Last June, I weighed 16 stone 4 pounds. I was horrified when I stepped on the scales and saw that number - and tried to figure out how I'd let myself get that heavy. The honest answer? I use food as a crutch - I'm a huge boredom & anger eater - not so much when I'm happy, or stressed, but if you piss me off, I will reach for the crisps. That'll show you! Right? Wrong. I had my son in 2004, and for a couple of years I justified my weight gain with the "baby weight" excuse. That's alright for a few months, but when your child is starting First Class and you're still carrying all the pregnancy weight (plus another two stone), then it's time to do something.
My other half never commented on my weight, and in some ways I wish now that he had - I felt embarrassed for him. I know that sounds wrong, and that weight loss should be about yourself, but after my first weigh-in last June, I came home and cried for about two solid hours. I thought about all the times we'd gone out together - the weddings, the nights out - thinking I looked nice, and then realising that I was, in fact, very overweight for my age and my height. I dreaded photographs - it was actually getting to the stage where I dreaded going out, never mind being photographed - I turned down every invitation I received, because I knew that I'd work myself up into a knot worrying about what to wear, what to say. Also, being the largest person in our "circle" made me feel like I had to compensate by being witty or funny - they typical "jolly large person". Not easy for someone who blushes when they're on the phone.
In the last few months, I feel more like my old self again. My confidence is returning, albeit slowly (I'm not going round saying I'm great, but I know I am healthier and look better), and I now find myself looking forward to nights out instead of dreading them. I can shop in Penneys for the first time in years without going straight to the back of the rail for the biggest size. Honestly? I'm getting my life back. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner.
The reason I like the Weightwatchers plan is that, contrary to popular opinion, it's not "a fad", or "a diet". There seem to be a huge number of people who think that when you're "on Weightwatchers", all you can eat is their branded ready meals, or salad. Not true. I think I've bought a branded product twice - the yogurts, because I like them more than other brands, and a curry ready meal once when everyone else was getting a Chinese and I didn't want to feel left out.
There's another popular weight loss group at the minute, who are using the ready-meal issue as one of their main promotional tools - I'm not going to mention it, but I'm sure ye all know which one I mean. It claims that with them, "you can eat real food, not diet food." I don't eat diet food. To prove a point? Here's a typical breakfast for me.
|All grilled - Waffle, 2 Vegetarian Sausages, Tomatoes, Mushrooms.|
Egg fried in low-cal spray. Total 9PP
|Roast Chicken, Mashed Potatoes (with butter), Turnips, Cabbage.|
I do eat lunch, and snacks too, by the way - I just wanted to prove a point that just because you want to lose weight and follow a plan, it doesn't mean that you have to miss out on the things you like. If I want a bag of crisps now, I'll have them - I just won't eat the entire contents of the multipack. If I find it tempting, I don't buy multipacks.
The number of people who turn their nose up at me when I mention Weightwatchers is shocking - you'd swear I was after joining some cult that force-feeds us microwaveable meals. Not so. Others think I must be doing nothing but drinking soup and walking or jogging - also not true. In the last few weeks, I have started walking a few times a week - mainly to get some time to myself, to be honest. Cornflakegirl wrote a brilliant post recently on what running means to her - it's exactly the same with me and walking.
Another huge part of this for me is that this is something I can keep going for life - I'm not saying I'm going to be counting points forever, but it's a real education in how much you actually need to eat to keep your body going. I find myself reaching for healthier options automatically, and the crap food I once ate (dripping in grease) no longer appeals to me.
I will be eternally grateful that I joined, and I am so disappointed that I wasted most of my twenties hiding away in a body that I was uncomfortable in. But hey - at least I won't be carrying it into my thirties! It does cost money every week - €10 - to attend a meeting, but the support I get in there is invaluable. To be honest, I was probably spending well over €10 on junk food anyway.
How do I know that this works? Because as of last Thursday, I weighed 13 stone 12 pounds.