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.

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2 Responses to “Why I am Here.”

  1. stickingcat said

    I think you are really brave. I can’t even tell or write down my eating problem. I feel shame so much.
    I want to stop my binge eating but I don’t know..I tried so many times but today is very big different day! I met you same problem as mine.
    Let’s never give up.

  2. Sam said

    Most people are concerned about thier weight. I lost 3kg a month by not eating after 6pm daily. It’s work on me. I think is the lesses fats being built up when I was sleeping. But, the harder parts is you have to be serious on this weight loss plan. Because, foods temptation is the main cause to give up yourself.

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