I’ve always been the fat kid. From an early age, the main point of focus in my mind was that I was the largest person in the room. I grew up surrounded by the embarrassment and self-loathing that comes with that realisation and turned down too many opportunities to better my life because of my fear of judgement from other people.
As a teenager, I was ridiculed for not fitting in with the way I was supposed to look. I was excluded from events by my peers or was the but of their jokes.
As a young pregnant woman, I was terrified of birth complications associated with being high-risk and overweight. I experienced prejudice from nursing staff and in that time of need, I shied away from the help and support I needed because I felt like I wasn’t worthy of it.
As a mother of a very sick child, having to sleep on a children’s ward in the stifling heat, made me uncomfortable and self-conscious. I wouldn’t eat properly and forgot to take care of myself. All eyes that looked at me, seemed as if they were eyes of judgement and condemnation. Eating in communal parents rooms was a nightmare because every bite of food felt like a guilt-ridden one.
As a mother of three children, including twins, I was too scared to leave the house. My weight made it difficult for me to walk far without sweating and finding it difficult to breathe. I was terrified of parents in the school yard, every bead of sweat a guilty testament to my shame and weight.
In February 2016 while in a hospital with my eldest son, I woke in the middle of the night to my limbs no longer working. I was suffering from a severe stroke and couldn’t get up off the floor. Surrounded by porters who had to drag me onto a mattress, that was then dragged onto a trolley, I remember the crippling shame and fear of that night.
Sat in a treatment room with my consultant, I nod along to the conversation about losing weight. How this was the biggest significant factor to my health. I understood what I needed to do. I agreed. I left and then spent another year hiding indoors.
Fast forward to now
Last week one of my five-year-old twins took a picture of me in a new dress I bought for myself.
It was this photo that triggered something. Not the years of depression and anxiety, not the unending feeling of being ashamed, not the night sweats and breathlessness or the doctor’s appointments. It was seeing this photo.
Rushing forth from that image was the realisation that I had to change and I had to start now. If I didn’t do something about my weight, I wouldn’t be around long enough to see my kids grow into adults. My children would be without a mother and the cornerstone of my small family would be destroyed. I weighed 25 stone and 6 lbs. That’s a lot of me to lose, an overwhelming amount.
Approaching weight loss
Every time I’ve approached weight loss, it’s been an, “Oh I’ll start on Monday” kind of thing. Not this time. After hours of reading, I stumbled across r/loseit. This is a subreddit of the popular social site Reddit, that is dedicated to people who are going through the same journey as I am. All of them want to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. These people are my tribe!
With the advice and support of this wonderful group of people, I put a plan together for my weight loss. I decided to use the CICO method which is: Calories In, Calories Out. Using an app called My Fitness Pal, I logged my weight and set a target weight goal.
My goal, for now, is 20 stone. This weight is what I need to be at in order to have a bone density scan. Because I suffer from hyperparathyroidism, a condition which takes calcium from your bones and dumps it in your blood too much, the bone density scan will show me if I’m in danger of osteoporosis.
I then set the rate of how much I would like to lose per week. I’ve set this low at 1.5 lbs because this is all new to me. My Fitness Pal then calculates your target daily calories needed to reach that goal.
Then, as I eat each day, I log accurately the calories I’m consuming with an aim of meeting that goal or coming in just under. This will ensure I am always eating fewer calories than I need every day, resulting in my body burning it’s fat reserves.
I’ve been doing this for 5 days now. I honestly thought it would be really hard. I enjoy my food but going on this journey has educated me to the small changes that make a big impact. I can still eat the foods I like, but I need to control the portion sizes. Looking at the stats, I can identify the foods I eat regularly that are calorie dense and make some gradual healthy changes.
The proof is not in the pudding
So after all of this rambling, here is the proof. After five days of counting calories, I’ve lost 6lb. I’m exactly 25 stone.
I’m staggered by the results. The changes I have made have been minimal and easy. My willpower is surging and if I wobble a bit, I know I have a vast community of like-minded people to turn to for support. Because this isn’t a fad diet. This is a lifestyle change. This is waving goodbye to bad habits that got me this way and welcoming healthier habits that will pave the way for a better me.
For the first time in my life, I’m confident that I can do this.