Enough is enough time to stop wallowing in self-pity. The only one preventing me from thriving on this journey is me.
Anyone who follows my blog or follows my Facebook page knows my weight-loss story. It is one that has spanned decades, from a chubby baby, to a podgy toddler, a chunky child, a fat adolescent and now an obese adult.
It is a constant struggle, I fall off the wagon, I clamber back on, I stumble off, I cling on… and so the vicious circle continues.
I have been successful over the years, therefore I know I can lose weight. I know I am capable of sticking to a healthy plan and exercising regularly. I have lost around 100lbs previously, but of course it went back on and more! Throughout my life I have fluctuated in size, it has been just over a year since I began this journey and I am nowhere near where I wanted to be. Am I as big as I was? No and I confidently know that I never will be again.
Initially I was disappointed and because of this disappointment I stopped writing. What a mistake that was, to punish myself by taking away the thing that I love doing most.
This past year wasn’t just a struggle based around weight-loss but also a struggle around my own mental health. Now I appreciate this is a weight-loss blog so perhaps a post about mental health doesn’t fit in here. However this is my journey, my story so in order to be true to myself I want to discuss this with you.
I have struggled with my own mental health for around 13 years. Over the years I have been told my mental health troubles are a side effect of being overweight, I was told that it was to be expected, I simply cannot be this big and be happy (yes a health professional told me that!)
No matter how many times I explained to my doctors and peers that I was confident within myself and I was losing weight to prevent future health complications not for vanity reasons – I was still told that subconsciously it was because I hated myself. I hated the person I had allowed myself to become. So the solution was always lose weight and my mental health will improve with it.
So that’s what I did. I embarked on a public journey to lose weight and change my future.
I was wrong. Everyone who told me this would help was also wrong.
What I should have done is spent the time trying to improve my mental health before I embarked on such a journey.
I sacrificed my mental health whilst trying to improve my physical health.
So what haven’t you seen this past year?
You haven’t seen the days of not eating – too unmotivated and stuck in perpetual sadness to eat.
You haven’t seen the aftermath coming from the days of not eating – guilt ridden days of feeling like I have let everyone down which leads to eating everything and anything in sight (not literally – but a lot of food!) – Which then of course leads back to starving mode.
You haven’t seen the relentless tears through fear that I’ve left everybody down.
I would describe my depression and other mental health issues as the dementors from Harry Potter – they come and drain any inch of happiness you have and leave you surrounded by your own fears, in a state of desperation and everlasting despair.
Why am I telling you this?
Because suffering with some form of mental illness is NOTHING to be ashamed of, everyone has mental health, just like everyone has physical health, sometimes you are well and sometimes you are not.
To lose a substantial amount of weight you need to be doing it for all the right reasons. This year I wasn’t. I also didn’t have the mental strength to deal with the knock backs.
The past 6-7 months have been spent finally discussing my illnesses and finding help that works for me.
Now I find myself one year on since starting this journey and no I haven’t lost as much weight as I would have liked, but for the first time in 13 years I am managing my own mental health and I am not controlled by it – I would say that is a victory.
So to anyone who is suffering, take the time you need, the scales will still be there in a few weeks. You need to believe that you can do this, believe in yourself and your abilities.
I often get people messaging me with hate, complaining that I am glamorizing obesity and making it ok for overweight people like me to love themselves and how I should be ashamed of myself.
Firstly, why shouldn’t we love ourselves? Just because we are overweight does not mean that we should spend our lives hating ourselves and punishing ourselves.
Secondly, empowering and encouraging people to love themselves throughout their journey spreads positivity, if someone is positive they yield far better results.
Thirdly, Losing weight does not solve all of your problems. By addressing these confidence issues along the way, hopefully when someone reaches their goal they won’t still be picking fault every time they look in a mirror, or calling themselves names.
I am not ashamed of myself for anything I write or say, I have never confessed to being an expert however years of dieting have given me plenty of experience to pass on.
I will also not apologise for helping people love themselves no matter their journey.
Body shaming on any level is unacceptable – be that fat shaming or skinny shaming. United we can share our experiences and help each other, losing weight is a hard task but one that seems a little less daunting when you know so many other people struggle like you.