I love food. I’ve always loved food. But not in a ‘foodie’ way, which is a shame, because that would have been significantly more healthy than the biscuits, chocolate, crisps and sweets I have chosen to gorge on over the years, not to mention the indian takeaways, copious amounts of white bread and almost scary affection for the colonel’s special blend of herbs and spices.
At my heaviest I weighed over 20 stone. I’m 5ft 9 and was wearing a size 20/22. A tight size 22. I vowed to lose weight after seeing a picture of myself watching my team win the League Cup Final at Wembley; my beloved Birmingham City defied all odds to beat top-4 Arsenal, but all i could think about was how massive i looked in the photo!
The cup victory meant that we could qualify to play in the Europa League meaning that, as long as we won the qualifying match, I would have 4 European matches to attend. I blindly started a spreadsheet to track everything i ate, the exercise i did and my weight loss, setting myself a target to look slim when it came to jetting away to watch BCFC. I bought a treadmill at a cost of £800, as well as an exercise bike, a Wii Fit, weights, Kerry Katona’s work out video (it was actually a download on my Mac, but ‘video’ seemed the only way to write it) and god-knows-what else. I googled every possible way to speed up my weight loss, and tried every trick i could find, including only eating after exercise and a large cup of green tea – not particularly practical.
I did well – or so i thought – losing over 6 stone in 4 or 5 months but, of course, it soon creeped back on. I stopped exercising but told myself that was ok as I was still eating well; i didn’t even like the taste of KFC anymore. However, that didn’t last long, and before long I was back into my old ways and digging out my bigger clothes ever more frequently.
That was 5 years ago.
I was so proud to have lost all that weight by myself, to have photos I was proud to post on Facebook from our trips to Madeira, Slovenia, Belgium and Spain, and to have people constantly telling me how good i looked. Even though I was still over 13 stone, because I’m so tall I didn’t ‘look’ fat, and i just kept telling myself I’m naturally bigger. To go from that, to the shame of bumping into people a few years later and knowing they were thinking “she’s got fat again” was totally confidence destroying for me. I’ve always been outgoing and ‘confident’, but regaining the weight, coupled with a horrendous relationship (that I of course blamed on myself being fat) changed the person I am. I’d put on a brave face, of course, but i hated seeing photos of myself and I was always conscious being seen in public, which was difficult in my line of work.
That brings us to now – November, 2016.
After promising myself for a few years that I would lose weight and that I’d ‘start on Monday’, the voice in the back of my head got louder and louder. I thought I’d had the wake up call I needed when, ironically, someone took a photo of me at Wembley! This time I was working for one of the Club’s who were playing – a team that my boyfriend, Lee, supports. Our Club photographer caught what should have been a beautiful shot of me catching sight of Lee shortly before kick-off. Instead, all I could think was how fat my back and arms looked in the formal dress and cardigan I’d bought specifically for that day – when I’d left the house I actually thought I looked good!
Rather than motivate me, that photo just pushed me more towards food. I’m not sure if I was trying to prove to myself, or to the people around me, that my relationship with food was ok, but i ATE! It was when I went on my first holiday with my partner that I realised I really needed to do something about it.
I can’t remember what made me google Slimming World – I’d never been to any kind of ‘group’ like that before and didn’t know anyone who had tried it, but i did. A week later I walked into my local group in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, and had absolutely no idea what to expect, other than a ‘welcome talk’, which i had seen advertised on the website.
There was a stand-in consultant that day, but she sold it to me and I duly signed up and gingerly hopped on the scales. I’d said to myself that I needed to lose 2 stone – as someone who NEVER weighs themselves (I even refused to look when I got weighed at a new doctors surgery a few months before!) I thought that sounded like a lot. When i saw the read out looking back at me, I felt sick – 17stone 12lbs!! I was gutted, but put on my usual brave face, smiled through it and left armed with my Slimming World books, looking forward to tackling the week ahead.
The rest, as they say, is history.