I always knew I was different from most of the other children when I was at secondary school. A boy said to me ‘You look pregnant’ and quite often I heard phrases like ‘fat bitch’, and some thought it was hilarious to called me ‘chocolate éclair’. Being a ‘geek’ only made the bullying worse, and I didn’t dare admit that I was a Christian.
I wasn’t bullied on a regular basis thank goodness, and it never affected my studying or pursuing what I enjoyed doing at school. I just learnt to deal with it and I had friends who did not care that I was overweight, hardworking and a Christian. Secondary school seems to be the years of your education when bullying is rife.
I would go shopping with my mother in Evans and the limiting larger sections of clothing stores, such as Inspire in New Look. Often I’d look at the wide range of beautiful clothes for thinner people and think to myself, ‘If only I was a few sizes smaller, I could wear those clothes too, and go in a lot more shops’.
Many times I tried to lose weight by recording my weight, attempting to gain exercise by slightly extending my daily walk to the bus stop and the worst part, dieting in an unhealthy way. Often I would eat no lunch during the day, which did work temporarily in losing weight, but then of course it was no good. I also somehow managed to get through the majority of a day without drinking anything, which is most unhealthy. My mother was furious when I told her that I get through a whole day away from home (10 hours) without drinking anything.
When I started going to college for my GCSEs and A levels, I changed my habits, making sure to drink plenty throughout the day and eating lunch. Still I tried to lose weight and once again, it only worked temporarily. So I decided to stop trying so hard, and at my heaviest I must have weighed about 16 ½ stone.
Dieting and changing my lifestyle has been a struggle for me since my secondary school years. Despite deciding to stop trying to lose weight in college, I realised that I really wanted to change. I wrote a list of things I should do for what I called ‘A plan for a better me’. I actually still have that list from the 1st March 2010. Here are some of the points:
* Only have bacon/sausage once a week for breakfast
* Drink one glass of orange juice each day
* Drink less fizzy drinks and more water/squash
* If a snack is necessary, a piece of fruit or a cereal bar will do
* Cut down the size of my meals
* Do arm circles each morning for 5-10 minutes
* Take the dogs for the walk at every available opportunity
* Believe in myself and not care what other people think
* Take an opportunity when it is there!
* Make the world a better place by improving myself
I certainly don’t do all these things on a regular basis (some of them I am trying to do in my daily life now), and this is the first time I have looked back on it for over 4 years. What also strikes me are the last 3 points- I was clearly unhappy with myself and was hoping to change myself for the better through dieting and improving my lifestyle, in order to make everything around me better too.
This was still true when I was at university for my undergraduate degree. I never let it get me down in my day to day life, but now and again I would look at myself and wish for change. In my third year, a certain event triggered the need for me to really make the change. I still see it as a strange thing that triggered my desire to change for the better, but I was so disappointed in myself afterwards that I started to change everything about myself the day after.
I learnt recently from note taking in a psychology lecture that will power is difficult to control, and it takes several attempts for a person to really devote themselves to changing habits, such as quitting smoking. It has certainly been difficult for me to stick dieting, especially with all the food campaigns we hear about on the news, such as eat your 5 a day (I believe it’s 7 now!), cut down your salt intake and all the tempting treats we see on a regular basis.
I was really good when I radically changed my diet and lifestyle in January 2014. I started eating salad a lot more, ate fruit and vegetables on a regular basis, cut down the size of my meals and consumed them at a slower pace, and one of my friends at university encouraged me to join the gym. I avoided gyms due to the fact that I thought fit people there would be judgemental, but that is certainly not the case. I lost a stone in 2 months and was close to the 2 stone mark when I returned home in June.
As good as it is to be back at home, my old habits kicked back in, and that stone gradually crept back on. I am pleased to still be a stone lighter though and all of my family want to lose weight as well. Another great feeling is that being a size 16/18 means that I can browse in more clothing shops than I ever could before (compared to when I was once a size 20/22). I have noticed that compared to when I was in my teen years, shops now seem to be more accommodating of larger sizes; I guess times do change.
What is pushing me to really change my diet and lifestyle for the better though is that my mother was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. She has lost a total of 7 stone over the years, which is a brilliant achievement, but her previous lifestyle has taken its toll on her. Being overweight and eating too much of the wrong types of food do have negative consequences on our health, and I want to avoid this possibility in the future.
I’m hoping that blogging will help me alongside my journey to become fitter and healthier, as a motivator. As I mentioned in my first blog, I have signed up to jog in the 10km Race for Life in Leicester on Sunday 5th July 2015. I will be writing about the Race for Life soon, but my primary aim of blogging is to keep track of my progress to the day I can successfully jog 10km without stopping!
Happy reading and blogging,