Last Wednesday I became a Weight Watchers member.
I know what you're thinking. You're imagining me, waddling from the couch to the fridge, barely fitting through the door. I promise, it's nothing like this. I wear size 12. I'm medium height. You could say that I'm pretty much average. Still, according to my BMI (Body Mass Index) I am, and have been for a while, overweight.
I wasn't always like this, mind you. There was a time, not so long ago, where I could have eaten everything in sight and didn't gain weight. Oh yes, I was one of those girls, I'd stuff my face with crisps every day and still remain skinny. Not that I was happy with my weight then, I only in retrospect realise how good I had it. So what happened?
I Trusted The Doctors
My first mistake was trusting my doctor. I don't mean to say all doctors are bad. I'm just saying that the one who gave me advice some years ago didn't do his research and I was too young to do mine properly, or even to question the authority. You see, I was diagnosed with Coeliac's Disease when I was 6 months old and I had been on a gluten free diet my whole childhood. It was a nightmare, back then all the gluten free stuff was awful and expensive and really, all I wanted was to be like all the other kids and eat bread, pizza, cake and biscuits; every time I tried though, I ended up with a stomach ache, or worse, throwing up. You can only imagine my delight when the doctor told me that I was "cured" and I can eat normal stuff. I was twelve and my god, I went and had my fair share of cake.
Years went on. When I was eighteen I moved to Ireland and shortly after, started a job. It was then, when my very painful periods started to become a problem - it didn't look good, that I would skip a day of work every month. I went to see a local doctor during one such painful episode and she ordered a battery of blood tests. This is when I learned that you can't cure coeliacs, as it's a genetic disorder, and even though you might not have symptoms at first, the damage builds up. I had vitamin and mineral deficiencies and hormonal imbalance, that if not treated could eventually kill me. Fun!
I thought it was going to be easy. I took multivitamins and various other things and gradually cut out gluten from my diet and started to feel better again. Everything was going great!
And even though the doctors in Ireland helped me an awful lot, the one thing that they didn't tell me, is what would happen when I start absorbing nutrients again...
Half a kilo at a time
The weight crept on slowly. To little to notice straight away, just a bit at a time. I kept eating like I always did... I never had to worry about my weight so I didn't have a habit of weighing myself, I didn't even own a scale. Worse, weight gain is such a taboo that none of my friends or my boyfriend said anything until it was too late and I have unwittingly gained nearly 7kg. I mean, sure, the clothes were a little tight here and there, but I really, really didn't realise how bad it was.
I started dieting and I did the same thing everyone does; I lost a little, then gained twice that back. This went on for a while; I waved goodbye my size 10 clothes almost two years ago now and there were a few moments when I thought I'd be waving my size 12's any day now. I tried everything.
I changed a lot in the way I was eating and in the last year and finally stopped gaining weight; I found the way to manage it, through subtle and gradual but effective changes. But I haven't found the way to loose it.
A year of making positive changes without seeing any benefits on the scales is a long, long time. I've become very annoyed and tired, close to giving up. Another big source of frustration is that nobody treats this as seriously as I do; a lot of people believe that it's just a cosmetic problem, after all, it's only a dress size in difference. One of my friends keeps insisting that it's OK if I'm heavier, because I'm pretty. What they don't realise is that even a little overweight could cut years off my life, and being pretty doesn't make it OK.
Few weeks ago, in conversation with T. I finally admitted, both to him and to myself, that this is not something I can fix myself. I need professional help. I can't exactly afford a personal trainer and dietician, but there's something that needs to be done - hence the Weight Watchers.
This is week one.
Success story to follow.