Going on holiday is exciting, isn’t it? All the planning and preparation and the excuse to buy new clothes and stand in the changing room and look at your body and… oh my God is that really me?
My body and I have never had a good relationship. From the age of nine onwards, I was obese. There’s no nicer way of putting it. By the age of 19, I was four stone overweight and miserable.
That year I took action. Not healthy action, but action that lost me around three stone and made me feel happier.
Of course, we all know what happened next. Gradually the weight went on, then off, then on, then off…
I am your typical dieter. Go to WeightWatchers – which got me into size 12 jeans for the first time ever – and then can’t stick to the regime and go to Slimming World and then can’t stick to that regime so try Joanna Hall and then can’t stick to that regime so go back to WeightWatchers, which has changed system and leaves me starving, so I go to Slimming World and put a pound on in my first week so then I try the Special K two bowls of cereal…
Oh, hang on. I’ve missed Rosemary Conley out somewhere in all this.
Over the last 33 years, my weight has bounced up and down and while never at the scale I was when I was in my teens, I’ve spent more time overweight than at my dream.
Because I did get there. Two years ago, I followed My Fitness Pal, eating what I wanted within 1450 calories, and exercised. As I was training for the Great North Run and had sponsors that I didn’t want to let down, getting out there was easy.
And I loved it. I adored being at a weight that let me go into a shop and try on the clothes I wanted and know they’d fit. I loved clocking up the miles each week, seeing my fitness levels get higher and higher and running for two hours without stopping – two minutes was impossible when I was on those school cross-country runs.
Most of all, I felt good. I was eating well and what I wanted and getting a buzz every other day from hitting the pavement (not literally).
No, nothing major changed because I was at my dream weight. I didn’t become interesting overnight or develop a stunning repartee that had people flocking to be with me. But I was happy and I did the GNR in the time I wanted (and raised £497 for guide dogs!).
Then it all went downhill. Two days after the run, we moved and I had a different job and hours and Madame Menopause started to hit and running suddenly seemed a lot more difficult than before. As for eating, well, I was feeling down and unhappy, so why not have a glass of wine with my meal? Plus garlic bread with the pasta and a chocolate dessert. After a selection of cold meats for a starter.
Gradually, I’ve got to a stage where the jeans I once was unsure about because they were a little loose are fitting. My running is back to Couch to 5k Week One, Day One – for the umpteenth week in a row. All the work I’ve done has gone.
So when we went looking for holiday clothes and I saw my body as I struggled to get into clothes I once slipped into, I could have cried.
I’d love to write a body positive piece because I love what my body does. Seeing my muscles move and interconnect when I pick something heavy up blows my mind. Knowing I can rely on this frame to still get me moving after everything it has gone through is incredible.
But while I love the engine, I’m not keen on the chassis. And no amount of people telling me I still look good helps because I don’t feel good.
However, after all those years of dieting, I know I’m not yet at the stage where I can tackle it. All those diets I went on – my head wasn’t in a good place and so I failed. I can pinpoint exactly when I was in a good place because that’s when I lost weight.
And sadly, over the last two years, I haven’t been. Menopause has knocked me for six more than I ever wanted to admit. Bad days have left me feeling too exhausted and down to care what I look like, while good days have left me so happy that I’m not having a bad day that I haven’t cared!
I’m still not there, but I’m going to try to at least get running and get a proper routine for yoga – menopause-wise, that’s all good for helping. Foodwise, I’m trying to cut out all the biscuits and chocolate and crisps (my downfall) and replace them with snacks that are good for my body. And the glass of wine or a beer at night is being knocked on the head.
I can’t do anything in time for my holidays and hand on heart, I’m not going to be happy about that. But instead of setting myself a short timescale – holidays or half-marathons – I’m going to try and set myself the rest of my life. I’m a work-in-progress. Now can someone give me that on a handy carry-and-keep card?
HAS MENOPAUSE AFFECTED YOUR WEIGHT AND HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT IT? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW
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