Firstly, I want to apologise to anyone who follows this blog as I haven’t posted in quite a while. I’ve recently started a photography degree and my time has been taken up mostly by that, amongst other things. However, I’m going to try and post more on this blog from now on because it is definitely something that I have missed doing.
Today is a special day for me. When I first started my journey to become healthier a year ago I made a pact with myself. I promised myself that I wasn’t going to weigh myself often because I have had many years of trying to lose weight and giving up after about two weeks as I hadn’t lost the amount of weight I’d wanted. I didn’t weigh myself for about three months and by that time I had the determination to keep going. Although, I did set myself a “target” weight because I wanted some sort of end goal to strive for. As I said, today is a special day for me. Why? I’ve finally, after about a year, reached my target weight.
By no means am I an expert on how to lose weight. I’m neither a nutritionist nor a personal trainer but I am a normal person who has first hand experience of a battle with weight problems. I want to talk about my journey (although that sounds incredibly cheesy so sorry for that) and hopefully it may influence others to do how I have done. I do however realise that everyone is different and what has worked for me may not necessarily work for another so do not take my word as the gospel because it isn’t. Above all, you need to love your diet and exercise routine otherwise it just isn’t sustainable. I’ve found what works for me but it certainly won’t work for everyone.
My journey officially started at the beginning of February 2015, although, you need a bit of background first. In the summer of 2014 I started to put on weight and when I say I put on weight, I mean I put on a lot of weight. Within under half a year I had put on two and half stone. I’ve always had issues with my weight because for some reason the way my metabolism works is as soon as I look at food I tend to gain about half a stone haha. Kidding aside, I have always found it quite easy to gain weight but almost impossible to shift it. However, this time I was the heaviest I had ever been and I was completely miserable. Other factors were obviously at work because I was in my final year of school life with A levels looming and I absolutely hated it. I had no friends there, the majority of people ignored me and I spent my lunchtimes doing homework. However, I won’t bore you with my issues with my school because I could write another blog post solely on that. My self esteem was at rock bottom and as someone who suffers from low self esteem anyway (I’m a very quiet, shy person – ask anyone who knows me) this means it was pretty diabolical. My life was at a complete and utter low point.
My diet was probably the main cause of my weight gain because I was eating huge portions and a lot of greasy, fatty food. I will however say that I never exercised but then again I had never really exercised so nothing had changed there. The other contributing factor was I had started taking the pill which has a side effect of weight gain. I am now thankfully not on the pill as I had many issues with it and as I said, one thing does not work for all.
I had begun to get desperate as I was in and out of the doctors because they had picked up on the fact that I had high blood pressure. Now, whether I did have high blood pressure or not is debatable because I have a massive phobia of doctors and therefore I was incredibly stressed whenever they took my blood pressure. However, there is no doubt in my mind losing weight has either corrected or helped with my blood pressure proving that what I’m doing has worked.
So, February 2015, I was the heaviest I had ever been, in and out of the doctors and I was utterly miserable. That’s when I discovered Deliciously Ella. Her ethos is basically to eat plant based food which is perfect for me as a vegetarian. I cut out dairy, alcohol and gluten as much as possible and I got rid of sugar completely from my diet. I soon starting seeing the benefits as the weight dropped off. By which point I was discovering many different ways of healthy eating with inspiration from The Green Kitchen, Anna Jones, Honestly Healthy, Madeleine Shaw, Hemsley + Hemsley, Tanya Maher, Julie Montagu amongst many others – my favourites being The Green Kitchen and Anna Jones (for meat eaters check out Madeleine Shaw and Hemsley + Hemsley). By the end of February I had started running with my other half (I will thank Gareth here for keeping me motivated to run every week and putting up with my moaning) by using the couch to 5k app from Change4Life which I, without a doubt, recommend.
In May, I went to the hospital and had many invasive tests done, including a blood test, 24 hour urine test, echocardiogram, electrocardiogram and 24 hour blood pressure test. It would be an understatement to say that I hated it – I was an emotional wreck. My results came back in August (the day after my A level results – ha) and I was finally given the all clear. I was 100% healthy. Now, if these tests had been taken in early January then I’m not sure what the results would have been so I definitely have this new diet to thank for a lot.
So where am I now? It’s now February 2016 and I’ve lost over 4 stone. I’m the lightest I’ve been since I was about 12/13 so I’m definitely the healthiest I’ve ever been. I can run for at least half an hour with my routine consisting of running three times a week (a 16 minute interval run, a 30 minute run and a 35 minute + run) and dog walking the rest of the time. My self esteem and happiness have massively improved which is down to the weight loss, being healthier and leaving school (and starting university). Where I go from now is completely new to me because I’ve never been able to sustain losing weight however I’m pretty sure I can maintain where I am now because I love what my diet and exercise regime. I am making a pledge to no longer weigh myself because I don’t need to anymore. I’m not the skinniest person alive and I’m absolutely fine with that because I don’t need to be. I’m finally happy with how I am.
If you’re in a similar situation to how I was a year ago then this post is just to show you that it can get better. I’ve laid everything that happened out on the table (however scary that is) and I’m saying that if you have the motivation to do something then you can do it (sorry that is dreadfully cheesy but true). My advice for losing weight would be to cut out sugar/ready meals/fast food from your diet, to try to eat more fruit and veg and to do the exercise that you want to do, not something that you’re forcing yourself to do. If you’re a meat eater then try and cut down the amount of meat you eat to 3 times a week ish because meat isn’t the best for our metabolism but I’m not a preachy vegetarian who will tell you to give it up – I do not judge you on what you eat. Cut out alcohol as much as possible too because it makes our bodies find it harder to burn fat. However, do not do anything you aren’t comfortable with because then it isn’t sustainable. I personally have not cut out dairy, alcohol and gluten altogether because I wouldn’t be able to keep that up for very long. Do not starve yourself because it will not work – you need to eat something or you’ll feel horrible. If you want to put on weight then my advice would be to eat more carbohydrates (from wholemeal foods etc.) and good fat (from avocados and nuts etc.). Eat three big healthy meals a day and I’m pretty sure you’ll put on weight.
Thanks for reading this. It’s quite scary for me to write down all that has happened in the last year but it is wonderful at the same time. Unfortunately, I do not have any before and after pictures (after picture at bottom of blog) because my self esteem was so low that I refused to have my picture taken. It’s been quite a journey but I love how I am now and I wouldn’t change what happened (apart from possibly going to a different sixth form and taking different A levels). If you have any questions then feel free to ask. In other news, I’ve set up an Etsy shop selling my photographs – check it out. Now I’m off to celebrate my achievement by eating a healthy brownie. Cheers 🙂
Also, Gareth has written a Q&A with me on his blog so check it out here.