Do you ever wonder how you came to be the way you are? I do. And I’m often rather puzzled! When it comes to my weight, however, I know exactly what happened. Here’s the story:
I was a skinny kid. I ate fairly well although I was fussy and wouldn’t touch fruit’n’veg. I had a ‘sweetie box’ from which I was allowed an occassional treat. I was rotten at PE in school but, as I spent my free-time around horses, I was getting loads of exercise.
As I got older (around the time I started secondary school) I became unhappier and more volatile. I was becoming a ‘typical’ teen but, for added interest, my Bipolar Disorder started coming into play. And that wouldn’t be diagnosed until much later. Family meal-times were a constant battle-field and, after dinner I’d reach for comfort food in the privacy of my bedroom while I read and read and read. I stopped riding and running around the stables but PE made me take some exercise once a week. I made my first (abortive) attempts to diet as I started to gain curves.
At 16, I was in the habit of skipping meals and then pigging out on chocolate, crisps, cake – you name it. If it was fatty and sugary then it was my friend. I discovered the night-life ‘in town’ was very much to my taste and added alcohol to my diet. But I was also dancing for several hours on Friday and Saturday nights (in hot, sweaty clubs) and I liked my curves. I was a size 10 but, convinced I was fat, I continued to ‘diet’ by skipping meals and then bingeing – either through genuine hunger or in search of comfort.
I moved away from home to go to University. Alcohol really entered the picture now. The food in Halls was atrocious so I continued to skip meals and then binge. When I moved into a flat with a kitchen I stocked it with sweets, alcohol and cigarettes. I discovered that I liked cooking. And so I did. And, if you cook there’s a good chance you’ll eat. So now I was eating meals and bingeing. I went on a crash-diet (of only eating rice and bean-sprouts) and got down to 7st 5lbs. And still thought I was fat. My goal was to be 7st ‘because that’s what I weighed at school’ but there was no way I could reach it. I gave up and came back up to a healthy weight.
After Graduation, I moved back to my home-town, got a job and bought a flat. I was back to eating meals supplemented by binges. And now I had money in my pocket. And work was boring. So I spent most of the 9am – 5pm eating. And then I continued to eat when I went home. I was ill and desperately unhappy. I started to gain weight. Size 10. Size 12.
I was made redundant from one job, left another, was sacked, made redundant again and then ended up in a Call Centre. I was now very ill and on anti-depressants. I spent any time I wasn’t working stuffing myself with sugar and fat until I’d have no choice but to sleep. I ate at work between phone calls. I’d stopped seeing my friends so there was no more dancing to burn off the calories. Size 12. Size 14. Size 16.
Now I was 28 and I finally gave into the breakdown that had been looming for so many years. I saw my GP. I saw a Psychiatrist. I was prescribed various medications – all of which cause weight-gain. Some increase appetite while others, according to the Dr, ‘tell your body to store fat.’ And it did. I helped things along by continuing to binge. I’d now decided that I wanted to be fat and, believe me, getting there wasn’t difficult. Size 16. Size 18. Size 20.
I made it all the way to size 26. I could no longer wear ‘normal’ clothes from a ‘normal’ shop. My back hurt just from moving around my home. Walking anywhere was terribly hard and painful. My ankle complained and my knees twinged. But I felt safe, surrounded by fat.
I was retired from work due to ill-health. I started receiving Counselling (with Counsellor C). And I started to get better. My medications were tweaked and fine-tuned. And I continued to get better. And I didn’t need the fat anymore. But it was still there, together with a binge-eating habit I couldn’t control and a complete inability to exercise.
Since then, I think I’ve been on every diet known to man. WeightWatchers? Done that. SlimmingWorld? Done that. Atkins? Yep. SlimFast? Check. Starvation? Been there. I’ve done them all.
I lose weight. I gain it back.
Today I’m a size 20. And I want to be a size 14. I also want to get there in a healthy, sustainable manner and, if possible, to enjoy the journey. I believe it can be done. But I seem to have an awfully long way to go.