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I’ve finally lost some more weight.  About 500g, which is not to be sniffed at.

I feel hopeful that more weight loss will happen, and hopeful that I am making lifelong changes to my way of eating.

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I’ve certainly experienced many benefits since going sugar-free: more appetite control, more energy, fewer mood swings, and clearer skin.  In the past week since cutting down on carbs I’ve noticed that I don’t need morning tea at all.  Around 11am I think ‘hmm, I’m a little hungry’ but that’s about it.  I don’t actually need to eat anything.

I’m hopeful that I will keep on running.  I had to go back to Week 2 of Couch to 5 k because I got sick, but I didn’t let it stop me for long.  I had a great run this morning – one of those runs where you lose track of time and get a surprise when the app says your time is up.

Man, I LOVE hope!  I’ve been hopeless, that’s for sure…(this where the flashback wavy lines in a movie would appear.)

As a young teen I am convinced I am fat.  I’m not, but in my mind I don’t ‘measure’ up to all skinny girls in my class who were cool and popular with the boys.  I certainly don’t look like the girls do in Cosmo.  I try several different diets and exercise plans.  The only time I lose weight and kept it off for a while is due to doing an Aerobics class at my high school in America every day (yes, that is a legitimate class over there).  Lord knows how, as I also discover pizza at the same time…

After I come home from America I am really unhappy.  I want to stay over there, but my visa conditions won’t allow it.  I eat.  I put on all the weight I’d lost, and then some.

When I start university, I put on more weight.  I am too busy studying and having fun with my friends to exercise.  But it’s not much fun being the one overlooked by the guys who go for my skinnier friends instead.  I hate on myself for my lack of willpower.  If only I could develop some discipline I would be thin.  If I was x kilos lighter, life would be better etc.  I join a gym, but it’s quite far away so I don’t go often.  Finally, I do Jenny Craig for a while and exercise regularly at home, and lose 20 kilos.  But I can’t afford to keep paying for all that Jenny Craig food (and my word, it is terrible!).  I put on weight and get too down about myself to exercise any more.

After university I spend a year living in Korea and lose weight.  It’s hard not to when you eat their food.  But when I come home…disaster.  I get really sick (I believe the dreadful pollution in the city I lived in seriously compromised my immune system.  When you are used to breathing clean NZ air, it must have been a massive shock to my body).  And I mean sick.  That year I develop hypothyroidism, only I don’t know it.  It runs in my family, but it’s very unusual for it to develop in someone so young.  I put on probably 15 kilos or more that year.  I am so tired I hardly have the energy to do anything.  Walking to the bus stop to get to and fro from work is an effort.

I get worse and worse, and one day finally think ‘hmm, I wonder if it’s my thyroid’.  I  beg my doctor to let me take a blood test.  Yes, my thyroid has packed it in.  I  am put on medication, but it takes a long time for it to have any noticeable effect.  Actually, it takes several years as they can never get the levels right.  I’m a tricky case and need my medication tweaked all the time, whereas most hypothyroid people are fine with just a yearly check-up.

So by this time I am seriously, seriously obese.  I can barely walk a block without getting puffed.  I can’t even look at myself in the mirror.  I stop buying clothes altogether because nothing fits me.  In desperation I join a gym just down the road from my apartment and that helps me shed some kilos and gets me into a more mobile state.  I’m still overweight.  I still hate my life.  I have a full life: good job, lots to do, and really great friends, but I believe that no man could ever love me as I’m repulsive.  So I don’t even try to meet any one.

I move to the UK to get out of this rut and it helps.  I live in London for several years and need to walk most places so I get fitter.  I also decide diets don’t work and give up on them altogether.  But after a while, I get burnout because I suffer from FOMO and basically spend every spare minute sight-seeing/hanging out with my friends/volunteering/going to church and church-related activities/studying/stressing out about my sick Mum back home.  I am out almost every night.  I realise that over a 6 month period I was only home for more than two nights in a row…ONCE.  I catch myself just in time from having a nervous breakdown.  I try various ways to get over the burnout which include moving out of London, cutting down my commitments, eating healthier food (low-fat of course, as that’s good for you, right?), and trying to get my thyroid medication right.

None of it works.

I’m still fat, still lonely, still hating myself.  I comfort eat and hate myself with every mouthful.  And I am still to-the-bone-exhausted.

Eventually I decide that if I am going to get over burnout I need to go home to New Zealand and live the quiet life.  I come home.  Totally broke.  I get a job at my old work.  I start going to my local church.  And that’s all I do.  Nothing else.  I go to church and go to work.  But I am not well.  I start doing quite bizarre, un-Angela type things.  After a harsh ‘friendtervention’, I get counselling.  My counsellor is awesome and I discover that my burnout has turned into an anxiety disorder.  I start taking antidepressants.  I start to emerge from the fog and after six months no longer need the medication.  I feel myself again and start to exercise.

I meet a lovely young man called D.  We become friends, fall in love and get married.  I enter into the happiest time of my life (still is).

But I’m still fat and can’t lose weight.   I still comfort eat, and my consumption of junk food increases when I get an office to myself.  There’s no one to see me eat!  I scoff packets of biscuits and lollies and hide the evidence.   Eventually I feel completely hopeless when I realise that I am STARVING an hour after eating breakfast every morning.  I eat morning tea at 9am, and need to buy another lunch as I’ve eaten my packed lunch by 11am.  I decide I am a lost cause. My doctor recommends a book called Sweet Poison by David Gillespie.  I read it and suddenly I have hope.

Giving up sugar is one of the best things I have ever done.  I had no idea just how addicted to sugar I was.  There was NO way I could have lost weight and ate sensibly on my old ‘diets’ as they were low fat, and therefore riddled with sugar.  Sure, giving up sugar requires a bit of willpower at first, but after a while it becomes, well, easy-peasy.  I fall off the wagon for a time, but eventually get back on it and have been sugar-free for quite a while now.

I feel in control of my eating.  I don’t get anxious about when I will get my next meal.  I don’t spend lots of mental energy craving sweets or planning dessert.  Even my comfort-eating seems to be easier to control.

Giving up sugar has given me hope.  This is the first ‘diet’ (I hate that word) that I feel is remotely sustainable.  It hasn’t been hard or filled with cravings.  I hope that I will lose more weight.  In fact, eating the way that I do, I can’t see how I can fail at this.  I hope that as the weight comes off and I get fitter by running; I will be able to keep up with my daughter when she moves into the toddler years.  I hope I will have the energy to take her for bike rides, and to run around a park, and challenge her to swimming races.  I hope that this lifestyle lasts, but I am encouraged by the fact that  I have no cravings that tempt me back to my old ways.

Wow, so this has turned into a looong post.  But you get the gist.  I’m feeling hopeful.

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