Sunday, 15 August 2010

Weight loss: A different perspective

As most of you know, under the last year I lost over 100lbs, great right? Well mostly. What you might not know is that I went from a BMI of 38.8 to 19.4. Yes I am aware that "safe" is technically between 18 and 25. However, for me, I think no lower than 21 is reasonable, as I am pretty well built, and I am actually ok with that. At my 21st birthday I was 147lbs, a BMI of 21.7, and I felt amazing. I slipped down to 132lbs at my lowest, and I was not happy; cold all the time, skeletal looking, and generally miserable and not the usual bubbly Rebecca I know myself to be. I am not anorexic. I do not have an eating disorder. What I do have is a whole load of control issues thanks to taking my weight loss journey a little bit too seriously.

What I hope the above demonstrates is that, whilst I did lose weight the healthy way, through an improved diet and increased exercise, I took the mentality too far. I write this in the hope that maybe somebody who is on the same journey I was will read this and think "hey, it's ok for me to have a muffin with my coffee today; it really doesn't make that much difference in the long run". I had a lot to lose, and I wanted the results. I lost 1% of my weight every week for the whole 9 months and whilst it was great to get it done as fast as possible, I restricted myself too much. I didn't enjoy some of the things I could have enjoyed whilst doing it. This led me to have unhealthy food associations and to restrict myself to things I considered healthy. I became so obsessed with what is "healthy" that I had a hard time eating anything that I didn't consider to fit into this category. I became obsessed with watching the scale number go down, which it always did, but this eventually made it hard to see the number stay still; and even harder to watch it go up.

After I started maintaining, or rather trying to, I would secretly restrict myself behind my loved ones back, lie about how much I'd eaten or pretend something was 800 calories when I really knew it was more like 300. I knew it was wrong but I couldn't get out of the diet mentality. I genuinely believe these disordered eating habits would have spiralled into an eating disorder if I didn't have the amazing support I have from M. I was even too ashamed to tell my own mum, who I'm extremely close to. I was ashamed of it, but she knew anyway - mothers always do. Ultimately I harmed myself and my body, despite the fact that my goal was to honour my body and get healthy. Many unhappy weeks later I'm finally on the right track thanks to my Mum, M and some amazing inspirational people on the Weight Gain forum on CC.

What I hope somebody learns from this is that:
  • Whilst permanent weight loss is a change in lifestyle, that lifestyle has to be one you intend to live for life, and you want to enjoy your life so you have to enjoy yourself during the process of changing your lifestyle.
  • Food is not the enemy. There is no evil food. Everything in moderation.
  • Treat yourself once in a while knowing that that extra 400 calorie muffin plays no role in the long run. It’s just not something you do everyday - because hey, let’s face it if you did it every day it wouldn't be a treat!
  • Take your time with a treat; don't scoff it all down at once. Make it special, appreciate it fully. You deserve it.
So, as for me, I'm back on the road to a healthy weight. I've found out I can maintain my weight on 2,500 because I'm pretty active. What the past month of discovery has taught me is that I can have a slice of cake at somebody's birthday, or a muffin with my coffee once in a while and I won't put on weight. Heck, if I don't do it for too long then I might lose weight. What this means for me is that when I put the weight back on and get my BMI back above 21, I can eat, within reason, whatever I want, when I am hungry and live like a normal person. Normal people have a full fat chocolate frapp and a muffin at starbucks every now and then; normal people make sauces with creme fraîche and oil. I don't want food to take over my life. I love cooking; I hope that shoes in this blog, I want to love eating what I make instead of letting calories rule my life.

Anyway sorry if this was a ramble to read. I just hope somebody reads this and doesn't have to make the same slightly painful journey of discovery that I have put myself, and my loved ones through.


  1. Hello!!

    Congrats on listening to your body! Sometimes it's very hard to do, even though it sounds so simple.
    It's funny you mentionned muffin cuz I'm eating one right now as I read this post!

    You have good recipes, some of them caught my eyes. I'm feeling adventurous in the kitchen today :D

  2. I <3 you no matter how you look and am so very proud of you for coming to your sense! And for losing so much weight, you look amazing and I love you

  3. I feel like we have had very similar experiences with losing weight. I am a 21-year-old American student, and I found your blog through CC. I definitely have hardcore control issues in all areas of my life, and I am very disciplined. Like you, I forgot what it was like to enjoy food. I could only "enjoy" food I knew was low in calories, and I too lied to myself about the amount of calories I was consuming. Like you, I was left skeletal, cold, and unhappy. It's still a struggle, but I finally feel like I have a good relationship with food. I never would have eaten things like French toast before, and now I'm constantly baking and cooking the foods I love the right way, instead of trying to make them as low-calorie as possible. I am healthy, active, and happy. I'm really glad you are too.