As I sit here mindlessly scrolling through Social Media – sure what else would I be at on a Sunday morning? One thing jumped out at me, it was #DonewithDieting. There is a backlash against a weight loss company who have offered free membership to those aged between 13-17. I’m not going to go into all that but I am going to tell you my story.
Weight and size has always been an issue for me right as far back as I can remember. Whenever we came to Ireland to visit my Nan the first thing she used to say to me was that I was getting stout – in other words fat. Looking back I wasn’t at all but in my head I thought I was.
Childhood wasn’t easy, one day I might tell you about that but not now. Whenever something bad happened I was sent into town to a restaurant to have dinner on my own, this was from the age of around 9. At primary school I was the person who took the dinners to the staff room for the teachers. Whatever was left over I ate, I remember locking myself in a cupboard eating all the left over roast potatoes.
My mum used to work in catering, she’d bring back all the unsold food each day and we had to eat it so that it didn’t go to ‘waste’. To this day I hate tinned salmon. When I was around 12 and weighed 8 stone I was taken along to Weight Watchers. Every day I watched what I ate and exercised more. My body wasn’t fat but in my head I was obese.
In the teenage years there was a lot of stuff going on. We lived in a place where I really didn’t like the dinners, the texture of mince still makes me feel ill. So I used to hide my food because I couldn’t eat it. While the rest of the house were busy watching Emmerdale Farm, as it was then, I was in the larder cramming biscuits into my mouth. I ate as many as I could in half an hour. I realise now I was binge eating.
In my late teens I would hide food all around the place and think nothing of eating 2 packets of biscuits and about 15 packets of crisps in one go. At the side of my bed were empty packets. It didn’t make me feel any better. I was yo-yoing between binge eating and starving.
At my heaviest I was 13 stone, not great for my height but not morbidly obese either, I had my tonsils taken out and there were a few complications which meant I couldn’t eat. The weight fell off. When I recovered I decided I wanted to join the RAF , men in uniforms – yes I know. I passed all the tests and interviews until it came to the medical. It was decided I needed to be 8 and a half stone to be a healthy weight for my height. At this stage I was 10 stone. So back again to Weight Watchers. I stuck to the diets and got to about 9 stone. I was running every day to get my fitness levels up but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get my weight down to the magic number.
So I just stopped eating. I’d cut down to a coleslaw sandwich once a day but I was still to heavy so my new diet was an apple and a can of diet coke. That was it. One apple and one can everyday and running like there was no tomorrow even though I was fit to keel over. The day came of the medical – I was the perfect weight for my height they said. Even though mentally and physically I wasn’t well at all I passed the medical with flying colours and got offered my place in the RAF. For a number of reasons I didn’t take it.
Fast-forward to now and I still don’t have a great relationship with food. Last year with the depression I was convinced that I would be happy if I lost weight so I cut out all the nice things and mainly survived on salad. I weighed myself around 8 times a day. I got down to around 9 stone 10 – and do you know what? I was still bloody miserable and no matter what size clothes I was wearing I still felt fat and I still do.
These days the battery has died in the weighing scales, I haven’t replaced it. I’ve stopped counting calories, if I want it I’ll eat it. My spare tyre is resting on my legs as I type but funny enough I’ve had more compliments in the last week than I ever have. My face doesn’t suit thin – and my mental health doesn’t either. No matter what weight I am I will always feel like a hippo and I have to learn to deal with that.
I suppose my point is thin doesn’t equal happy. Happy comes from within. Eat the cake and enjoy it – we aren’t here for long. So that’s why I’m #donewithdieting.