I made myself fat because no one forced me to sit on my sofa, scoffing one medium take away pizza, with full chicken and potato combo, 2ltr of cola, 2 packs of big eat crisps with dip, snickers, mars bar, double-decker and probably a tub of ice-cream! Oh yes that was my Friday night ‘treat’. HA! Treat? Give me a break? It was heart attack city in a 5000+ calorie sitting. But I couldn’t see it because I still had this mentality that I could eat what I wanted and that, with a diet the next week and a little exercise, I could shift any weight gain with ease. WRONG!
I’m not quite sure what happened to the athletic child in this picture.
Margam Park and horse riding. I was about ten
My BA Graduation Day
At a friends house, circa 2005
I look at these photos now and think 'was that really me?' Yes, yes it was. She's in the past now, and long my she remain there.
You know there is nothing more liberating than that phrase right there ‘I did it to myself’ because that’s exactly what I did. Knowing full well that if I didn’t reign in the snacks etc I would continue to balloon I carried on, hand to mouth, hour after hour, day after day, week... well you get the picture. The daft thing is we except the fat increase and our image of ourselves becomes trained to view the overweight reflection as the norm. I mean, I really can't believe I allowed myself to get as big as I was in those photographs above. The first step of the journey is to take responsibility for yourself. We're all too quick to come up with a myriad of excuses as to why we can't lose weight. I know, as I've come up with endless excuses myself. I'll do a blog about that later as it's a huge issue in it's own right. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes...
So when did my wake up call and alarm bell go off? I can pinpoint the date, day and time to the exact moment that I realised I was fat. It was 6:45am on Monday January 9th 2006. I had awoken, gone to the bathroom and weighed for my first weigh in after the New Year. The night before I weighed myself that fateful morning, I had written in my new notebook that my New Years Resolutions where to lose at least a stone, cut back smoking with a view to eventually give up and to get into some form of fitness routine. What happened that morning was a huge shock to my entire system. I got onto the scales, having to bend quite far forward to see past my over inflated stomach and large boobs to view the weight. 17stone 12 pounds at 5ft 7 inches tall – being fat was also shrinking my height.
I crumbled to the floor in a gelatinous mess, bawling my eyes out. I got so angry with myself I was punching myself hard in the stomach and howling at the ‘fat, ugly, stupid bitch’ (my exact words) that I had become. After about half an hour, with my wonderful husband trying to convince me otherwise only to have me screaming back at him about how wrong he was (bless him, he’s put up with a lot), I dressed ready for work and went to the back garden. I opened my brand new pack of Dunhill Menthols (and in 2006 at £6.50 for 20, they were the top end of menthol cigarettes and a ‘treat’ ha!), drew one of those white cylinders out, lit it, drew one long puff and promptly gagged to the point of almost being sick! At that point I had my first breakthrough. I extinguished the vile thing, threw the entire pack in the bin and haven’t looked back. To ensure I never picked a cigarette up again, I enlisted the aid of one Mr Paul McKenna by way of his quit smoking CD and listened to it for every night over 4 weeks. It was the best £5 I would spend that year.
Feb 6th 2006 I joined the gym. After all I was addicted to something for a long time and was very frightened I would slip again just as I had every other time I had given up. I decided I needed a new addiction and that was going to be fitness. For the first few months the weight slowly dropped, I hit a plateau at 16 stone 7lbs for a few months. What now? I was working out 6 hours a week in the gym in group fitness classes and there was no miraculous weight loss. Why? What was wrong with me? I started looking to medical conditions that might be inhibiting my weight loss (Oh look there’s that excuse hunting again). As it turned out I had intolerance to wheat in general but also gluten and a high intolerance to dairy (and having been off dairy for the last 5 years I’m now allergic to the stuff and it makes me very ill). So I removed those from my diet, being strict for 2 weeks at the start and then not really minding if I slipped now and then. After all I was being as careful as I could and they were only intolerances. WRONG! If you have intolerances and you are trying to lose weight cut them out all together first as last, your body will thank you for it and it will function a whole lot better.
The other thing I wasn’t admitting to was the substitutions in my eating habits that had gone from bad to horrendous. For example: I had substituted weight watchers chocolate brownies with ‘Free From’ versions, only to find the Free From ones were almost half the calories again. But I had fooled myself into thinking that because they were not making me ill they weren’t going to make me fat. I shake my head now looking back. I inhibited my own progress because I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing with food. Someone once said that we spend all day thinking about food until the very point where it’s really needed; shopping and eating.
I had also been diagnosed with PCOS (Polycysytic Ovary Syndrome) so was using that as an excuse as to why the weight wasn’t coming off. I researched medications that can be used for aiding in controlling PCOS and ended up back on the micro pill to help regulate my hormones (Oh man was that not a good move in many ways). In the UK, they will only give you the contraceptive pill if you aren’t overweight or are showing to be losing weight, and I had it in my head that the PCOS was the whole reason that I couldn’t shift the weight. I was losing the battle before I had even got to the front line. Again I was very wrong. But what it did highlight was that my blood pressure was stupidly high and that I was at risk of becoming diabetic by the time I was 40. That is crushing to hear at 31. Again I didn’t realise that my hormones were already fighting a massive internal battle to regulate themselves because of the PCOS and the chemicals that are added to processed foods, and here I was adding in more hormones. Hello, massive spiral. Needless to say I came off the pill.
The plateau continued and I become more depressed with the state of my health, with me, with life in general. Why wasn't this working anymore, what was wrong now? I canceled my gym membership and tried to go it alone, thinking that perhaps my body was now so used to my weekly classes (now up to 11 hours a week when I could make it), that a change would work and I could save myself money too. Within 6 months I had joined a different gym as I became lazy and started to slip back into old habits. I was now 14 stone 7lbs. Again I went to the doctors and was told perhaps I should keep a mood diary. I scoffed at the idea and thought that that was a preposterous notion. Why, when I was feeling this miserable, would I want to write it down to remind myself how miserable, fat and worthless I was? Afterall I had done all the diets known to man such as the South Beach Diet, The Atkins Diet, Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Rosemary Connelly, Welsh Slim, Blood Type Diet, Tesco online. I was starting to think I would be 14st 7lbs for life... and miserable, fat and worthless. That's how I truly felt, and I still do when the darkness hits but you get through it. But I digress...
In 2010 I started watching ‘fat’ TV to look for ideas and inspiration as to what else I could do. And that’s when the penny finally dropped. Watching programmes like Biggest Loser and Fat Families I noticed these people losing weight and in good measure. Now to some they may feel that the weight loss is too rapid, but if you are burning in excess of 1000 calories every time you work out, are working out 6 times a day, and are eating a healthy balanced diet then ... yeah why can’t you lose 12lbs a week? I don’t have the luxury of working out 6 times a day. But I do aim for 6 hours a week. So if they can do these phenomenal losses (and for quite a number of them, they do keep it off), why can't I do 2lbs a week? What's the secret?
The main turning point in my battle with weight loss (as it had become a battle in itself) came when I realised four simple things.
1) I was my own worst enemy. My mindset was set up for failure permanently because every time I looked in the mirror I saw the fat girl in the pictures above. My own mental image of my body was wrong. Ok so how do I change that? You change it a little at a time, find a process that works for you. I used Paul McKenna again because it worked for the giving up smoking. And I'm still working through this stage. I think this is the longest part of the journey and this part is different for everyone. I'll do a section on mental image and various techniques that have been recommended to me at a later date. But it's worth looking around this area if you get the 'what's the point i quit, I'm worthless, fat etc' demon in your head again.
2) I was still eating the wrong foods and looking at the wrong nutritional information on packets. Low fat foods are not always the healthier option. They may be lower in fat but that doesn't necessarily mean they're better for you. For example: remember those chocolate brownies I mentioned earlier? Mrs Crimble's Free From Brownies are 199 kcals per brownie. Weight Watchers luxury Brownies are only 163 kcals. Wow, I hear you say, that's awesome. WRONG. The Mrs Crimble's brownies contain 16.6g of sugar, the Weight Watchers ones contain a whopping 22g of sugar, per brownie. So what you save in calories you add in as sugar, forcing your insulin to go nuts. Again I'll do a separate blog on the misnomer of low fat food.
3) I will never be a size 10. No seriously I'm in between a 14 and 16 at the moment and I might get down to a 12 but I'll never be super thin and that's ok. I only ever want to be the best that I can be. I want to be a healthy weight for my height, toned and supple and I'd like to be able to do the splits again.
4) I was ignoring simple maths. Weight loss is not rocket science, it took me years to figure this out. You don't need an expensive diet club to help you lose weight. All you need is a food diary, a calculator, a pen and if you're working out in the gym a good heart rate monitor that gives you a calories burned reading. That's it. It's simple mathematics. You work out your base metabolic rate, you deduct the amount of calories you've had throughout the day and you see if you've used more than you ate (which will equal weight loss) or you eat more than you used (which will equal weight gain). Seriously it's THAT simple. The next blog will deal with this in depth, including the simple sum for working out your BMR and I'll put some links to food diaries you can find on line too as they are invaluable.
So I'm currently at 13 stone 3lbs. I have 2 stone 7 to go. But I'm feeling a darn sight better about myself already. I know there will be those of you reading this saying, 'But Krissie you look awesome, don't go losing too much, stop you look fab' etc, bless you, thank you. But sorry I'm going to be quite rude to you here. Please stop! It's nothing to do with how you view me. I am grateful that you think I look great (as it does give that 'yes, thanks I do' feeling for a moment) but for the most part, I don't feel it. And i still have my 'I'm miserable, fat and worthless days', although thankfully they are getting fewer. It's all about how I see myself and feel about myself. That is a process that I'm still going through but I'll get there.
After dinner with the gang from work Feb 2011
So I'm still very much on my journey. I've invested in a personal trainer to help shift the last two and half stone in weight and I'm hoping this will be my breakthrough year. I'm thrilled you've opted to start reading this blog, and if you've got this far, thank you. I hope you'll get something out of taking this journey with me. I hope you'll find something here that will be of use, that might save you some of the tears and dark days that we all get when battling the weight.
Most of all I wish you health and happiness. This journey is hard, but oh so worth it.
Here's to the best you that you can be.