This morning I stepped on the scales. This morning I weigh 9st11. Which depending on who you are, may seem like rather a lot or not very much. For me, and me alone, it is too much.
Yesterday I ate not like a hungry caterpillar but more like an angry caterpillar: 2 pieces of toast, a granola bar, a chicken wrap, a packet of Food Doctor crisps, a pot of pineapple and mango, a chocolate brownie from Pret a Manger, a jacket potato with coleslaw, a chunky KitKat, a digestive biscuit. Two cups of tea and a glass of red wine. Epic? Yes.
Slowly but surely I feel like I’m slipping back into my old ways, my late teens to mid-20s where I was a size 16 and weighed around 13.5 stone. I’ve fallen into an awful cycle of thinking I *need* sugar, that my life will be infinitely more miserable if I don’t eat chocolate and/or cake every single day. I see it as a reward – got through that meeting? Have a bar of chocolate. Done that painting? Time for a piece of cake. It stops today.
Me and Me: On the left, in 2000 (aged 20). I’d just finished my second year of university in America and was heading towards my biggest whilst travelling with a friend. On the right, in 2011 (aged 31). On a second honeymoon with OH in Asia and at the smallest I’ve ever been.
Whilst there is a big difference between 9.5 stone and 13.5 stone, I’m very aware that as I get older I do have to be more careful. The problem that is that I’m not good at compromising when it comes to food. Spending my one and only life eating quinoa for breakfast, nibbling on kale crisps and sucking on pomegranate seeds for the rest of my days does not appeal. Nothing that is good or healthy comes naturally to me and I’m incredibly envious of people who genuinely enjoy eating well.
The bigger me ate like a Trojan. It’s no surprise at all looking back to understand why I was big and even at the time I knew it and wasn’t happy, but I had a boyfriend and there was an inevitability that it was how I was meant to be. I could remember being a size 14 and vaguely recalled being a size 12 but with my “slow metabolism” and “big bones”, being that weight and size was my future.
Around that time, perhaps in 2003, I had to go to the doctor to pick up a Pill prescription. She weighed me and said with brutal honesty: “You’re overweight, I’m not giving you a full 6 month prescription. You need to come back in three months and have lost weight”. Fierce isn’t it? Yet she was right.
So gradually, gradually, the weight started to come off. I cut down on the crazy eating whilst never denying anything that I fancied and became happier in my own skin. The previous me had never wanted to walk down to the end of the road, the new me started walking from home in Hammersmith to work in Edgware Road which was about 45 minutes. I didn’t do it every day, but it was a little step that helped.
Between 2003 and 2006 I dropped down to 11 stone. By the time I got married in 2007 I was 10st3, the lightest I could recall being since a time when I’d been bothered about it. In 2009 I was 9st10 and that’s pretty much where I’ve fluctuated around ever since. I never go up to 10st, and my happy place is 9st7 – this is a realistically maintained weight for me which means the odd fish and chips here and there, just not every day.
I’ll never forget the first time I got into a size 10, I promptly went into pretty much every shop on Oxford Street and tried on every piece of clothing just to be sure it wasn’t a fluke from a more generously sized range. It wasn’t. I even had to get my rings resized since I lost weight from my fingers.
It’s odd to look at pictures of me at 20 and acknowledge I look better at 35, for most people it’s the other way around. That said, deep inside will always be “fat Lins” as one of my male friends who has witnessed the transformation fondly refers to the previous me, the person I never want to go back to but as time goes by I need to work harder to avoid. And I know too that some people may be offended by what I’ve written, referring to size 16 as “fat”. Yet this is just me, and how I felt about it all, and what I’m happy with. Everyone is different, and all we can all ever hope to be is happy.