I remember the shame. And the tears. Feeling that I didn’t belong. It didn’t last, but still, it was more than a moment. I was in New York, a city I’d wanted to visit for so long. We’d come as instructed, with room in our suitcases. But it didn’t look as though I was going to be filling mine. Wherever we went it seemed that the shop assistants would look me up and down before declaring that they didn’t ‘do that size’. I knew I was overweight, but I wasn’t enormous! A UK size 14-16. Bigger than I’d ever been in my life, due to a combination of things I couldn’t control (a long-term illness), and things I could (chocolate, crisps, and wine), the shopping trip left me feeling fat and ugly. Not the best way to be feeling on a romantic holiday!
At the time I felt as though I’d been battling way too long already. I’d try some exercise plan, which after a while would make me ill again, and I’d stop. A few months later, I’d try something else with the same result. After New York I tried again and lost a bit of weight, coming down to a UK size 14. But the weight soon crept on again and I began to think I’d never be my ‘normal’ size again. I’d look at my body and wonder how it could ever lose the excess weight: it all seemed so permanent.
Feeling sorry for myself wasn’t working for me, so I chose a different approach, and decided to love my body exactly how it was. It sounds easy, but it wasn’t. Eventually I learned to believe that I’m more than how I look, and what size or shape I am. I’m worth so much more. I am so much more. And I realised that if I lost the weight, I’d be exactly the same person, I’d just be wearing smaller clothes. I dealt with the demons in my head and learned to love and accept myself wherever and however I am.
Bizarrely, that acceptance allowed me to acknowledge why I wanted to lose the weight. I’d been telling myself that I wanted to be healthy and fit. Which I do. But I also wanted the clothes I like to wear to look good on me. And I think they look best on me when I’m slimmer. Shallow? Vain? Moi? Looks like it! And in the area of my looks, I can live with it. Because I’m worth more, I am more, than how I look. So as long as I’m not shallow or vain throughout every area of my life, who gives?!
So last September the husband and I made some changes. We hired a personal trainer, worked out in between sessions, and made some changes to what we eat. It was hard work. But by December I’d lost two stone, which is the equivalent of a couple of Kimbers, and was down to a size 12. Now the workouts are part of our lives, and our mantra of ‘mostly unprocessed, most of the time’ when it comes to food, means that we fill our bodies with good stuff most of the time, while allowing for occasional lapses. Because this will always be a body that eats crisps and drinks wine 😉