“It was about this time last year that I saw some ‘before and after’ photos on Hayley’s facebook page, of a lady who had lost a lot of weight doing Change For Life, and I just thought “next year, that HAS to be me”.
I am so proud to say that 2018 was my year to do it! I have lost four stone this year, am at my initial target size 14 from a size 20, and still happily on the plan.
My second little girl was just a couple of months old and my first was about to turn three. Looking back at the photos of them both as tiny babies, I am hardly there – just some legs or arms trying to stay out of shot.
The whole issue of ‘food’ and diet’ seemed like such a huge black cloud that had loomed over me since I was about 12 years old. I thought I was overweight because I loved food, but really I was scared of it and sort of hated it for the control it had over me. I thought that I loved treating myself and enjoying a few cakey, sweety. biscuity things, but without control, lovely treaty things are almost a sort of punishment, a weird sort of self-harm almost You eat too much then feel sick and ashamed and lie in bed wondering why you ate so much and feeling like utter crap.
Now I often lie in bed and think “Holy crap, I ate really well again today!” (sometimes not, but hey ho, that’s life)
Doing CFL with Hayley has been completely life changing and is without a doubt the best thing I have ever done for myself.
I can’t imagine the number of hours I would have spent talking myself down, looking in the mirror agonizing over how I look and, frankly, hating myself if I hadn’t really committed to CFL and had Hayley on hand for practical advice and support.
The most important thing for me, and what makes me most proud is that I have given my daughters the best chance of having a more healthy relationship with food than I have had. I was absolutely desperate to think that they would pick up my eating habits and miss out on loving themselves and doing and trying everything life offers them. There is no stronger incentive than that.
Food now has its correct place in my life. I understand nutrition, how to balance what I eat and how much I do and when I have a treat it tastes better than ever because there’s no shame and no guilt, just well deserved, delicious pleasure without the fear that I won’t be able to stop. I WANT to eat well, to feel good and be healthy. I don’t want the way I eat to affect my health or the enjoyment (or length!!) of my life any more.
No more panicking and dreading, the anxiety of ‘going without’ or feeling deprived, no more mad binges then horrible guilt and shame and self- hating and panicking that the cycle won’t ever end. I stopped justifying the extra snacks and treats I gave myself because I was feeling bad, or tired or run down .. because when you eat better, you feel better and after just a few days of filling yourself with the proper stuff, you stop needing the little sugary pick-me-ups.
It is hard to break habits; I just didn’t realise how many little bits and pieces I just popped in my mouth, the children’s leftovers, the last few biscuits… I had to remind myself “YOU ARE NOT A BIN!” If a bit of something is going to waste, that is not the end of the world – it does not HAVE to go through me first!
Everyone has days where they eat a few more of the things that they enjoy – I now realise that’s … life. Don’t start again “on Monday” or “after so-and-so’s party”, start again with the next meal, the next mouthful, don’t write off whole chunks of time to “free eating”.
The odd naughty thing is good, totally letting go is never worth it. Saying “no” and resisting feels so much better than giving in. It just takes a few more minutes to kick in and once the craving has passed I feel a smug glow and a weird relief that I beat the compulsion.
Not having those things that you compulsively feel you have to have .. it feels .. fine, good even. I try to focus on just having one totally great food day. Then do another. And another… and then it becomes normal. The only way to do it is to bloody DO IT!
There is always a way to fit in a decent bit of exercise; without time and money for a gym I make sure my husband takes the car so I walk to and from town and to collect my daughter from preschool. It’s a good 40 minutes each way so we have lots of time to talk, look at things, notice the seasons change, wave at tractor and bus drivers etc! I want them to be in touch with the world around them and not just see it all through the car window and to get used to having a regular long walk.
I am unashamedly proud of myself and who I am now – I can wear the sorts of clothes I like, not just what covers me up. I will try things and do things with my daughters I would have been too self-conscious to do last year. I will stand in for a photo and actually smile and not dread seeing what I look like.
My sister and my friend have also now joined the CFL family and are doing brilliantly. We are forever preaching about Hayley and CFL and another sister is about to start it too. I so want everyone who is in the same complex, uncontrollable and abusive relationship with food (and themselves!) to feel the relief of being free of it all. I can’t imagine ever going back to my old habits, why on earth would I want to?
Please PLEASE let me do for someone else what the lady in Hayley’s photos last year did for me – it would be the icing on the cake (or the protein brownie!) if I could help someone else to make this change to their lives.
No matter how much you’ve struggled, if you want to make a change and you commit to it, you CAN do it. Trust me. Reach out, get support and accountability. And join Change For Life. You won’t regret it.”
If you’re interested in joining the next Change For Life, you can find out more HERE.