Future Plans……..

I am now so close to reaching my target weight (3-4 lbs away) I am starting to take stock of what my body looks like after losing so much weight. I am not vain in any way but I would like to feel confident enough to wear the clothes I have wanted to for years.

When I reach my target weight I will have lost 10 stone (140lbs) and I have been left with a lot of loose skin on my upper arms, stomach, bottom and inner thighs. I have been aware of this for a while but didn’t realise quite how bad it looked until I saw myself in a full length mirror without any clothes on a few weeks back. Below is a photo of the loose skin on my stomach.

I had already considered having skin removal surgery on my arms but I am now seriously considering having it on my stomach too. I think these two areas will make the biggest difference to my appearance. I recently met up with an old friend who had both of these procedures ten years ago and she still looks great. I’d already found an excellent plastic surgeon and by chance it was the same surgeon that had operated on my friend so I know I have made a good choice.

Being me, I have done a lot of research and have watched countless videos on YouTube. The tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) seems to be the more major of the two procedures and I am certain I will require the full tummy tuck as I have loose skin above the belly button. This will involve extensive muscle repair which some people find to be quite painful afterwards. As a fibromyalgia sufferer this is something I will have to seriously think about. The other major concern for me is the pain relief I may need to take immediately following the surgery. Since coming off my opiate medication in March 2019 (apart from a single dose of dihydrocodeine after my gallbladder surgery) I have not taken anything stronger than paracetamol. I’m not going to be stupid about but I want to keep the stronger painkillers to minimum. I could have NSAID painkillers instead of opiates but there is a risk of bleeding with them. This is one of the many questions I will have to ask my surgeon.

I have decided to wait until after my birthday in February before making an appointment with the surgeon. This is because I usually have a bad patch with my depression after Christmas and I don’t want to compound this low period with major surgery. It will also give to me time to think about whether I’m doing the right thing. At the moment I can’t see me changing my mind and I’m quite excited at the thought of finishing my transformation. It’s been a long time coming!


The Binge Monster……..

I have spent considerable time in my life worrying about my eating and weight. I’ve always used food as a comfort during times of stress, ill health and sadness. When I was very ill with major depressive disorder in the late 90s and early 2000s this led to me becoming morbidly obese. At my heaviest I was 300lbs/136kg (21stone 6lbs). I reached this weight by consistently overeating every day rather than binging.

As previously mentioned I made the decision to deal with my weight problem once and for all in the summer of 2017 and I have successfully reached a healthy weight. However I know the old me is still there in my head and it would be very easy to regain every pound I’ve lost. What’s really weird though is this version of me has become an internal voice that I have to fight against. I’ve nicknamed it ‘The Binge Monster’. This is an example of a conversation I had with it last week:

The Binge Monster: You could really do with some chocolate.

Me: I don’t need any chocolate and I don’t want to gain any weight 

The Binge Monster: But you could have a small bar and build it into your allowance.

Me: Yes I could but I’d want more.

The Binge Monster: So you do want some chocolate. Just have it and get back track afterwards.

Me: I really shouldn’t

The Binge Monster: Go on it will taste so good and make sure you get a big bar.

Me: …..

The Binge Monster: You’re not weighing in at Slimming World this week so you’ve got a whole week to make up for it.

At this point I gave in and had a 110g bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk. It tasted great but I beat myself up afterwards for being so weak. This slip led to me having a couple days of eating a bit extra. I’m now back in control and have been for 4 days. The Binge Monster is still there grumbling in the background dropping hints that the biscuits in the cupboard look tempting but I’m able to ignore it at the moment. This is the way it has been for the past 4 years and the fact that I am still a healthy weight means that I am winning this war.

For anyone who is thinking I’m showing signs of schizophrenia; I’m really not. I have total control and know deep down that The Binge Monster is really just me arguing with myself. I just find it helpful to give that part of me a persona. It makes it easier for me to recognise the times when I’m fighting against the urge to eat unhealthily.

The Binge Monster

It’s official, losing weight can be hazardous for your health……..

It’s been a while since my last post due to a number of -what I have been calling all year- vomiting attacks. In March I thought they were caused by my pain medication which is why I came off them. Two weeks ago I had the worst attack of the year which lasted 5 days and scared the shit out of me.

I cannot fault the NHS. The locum doctor recommended that I contact the consultant that did my gastric banding surgery. The consultant saw me within 3 days and immediately suspected that I had gallstones. Within 2 days I had an ultrasound scan and confirmation that he was right. He thinks that they have been caused by my “profound” weight loss. I knew this could happen as they remove the gallbladder when they do gastric bypass operations for this reason.

I am so relieved to finally have a diagnosis. The attacks happen when a stone enters the bile ducts trying to get to the intestines. Before I came off my painkillers I didn’t feel a lot of pain during the attacks but I did during the most recent one. This really helped with the diagnosis so I don’t regret coming off my painkillers one bit.

I did mention to my GP back in March that I had discomfort under my ribs on the right hand side but because my CT scan didn’t show anything he dismissed it as IBS. However gallstones only show up on a CT scan if they are calcified. I’m surprised he dismissed it so readily. To be fair though I hadn’t specifically sought help for the attacks. Had I mentioned the two together he would have had the full picture.

So what’s next? I need to have my gallbladder removed asap. Fortunately David has medical insurance through his work so I can get it done privately so it should be in the next few weeks. I’m hoping to have the gastric band removed at the same time. I need to put my health first now. I am not worried about gaining weight afterwards as the band has been deflated for years and not providing any restriction. It does make me eat slower though so I will need to watch this. I will continue to attend Slimming World every week even after I reach my target weight (7.5lbs to go!) and I’m hoping this will be enough to keep me on track.


The Greatest Loser……..

At Slimming World yesterday I was awarded the distinction of being ‘The Greatest Loser’. To the uninformed this would seem a rather cruel thing to do. However at Slimming World this award is given to the group member who has lost the most amount of weight. Since I started in August 2017 I have lost a total of 5st 11 lbs. Adding this to the weight I lost prior to starting I have now lost 7st 12lbs (110lbs). I only have 30lbs left to lose.

After 30 years of struggling with my weight I still can’t believe I have managed to achieve this. My whole attitude towards food has changed. By the time I reach my target weight I will have been eating the way I am for 2 years. My way of eating now has become my new normal. I know my weight battle won’t end when I reach my target weight; in fact I feel that the real battle of maintaining my weight begins. In some ways I think this will be harder than losing weight. Being able to eat a few extras without overdoing it will be difficult for me. I know I won’t be able to eat chocolate again because I have never been able to control my intake; I love it too much and it doesn’t make me feel sick if I eat a lot of it. I know some people who successfully control their weight by dieting during the week and allowing some extras at the weekend and I feel this could work for me.

I have made myself a visual aid to motivate me as I lose the last 30lbs which I know will be the hardest to lose. It’s just a simple A4 sheet with 30 circles that I can add a sticker to as I lose the weight. At the bottom is the Slimming World target sticker that I will receive when I get there.


Being realistic I expect it to take the rest of the year to achieve this goal but I am determined to get there!

Depression, Weight

Finally feeling better……..

The increased dose of my antidepressant, duloxetine is finally kicking in and I am feeling a lot better. I haven’t had an anxiety attack for a week. Even though I am in a major flare up of the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue I am able to cope with it. I’ve also been able to look after my Mum this week when she’s been unwell with a chest infection.

I’ve done a second class of yoga and have identified that I have no balance whatsoever. Any pose that involves going on one leg sees me wobbling about and falling over. David is worse than me so I am in good company. I am enjoying yoga but find it tough going; after 30 minutes I’m dripping in sweat. I’m so glad the room is in semi-darkness because I’m sure my face is bright red. I love the endorphin high I get after class so it’s worth the pain.

I’d really like to start swimming again but I’m a bit embarrassed about my appearance. As I’ve lost over a 100lb the skin on my tummy, arms and thighs has become really wrinkly and just hangs (I am planning on having a tummy tuck when I’ve lost my remaining weight). I know the skin on my tummy won’t show under my swimming costume. It’s a bit ironic because when I was bigger I was still embarrassed about being seen in a swimming costume. I think I just need to get over it.

At the moment David and I are doing life laundry. It is long overdue and the clutter has really been getting me down. The hardest thing for me is getting rid of things that my children have made. I literally can’t keep it all. I have 4 crates of stuff that I’d like to get down to 1 but I’m not sure I have the heart to get rid of anything. Having grown up children is great but I miss my babies.

Fibromyalgia, Weight

Recovering from illness……..

I haven’t been able to post for a while because of illness. Due to being on strong painkillers I missed the symptoms of cystitis and ended up with a nasty kidney infection again. The antibiotics I was given caused some serious gastrointestinal problems. Long story short I was pretty sick. The infection has now been cleared with a different antibiotic and I am recovering.

What I am left with is extreme fatigue, smell sensitivity and a total dislike of any food I ate previously. I know it’s normal to go off the food you ate before being sick but this is more extreme. I like to eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch everyday, it just makes my life easier if I don’t have to think about my meals. I was really worried that I’d end up only being able to eat food that didn’t fit into the Slimming World plan and maybe gaining weight. Fortunately I remembered that Blue Diamond Almond Breeze milk is only 6 syns for a litre so I have been making rice pudding with it. I know it’s a bit weird having rice pudding for lunch but it is really working for me. Today I got my 5 stone award and my total weight loss from my heaviest weight (which is 2 stone heavier than when I started Slimming World) is now 102lbs. I haven’t been this light since my early twenties.

As far as exercise is concerned it’s a bit slow. I had to take a week and half off from doing my walk while I was ill and I only started again yesterday. My pace is very much reduced but I am sure I will be back to where I was fairly quickly. Yoga is still booked but again has been delayed. David and I are planning to go to our first class next Monday evening. I have high hopes for yoga in that some of the techniques will enable me to reduce my pain medication.

It’s been a frustrating time. I had all these plans for January which had to be put on hold for while. My 2019 begins here!

Fibromyalgia, Weight

A general update……..

In my post of November 3rd I wrote about the final barrier I had to overcome in my fight against fibromyalgia i.e. stretching my tight muscles. True to form I have been procrastinating due to the fear of pain. I decided that I really had to do something to prevent me from putting it off any longer. A lot of fibromyalgia self help books recommend yoga. I did a bit of research into local groups and found a qualified instructor who offered an initial one-to-one session and lessons for a month for only £65. This means that I can try it out without having to worry about interacting socially with lots of new people all at once.

The instructor is called Ben Parkes and he has his own company ‘imaginatively’ called YogaBen. He was encouraging in his emails and I’m actually looking forward to getting started. Besides the muscle workout some of the class is spent on relaxation and mindfulness which in the past have proved very difficult for me. I am willing to give it 100% in the hopes that it will improve my overall health albeit in the long term.

In the past I have been known to get obsessed with new hobbies so I have made myself a rule that if I take to yoga I won’t do any more than two sessions a week.

Today at Slimming World I reached the milestone of dropping below the lowest weight I reached in 2014. I am now the lightest I’ve been for 23 years and I’m only 3lbs away from losing 100lbs in total. I don’t think my brain has caught up with my change in size as when I move around I feel like parts of me are missing. It’s a really odd feeling. I’m almost annoyed that it’s Christmas next week as it’s going to slow down my weight loss next week. I know I could stick to my eating regime 100% over the Christmas period if I really wanted to but it would only make me feel resentful of other people that can let themselves go. I’m not going to go mad though, I’ve decided to allow myself a portion of any dessert I want on Christmas day and that’s it. For anyone reading this, I must sound like a crazy woman but I’ve learned over the years that I cope better when I plan in advance.


Sticking to an eating regime long term……..

Losing weight is hard for everyone. The human body does not like to draw on its fat stores when calorific intake is insufficient for its needs. The physical sign of this is the feeling of hunger but there is also a profound effect on the brain. When hungry the desire for food can be all consuming and the feeling of satiating this hunger can be very comforting. This can lead to people seeking that feeling of comfort even when they’re not hungry. I am a comfort eater and it is for this reason that I became morbidly obese when suffering from clinical depression.

When faced with having to lose a massive amount of weight it can be very daunting. I knew that if I was to reach a healthy weight I would have to put my body in calorie deficit for more than a year; maybe even two. The thought of having to bear my brain screaming for food for that length of time was enough to keep me procrastinating for years.

I have discussed my weight journey in detail in a previous post so I won’t repeat it here. I have successfully been losing weight since early August last year. It would be easy for people looking at me now to think that I’ve found it easy but that is not true. I stick to my healthy eating plan rigidly but this doesn’t stop the internal struggle. I walked into a supermarket this week and was faced with huge displays of Christmas food; boxes of mince pies, boxes of chocolate biscuits and tins of chocolates. I felt a tremendous sense of loss that I could no longer eat the way I used to. It’s almost like I was grieving for my old eating habits. I managed to resist the temptation and later at the doctors surgery I saw two ladies who were the same size as I used to be and it made me realise that the sacrifice is worth it.

Today my BMI dropped out of the obese category, so medically I am just merely overweight now. The improvement in my health is huge and I’m hoping with more time, I will stop longing for my old way of eating. I know I will never be able to eat that way again because I will just regain the weight; my healthy diet has to be for life.


Things that are going well……..

Having reached the end of my back story I am now wondering where to go from here. Things are great at the moment but I know that my situation is not stable. It wouldn’t take much for me to slip back into old habits.

I lost my father in June 2017 and understandably took it badly. We knew it was coming as he had been very ill with cancer for 18 months. I made the most of those 18 months with my Dad but it was a very stressful time. In 2014 I’d managed to lose 4 stone in weight but during those 18 months I regained all of it plus a bit more.

In August 2017 I made the decision to rejoin Slimming World and haven’t looked back. I’m still 10 lbs away from my lowest weight in 2014 but I’m definitely going to get there. The thing that has helped me the most was realising that I had a big problem with chocolate. There was never a maximum amount of chocolate that I could eat that I wouldn’t go over; it never made me feel sick. I craved it like an alcoholic craves a drink. When I started Slimming World I decided to cut it out completely and I haven’t had any since August 2017 (apart from the tiny amounts on hifi bars). The cravings eventually stopped but I know that -just like an alcoholic- if I were to start eating it again I’d be back to square one. At the same time I also gave up biscuits. I’m not a saint, I still allow myself the odd piece of cake or a dessert but I have it in place of a meal and as I only do it once a month or so, it doesn’t affect my health or my weight loss.

I love my Slimming World group and I actually feel that I fit in there. There is so much support and camaraderie that I look forward to going every week. My brain is finally on my side and I am able to stick to the Food Optimising plan with ease. I only have to lose another 16 lbs and I will have a lost a whole 100 lbs from my heaviest weight. I have had this goal for the past 10 years and I know without a doubt that I will do it.