Is it easy?

The most common question from people when they hear I’ve lost this much weight is, “have you found it easy?”

There’s a can of worms!

My standard response is, “if it were easy, nobody would be fat.”

The truth is – and I don’t generally bore people with this – a lot of the time it feels nigh on impossible.  They want to hear you say, “yeah, it’s a great eating plan and it fits around my social life” but the reality is that, as great as the Slimming World plan is, all calorie-deficit plans work if you stick to them, but it’s the sticking to them that’s so bloody hard.

I’m no stranger to “dieting” – I’ve been overweight for as long as I remember and I’ve tried pretty much everything apart from weight loss surgery.  Xenical tablets seemed like a good idea at the time – they bind the fat in your food so that you pass it in your stools, and you’re told by the doctor to eat below a certain number of grams of fat in each meal to avoid diarrhoea.  Sound reasonable, right?  Wrong!  For me, anyway, I got to a point where I was scared to move!

The fact is, boys and girls, there is no miracle fix.

There’s no denying that SW’s Food Optimising plan is really user-friendly – I love that fact that you start with all the “free” foods you can eat (in sensible portions) without weighing them or counting calories.  It’s easy to follow and – shock horror – you can still eat out.  It’s become apparent to me that the only difference between my current weight-loss endeavours and those I’ve gone through in the past is that this time I haven’t given up.  That’s it.  However, chuck in years of low self-esteem and a handful of mental health issues and the “not giving up” part becomes that much more critical.

I was diagnosed with depression and general anxiety disorder back in 2009, and with the benefit of hindsight, I suspect my mental health issues started in my late teens.  Having said that, I was a very anxious child and always sought solace in food (ding ding!).  No, I didn’t have a desperately unhappy childhood; I have a very loving a close family and I could have talked about how I was feeling anytime, God knows why I didn’t.  I guess I assumed everyone felt the same way I did.

Right now I’m stuck in a self-destructive mire of depression and anxiety which (and I only realised this recently) has been going on for about 9 months.  Having had Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, having practised mindfulness on a daily basis and having continued to take my prescribed medication, my head is still a foggy mess.  Turns out there’s no easy way around that, either.  The problem I have is that my mental health bears heavily (no pun intended) on my self-belief, and therefore on my weight-loss momentum.  For years I thought I was depressed because I was fat, but it turns out the opposite is true.

When I first started losing weight, I felt amazing – we know that success breeds success, and so the first 7 stone or so came off nicely.  Ironically, though, that was around the time I began to panic that I couldn’t do it.  SEVEN STONE DOWN THE LINE!  I was my own success story, but all of a sudden I couldn’t visualise myself crossing that virtual finish line.  I got to about 8st off in total (1st on my own pre-SW and the rest with SW) and I hit a wall.  Since then, all I can think about is failure.  Some days I even manage to convince myself it’s easier being fat (it isn’t).

I’m still working on this, and I know it’ll be an issue for the rest of my life, whether I reach “target” or not.  Right now I’m muddling through and doing the best I can with the support of absolutely fantastic people.  I’ve regained half a stone and I hate myself for it, but I know that hate won’t help me.

So, is it easy?  No, it bloody well isn’t.

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