After a couple of years of dating this new woman, my dad decided he wanted to move in with her. She, not wanting to take on the responsibility of three teenage girls, or it turns out her own son decided that the solution was to sell our family home (and with it the last shred of grounding and security we had left) and move the three of us and a boy we hardly knew into a run down house in a not so favourable part of a town 12 miles away from all our friends and maternal family.
I was 18 years old, they we’re 16 and 15. My youngest sister was in the middle of her GCSE’s, my other sister was in the middle of college. Both now had to add a considerable amount of time to their days for the added travel. In the first week of us moving in, my dad then persisted to tell us about all the things we would fix and change if he we’re living there. Then he left us to it. He would organise an online food shop once a fortnight (which was never enough for the four of us) and was not available on the phone after 7pm each night.
The house was cold, damp and not our home nonetheless we did what we did best which was cope with a situation imposed upon us by a narcissist. We each did what we could to make this house feel safe. For me, this meant books.
I was working full time in a shop in Southend when we moved, so for me I was saving money on travel because now I was within walking distance, so of course Dad decided that I ought to learn responsibilities by paying for the broadband and tv (and pretty much everything else) I also used to buy all my own food, as did our step brother so that my sisters could get enough from the inadequate food shop. To this day we all obtain great comfort from having a cupboard full of food.
I was on the precipice between alcohol being a friendly occasional thing, to booze…. My master. I was also dipping in and out of my trilogy of eating disorders. In short, I was not well, and the only solace in it all was my books.
I bought a book a week in town, usually a couple online and my most favourite books we’re from the second-hand shops in a part of Southend high street that no longer exists in the way it did in 2001. I had books on every subject.
During the binge eating phase of my mental ill health, I would buy endless books on endless diets. Each promising that if you just followed the strict instructions within these pages you will be thin (in my head thin = happy).
The Atkins diet was quite possibly the first diet book I bought. I read it back to back in a week and decided that this was the diet for me. It wasn’t.
I also went through books on Weight watchers, the cabbage soup diet, the blood type diet, the zone diet and slim-fast. All of them promised results and fast. Of course, this is the point of them. All of them either work or they don’t, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the diet itself.
It, like everything else, starts and ends in your head.
If your only goal is to just lose weight (without really focusing in on what you are eating and why), then it’s likely you will see some results early on, but sustainability of that weight loss diminishes exponentially with each passing day that you are ‘off’ the diet of choice. It’s not about being forever ‘on’ or ‘off’ a diet, it’s about a change in lifestyle.
‘doing the same thing, over and over and expecting a different result’ - Madness
The issue is the dieting industry is huge and it prays on insecurities to make the billions of pounds it does every year. They all promise fast and easy results for a price. They might use the word healthy, but it’s often in the context of being a ‘healthy’ weight. It’s never about having a ‘healthy’ heart, liver, cholesterol, relationship with food.
So, this is the biggest secret that no diet plan fad or otherwise ever wants you to know.
They need you; you don’t need them.
But they will try to convince you otherwise.
A lot like a narcissist. And like a narcissist, when you do finally tell them you don’t want anything more to do with them, they will say ‘your making a big mistake’ it’s the weirdest thing, but they all say this. Thing is the only mistake you made was believing their lies in the first place.
My thing was wanting to be happy. I just wanted to be happy, and I succeeded. I always wanted happiness. Never actually had happiness though, just always wanted it.
I went through an entire list of things, thinking that if I possessed them, then, finally I would be happy; wealth, a boyfriend, a fiancé, my own house, a new laptop, a ‘better’ hair style, nicer clothes. A dog. That promotion, a skinnier body. Bigger boobs, smaller boobs, a smaller bottom, a bigger bottom. That bottle of wine, that bottle of gin. A holiday, moving back down south. Other than wealth I achieved them all, not quite in the way I had fantasised. I did get a boyfriend who became my fiancé. He became my fiancé because I wasn’t happy, and I thought we would be happy if we we’re married. Thankfully it never got that far. I did move down south. I part owned a house, I got promotions. I lost weight, achieved the smaller bottom and boobs, I gained weight and achieved the bigger bottom and boobs. I got Flash (the bestest friend I’ve ever had). None of it worked.
Happiness is the difference between surviving and thriving.
Let that sink in.
Happiness is the difference between thriving and surviving.
I made a decision on 28th December 2018. I decided to respect myself. I mean why in the world did I expect anyone else to respect me, if I didn’t respect myself?
Eating well is a sign of self-respect. Eating healthily should be about being healthier inside. Choosing to cut out sugars and carbs may not be the route you take to a healthier you, but the journey and the destination are the same. Empowerment, self-respect and happiness.
Your inner peace will reflect on the outside, my journey was never about weight loss. That was a side effect of the choices I made/make.
Having said that I took the belly selfies as it’s a universal visual aid for progress. Originally just for my eyes only, but I recognise how they help demonstrate that big change is possible in all of us.
Next stop…..running on empty