The Skinny Thing- An Unhappy Revisitation

Me, circa 1995 a size 18 at 15

To be clear before we start, I’ve never been skinny other than maybe as a toddler. I was a fat kid, a very fat teenager and a morbidly obese twenty something. This maybe isn’t a surprise for someone who so clearly enjoys eating, and always has. Perhaps always. I’ll get to that later.
Cut back to about 25, a visit to a seriously abrasive doctor for an apparent skin complaint that turned out to be indicative of my general fat girl malaise of Metabolic Syndrome. Google it if you want but it is basically a wide sling around the most common health risks directly associated with being far too fat. I was fat, I was tired, I was more ill tempered than I am now, my pancreas didn’t work the way it should and I wasn’t really enjoying my life. I didn’t enjoy that appointment either though with hindsight a sharp talking to from a dermatologist to ‘lose some damn weight, my girl’ was exactly what I needed.
Cut now to a nutritionist referral which was the first diet advice I ever stuck to, for many reasons but mainly because the tiny Russian lady with the food bible was as scary as the prospect of waddling myself to an early, blubber suffocated death. Her advice was simple after roughly six weeks of serious carb limitation to get things going:

  • One carbohydrate per meal
  • It’s wholemeal or you don’t have it
  • One piece of whole fruit, once a day
  • Don’t eat processed stuff that is more than 5% fat or sugar
  • Have one meal off the rules a week if you need it

It worked, along with some chemical help a few months in when some blood sugar issues made it impossible for me to be awake without being violently hungry. I dropped just shy of 6 stone in 2 years. I came back from pre-diabetes. I cut my risk of heart attack and a bunch of types of cancer. I felt better. I looked better. I put on my winter coat and I looked like a child playing dress up. I didn’t really exercise. I ate a lot less and I lost a load of weight. Who knew.

2009 after a race for life in the rain, 29, on the right wearing some baggy size 12 joggers. My height of health as a grown up.

I still loved my food. I still do love my food. I also like my life a lot more than I used to. I get up in the mornings (which was something at one point that literally didn’t happen for some months). I don’t have to shop in the fat girl clothes stores any more. I look for walking routes as part of my holiday planning and have thrown myself into exercise enough to have racked up two long term injuries in the past six years. Strange and unknown men have had a crack at me in various locations including the morning bus stop and I am now in a financially binding housing debt with an even stranger but well known man. I never, ever thought I would hit a long term relationship, because no-one likes a fat girl. They might settle for one when they’re pissed and it’s the end of the night but no-one actually likes one. Unless they are in that funny category of the chubby chaser which is somehow a worse prospect. Let me be clear I’m all about choice and embracing yourself and if you do like a fat girl brilliant, good for you. I’m trying to explain my mind set. And I’m rambling.

I got thinner, then I got happier, then somewhere along the line I got fatter again. Classic story, you come off the pills, you let yourself have the odd treat, you meet a boy, you go out for drinks, you make nice dinners at home, you then make cheap dinners at home while you save for a mortgage, you eat the cake and you try a biscuit. You go back to having three coffees a day at work instead of hot water because they keep getting plastic kettles and it tastes like crap. You hit 35 and do yoga rather than run in the cold and kid yourself that it still counts as cardio. You mangle your shoulder bench pressing and give up your gym membership. You move house and have to re-register with local NHS service and go for an MOT at the practice.

There is very little in the life I have found to be more depressing than being told by your health professional of choice that you are very overweight, your blood isn’t in very good shape and you are risking heart disease and several kinds of cancer and you could do with losing about 20% of your body weight. Again.


So here we are. Again. The only reason that I find myself disappointed rather than out and out hating myself is simply that I didn’t put it all back on, barely half in fact. I’m on the tight size of a 16, not weeping into a pair of size 24 jeans that cut into my hip fat. I’m on the obese BMI line, nowhere near the morbid. I actively dislike the cheap and crappy foodstuffs that lead me to ruin the first time around. I can run a couple of miles and I have the support of someone who isn’t shy of pointing out that I am actually capable of going for a run under light rainfall in a way that doesn’t make me want to attack him with an empty ice cream carton. Most of the time. It’s going to be easy this time around, right?

Probably not. In honesty I’ve been sulking quite heavily, cursing every idiot skinny girl throwing out her instagram selfies and eyeballing my bathroom scales. I’ve been furiously scanning restaurant menus for upcoming outings in abject misery, defeated before I start because I know I can’t turn down the cheese. Or the beer. Or all the other stuff I’m not supposed to have any more. Two things happened.

1- An old school friend chucked out a facebook post expressing the horror of discovering that he had acquired a migraine inducing dose of hypertension at the ripe old age of 35. Not only did he share this info quite freely (drama queen pffffffft) he did so with a frank admission that this unwelcome blip in his cardiovascular system was entirely, if slowly, self inflicted and that he was changing his life before he prematurely ended it. This is someone taller, thinner, maler and (months) younger than me facing a mid 30s health scare head on. And he wasn’t publishing a list of reasons not to clean up and crack on such as I have found myself mentally preparing. That doesn’t make him some kind of social media hero, but it does make him sensible and out of denial and in a sly way opening himself to accountability by letting everyone know about it. Good job Tim, and good luck.

2-I got sick. Again. I seem to be sick a lot recently and it gets in the way of things. I can blame things like getting up early and moving house and the dust and the stress and the blah blah blah. Being sick this weekend has not only felt crap in a physical sense but also kept me from enjoying the celebration and big fat dinners of the Male Older Sibling’s birthday and stopped me from getting my prescribed weekend exercise in. Am I sick because I’m fat? I’m sick because of the carrier monkey viral status of some children who won’t be named for legal reasons. I’d probably be less sick if my body wasn’t already working overtime to counteract carrying around a dead weight of stomach flab. I don’t want to be sick.

Me these days, pushing 36 and back to a squeezy size 16 doing that cross your legs and look skinnier photo pose. That worked.

So I’m onboard. I’m going to an NHS fat camp provision that I will share in later bloggings. I’m no doubt going to bore you all to tears  by resurrecting Skinny Thing posts about healthier food and how to not make it taste like rabbit hutch linings. The foodie isn’t dead, but the great big wobbly arse needs to leave. I still love my food, and I’m going to make proper justifications for the cakes and beers and runny cheeses that I am going to eat far less of from now on. I will still be talking baked goods and reviewing delicious fried stuff I ate in nice restaurants.

I hope some readers will join me. I hope the others can easily skip the dull preachy lifestyle scribblings and enjoy some recipes and eatery recommendations. More than anything I hope I can do it, and maybe even be an unlikely inspiration to others to handle their own issues with less whinging and more doing. Or more whinging and more doing, whichever works for you. I will probably talk about kale a lot.

You have been warned.




2 thoughts on “The Skinny Thing- An Unhappy Revisitation

  1. Good luck, you’ve done it once before, you can do it again. This is such an inspirational story to me, I’m 24 and starting on my weigh loss journey- so much of what you’ve said resonates with me xx

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