This is a difficult post to write.
I’ve been putting it off for a couple of weeks, but I’m ready now.
You see, I’m in this complicated relationship. I’ve been in this relationship for thirty years. This relationship is with food, and it’s not a healthy one.
If I had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol or drugs I could go cold turkey. It would be difficult (and I’m not making light of addictions here), but it’s possible. I used to smoke twenty cigarettes a day. On 6th June 2003 I stopped smoking. I just stopped. It was hard, but I haven’t smoked since.
If your unhealthy relationship is with food, you can’t just stop eating. You have to eat every day, several times a day.
I wasn’t a skinny child, but looking back though the photo albums I now realise I wasn’t that big either. I certainly wouldn’t have been filmed from the neck down, eating chips, for an ITV news report on childhood obesity.
I was teased at primary school though. Some of the boys called me Big Bertha or Two Ton Tessie. My best friends Joanne and Wendy used to sit on me at lunchtime to make my tummy smaller.
When I was nine my mother put me on my first diet. I don’t blame her. Throughout the 1970s she only ate cottage cheese, Ryvitas or lettuce. She didn’t know any better. She used to make me wear huge ‘tent dresses’.
I was allowed to eat 1000 calories a day. Everything I ate was recorded on a chart stuck on the back of the larder door. I was only allowed about 100ml of milk per day.
I can’t remember whether I lost any weight, I suppose I must have done.
The following year, when I was ten, my mother started to work in the evenings. My father also worked in the evenings, but in his workshop at home. I remember night after night feeling bored, rifling through every cupboard in the kitchen looking for something to eat. In secret I would eat a couple of chocolate biscuits, a packet of crisps and a kitkat. I would then eat a bowl of cornflakes covered with sugar, then wash and dry the bowl and spoon and put them away.
I repeated the starve/binge cycle for years and years and years.
I was either on a diet, or not on a diet and binging.
I have tried most diets over the years. I’ve been to Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Rosemary Conley and my mum’s slimming/aerobics club. I’ve tried the Atkins Diet and the Low GI Diet. I’ve read slimming magazines. I know so much about dieting that I’ve made a up a few of my own. I can tell you how to lose weight by eating a low fat, low sugar diet. I’ve tried not eating after six o’clock and I’ve tried not eating before six o’clock.
The most weight I lost in one go was six and a half stone. Then I started eating ‘normally’ again and put all the weight back on again – and then some.
I’ve failed at every single diet I’ve been on. Do you know why?
DIETS DON’T WORK!
Diets set you up for failure because you can’t stay on them forever. You’ve been deprived of your favourite foods for however long you’ve been dieting and as soon as you stop, you eat and eat and eat and eat. Well, I do.
If diets worked I’d be a size ten and wouldn’t be writing this.
So where does that leave me?
I’m not the heaviest I’ve ever been, but I'm getting there, slowly but surely.
Around the time I met Andy, a few years ago, I lost weight. I lost it without trying. I ate what I wanted, including chocolate. We ate out in restaurants and we cooked for each other. I was so happy I didn’t think about food. After I had lost four stone I realised that I hadn’t binged or eaten in secret for months.
Then, when I was pregnant with Presley I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I was put on a strict diet. I continued this diet for a few months after he was born too and lost even more weight. No wonder I had problems with my milk supply. The diet couldn’t last though. I was back on the diet/binge cycle once more. The Christmas after Presley was born I ate two large tins of chocolates before mid-December and had to buy more. I couldn’t stop eating.
Then I got pregnant with Cash. Again I had gestational diabetes. This time the diet wasn’t so strict, but I still had to follow a diet. I only put on ten pounds throughout the entire pregnancy. Once Cash was born I ate loads to help my milk supply. I haven’t stopped eating since. I’m pretty disgusted with myself.
So I’m overweight and rather unfit at the moment. I’d love to have more energy to play with the boys. I’d love to be able to shop for clothes anywhere but Evans. I don’t want the boys to be teased at school because they’ve got a fat mummy.
I want to lose weight, but I don’t want to go on a diet.
Thank Bob for the lovely Jo Beaufoix. We’d been emailing each other following a comment on a blog post. She asked me if I’d read the book ‘Beyond Chocolate: How To Stop Yo-Yo Dieting and Lose Weight For Good’ by Sophie and Audrey Boss. I hadn’t, so I bought it and read it.
What a revelation! Beyond Chocolate is not a diet. You can eat what you want when you want, so long as you tune in to what your body really needs. There are no ‘bad foods’ , no calorie counting, no points, no scales. You eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. You move your body because you enjoy it.
Yes, it is simple, but I wasn’t sure where to start. There was a lot to take in. We looked into the weekend courses that they run, but Jo and I live a fair distance from each other. There is an alternative...
A couple of weeks ago Jo and I started the twelve week Beyond Chocolate Ecourse.
The Ecourse breaks the book down into bite-sized pieces. Sorry, that joke was in poor taste. And so was that one.
There’s full email support and a website forum to join. Also, Jo and I are supporting each other too. It is nerve-racking, but exciting. I’ve got nothing to lose, apart from some weight. I hope to gain body confidence and to get back in touch with myself. Go back to basics.
I’ll let you know how I get on.