A couple of weeks a go I shared a post on Facebook looking at weight versus health and it received a fair bit of interest. Which is why I’ve decided to open up about my personal battles with weight throughout my life and why this particular post really resonated with me.
I have to go a long way back (actually 30 years) to where my weight versus health story begins. In my late teens, I was fit, slim and most importantly healthy. Apart from suffering with tonsilitis more times than a care to remember, which was causing me to have a lot of time off work. Eventually my doctor decided I needed to have my tonsils removed.
It wasn’t long (they were the days) before I was admitted to Wycombe General Hospital to have my tonsils whipped out! Being in my late teens meant it took me much longer to recover than the young children who had theirs out at the same time. The only thing I was able to eat for a few days was the odd slice of dry toast.
Before the op I’d weighed about 8st 7lb and as mentioned before, was fit and healthy. Within a week of having my tonsils out I had lost half a stone. Now, the key thing that happened at this time was I’d ordered a suit from the catalogue and it arrived after I’d lost the half a stone, when I tried it on it was bigger on me than it would normally have been. The skirt could easily be moved around my waist and didn’t cling to my hips and I LOVED IT!
This one simple thing was the start of many years of my weight versus health challenge!
Once I’d lost that 7lb, I was determined not to put it back on. The only reason I’d lost the weight was because it had hurt my throat to eat, so my appetite soon came back, a couple of pounds crept back on and that suit I’d loved because it was too big became a little tighter.
This is when I became obsessed with calories and would check everything I ate. If it was high or mid calorie I wouldn’t eat it. It started slowly, I’d have Alpen with water for breakfast, a brown bread salad sandwich with pickle, no butter, for lunch and quite often a weight watchers type ready meal for dinner. No snacks and only black coffee, diet coke or water. This kept my weight at 8 stone, which I was happy with, for a while….
Watching what I ate soon became an obsession. What was quite a minimal but healthy diet became borderline anorexic – I don’t say that lightly.
As an example; I’d have a group of friends round every Monday night (hello Monday Gang if you are reading), before the obsession, I would put out some biscuits and crisps for us to munch on while we chatted away. During it I stopped eating any of the snacks and then started putting out more and more food for them to eat, whilst not touching it myself. I would almost get pleasure out of knowing they were eating and I wasn’t. That’s not normal behaviour!
My meals, if you can call them that, now consisted of an individual soufle dish size portion of Alpen with water for breakfast, black coffee or a diet coke for lunch and 2 crispbreads, with low fat cottage cheese and branston pickle on one and cucumber on the other, for dinner – which I would more often than not eat in the bath where nobody could see me. By now I weighed 7st 9lb and I loved it!
Still this wasn’t good enough – I now wanted to be 7st 7lb but I was already eating so little I knew unless I stopped eating completely, which in my mind would mean I was anorexic, I wouldn’t lose any more weight. That’s when I started exercising in my bedroom in the morning and at night. Sit ups, waist stretches, leg lifts, calanetics etc. I was also out clubbing about 3 nights a week and dancing most of the time. Within a couple of weeks I’d PUT ON 3lb!
Panic set in! How could I be eating so little, exercising and be putting on weight? I didn’t take any notice of my body shape (if I had I would probably have seen I looked slimmer and toned), all I cared about was that all encompassing number on the scales. Weight versus health just didn’t come in to it!
In my skewed mind there was only one answer, I needed to eat less. YES SERIOUSLY THAT’S HOW MY BRAIN WORKED. I did a week only eating 2 or 3 apples each day and lost 2 lb, which I was delighted about and then literally had a week where all I ate each day was one digestive biscuit and survived on black coffee, water and diet coke. It worked I got down to 7st 7lb, my target, I was triumphant!
It soon dawned on me that to keep at that weight I would have to carry on eating very little, which wasn’t too hard as I’d spent over a year by now eating less and less! So that’s what I did, ate just enough to keep me at that weight. After a short amount of time the control of an eating disorder kicked in again, I decided I wanted to see if I could get to 7st 6lb (it really was an all encompassing obsession).
To this day I remember clearly it took me 2 weeks to shift that pound. In my head I knew if I ate nothing I’d be able to do it but that would also mean I was anorexic. Which would mean I was ill. So I made sure I ate about 300 calories a day (I kept a diary of everything I ate and what the calories were). Then the miraculous day arrived when I got on the scales in the morning and they read 7st 6lb!! Then the strangest thing happened.
I FREAKED OUT. For some reason dipping under seven and a half stone shook me awake, what the hell was I doing to myself!!!!
Strangely I hadn’t been able to see I was already ill! All that mattered was the NUMBER ON THE SCALES. I didn’t realise my body looked far better when it was heavier but exercised – I truly wish I had.
My Mum had been worried about me, a friend gave me a leaflet on anorexia but I just ignored them. To this day I feel guilty about what I put other people through.
My severe weight obsession lasted about 3 years, my weight ranged between 8st and 7st 7lb – I always felt FAT at 8st and would instantly eat less. If I went out for meals with friends, I would eat a dinner and dessert and then make myself sick when I got home. If I went to the cinema I wouldn’t eat all day just so I could have some sweets while I watched the film.
Writing about it now is cathartic. I am deeply aware of other people around me who are very slim or thin and want to take them to one side and make sure they aren’t doing them same thing to themselves. I see girls and women who are much thinner than I ever was and my heart goes out to them. I know how easy it is to not to see what others see!
I look back at old photographs now and am astounded at how I could think the very slim me was more physically attractive than the slightly heavier toned me. There really is no comparison.
That’s why, when I saw this article on the Red Magazine website about Instagrammer Kelsey Wells of My Sweat Life, I had to share it with you. Initially I only posted it straight to our Facebook page with a short introduction but the story stayed with me and I found myself thinking about it often. Which is why I decided to share my own story, perhaps for selfish reasons but also to encourage others to STOP WORRYING ABOUT THE NUMBER ON THE SCALES but instead put your health and fitness first, the rest will follow! You will never have a toned, fit body by stopping eating. Weight versus Health? There is no comparison, your health, fitness and well-being should ALWAYS come first.
Here’s the article, for any of you who didn’t see it on our Facebook page. If it makes just one person realise they are starving themselves, or inspires one person to get fit then it will have been worth sharing my own personal story. If anyone reading this feels the need to talk about their own struggles please feel free to get in contact privately via email – you can find the details on our contact page.
About Kelsey Wells – My Sweat Life
26-year-old, Kelsey Wells, shared a photograph online showing three photos of her body: the first was of her two months after the birth of her child, the second when she reached her ‘goal weight’ and the third how she looked after regaining the weight in the form of muscle.
Let’s be frank, Kelsey has a great body in each of the photos (although when you see the second picture from behind you can see she is very thin), however, she looks absolutely amazing in the final snap, despite being almost the same weight as she was when she most disliked her figure. Personally I’d be more than happy with her starting figure, post baby, but then I’m not 26!
Here’s what she has to say about weight versus health:-
‘There is only a 5lb difference between my starting and current weight, but my body composition has changed COMPLETELY,’ Kelsey explains. ‘I have never had more muscle and less body fat than I do now. I have never been healthier than I am now.’
Kelsey urges women to forget about their goal weight and instead focus on getting healthy, saying: ‘According to my old self and flawed standards, I would be failing miserably. THANK GOODNESS I finally learned to start measuring my progress by things that matter – strength, ability, endurance, health, and HAPPINESS.’
My Sweat Life – That Instagram Post
mysweatlife SCREW THE SCALE || I figured it was time for a friendly, yet firm reminder. YOU GUYS. PLEASEEEEEE STOP GETTING HUNG UP ON THE NUMBER ON THE STUPUD SCALE! PLEASE STOP THINKING YOUR WEIGHT EQUALS YOUR PROGRESS AND FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING PLEASE STOP LETTING YOR WEIGHT HAVE ANY AFFECT WHATSOEVER ON YOUR SELF ESTEEM, like I used to. To any of you who are where I once was, please listen to me. I am 5′ 7″ and weigh 140 lbs. When I first started #bbg I was 8 weeks post partum and 145 lbs. I weighed 130 before getting pregnant, so based on nothing besides my own warped perception, I decided my “goal weight” should be 122 and to fit into my skinniest jeans. Well after a few months of BBG and breastfeeding, I HIT IT and I fit into those size 0 jeans. Well guess what? I HAVE GAINED 18 POUNDS SINCE THEN. EIGHT FREAKING TEEN. Also, I have gone up two pant sizes and as a matter of fact I ripped those skinny jeans wide open just the other week trying to pull them up over my knees. My point?? According to my old self and flawed standards, I would be failing miserably. THANK GOODNESS I finally learned to start measuring my progress by things that matter — strength, ability, endurance, health, and HAPPINESS. Take progress photos and videos. Record how many push-ups you can do, ect. And if you can, your BFP — there is only a 5 lb difference between my starting and current weight, but my body composition has changed COMPLETELY. I have never had more muscle and less body fat than I do now. I have never been healthier than I am now. I have never been more comfortable in my own skin than I am now. And if I didn’t say #screwthescale long ago, I would have gave up on my journey. So to the little teeny tiny voice in the back of my head that still said “wtf is this- not 140!?” last week when I stepped on the scale, I say SCREW. YOU. And I think you should probably say the same to your scale too.
My Final Thoughts
I only really became more comfortable with my body once I’d had my son. Mainly because I put on so much weight when I was pregnant that to get down to 9 stone afterwards was fantastic for me. I also think being pregnant gave me an excuse to eat. After constantly watching what I ate for nearly 10 years it was the permission I needed to allow myself food… and may I add lots of it!
Don’t get me wrong, I have been on many diets since Josh was born, but none to the extremes of my younger years! As the years have past I have become less and less bothered about my WEIGHT. Now I let the mirror and my clothes let me know when I need to reign in the crisps and sweets and reduce my portion sizes! And with the onset of the menopause I’ve found I am eating far healthier foods in order to combat the accompanying symptoms and expanding waistline. Plus I walk every day with my dog and do a few exercises along the way. I’m not slim but I am fit, healthy, happy and more confident now than ever. So, like Kelsey, I say “Screw the scales and stop getting hung up on the number!”
Thanks for reading my story on weight versus health.
Source: Red Online