Kate has been at results Gym for several months now and has lost a substantial amount of weight but far more importantly she has made some huge strides in confidence. Read on....
“ I saw the most enormous woman today, God she was huge”. Even when I was very little, my Mum was always fixed people’s figures. “For Christ’s sake don’t you ever get like that” “There’s nothing worse than being pear-shaped.”
I know that she loved me, but the constant reminders of body shape, weight and constant body criticism are a strong and enduring memory throughout my entire childhood.
I was always quite short you see, and so when puberty started to kick in I looked a little soft round the edges, I think I would have grown out of it though, given a chance or simply a more active lifestyle. In the scheme of things, a couple of pounds extra would never have mattered. She started the dieting and twice daily weigh-ins when I was 11 or 12, I would like to have said that having been a Nurse, they would have been sensible, but it was every fad diet that was going, you name it, I followed it until something better came along. Before and after photographs, graphs, charts, my current weight written on cards in red all over the house. I had the option of school meals, so I could have eaten a proper meal at lunch but I was a terrible at lying and she always knew. Besides, I was always afraid I would be guilty of becoming one of those “enormous women”. I lost weighed, and then gained, it was never enough. Sometimes self-harm provided me with away out, a sense of control again, it was my body and I could do what I wanted with it. Years of frustration and rage distilled. I didn’t really understand what I was doing, or why I was doing it. It carried on for years.
It was only when I got to the age of about 16 that I suddenly became aware that my Mum wasn’t like other mums. Other people’s mums were always feeding them too much – they didn’t want them wasting away. My mum could hardly wait.
“Its because I love you and there is a beautiful person in there somewhere” she would say, it feels unfair to malign her, her motives truly did come from the heart, but even now, normal healthy meals made leave a guilty sensation.
The worst breakdown came when I was 17, hers not mine, and I saw for the first time the cracks in the control system. She was so frightened and ill, and at last I could understand that it was part of her illness. It was another year spent looking after her before I could convince her to get some help. She started therapy as I went away to University. I naively thought that once she was fixed, and better, that I would be fine and well again, but the eating problem persisted as well as the harming problem, as if there wasn’t enough going on I managed to combine these with a drinking problem to boot. I couldn’t even tell you what I did for seven months.
I was actually very lucky. I didn’t mess myself up beyond recognition, nor did I get involved with drugs, things could have really been irreparable, but after several therapists of different types, and anti-depressants of even more different types I got better, and it took a really long time and I started to improve myself. It felt like I had been asleep for 6 years, that somehow somebody else had carried on my life in the other room while I wasn’t looking. When I woke up, I was 16 stone and size a 20….
The whole point of this article was not to depress you, and I am sorry if it has been misleading so far! I am not a sad person, I have a big heart and I can make you laugh too, and despite all that, I have survived. I am finally well again, I am working, and I have a partner who loves me very much.
I fixed the mental health problems, the drinking, and I am onto my final stage. I am fixing my fitness.
I had several false starts over the years. I would join a gym and for a few weeks or months I would go religiously, and I enjoy it especially when it was quiet, but unfortunately, all my fragile confidence needed was a gentle knock, an unkind word or a derisive stare and I would crumble. It all seemed so unfair at the time, here I was doing my best and these skinny fit athletic people were pinching all my confidence! Hadn’t they got enough of their own? It certainly seemed that way!
I now have a gym that I go to three times a week, where it doesn’t matter how heavy you are or what you look like – as it should be but never is in other gyms. And I have stuck with it. I really think that it all depends on the right formula. I am eating healthily – and I enjoy it. I am losing weight slowly and steadily too – but that is not the main aim and never really has been for me, my main aim has always been to be fit and healthy and hope that looking better for it will come naturally. I have spent my whole life worrying about the numbers and never about how it makes me feel. And truthfully - I feel great, and I think I am good at it too. I feel better about myself now than I ever did. I think being away from the negative influences and protecting myself has helped, but you cannot beat slogging away and really making yourself sweat as an incentive NOT to ruin all the hard work! I swim now as well – something I would never have done before I built up my confidence at the gym (unless they would let me swim in the dark!). And of course I really couldn’t have done any of it without the kindness and support from Gavin at Results Gym who shows endless patience with my grumbling.
Things with my mum won’t ever be perfect. She’s a lot better than she used to be and with a lot of help from therapists, I managed to learn that a lot of it was about control and that most of the time she was just very scared. She still says things that are hurtful, and I wish she wouldn’t but they seem to have lost their power the more confidence I got. I
certainly couldn’t blame her for the way she is. We even went clothes shopping together a couple of months ago!
If I have a point to make I think it is you must not let people with only negative things to say stop you from making progress. And it doesn’t matter how long it takes to make the change it’s the journey and the hard work in between that counts. Giving up never worked for me, it always made things worse the only way you can do things is your own
And to those other people (you know who you are) pulling other people’s confidence to pieces with unkind words to make your mates laugh, pissed, on a Saturday night. Or making fun of that kid in your class, to make yourself feel more popular. Perhaps, if you kept those thoughts to yourself, and realised that there is a lot more to people’s problems than you think, more people would have the confidence to choose to make changes to their lives.