I've never particularly struggled with my weight growing up from a child and into my teens, I ate a normal diet - nothing excessively healthy or unhealthy although I perhaps visited the corner shop for a Mars bar more than is adequate... (think we all do that though when we're at school and on the way home.) That all changed when I met my ex-boyfriend in 2008. We spent a lot of time together and hanging around at our friends enjoying ourselves. Part of enjoying ourselves however involved a LOT of takeaways, namely pizza and chips. We would eat this pretty much every night and my friends managed to not gain any weight, I however was not so fortunate.
From summer 2008 to Christmas 2009 I managed to pile on an astonishing 3 stone (19 kg)! I was pretty much laying about all day doing nothing and eating very little but complete junk and sleeping at stupid times which I definitely don't think helped. I'd dropped out of college as the course wasn't right for me and was looking for a job but in the mean time had nothing to do.
My family tried to kindly tell me that they'd noticed I'd started to gain a little weight but I just didn't believe them, I genuinely thought that the clothes sizing had changed, I remember trying on a pair of jeans in Next and not even being able to button up a pair of size 14's and having to go for 16's and thinking that they'd just gotten less generous with the sizing and it wasn't really an issue. (Mini Disclaimer -by the way, before I gained weight I was a 10/12 I'm not saying that you're overweight if you are a size 14 or 16 or whatever- everybody's different but for my build and height, this was overweight.)
I attempted going to Weight Watchers in summer 2009 after I'd gained a couple of stone but I had no success at all, this was all through the fact that I made very little attempt to change my eating habits - I went out and bought a packet of Weight Watchers cakes and then proceeded to eat the entire packet in one sitting... not helpful. I went to 3 meetings and lost a total of 0 pounds, so I gave up and carried on with my usual eating habits.
I gained a further stone from the summer to Christmas time, I was still pretty much in denial over any weight gain and ignoring the fact that I was living a really unhealthy lifestyle. This all changed though when I went out for my friend's birthday and there were a lot of pictures being taken. I woke up to seeing I'd been tagged in over 100 pics on Facebook and I couldn't believe that I was looking at myself. I'd always been the same size as my best friend but on the pictures, I could really finally see what people had been telling me. Not only could I see the affects my lifestyle had taken on my weight, my skin had lost all of it's colour and glow and was now dull and dotted with spots and my hair looked just as unhealthy and lifeless.
Even after my initial horror at seeing myself looking so different to what I had thought, it still took me a further three months to finally do something about it. I literally woke up one day and thought 'I have had enough!' I dug out my old Weight Watchers information that had some healthy eating recipes and exercise tips in and started following that. I also decided to buy Slimming World magazines as I fancied a variety of ideas for food. At the time I was a vegetarian, so this limited me to less variety (especially as I hate mushrooms, ha!) but I still found enough meals to give me a healthy and varied diet.
I started preparing meals like jacket potatoes with salad, casseroles, pasta dishes with veg and walking as many places as possible. I never did any hardcore exercise at all as I've never been to a gym in my life and I didn't gain my weight through lack of exercise just simply over indulgence. I'm sure I could definitely have benefit from incorporating a different variety of exercise alongside my healthy eating but I still found that I lost the weight without any issues just from vigorous walking and food management.
Whereas before I would skip breakfast and lunch and eat something fatty for tea usually very late (we're talking mass amounts of pizza and chips at 11.30 pm most nights!) I made sure I was going to bed and getting up at regular times and eating something healthy and nutritious in 3 regular meals a day.
I started my weight loss in March 2010 and by October 2010 I had lost the three stone that I had gained. There were some weeks where I wouldn't lose any weight but I didn't let it get me down and persevered and was rewarded with weight loss usually in the next week or two.
I have maintained this lifestyle ever since and I have gone on to lose a further half a stone making me slimmer than I was before I started - I'm not sure if that's because before I didn't really bother to monitor what I was eating but now that I do, it's made me lose a few extra pounds, I'm not complaining either way!
Obviously, being pregnant at the moment I have naturally gained weight and have changed my eating habits accordingly so that I am getting the right nutrients for me and baby but after I've given birth, I'll be going back to the regime I had before. I'm also planning on doing Yoga and Pilates mixed in with walking when I'm able to exercise as I really want to tone up now that I know what my ideal weight is.
I thought I'd include a little before and after - unfortunately I avoided the camera as much as possible during that time due to the fact that I had braces as well and hated smiling! So the before picture is a little blurry and not full length but I think it shows enough. I've gone from a UK 16 (almost an 18) to a UK 10.
Left - before - January 2010 Centre and Right - after - July 2012
So, if you've managed to get to the end of this post, thank you for reading and I hope it wasn't too dull!
If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below and I'll be more than happy to answer :-)
If you enjoyed reading this, would you like to see more lifestyle/health posts in the future? Let me know!