I’m on a journey…

Warning, this will be a long post. But it needs to be to get you to understand WHY I am at the point I am.

At the risk of sounding like an Xfactor contestant, I’m on a journey. If you want to understand my journey I should probably start at the beginning.

Since I was about 10 or so I have been plump, heavy, chunky, fat. Whatever you want to describe it as. I’ve spent a LOT of time thinking about why. When I was younger I was bullied, was that the start of it? I lacked confidence and HATED sport/PE, could that be the reason? I LOVE food and eating. I love the social aspect of eating, I adore going out for meals and chatting etc whilst eating yummy food, is this why? Stress. When I am stressed I eat, and I eat crap, can I blame that?

If I am honest, it is probably a combination of things, I could blame the bullies, I could blame the PE staff at school, I could blame my job and the stress I am under etc but the fact is only I can be responsible for the food I consume and the exercise I do/don’t do. This, for me has been a big hurdle, this year I have stopped blaming others, I’ve stopped blaming myself and I am now focussing on what I am going to do about it.

I’ve tried numerous things to sort my weight out. Weight watchers, I tried this with some success while I was at University. I followed the points plan, cycled to uni every day. I dropped about 3 stone, I was 10 & 1/2 stone and the slimmest I’d ever been, but it wasn’t sustainable. I got bored of counting points.

When I studied for my PGCE I was living in a crumby bedsit in Swindon. I ate A LOT of takeaways. Focussing on getting my head round planning, marking, completing assignments etc Food was the least of my worries and with a big fat bursary to spend, takeaways & convenience were the easy option.

As I began teaching my weight crept up. When I got married in 2004 I was around 12 stone. I didn’t look horrific but I didn’t look great either, I was never 100% happy with how I looked on my wedding day.

I’ve tried slimming world. Food combining isn’t for me. I found it too time consuming. I am not sure eating shed loads of carbs 1 day and shed loads of protein the next is entirely ideal. I lost a minimal amount, but couldn’t sustain it.

The weight carried on creeping up. When I got pregnant in 2009 I was 14st 3lb. The heaviest I’d ever been. I still didn’t think I looked THAT bad. I resolved I’d sort it after I had the baby. Weirdly I didn’t put that much on whilst pregnant (morning sickness was brill for weight loss, although not a technique I would advocate!!). 3 weeks after Imogen was born I was 14st 9lb. I had this big idea that I’d walk everywhere with Imogen and the weight would fall off. Well a Csection knackered my ability to walk for a good 6 weeks and then once all the fuss and visitors died down I spiralled in to comfort eating. Knowing what I know now, I’d say I was probably borderline depressed. A beautiful new baby but without family local to help out and all my friends in Barnsley are teachers and were at work I was bored and struggled with the adjustment from teacher to mummy. I’d sit and watch endless episodes of London’s burning and eat all manner of crap. I’m quite ashamed of what I was eating. (chocolate, cakes, crisps, samosas(!), toaster pockets (which now I think about it are rank! but I loved them!). Christopher would come home and we’d eat crap convenience food.

I started going to Zumba with my lovely PE teacher friend (who’d have thought I’d be friends with a PE teacher!). Zumba was fun. It got me out the house (I needed that!) I have zero coordination so it was a laugh. The instructor (Janice Starkey) was fab. Didn’t make me feel stupid, encouraging, motivational and full of energy. If you are in the Barnsley are then try one of her classes, she is ace!

And then I went back to work. Full time teaching, demanding toddler, stress levels through the roof. We had a lot of illness when I first went back to work. I felt under immense pressure (even though work were very understanding!) We became on first name terms with our local chip shop owner and Just-Eat.co.uk was in my favourites list.

December 2011 I tried hypnotherapy. My granddad had success with hypnotherapy back in the 80s when he quit smoking. Gastric Band Hypnotherapy with a lovely lady called Joyce. A bit freaky being “put under” in her conservatory. I convinced myself for 2 weeks that it was working. (it wasn’t!) but the time relaxing was lovely, although I am pretty sure I was just snoozing for an hour in her conservatory. (I hope I wasn’t snoring and dribbling!) The one thing it did help with was to focus on WHY I was overeating and not exercising.

But the pressure of my school being merged, having to reapply for my job etc I had zero motivation to sort myself out.

Then in January 2013, something clicked. I couldn’t tell you what clicked. There is no one thing that made me think “right, lets do this”.

But I bought some Withings scales. These scales are AWESOME. Expensive but brilliant. Wifi enabled scales that sync your weight to your phone. I can see my stats any time, any place, any where. (You can have multiple people on there too, so I track Imogen’s weight). I love them. I signed up to Sainsburys online diets. I was following their convenience food plan. Every week I logged on and they gave me meal plans incorporating ready meals and low fat convenience foods. It suited me at the time. I also started swimming at my local leisure centre. 3 times a week. It was a bit of a chore. I love swimming but the pool was busy, the changing rooms weren’t the cleanest and there was no chuffing hairdryer, so I had to dry my hair under a hand dryer (couldn’t go to work with wet hair!). And I did ok, I lost a stone all by myself, I felt good. But I needed something more. The pool was pissing me off.

After a few weeks thinking, I decided to join the gym. £38 a month, I thought I could just about afford it. I figured if I went 3 times a week I’d break even on going to the leisure centre. I fully intended to just swim. I wasn’t bothered about the weights and scary looking machines. “Would you like a free personal training session?” the receptionist asked. “Not really!” I thought but why not, it is free, they might show me a few scary machines.

And that is when it started.

I turned up in my baggy tshirt and joggers that I’d bought when I was pregnant, and wearing glasses (NB: wearing glasses in the gym is no good, they fall off when you’re doing stuff!). I met my trainer, Jason Horton. (If you are in the market for a personal trainer then I seriously recommend you visit Jason’s personal training website!)

Jason looked young enough that I could have taught him. “sucker this hour then go back to swimming” I told myself. He asked me what I wanted from the sessions (er hello, I’m just doing this 1 free session thanks!). “Weight loss” (isn’t that obvious?) “Tone up, I guess?”

We did some warm up type stuff, I can’t even really remember what now. I know he made me run on the treadmill, I DON’T do running, EVER. I remember it was hard. I was hot, sweaty, puffed out and feeling a bit shit. I think he made me try the rower, that made my thighs hurt. We did a very simple circuit. It felt horrific.

Afterwards, he sat me down. “How much will it cost?” I asked? (er, hang on, you aren’t supposed to be signing up!) We went through the costs. “I don’t know, I’ll talk it through with my husband” (as if I will be signing up, can I get home in time for Corrie?) “Here is my email and mobile number, ask me questions if you want to know more” he said.

And that was the start. I went home and talked numbers with Christopher (“WTF, why am I even considering this?”, I thought.) I emailed, Jason with a question, can’t even remember what. “I’ll sign up for 4 sessions, no more” I said to Christopher.

That was 7 months ago. I see Jason once a week. He takes me through different circuits. Each week is different, each week is bloody hard. The biggest change in me has been mentally. I find myself saying “keep going” rather than “I can’t”.  Jason has the patience of an actual saint. He seems to get when to push me, when to ignore my protestations and when to listen to them. He doesn’t bark orders, he encourages. Just what a total wimp like me needs!

I sweat, A LOT! I whinge, A LOT (although slightly less than I used to!). I swear, FAR TOO MUCH. BUT it has become habit. I am moody when I don’t go. I love it. I NEVER thought I would. I do things now I COULDN’T do (both physically and mentally) 7 months ago.

Back in June, Jason started me on a nutrition plan. The first few weeks were HORRIFIC and that is a post for another day. But the combination of good food (mostly!) and regular, fat burning exercise and the weight has dropped off. It isn’t easy. But it is easier than I thought it would be but there are days when I think with the food I CBA. But not with the exercise, I love it. Who’d have thought it!

The biggest difference is, whilst I have a goal in terms of weight, I am so caught up in the health, fitness and nutrition I don’t see an end to it, hopefully this is sustainable where Weight Watchers and Slimming World weren’t.

So that is where I am up to now.

H x

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