Weight loss and body image … something I’ve struggled with all my life. Sadly, like most teenage girls I spent my school days obsessing over my weight, always thinking my tiny frame was ‘fat’ then I got into a bad relationship where I was told over and over how ‘fat’ I was … By the age of 20 and a size 6 I had tried every diet under the sun, I had taken laxatives, starved myself, massively over exercised and was still unhappy with how I looked. At 21 I met Phil, for the first time in a long time I felt happy and comfortable … like a lot of new relationships we fell into the happy trap, which meant we eat a lot! I went to a size 12 which it a very healthy size but I was so unhappy with how my body looked, then I fell pregnant. Unfortunately, we lost our baby and I had to have an operation to give birth, I had to carry my baby which had died weeks before for 3 weeks before I had the operation, which as you can imagine was very traumatic for me. Going through this I lost weight very quickly as I wasn’t eating (stress – this is what happens to me when I am stressed), then soon after I fell pregnant again with Noah. Throughout my pregnancy I eat a normal, healthy amount and was obsessed with giving my baby everything he needed, resulting in not putting much extra weight on at all and a very healthy 9lbs baby boy. After giving birth to Noah is when my overeating began. I suffered badly with postnatal depression and I was very lonely, so I eat and I eat a lot. By the time I fell pregnant with Toby I was 4 stone heavier than I had ever been. I put a lot of weight on while pregnant with Toby and when I gave birth I didn’t recognise myself. I felt so low in how I saw myself and felt so unhealthy. The thought of running around the park with my boys filled me with dread as I got out of breath walking upstairs, which lead me to making the decision to get fit, I wanted to lose the weight but mainly I wanted to be the mum my boys deserved. And so, my journey began …
I was 15 stone when I decided to get fit and I had a 2-year-old and a 3 month old baby and also a C-Section scar that was quite new. I started by deciding I needed to do it right so I didn’t set a bad example to my boys so I began making healthy meals and smaller portions, I cut out the snacks and fizzy drinks and I reduced the sugar in my tea. I also went to my mum’s house 3 times a week to exercise in her loft room while she watched my boys for 40 minuets, these exercises started as light weights or a Davina McCall DVD. Let me tell you I hated every minute of the exercise, it hurt and made me feel like I was huge, I would think this is never going to work I’m too big, I’m too tired, I’m meant to be this size… I thought this but I never let these thoughts take over and I kept it up. I also walked with the double pram for an hour nearly every day. This had a massive effect on me and the weight started coming off, some weeks 1lbs, some weeks 5lbs, I saw every pound as a win and I started seeing my body change shape. I started back at work and I was 4 stone lighter from doing what I’ve said above. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the spare time to walk everyday anymore so I would just do my exercise DVDs on a morning and walk when I could. I also started using protein shakes I didn’t have much time on a morning for breakfast so I started having a shake instead of missing it and then snacking or making an unhealthy choice later in the day, I would blend it with fruit, veg and flax seed so I was getting what my body needed and sometimes if time was tight I would have a shake for lunch too and then a healthy meal for Dinner. This worked so well for me and soon I lost my last stone.
My goal was to lose 5 stone and I did it in 2years, I did it the healthy way and the best way for me, now 2 years on I’ve maintained my weight loss. I will go up a few pounds and down again but that’s life, someday’s I feel like I look bigger, someday’s I’m happy with how I look.
After losing all the weight and working so hard I noticed my excess skin on my tummy so much more, after my C-Section with Noah I was stitched very badly due to haemorrhaging and needing a blood transfusion, the scar made my tummy hang over (which most Section scars do) but it was also painful. I spoke to my doctor about it many times and we agreed the only way to remove the problem was corrective surgery. I lost weight, exercised and tried every cream in the book to help naturally but I came to the realisation last year that all my hard work was overshadowed by my tummy, so I booked myself in to The Nuffield Hospital to have a corrective tummy tuck. I had a consultation with my amazing surgeon Dr Dunkin, and we decided I needed a full tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty) with muscle tightening from where they had separated during pregnancy, I was offered liposuction and body contouring also. I declined this as I worked hard by myself to lose the weight and didn’t want anything to take that away from me, so I booked myself in for the operation minus the lipo and contouring.
Waking up hazy and confused I soon had a horrible realisation of where I was when I tried to move and felt the pain … I am going to be brutally honest about my experience as I really don’t think it’s a decision to be taken lightly. The pain I experienced after this operation was like nothing I’ve felt before, having two C-sections in the past I thought it would be the same type of pain … I was very wrong! Most of the pain was from the muscle tightening, they suture your muscles together and it was absolute agony even breathing, never mind sneezing or coughing. I couldn’t move out of my bed for the first few hours then the first time the nurses asked me to get up I passed out from the pain (and I have a very high pain threshold). On top of the muscle pain my skin was stretched so tight I couldn’t stretch out for 3 weeks until the skin stretched naturally, that too was painful and made my back so sore. I had a new belly button made and that had stitches covering it and my main scar goes hip to hip, I didn’t suffer too much pain from the actual incision, apart from it being a little sore. Having the drain removed from one side of my incision that stretched to the other was like torture and the drive home was terrible. Getting home I sat in bed and cried, I cried for the pain and I cried for putting myself through this. After days and weeks of this pain, not being able to sleep laying down and a lot of tears I started to straighten up and felt more human, I had the stitches removed from my belly button and for the first time since the operation I looked at my new tummy … up until this point I hated it, I think it was because of the pain and the fact I was hunched over and it looked so tight and my belly button looked like a scene from a horror movie. Looking at my new tummy that day I knew I had done the right thing, after all the hard work I’d put in and all the pain I had the tummy I deserved.
Last year when I felt my tummy was healed enough and ready I joined a gym, I started working on toning up (still working on that) I use heavy weights and have also started running on the treadmill something I thought I’d never do. My body is still changing and I’m still working on it every day. I strongly believe life is too short to worry about food and calories every day. I’m a take-away queen and that will never change, I love chocolate and I will never completely cut it out, I think about what I eat and 80% of the time I eat well, I truly believe I’ve been able to lose this weight and keep it off because I looked at it differently, I changed my lifestyle and that’s what makes it easy to maintain. Don’t decide to lose weight and expect it to happen overnight, try to do it to help you feel better, to get fitter and weight loss will follow.
We are given one body and they are amazing, I’ve stopped looking at my body and seeing everything I hate. Now I see a strong body with scars from the life I’ve lived, I see a body that has been through so much but still gets me through every day, that’s given me two perfect healthy boys, now how can I hate that … these bodies of ours are part of who we are and we need to start loving ourselves. So, lose weight if you want to but love how you are now and anything else will be a bonus.
I was the same person at 15stone and I was the same person at my lowest weight of 8stone … I have stretch marks, scars and wobbly bits, yes, I would like to be a few pounds lighter still and toned but in life we are so much more than how much we weigh.
I wish I could tell you some magic diet that I used but I didn’t … I lost weight the only way to healthily lose weight and keep it off. I can however tell you I now run with my boys, I am the first up to do active activities … last year I did a 25km hike! I never thought I’d see the day but I did and so can you.
The place to start is by losing the excuses … I had them but I didn’t use them, I could have used the fact I had a new baby, or that I couldn’t exercise as I had two kids under 2 years old and a husband that works away, but I made it work. If you want something enough you will always make it work.
Secondly you need to lose the unrealistic expectations, it won’t be overnight, you can’t make your body something its not and it won’t be easy. Throw away the scales, don’t become obsessed with the numbers it can make you feel rubbish and like giving up, I go by how I feel and how my clothes fit, I found that’s the best way.
Last but not least stick with it, some days you will feel like its not working … it is. Keep going!
Eating better + smaller portions + moving more = weight loss that stays off.
But first …
Love your body + feed it what it needs = the new you.
I hope this has answered your questions, I’ve promised a lot of people this blog for a long time so I hope it was worth the wait! I am by no means a dietitian or a doctor, this is just my experience.
Here’s to a healthy 2018 and beyond