The desire to first lose weight came around four years ago, during the end of my first year at university. I say desire, I really mean action; the desire had probably been bubbling on the surface a little before that. I have always been quite health conscious, mostly thanks to my mum who is an amazing cook, so I regularly had nourishing meals at home growing up. However, in secondary school I would also have entire pot noodles as snacks and my favourite time of the week was chip day. I didn’t really care about weight. I ate a LOT. A memory that sticks in my head from school was having to write down everything we had eaten that day – I literally have no idea why. My list was the longest in the class and the teacher was baffled; I wasn’t overweight at all and yet I was eating a lot. “Do you walk to school?” “Sometimes. Not a lot”. Oh, my 14 year old metabolism. How I miss thee. How I fucked thee up after years of eating one piece of fish for dinner and half a quest bar for a snack.
My first attempts during that first year at Leeds were futile. Enter; MyFitnessPal, eating the standard 1,200 calories with no regard to nutritional content. I was eating white bread rolls and pasta and “low fat” yoghurts and breakfast bars, but because I wasn’t going past that magical number, it was okay. I lost a little weight, not as much as you’d think for how little I was eating, yet during that summer it completely stalled. I was still eating crap, but even less, and I’d now started going to the gym at home as well. I was grumpy, tired, irritable, i’d regularly cry and scream for no reason… Sorry mum. But still not losing any weight. Then, at the start of my second year, I started taking it more seriously. I read up about nutrition, I started my Instagram, I started following all the usual ‘fitspos’ and i’d spend hours scouring the web for healthy recipes. I lost weight. We know I lost weight. This middle part I have talked about extensively on my Instagram and on here. This post is not about that. This post is about the now.
I’m happy to say that now I do feel a lot more balanced. I still eat well, I don’t think that will ever change, but I can go out for pizza and not stress too much. But here is the kicker; the emphasis on “too much”. There is definitely still some stress. I cannot be completely nonchalant about pizza, ice cream, cake… My thoughts still whirr “is it worth it?” “will I have to do more in the gym tomorrow?” “Perhaps I could tweak my meals a bit tomorrow…” Most of the time I talk myself out of the stupid thoughts. Most of the time I will not do extra at the gym. I will not tweak my meals. Most of the time.
But that nagging is always there. Like those shop assistants that hover over your every move waiting to pounce at the chance of a sale. The thoughts are there. Will possibly always be there. And that is something that I will have to live with.
I don’t remember the last time I walked into a bakery that served fresh amazing looking cakes, and trust me, there is a lot in London, and bought myself one. I occasionally buy myself a Ben’s cookie because they are second to none, but it is still accompanied by a fast heartbeat and a little self-doubt. I’m annoyed at myself even typing that out, because I can see how stupid it is but also how true it is.
I force myself into a lot of these situations so they do get easier. I do them a lot more. Usually with friends. It is rare for me to treat myself alone. They get easier, but never easy.
I’m slightly dubious about posting this because I feel like a slight fraud. I am in a very good place right now mentally and physically, quite possibly the best I have ever been since I first “dieted”. But I will still never have a pot noodle as a snack again. I will never be that girl who had ham and crisp sandwiches and a chocolate bar for lunch every single day without a second thought about how many calories are in it or how much sugar is in the chocolate or will this affect my training later? God, I miss crisp sandwiches on white bread and a load of butter (perhaps not the ham nowadays). I may have one soon. But it will never become a regular thing again.
I love the meals I cook, I love coming up with recipes and cooking is truly one of my favourite parts of the day. I wouldn’t change that for the world. I don’t feel the need to nap in the middle of the day like I used to at school, my skin is good and I have a body I work hard to maintain and I am proud of. I wouldn’t change any of those things. I would just like for one day the anxiety to completely disappear and for the ONLY thought to be as I tuck into a brownie be ‘this tastes so good!’ However, this mentality is now so ingrained and an intrinsic part of my being that i’m not sure it will ever change completely. I mourn for those days. I may be preaching to the converted, I mean you’re reading a health and fitness blog, but I hope this little bit of honesty helps someone. It does get better. It really does. But I do not want to claim that I am completely diet mentality free, although I am optimistic this day will come. Probably not soon, but one day.