Slimming World protected my weight loss, but not my mental health.

I’d always been a larger kid for as far as back as I can remember. I never fitted into my age range of clothes and it’s always been a source of embarrassment to me. Even back to the point when I noticed my PE kit was age nine to ten when I was seven or eight and no one else in the class used to be. Not everyone was mean and I forced how I was feeling onto other people. I’d get a sense of dread when I saw someone pick up my clothes and then instant comfort when I saw they were tight on them.

When I got to secondary school I started slimming world. I was 11-years-old. I went with my mum and I can remember a feeling of pure joy when I lost those first few pounds, I think it was then I began a love hate feud with my food.

I was average to big all the way through school but I got a size 10 prom dress and I felt amazing. My weight never physically held me back because I wasn’t that big in the grand scheme of things but I would eat and feel immediately guilty.

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I’m on the right.

I would binge and then not eat for a day, and then binge again and the cycle repeated. By the time I was at University I had been the heaviest and the skinniest I’d ever been. And this trend has continued into my twenties.

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Looking quite skinny after university. Probably at this point living off 11p noodles.

I’m now 26-years-old and in the process of once again losing weight. The only difference is, this time it’s really coming off and I’m seeing actual changes in my lifestyle.

As good as slimming world was to initially lose weight, for me it created an unhealthy relationship with food. I would eat far more than I wanted to just because it was free or a speed food, and I would stick to my ‘syns’, or not use them at all. But then I would go for a meal out with friends and it would devastate me because I would feel all the hard work slip away.

I would go on holiday and walk back into the slimming class knowing full well I’d put on weight and have to sit there in front of total strangers while the consultant asked me where it all went wrong.

“Probably the 850 units of alcohol, all you can eat buffet, no scales to weigh my A and B choices and the fact that I went on a diet for six months straight and still felt shit in my bikini Margaret!”

Obviously I politely said to the class that it was all the food and drink, and then the consultant asked everyone what they think I could do in future to protect my weight loss in future.

Protect it, like it is a precious commodity that must be the be all and end all of your life’s purpose. This is what I cannot deal with. This is the sort of negativity that I really don’t need when I am working on myself physically. It’s a hard slog and you shouldn’t have to feel bad when you put on weight.

At the moment I am eating intuitively. I eat what I want when I want and the weight is falling off me. I’ve realised I don’t have to make and oaty yoghurt gloop for my breakfast and force it down even though I’m not hungry. I don’t have to “load my plate with a third worth of speed food” when I’m not hungry or even fancy green beans. I don’t have to eat bread and cereal bars because I have a B choice left to use. I just eat when I’m hungry and I stop when I’m full.

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Last year I was a lot heavier.

And that’s been the real challenge. Stopping. It’s taken me a while but I’ve cracked it. After a meal you should feel satisfied not sick. And it’s the same feeling as when you are hungry and you are in town shopping and you stop for a Greggs sausage roll. Your hunger subsides, you think “God that was nice, really enjoyed that,” and you carry on with your shopping. Every meal is like that for me.

I’m no doctor, I don’t know if this is a good way to be, I don’t know if it’s healthy but I feel 100 times better since I started listening to my body and my body feels 100 times better and I’m being rewarded with big weight losses every week.

I posted a couple of months the boiled egg diet that I did for six days and lost twelve pounds. Yes, it boosted my weight loss, yes, for an event I’d probably even do it again but on a long term basis it is unsustainable and probably very dangerous.

I’ve been intuitively eating for seven weeks now and in that time I’ve lost 1 stone 2lb. It might not be as impressive as almost a stone in a week but I have not once felt deprived, or hungry, or like I was forcing food down me for no reason.

I don’t want to bash Slimming World because I lost three stone odd using their tactics but I think for me I needed to protect my mentality and not my weight loss.

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