I want to like my body. Yet I don’t. I want to be happy with myself even for just a day. Yet I’ve never had the pleasure. I’m bringing the truth about being eternally fat today. I’m being vulnerable. Fat and vulnerable to be precise. I don’t remember an age when I didn’t feel bigger than everyone else. Not just because of my height but also because of my weight. Here goes my story.
At 9 years old I cried because my legs rubbed together and hurt in the summer. None of the other girls had this problem, I knew I was different. At 11 years old I couldn’t get school uniforms that were big enough around my stomach and long enough to cover my dignity. My mum resorted to buying women’s clothes were she could. I started high school and started to self harm. My epilepsy had just been diagnosed and thanks to trying various medications I ballooned. I was bullied for my epilepsy and for the way I looked. At 13 years old I was a UK size 16. At 14 years old I started to throw up my food, this lasted a month. I heard my Grandmum said to my mum how I was packing on without the growth spurt and that she should cut back my portions. I felt disgusting. I closed my eyes every time I showered. At 15 years old when other girls were buying cool clothes from Primark or River Island, I was in Evans trying desperately to find things that looked ok for a teenager to wear. Shopping for jeans reduced me to tears. I couldn’t just go to a shop and pick something up, everything had to be tried on. At 16 years old I went on my first proper diet. My mum and I started following the Slimming World plan together but from home. I lasted longer than my mum and in 6 months I was down to a UK 14. I didn’t keep this off for long. I started sixth form college and back crept on the weight. At this point I was back on Epilepsy medication that I knew had weight gain side effects so to counteract them my GP put me on weightloss medication hoping it would just mean I maintained weight. I felt like a freak. Pumped full of drugs, constantly hungry but too self conscious to eat in front of others. Not knowing many bisexual or gay girls I focussed my attention on boys. At 17 years old I realised how much I stood out. I had reached my full 6ft height and was now a UK size 18. I was the tall fat girl, told that I had the height to be a model but not the looks or figure. I ate my feelings, thinking if I was going to be treated like this I may as well embrace it. I plastered on a fake smile pretending I was ok with being the biggest girl of the group. I went back to the slimming world diet after I turned 18 years old, sick of feeling like the fat weird friend. I felt accomplished when I reached a Primark UK size 16 as they are notoriously smaller than “normal” sizes. I knew I was bigger but for the first time I had people telling me how attractive my curves were. I got a boyfriend who loved me and my chub. I feigned confidence, feeling like a fat fraud.
Fast forward to 21 years old, the same boyfriend (then fiancé) no longer loved me or my chub. Worst of all he didn’t respect me. At this point I’d had to leave university twice because of my epilepsy. My life seemed to be at a low. I went from a size 16 to a size 20. I hated myself. My epilepsy. My weight gain. Me. I started following the SlimFast plan. Except because I worked evenings I only had 2 shakes a day not the recommended 2 shakes and a meal. The hunger pains I felt between my first shake at 11am & my second at 4pm felt like I was achieving something. I dropped to a size 16. I met a man. 6 months later we moved in together. My epilepsy medication changed and so did what we ate. We were fuelled by takeaways. My epilepsy got worse, I lost my job and we had to move in with his mum. I was now a UK size 22. I was depressed, unable to work, having lots of seizures & fat, the fattest I had ever been, growing bigger everyday. My boyfriend and I got engaged. We stopped using contraception. I started to try to follow the slimming world plan but had no commitment. I felt being fat was all I had. Nothing ever changed so why was I fighting it? I didn’t recognise myself in photos and declined to be in them. We moved to a new house and I told my Epilepsy consultant we were trying for a baby. He referred me on to a gynaecologist as a precaution. After 6 months I was told I had Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome and my then fiancé had fertility issues too. The best chance at having a baby would be through IVF but this wasn’t possible until I lost at least 4st. I felt a sense of relief that maybe I was fat because of this PCOS, I wasn’t supposed to be fat, my body just doesn’t work properly.
At this point I was buying size 24 tops “for extra room” when in reality they were the size I needed. I kicked myself up the bum and decided that having a baby was the biggest motivation I could have for losing weight. I started the harshest and most gruelling diet of my life. With every bit of weight I lost, I hated looking in the mirror more. All I could see was where I needed to lose more weight from. Where my back fat joined my stomach. The folds I got under my bra. How my arms wobbled with the slightest movement. Do you know what it’s like to hate yourself that much? It’s horrible and nothing seems to help. Not when no matter how much progress you make health professionals tell you how unhealthy you are. I don’t really remember my wedding day thanks to epilepsy memory problems but I do remember being very aware that I was sweating an awful lot and my legs were rubbing together under my dress. I don’t really like the photos of myself my face looks too fat. Fast forward a year and after trying slimming world, low GI, gluten free, ketogenic, fat free and SlimFast diets I had lost the minimum 4st I needed to. I was back to a size 18 and weighed 15st 7lbs. I felt like I was back to my normal size. It surprised me how good I felt.
That leads us to today. I am now 17st 5lbs again. Our first IVF cycle failed but thankfully my seizures are the best they have been for a while. My size 18 clothes are tight but I threw all my other clothes out determined not to be back that size again. I hate looking at myself. I feel huge. There are some people who are fat and beautiful, because believe me the two are not mutually exclusive, but I just feel like I’m fat in all the wrong ways. I just look overweight and that I need to lose weight. I stick out from my family. I’m the fat adult child who looks out of place. I visited my Papa today and I cried. I told him I was back to being on a diet and I hated it. I hate that I just have to look at food and suddenly I’ve put 3lbs. All he could say was that I should watch for portion sizes & told me to look at the strict fat free diet my mum was on due to her gallstones. I looked at the list and I am eating exactly the same as her. I eat even less than she does and yet I’m 3 dress sizes bigger than her. For once my Papa wasn’t helping. I felt even more like a fat freak. I told my dad I wanted to go to the doctor about weightloss surgery. I have done all the diets, completed all the usual GP referred healthy eating programmes, I’ve taken the prescribed weightloss pills and yet here I am. Still fat. Still feeling shit about myself. I firmly believe that PCOS and Epilepsy medication are not helpful in trying to stay at a healthy weight. It’s really really hard when all I want is to be happy with my body but instead of the size 16 I used to be, I now seem to bounce back to a size 18/20. I know everyone seems to have a resting size but I wish mine wasn’t what it is now. Especially as I’m still classed as obese at this size. I regularly cry about being fat. I choose clothes deliberately and even then I sometimes have a breakdown over how fat I am before going out. I avoid mirrors and I still don’t like looking at my body without clothes on.
To be eternally fat no matter how much you try not to be, is hard. I now face another 5 months of dieting whereby I need to lose a minimum of 2st to give us the best chance of success with our next cycle. I wish this wasn’t my life. Constantly worrying about food is no way to live. Yet this is my life, I put on weight so easily that I have no choice but to watch what I eat everyday. My life is an eternal diet. Being fat isn’t easy. Dieting isn’t easy. I just want to be a size 14/16 and happy. I’m not even sure if that’s my ultimate goal. I just want to be able to live life without the worry of being obese and what that means for our fertility treatment. I want to be happy with me, not constantly on a diet for the next bit of treatment or in life. I want to be stable. Whether that be a size 14 or a size 18, I just want to be stable.