Life in the Fat Lane. Part 2
Life in the Fat Lane. Week 2
Author: Carole Key. Cafe owner and closest friend of Annie.
What I would like to talk about in this blog is getting one’s head around food. We are overweight because of the choices we make and the disinformation that we have been taught in the past. Also I will be the first to stand up and say, “I’m a carbohydrate addict!”
Once I had fully conquered my carbohydrate addiction I was free, free to enjoy food and my brand new way of eating. How did I overcome my addiction? You might ask! Total cold turkey for a month, and I don’t mean that I ate cold turkey salads for a month, what I mean is that I denied myself carbohydrate laden food and drinks for one month.
After just a few days I could feel the difference; I felt less bloated and I had lost almost half a stone. That encouraged me to keep at it and by the end of the first month I had lost over one stone and the cravings for unhealthy food had almost gone.
I had to start buying new clothes but because finances were tight, I decided that a trip to the charity shops would be more beneficial. Every week I would get my wage and walk into town. My small wage bought at least three new outfits, (new to me). I took them home, washed and pressed them, then wore them for work the next week. Customers in the cafe started to say things like “You look well,” not really noticing at that point the weight loss, but knowing that something was different. My confidence grew and so did my energy levels; I was running up and down the cafe steps taking orders and delivering food. You might think, ‘Well that’s your job!’ and you would be right. But I had become more and more self-conscious and spent most of my working days hiding in the kitchen.
The things that I noticed changing quite quickly were my fitness levels, sleeping patterns, and cravings for food. I felt full almost all of the time and never had to snack between meals, plus the thought of eating never really entered my mind until meal times. For me that was a first, I couldn’t remember the last time that had happened.
Food no longer had a hold over me, plus I was only about one month into my new way of living. I decide with my head and not my tummy what to eat and what not to eat.
I find it hard to believe that this time last year I was a size 24 (24 only in Lycra I might add!) and now I’m a 14/16. I say 14/16, because God in His wisdom has blessed me with an ample bosom and rounded hips; for which both my husband and I will be eternally grateful.
The fact that I haven’t lost my curves is another indication to me that I am on the right track; food and drink wise that is. Over the years I have done every diet plan imaginable. Some, I have to admit, no sensible person would have looked at without laughing. Every time that I ventured on to one of those ‘New Proven Diets,’ full of enthusiasm, my hopes and dreams of a slimmer fitter me, were dashed within weeks.
The other thing I noticed with most of the diets, was that I could lose the pounds and even inches, but never in the places that I wanted to. Plus, after a few weeks I started to notice that I looked and felt tired and drawn. Many times I’ve started the race well but after getting to the finishing line and my ideal weight, I’d soon find myself drifting back to my old eating and drinking habits.
The weight would start to creep back on and within weeks I would find myself not only back where I had started, but even bigger. Despondent and disillusioned, I’d give up and blame my weight on the fact that I had come from a big family! It is true that most of my family struggled with weight issues. I remember my father once going to the Doctors and being told that he must lose weight because he was heading for diabetes if he didn’t. My father’s reply was that he was from a fat family!
“My wife is fat, my daughter is fat, my two sons are both fat, we even have a fat cat,” my father quipped.
It may have sounded funny, but it was true and the reason that it was true was that we all ate the same diet. Learnt behaviour; I cooked and shopped the way that my mother had taught me to. It had nothing to do with genes, metabolism, or anything else. We just ate too much, and the wrong kind of food! By the way, sadly my father never changed his ways and died from diabetes related illnesses. You’d have thought that the death of my father would have brought me to my senses, but no, just the opposite. I ate more to try and deaden the pain of grief.
When we came to Scarborough to open the cafe I had just started to regain weight after a long, soul destroying diet, plus an added bout of ill health.
Recovered from illness and enjoying life again; before I knew it the pounds were back on, and my wardrobe was returning to black Lycra only. I believe that one of the reasons that the weight came on so quickly was the fact that the cafe was all consuming. Then when my mother passed away, I comfort ate to try and stop the aching pain of grief.
The cafe completely took over my life, and time for me was non-existent. I stopped looking at myself in the mirror and the thought of wearing makeup was out of the question. I used the excuse that my mascara would melt when I opened the oven door! (It would melt if I put my head right into the oven but I try not to do that, and I wouldn’t recommend you try it either, dear reader.) Now seven stones lighter, I wouldn’t even think of bringing the milk in without putting my makeup on.
I believe that a big part of getting your figure into shape is getting your head into shape. What do I mean by that? Well I think that if you feel good about yourself it is easier to make the right choices. Once I had decided that I wanted things to change in respect to my weight, I allowed myself one night a week when I would take a long bath, wash my hair, do my nails and pamper myself silly.
By this time if you are like me, you’re probably thinking, ‘come on, get to the point, how did you shed the pounds?’ It was simple: I got my head around the way that food worked for me, and against me. I sat down and thought about all the food that I liked and all the food that I had been eating over the last ten years. Many times over the last few years my daughter had said to me,
“Mum you don’t eat enough and what you do eat is the wrong kind of food!”
I often laughed at her replying,
“If I don’t eat enough, how come I’m so big?”
“Because you leave such long periods of time between meals, your body holds onto the calories and stores them it doesn’t know when it’s going to be fed again. Also because your diet is so heavily carbohydrate laden you are bloated and have water retention, look at the state of your ankles!” she would say, frustrated at my lack of understanding, and my unwillingness to change.
I wondered at what age my children became my parents and I became their child, (I think it was the first time that one of them took hold of my hand to help me cross the road). They all come and tell me what I should and shouldn’t do. It doesn’t seem that long ago that it was the other way around. I’d be upset, but I know that they meant well. She was right about my ankles, they were swollen and my body and face were also very bloated.
Another thing that had been said to me over the years was that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I’m the kind of person that jumps out of bed and gets straight to work. Because we live above the cafe, skipping breakfast was easier than ever, it could be 3 o’ clock in the afternoon before I had my first real meal of the day. By that time I would be ravenous, tired, grumpy and just in need of a quick fix. I’d make either a sausage or bacon sandwich and devour it, then have a slice of cake.
By the time that the cafe was closed, everything cleaned down and made ready for the next day, I would be so tired that the thought of cooking a meal was out of the question. I felt justified in not cooking, I’d cooked all day for others; it was time that someone cooked for me. So we would go out for a pizza or curry – more carbohydrate laden food.
I have come to realise that I could, and still can, make an excuse to eat ‘wrongly’ at any time, but the excuses whether justified or not were not good for me. I was quite literally destroying my joy! I choose the word joy because that is how I felt; I had lost my joy and was very unhappy. I dreaded seeing people or family members that I hadn’t seen for a while, going on a plane, eating in front of other people, looking in a mirror, buying new clothes, letting my husband see me in my underclothes, the list was endless.
When my daughter was having her second baby, Daniel, her first child, asked if I was having a baby too?
“No Daniel, I’m not having a baby, I’m too old,” I replied, going very red.
“Well, you have a big tummy like my mummy & she’s having a baby!” he said.
He wasn’t being rude, he was just stating a fact, and I did have a big tummy.
Had you asked me if I’d lost my joy when I was carrying all that extra weight, I would have denied it, insistent that I was happy and comfortable with the way that I was and for a time I almost fooled myself. The classic ‘Self Denial Syndrome.’ But if I was happy, why couldn’t I look in the mirror and enjoy what I saw? Simple; I wasn’t happy but I was afraid that if I changed the way I ate, then I would somehow miss out on something. Plus I couldn’t get my head around not having bread, what would I eat if not bread?
Tip of the Week: Get it into your head that nothing tastes as good as looking slim feels.
Next week Alcohol and Green Tea.