New Beginnings

10

December 3, 2012 by Max

purple dress

“You were so fit when I met you!”

My boyfriend’s looking (a bit lustfully) at a photo of me taken right after we met 18 months ago. A slim size 12 blonde is radiating confidence as she smiles at the camera, hand on hip, displaying tanned toned arms, and a waist circled by a gold Topshop belt in size small.

Then he looks back at me and says ‘You could do it, you know. You could look like that again.’

And I blink back tears and  try really hard to smile, and I do my best to blank out the heavy reality of the 55kgs I’ve packed on in the last 18 months and how unhappy it makes me, because right now, I really can’t believe I was ever her. And I’m 99.9% certain I could never look like that or even be that awesome woman ever again.

55kgs in a year – what the hell happened? (You’re not the only one wondering, I ask myself that several times a day.)

I’ve always been a compulsive eater, even when I was a kid. Chocolate was manna to me – when I wasn’t given it by my parents, I stole it and when I was given it I ate it all as fast as I could. I developed an unhealthy habit of binge eating and I got fatter and fatter each year until I was diagnosed with intracranial hypertension at 22 and then depression when I was 25. It wasn’t solely because of my weight, but at the time I weighed 122kgs and was a UK size 24, and was admittedly desperately unhappy because of it. I’m pretty strong willed, and once I faced up to depression, I was determined it was not  going to beat me. I resolved to join a gym, get some endorphins from working out and send depression packing. I knew I was going to hate the gym part of that plan (because what kind of freaks want to spend time getting sweaty in a room with a bunch of other people getting

sweaty? Gross) but there was no way I was going to take pills. While I was doing the depression-bashing thing, I thought I might as well try losing weight again to go with my new exercise plans. Nothing to lose except weight, right?

To cut a long story short, I discovered that I loved working out and getting fit. I mean really loved it. I’d never been ‘sporty’ and hated sports at school, but I found out I was pretty strong and that I actually enjoyed my gym sessions. To cut a long story short, I learned to tune into my body and gradually changed the way I ate (I’ve since learned about something called Intuitive Eating, which I think is what I was doing without knowing it) and the weight fell off effortlessly. I mean, I was putting a fair amount of effort in at the gym, but I was having so much fun it never felt like work. And since I was learning to listen to my body and not over

eat/comfort eat like I’d done my whole life, I was loving the eating side of things too. I dropped down to 72kgs, rowed competitively (and was pretty badass at it, too – hello semi-finals of Henley!), completed events like the London Duathlon and rediscovered myself. It was like the layers of fat I’d built up had buried who I was, and as I dropped the fat I gradually let myself become happy again. I swore I’d never stop exercising, would never revert back to my old eating habits, and would never destroy myself again.

Then – I’m not entirely sure what happened. Last summer, I got made redundant. At the same time I’d stopped enjoying rowing. I quit rowing after Henley, had to quit the gym because I couldn’t afford it with no income, and then stopped working out altogether because I didn’t feel I h

ad anything to train for any more. I had to move into a cheaper house I hated, where I didn’t have a lot of my own space and felt cut-off from my friends. I fell in love for the first time, and was terrified – I’d spent my whole life knowing I was disgusting and physically repulsive and here was this wonderful man wanting to do scary stuff like see me naked. Argh. All this happening all at once created massive emotional turmoil that I just couldn’t cope with. I started binge eating again. And didn’t stop.

Today, I’m a size 18/20 and weigh over 120kgs again. I hate the way I look and feel. I can’t remember the last time I really felt good about myself. I remember what it was like to be the fit girl in the photo but I can’t rela

te to her now. I want to be her again, but how? It seems like such a huge mountain to climb. Logically, I know it’s possible and I also know I did it once and can do it again.

So now, I’m getting started. I’m scared of it, and I really don’t think I’ll ever be that good again, but even typing those words is making me want to slap myself hard and shout ‘YES YOU CAN! HARDEN THE F**K UP!! JUST DO IT!!” So I’m going to. I can do it. Watch this space; I’m getting my life and my body back.

Here’s the ‘You were so fit’ photo from June 2011:

 

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10 thoughts on “New Beginnings

  1. amanda jane geaves says:

    Hi
    I am looking to start the paleo way in January. I have had IBS for 20yrs and Fibromylagia for about 8yrs and gone from a size 8/10 to 14+. Weight 7st 10lbs to 11st. I feel exactly the same as you and wanted to do something about it. I came across paleo/primal blue print and have read both books.
    What I would like to know is, everyone raves that even after a few days they feel great, full of energy etc, are you beginning to feel the effects of eating paleo?

    AJ

    • Max says:

      Hey Amanda, the most impressive result I’ve noticed so far is feeling so positive and upbeat which kicked in about 8-9 days in. I’m not getting mad mood swings any more (by which I mean no random bouts of crying, feeling a despairing, hopeless, etc) which was one of the main things I wanted to achieve. I’m also feeling the urge to start exercising again! I can’t say I have a bundles of newfound energy, but I am 50kgs overweight and very unfit, so I don’t have tons of energy anyway. I am napping less at weekends though!

    • amanda jane geaves says:

      Hi Max

      Started Paleo early. On 6th day now and feeling better already. Today I have been full of beans ( not literally) lol. How you doing? I have dropped 4lbs already which is a bonus. I was told this morning that there was an article in the Daily Express, I never buy daily papers but on the way to work I bought one. A 3 page article on Mark Sissons and paleo 21. I have put it up in the staff room as I have been banging on about it lol.
      I have found cooking the food ok and for the first time I am actually hungry in the morning, I have been taking a container of fruit to work and munching that! The thing I am missing the most is my cup of tea with milk and 2 sugars, I have drunk some black coffee but its hard yuk lol.
      Would love to hear how you are doing

      Amanda

      • Max says:

        Hi Amanda, I’m setting up a marketing biz – it’s what I currently do! How is it going, still staying strong? It is challenging, but keep going!

  2. amanda jane geaves says:

    Hi Max

    I am glad to hear you are still going with it. I looked up the 3 stone I need to lose in kilo’s and it 19 so I guess 50 is a challenge lol. I am looking to achieve pain free and more energy, weight loss would be great though.
    I decided to start cutting out things before I started in January so it wasn’t such a shock lol. I have cut out sugar and milk, also potatoes,pasta and rice not my favourites anyway lol
    Exercise well what can I say! ha ha ha ha ha wouldn’t know where to start. Can’t even walk upstairs without requiring oxygen not to mention chronic pain in hips and calves lol.
    I would like to but not sure where to start to be honest. I have a running machine which I manage 10 mins maybe twice every two or three days.
    I sleep most days in the afternoon for an hour or so, I work mornings.
    I would like to know how you get on and maybe get some tips/ideas from you. Paleo isn’t well known here and people think I am mad but I want to prove them wrong. I am 46 yrs old, married with a willing and suffering husband that will be on paleo as well lol

    Amanda

    • Max says:

      I’ll keep blogging and letting you know how I get on! Eating Paleo does take a lot more food planning and prep than usual, but if the foods suit you I think the payoff can be massive. It sounds like you’re making great progress already, well done – I know from experience that lots of little steps add up to big changes over time!

      With exercise, the first time I lost weight, I’d never been in a gym before and had no idea where to begin. I read that just taking 10,000 extra steps a day can make a huge difference, which for me was about 30 mins walking (I’m a slow walker, so it was quite a gentle pace). I made a deal with myself that I’d walk to work or back every day which took 30 mins. If walking is painful for you, is there a pool near you that offers aqua classes? Those are a lot of fun, and because you’re in water they’re low impact so should be non-painful.

      Let me know if you would like links to any Paleo resources or anything on the web – there are a lot of good recipe sites, and I am really loving the book Well Fed – such good recipes!

  3. amanda jane geaves says:

    Hi Max

    Just checking in to see how you are doing. Hope Christmas wasn’t too much of a challenge!

    Next Monday 7th is start date for me to begin, although the last week I have had really bad stomach! so have been cutting out more.

    I have been food shopping for bits and bobs like coconut oil, herbs and spices and almond butter. I have an allotment, greenhouse and poly tunnel, so I am busy shopping for seeds lol

    Happy New Year to you and here’s to our health, hips and happiness

    Amanda

  4. amanda jane geaves says:

    Hi Max

    Started Paleo early. On 6th day now and feeling better already. Today I have been full of beans ( not literally) lol. How you doing? I have dropped 4lbs already which is a bonus. I was told this morning that there was an article in the Daily Express, I never buy daily papers but on the way to work I bought one. A 3 page article on Mark Sissons and paleo 21. I have put it up in the staff room as I have been banging on about it lol.
    I have found cooking the food ok and for the first time I am actually hungry in the morning, I have been taking a container of fruit to work and munching that! The thing I am missing the most is my cup of tea with milk and 2 sugars, I have drunk some black coffee but its hard yuk lol.
    Would love to hear how you are doing

    Amanda

    • Max says:

      Hi Amanda – and WOW! That’s such a great result, I’m proud of you! I decided not to do a Whole30; there are a lot of reasons for it, but the main one is that it was taking a lot of time to prep and research and stuff, and one of my key goals for this year is starting my own business. I don’t have enough energy to devote to two huge projects all at once, so what I’m doing is focussing on eating clean, exercising daily and working one Paleo meal (minimum!) into my diet each day. Small steps can add up to big changes! Paleo is slightly easier to stick to than the Whole30 too 🙂

      How are you doing now? Still going strong? Max

      • amanda jane geaves says:

        Hi Max

        Day 11. Doing ok and lost 7lbs now but better still no stomach pain or bloating or constipation. The last 3/4 days I have had heart palpatations in the morning but I am sure this is down to the change in food. Still miss my cup of tea lol. I can understand your decision, it does require a lot of prep but small steps is a good way to go. What business are you planning to set up?

        Amanda

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