cry and sometimes I do. I don’t understand why I want so much to change, but always end up self-sabotaging. I think I’ve got to the point now where when I decide I’m going to start a new plan/diet/whatever, I automatically think I’m going to fail because that’s the cycle that has always happened.

I really do need to make changes and become healthier. I am so unfit right now that walking up one flight of stairs makes me a bit breathless. I’m 31 years old and I feel ashamed. I also need to do it because there is a very strong family history of heart disease and diabetes in my family. My grandparents had/have it, my mum’s brother had a heart attack at 40 and my mum, who is a healthy weight, watches what she eats and exercises, now has angina and blocked arteries. If I don’t make changes soon, I’m heading for a heart attack before I’m 40.

I suppose I should really start at the beginning. I was a healthy weight until about 8 years old when I became chubby. I was quite a happy child and although I didn’t like being bigger than the other girls, I didn’t let it bother me too much. I used to have packed lunches, was limited to when I was allowed junk food and my mum cooked from scratch pretty much every night when she could.

Moving onto high school, my diet took a bit of a hit. At school, I ate chocolate most days, garlic bread frequently and fizzy drinks full of sugar. I was overweight and got bullied, but it didn’t really bother me too much. I had a good set of close friends and we were all outcasts together. I really enjoyed dancing as well, so I did it 2 years for GCSE. Not sure what weight I was as I never weighed myself. I was about a size 16 by the time I left.

Once I left school and went to college, I started to lose a bit. I had to catch 2 buses to get there, but if it wasn’t raining, I’d get the first bus and then walk the extra distance. The campus was really close to the town centre, so most days I would walk there and hang out with friends. I got my first part time job working in retail at 16 and life was relatively good. I met my first boyfriend a few months before my 17th birthday and we started to spend a lot of time together. I got into bad habits. I wouldn’t eat when I was at his house for the first few months, and when I eventually got home I lived off crap like sausage rolls and sandwiches. We did do a lot of walking though because he was always broke and couldn’t afford bus fare. After a while I got more comfortable and would have something at his, but it was always something small and unhealthy. I didn’t really realise it, but I had been losing weight. He broke up with me after 6 months and it was shortly after this that I got weighed for the first time in forever. I was 9st 10lb. I was amazed and felt quite good about myself. It’s the smallest I’ve been in my adult life. But, I do remember thinking that it wasn’t enough. I needed to lose more.

I spent the next year living and loving life. I was working and had a great social life. Despite not being 100% happy with my body, I didn’t really think about it and it didn’t get me down.

In August 2003, I met my husband. At the time he was a skinny guy who liked to work out. His diet wasn’t great though and some of his bad habits started creeping into my diet. He could eat what he liked, as he is male and he exercised. I just seemed to look at food and put on weight. I got the contraceptive injection about 3 months in to the relationship and my weight just seemed to go up and up. With university, placements, a boyfriend and a life, I was lazy. If I wasn’t at home with my mum cooking, I lived off frozen meals.

In early 2005, his mum and cousin wanted to join SW, so I did too. My initial weigh in was 11st 10lb. My first week on plan went well. I was really motivated (it always starts that way) and was excited for my first weigh in. His mum lost 8lb, his cousin, 7lb. I stepped on the scales and was utterly disappointed to see I’d only lost 3lb. I’d worked just as hard as they had, so why hadn’t I had the same result?? As an older and, hopefully, much wiser person, I know it could be because they were both at least a few stone heavier than me to begin with. I stuck to it for about a month, but the final straw was when I’d been really good with eating and done a 10 mile bike ride, but I’d put on. I was devastated. All that work and for nothing. I gave up shortly after that having lost around 9lbs overall.

February 2007 came along and I was at 13st 6lb. I joined WW and got into the groove early on. However, there becomes a cycle of 3 good weeks with losses and then a week with a gain. In May 2008, I went on holiday to Japan for 5 days and despite enjoying the food, we walked at least 8 miles each day. Again, thinking I was doing fantastically with all the walking to compensate the food, 10lbs heavier. Heartbroken doesn’t even cover it. By August 2010 and right before I moved to Australia, I had got down to 11st 7lb. I was pretty pleased with myself. It had been a struggle but I was feeling much better about myself, looked good in photos and only slightly dreaded being in a swimsuit in Oz. Living on my own doesn’t suit me though. I think I put on a stone over the 8 months I lived there. I got lazy (there’s a surprise) and reached for the frozen meals once again.

I returned home in April 2009 and over the next 3 years I tried SW, Lighter Life and hypnotherapy.

I enjoyed SW at first, but I get bored easily and my will power wanes. I tried lighter life at 13st 10lb. I started off great, had amazing will power, attended functions and stuck to plan. But, it’s not sustainable for me. I constantly thought and obsessed about food. Eventually, it was too much and I had to eat again. I think I lost about 18lbs overall, but it all went back on and a bit more when I started eating again. I felt so deprived that I ate everything I wanted.

I was desperate. I couldn’t stick to anything, and I wanted a miracle. I tried hypnoband. It cost me £300 for the course, I had a session and would then be given a CD to listen to at home. On the 3rd session, I would have my ‘band’ fitted. The first week actually went quite well. I had focused on portion sizes, being able to leave food on my plate and questioning whether I was actually hungry. I lost 2lb after the first week. The 2nd session was prep for the ‘op’. It seemed to be going ok until the 3rd session. Being a nurse did not help me one bit. I relaxed and settled down, the therapist said that I was sat in the doctor’s office and was given some tablets to send me off to sleep. This is not what happens for an operation and I found myself not being able to zone out and I kept thinking. At the end, I asked her about it and she said it was because of people being needle phobic. I advised that if she should ask about this before she starts. I didn’t go back for the 4th session. FYI – the tapes are really good at helping you get to sleep J

Feb 2012, my mum was at SW, so I decided to join her. Doing it together would make things much easier. I think I was about 14st by now. Things started great, I was having good losses, exercising and feeling motivated. But, old demons reared their ugly head, and I started to lose interest and got bored. I persevered until I left to live in Japan in the September. I had gone back to uni in 2010 to train as an English teacher and study Japanese. This was going to be my year studying Japanese in Japan. I think I was about 12st 8lb when I went. I managed to maintain my weight while I was there, but it was very difficult. I constantly weighed myself. The food is soooooo good and I would snack a lot, but I got a bike and cycled everyday which really helped me. The biggest issue with being there was that I lived in an all-female dorm with 30 other girls and I was the fattest one there by a long way. Even the other exchange students were all slim. I felt like a whale. It was impossible to buy bras, knickers and anything for the bottom half there as they just didn’t make them that big. Not even in a European brand like H&M. I used to buy all of my tops there as they were ok for me being a 16 on top. But my size 16 ass wouldn’t fit into anything. My self-esteem really took a hit. I hate looking at pictures of myself, especially when I was stood next to people a lot smaller than me.

When I returned in 2013, I went back to SW and stopped and started again. I can’t remember how much I lost. But, my biggest at this time, I was 14 stone 3lb. I was getting married in June 2014 and didn’t want to be a fat bride. My weight loss wasn’t going well, so I decided to do Cambridge for a few months. I started at 13st 10lb and managed to get down to 12st 7lb. I stopped a few weeks before the wedding for the hen party. I managed to maintain that weight until after the wedding when my skewed habits snuck in again.

Late 2014 it was back to WW. I felt I needed more flexibility with the plan and it worked to begin with, (there’s a reoccurring theme here), but motivation disappeared and old habits die hard. I can’t remember my start and finish weight for this, they all blend into one there’s been that many.

Which leads us to Saudi Arabia. My husband arrived in Jan and we have settled into a good routine of cooking together and eating better. It’s easier because my husband doesn’t work here, so there’s no juggling shifts and meals. I have a lot more vegetables in my diet than I think ever before. I got into the habit of eating what I liked though. I’d have chocolate once or twice a day, have a waffle or pancakes once or twice a week, I’d have a craving for cake and make a microwave one (it wasn’t a mug one either) and eat it all to myself. I couldn’t be bothered exercising, even though there is pool in our building (it is quite small and cold though).

I had been saying for a while that I wanted to buy a couple of weights to keep at home as the ones next to the pool weren’t light enough for me. About 3 weeks ago, we found 2 x 4kg weights on offer for around £6, so we bought them. I’m not quite sure what’s happened over the last few weeks but there has been a change. It wasn’t really even a conscious one at first. I’d noticed I’d gone a whole day without chocolate and decided to see if I could keep it up. Last week I managed 3 days in a row. Sweet stuff is usually my biggest weakness, so I’m feeling really good about that. I actually haven’t been craving it, and even walking past Krispy Kreme and cakes isn’t really doing it for me. I know I ate choolate most of the time because I wanted it, not because I needed it. Last week I managed 5 days. I have decided that I will have a small treat at the weekends if I feel like it and we always eat out once a week. Exercise wise, I have been doing around 7 mins of weights and squats most evenings, I try to walk around the uni campus in the morning (though I have to do this before 8am as it’s too hot after that, so if I’m too tired it doesn’t happen), and we have been walking there and back to a restaurant once a week which is an hour each way. I’ve also cut down on fizzy drinks. I didn’t really have them much at home, but it was getting to become most days. Now, I have 1 can two or three times a week. One thing I do need to improve is my water intake. I manage to get through about 2 litres most days. The weekend it really falls. I’m trying to make a conscious effort to increase this.

I kind of fell into this way of living right now. My head seems to be in the right place and hopefully it will continue. I’ve managed to lose 1 or 2 kgs in the last 3 weeks, I’m not sure because our scales are uselss, so long may it continue. I still look in the mirror and hate what I see, but I have a little positivity now because I’m trying to do something about it. But, my fears and doubts of self-sabotage still remain and I am petrified that my hard work will crash and burn in an instant. There’s a small part of me that wonders if it’s a deep set fear that I don’t know how to be smaller anymore which keeps me from sticking to it.

There is more I could say on this subject, but it’s too much already.

Well, if you’ve stuck around for this long, I must congratulate you on your endurance.

If you have any insights, words of wisdom or just finally realised that someone else feels the same way you do, please leave a comment.

I also need help with coming up with a new name for ‘treat day’. I always had this after weighs in, but I associate it with depriving myself of something until ‘treat day’. At the moment I don’t feel like I’m deprived. Friday is my day where I relax a little and have some chocolate if I feel like it and a bit of a cheat meal. I want to call it something to reflect what it is and my mentality towards it. Any suggestions? What do you call yours?