My Challenge to Myself: Countdown to New York

My Challenge to Myself: Countdown to New York

All of my life, I have struggled with many things. Bad eyesight, a limp, a lisp, 5 brothers to name a few. However, there has always been one issue that has always been the biggest challenge is my weight. Looking at pictures of my as a little girl always amuses me, because as a small child (until about age 4/5) I was actually very petite. I had glasses that would have made those worn by Deirdre Barlow’s look fashionable, but I didn’t have a weight problem. I don’t really know when, or why, my weight started to become a problem. For as long as I can remember, it just has.  There’s always the same assumption that you ate unhealthily, parents fed you rubbish and so on, but believe it or not, that wasn’t the case. I lived in the same house as 4 of my 5 brothers, 3 of them it seemed could eat everything and never gain a pound. They seemed to get my mum’s good genes! My younger brother and I however, we were heavier, even though we ate the same foods. My father’s side of the family were all bigger. My father himself had fought his weight most of his life, even to this day, even though he’s very fit and slim, is very conscious of his weight. This blog isn’t about him though, is it?

Anyway, from about 6 years old onwards, my weight did begin to escalate. Almost every summer I would diet and lose weight before returning to school and then I would gain it again. It’s not that I wasn’t active. I really was as a kid, I was never indoors, our running around with the kids who stayed in the street, swimming every week, riding bikes. I definitely wasn’t ‘lazy’, as some people like to blame for the problem. I was very unhappy at school though. I was bullied about all those things I mentioned, the lisp, the limp, the eye patches…but mostly about my weight. And while it wasn’t the case when I was six, as I got older, I did definitely become a comfort eater. The worse I felt, the most I wanted to eat the things that made me feel better: chocolate, sweets and crisps etc. By the time I started secondary school I as about a size 14, and by the time I left 6 years later i’d kept growing to a size 22.

Over the summer between leaving school and starting university, I DID lose weight, I got down to a size 16-18 and was happier. I was away from the people who made me want to comfort eat. That didn’t last though. Something else I have suffered with for most of my life (and while not the main focus of this blog, is something I will most likely talk about here) is depression. As a result of family issues, the bullying i’ve endured throughout my life from school through to work and then an assault. None of these things are really great for the self confidence, self worth. So really, they weren’t the  biggest motivation for weight loss. I just felt so down all the time, that I wanted to cheer up, so I’d have a bar of chocolate, or an extra packet of crisps. I was put on anti-depressants and while I didn’t feel just as bad, I wasn’t motivated to diet either.

That changed a few years ago though, at my brother’s engagement party,  picture was taken which showed me on the dance floor, at my biggest yet and I saw it, and I knew I had to lose weight. To my own eyes, I looked like a beached whale, that was the words I used. I was a size 26-28 and only about 22 at the time. So I started dieting. I went to weight watchers for a bit, but did it mostly on my own, and I did do it! I lost almost 6 stone, getting down to a size 16, and I did keep it off for a while. Why not permanently? It comes back to my old friend: bullying. This time at work.

I won’t go into all of those details, not right now anyway, but I had a bit of a nervous breakdown after that, and the weight crept back up. I had to leave my job and be signed off work by my doctor, and I still am now almost 4 years later, because the following year, as I was starting to feel better, I was assaulted. So all of these things combined, I was at rock bottom. I was terrified to leave my house, being crowded by people overwhelms me, loud noises make me jumpy. I basically haven’t felt great about myself. So I let the weight gain continue until last year. My confidence was at its lowest, and I was having a hard time, someone very close to me was dying of cancer and I knew if I didn’t try something then things would just get worse.

I joined slimming world 2 days before my mum’s best friend passed away last year, with her encouragement. Having been diagnosed with PCOS and Endometriosis, weight loss has never been quick or easy for me. But I followed the plan, eating as much ‘free’ food as possible, staying withing my ‘syn’ limits, and slowly the weight did come off. I lost just under a stone and a half over the course of the 9 months I was there, not a lot by some people’s standards, but I was happy. If I lose 1lb a week, I’m happy because at least it’s coming off. I never had aims of 5+ lbs every week. Then Christmas came, and classes were off, and I thought I had it in the bag, I knew what I was doing now, didn’t need the class or the group to keep up the losses.

That’s why within 3 months I had gained every pound back.

Every time I said ‘tomorrow i’ll get back on track’. But let’s face it, that particular tomorrow just doesn’t come because you decide to have that big dinner, or the tube of pringles, or some chocolate instead and before you know it, another week has gone by.

I’m turning 30 in October, and my celebration is a trip to New York City in November. I am determined to have lost some weight before then, so when I realised that I wasn’t going to be able to do it on my own, when my friend mentioned weight watchers, I jokingly said we should go together. That was a week ago today, and last Wednesday we really did join a class. If I want to slim down for my dream holiday, then I need to be held accountable, I need a kick up the backside to keep it in gear.

So now we’re getting to why I started this blog. Here, I plan to keep a record of my journey as a ‘weight watcher’, from classes and weigh ins, to difficulties outside of the classes. All the triumphs and the disappointments, this is where I’m going to talk about them, because I know that’s what will help keep me motivated. I don’t have a ‘goal’ for going to NYC, I’d like to lose the stone I regained at the very least, so I suppose that’s the first hurdle, if I do better than that, then great.

I hope some people will find this an interesting journey to follow, I know it will be for me!

– Jo


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