Day zero: How I’m learning to love myself

For the past nine years of having a binge eating disorder, my life has been divided into ‘good’ days and ‘bad’ days. ‘Good’ days are when I eat well under the calories necessary to sustain my weight. ‘Bad’ days are when I reach or exceed this calorie limit.

It’s crazy: my eight-year-old daughter could be cuddling up to me, saying ‘Mummy, I love you so much, you’re the best mummy in the world!’ – but if I’d had a binge that day, I would still be feeling bad.

Yesterday I met up with my friend Charlie Brooker for lunch. I told him I’d already eaten a 100g chocolate bar for breakfast and described myself as ‘hopeless’. He gently pointed out that I was beating myself up needlessly.

I don’t think anyone had ever said that to me before – not even a therapist. People have said ‘you’re still beautiful’ or ‘you’re not fat’, which are very well-meaning things to say, but still prioritise good looks and slimness over being fat and ugly.

What Charlie said hit home. I thought about it for the rest of the day – the way in which I’m putting off my happiness until I’m skinny. The way in which my size invalidates the rest of my life, no matter how luminous it is. The way in which my scales dominate my existence and dictate my mood.

The fact is, I’ve been through some seriously shitty things: an abusive childhood, two abusive relationships, one of which included violence during pregnancy, one rape, hundreds of sexual assaults while working as a dancer in clubs, 12 sexual assaults in everyday life, a major nervous breakdown and serious mental health issues… is it any wonder that I subconsciously feel I need physical ‘padding’ like a suit of armour to keep me protected from and invisible to men? Or that binge eating is my way of coping with life?

My favourite thing I’ve ever done is be a mum to Lily. I love her to infinity and beyond, and she loves me right back – and for most of her life, I’ve been plus size. She’s the best and I’m so, so lucky. I have great friends, a beloved grandmother who I see each week, I write for a living (it’s not much of a living, but I love it) and I have every right to be happy.

So, for the first time in nine years, I’m throwing out all my scales (no more pictures of the scales on this blog – whoo-hoo!). Yes, I would prefer to be a normal weight for the sake of my health, but I’m certainly not going to put off my happiness until some distant point in the future. I’m going to stop going to Slimming World and counting calories and Syns, and will instead try intuitive eating – eating when I’m hungry, not eating when I’m not, and trying to eat my five-a-day.

And if I fancy a piece of cake and a hot chocolate, I’m damn well going to have them, enjoy them and not feel guilty and as though I’ve ‘ruined’ everything. For the first time in a long time, I am going to be properly happy.

If you enjoyed this post, please support me on Patreon

This post has been made possible by my awesome Patreon supporters Peter Weilgony, Ricky Steer, Marc Alexander, Sammy and Jelly, John Fleming, Mary Clarke, Matthew Sylvester, Brian Engler, Jack Scanlan, Dave Nattriss, MusicalComedyGuide.com, Mark White, Lucy Spencer, Shane Jarvis, Graham Nunn and Marcus P Knight.

 

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Day #23: Do I even want to lose weight?

So far I’ve only lost 6.8lbs this month. I’m pretty sure that, though I consciously want to lose weight, my subconscious doesn’t. It makes excuses for me to eat, like ‘oh, I don’t know how many calories I’ve eaten today, so I might as well eat what I want’, or ‘I’m going out for lunch with a friend, so I don’t want to just let him eat alone’, or ‘I don’t want to eat too little unless my metabolism slows’.

I need to realise that nobody is putting food in my mouth. What I eat is my responsibility alone, and my excuses are just that: excuses to remain fat. Of course, my subconscious is playing a huge part, but recognising that is part of the journey.

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Diet update

Days: 22

Total loss: 6.8lbs

Still need to lose: 60.6lbs

This post has been made possible by my awesome Patreon supporters Peter Weilgony, Ricky Steer, Marc Alexander, Sammy and Jelly, John Fleming, Mary Clarke, Matthew Sylvester, Brian Engler, Jack Scanlan, Dave Nattriss, MusicalComedyGuide.com, Mark White, Lucy Spencer, Shane Jarvis, Graham Nunn and Marcus P Knight.

They receive a whole host of exciting rewards in addition to this credit, including my secret never-published fiction and top secret photos! If you enjoyed this post, please support me on Patreon

 

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Day #22: Focusing on the positive

Another day of striving and eating less; another morning of failure on the scales. Zut alors! How can it be possible for me to eat fewer calories than I burn and actually gain weight? It defies the laws of physics! Isaac Newton is turning in his grave as I type.

However, let’s focus on the good news. I started the diet exactly three weeks ago, and my measurements have changed a lot.

My boobs were 40E. They’re now a 38D. Still large by anyone’s standards, but shrinking.

My waist was 41 inches. It’s now shrunk to an amazing 34 inches!

Lastly, my hips were 46 inches. They’ve decreased by two inches, and are now 44 inches.

The waist is the most important bit, as carrying fat around your waist is dangerous. And losing seven inches in three weeks is no mean feat! It’s an inch lost per three days, maths fans.

So yes: focusing on the positive makes sense, even if the scales are being profoundly annoying. It would be a real shame to quit now and undo all my hard work. Every time I consider giving up, I think, ‘How do I feel about being fat forever?’ And the answer is: demoralised. Admitting defeat is not in my nature.

Therefore: onwards and downwards!

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Diet update

Days: 21

Total loss: 7.4lbs

Still need to lose: 60lbs

Takeaways

When you’re dieting hard but the scales aren’t showing results, measure yourself instead. You might be pleasantly surprised.

When thinking of quitting your diet, ask yourself: are you willing to be fat forever? If not, keep going.

This post has been made possible by my awesome Patreon supporters Peter Weilgony, Ricky Steer, Marc Alexander, Sammy and Jelly, John Fleming, Mary Clarke, Matthew Sylvester, Brian Engler, Jack Scanlan, Dave Nattriss, MusicalComedyGuide.com, Mark White, Lucy Spencer, Shane Jarvis, Graham Nunn and Marcus P Knight.

They receive a whole host of exciting rewards in addition to this credit, including my secret never-published fiction and top secret photos! If you enjoyed this post, please support me on Patreon

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Day #21: At last!

At last, the tiniest bit of movement on the scales. If they hadn’t budged today, after a whole day of being ascetic and weighing and measuring every morsel, I might have given up and caved into the twin temptations of pizza and chocolate.

Thanks for all your comments, by the way. They’re greatly appreciated and let me know that people are reading and caring. I have to keep reminding myself that these dull days where nobody knows or sees what I eat are paving the way for the big events this year which I want to be slim for: my birthday, my book launch, and my humanist celebrant training.

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Diet update

Days: 20

Total loss: 8lbs

Still need to lose: 59.4lbs

This post has been made possible by my awesome Patreon supporters Peter Weilgony, Ricky Steer, Marc Alexander, Sammy and Jelly, John Fleming, Mary Clarke, Matthew Sylvester, Brian Engler, Jack Scanlan, Dave Nattriss, MusicalComedyGuide.com, Mark White, Lucy Spencer, Shane Jarvis, Graham Nunn and Marcus P Knight.

They receive a whole host of exciting rewards in addition to this credit, including my secret never-published fiction and top secret photos! If you enjoyed this post, please support me on Patreon

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Day #20: Stuck in a rut

Yesterday I tried really hard on the diet. I weighed and measured and counted everything I ate, stayed completely ‘on plan’ (I’m a member of Slimming World) and was really looking forward to weighing myself today and seeing a huge loss – and yet, I’m stuck at 12st 0.8lbs.

It’s as though my scales are faulty, though I’m sure they’re not. It’s also incredibly frustrating. But I just have to trust that if I keep dieting and doing everything right, I’ll see a loss very soon. Then I can stop using the same bloody picture every post!

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Diet update

Days: 19

Total loss: 7.6lbs

Still need to lose: 59.8lbs

This post has been made possible by my awesome Patreon supporters Peter Weilgony, Ricky Steer, Marc Alexander, Sammy and Jelly, John Fleming, Mary Clarke, Matthew Sylvester, Brian Engler, Jack Scanlan, Dave Nattriss, MusicalComedyGuide.com, Mark White, Lucy Spencer, Shane Jarvis, Graham Nunn and Marcus P Knight.

They receive a whole host of exciting rewards in addition to this credit, including my secret never-published fiction and top secret photos! If you enjoyed this post, please support me on Patreon

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Day #19: A revelation

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My daughter weighs four stone. She asked me how much I weighed.

’12 stone,’ I replied.

‘And how much should you weigh?’ she asked.

‘8 stone,’ I told her.

‘Wow!’ she breathed. ‘You’re carrying an extra me around with you!’

Now, she is very heavy – I can barely lift her, and when I do it’s only for a couple of seconds before I have to set her down again – so the comparison really hit home.

To think that I’m carrying four stone of extra weight around is kind of shocking. What must that be doing to my joints? No wonder I can hardly run.

My daughter’s just gone back to her dad’s, so I’m firmly back on the wagon again. I’ve bought some vegetables – mange tout, baby corn, shallots and coriander – to make a nice stir fry, and am currently eating lychees.

I have to shed this extra four stone. And I will.

Diet update

Days: 18

Total loss: 7.6lbs

Still need to lose: 59.8lbs

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This post has been made possible by my awesome Patreon supporters Peter Weilgony, Ricky Steer, Marc Alexander, Sammy and Jelly, John Fleming, Mary Clarke, Matthew Sylvester, Brian Engler, Jack Scanlan, Dave Nattriss, MusicalComedyGuide.com, Mark White, Lucy Spencer, Shane Jarvis, Graham Nunn and Marcus P Knight.

They receive a whole host of exciting rewards in addition to this credit, including my secret never-published fiction and top secret photos! If you enjoyed this post, please support me on Patreon

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Day #18: Quick change of plan

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OK: I’ve decided to eat my maintenance calories on the days when Lil is with me. This is because it’s far easier to stick to a low-calorie diet when there aren’t muffins, scones and crisps galore in the house!

So I’m going to eat 1,200 calories a day from Monday to Thursday and 1,700 calories from Friday to Sunday. I think this will work out a lot more favourably for weight loss.

Diet update

Days: 17

Total loss: 7.6lbs

Still need to lose: 59.8lbs

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This post has been made possible by my awesome Patreon supporters Peter Weilgony, Ricky Steer, Marc Alexander, Sammy and Jelly, John Fleming, Mary Clarke, Matthew Sylvester, Brian Engler, Jack Scanlan, Dave Nattriss, MusicalComedyGuide.com, Mark White, Lucy Spencer, Shane Jarvis, Graham Nunn and Marcus P Knight.

They receive a whole host of exciting rewards in addition to this credit, including my secret never-published fiction and top secret photos! If you enjoyed this post, please support me on Patreon

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