Have you ever been overweight? And I don’t mean come into Monday morning a couple of pounds heavier after a really big weekend. I don’t even mean 7lbs of eating your way around Spain for a week with the hubby.
I’m talking 25lbs, 50lbs, even 100lbs heavier than your ideal and comfortable body weight.
I’m talking obese.
It isn’t easy, it isn’t fun and it isn’t somewhere I thought I’d be. But at fifteen years old, I found myself overweight. And by 18, I was obese.
Now, it’s hard enough being the fat kid, but let me add something else to that equation for you. My wonderful mum is a fitness instructor running her own successful bootcamp business. So you can bet your ass, I felt hugely disappointing for a long time (we’ll get onto feelings and stories later).
So anyway, this is my first post on here and I want to give you the background as to how StricksGetsFit was formed. This is probably going to end up quite a lengthy post, I hope I don’t ramble too much. But bear with me, because after this, it’s only going to go up! (or down, as far as the scales are concerned.)
How does a 15 year old get so overweight, I hear you asking. Why didn’t your ma just feed you less or healthier? Well, I’ve always had a job and therefore I’ve always had my own income. I started my paper round at 13 and I was working every morning of the week. And what does an early-teen need with money? Realistically, not a lot. My paper route took me past the local corner store and, with all this money I didn’t really need, I would occasionally stop in to treat myself with something small on my way home; a pack of biscuits, a chocolate bar or a magazine etc.
We’d always been a pretty healthy family growing up, so these sort of treats were not common. I quickly developed an addiction to sneaky snacking, I guess in a rebellious way of wanting what I shouldn’t have. The shopping continued and the amount I was buying grew. I can be tempted by savoury sometimes, but for the most part, I have a real sweet tooth and it’s been my failing! Coming from a healthy family, this wasn’t something that I could be very public about, so these became secret snacks. And just so you all know, as soon as you start eating in secret, you know you have a problem.
What I feel like was a bit of a saving grace for me early on, was that whilst I was sharpening my sweet tooth, I was playing badminton in a social club with my dad and competitive hockey for my local town, and for county. Even though I was a goalkeeper, so a somewhat stationary position, I feel that the weight would have crept on much faster without these sports.
But I was never really aware that I was getting fat. I was going through puberty and I knew that my body shape was changing but I wasn’t paying much attention to my size. I come from a family of very well breasted women so my ever increasing cup size was not a shock either. It wasn’t until I got to college at 16 that I realised I was bigger than most. Not that this had much of an affect on my incessant appetite for crap food though! A good friend and I had a ritual on Thursdays at lunch time, where we would walk into town from college and get £5 pizzas, our college sold cheesy pasta by the bucket load and I pretty much lived off beige carbs and family sized bars of Cadburys chocolate.
By the time I finished college two years later, I had progressively dug myself into a bad place. I was struggling with severe depression, self harming, various eating disorders and what seemed to be the opposite of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (meaning that I saw myself as skinnier than I was and really had no idea how big I had gotten). I couldn’t tell you what size clothes I was in or what I weighed, but I was 18 years old and obese.
Leaving college, I entered a very toxic relationship with a guy who didn’t make me happy but gave me a feeling of what it was to be wanted. In hindsight, that was something I was craving. I was having a very tough time at home and I think that the result of dealing with that was leading me to anything that gave me a feeling of being needed and loved. I thought I was getting that from this relationship, but I wasn’t. Instead, what I got was mental abuse and someone with unhealthier habits than me! It’s safe to say we kept the kebab van in business; even the local pizza man knew us by name. On the few occasions I made mention of wanting to work towards becoming healthier, we would fight. He would put me down for wanting to better myself and realistically, I should have realised this was an indicator to be leaving the relationship pronto, but something kept me around.
In 2012, instead of heading to university like many of my peers, I decided to move to Australia on a gap year. This was a turning point in my life and I owe a lot to the incredible family that I Au Paired for and the friends that I made.
Something that is so common with backpackers when travelling, is being exposed to delicious new foods. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to say that for the 12 months I was away, the weight kept going up. So much so, that as my year abroad was drawing to an end and I was heading home, I was scared and embarrassed to see my friends and family again knowing that they would straight away notice the difference. I postponed so many catch ups, as I was terrified at the thought of seeing the looks on their faces when they saw me for the first time in 12 months.
Why didn’t you just make healthier changes and lose the weight, I hear you ask? Well, I would go through a couple of weeks of making a change and eating well and trying this new fad and that new trick. And sometimes, I might see a result! But then I would realise how far I had to go to my goal or I would get sidetracked with something new and tasty and fall off the wagon. Also, I was still hugely in denial about how big I was and still suffering with depression and I was never committed enough to the cause to stick to a routine. So that’s my excuse!
And there we have it, that’s the story of how we got to the top.
I’d like to say that’s a smooth sailing of going down from here, but I can’t guarantee that!
Chat soon, Laura xo