Tuesday, 26 June 2012

3 stone

I was just reading an article about the link between obesity and the brain, and a particular study on mice. It showed that eating a high fat diet increased cells in the hypothalmus, the part of the brain responsible for metabolism. They then blasted those cells back off again in half the group and continued to feed them all the same high fat diet. The group with the new cells blasted off gained weight at a considerably slower rate than those who kept their new cell growth, plus they used more energy and were more active despite being fed exactly the same diet.

Whilst this is an early days study and hasn't been replicated in humans, it does go to add weight (pardon the pun) to the theory that being fat makes you, well, fat.

And as I was reading the article it struck me that I hadn't actually written a post about my own weight loss, or the 20 years of battling with my weight that preceded that.

So I thought I would.

What I am about to write is my own personal experience, and I am in no way trying to speak for anybody else. We all experience the world and ourselves in totally different ways, and this is how I experience me.

As well as making me fat, being fat made me miserable.

There it is. There is no dressing it up or getting around the issue.

Although you could argue that being miserable made me fat...that is also a possibility and it's hard to really tell which came first. I expect I started to feel better about myself enough to realise I didn't need to stay that way. Really I expect it's a vicious circle with one feeding (pardon the pun) the other until eventually something breaks the pattern.

Well after years off yo-yoing and trying every diet under the sun, I eventually succeeded and I cannot begin to put into words how much better I feel, both physically and emotionally, both about and within myself since I have lost weight.

Silly things like not needing to spend hours in front of the mirror every day trying to find something to wear that was acceptable (in my eyes). Or dreading standing up in front of people to present for fear they'd just be thinking I was fat instead of listening to what I had to say. Or continually looking at my reflection in shop
windows as I walk past to check what I'm looking like. Or being the only one sweating during a pilates class. Constantly arguing with myself over food choices, about going to the gym and constantly beating myself up when I made the 'wrong' choice.

Silly little things in the real world that made daily life in my world really quite painful.

I can hardly believe when I look back on those days that I actually managed to get through each day with all of those hang ups and worries going on, all the time. No wonder I was stressed and fed up and tired and emotional. It was a special day when I first realised that I couldn't remember the last time I'd looked in the mirror and hated what I saw. That I couldn't remember the last time I'd worried about how I looked when I got up to present. That I no longer fretted and faffed over what to wear every morning (extra time in bed, great!). It is very liberating.

I'm not perfect. I still have my moments, but they are only moments, they are no longer the constant soundtrack to my every day. I've killed my inner conflict over food with new found NLP processes, I'm making better choices and giving myself a break when I fancy a break. And I'm learning to love myself rather than stuff myself with food.

A very lovely lady from my NLP course said to me "you strike me as a really big person, who's been making herself quite small". She meant it metaphorically, but it made me think.  Would a 'big person who makes herself small', in some way try to compensate for this inner smallness by unconsciously making herself appear bigger on the outside? Interesting.

Anyway, I was a physically big person who has successfully made herself smaller and is now able to be much bigger as a person as a result. I am so proud of what I've achieved, and maintained subsequently and so happy that I now feel (and look!) much more like me.

Those 3 stone (and 3 dress sizes, actually 4 from my biggest moments) are a massive weight not just off my body, but more importantly a massive weight off my mind.


Now, as it happens, I actually drafted this post quite a while ago and haven't until now plucked up the courage to publish it. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because it's intensely personal. Maybe it's because it's a bit sort of self trumpet blowing. Maybe it's because actually, I don't totally believe it's true. Mostly it is, but not all of it, at least not all of the time. Yes, I have lost a lot of weight. Yes I look a lot better. Yes, I feel a lot better. But I don't think I have really resolved my relationship with food, and recently I seem to be rebelling somewhat. I've started finding it almost impossible to stick to a routine with food, I've started letting bad habits creep back in and the pounds have started piling back on. I do know that when other areas of my life go a bit squiffy, so does my diet and eating, so going through a load of interviews and soul searching questions about career paths, resigning from my current job etc etc would count in that arena I guess! We're not talking anything too major here, but today, for example (and ok, after a particularly cake heavy hen weekend!) I'm 9lbs above the lightest I got to before. And while people are still telling me how skinny I look and blah blah blah, I can tell the difference, and I simply can't let it go any further northwards. It strikes me that unless I want to spend my entire life on some ridiculous scale watching, weight yo-yoing, in and out of dieting scenario I need to be tackling the emotional side of eating head on now.  I know all about nutrition, I know all about portion control, I know about carbs and sugar being particularly attractive to my fat stores...but knowing doesn't actually always help. Something clicked in my brain when I started doing the Dukan diet back in Oct 2010 that switched off all the other emotional signals and I was able to follow it to the letter for 8 months, even over Christmas. Whatever that something was, it's clicked back off again and I seem to have misplaced the bastard switch! It's not even just eating, I realised the other day that my inability to stop biting my nails here and there, even at 35, is just another oral fixation. I have no off switch when it comes to drinking either.

So, what to do, other than continue to swing wildly from protein eating tea-totaller one minute to cake scoffing alcoholic the next? Well, I've decided, since counselling never really touched the sides with this one, and since these are all habits deeply routed in the unconscious that my conscious mind seems completely pathetic at controlling, I will bypass the conscious bit and try hypnosis.

I've wanted to try hypnotherapy for ages, for various reasons and afflictions (!) and have decided that eating/weight management is going to be the one to try it on. I have 2 sessions booked in from next week and a load of self hypnosis mp3s to listen to so fingers crossed.

I shall report back shortly!


  1. Emma this is a great post and one I'm sure resonates with a lot of us women. I'm in a similar situation having lost 2 of the 3 stone I'd like to lose but having ground to a halt after my goal of being a bridesmaid at my bro's wedding has been and gone.
    I almost need a new sense of urgency / date to aim for. I have put 5lbs back on and despite knowing this I am still struggling to get my mind back in gear. I know when I AM in control and losing weight I feel so much happier - many of the same feelings you have described above. So we need to focus!!!!
    Nice to know others grapple with the same issues.
    Tucks. Xxx

  2. Ps you look FAB by the way. Xx

  3. thank you :)

    I'm so glad it resonates and isnt just a load of old drivel from me. It is so weird the way it works (or doesnt!)isn't it and even tho we know how great it is to be getting it all right, sometimes I just get all spoilt brat and say sod it, I'm going to stuff my face anyway! I'm really looking forward to what the old hypnosis can do for me so will let you know. And good luck with it! xx


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