Before I continue, this post is NOT about fat shaming, or thin shaming, or whatever the current favourite buzz words are. This post is not saying you need to be thin to be attractive, or healthy. This post is about MY journey, MY body and about getting it to a better place, for my own health. I have come to accept that I will never be thin but I need to be healthy.
I have always had issues with my body and my size and shape, for as long as I can remember. I have always looked to other people and wanted to be like them, thinner, prettier, more attractive, because that is what society pushes on you.
I have been very “thin”. A size 6 in fact. Tiny. I weighed less than 100lb. I was also incredibly ill with anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Eating one apple and drinking one cup of Horlicks a day or binging on “forbidden” foods then dosing myself with lots of laxatives to rid my poor body of the calories. I also took diet pills, to burn energy, and stop fat from being absorbed. If I hadn’t stopped, I probably would be dead now.
I have also been very “overweight”. At my heaviest, 200lb. Eating what I wanted, when I wanted but not happy in my own skin.
I have been a “normal” weight, as recommeneded by health professionals and experts. In order to do that, I have to eat much less than I would like, and limit calories and exervise a LOT to maintain it.
My problem is, that I LOVE food. I like to eat it, I like to cook it, I like to feed people. Food and enjoying food is a passion of mine. I don’t want to deprive myself, and live on salads and juice drinks in order to be a certain size or shape.
I have lost a lot of weight recently, simply by cutting back on portion sizes, sugar and making sure I limit the amount of certain carbohydrates I eat. I had got to a point where the weight I was (209lb) was not healthy for me. (Remember, I said for me, not for anyone else)
The weight puts pressure on my joints, and I have a condition called Hyper Mobile Joint Syndrome, so extra weight makes that very uncomfortable. My knee surgeon asked me to loose some weight before he would take any further action on my damaged knee. Pain is a great motivator. The life I lead, the job I do, I don’t have time to be in pain, I hate being restricted by pain and discomfort.
The weight also causes issues with my hormones. I struggle with irregular, short cycles, which can make life challenging, getting pregnant harder and then of course, being considerably overweight made my pregnancy with Matthew harder. Despite having Hyper Emerisis Gravidarum during my pregnancy, and not actually gaining any weight until I was 32 weeks pregnant, the baby weight I did gain made me feel very uncomfortable. I was at higher risk of blood clots, blood pressure issues and gestational diabetes. By loosing some weight, I hope to get pregnant, once more, as now my cycles are more regular, and easier to manage, and hopefully won’t struggle as much as I did last time.
After I gave birth, I assumed that I would loose weight easily. After all, all the books say that breastfeeding makes baby weight melt away. They lie. Or perhaps sleep deprivation and being constantly starving, whilst feeding babies 24/7 for 18 months and 27 months, and eating constantly, didn’t help. Ahem. I actually gained weight when breastfeeding, and then when I weaned the babies, the weight didn’t fall off either. I got to a point where I wasn’t happy, with the size I was, with feeling breathless, exhausted, and unfit, in pain and fat, frankly, but I didn’t want to make any effort to do anything about it. I was too tired, from lack of sleep, parenting, working, to try and diet or make the effort to exercise.
The one thing that really, finally motivated me to loose weight though, was my blood pressure. My blood pressure normally sits at 110/60. Perfect. It was much lower when I was underweight, in fact I had some issues, and when I was pregnant it did rise slightly but nothing too alarming (well, in my first pregnancy I did have pregnancy induced Pre Eclampsia but that is not related to weight and my blood pressure returned to normal after birth)
However, last year, I went to see my GP to talk about trying for another baby, and after she had checked me over thoroughly, we discovered my blood pressure was sitting at 150/90 which whilst not terrible, gave me bit of a shock. She pointed out that loosing weight, would help this. I don’t want to put myself at risk for the issues that having a higher blood pressure can cause.
So, having spent my life being motivated to loose weight because of society telling me I need to look a certain way, weigh a certain amount, fit into certain clothes, then deciding I don’t care, I now am working on getting healthy. I know what that looks like for me. I have a target weight in mind, which will be a balance between acceptable and easy to maintain, and sensible for me. I want to be able to enjoy food and life, but not worry about what it’s doing to my body. Eat healthily, but enjoy treats. Up the amount of exercise I do, and if I am fortunate enough to get pregnant again, and breastfeed another baby, to make sure I am sensible with my eating habits.
I think I am finally at peace with where I am at, and where I want to be, with my body. It has changed a lot, over the years, with weight loss and gain, with pregnancy and birth. There are bits of it that will not change, that are what they are. I am learning to love myself, and to accept that I will never be thin, but I do need to be healthy. What that looks like for me, is very different to what it would for someone else. I may not ever be a size 6 again, but I don’t need to be a size 6. I want to feel good in myself, and look after this body. I think finding a middle ground, compromise and a level of effort that works for me, has helped. I don’t want to be dieting all my life, I don’t want my children to think that counting calories is how eating healthy works. I am re teaching myself healthy habits, and hopefully they are learning from me. At 39, I finally feel almost comfortable in my own skin, and can accept that I will never be thin, I need to be healthy, and that’s ok with me….