Day Four.

January 31, 2007

Oh.  My.  God.  I.  Want.  To.  Eat.

I have had a hellish day in terms of wanting to eat.  So far I haven’t, and I think now I am over the worst, but it has taken so SO much to stop myself.  I know I’m in ketosis by now, as I’m fucking freezing all the time, which is a side effect.  Unfortunately though, I don’t seem to benefit from the loss of hunger feelings you are meant to experience when in ketosis, which makes things very hard.

I have mostly been putting off eating by reading threads on minimins, only because it can be distracting.  Some of the threads are vaguely helpful, people encouraging each other, success stories, words of wisdom etc.  However, a lot of threads are about people falling off the wagon, and there is even a whole section for ‘restarters’ which doesn’t fill me with confidence.  There’s even a thread asking how many people who have restarted VLCDs have actually seen them through to completion after previously failing, and there seemed to be only 2.  I know that the success or failure of a bunch of internet strangers does not directly affect how well I cope with this, but it is hard to trust something entirely when you see so many failing.  It’s a bit like getting on a rollercoaster after watching 3 people fall off it.

The first time I did LL, I had sod all idea about it really.  I went to the classes, I bought my foodpacks, I took what my counsellor said as gospel, and stuck to it 100%, and it was so easy, the whole 9 weeks.  Since coming off it and doing Atkins, and researching various things, it is SO hard for me to stick to, because I know more than I should.  Ketosis is a result of having a very very low carbohydrate intake.  LL foodpacks are very low carb, and this is what puts you into ketosis (which allows you to lose weight quickly), not the low calorie intake.  To be in ketosis and losing weight at the same rate when doing Atkins,  you have to restrict your net carb intake to about 20g a day (net carbs is the carbs (g) minus the fibre (g) in the product).  Things like meat & poultry contain pretty much no carbs (unless you buy processed shite), and dairy very little.  This is why Atkins works, despite the fact that people eat large amounts of fatty foods.  When I did it, I existed mostly on chicken and bacon salads, low carb chocolate, bacon and eggs, german salami, and full cream in coffee.

I’m not sure how much carbohydrate there is in the LL foodpacks, I can’t find the nutritional values on the internet anywhere, and they aren’t printed on the packs.  I know you can get the nutritional values on a sheet, I had them last time, but I can’t for the life of me remember what they were.  Still, regardless of how much carboydrate is in the packs, the point is that you could add more protein to the diet without coming out of ketosis.  As the foodpacks total about 500 calories a day, and most ‘normal’ diets recommend reducing your daily intake from 2000 to 1500 calories in order to lose weight, just nibbling a chicken breast, or a piece of ham, or some bacon, would really not much affect your weight loss.

It is knowing this that makes it harder to stick to.  Plus the fact I am more cynical now than the first time I did the diet.  When I started it was £44 a week.  The company was set up by a couple of people who were desperate to lose weight quickly, conquer their food issues while doing it, and live happily ever after.  Apparently once they did this, setting up LL was merely because they wanted to share this wonderful diet with other desperate people.  Since the cost went up to £66 a week, I have lost the faith that this is a company that really want to help people, they are just grabbing as much money from desperate fatties as possible.

Another thing that would seem to confirm this point is the restrictions placed upon you during the diet.  You are allowed foodpacks, black tea or coffee, water, tablet sweetners, and that’s your lot the whole time.  However, should you find water boring, LL have 2 water flavourings you can use.  They cost £9 a tub.  They also have savoury drinks which cost about £8 for 7 sachets or something.  It’s basically boullion.

We are told not to drink soft drinks because the citric acid in them MAY knock us out of ketosis.  Last year when Coke Zero came out, I happened to read the ingredients and nutritional information.  Obviously it’s pretty much calorie free, as are most sugar free soft drinks.  It is also carbohydrate free, and indeed citric acid free.  So, I emailed LL head office to say I had found that Coke Zero had no carbs and no citric acid, and was it OK therefore, to drink it.  The replied with a no, as it MAY knock you out of ketosis.  I replied to them asking what it was that the Coke Zero contained that would affect the ketosis, and they hilariously replied with ‘we don’t know, it might be the citric acid’.

I am therefore convinced that the main reason you are told not to have soft drinks is because then you will buy more of their water flavourings.  With up to 12 people in one group alone, buying a tub at £9 each, every other week, that’s a nice extra profit on top of everything else they already get.  I find it quite horrible really that desperation is so badly exploited in this way.  It also makes doing the diet very hard.  I would like to stick to it completely, but knowing everything that I know, I have been allowing myself a dash of milk in my coffee, as the carbohydrates and calories are negligible (unless I start drinking 15 cups a day), and I have a bottle of Coke Zero in my car boot.  I haven’t touched it yet, as I haven’t fancied it, but if I do, I will have it.  Perhaps this is a mistake, I don’t know yet.

If any people on LL are reading this, I certainly would not encourage you to tinker with the diet.  It is most likely easier to get through your 100 days if you just do as you are told.  I am just very cynical, and spend too much time looking up things on the internet.  I know too much for my own good.

I may now have one more glass of water and a ciggie before bed.  A better day tomorrow, I hope.

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Day One.

January 29, 2007

I’ve managed it!

Alright, so that’s no great success considering I have another 99 days to manage it too, but I’m pleased because it’s been one hell of a day to get through. I can honestly recommend NEVER starting any sort of diet the day following a lot of booze. Particularly a lot of red wine.

I had a great time last night, it was ace to spend time with all the people I was looking forward to seeing. I don’t think I went overboard with the eating considering it was my ‘last supper’, I just grazed on things across the evening. I didn’t go overboard with the drinking either, although I think I put my glass down at exactly the right time. One more sip and I think I’d have been quite poorly.

I was OK most of this morning, I got myself a glass of water as soon as I came downstairs, and managed 4 within a couple of hours of being up. I had a wanker of a headache from the wine, and that general hangovery meh-ness that usually requires medication by a complex combination of grease/salt/carbohydrate/grease, and not long after lunch I started to struggle.

I’m surprised at how quickly I started having arguments with myself in my head, as that normally doesn’t kick in for a while – the excitingness of starting something so full of promise usually keeps me going quite well. I had a little voice in my head for most of the afternoon and evening, reasoning that I had already agreed with myself that I might start a day later than everyone else and therefore should just eat today in order to feel better, and start on the foodpacks tomorrow. I somehow managed to work through this, which I think was a mixture of having my boyfriend here until 9pm (it’s hard to give up in front of someone who is totally supporting you through this), not having much food in the house anyway, and smoking a little more than usual (thank sweet fuckety fuck for fags).

The last time I did Lighterlife, I started out brilliantly. It took so very little effort to get into it and get used to having the foodpacks, and I didn’t suffer at all in the early stages. However, I fell off the wagon about 4 weeks in and I think it was a slippery slope after that. I am hoping that this time the opposite will happen, and that after a difficult start, things will get easier as I go along.

I think the worst part at this stage is the hunger. I’m sure a lot of fatties like me would be the same, and admit that it isn’t often we feel hungry, and therefore it’s a strange thing to have to deal with for any length of time. The hunger mostly passes once your body goes into ketosis, but this can take a couple of days. Although I fully believe in Lighterlife, there are times when you walk past the fruitbowl and wonder just what the shitting fuck is so wrong with you that you can’t allow yourself a handful of grapes, or a satsuma. This will pass too though, having been over 9 weeks into the course the first time I did it, I have the benefit of knowing how easy it can be.

After a while, once the food packs and the water become the norm, you can start to feel quite righteous actually. I did it over Christmas the first time, and it was surprisingly easy. The thought of being the only one to come into the New Year having lost 7lbs rather than put it on was enough to keep me going I think, and I actually felt really pleased with myself for happily saying no thanks to everything, when everyone else was sat there undoing their trousers with the bloat. It felt especially good when I returned to my class after 2 weeks, and I was the only one who didn’t cheat at all. It really didn’t make a blind bit of difference to my Christmas that I didn’t eat or drink, and I keep trying to remind myself of this when I wonder how I will cope with various situations in the next few months. I would really really really rather spend the next 3 months losing the weight, and the following month learning how to maintain my weight, so that I can fully enjoy my summer.

I did the dreaded photo thing with my boyfriend this afternoon. At Lighterlife they take before and after pictures, but all you get inbetween is weigh ins and measurements taken each week. I intend to have a photo taken every week, and have decided I will post it here, along with the weight I am when the photo was taken. We took 2 sets of photos, one photo clothed, and pictures from front, side and back while I was naked. I have to admit I bloody hated it. As much time as I spend naked with my boyfriend, there is a big difference to being curled up in bed in the dark and being stood starkers in harsh light. Still, the point is that there is evidence of exactly how I look now, that will help to keep me from ever returning to it. In three months time I will be able to compare pictures and be in no doubt about the difference (I usually find it hard to feel a difference, even when there clearly is one), and I suppose being disgusted by how I look at this weight isn’t entirely a bad thing, as it will hopefully spur me on in the maintenance phase.

I can’t believe I am being so brave, but here we go, here is the first photo. Please bear in mind I am both tired and hungover, and that I am also finding the act of standing in front of a camera in all my flollopy glory, quite horrific. Today I weigh 230lbs. That’s 16st 6lbs, or REET CHUFFIN LARDY in layman’s terms. Thank fuck I’ve got my wibbly arse in gear and started this.

D Day

January 27, 2007

First meeting.  Fine.  A nice mix of people, there were some who seemed about my age, some who had done it before, some who had come from as far as Scarborough, and some that live round the corner from me.  The counsellor seems nice, very helpful, not patronising.  I feel quite good about it so far.

The 2 hour class is a bit of an effort, I have to say.  I got hideously restless legs and could not for the life of me get comfortable, but I imagine that to be a mix of things; being uncomfortable in myself at the moment, achey knees, and being in a cramped room surrounded by fatties doesn’t give you much room for manoeuvre.  I’m also a little apprehensive having failed last time, but hopefully once I’m a couple of weeks in, the determination will take over and I’ll not feel that any more.

Luckily for me, someone else asked if we were meant to start today, and the counsellor actually said that it’s better to start tomorrow, as then we won’t run out of foodpacks before we come to class next Saturday.  This means that I will be attending my party tonight, & the last meal will mostly consist of red wine.  Hurrah!

I can’t say I’m 100% thrilled about going, I was, if I’m honest, probably looking for an excuse not to go.  It isn’t that I don’t like the people that are going, quite the opposite in fact; there will be an awful lot of people there that I haven’t seen for months, and won’t get the opportunity to see again for many months more.  It is mainly that I have got so fat now, that I barely have any clothes that feel comfortable, and I’m generally feeling very worried about how people see me at the moment.  Because it’s such a long time since I have seen some of these people, I KNOW that they will notice I am much bigger now.  I don’t think for a second that any of them will mention it, or let it affect their opinion of me, or make them less glad to see me, but in my head, it is hard to reason that when I am so conscious of my stomach or my double chin.

Still, I am going, I will get dressed up in whatever I feel most comfortable in, and I will have a good evening.  My boyfriend is driving, so if for any reason I want to go home, I can at any time.  I’m fairly sure that after a couple of glasses of wine and some hugs from some of the people I like best in my life, that I will quickly slip into a comfort zone and enjoy myself properly.

I don’t know that I will be writing too often once I have started the foodpacks.  To be honest, there won’t be a great deal to report, apart from the fact that I’ve been to the loo 87 times after having to drink 4 litres of water a day, and so I will only promise to write weekly, after my weigh in.  I will continue to use this as an opportunity to confront my feelings though, and will try to write whenever I am dealing with anything out of the ordinary.  Tomorrow will be when my boyfriend takes the first pictures, and if I decide then that I am going to make those public, I will either post them here, or link to my flickr page, and produce a ‘weight loss’ set.  As long as you promise not to point and laugh at the lardy.

I’m off to get pissed.

I know.

January 23, 2007

Alright, I haven’t written.  I’m shit.  I spent the weekend doing fun things with Ella on Saturday morning, drinking red wine, and going to bed at 23:30, and sleeping until 10:00, then sitting a lot.   Since then I have spent a lot of time reading Ofsted reports and researching day nurseries.  I had a meeting with my new employers yesterday to agree the finer points of a contract, and today we went to visit 2 nurseries.

Long and short of it is that Ella has her first settling in session at nursery tomorrow, and another on Thursday, then 3 half day sessions the following week, then 3 full day sessions the week before I start work on the 12th Feb (I will actually be going in the week before, but only until 2pm for training and familiarisation purposes).  She didn’t want to leave the nurseries today, I think she has been so starved of contact with peers in the last 4 months, and is so ready for me not to be in her face all day, every day of the week, that she is desperate to go to school again.  This is a good thing, it means hopefully settling her into a new routine shouldn’t be too difficult, that’s part of the reason I am starting her tomorrow, I might as well harness her enthusiasm for the place.

Eating-wise nothing has changed.  I have got a record of what I’ve eaten for the days I’ve not posted, but I don’t really want to share it at the moment.  Lets just assume I have continued on the same theme as the days I have posted.  Luckily, there are only 4 more sleeps until my first Lighterlife session.  I don’t have quite the same enthusiasm for it as I did a week or so ago, but this will be renewed once I get there and get on with it.  Especially once I have my first weigh in (which is usually half way through your first week) and see some sort of result.  I’ve lost the enthusiasm, or maybe rather the excitement, but the overall determination to complete the course and lose this weight is still there.

I am trying to decide at the moment whether to attend a party on Saturday, that I agreed and arranged to go to when it was first planned at the end of last year.  I want to go, as there will be so many people there I want to see, many coming from quite far south that I don’t get many opportunities to see.  On the other hand, I went to a party while I was doing Lighterlife last time, and it was one of the factors that led to my breaking the abstinance and eating.

I have decided to decide on the day.  Having done Lighterlife before, I know that sometimes people will have breakfast before they come to the first meeting, and therefore don’t actually start the course until the following day.  If the majority of people in my new class are going to start their food packs on the Sunday, I may use Saturday night as my last opportunity for a while, to enjoy a drink in the company of friends.  And have drunken sex with my boyfriend.    If I start on the Saturday, I think I will do the sensible thing, and stay home.  Probably alone.  With 4 litres of water.  HOORAY!

And another.

January 20, 2007

So yesterday;

2 chicken nuggets & large fries at MacDonalds.
2 sausages with some carrot.
2 mini pizzas.
1 tube pringles.
2 galaxy eggs.
1 cheese sandwich.
1 buttered roll.
4 crackers with cheese.
Handful of jelly babies.

I miss my boyfriend, I feel terribly depressed, my daughter cried beause she missed her daddy so I felt guilty and cried too. I organised a meeting with my prospective employers to negotiate the contract, I should be happy, I am not.

The day ended with a text at 01:40 this morning, which I was not pleased to receive, and which I probably overreacted to.

I am still hoping this is all hormonal.

A Late One.

January 19, 2007

OK.  So I didn’t post last night because:
a) I went to bed early (before midnight in fact – how  very odd), and
b) I had what I would think is a  ‘proper’ binge and felt embarrassed and didn’t really want to tell the world what a disgusting pig I had been.

I did consider posting, and just not listing everything I ate, but figured if there was no point in lying, not even to a screen.  I am still embarrassed and still don’t really want to share what I ate yesterday, but the reason I started this was to be honest with myself about my own habits, so here goes;

1 apple.
1 and a half small baked potatoes with tuna mayo.
4 wholemeal crackers with 4 slices of cheese.
1 bag Doritos (not the massive, but the big bags)
2 mini pepperoni pizzas
1 summer fruits cheesecake (yes, pretty much a whole one)
1 Galaxy caramel egg.

I suppose it was an emotional day.  In the evening, Ella started to get a little bit upset, and started crying and asking for her daddy.  It is infinitely impossible to explain to a 3 year old why she cannot see him.  I let her call him, to be honest as much to force him to listen to his daughter upset as much as to cheer her up.  She was ok when she was on the phone though, and he misheard ‘daddy I want you’ as ‘daddy I love you’ (I sent him a text afterwards to point out that she was crying and that she had kept saying ‘I want daddy’.  Surprise surprise, no response.), then after the phonecall was immediately upset again, and her cry was a proper sad cry, which made me cry.

It didn’t last too long, because the trick with kids it to divert them and give them something else to think about.  It still was not a lovely half hour though, and just increases the guilt over having taken her away from her father (despite the fact there is fuck all to stop him making some effort to see his daughter more).

I also had some good news yesterday, I have been offered a job after 3 months of looking.  It’s great, as it means I am employable after all, and it’s also a company I would very much like to work for.  They have offered 18.75 hours a week across Monday – Wednesday which is great, the salary is good and the holiday is respectable.  The only problem is that they want me to work 1 in 4 Saturdays.

I have just commited to doing Lighterlife on Saturdays, and it is very important to me to attend all of the meetings.  There is also the factor of childcare.  Yes, at the moment Ella is at her dad’s every weekend, but every other weekend she doesn’t get collected until 10/11am on a Saturday, which means I wouldn’t be able to work those weekends.  Also, sometime in May/June, his shift patterns change and he starts to have to work weekends, and I end up with Ella on the weekends quite a lot.

It’s not that I wont be able to work some of the Saturdays, it’s just that I cannot promise that I will be able to do all of them.  In some cases it may be fine when the organise the rota, but Steve (Ella’s dad) is prone to changing arrangements last minute, and I would hate to have to let work down at a moments notice, because of something that is out of my control.

I have left a message for them to call me back so we can discuss the contract, and it really all depends on how flexible they are, and how much they would like me to join their team.  I shall make sure to mention that when Ella goes to school, I will be looking to work full time and develop a career for myself, and that I could easily see myself doing that with their company.  To be fair, I wouldn’t expect them to take me on if I can’t do the Saturdays, because everyone else has to, and it might be a little unfair to other employees if I don’t.  However, they did say in the interview that they haven’t any single mothers working for them, perhaps they are prepared to be flexible in order to take one on.   Who knows.  Hopefully though, this morning will be my last trip to the job centre to see my Lone Parent Advisor, and the last time I am made to feel like an uneducated lazy dole scum chav mum.  This would be A Good Thing.

A day.

January 18, 2007

1 pear.
1 apple.
1 chicken, bacon, lettuce & mayo sandwich.
4 cheese straws.
2 cream doughnuts.
2 bowls of risotto.
1 bag of microwave popcorn.
2 digestives.
3 quarters of a tub of mango sorbet.

*bloats*

I’m not reet happy today, but I can’t put my finger on why. I am guessing it is hormonal, because I haven’t had a period in ages. The pill I’m on knackers my cycle up something rotten. It may also be that I am skint, and owed about £200 by 3 separate people without having any idea of when I will get it. It may also be that I miss my boyfriend, and while I have things to do without him this weekend, I am insanely jealous that he now has plans to go out with a bunch of other people.

I think I’m also a little bit sad that the next time I see him will be late on the night before I start Lighterlife. We have a party to go to that evening, where I now will not be able to eat or drink, and had planned to go out for a nice meal for our anniversary at the beginning of February, which we now cannot. I know that getting on with Lighterlife is more important, but I just feel a little bit…cheated, that he will be going out and getting drunk with other people, and that we won’t be able to enjoy that together for almost 4 months.

Still, it was my decision to start on the 27th, I could have put it off until February 10th, but I figured that there will always be something in the way that makes me want to put it off, so I might as well bite the bullet, make the commitment, and get the fuck on with it. Having to wait 2 weeks is a little annoyingthough, it’s the sort of thing that makes me wish life had a fast forward button. At least I can fast forward to tomorrow, by going to bed now.

Bleurgh.

January 16, 2007

2 slices of toast with bramble jelly.
7 wholemeal crackerswith 4 slices of cheese.
2 bowls of beef and bean hotpot.
3 homemade biscuits.
3 digestives.
1 chicken kiev.
2 scoops of mango sorbet.

Not a hideous day as far as food goes, and I shall go to bed soon in order to stop myself eating any more.

It hasn’t been the best of days in other terms. I did the things I was meant to do, so fairly productive, but my head has been quite cloudy. Ella has been away for a few days, 2 nights with her dad and 2 nights with her grandma, I picked her up just before teatime today.

She was full of smiles and tales of what she’s been up to when I got there, but was upset when she got home, and wanted her daddy. She asked for him various times tonight, which isn’t a great surprise, but always a bit galling. She hasn’t seen me since Friday lunchtime and doesn’t appear bothered at all. I know that she loves me, and it isn’t necessarily the fact that she isn’t thrilled to see me that upsets me. It is more that I feel guilty that she doesn’t spend more time with her father.

He lives the other side of Yorkshire, and works shifts that mean it would be impossible for him to see her through the week. Before we moved away from the area he lives in, he used to see her a couple of times through the week, but never took full advantage of living round the corner and being able to see her any time. It has been a year since I left, and in that time he has not spent more than 3 days at a time with her, and has sometimes gone 3 weeks without seeing her.

I sent him a text earlier to let him know that we will probably be going away for a week in the summer, and that I would want to have her the weekends either side of that week as a result, and then asked if he intended on having her any more than a weekend at a time. He replied with a no, and that he’d let me know if he books a holiday later in the year (he clearly means a holiday for him rather than for him and his daughter). I sent him another asking if there was a reason he didn’t want to spend more than 2 days at a time with her, and mentioned that she is sometimes very upset that she can’t be with him. I have not had a reply.

I imagine he mostly does it to spite me. He doesn’t want me to have a week to myself. What he doesn’t seem to realise is that I don’t give a shit. I mostly get to do all the things I want to do, and when I can’t, it is because I put my daughter before everything else. He gets 4-5 weeks holiday a year, and as a parent with a child under 5, is entitled to 13 weeks of parental leave. I can’t believe with this amount of available time, that he cannot see his way to spending a whole week with his own daughter.

It makes me sad for Ella, and it makes me angry at myself for having picked someone so selfish to father my child. She deserves to have a father who puts her first, and wants to spend as much time with her as possible. I don’t think she misses out on much, we have lots of fun and there are plenty of people in her life who she gets love and attention from, but give it another year or so and she will want to know why she can’t stay with daddy a bit longer. To be honest I look forward to that day, because christ I want to know his answer.

We are trying to plan a week away on the south west coast, probably a holiday park in Dawlish or thereabouts. As much as I think it will be great fun, and something I will greatly look forward to, there is a residual feeling of….I don’t know. There’s just something a little bit unsettling about the fact that my boyfriend (someone I have been with for only a year, and who has not, in the grand scheme of things, spent all that much time with Ella) is perfectly happy to have a weeks holiday with my daughter, but her own father will not even entertain the prospect.

I keep myself going, and will continue to do so, by remaining confident that I give my daughter the best that I can, and taking pleasure in the memorable moments we share with other people. When she is older and asks questions I will be able to hold my head up high and say in all truth that I have always put her first, and everything I have done has been with her best interests at heart. It will not be my responsibility to explain her father’s lack of interest or commitment to her. I also remain hopeful that just maybe one day before she is old enough to question him, he realises he could do better for her. I shall cross my fingers.

Why I am Here.

January 16, 2007

I have set this up on the spur of the moment. This moment. I’m quite fat you see, and I don’t much like that, so I’m about to embark upon a journey to change it. I’m not fat because I’m greedy, I’m fat because I’m a smidge wrong in the head.

So I am here because –

  • Writing is cathartic, distracting, and forces me to confront feelings/issues rather than eat them away. I am hoping this will help me stay focussed and determined.
  • I like to be honest about my problems, and hopefully encourage other people to face the things that terrify them the most. Sharing my shit with you might help. Maybe.
  • A record of my progress, and thoughts as I make it, may help me maintain any weight loss.

I am 24. I am a single mother. Today I weigh 16 stone. Here’s a back story:

I have been overweight ever since I can remember. At least I have always felt overweight, although pictures of me when I was 12 say I actually wasn’t. I perhaps was only ‘cuddly’ when I was a lot younger, but the mindset of being fat was there, maybe encouraged by stick thin friends at school saying they shouldn’t eat that dinnertime because they were too fat, when clearly they must have been at least 2 sizes smaller than me, meaning I must look equivalent to a heffalump or similar.

I put on weight slowly in my mid teens. Holidays where I crammed everything down my neck just because I could, summer BBQs, the introduction of alcohol, a fat friend who was jealous of my being smaller feeding me up; all contributed. I left home at 18 having bought a flat, and the freedom it brought, although bloody ace, I abused a little, and ate all the wrong things, and drinking was not uncommon.

The first time I can remember actually really comforting myself with food was after a break up. I was 19, I had (VERY misguidedly, and VERY briefly) shacked up with a 42 year old man. Just to add a touch of the Jerry Springer, he was one of my dad’s closest friends, he was married in the year I was born, and his 16 year old daughter was my little sister’s best friend. Oh yes. I was adamant I was in love and that we would get married and have babies, and when it ended (just as soon as it had begun, really) I was devastated.

I was quite depressed. In fact really, I was very depressed. For a few months life was made up of going to work, food shopping, crying, and eating. It’s the first time I can remember properly overeating, to the point of feeling sick. I don’t remember what I binged on the most, but by the time I had finished I had put on around 3 stone in 3 months. Impressive.

I think after this period, even after I came out of the depression, I was overeating, although now perhaps out of habit. I wasn’t entirely without confidence, but I knew in my head I’d ruined my body a bit with the stretchmarks and the big stomach, and to increase my confidence I dressed always in jeans and baggy tops, always wearing a jumper or a cardigan to cover up lumps and bumps. I never looked at my body in a mirror though, as I didn’t have one. I also never weighed myself, so although I knew something was wrong with the way I was, I never confirmed it, and as such never took any action.

I got a shock when I had to have a pre-op assessment before having my tonsils out, having to be weighed and find out I was 16 stone. It might have been OK, only my mother had come with me, and audibly gasped when the nurse said it out loud. For some reason this didn’t make me take any action to remedy the situation, it just made me incredibly self conscious, and a little more preoccupied with my weight and how I appeared to other people.

I must have either lost a little, or rather just stayed the same for a while, but I don’t recall any more specifics until I became pregnant. I was 16 stone when I began my pregnancy. I weighed myself 2 days after Ella was born, and I was 15 stone. How that happened I do not know. During pregnancy I had been borderline gestational diabetes, and told ‘just don’t eat too much sweet stuff’. Having never really had a sweet tooth, I developed one the very instant the midwife told me to steer clear, & I amongst other things I ate an individual cheesecake, and an orange calippo almost daily during the second half of my pregnancy.

About a month after Ella was born, I joined Slimming World. I had done the diet briefly a couple of times before, but never going to the classes. I did it for a while and dropped 2 stone. I forget what made me give it up, but once I did I put most of the weight back on. Then I joined Weight Watchers and went down to 12 and a half stone, my lightest to date. Again, I forget what made me give that up, but I did, and gradually regained the weight.

This is the sort of time when I really began to notice problems. My self esteem was non existent. I was a young mother, at home alone, a partner working all the time who didn’t fancy doing much when he wasn’t. We had no friends, I was far away from family, and the only thing I really had to focus on was food. It wasn’t a conscious decision, it just became that way.

I found myself buying enough food in the supermarket to feed a family of 6 for a week, hiding the bad stuff in the boot of the car so my partner didn’t know I’d bought it, then woofing it down when he was out at work, and hiding the rubbish so he didn’t know I’d eaten it.

I found a job and started working part time, but my confidence with new people was at a horrible low. I was utterly convinced at the time that everyone I met was just sitting there thinking how fat I was, and as a result, turned more to food. It didn’t help that my relationship with Ella’s father wasn’t working very well. We didn’t have a sexual relationship, or any intimacy at all really, sexual or otherwise. There was no time spent together, and me and my daughter came second to his new career. After reaching a point where, for a short while, I was not only bingeing, but also throwing up afterwards, I went to the doctor, crying with a baby on my lap and explaning I was sure I had compulsive overeating disorder. They offered me a trip to a nutritionist (because of course, I didn’t know that I could spread margerine on my bread rather than lard), antidepressants, or a psychologist. I took the psychologist, and I saw one every fortnight for about 9 months. The end result was nothing. She was shite to be honest. She barely asked me about my weight or eating issues, and never really uncovered any of the other ones either, and so at the end of the ‘treatment’ she said I wasn’t suffering from an eating disorder. I still think she’s wrong.

A friend (the fat friend what fed me up, the cow bag) was listening to me whinge on the phone, and mentioned a drastic and expensive, but totally different way of losing weight, and doing it very fast. Lighterlife. I’d honestly never heard of this sort of diet before, but looking on the website and hearing about it (my friend was doing it at the time), I started to consider it.

For those of you who don’t know, Lighterlife works on the basis of complete food replacement, and a program of cognitive behavioural therapy. You commit to 100 days of food replacement, during which time you can have 4 foodpacks a day (milkshakes/soups/bars) totalling about 450 calories a day, black tea or coffee, and nothing else but 4 litres of water. The foodpacks are low carb, so they send you into ketosis, which makes you burn fat very fast. You have a 2 hour class every week, held by a qualified counsellor.

I started almost straight away. It was surprisingly easy to get into, despite a few days at the beginning where I went through some sort of detox and felt and looked like I’d been dragged through a tramp backwards. Once I was over that, the abstinance was almost addictive, I felt very good about myself for doing something so positive. I began to confront issues I’d had for a long time, and the week before Christmas, I split up with my partner.

He immediately split our money, and I could no longer afford to do Lighterlife. I left after having completed 9 weeks of complete abstinance (I didn’t even cheat over Christmas), having lost 3 and a half stone. I was determined to keep losing weight, and to stay in ketosis, I did Atkins for a while, and lost about another 6lbs on my own. Even when I reintroduced carbohydrate, I still managed to pretty much maintain my weight, for about 4 months.

Things changed very much for me in 2006 after I left my ex. I moved out with my daughter in February, and had recently become part of the website b3ta.com (go there, it’s reet funny). I started attending piss meet ups, making friends and having a social life. I even managed to bag myself a man. The excesses of drinking more than I was used to, and eating out a lot with the man in London, and trips to Paris and Amsterdam, all helped me to put weight back on, and I started Lighterlife again in a different class at the beginning of August, weighing 15 stone 10. I managed to lose 21lbs, I think over about 5 weeks, but stopped the course after falling off the wagon twice, and deciding to move home (from West Yorkshire back to North). It wasn’t that I didn’t want to lose the weight, but being a single mother and not having anyone to look after my daughter meant that while I got weighed every week, I couldn’t stay to any of the classes. I was missing out on getting to know who I was doing the course with, and missing out on the bits that sort your head out.

Since leaving Lighterlife the last time (which must have been the beginning of September), I have put 3 stone right back on. That’s quite a lot in quite a short time. I am running out of clothes that fit me, and as a single mother living on benefits, I can’t afford a new wardrobe. My eating is terrible at the moment. I am basically bingeing every day (except those which I spend with other people, because I would never binge infront of anyone). I don’t enjoy it, I don’t want to do it, and yet it continually happens.

For those who do not have and/or do not understand my eating problems, here are the symptoms of compulsive overeating/binge eating disorder :

  1. Fear of not being able to control eating, and while eating, not being able to stop.
  2. Isolation. Fear of eating around and with others.
  3. Chronic dieting on a variety of popular diet plans.
  4. Holding the belief that life will be better if they can lose weight.
  5. hiding food in strange places (closets, cabinets, suitcases, under the bed) to eat at a later time.
  6. Vague or secretive eating patterns.
  7. Self-defeating statements after food consumption.
  8. Blames failure in social and professional community on weight.
  9. Holding the belief that food is their only friend.
  10. Frequently out of breath after relatively light activities.
  11. Excessive sweating and shortness of breath.
  12. High blood pressure and/or cholesterol.
  13. Leg and joint pain.
  14. Weight gain.
  15. Decreased mobility due to weight gain.
  16. Loss of sexual desire or promiscuous relations.
  17. Mood swings. Depression. Fatigue.
  18. Insomnia. Poor Sleeping Habits.

I suffer with all but 12, 15, and 16 (I can hear my boyfriend sigh with relief). I sleep quite badly a lot of time time, and never seem to be able to get to bed before 1am. I currently have terrible leg & knee pain, and find it very difficult to get comfortable. My mood swings recently led me to almost fucking up one of the best things in my life – my relationship. I suffer horribly with being too hot a lot of the time, which apparently is another side effect. Possibly the absolute worst aspect of suffering with this is the almost constant thoughts about food and weight. What I have eaten, what there is to eat, what I should eat, what I shouldn’t eat, how much of it have I eaten, how much I weigh, how much I weighed 4 months ago, why can’t I stop eating so much, how much do people think I weigh, are they always looking at my fat bits, god I can feel my stomach folding and it’s hard to cross my legs I must be getting really big and I probably shouldn’t eat anything tomorrow. I also get panic attacks sometimes, and have slight body dysmorphic disorder (self diagnosed, naturally), which means that however I look and whatever weight I am, I still see this horrid fat lump in the mirror.

In the interest of complete honesty, with myself and with anyone that might take anything away from this blog, here is what I have eaten today:

3 cheese baps (lots of margerine, cheese cut thickly)
2 fishfinger sandwiches (4 fishfingers in each plus 2 on the side)
2 bags of Kettle Chips (both 150g bags)
A 500ml tub of coffee ice cream

That actually is quite a restrained evening (everything but the cheese baps were eaten between 8 and 10.30pm – this seems to be my pattern), but disgusting and unnecessary nonetheless. I would like to explain exactly why I ate all this. If I could, I wouldn’t have a problem. I eat it so fast that I barely taste it. I eat thing after thing, and it’s not that it’s subconscious, it’s just that I have no control. I swear it’s like an out of body experience. It’s almost like I am floating about above myself, watching me stuff all this crap in my mouth without caring, floaty me laughing & pointing at fatty me, and then once I’ve finished eating it’s 3-2-1, I’m back in the room, and I feel quite silly. The worst thing at the moment is that I have been eating this way for so long now, my stomach appears to be used to it, and therefore no matter how much I eat, I never seem to get so full that I’m completely uncomfortable.

I am fully conscious of my current weight, I am painfully conscious of the horrific way I am eating at the moment, and I am petrified of many things. Firstly, now that my daughter is getting older, she might somehow pick up on the way I eat (despite the fact I feed her very very well, and never binge in front of her). Secondly, I might begin to have the problems with self consciousness that I had before (luckily, due to a social life and some fucking lovely people, I haven’t redeveloped this). Thirdly, that if I don’t take control now, I will continue to pile weight on, and at some point in the not so distant future, I may end up boyfriendless.

So, on January 27th 2007, I will begin Lighterlife for a third time. I have joined a weekend group, in order that I can attend and stay to every single one of the weekly 2 hour sessions. I have asked my boyfriend to take pictures of me every week (I may do a photo blog on flickr for this if I get brave enough) in order that I can always remember what it looks like for me to be 16 stone/15 stone/14 stone etc. Going on my previous attempts, having lost an average of a stone in the first week, and around 5lb a week after, I would hope to lose about 5 stone in the 100 day course, although they only promise 3. For my height, I should be between 8st 1lb, and 10st 1lb. My target is 10st, and to end up with a slightly healthier brain.

I am beginning this blog now, because today was the day I agreed to start on the 27th (a day when I will be attending a party I was fully intending on drinking at, and a week before my one year anniversary with my boyfriend, on which I inteneded to eat out, and get sloshed). I have put aside those things which I, and others, usually use as an excuse to put off a diet. For this reason I consider today the day that I have made the commitment. I’m using this blog as a way of trying to hold on to that.

Normally I would try and lose weight myself before starting a diet, but the way I am at the moment, the more I think about food the worse my bingeing will be, so I have just agreed with myself to eat as I eat until I start the diet. However, now I shall make a commitment to post here daily for the time being, and to post what I have eaten. Perhaps this will subtly encourage me to tone it down a little. I always binge in secret, and although I shan’t be be eating in front of any of you, admitting to everything I have eaten in the day sort of makes the binge public, which I hate, because it makes me feel bad that people might be disgusted by my behaviour. Still, I’m sure this will be my first step forward, as it is completely changing the way I behave about my eating.