Sunday, 15 March 2015
So I did it. Something I thought I would never do again, something I hoped I would never NEED to do again, I joined Weight Watchers.
I have battled with my weight all of my life. At 8 years old, my Mum was going on a meal replacement plan and decided I should do it with her. In fairness, I was a chubby child and I know she meant well but that diet was the beginning of a life long struggle with my attitude to food. I felt horrible when my Dad and sister tucked into their usual meals, and I was given a foul tasting shake BECAUSE I WAS FAT. But it did work! I lost my excess pounds. And the night I reached target my Dad bought me a Mars Bar to celebrate! My Mum was so angry with him. But I ate it anyway, quickly before she could take it from me. And it tasted to good. Sweet and delicious but I felt like I was doing something wrong – and that was the start of me feeling guilty about eating food.
It was also the start of my yoyo dieting. Long periods of restriction would give me a figure I was proud of but I could never maintain that level of control over my eating. I always cracked eventually. And when I fell off the wagon, I did it spectacularly. It became a pattern. Deprivation followed by treat, I lost weight then immediately regained it. I just couldn’t seem to help myself, I was like a girl possessed. Soon the cycle of treats followed by deprivation turned into binges followed by purging. By the age of 15, I had reached my lowest point. My eating was totally outwith control as was my weight.
And this pattern stayed with me throughout my adult life.
Then a few years ago I realised that what I was doing had impacted on my daughter. I was devastated – my beautiful, naturally slim daughter was starting to display some of the issues with food that I had. I don’t always care much for myself but I adore my children and like all mothers want to give them everything – but not this. I took a step back and looked and the mess I had made of things. My teeth were ruined, my metabolism destroyed, my confidence was non existent and my moods were all over the place. I wasn’t going to do this to my baby. I had to do something to sort this out!
And so I did. And I did it cold turkey. I made a decision I would never purge again, and I haven’t. And I am proud of that. I understand what an achievement it is and I am so so happy about it. But purging was only half of my disorder. And without purging, the compulsive eating took its toll on my weight. Very quickly I started to gain substantial amounts of weight and despite trying every diet out there, nothing worked long term. I have blogged about my weight loss efforts. My regular readers know that I am often very successful for a while, I am good at restriction, but all it takes is one little slip and its over, before I know it I am uncontrollably binging and all of the weight piles back on.
It is exhausting. I need help. Three little words but they are a HUGE admission for me.
So on Saturday morning I joined Weight Watchers meeting. Once I had got over the shock of standing on those scales and seeing a number I had never seen before, it was really interesting. I was given lots of info about the plan, which includes weekly meetings and access to a plethora of online resources with an app that lets you track your eating habits on the go. Best of all, I was given a token that reduced the price to just £10 for the first month with no joining fee.
Basically the plan is about counting calories but in a simplified way. I was given a budget of 27 points to be used daily with an additional 49 points a week that I can used any way I like – I immediately decided that they would be called my Party Points. All fruit and vegetables are zero points with other foods being given a points value based on not just calories but nutritional content. It all sounds good but for my the secret will be in the discipline offered by a meeting and in the support that Weight Watchers offers. As well as the leader who was lovely, the group all seemed friendly and supportive of each other. Between meetings, the class has a Facebook group where members post recipes, fitness challenges and such like. And the Weight Watchers website itself has a whole section called Community with message boards, groups, blogs all there to help members who are struggling, want to ask a question or just need some ideas for dinner.
I am hopeful that with all of this support, I can lose this excess weight once and for all.
My weigh in day is a Saturday so watch out for my weekly updates – and wish me luck.
Have you ever suffered from an eating disorder? What did you do to tackle it?