Throw back to this time last year and I was in full swing of my weight loss journey. I truly felt like I had cracked it, target was no longer a distant thought, I believed for the first time that it was achievable and I was going to reach it. Since then it has been one hell of a ride, filled with highs and devastating lows as many of you already know. So bear with me, some of you will know a lot of what I’m about to write but you won’t know all of it as I’ve simply been too ashamed to discuss it.
I first joined Slimming World not for me, but for my mum. People always say ‘do it for yourself’ and as I’ve admitted before, I never really loved myself enough to do it for me, I did however love my mum enough. She had been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. A bitch of a disease with no known cure that saw my greatest inspiration become trapped in a body that no longer worked for her. So week after week I fought to stay on track and I did, bar the occasional gain, I lost weight weekly, the pounds fell off and in six months I lost six stone. Then a few things happened.
First I found out I was pregnant, what a shock that was. I vowed to remain a member of my Slimming World group and try and maintain my weight loss and control the inevitable pregnancy gain. For the first few weeks since I found out this was manageable. Then I went on holiday to Orlando, Florida where the call of Denny’s pancakes and Dunkin Doughnuts got the better of me, but still I told myself that I had worked hard and was allowed to enjoy my holiday and would soon return to normal once home. I had the holiday of a lifetime and it was made that much more special when my handsome man proposed in front of my favourite place, Hogwarts Castle. I truly was on cloud nine, but in spite of all of my happiness I couldn’t shake off the feeling that something was wrong.
I returned to England on the Sunday and my beautiful mum passed away the following Thursday. I was, and still am devastated. But still I fought on, determined to return to group to make my mum proud and to have a healthy pregnancy. Then a few weeks later my grandad died. All of this tragedy contributed to an anxiety ridden, stressful and most miserable pregnancy, where I spent most of the time convinced that something was going to go wrong. After all I had already lost so much.
This grief meant I returned to my life long friend of food, I convinced myself that I needed it and it was ok to treat myself. I have always been an emotional eater but during my pregnancy it peaked. I was trapped in a vicious circle of happiness, guilt, sadness and despair. I would have moments of pure happiness, imagining life with my little man, planning his nursery, buying his clothes and preparing for life with a child. This would be followed by guilt, how could I so selfishly feel so happy when I and those close to me had lost so much. I had lost my mum I wasn’t allowed to feel happy, I had been enjoying a holiday whilst unbeknown to me my mum’s lungs had been shutting down. This was soon followed by sadness and despair, I missed the last week of her life, of course I knew she wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, she wanted me to enjoy my holiday but it didn’t take the pain away, knowing I wasn’t there for her like I should have been. More than often the only reason I got out of bed was because I knew I had to for the little life growing inside of me, I would hibernate inside spending days hysterically crying, literally calling out for my mum. This in turn would bring on the guilt again, I spent far too many days convincing myself that my poor little man was feeling everything that I was and that I simply wasn’t doing a good job keeping him safe.
I sought solace in food and the more the scales went up, the more I ate. I felt I had failed everyone, in particular my mum who had been so proud that I had lost so much weight and my son who deserved a healthy pregnancy and wasn’t getting one. This continued for the remainder of my pregnancy and when my little man was born I had exceeded my original starting weight of Slimming World. I had regained ALL of the six stone lost and more and honestly I was and still am mortified and disgusted.
So many people have said, ‘you’ve just had a baby, weight loss can wait’, and ‘you’re still grieving give yourself time’, and it’s true but what is also true is that I won’t be around to see my beautiful son grow up if I allow myself to continue piling the weight on, which I would have done. As for grieving, the grief I felt for my mum during my pregnancy was unbearable but it doesn’t go away. As the months have passed the only thing that has changed is people talk about my mum less, and that in itself brings a whole new layer of sadness. My mum was here, she lived a life full of adventures worth discussing, yet people don’t discuss them, perhaps people want to spare us the pain, but in reality we feel the pain daily regardless.
So here I am navigating my way through my new adventure of motherhood, without my mum to guide me and I need her. My mum had no choice in her disease it consumed her and took her away from us far too soon, I do have a choice, I could continue to eat my way to an early death and potentially miss out on my son growing up, or I could walk myself back to Slimming World face the mortifying reality that I had undone all my hard work and start again. So a few weeks after my handsome little man Arlo was born I did just that and I weighed in just a few pounds less than my original starting weight, thankfully birthing an actual human means you lose a few pounds, granted it was hard work but worth it!
This journey is going to be different than last time, I am still grieving, I’m sleep deprived and I have a little person who relies on me for everything. It’s going to be full of ups and downs, but as long as I keep going and I keep fighting I will get there and what a day that will be when I climb the scales and hit my target. In spite of all of the challenges I have and I will face, I will have succeeded.
So time to face the music, I lost a lot of weight and then I regained it, but I’m still here holding my head high, because in spite of everything my journey isn’t over yet.