I am greedy, unashamedly so, and because of this I’ve always been a little bit fat. I’ve worked hard on my chubbiness over the years and it sort of feels like an old friend….you know, one of those mates you’ve known for years and would quite frankly rather avoid; one of those chums you put up with and would cull from Facebook given half the chance.
It all started with a bit of childhood puppy fat, not strictly my fault of course as I wasn’t exactly in charge of meal plans at the time. No, my expansion was caused by enthusiastic feeding by my mother, and my total lack of interest in physical activity of any kind. I was a head-in-a-book kinda girl, spending hours reading and only coming up for air or chocolate. Young and blissfully unaware that my wobbly bits were a bad thing, my naïve bubble was burst when I was frog-marched to the women’s section of M&S when I could no longer be squeezed into their kids clothes. I was suddenly painfully aware of being overweight, a feeling that would stay with me always.
The arrival of hormones during the teenage years did nothing to help the blubber (a little Judy Blume reference for you 80s kids out there). My self-confidence took a hit when my parents thought the perfect 14th birthday present was the very latest exercise video – great for the waistline, terrible for the self esteem. After one attempt at grape-vining across our sitting room, the VHS soon started to gather dust on the shelf and my weight continued to climb. A couple of years and a couple of dress sizes later my mother tried a different approach and promptly signed us both up to Weightwatchers. Points counted and calculated, she lost three pounds in the first week, I put on two.
Things got worse during the university years when I was solely in charge of what went down the cake hole for the first time. Drinking 5 or 6 nights a week, eating deep-fried food, even less exercise than before, I hit an all-time high on the scales at nearly fifteen stone and was sporting some snug fitting size 18 clothes. This prompted a second and voluntary Weightwatchers membership which forced some subtle changes to my student routine – snakebite black was replaced with vodka and diet coke, chips with potato waffles and sitting on my arse was replaced with the occasional trip to the gym. Not exactly a lifestyle overhaul but enough to get me into slightly more slimline size 14 by the time I moved to the big smoke.
My 20s in London were the yo-yo years with healthy eating attempts not exactly going hand in hand with my social life. It was a steady stream of nights out – work parties, dates, catching up with my girls, and the best intentions often went awry. I’d start a new diet every Monday and it was usually abandoned by 6pm on Tuesday when the white wine started calling and my will power went out the window. Add in a few more nights out, plus those major hangover calories the next day and my bum quickly found its way back into size 16 clothes.
Then to my 30s where I now find myself. So far it’s been an adventure of love, marriage and a baby, and the biggest extremes on the scales. Determined to be at the smaller end of my weight spectrum for my wedding, I turned to the 5:2 diet and my size 14 wardrobe felt a little loose for the first time. I hit an all time low on the scales and the hold-me-in underwear beneath my wedding dress had a much easier job than usual. I didn’t even have to breathe in (much) for the photos.
And then followed weight gain of the most amazing kind – a baby! Never have the numbers creeping up on the scales been such a good thing, and how I celebrated not worrying about my calorie count everyday. Food was no longer the enemy as I felt my tummy and baby grow, and piling on three stone was more than ok by me. But that was pre-baby, and this is me now, a few months into the wonderful adventure with baby J, and a new diet has begun. It’s time to banish the baby weight and see if this new me, a mummy, can get into the best shape of her life. Will I finally get a handle on my love handles and gain yummy mummy status? Or will I end up with more muffin top than a visit to the Hummingbird Bakery. This is mum vs food, let battle commence.