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.
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.