I hope by telling my story that it may help and motivate someone to get out, get active and find the person they really are inside. You can also read some of the incredible success stories from members of Why Weight Ireland by visiting the sub-menu under the Success Stories tab. By reading these fab stories I’m sure you will be encouraged and motivated to begin your journey.
The Start Of Something New
Since my late teens I have tried many diets – counting points, drinking shakes, meal replacements, even “detox” diets. On one particular occasion about 10 years ago I attended weekly meetings and stuck to my diet and I lost about 1.5 stone. I then floated around the same sort of weight until I met my husband. I got a little bit comfortable and gained a few pounds. We got married and I guess I got a little more comfortable over time gaining a further 2 stone… I got pregnant and then I got VERY “comfortable”. I gained a lot of weight during my son’s pregnancy, using it as an excuse to constantly eat!
I had managed to eat my way up to 16 stone and knew I had to do something about it. Even getting the buggy set up left me puffing and out of breath let alone actually taking my son out for a walk! I knew I was in there somewhere but instead the real me was being hidden by this big body. I felt invisible. Nobody else knew that the real Hannah was being held hostage in her own body! I remember walking through a shopping centre pushing the double buggy feeling like a fat, frumpy mummy – definitely felt a LOT older than my years too. I used to look at the slim women and think how easy they had it. I was jealous and sometimes even found myself thinking spiteful thoughts about them – even though that was just completely out of my character, sometimes I felt like my eyes were throwing daggers at people who were in any way, shape or form closer to what I WANTED to be.. happy, slim, attractive, confident.
I’d lost ALL of those qualities along with the weight gain. I felt utterly stupid just talking to people in the shops sometimes, just because I felt so lost in my own body. Nobody would notice me walk past them in the street – unless maybe I was eating something, and then I swear I could hear them saying “she doesn’t need that“. Shopping was an absolutely AWFUL and soul destroying experience. I’d go out with the usual thrills and excitement of buying a new outfit, only to face clothes that either didn’t fit or didn’t stock my size. Even the sizes that did fit made me felt unattractive; the reflection staring back at me was not somebody I really recognised anymore… I think I found it hard to know who I actually was anymore.
I started losing weight on my own first and it was a real struggle. I thought I “knew what I was doing” but in reality I had no clue! Although I’d lost weight before I had only ever thought in “points” so I really had no real idea of what calories and fat were in foods.
My husband got me a cross trainer for Christmas 2 months after my diet had started to help me along. At first I could barely manage 5 minutes but I gradually built it up. I used to set the cross trainer up in front of a mirror and wore just a sports bra and shorts so I could see myself – when I wanted to give up because I “couldn’t do it” any more I’d look at myself and see my reflection.
I did not want to be like that anymore! That used to give me the motivation to carry on for an extra 10 or 15 minutes!! I think what I learnt from this is – even when you think you can do no more… you CAN!
There were some days that were harder than others, days where the site of my reflection staring back at me reduced me to tears and sent me scuttling off to the biscuit tin – old habits die hard, and other days where I picked myself up and somehow managed to keep going and stay on track. I think with anything in life, sometimes things just might not seem to work, but if you persevere it will happen… even if it isn’t straight away!
I carried on and managed to lose about 3 1/2 stone in 7 months. At that point I found out I was pregnant again. I didn’t “diet” as such, but I was eating healthily and managed to maintain my weight pretty much throughout the pregnancy. I gained 2 stone in the last couple months of the pregnancy, but a stone of that vanished the moment I had my daughter!
Then it was back to the dieting. I didn’t know how I was going to manage it on my own. Then a friend of mine recommended keeping a food diary to keep track of what I was eating (and drinking). It was just what I needed and also helped to re-educate myself about food. I learnt so much and even started enjoying cooking and making up my own recipes, finally understanding much more! I kept my diary, did my exercise and lost the weight. I then went through phases where I just lost all motivation, and it will happen to you too. My diary was filled in… but not truthfully. I’d find ways to cheat myself. I’d snack on things and then just “forget” about them. When making the kids dinner I’d help myself to an extra chicken nugget – to taste they were nice of course – a spoon full of what ever was being made, again just to make sure they tasted okay for the kids (of course), and then after they were finished their dinner I’d pick at what was left on their plate! I was kidding myself. I’d gain a few pounds and then speak to one of my fellow dieters and got myself back into the swing of things – filled in my diary PROPERLY and HONESTLY, did my exercise and finally lost the weight.