This was me when I was 16 years old. While it isn’t obvious from the picture, I was a slim and healthy teenager. I ate good, home cooked meals and exercised daily – I swam for a local team, I played badminton for a local club, I had achieved a brown belt in karate, I liked horse riding and I represented my school in netball, cross country running and badminton. My appetite has always been huge, but my weight and health was never affected because of the active lifestyle that I led.
Sixteen years later, my reflection bears no resemblance to the naive, frizzy haired person in the picture. I moved away from home when I was 18 and by the time I was 23 years old I had gained almost 60lbs. My clothes no longer fitted me, others had started to comment on this obvious weight gain and my confidence was shot. For those of you who are wondering how I unknowingly achieved this, here is a step-by-step guide.
1. Remove the word ‘moderation’ from your vocabulary.
2. Move 100 miles away from home.
3. Stop all forms of exercise. Sit. Lie down. Sit some more. Buy a television and watch it as much as possible, sitting down (of course).
4. Forget that you aren’t cooking for a family of five anymore, and continue to create meals that are the same size, but this time just for one person.
5. Start smoking. Remembering that the word moderation now doesn’t exist, smoke as much as possible. Smoke all day, every day, and triple the amount that you smoke when you have a night out with friends. You’ll soon discover that your lung capacity will become so poor that even walking up the stairs will leave you sweaty and flustered. This will also assist in the prevention of any form of exercise.
6. Cut out any form of food that has a naturally bright colour. Instead, focus your energies on the ‘beige’ and the ‘foods beginning with C’ food groups such as chocolate, crisps, cake, chips, cookies and cheese. Consume these foods in large quantities.
7. Forget specific meal times. Stop eating breakfast, and make up for the missed meal by consuming large quantities of food late in the evening, just before you go to bed.
8. Use food to accompany any emotion. Eat because you’re feeling sad and have had a bad day. Eat because you’ve had a great day and want to celebrate. Eat because you’re angry, eat because you’re in need of comfort.
9. Treat yourself ‘because you deserve it.’ When shopping, consume a large bag of chocolate. Buy another for when you get home. Eat them on the journey back.
10. Eat a dessert with every meal. And by dessert, I mean cake.
11. Go on a low carb diet and lose 21lbs in six weeks. Get bored of dieting and resume your normal eating habits. This will help you to not only up the weight back on, but it will allow you to add a few extra pounds on top.
12. When out with friends, ignore the calorie content of alcohol and consume several weeks worth of units in one night. Finish the night with a large take-away.
13. Eat other people’s leftovers, justifying yourself because you ‘don’t like to see food being wasted.’
14. Promise yourself that you’ll start the ‘new you’ tomorrow. Repeat the sentiment the next day.
Enough is enough. I’m angry and ashamed that I allowed myself to harm my body to this extent. While I haven’t gained any weight over the last few years, I haven’t lost it either. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of not being able to wear clothes from my favourite stores. I’m tired of disliking my reflection. I’m not a vain person, I never have been, but I have lost a lot of confidence in my attitude towards myself and it is now time for a change.
Today I received a message from my friend asking if I wanted to go running with her, and it was the perfect kick up the backside that I needed. Now, where are my running shoes?
What about you guys? Have you struggled with weight issues?
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog.