Friday, 12 October 2012

Childhood sexual abuse, obesity as protection and anxiety around weight loss...

I have always watched programs like 'The Biggest Loser' and 'Supersize VS Superskinny', and - I admit - kind of rolled my eyes when they get to parts where they dig out old photos and go into the emotional reasons behind their over-eating. I would sit there thinking that it was all over-dramatized for the benefit of the camera and the audience. I'd sit there saying to the screen, "Yeah, right - You just like eating too much and you know it!".

However, I say this now with shame and sobriety, as I believe that I have discovered in my past, a major key to my obesity and weight gain. I understand now that a persons' past, their subconscious, their fears and doubts may contribute to their eating habits, as may well be the case for me.

I have yo-yo'd up and down before and just put it down to low will power, enjoyment of food, comfort eating, lack of self discipline, etc, which, in part, it is. But I now believe that there is something else going on and I think I've finally figured it out, entirely accidentally. I kind of stumbled upon the realization, but now I wonder how it was never obvious before.

I was sexually abused as a young girl. I never had any issues with my weight as a child. I was fairly thin, naturally (and also owing to my mum being pretty hard up financially):

Me in black in the middle, aged 10

I gained weight rapidly after the abuse stopped, when I was about 14 years old and I was very overweight until I was 16/17.

Me on the left, aged 15

Then by 18, I lost a lot of weight through starvation and extreme amounts of exercise:

I didn't give much thought as to why, to be honest, but I've yo-yo'd up and down since then. I was very overweight late last year, and now I'm getting to be a more 'normal' size. But I've been falling into bad habits this last few weeks...

It's like I know I'm sabotaging my hard work, but I go ahead and do it anyway. So, WHY? I think it has everything to do with my past. Recently, I have felt anxiety when I have noticed my slender wrists and veins in my hands. I've also noticed a few appreciative glances from men, and felt disturbed by it. I feel ANXIOUS about being slim. It wasn't your typical epiphany, it has taken me a while to slot the pieces together, but I'm starting to wonder: Perhaps what I am feeling anxious about, is being desirable?

It's not that I don't want to be attractive, I DO. A big motivator in my weight loss so far, has been wanting my husband to be attracted to me. But on a largely subconscious way, I am aware of anxiety around getting slim. The 'click' moment came while out running a little over a week ago, when I said to myself, "I'm vulnerable". And that's exactly it. I feel vulnerable because I am getting thin. I know it makes no sense, but I also know it makes me want to eat. Lots.

I am kicking myself. I don't want to be fat. I do want to be thin. I do want to be attractive. I do want to be healthy. But I feel like my weight protects me, if not from anything real then at least from anxiety. And there is, after all, nothing more deserving of fear than fear itself.

The last time I was out running, I got scared. Because it occurred to me that people might actually think to attack me now, and I didn't feel safe. Those thoughts had never entered my head when out running before. I've always felt empowered and strong when running - like I am a powerful and formidable force.

When I started to get scared I told myself I was being silly, and put it out of my mind until I got home (but I haven't been out running since). Until now, I hadn't put two and two together. I hadn't considered that there might be a connection between that fear, and my past or my new, slighter figure.

But now that I think about it... I believe that the fear of danger when out running has come about because I don't have the extra weight to protect me - because who would rape a fat girl, right? I know it doesn't make any sense. I know the weight doesn't really protect me, but I felt safe with it on and now I feel vulnerable. It's the only way that I can put it. I miss running... but something strong has held me back from getting out of the door for over a week now. I feel like I want to go, but I don't.

What a sucky, sucky place. I'm totally horrified at the idea of ending up back where I was: miserable with my weight, unhealthy, unattractive, self-loathing, not feeling worthy... But at the same time, I am very aware that I'm anxious and I feel vulnerable. I am sabotaging my diet, I'm not working out, I'm eating the wrong foods... I've had several, several thousand calorie binges lately, intentionally - I've gone to the shops specifically to buy binge foods. And done it in secret. I've spent so much money on food.

And on top of everything, putting two and two together and realizing this may be related to the abuse, has got me thinking about the past. And got me feeling angry and frustrated and depressed, that it feels like this will be a life-long battle, and that I will never truly be free of him. I feel like I'll always, on some level, no matter how much it seems that I'm 'better', be that abused little girl. A victim. And I just want to run to the shops and stuff my face until I'm numb inside.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Love Your Body - It's The Only One You've Got!

I'm on the final stretch of pre-wedding weight loss (sis-in-law's wedding, not mine) and I'm really pushing myself. I feel completely back to normal post-op, so I've been out pounding the pavement almost every day. I'm back to running and kickboxing. I smiled sweetly at hubby and got myself a bicycle and I've been walking everywhere, regardless of distance, regardless of having to sling one of my infants on my back when their legs get tired, regardless of weather - my car now lives on the driveway unless there is no safe pedestrian pathway.

And the more I exercise, the more I realize that I don't actually hate my body as it is. In fact, I feel like I'm falling in love with it!

I realise that, far from hating my body like I used to, I now respect and adore it, for it is my body as it is - not skinny, not especially fit, not toned, but - as it is, that powers me through runs, bike rides, long walks and work-outs. It is my current body, as it is, that is transforming me into my future, fit self. Nobody else can do this for me.

Last night I went for a long bike ride. I was overtaken by a 'proper' cyclist and I secretly decided to try to race him... and failed as, within seconds, he disappeared off of the edge of the horizon. It occurred to me then that, to serious runners and cyclists, I must look a bit silly and laughable. (That's not to say that I don't take my own exercise seriously - I do.) I don't mind being an obvious newb. I don't mind making mistakes and plodding along at a fraction of the speed of others who are out on the road: I enjoy riding my classic-looking, squeaky ladies bicycle (think, 'Call The Midwife') and I LOVE running. I might seem slow to others or have poor technique, and I huff and puff a lot due to my anemia, but I am beating my own records and to me it feels like I am racing the wind. I feel powerful and fierce, I feel like I am soaring! The whole world could be watching me, laughing and honking their car horns, and it wouldn't stop me. I've found something I really love in outdoor exercise, and I truly look forward to getting better and better!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Targets and LFCC.

One of the dates I was aiming to have lost a lot of weight by, the London Film and Comic Con, came and went yesterday. I am still over 3stone away from my goal weight. I really wanted to be happy with the photos of myself that I got out of the day but of a total of 20, I've put just 4 on Facebook.

Last year at this event I was 11st 7 and a size 12-14, now I am 13st and a size 16 - but I think the biggest difference is in my face:

Last year:


I had really wanted to get back to 11st 7 by this year, and back to looking like me again. But I have to look on the positive side - when I started trying to lose weight I was 14st 5, and I'm now 13st. I need to keep going!

I'm no longer doing the VLCD for mental health reasons. I'm eating healthily and exercising and I now have a month to the second target date (SILs wedding), and I'm hoping to have lost at least half a stone by then.

Monday, 18 June 2012


I totally fell of the wagon for a few days (diet AND exercise!) but the important thing is that I am back on it. Today is day 2. Yesterday I was 100% on my diet, and walked about 6 miles up hill. Today I am doing well so far on my diet, and just as soon as the delivery arrives that I am waiting for, I will be out of the door and off to the zoo with my three little sproglets.

The zoo is a great place to get exercise without even really realizing it - You spend all day walking up and down hills, but you hardly notice, as you get to see all the cutie animals on the way around. The kids all really enjoy this as a day out so it's perfect for me when I can't get hubby to watch the girls at all. He's away at conference until Friday so I won't get the chance to go on any evening walks this week. I'll have to be more active than usual with the girls in the day to make up for it.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Juneathon update #004

Hurrah! I am finally feeling a little more normal, although I still get swelling and pain if I overdo things. So I'm still listening to my body and playing it by ear. (To bring new readers up to speed, I had an operation on 26th May, which I am still recovering from. While I am unable to join in with Juneathon by running every day, I am using it as an opportunity to monitor my activity, to ensure that I don't become a total couch potato while I recover.)

Today I have done the warm up from Kirsty Gallacher's Body Sculpt DVD and 10 minutes of Step Basics on Wii Fit. It's not a great deal and, to be honest, I could have done more.

I am hoping for good weather tomorrow as I'm planning on walking the 2 miles to church (and 2 miles back afterward). The weather would simply make this walk more pleasant - I still intend to walk if it's windy or raining. If you wait for the right conditions here, you will never get anything done...

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Juneathon update #003

Yesterday I went for a long walk in the countryside. It was a beautiful day and the children loved it. It took me over an hour, but I only covered 2 miles so it was a nice gentle pace. Today I feel quite sore but I'm determined to get some activity into my day. Even if it is just a few goes on the Wii Step basics. I refuse to let a single day go by where I am sat on my ass from dawn to dusk.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Juneathon update #002

So, I think I may have overdone things slightly. I've started to feel a lot of swelling and pain at the incision site of my operation. I said that I would listen to my body, and as such I haven't been as  active today or yesterday as I was on day 1.

I've managed 5 sets of 20laps very gently walking around the garden, and 5 sets of 10 minutes punching the air, just to keep a little bit active. I'm disapointed that I haven't managed to keep up the level of activity that I managed on day 1 of Juneathon but I must listen to my body. My hubby would be so unimpressed if I injured myself or jeopardized my healing. Really, I must listen to both my husband and my body. I want to get up and be active, but I will only do myself more harm than good if I am not sensible with it. Good things come to those who wait, I guess...