As I hit my teens, I was much more aware of my weight, I became more aware of the fact that ‘skinny’ was the desired body shape and I felt very unattractive.
I remember my first diet, I was in high school and I had decided I was going to go on Slim Fast. This was something we always had in the cupboard, because my mum used it, and I liked the flavor. I didn’t ever follow Slim Fast the way it is supposed to be followed, but I would have one at breakfast. I enjoyed the sweet flavor and it didn’t taste healthy (it isn’t, it is just low calorie) and therefore I didn’t really feel deprived. Except I would feel hungry, and then I would buy a snack or a bigger lunch. At about the age of 13 I started going to a slimming club with my mum, we would go every Thursday. I have actually written another blog about this club, how it haunted me with it’s crazy rules and ideas for years – you can read about it here. Everything little thing I know about the calories in vs calories out method started at that age.
My weight carried on fluctuating as I got older, during the summer holidays I tended to lose weight or maintain, because I was outside, cycling, playing and having fun with my friends.
Things started to change when I was 15, my best friend and I started going to the gym after school. We would go to the local leisure centre, do all the cardio and a gazillion crunches – because that was all we knew. Of course we also started dieting, I stuck with it a little more than her because she was already thin, we weren’t following a specific plan just sticking to the good old 1500 calories per day rule.
This is how my diet looked:
Breakfast – Yoghurt or a cereal bar, banana and orange juice
Lunch – Pita bread crammed with salad and low fat cottage cheese, and another yoghurt
Dinner – Chicken or Turkey cooked in a sauce and 1 small potato baked in paprika (I was obsessed with paprika) and more salad.
This is far less than 1500 calories. Isn’t this what a lot of diets look like, low calorie, health foods and restricted? I was, and still am, a creature of habit and once I knew what to do and it was easy, I would just repeat it.
I don’t know how much weight I lost, I was wearing a size 10/12 and had legs, good legs, legs I would show off. That time is bit a of a blur, it happened pretty quickly, I was sitting exams at the same time and my dad was ill. I certainly didn’t think I would gain weight again, I thought ‘Aha!’ I have lost weight, I have discovered the secret and will now be this size forever.
At the time I wanted to lose weight because I thought it would make things easier, I thought I would get a boyfriend, school would feel easier and I would be happier. Perhaps some of this was true, but life suddenly started to get very real at this time too, and after I lost my dad, I ate. I comforted myself, the friends I had started to drift away and I slowly gained the weight back.
Twelve short months later I was a size 16 again…