Well, here is the whole long sorry mess!! Bear with me, it's a long one...
I have posted the pics, scroll down to skip the life story if you want - suffice it to say, I am 130lbs down.
Or just over 9st lost!
I have lots of theories along the way about different bits, not all of them work together...
I post this mainly because I myself relished so much reading the goal posts of those who had actually done it, and I hope that this might help a couple of you who feel like it can't be done, see that really it can!!!
It is also the first time I have really clearly listed the whole up and down of my weight, and got a relatively accurate timeline on it for myself to see.
(note for any of you who are unfamiliar with sizes and weights from my neck of the woods: UK sizing which I use below is 2 up from US, so UK 12 = US 8, also 1 stone = 14lbs.)
As a child I was a little pudgy, but definitely, looking back at pictures, not fat really by any means, but I was tall, so exponentially bigger than all my classmates, I got teased for being fat, when really I was just
taller, and thus a bit bigger. This is one of my big theories in that, because I was teased for being fat, I actually worked towards becoming fat.
My overall memory of early school is of not feeling like I fitted in, and being excluded.
By the time I was 10 or so, maybe before, I was a little overweight, and it went down hill over the years from there.
I do remember that in 6th class (probably age 11), we did something relating to clothes in school, and I was a women's size 12.
When I started senior school, I wasn't fitting in to the regular school sweater, and had to get my mum to sew a badge on to a similar shop bought top. I think by age 15 these has gone up to men's XL in Marks and Spencers.
There were a few attempts over the years in school to lose weight, once my Home EC teacher even took me down to the doctors office to talk about it. You can imagine how lovely that was!!
One summer in particular I think I lost around 2 or 3 stone, I really wanted to be like the girl in that Judy Bloom book, who started the summer fat, and then arrived at beginning of term thin...
I think that's where my love of the dramatic weight loss for effect rigmarole started.
Anyway, that year I was noticably thinner, but still fat, so I put it all back on.
One of my harsher theories about myself is that I realised the attention I got from weightloss, and liked it, and that stayed in my mind as something to do over and over again.
I suppose I always knew this somewhere, but really only had an epiphany where it formed in to a proper thought recently. Everything has been related to my weight, and I have allowed myself to miss out on a lot of life as a
result over the years. For example I really wanted to do Drama in university but didn't apply because there was an interview process, and I thought I wouldn't get it because of my weight, and anyway couldn't be a fat actress
even if I did get it!!
I have also ( a common story, I think) always blamed not being able to make friends or some people not liking me solely on weight.
Anyway, ended up doing a BA (changed my major from Spanish because I was too nervous to do the compulsory year away at a foreign Uni as a Fat person)... was very heavy throughout University, I don't know exactly,
but probably started at 16 or 17 stone, and put a stone or so on along the way.
I decided I wanted to travel around Australia for a year after that, and that I couldn't do it the way I was, so year three I did a pretty extreme diet, generally ate very little and drank Complan (A meal replacement drink,
generally used by the elderly) and fruit juice to replace meals.
I think my start weight was around 18 1/2 stone, and by the time I was getting on the flight I was 13 1/2. Lost a bit more over there, probably just half a stone, but I think my body had taken a while to catch up to the
big weightloss, as when I came home a year later people commented that I had lost a huge amount of weight.
I was around a size 14 at this stage (poss 16 in tight waistband trousers).
I more or less hovered around this weight, up and down a stone or 2 or so for the next four years. Was horribly unhappy with my weight the whole time, always on a diet, and a couple of dramatic 2 stone weight gains and losses
ensued at one brief spell (lots of wild nights out and drinking and no eating) I went down to 12st 4 (think I stayed there for a day!) That was New Year's eve 2000 or 2001, can't remember.
Then I got a steadier more grown up job, and I piled on the pounds again, this bit is fuzzy, as I can't pinpoint how big I got, I think around 17 or 18 stone, and then lost some, again unhealthily down to around 13st 11.
stayed there for a brief spell, and then up to 20 stone, stayed at that weight or so for maybe a year.
At the beginning of 2006 I decided I had had enough, and started weightwatchers, lost a stone by myself beforehand - Special K challenge if I remember correctly! My start weight was 18st 13... I went on with diet
and excercise to weigh in at 14 stone, I was really going good guns... I then switched jobs, quite a scary move as my previous job had been local to where I grew up so was pretty safe. This new job was kind of a dream
job for me, but was very stressful also, was busier than i had ever been before, and as i didn't have time for a social life, I gave myself the excuse to overeat as a hobby. So, by the beginning of 2009 managed to get myself
up to 20st 6lbs. I had one diet during this time, i think i lost about 2 and a half stone.
All of this last time, I knew I would lose the weight again, and I knew I had to do it, but kept delaying the inevitable start, at this time I was 28 - 30, so particulary I knew this, because i have always wanted at some stage to have a family and kids, and in my minds eye the family pictures didn't feature me as fat!
Health for the very first time became something which worried me, previously my weight loss had been all about looks.
I think that the pattern here, aside from all the unhealthiness was that I never allowed myself to get to goal weight, so, I could never be happy, maybe because I didn't want to be happy, or because I wanted to be able
to blame any problems I had on the weight...or maybe more simply because for the most part I was Crash dieting which is unsustainable - not really sure.
The current story begins - I bet you're thinking good god no, there couldn't be more...Beginning of last year 2009 I started again, a family friend is a personal trainer, and I forced myself the year before to tell her I would become a client, so that I knew I would be too embarassed to back out...so I hadset myself a deadline!
I began dieting in February, limiting calories; back a little to the good old complan atlunchtimes but porridge or muesli for breakfast, healthy eating generally and salads for dinner, and training twice or three times a week.
However, it wasn't happening fast enough for me, and I really wanted to go back to my old 'not eating ways', I also knew this just hadn't worked for me before, and also I was a bit more concerned
about the health implications.So, I started googling low calorie diets and are they safe etc etc.
I came upon UCLA website, they do what is called a Very Low calorie Diet.
The reasoning is that while it is not the ideal, that people with large amounts of weight to lose can keep motivated when they see the results quicker - this is me all over, the idea of a lb a week with around 130lbs
to lose was just not workable for me.
So, I am NOT advocating any extreme diets here, I am just telling my story,
and I have said before in other posts, I have a huge amount of admiration for people who can diet the 'slow and steady' way - of course it is the best approach - but it wasn't for me.
Anyway, I read with interest of a diet restricted to around 650 - 800 calories, with under 60g or so carbs where
the body goes in to Ketosis - a state where it switches from burning glycogen (carbohydrate fuelled) reserves to using fat for energy instead...I was intrigued and found a specialist doctor over here who does a similar
programme. I suppose if I am honest, I was delighted to have found a way to do a severe diet but, under medical supervision, my own GP ( though I didn't visit till a bit after I started the programme) was also supportive, and
had attended a seminar by the specialist in the past.
I knew that I could lose the weight by myself, but I also knew that I couldn't (or hadn't in the past been able to) keep it off.The whole science behind this is really interesting, and I continue to google it and come up with
different articles of interest.
Daily eating consisted of some high protein meal replacements (I hated these for the most part), and also hated the idea of not eating natural real foods, but I got over it, as the diet includes as much low carb veg as you want really, so homemade soups at lunch or stir fry or salad. it is also based on a
relatively high amount of fat, all good fats, nut or olive oil etc. Dinner then also included same type of veg plus lean protein, fish Chicken etc - you get in to the habit of excluding carbs surprisingly easily, and it helps
to not just have say salmon and broccoli, but to also add a mixed salad, and then another veg...
It was a pretty tough year and three months, and mentally for the most part I have been pretty obsessed by the whole process, my closest friend must be just utterly sick of me talking about it non-stop.
3FC has been a major support for me, and the monthly challenges on the UK Chicks section have helped immensely.
So, thank-you to all!
Like any diet restricting people to low calories, getting back to 'normal eating' is a gradual process, and for this last couple of months I have been supposed to start reintroducing carbs, porridge for breakfast or 3x rivita for lunch or a small potato with dinner, as well as the foods detailed above, also a piece of fruit every day, and a yoghurt.
This bit was particularly tricky, because I kept getting frightened that the weight wouldn't come off, and lapsing back in to the more extreme previous diet, which is obviously counterproductive to the whole maintenance process..
I just felt jaded by dieting, which meant that I allowed myself the odd treat, and when you are trying to even out your BMR after such low calories for so long that resulted in a couple of pretty extreme gains and losses, eg plus
and minus 5-7lbs a few times.
Anyway, I decided enough was enough, and that I had to try and build up calories, so finally in the last couple
of months, I have been properly eating - at around 1'200 - 1'600 calories per day - still high protein, but with some more carbs etc, i also raised my goal weight by 4lbs to take it just a little easier on myself, though I kind of still want to be 154, I am happy enought to hover here abouts
I have tried to incorporate more excercise in, and aim to be out running at least 3 days a weeks now, with some weights and toning excercises at home, I still have my personal trainer and do weights with her 2 days each week and I think I am getting pretty healthy now food wise.
I am going to try and limit calories to a bit below what I need for maintenance each day, to allow myself to not feel guilty when I have the odd bad food day.
Biggest piece of advice I could give to anyone losing weight, by any means is: when you do break the diet - and inevitably you will, even if you are bad for a few days,don't allow that to be the end of it, and use it as
an excuse to give up, always start the day as if it is goingto be a perfect diet day, and if it ends up not to be, start all over again the following day.
So, here I am, with a normal BMI (23) and size 10 - 12 - I still feel as if I am fat - but the rational me knows that I'm not...when I hit normal BMI that really helped...ie.having the actual fact there to kind of refer to in my brain. But It is still hard to adjust. I have been so obsessed with my weight for my whole life that I don't know how I am going to build in a consciousness of diet without overdoing it, but I do feel like this is it, that this time there is no going back. I have some loose skin on my tummy upper thighs and bum, so that makes it a bit more difficult to like what I see in the mirror, I am pretty sure that I am going to get a tuck in the next while, Am in the process of visiting a few consultants to decide...
This last bit sounds a bit negative, I should point out that on the plus side I have a lot of highs, I often can't stop checking myself out in the mirror, I adore when a guy looks twice, and I get a thrill from shopping in all the small size stores, but I haven't yet quite found my feet as a thin person, It is definitely going to take some time.
I wrote most of this story several months ago, and today I realised that i have been maintaining within a few pounds either side of my goal weight for over 3 months now, today I am the wrong side, but then next week I will be the rights side, so all in all, life is looking pretty good these days!
Pic1 - 286lbs (approx?), August 2008
Pic2 - 240lbs, May 2009
Pic3 May 2010 155 - 160