From obese to healthy, my journey so far

I have been thinking for a while about writing this post and I wasn’t sure whether I should do it or not. This blog links to various different areas of social media and people from all areas of my life can read it, so I kept thinking that perhaps I wouldn’t bother. It seems quite self-indulgent. But then I thought that blogs, by their very nature, are quite self-indulgent anyway so I decided “what the heck, I’ll go for it.”

The title of the post says it all, really. I am going to ramble on about how I went from being obese to healthy, according to the BMI index. If that doesn’t really interest you, I would suggest you don’t read on…

2014 has been a pretty big year for me. I saw in the new year in Canada, my new home, I got married, started, worked hard and completed a contract job and became vegan (more on that later, yippee!) The big thing for this post, however, is the fact that I have also lost almost 50 pounds since new year.

I have always had a healthy (or perhaps you would call it unhealthy?) relationship with food and I enjoy eating, going for meals and cooking. There isn’t much I don’t like – hard cheese, although being vegan now means that doesn’t matter any more, melon, mango and celery – are pretty much the only foods I don’t actually ‘like.’ I’m not a massive fan of some of other things, but I’ll eat them if I’m pushed. Not that anyone is pushing me, you understand. As a result, I have always struggled with my weight.

When I was growing up, we always ate our evening meal at the dinner table as a family, we were told that we had to eat everything on the plate or there was no pudding if we didn’t. I am sure many other people can relate to that rule. Looking back, I don’t know why I cared anyway as pudding was often only a yoghurt, or on a very exciting day, a crème caramel. Why was it worth forcing down everything on the plate to be rewarded with that? If it was cake or pie or something, then I could understand. However, that mentality stuck with me for a very long time, even now I have to reassure myself that it is OK to leave something on the plate if I am full.

Another house rule growing up was that if you wanted something such as a biscuit then you had to ask for it, there was no helping yourself. More often than not, requests for a biscuit were met with one of two responses. Either 1) No! You’ll be having your tea soon. Or 2) No! You’ve just had your tea. Cue learning how to steal them without mum noticing. And if you are going to go through the palaver of stealing them by waiting until your mum has gone to do some sort of chore and your dad is napping on the sofa (happened every night so that was a safe bet) then creeping commando-style down stairs, avoiding the creaky floorboards, stepping over the dog, and making no noise at all, retrieving the biscuit, putting it into the pocket of your hoody, giving the dog some crumbs to avoid her following you, begging and giving you away, then running back upstairs to the safety of your room, there is no point stealing just one at a time, you might as well take a stash. All this began to mould me into a chubby little biscuit stealer who had no idea about portion control and who lived to eat.

When I moved to university, things got even more out of control when the tradition of having fast food or a take away most nights of the week began. I believe that is what student loans are primarily for. One thing we didn’t have much of when I grew up was fast food. We rarely went to McDonalds or Pizza Hut and mainly ate great, home cooked meals. So this was a whole new world for me. I discovered that when you live in university halls, if you wait long enough, there will always be someone who utters the phrase “I’m going to Maccies/Burger King/the chippy, do you want anything?” Even if you have already eaten (which was most likely a CO-OP ready meal as they were 5 for £5) there was always room for a portion of chips.

All this meant that by the time I graduated in 2007, I was enormous. I didn’t realise how enormous at the time, but when I run the numbers now, my BMI was 31.6 and put me firmly in the obese category. It wasn’t until I had my blood pressure measured at a routine doctors appointment and found out it was quite high for someone my age that I decided to do something about it. I went to Weight Watchers for a while, it worked, but then I fell off the wagon and back into my old habits.

Fast forward 7 years to New Year 2014, with my wedding only 3 months away. Although I wasn’t back at my graduation weight, I was still classed as overweight with a BMI of 29 (18.5-25 = healthy, 25-30 = overweight and anything over 30 = obese) and very close to the obese label, once again.

With absolutely no desire to be a fat bride, I began a workout and diet program that has changed my life. As you will know from previous statements and blog posts, I became vegan and I did it cold turkey (no pun intended.) This, I am certain, has been the driving factor for me. It curbed my snacking and made me more mindful about what I was eating. The majority of my meals are non-processed and fresh and I get way more than the 5-a-day we are always told about. However, the changes I’ve seen wouldn’t have happened without an exercise regime to go along with it. Sorry guys, if you want to shift the timber then you have to get moving. I began working out at least 4 times a week and have done so every week, apart from when we were on honeymoon, since.

I am a firm believer in diet and exercise in order to lose weight and get fit. I really don’t think I agree with these faddy, restrictive programs like Juice Plus and Slim Fast, or diet pills, I just don’t think they are sustainable. I tried Slim Fast once, I was absolutely starving, I didn’t lose any weight, and when I added it up, I was consuming more calories each day than I was before when I was trying to diet but still eating real food. I suppose it is all about finding what works for you, that’s what I did.

So, where am I now? Well, my BMI is now 21 so I am right in the middle of the healthy range. I’ve lost 60 pounds in total since my heaviest days, and I have dropped down 4 clothes sizes, my wedding dress was taken in about 6 inches and I am fitter and healthier than I have ever been!

And what would this post be without some before and after pictures to prove it? See below…

Thank you for indulging me by reading this post!

BEFORE…

AND AFTER…

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