I have a file at our local hospital. There’s a big red stamp on the front advising anyone handling it to ‘look inside’. I assume the big red stamp points them to my weight and a comment “yes really, so be careful”.
“Have you always been big?” some folks ask. I tell them yes, and my arrival nearly killed my mother who still to this day walks like she’s lost her horse. Yes, my weight has been a problem for me as long as I can remember. My early childhood was marked with concerned aunties talking to each other over my head saying “it’s just puppy fat, it’ll go.” My teens were marked with bullying, exercise advice from said concerned aunties and, confusingly, a stepfather who couldn’t keep his cigarette-stained hands to himself. Early adulthood was marked with the desire to do whatever the hell I wanted and since I had it drummed into me that I was a lost cause from the get-go, I went for food and alcohol. Maybe heroin would have been less damaging (and at least I’d have a decent figure, eh?).
Things really started getting out of hand around 2003 or so. But remaining convinced I was a lost cause, I didn’t do anything about it. My logic was, food was delicious, my life didn’t amount to much, so if I clocked out early, it wasn’t any great shame.
There have been several attempts at getting well since. I stopped drinking in 2004, and stayed off the booze for almost 3 years. At the end of 2006, when Michael and I had moved 200+ miles to a new life in Devon, I started drinking again. In 2007, I joined Slimming World. I stuck religiously to their plan to the point of obsession. Any day where I ‘cheated’ was a day ruined. I became a complete pain in the arse, but I managed to lose 10 stone (140lb/63.5kg) in less than a year. By this time though, my drinking had become heavy and by 2011 I had regained every last ounce of that 10 stone weight loss with a few extra to boot. I was a chronically depressed, incredibly overweight alcoholic and to my mind I was in the middle of a ‘slow delicious suicide’.
I decided to try again to get well at the end of 2011. I gave up drinking in October, and I have been free of the booze ever since. Around that time I also asked for a referral to the excellent obesity clinic in Exeter. I saw a wonderful psychiatrist and dietician, and decided that the best course of action for me was gastric bypass surgery. However, the first criteria I had to meet was a year or total sobriety – a target that at the time of writing I am less than a month away from.
I signed up for MyFitnessPal in December, and when I used it (which wasn’t daily) it did a good job of keeping me in check. It wasn’t until Michael joined me in July, and bought the Fitbits, that things really started to fall into place. For me, having access to all the information on food intake and exercise has helped me to learn what works and what doesn’t. I have got a long, long way to go to get well, but with the help of MFP and fitbit, and with the support of my husband and fantastic friends, I will get there. Hopefully without surgery, but if I have to take that option I will.
Until then, it’s one meal at a time.