So turns out that I’ve not really nailed this regular blog updating thingymabob! So please bear with me as I try and make amends over the next few days or so! I’ve got a head full of ideas but not much time to sit down and put figurative pen to paper!
A couple of years back I was pretty poorly with some fairly gripping stomach pains; after various admissions to A&E, and my body being tested by all sorts of medical equipment, inside and out, the hospital came no closer to working out what was wrong with me. But having prescribed me a true cocktail of medications, I seemed to be pain free and my life was back on track.
Woooohoo you might think, and certainly I did too. It was great, I could go back to work, I could go out and finally I wasn’t a regular visitor to the local hospital. No one was any closer to working out what was wrong with me but who cared, all I had to do was swallow six tablets a day and I was as good as cured!
I thought nothing more of it, just kept shovelling the tablets in each day, feeling chuffed that I was fine. Rushing to get ready for work one morning I pulled one of my favourite dresses over my head and then nothing, I wriggled for a bit, shook my arms around a bit more, pulled here, pushed there and nothing. My beautiful black and white polka dot dress had now become a necklace. Nothing I did seemed to make it fit. I was in a rush, so pulled it off, chucked it on the floor and pulled something else out the wardrobe and thought nothing more of it. Stupid dress clearly shrunk in the wash.
It wasn’t until the weekend, when I actually had an extra five minutes when getting dressed, that I realised that my bra no longer fitted, I had more boob out of the bra than in it! My eyes travelled down my body and I suddenly realised that actually everything looked a lot bigger than I remembered. I ran to the kitchen, grabbing the medication boxes from the cupboard and tearing out the paper bits, and guess what? the side affects on every single one stated that weight gain was a possibility.
Initially gutted, by the end of the weekend I’d levelled it up in my head that a bit of weight loss was worth it for no pain. So I’d have to buy some more clothes…what a terrible shame! And actually as a result some clothes that had always been too big, now fitted. And I got a lot of compliments from people, in particular my family who had only ever known me as a size eight with a big bum and hips.
Quickly though all that reconciling I’d done in my head went out the window. Within a month my size 10 trousers didn’t fit so I went out and bought size 12, no problem, and then one day those didn’t fit and I had to buy size 14. This was suddenly and very quickly out of control. Packing to go on a beach holiday was miserable, I had no confidence in wearing a bikini any more, and standing at the till in Accessorize buying a size 14-16 swimsuit reduced me to tears. I could only pack my biggest, previously floaty maxi dresses for evenings – they were the only things that still fitted from that summer and now they were straining at the seams.
The holiday still had to happen, I couldn’t avoid it, just had to put on a brave face and pretend I was totally fine with the extreme changes my body had gone through in mere months. Looking back now my mum says she really admired how I approached that holiday, as though nothing about the situation phased me. I’m really glad that’s how it seemed on the outside because inside I was a wreck. By that time I’d already spent a lot of time battling some inner demons and some pretty petrifying suicidal and depressive thoughts, and things weren’t exactly improved whilst we were away. I think my family really struggled to keep their shock and thoughts to themselves that week and I tried to let the fairly barbed comments just bounce off me but inside it was destroying that final little bit of light that was still shining.
I got back from that holiday with two options held very shakily in my fragile little head. I either stopped taking all this medication, but could I risk my depression worsening? Could my already fractious world cope if my stomach pains came back? And could I then exercise and diet within an inch of my life to get my body back? Or did I just let this run it’s course? My body could only get so big, right?
Sitting there in my front room, a Weight Watchers ad came on television. A January offer for their online service. I don’t think I even gave it a second thought, I picked up my mobile phone and registered then and there.
And quiet simply that was it.
Ha, as if! I’m not going to lie, it was hard work. I quit all the medication that very same day and lost half a stone in the first week. If only the next two stone had been anywhere near that quick and easy! But I felt like I had control back in my life. I thought about food constantly, and unfortunately not celery and cucumber! And I had to force myself to like all sorts of things I’d previously despised, purely because they were Weight Watchers meals and at first that was the only way I could stick to it.
But wow, that app taught me so much about food. Food I’d previously I’d never considered as being bad but now, restricted to just 26 points per day, I couldn’t eat them! Initially I only signed up for a three month subscription, and I decided when that ended, to try and and go it alone – I’d learnt a lot and I had the bit (and not the burger) between my teeth, this was going to happen.
So then it was the beginning of April and I’d lost just over one stone, so with just one and a half stone to go…I was going it alone. Weight loss had slowed down a lot from those initial few weeks but I was determined to stay positive. Then an email hit my inbox, a surf trip in September with our Scout troop. Yes great, of course I’ll be there. I was excited; looking toward to getting back down to Cornwall and out on my board. Then I remembered…my wetsuit is a size 6. Ah. Slight problem. Whilst I’d lost a bit of weight, I was still very definitely a 12 and no amount of squeezing, talcum powder, washing up liquid or duck fat was going to get me in and the zip done up on that.
So the challenge was on. I stuck to monitoring my food intake and ignoring anyone in the office who tried to waft a doughnut under my nose. And then I actually did something I said I’d never do, and joined a gym. I started going to Body Pump once a week, and then twice a week and then added a Zumba class to the mix too.
And then it was time. The size 6 wetsuit was packed and we were on our way to Cornwall. And suddenly my confidence and faith in my self dipped. I should have tried it on before I left. I should have bought a new wetsuit. I shouldn’t have come at all. We got to site, a day before the scouts and I found a thousand and one tasks that we needed to do before getting in the sea and succeeded. Night fell on the camp and I’d still not had to put the suit on. Good work. Then morning dawned, and the scouts have now arrived and at 6am are already charging round site in their wetsuits begging to go into the sea before breakfast. This was it. There was no more putting it off. The suit had to go on.
And do you know what? It did. It fitted. It was tight, but who cares it’s a size 6 wetsuit and it’s on my body and the zip is done up. I don’t think I managed to catch one decent wave that whole weekend, my sheer elation had overtaken my whole body and all I wanted to do was dance, not balance on a piece of fibreboard.
And do you know what else? Not once, not one single time since I’d ditched all that medication at the start of the year, had my stomach hurt. And not only that, but at no time during that nine months had I even thought about my stomach pains.
So here I am, two and a half years later. Two and half stone lighter. And happy. Back in pain. But happy. Because I took control and I got my life back. And quite frankly, if someone who was as close to saying goodnight to the world as I was, can fight back and come out on top, I reckon anyone else can do it and probably do it ten times better and ten times faster.