Leaving the weight behind

Almost a year ago, I was standing in a hotel bathroom, in Manchester, feeling rather sorry for myself. Although I was immensely enjoying the convention I was attending, I was also feeling rather out of sorts thanks to being overweight. Finally, here in this hotel room, years of poor diet and lack of exercise had caught up with me. I’d reached 18st 10, and there standing in that harsh hotel bathroom light, I looked every bit of it.

Reaching a weight like that doesn’t happen over night. It’s a gradual thing when you’re not paying attention. You never worry about the takeaway you’re eating now. Or the Guinness you’re drinking now. Because you know tomorrow you won’t wake up suddenly overweight. But all those nows add up, until eventually you’re standing in a hotel room with indigestion for the third morning in a row.

I guess there are many good reasons why I resolved to lose weight that morning. Mostly I realised I hated my own body. But I was also fed up of buying larger and larger clothes. Of struggling to tie my own laces. Or of slowly becoming a carbon copy of my late father. Unlike him, I care about being a good parent, and part of that means sticking around for my children, so my lifestyle needed to change.

I said nothing to anyone about my plan to lose weight. I didn’t know whether I could do it, and publicly admitting failure was something I wasn’t willing to contemplate. So I quietly changed my habits. Out went alcohol, completely. Also white bread. Cakes. Biscuits. Crisps, and chocolate. Anything vaguely unhealthy was gone, replaced with fruit and vegetables.

Next was the exercise. I already had an exercise bike, but it wasn’t getting used. That changed very quickly. Every day, twenty minutes peddling, rain or shine. Tired or not tired. Kids or no kids. Third was calorie counting. Trust me, knowing exactly how many calories you’re consuming is a game changer. The moment you know that portion of chips is an hour on the bike, those chips are out.

Finally, I started to weigh myself regularly. Not eating the food I loved was hard work. Not drinking was hard work. Exercising after caring for two young children all day was hard work. And without the regular reward of seeing my weight go down, I would have been lost. I cannot stress how important knowing I was making progress was, given how much I was doing without.

And then one day, somehow, I was down two stone. Then Four. I was looking slimmer, and my clothes no longer fitted. About six months after starting, it was beginning to sink in that losing weight was something I could do. Once I’d hit Fourteen stone I knew there was no going back, this was going to stick.

Currently I’m sitting in another hotel in Manchester, twelve months on, and a shade over twelve stone. Fruit and vegetables are a permanent part of my diet. I haven’t had a stomach ache or indigestion in a year. There’s even the merest hint of some stomach muscles. I’ll probably never have a six pack, or be a ripped Adonis, but I’ll also never be eighteen stone again either.

What lies ahead is probably the toughest part of this journey; developing a healthy relationship with food. I need to work out how to eat more calories but still maintain a healthy weight. How to not obsess over the calorific value of everything, and how to start enjoying food again without worrying about how fattening it is. But if I’ve learnt anything this last year, it’s that I can do this. And I will.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: