I have struggled one way or another with my weight since my mid-teens. To be honest, to begin with it was my mother who had more of a problem than I did, and looking back I see that I wasn't over-weight, it's just that my frame is bigger than my mothers. I was actually very fit - swimming everyday and spending most of Saturday trampolining - so what extra weight I did carry was muscle. All the same, my mother made me aware of my body and I think compounded insecurities about it that were already there.
When I was sixteen/seventeen the depression I'd had since I was a child (not officially diagnosed for many years) deepened for various reasons when I was sixteen/seventeen, and unable to express my distress (again for a myriad of reasons) I turned it back onto myself and it came out in the form of anorexia. This stayed with me for a number of years, but gradually developed into bulimia, which stayed with me for an awful lot longer ... until my late twenties. I am through all that, but now I am very over-weight and it bothers me. I know that I have to be careful not to get sucked into bulimia again, which is all too easy to do, but I do need to lose weight. I am self-conscious. I am embarrassed. I am ashamed. Okay, so I know that those who care about me probably don't care what I weigh (and I'm not about to tell you my weight!) or what my body-shape is, but I do, and the fact of the matter is that being over-weight won't be helping my asthma or my general health.
A few years ago I lost a lot of weight without resorting to eating disorder 'habits', and I managed to keep it off for about three or four years, but over the past couple of years I've put it all back on again ... plus a little. It's upsetting. When I lost all that weight the nursing staff on my usual ward at the Freeman Hospital were so congratulatory and pleased for me, and that felt good too. Now here's a really stupid think that could well make you want to shout at me, and is actually a huge thing for me to admit 'out loud' ... a contributory factor in recent months' reluctance to go into hospital with my asthma is embarrassment and shame at having put back on all that weight. Yes, I know it's stupid, and yes, I know it's dangerous, and yes, I will (and have) ignored it when I've really needed to go in, but it's something that hangs over me.
It's time to do something about this. I mean, seriously get to work on this, and without falling into the trap of eating disorders, which is easier said than done as, in my opinion, these are things that are managed, not cured. In the past year I've tried losing weight on my own, but obviously unsuccessfully as I've actually put weight on, so I've thought about joining something like Weightwatchers or Slimming World, but I feel intimidated. I'm also not sure if these organisations would be able to work around my allergies as so much of their focus, as far as I'm aware, is around using their own-brand products. No, I need something that is a group approach, but that also gives me independence and a degree of privacy in it too, although I know that sounds ironic given that I'm writing about it here. So what's the answer? I didn't have a clue, but then I hit on the idea that there might be some computer software that could maybe give me the focus and even some kind of motivation/encouragement. Not ideal, but I decided to do a web search for something suitable. There doesn't seem to be much of this kind of thing out there, let alone anything with many positive reviews. However I did come across a couple of online support group things with goal-setting, progress tracking, and vibrant communities. I checked one or two of them out and have signed up with SparkPeople yesterday morning. It's free, which is a huge bonus, and seems really motivational, and I've already had some posts of welcome and encouragement. At the moment I'm very limited in what I can in terms of activity to help the weight loss process, which is one of the focuses of SparkPeople, but perhaps when I'm through this current period of inability to breathe sufficiently well I'll be able to get back to supervised exercise. I want to do so now, but there is absolutely no way that it's possible since I can hardly move around the flat without getting breathless, so for now I'm having to focus solely on food intake. This poses it's own difficulties as I know that if I start the whole calorie counting thing then I risk being drawn back into disordered eating, so I'm avoiding that and instead concentrating on general healthy eating (I know all the theory, of course, I'm just not always very good at putting it into practice) and portion size.
It's tough. All of it, not just the quest to lose weight, but all the shame and embarrassment at being over-weight to begin with. The stupid thing about it contributing to reluctance to go to hospital with my asthma (though I'm not quite at that stage yet with this current bought). It's all hard. I need to change it though, and I know that I'm the only person who can do anything about it, so here I am at the beginning of a new task. Wish me luck, strength and perseverance, because I'm going to need it.