I recently had lunch with a friend who now happens to be the girlfriend of someone I went to school with (bear with me here…). She said they’d been discussing what a small world it was & he mentioned that when he’d known me before I ‘used to be well fit’. Well, that must be the worst compliment ever?!
He is right, I suppose: when I was in my mid-teens, I was very fit, healthy & loved competitive sport. I played netball, hockey, basketball & ski raced regularly, which meant that I went on fitness camps, ran & did weights daily. Looking back, I was pretty damn hot. I even had a six pack. What I’d give for a six pack now….
When I reached 17, I got kidney failure as a result of glandular fever & that’s where the saga with my weight began, as the exercise stopped abruptly & I slowly but surely put weight on & became a bit more squidgy around the edges with every year that passed. I never really regained my previous fitness levels, due in part that I never regained my energy levels & so exercise became much less enjoyable & more of a chore.
It was also around this time that I discovered alcohol & this, I fear, was the final nail in my figure’s coffin. Since then, I’ve tried more than my fair share of diets, with varying degrees of success….
When I was at Uni, a friend & I decided to join Weightwatchers. The Leader made the big mistake of telling us that we could eat ‘free foods’ & save our Points up for treats, if we wanted to, rather than eat them all in the day. I took this literally & ate nothing but crab sticks for about 2 weeks, whilst saving my Points for vodka redbulls on the various student nights (3 trebles for £1, as I remember – apparently this practice encourages irresponsible drinking & has been banned now, but I don’t remember drinking irresponsibly…!). I had to stop this ‘diet’ after a couple of weeks, as I noticed a distinct fishy odour following me around, which isn’t good when you’re trying to make friends & influence people as a fresher at Uni. I don’t think I actually lost any weight at all. I was basically paying £5 a week for the use of the leader’s scales. Bargain.
A few years ago, before being a bridesmaid at my brother’s wedding, I also tried the Very Low Calorie Diet, out of desperation. For the uninitiated amongst you, this involves drinking nothing but milkshakes, soups & the occasional unidentifiable ‘bar’ – presumably so you can actually chew on something & don’t lose the use of your teeth all together as a result of the diet. The calories consumed are less than 900, if I remember rightly. I have never felt so weak in my life & ended up being hospitalised with a kidney infection, as the diet tells you to drink lots of water – again, I took this to the extreme & drank bloody loads of the stuff; effectively drowning my poor kidneys, as they couldn’t cope.
One January, I remember peering into a vat of cabbage soup the size of our local swimming baths & thinking murderous thoughts about the fact that this was all I would exist on for the forseeable future. About 3 days in & I had developed such bad wind, that I reckon one big trump & I could have broken the land speed record.
Now, I have never had a particularly bad diet & spent
a good proportion all of my twenties incredibly envious of the friends I have who can eat what they like, not exercise & still look amazing. (I still hope that some point in the future they will all wake up looking like Eddie Murphy in the Nutty Professor, before he shrinks himself. Hey, I can dream!).
I remember going to the doctors to discuss my weight, as my blood pressure was high & being absolutely enraged that because I was fairly big, he assumed I had a McDonalds breakfast, Greggs pasty for lunch, takeaway for tea & washed the whole lot down with several gallons of full fat Coke. He prescribed me some tablets, which work by absorbing any excess fat in your diet & ‘fast-tracking’ it out of your system. If you take them & eat a low fat diet, you are likely to lose more weight than just following the low fat diet alone. In theory, this was fine. Until I forgot about the low fat bit. After having a pizza one evening as a treat, I took my tablet as usual & what followed can only be described as toilet pyrotechnics. For the entire night & the 2 days & nights that followed.
Basically, when the tablets ‘fast track’ the excess fat, you shit oil. I kid you not. After 50+ hours of never daring to be more than a metre from the toilet, I felt like someone had picked me up & wrung me out. I didn’t take another of those tablets, surprisingly.
There were some others on the market at the time that were pretty much legal ‘speed’ & acted by suppressing your appetite. I remember begging the doctor, like a drug-taker desperate for her next fix, to let me try these, but he refused due to my blood pressure. I think that was the best decision for all involved.
There have also been non-noteworthy dalliances with the Maple Syrup diet (Beyonce did it, that was enough to sell it to me); Atkins (I had the breath of an ageing alcoholic & didn’t poo for 2 weeks) & also the ridiculously expensive delivered-to-your-door meals that arrived approximately a week before I found out I was pregnant & I then proceeded to be sick for 12 weeks & never ate them.
After marrying Mr Teapot, we started to talk about the potential arrival of little Teapots & this is when everything slotted in to place. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, my hormones were all over the place & to make matters worse, I also had insulin resistance, which meant that my body was particularly sensitive to carbohydrates, with my body producing a shed-load of insulin every time I ate them, which subsequently turned into fat, which I stored around my tummy – prompting some embarrassing questions about being pregnant, way before Little Teapot was a reality. I know that following a low-carb lifestyle (I am reluctant to say diet, or all I want to eat is macaroni cheese) can work for me & I also know that when I do eat carbs, I get the ‘carb-hangover’ that makes me lethargic & often moody for days afterwards, so I weigh up (excuse the pun) if the want for carbs is worth the feelings that follow.
After having Little Teapot & following a pretty difficult pregnancy (sure to be covered in a future blog), I decided that what I wanted was to be fit & healthy & hopefully that would mean slim too, so I took up running alongside my low carb lifestyle. I’m over 2 stone down now, but I’m not skinny & don’t think I ever will be. I’m getting fitter & healthier for Mr Teapot & Little Teapot & I hope that one day I’ll have the confidence to appreciate my curves, rather than wishing them away.
Until then, I’m still on the hunt for the magic weightloss potion. I’ll let you know if I find it.