Ladies, I am pretty sure we have all struggled with our weight at some point in our lives….
Stepping on those scales everyday in the desperate hope that your weight will be just a little closer to where you want to be after trying so hard to make a difference. Sometimes, it consumes your every waking thought as well as the unconscious ones as you sleep and dream of food and reaching your goal weight!
I’ll just pause there for a moment as you’re probably reading this and picturing someone overweight who is trying to shed a few pounds and drop a dress size or two, right? Well, you’re wrong, for the last 2 years, I have desperately been trying to put weight ON!
Back in 2012 when my husband became very unwell (see http://www./day-husband-turned-blue), I very quickly saw my weight drastically plummet from a healthy, well covered 54kg to a shockingly thin 43kg due to all the stress, anxiety and lack of nutritional meals whilst at the hospital with him. My collar bones were unsightly and stuck out, my spine as sharp as a razor blade, my knees so knobbly that I had to put a pillow in between them if I laid on my side, my pelvis and coccyx so bony that I couldn’t lay in the bath as it was too painful. I wore a halter-neck dress to a function and my shoulder blades looked like wings as they were were so emaciated. I have some photos from back then, they are absolutely shocking and bring a tear to my eye when I look at them. How had I got so thin? I hadn’t even realised how much weight I had lost, all I could focus on was my husband getting better.
When my husband was eventually discharged from hospital, he too was in desperate need of some meat on his dangerously thin body, so we embarked on a ‘weight gain programme’ together, how romantic! Well, fast-forward to now and I am thrilled to have just reached my target weight of 50kg! I still have a little way to go but for my petite 5ft 1 frame, this is the magic number I have been so eager to reach!
Some days, however, were incredibly hard for me. I was trying to eat so much food so that I didn’t burn it all off in my active job on the ward. Some days I ate so much that I feared that I wouldn’t be able to keep it down and all my effort would be wasted. To step on the scales in the hope that I had made a small difference, only to find that I had gained only half a pound or even worse lost it! My heart sunk. I had to just keep eating, all the fun had gone from eating and it had become a chore… eat, eat, eat! My husband had reached his target weight long before me so I had to reach mine, we had promised each other we would do it together, I would reach mine… and I did, and it feels great, 7kg of weight gained, that’s over a stone!
I just want to say, please be kind when you see people who are thin. You have no idea what battles they are facing and what their circumstances may be. Please think twice before you call someone ‘skinny’ or tell him or her how ‘lucky’ he or she is to be thin, or assume that they just don’t eat. Even though you may not say these things to cause upset and it is just a passing comment, I assure you, it is humiliating, deeply hurtful and distressing. Someone may well have just gained a pound and be proud of that achievement and then hear a comment like that and be devastated. Just to put this into perspective: if I see someone who is a little on the large side, I would never make a comment on their weight, because their size if none of my business and to say “you’re too fat” would hurt their feelings and be incredibly rude. So, why it is OK in society for people to quite openly say to someone you may not even know “you’re too skinny!” and assume that it would not be equally as painful?
There are so many reasons why people may struggle with their weight – they could be unwell with something like cancer as just one example, they could have a condition like cystic fibrosis meaning they have trouble gaining and maintaining weight, they could have an eating disorder or they could have been through an incredibly stressful situation, like me, which made the weight just fall off. You just don’t know so please reserve judgment and don’t assume that because they are small, that they are any happier or more comfortable with their weight and body image than you are.
Now, all my friends and family comment about how much my spotty skin has improved, I am not nearly as pale as I once was, I have a glow back in my cheeks and a sparkle back in my eyes. I never thought I would be so pleased to abandon my size 6-8 trousers, which hung on me when I first got them. I grew into and grew out of them Oh, and hearing “you look great, have you put weight on?” never, ever gets old! “Yes, I have”, I reply with a big grin! I no longer dread stepping on the scales and have made friends with my food again. I eat for nourishment and enjoyment rather than as a chore! Hello appetite, how I have missed you!
Time for some breakfast…