Again, in support of Michelle Smith at the Pilates Pod, her E Cup Bad Boys (still jealous) and her Your Body Rocks Campaign, here’s my own weight loss story where I experienced both extremes of the body weight scale and everything in between and how shrinking to half my original size wasn’t all it was cracked up to be!
So someone said I was big… okay. I didn’t feel big. I just felt like me. I was about a size 16. Here I am… this is about the only picture I have of me whilst I was that size. Everything else is on the way to huskness. What’s even more scary is the forward head posture in the header pic ARGH!
Although the comment really bothered me and it was a big eye opener, I also knew I was really unhealthy. My diet was appalling, eating processed shite and a lot of sweet stuff and getting up in the middle of the night to stuff my face. Looking back, I now realise that it was a build up of stress… crappy job, rubbish, not very nice (that’s putting it mildly) boyfriend and generally just being stuck. So in true KVT style I got stuck into making myself healthy… juices, salads, all healthy food and cutting out the crap. I started to shrink, which was a great by-product. Several months go by and I’m around a size 10 and feeling on top of the world…
But how do you stop? I couldn’t… I had no idea how. I’d joined the gym and by this point I was doing three hours or so a day – NOT healthy! Again, I still wasn’t focused on my size. It was my health I was concerned with – the shrinkage was still just a by-product which until I started to see photographs I hadn’t really realised was happening – that and none of my clothes fit.
So I kept going. I still felt great. I was healthy, right? Yeppity doo-da if we define healthy as someone who exercises upwards of three hours per day, restricts their food intake to ONLY leafy vegetables and small amounts of lean protein, nuts and seeds, but clearly not in sufficient amounts to stop losing weight, who avoided going out with friends and family for dinner because I didn’t want to eat the ‘unhealthy’ dishes at the restaurant… this list goes on and on. I was obsessed. I didn’t know it at the time, but looking back now I recognise it for what it was. But despite the continued weight loss, the obsessive food control, everybody said how wonderful I looked, how much more healthy, how slim, Christ, they even put me on the front of a magazine! So I carried on…
Size 6 now. Hmmmm…. Over the past several years since I started my journey into Pilates and other movement practices, I’ve obviously spent a lot of time studying and understanding diet, nutrition and exercise in more detail. The human body has a weight that it naturally fluctuates around and will try hard to stay at that weight. It may go up or down (usually up as we overfeed it), but generally it has its happy place where it dearly wants to stay because it’s healthiest there. I was way beyond the happy place and as a result things started to go a little bit pear-shaped. This time in my life was definitely the start of the joint pains, the knee, hip, foot issues etc. I was sitting for extended periods of time (usually at least 12 hours a day) and then punishing myself in the gym for two to three hours at a time without enough food in me to support the repair of the muscle tissue and bone damage I was doing.
So the reason I’ve never posted my before and after pics from that time is because I’m actually not particularly proud of them. I could have chosen to use them and reframed them as a massive success story and marketing hype – fat bird loses a ton of weight and now looks HOT, come to my studio and you too can do the same! Not only have I completely shifted my mindset around diet and exercise in the intervening years, I don’t see it as a success to lose half my body weight because in reality and hindsight I know I was doing it all for the wrong reasons. Someone told me I was too big and I felt very uncomfortable with that observation and it kickstarted a cascade of self-abuse through food and exercise. However, having read Michelle’s post and seen her bravery I can honestly say that it’s quite liberating to put this out there and hand on heart say that I went from being a bit of a heifer (someone’s else’s perspective) to a husk of a human being (mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually – my perspective), everybody else though thought I looked great and only saw the outside, not the damage on the inside or the low self-esteem and the other stuff I was dealing with… said nasty pasty boyfriend told me I was too fat to sleep with… yep, and guess what – I stayed with the fucker – what the actual fuck was I thinking. In case you have realised from my posts in the past, when I start to get wound up, I swear more.
Anyway, so back to thinking happy thoughts, because there is a good ending to this. I got rid of the boyfriend! I moved to Blackpool. Looking back now I can remember the absolute panic about finding a gym in Blackpool and I even travelled back to my old gym in Manchester so I didn’t miss my sessions. SEE! NOT HEALTHY!!!! Christ, couldn’t even take a few weeks off to settle into my new home without getting my hours of exercise in.
Things started to change, I eventually found what I thought might be a better boyfriend (nope, turns out that one wasn’t all he cracked himself up to be either), BUT he wasn’t a bad person, we just had different views on life, so I managed to drag myself out of the hole that I was in, became more balanced, began introducing all the stuff that I love eating back into my diet, but which I’d been denying myself all those years. I learned to cook and that was the turning point because now I have the ability to cook my favourite foods really well – unfortunately, so well that I don’t like going out because restaurants generally can’t compare 😀 But because I wasn’t stuck in a crap job, in a place I didn’t like with someone who didn’t value me at all, I didn’t need to eat a ton of the things that I loved, just what I wanted and then have the ability to stop. My weight came back up to it’s happy place and my sanity was also restored.
So healthy(ish)… for the most part I eat well. I don’t stress about it. I haven’t weighed myself for over ten years. You will sometimes find me at the studio eating a packet of biscuits – why? Because I wanted a packet of biscuits. How often does that happen? Not very, although one of my clients is apparently a feeder and keeps bringing them in for me, which is bloody brilliant. Beyond that I might not eat a biscuit for six months. And the exercise? Well, I stopped exercising about four years ago… I can almost hear your gasps of confusion there, but that’s another post 😀