Judging from my photo library I think it was probably Tuesday 7th June 2016 and I weighed about 120 kg. It was about 6pm and I’d just come back from ALDI to buy dinner. I looked at the carrier bag of food I’d laid out on my desk, some microwave Haggis and Potato meal, some bag of sweets, some yoghurt drink, probably something else. Normally I avoided thinking about calories but I thought there was probably about 2200 right there.
When you’re truly fat you usually avoid thinking about what you’re eating and what you look like. What a lot of people don’t realise is that there are frequent intense bursts of shame and guilt, sometimes public and sometimes with tears. Usually these come after eating, and in that immediate moment they translate to pure motivation to lose weight. Fat people know exactly who’s fault it is, they know exactly what they’ve got to do, but they’re in a battle of will against nature, habit and hunger. As my Nana Maughan once said simply:
“There’s nothing worse than when someone calls you fat, and you know you are fat”
So countless times in my life (even from when I was about 9) I had whipped myself up into a frenzy of motivation to lose weight. Sometimes it would last a week, maybe up to 10 days of healthy eating and maybe some running, usually not more than 3 or 4 hours. The most success I’d had to that point was when I was 13 – I ran a lot and I lost about a stone in the process.
How the fuck was I going to ever get out of this, I thought as I looked at the food. I was 24 and every attempt in the past had failed: every ‘before’ photo, every new years resolution, every Monday.
I don’t know where the inspiration came from but some new thoughts arrived:
- You don’t get away with any of this. Your heart started beating in 1992 and its still going now. Your body doesn’t care if its Monday, it doesn’t care if you hide the food from yourself, it doesn’t care if its the morning or the evening. The stuff you eat counts, all of it, if you start tomorrow, everything you eat tonight and everything you ate yesterday is still counting against you.
- If you can accept that then you accept that you are trapped by nature, time and physics. There might be no easy way out of this than just adopting the shitty painful responsibility of hunger from this moment now and forever, every time you over-eat just start again right after.
- Accept right now that tomorrow, and next week, and in a month you’re gonna relapse. Prepare for that, that will be harder than this moment. Not because its actually harder or you’re hungrier, but because you wont care as much as you do now.
- Accept that even in 1, 2 or 5 years you’ll also relapse, because you know yourself, you’re always too hungry than you need to be.
- Accept that struggling with your weight always has been a big part of your life and it always will, but you should to get on the right side of healthy and figure out a structural way to deal with it.
- You have a choice between feeling fat and guilty but getting to basically eat what you want. Or being hungry and miserable sometimes, never really indulging but feeling healthy and proud for it.
- Pick your poison, basically.
My method had to be my own, I had to create Leon’s solution for Leon’s problem. That way I knew I had some extra stake in making it work.
It worked like this:
- Use your Apple watch to get 1000 calories of Move activity per day, every day, with no excuse. This is the easiest one for me to do because I’m happy just walking around listening to podcasts for hours and I have no problem with the cold.
- Snapchat everything I eat to Jeremy (my bf at the time). This was probably the key technique, it was a way of forcing a separate pair of eyes to see what I was eating. He didn’t need to respond, just see it. Its a simple enough rule to follow, so when you don’t want to follow it you’re forced to think about it for a while. Yeah you can eat unhealthily – but he’s gonna see it. It was a very soft cage of logic I was putting myself in. This was also the hardest habit to give up – I was still doing it 2 years later and believed I couldn’t keep the weight off without it. Thanks again Jeremy for putting up with that.
- Meditate. I suspect deeply that it was my meditation habit that I started to handle anxiety in 2015 that actually set the wheels in motion for enough consciousness and willpower to trigger this whole thing. Meditation works, but its boring af and you wont always attribute the effects to the practice.
- Find foods you can indulge on. I’d read about a Tory MP who went on a ‘Diet Coke and Apple’ diet. I loved the sound of that so I thought yes. Unlimited Diet Coke please, it has no calories and I don’t want to hear about how it ‘makes you crave sugar’. I crave sugar all the time anyway.
By August I was under 100kg and by January 2017 I was under 90. Not only was I no longer obese but I wasn’t even overweight. The whole journey had been like a game and its truly the thing I’m most proud of ever doing.
Right now I sit here and I’m 95kg, its the 9th December 2021, I’ll be 30 in April. I’m overweight again but not by too much. I can feel the ability to ‘keep the weight off’ weakening as the years go by, so I’m writing this to try to re-ignite my ability to lose weight.
Let’s see where this goes!