As the clock struck midnight and everyone in New York was singing ‘Happy New Year’ a ring box suddenly appeared next to me on the bed. I froze for a moment thinking ‘is this it? Or is this another pair of earring?’ – luckily (for Matt) it was an engagement ring.
I had known for quite a while I wanted to marry him, he just likes to take his time… with everything!
The next morning, I woke up feeling incredibly excited, I was engaged, I am getting married, and then I remember thinking ‘I need to lose weight’. My brand new ‘reason’ started that day, January 1st 2010, I remember is ordering a salad at dinner. I felt excited and frustrated as I ate the dull salad and Matt tucked into a burger and fries.
“It’s okay Melanie, you have got this”
We flew home, and reality struck as we returned to work and normal life. I joined a local gym at this time, it was very basic (and small) and I felt very self conscious. What will the other people think of me? They are going to judge me for being here and being overweight. They are taking pity on the fat girl.
Of course no one said anything like this to me, it was all in my head. I spent a lot of time making up scenarios in which I was being bullied or where I was the victim, when in reality I was doing this to myself. I was so convinced that other people were thinking negatively of me, that I prevented myself from doing anything.
I had already started to doubt myself, I had a lot of excuses and I was trying to change too much at once.
On May 7th 2010, I made the first change that would start this whole process. I had noticed that there was a new diet plan being advertised in a local pharmacy, there were these cardboard cut outs of people in the door ways. The before and after images stared at me as I walked through the store, the unhappy overweight faces and the slim, happy images would taunt me as I picked out my lunch. On that Friday in May, I said ‘f*ck it’ and joined the Tony Ferguson diet plan. This was a completely impulsive decision, I knew nothing about the plan, I didn’t know what it involved or how much it cost (it wasn’t cheap) but I knew I had to do it that very minute otherwise I wouldn’t ever do it. Phew, I had taken the first step. As I walked away from the store my new diet program in hand, I was excited, almost skipping, I was going to stick to this 100% and I was going to be slim for my wedding day!
I was nervous to tell Matt that I had joined this diet plan, as I said earlier on, he takes his time making decisions, and I had just jumped straight into this plan. It wasn’t cheap and he had heard me say I was ‘going to do this’ many times before. I started to wonder whether he had faith in me, whether he thought I could lose weight.
‘I was already questioning my ability’
I learnt a lot with this diet plan, it was unlike anything I had done before, it was restrictive but not awful. It allowed for education and I discovered recipes and foods I still love today. I also had every reason in the world to lose weight, and I was motivated. The first week I lost three pounds, I was thrilled and disappointed it wasn’t more. I thought to myself ‘I’m obviously not doing it right, I should have lost more, I should have lost five or six pounds’. I consistently lost three pounds over the next few weeks, and after one month I had lost a stone. We were about to take a trip to New York to plan our wedding, this was going to be interesting, how was I going to survive? I had pizza, I didn’t stay ‘on plan’ because that would be really tough and miserable, but I was very aware of what I ate. I was surprised and relieved that I had maintained my weight, but again disappointed, I felt like I should have tried harder.
About twelve months before our wedding, I quit my job and spent a few months searching for my next job. During this time, I didn’t want to spend much money as I was living on savings, I spent a lot of time at the gym. I jogged my first mile, it took 16 minutes and I was proud – this was my new focus, running and beating my time. I was still a cardio bunny, but the gym was quiet so I started to use the small dumb bells, I noticed some definition in my shoulders and arms. Now that I could see a physical result of exercise, I was excited, I rowed and rowed and rowed, just so I could see this definition.
‘I felt like a million bucks’
As our wedding day approached I felt amazing, I had lost about three stone, I had bought shorts for our trip and on the day I felt like a million bucks. Our wedding week flew by, and the day after we returned to the UK I was back in the gym. The moment I walked into the gym I felt deflated, I was back to normality and I had lost my motivation to workout and lose weight.
I no longer had my reason ‘why’, and now I felt like I had zero reason to lose weight.
As the next few months passed I slowly made every excuse not to workout, I was tired, I was stressed because we were moving home, it was hard, I wasn’t as good as I should be. These were all excuses that led me to quitting the gym, and stop running, and I gave up – I felt resentment towards those who appeared to have it easy. I had been doing this for almost two years, so why wasn’t it any easier?
It wasn’t any easier, because I was too focused on my excuses instead of how good it felt to be thinner, slimmer, lighter and fitter.
Over the next few months I managed to maintain my weight, but by March 2012 I weighed over two hundred pounds again. I once again decided I had enough, I was tired of feeling unhealthy, I was fed up with feeling run down and wanted to take back the control I had lost. I invested in a Personal Trainer.