Watching the news recently about obesity it occurred to me that I have been a yo yo dieter for 30 years!
After getting married in a size 8 wedding dress and weighing in at 7 stone 8 pounds I escalated to 9 stone and joined weight watchers. The other members asked how long I had been a member and I had to admit that I had only just joined! I got back down to 7 stone 10 and kept it off for 2 years.
A job and a house move stopped me going to meetings and within a few years I was up to 10 stone. I joined slimming world and got back down to 8 stone 7. A sporting injury meant my exercise regime reduced to nothing and a few years later I was up to 11 stone…. beginning to see a trend here?
This time my incentive was a charity and whilst raising money for the British heart foundation I dropped from 11 stone down to 9 stone 3. I maintained this for several years then changed jobs, moved and built a house and ate my way through enough food to put me up to 12 stone. I asked my husband if the jeans I was wearing made my bum look fat and he said, ‘ No, it’s all the food you eat that makes your bum look fat.’
So, incentivised by his endearing comment, I tried everything, the cabbage soup diet (windy), the milk shake diet (boring), the grapefruit and boiled egg diet (constipating), the cereal bar diet (starving) and even the diet tablet diet (potentially heart stopping). Just as I got down to 10 stone (again) I had 3 major tummy operations within 2 years and whilst recovering (well, actually sitting on my bum stuffing my face with jaffa cakes and fry’s chocolate cream) I went up to 16 stone!!
Me and my blob then moved to Spain, trust me, carrying five 52lb sacks of potatoes around with you in 45º heat is not to be reccommended. The heat, change of routine (main meal at lunchtime rather than evening) and eating lots of salad meant I dropped 3 stone in 3 months and kept it off for 6 years. In December 2012 my darling mummy died and I started to comfort eat, I was back up to 14 stone within months. Knowing that she would be looking down on me and saying ‘only you can do it’ I started calorie counting in April last year. I have now lost 2 stone, it’s slow but sure, it’s a balance of diet and exercise, it’s a lifestyle change not a diet and it’s working. Summer is coming and with a plethora of fresh fruit, salads and vegetables I aim to lose another 2 stone by the end of this year.
I have never been anorexic, never been bulimic, never had an eating disorder that is recognised in the medical community, however, 30 years of yo yo dieting shows there is a problem in my relationship with food.
Do I eat to live or live to eat? Until recently I would say the latter but my relationship is changing. When I see young people on ‘diets’ it makes me shudder that they are setting themselves up for a life of weight struggle. I don’t want to be 7 stone 8 again, I’d look ill and frankly, ridiculous but I do want to be healthy and fitter.
The recent horsemeat incidents may be a blessing in disguise, the sale of processed foods has reduced all over europe. We ban smoking in public places, we ban advertising for alcohol and put age restrictions on the sale of it, perhaps we should be banning ‘super-sizing’, take aways and processed foods and make our young people develop healthy relationships with food.