Saturday, 30 May 2015

My Weight Loss Story (So Far)

Okay, so as promised here's my weight loss story. It's quite personal and I wasn't sure how much I was going to open up but this is something I'm proud of and something I wanted to share. I never thought I'd lose weight. I just assumed I was going to be over-weight most of my life, I had resigned to it.  I use to read weight loss stories every so often when they'd pop up on Facebook  and think "Oh but they're different to me" and "I could never do that" but that's just self-doubt and self-doubt is an awful thing to have. If I can lose weight anyone can. I'm a self-confessed chocoholic.

This story isn't going to be all roses either, it's hard. It's always been hard and always going to be hard, but my journey itself wasn't nearly as hard as I had initially thought. I suppose this time around I was in a different mind frame. You're never going to achieve something that you don't really want. As someone who has always battled with their weight and tried numerous diets (and only lasting maximum 3 days before I'd eat the contents of the fridge). I knew there was no quick fix.  I'm completely against any diet products in terms of shakes and meal substitutes. I think they're a whole load of BS and target, vulnerable people, as well as never working long term.

There is a lot of body politics in the plus size blogging community. Sometimes you can be seen as a traitor if you lose weight. It's like you hopped on the plus size bandwagon when it was convenient to you, but you never really believe in it. Something that definitely wasn't the case with me. I'll always believe that women (and men!) can be fat and fashionable. That they can be happy as well as being healthy regardless of their size. I do believe you can be fat and happy, but for me personally there came a time when I wasn't happy anymore with my weight and looking back now I hadn't of been happy for a long time. 

I received a small handful of emails from readers that have felt let down by me losing weight and I'm not going to lie and say it doesn't hurt- of course, it does. I'm just a normal girl. A girl who just chooses to put a small section of her life on the internet. If you've felt let down, I'm sorry, but I never lied to you. I've always felt fashionable and I've always felt good in the clothes I wore. I was confident in my clothes at my biggest at a size 18/20. I will always believe that you can be fashionable at any size and it's the message I will continue to promote.
 So let's take this back to the beginning. I was always a bigger child, and from about 10 I was noticeably gaining weight and I don't know why really. I was always a happy kid. I've a small tight knit family that love me unconditionally and support me 100%. Sure there was the odd comment about my weight when I was a kid, but my parents had always told me that I was not only beautiful but smart too and for the most part, I believed them. I've always believed that beauty is on the inside and that's something that hasn't changed, and I've never judged someone on their weight nor would I ever. I do believe that there are a lot of reasons people gain weight and it's not as simply as "gluttony".

 I've gotten some un-welcomed comments in the past about my "lifestyle" choices, that were not only false but totally ignorant. I certainly don't believe in people commenting on anyone else's lifestyle. If someone is happier being bigger that's great, same goes for being smaller. Each to their own and if it's not your body then I'm afraid you don't have a say or an opinion. Upon entering Secondary School, I was chubby. At a size 12-14, I was definitely bigger than most of the girls but I really enjoyed school, and didn't experience too much bitchiness considering it was a private all-girls school, and no one bullied me for being bigger. I left school with wonderful friends and a lot of happy memories. Looking back now, I thought I was 10 times bigger than I actually was and wish I could go back and shake that girl and tell her she's fine as she is. 

College came as did the "Freshman 15" but instead of 15 pounds I gained about 4 stone/56lbs. I settled into a happy relationship, but also into an unhealthy relationship with food. It was here where I can see I became an emotional eater, something that I had always been.  Happy or sad, food, was my comfort. I could easily eat a few chocolate bars, not even thinking about what I was doing. I was going out a few nights a week and in my head drink didn't equate to calories. Same goes for fizzy drinks. It wasn't calories because it wasn't "food". This, of course, is dangerous and just plain ignorance on my part. It was at the time when I knew I wasn't eating healthy, but the truth was I didn't care.

With each drunken night, there was the food after and most likely the "Hangover Day" that followed. I was happy and in a happy relationship with someone that loved me so I didn't care. He found me attractive so I didn't really care about how I felt or how other people judged me. I always thought I was okay looking, and never thought I was ugly or unattractive myself.  Looking back now, I was only getting bigger and bigger. It was during this time that I turned to Plus Size fashion blogs. I saw girls rocking the latest trends and looking amazing, and I immediately felt better about myself and my body -  yet I didn't have the confidence to start one myself at this point. 
A few years later when college, was over, so was my college relationship. We still remain fantastic friends and he's actually a great supporter of my life, as much as I am of his. With being newly single, I indulged in going out for drinks and for dinner and just living the single life that I had missed during those formative college years. So more socialising and more drinking as well as more being in denial with how big I was getting. I once weighed myself and cried with the result. I was shockingly closer to 5 stone heavier than I was when I was a fresh-faced freshman. It's sad really that a number on the scale can have that much of an impact on you. Scales only calculate your physical body weight, not your worth. If only it could have told me I was smart and funny as well as fat. 

I was ashamed and embarrassed that I had let myself get to that point, which looking back was silly. There is so much pressure on weight and how much you weigh and what size you wear, which is awful for women - especially younger girls. It wasn't enough however, to kick start my weight loss journey. It was a little while later that I started this blog and it began to take off. I genuinely started accepting my body and I was thrilled to be in such a fantastic and supportive community. People started taking interest in me, and I was even in a few magazines. I soon forgot about the number on the scales and I was happy, properly happy for the first time in a long time. 

The plus size community is a wonderful thing, and I'm grateful to the community. People give them a lot of slack for "promoting obesity" when in reality it's a space where women feel empowered and where a lot of women gain confidence. I've made fantastic friends and I've always been warmly welcomed even now, when I'm more of an "inbetweenie" at a size 14. So fast forward a year or two, I was getting a bit fed up. I avoided going out more and more, and preferred to sit in eating junk food on my own then go out and socialising with people, ironic really as I'm what you'd call a social butterfly. It was a bit shit, but food was my comfort and my front room was my refuge. I'd binge on junk food and hide the wrapper down the couch or wherever I could. 

The more I ate, the more miserable I became and the more miserable I became the more I ate. It was an extremely vicious cycle. One night going out I was late (I'm never late, I find it incredibly rude) as I couldn't find anything that I felt comfortable and confident in to wear, so I text my friends and made up an excuse to why I wasn't going out that night. So while all my friends went out on the town, I was in bed in my PJ's sobbing my little heart out. I kept this to myself. Not telling my family or my friends. My parents obviously knew something was wrong but a lot of the time if I don't want to talk about something I won't until I'm ready. 
In 2013 I decided enough was enough and I slowly started to change my eating habits. Old habits do die hard and it was often difficult, but I was committed at this point to be healthier. It was an uphill battle for quite a while, and it was something I didn't want hard enough. I managed to loose about 14lbs but weight loss wasn't my primary focus. I didn't gain much weight back, but I certainly wasn't losing any either. Although my diet was now a hell of a lot healthier I kept going out drinking and socialising. I needed to be re-educated about food, no matter what you do if you the basics messed up you're setting yourself up for failure and with failure I know myself I'd only turn to food again.

 Eating out was also something that contributed to me not losing much weight at this point, despite eating healthy a lot of the time, the binging slowly becoming a thing of the past. Coming from someone who isn't a huge drinker, eating out appeals to me ten times more than a bar or a club, so that's what I did most weekends. I'm not really a big drinker anyway and can easily go a few months without alcohol. In fact, when I started Slimming World I cut out alcohol for about 4 months. In my mind, I'd much rather use "syns" on food than on alcohol. Don't get me wrong once in a while I love going out, getting drunk and ya know being silly with your friends but it's not something I enjoy on a regular basis - never have, never will. 

2014 started as a great year. I was in a more positive place and I was really confident in my body. I was also exercising more and more, but being honest, I didn't enjoy it at the time. I was doing it for the wrong reasons and it became a chore and I soon got bored and stopped doing as much of it as I should have been doing. My best friend moved to Australia in July and when we said a rather tearful goodbye in her car, she told me to come visit her. I fobbed her off and was like "Oh yeah sure" not really thinking I'd actually do it. One day after a particularly tedious day in work (I loved where I worked by the way!) I just needed a change. Working the same job for 6 years will do that to you. So I started looking up trips and flights and started thinking about Australia.

 I've always wanted to travel, I just never really had the confidence. I've always been a confident person, I'd just felt I'd become a shell of my former self and my friends began to notice. I began thinking and I decided that I "might as well" travel Asia as well as Australia with New Zealand in the pipeline too. I got one shot to do something and I was going to grab it with both hands. One thing was holding me back however - my weight. I knew the trip I wanted to do would be physically demanding and I wanted to be as fit as possible so I could enjoy my experience to the fullest. So from the start of July I did a life overhaul. I bought a proper pair of runners and downloaded the My Fitness Pal App and began monitoring my daily intakes as well as walking at least 5km a day. 
I didn't book any flights yet. I didn't want to fail at another "get fit and healthy" attempt and then face the repercussions of a €700 flight to crazy Thailand. So off I went and it was hard. I wanted to be fit and be healthier for my trip. My sugar cravings were insane. All I wanted was chocolate, all day every day. I'd love to actually say it changes but it doesn't, you just learn how to curb your cravings better! Although I will never agree that a piece of fruit is as good as a bar of chocolate - you can jog on with that notion. I still had chocolate, but would limit myself to 1 bar not 3! I want to point out that this doesn't happen over night. It's a constant struggle and still is. The only thing is the struggle get's less and less when your determination kicks in. 

My friends were all so incredibly supportive (and still are!) and we all went out walking together. They made me go out when I was in a "woe is me" mood and didn't want to get my ass off the couch. We hiked all over Dublin and within a month, I'd lost over a stone (15lbs). Those hikes were physically demanding as someone who was unfit. It was then I considered joining Slimming World. My friend and I were on a walk and I mentioned it to her. We've been friends for years and I knew she wanted to lose weight too, so  I was only delighted when was keen on coming along to check it out. That night was the night I booked my flights to Bangkok and booked my first Contiki - clearing out a huge chunk of my savings, knowing I was going to do this. I was committed to it. I was going to achieve what I've always wanted. 

The next Tuesday we met at our local shop and walked to our Slimming World class which is about a 20-minute walk from both our homes. We were both as nervous and anxious as each other, not really talking about it. I was a bit worried as in my mind I wanted to be a certain weight before I joined Slimming World (how crazy is that) but I was so glad I joined when I did. Rachael our consultant met us and we were instantly relaxed. She felt like a friend immediately and I knew we'd settle in well. We both settled in so well that a few weeks later we were asked to join our Slimming World Social Team and before we knew it we were part of the Slimming World Family.

 For me once I stepped through those doors I was determined. My parents were extremely supportive of the whole thing and they bought me a gift for every stone I lost, which was a great bonus as someone who was saving all her money for her trip.  I'm quite competitive (mainly with myself!) and didn't ever want to gain weight. I've only had one gain since I joined in August and that was my Birthday week. I was in a race with myself and I sure as hell wasn't going to loose especially with my trip edging nearer and nearer. I steadily lost about 2-3lbs a week following the extra easy plan and I've never felt I'm on a diet. It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle. The sooner you realise that it's a lifestyle change the easier your journey is going to be.
Slimming World isn't a fad diet, it encourages healthy eating and exercising. I never thought losing weight would be as easy as it was physically that is. Physically it's not hard. Eating right and exercising will more than likely lead to you losing weight - excusing any medical or physical conditions. It's just the mental side that takes time. You're never "fixed" Even now I struggle a lot with sugar cravings. I would love nothing more than to binge on chocolate right now, I love chocolate and I always will! I just know the more I have, the more I'll want and also I don't want to feel shit after I do it, which was ultimately what I felt years before. 

I do limit myself now, but I'll never deny myself any as let's be honest that would be a pretty miserable life. I go out for meals, I go out for cocktails, I enjoy the odd cupcake. I enjoy everything in moderation, even enjoying chocolate every single day! Slimming World allows for that, with your "syns" which is fantastic and is probably the sole reason I continued to lose weight and stay on plan. If I couldn't have chocolate, crisps or the odd takeaway I'd be so miserable and I'd 100% fly off the rails and eat everything in sight vowing to "start again on Monday".  What I will say is that I have had some bad days. Days where I haven't even counted the "syns" I've eaten as it's so high. What makes me different now is I know it was a slip-up. We all have them and we're all human. I just don't let that bad day become a bad week. 

So Far I've lost roughly 5 stone/70lb from my heaviest weight. Although I'm counting from the weight I was in July, so I've currently lost 4.5 stone/63lbs. Nearly 3.5 solely on Slimming World. I've dropped 3 dress sizes and I've gained a hell of a lot more confidence. Confidence that I can do it. I didn't lack confidence when I was bigger, but there's a sense of pride and accomplishment when you do something you've always wanted to do and succeed. It took me from August until January to loose it, all through determination and hard work and I couldn't have done it without the support of my Slimming World Buddy Lynne as well as my other friends and of course, my family.

Every single night come rain or shine I was out walking. I'd feel so good coming home from it, especially if It was the last thing I wanted to do. I would generally walk about 4-6km mixing up the routes I'd take so I didn't get bored. I started off slow, when 1km would take me nearly 12 minutes. The other day however it took me a little over 8 minutes, which is definitely an improvement and something I'm equally proud of. I was a lot lighter setting off on my big adventure. I was able to Skydive, Bungy Jump, ride horses and climb millions of steps to see amazing temples all at ease. Something that would of proven difficult when I was carrying more weight. 
So fast forward to today. I'm currently happy with my weight and my body. I do however want to tone up and loose about 20lbs more to be happy and feel healthier. I've only lost about 7lbs since I've been home. There was a lot of celebrating to be done and it's hard to sink straight back into something when you've been eating bad again for 3 months. I was asked to give tips on how to eat healthy while travelling and I could feed you all some bull story about going for fruit and salads, but I didn't do any of that. I wasn't the perfect, I was actually far from it and I had to reign myself in pretty quick before I settle back into old habits.

On my trip I went for nutella pancakes (with a side of delicious fruit mind you!) I ate BBQ's nearly every day in Australia, I ate the whole country of New Zealand out of Tim Tams and I drank a load of buckets in Thailand. I was on holiday. I'm young and I wanted to experience what it's like to travel and have no worries and I certainly didn't spend the amount of money that I did to count "Syns" or calories. I just was living life and experiencing everything all the countries had to offer. When I was in Asia the first time around I got quite ill because of my gall bladder surgery(or the change in food) and lost some weight, which was subsequently gained in Australia, meaning my weight evened out in the end!

I returned home and I maintained my weight. I was so delighted and being honest quite jammy! I think the main reason was the fact that I was so active the whole 3 months. You also don't get to eat all the time when you're travelling so even though you're not eating fantastically you're not eating enough to warrant a weight gain. It's still incredibly bad for your body and I felt sluggish and like shit if I'm entirely honest with you all. It's not something I'd ever recommend or endorse. You can lose weight unhealthily and see results there's no denying that, but maintaining your weight and feeling good takes time and effort. 

So that brings me back to now. I'm slowly getting back into Slimming World and I'm back to exercising on a daily basis, which I'm beginning to really enjoy. My weight loss is going to probably slow down now, and that's okay. I'm happy doing what I'm doing for the moment and for now, I'm going by the "slow and steady" motto. Looking back, I'm proud of that girl in the photo's and I purposely choice nice photo's for comparisons as I always thought I'd dressed well! I could choose an unflattering photo's but that's not me. I want the article to reflect me and my values. I realise this post is a bit of a ramble and I'm not sure entirely how much sense it makes but I hope it gives you all some insight into my journey. 

If you guys have any questions,  I'd be happy to answer them below or if you want to email me you can do so at foreverfabulousinbows@gmail.com Also if you want more Slimming World posts, do let me know! I won't ever make this blog primarily weight loss but if it's something a lot of you are interested just let me know below!

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28 comments

  1. I always think you look amazing and I love that about you, you always look fab and have a smile on your face no matter what your size. I hate the idea is giving up on fashion when you reach a certain size. I do think it's important though just cause there is plus size fashion not to let it promote a unhealthy lifestyle. I love your fashion and style and love that your glowing. You are such an inspiration to be healthy. You look fantastic but more importantly you feel better about yourself and this change has allowed you to have wonderful life changing experiences

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    1. This reader said what I want to say!!! I am proud of you Sian. Keep going and keep sharing! I also really enjoy your fashion and travel posts, so keep 'em coming!

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  2. Sianny, I'm so proud of you! That was a terrific post and totally inspirational. I can relate to the 'I'm just different from them' thoughts and the vicious cycles. I think you look absolutely incredible and you should be so proud. Love you xxx

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  3. You looked amazing when I met you at Plus North 2013 and you look amazing now!!

    I know what you mean about the plus size community though, some people really get uppity when fat people lose weight. You'd think this community wouldn't be so judgmental really. It's about doing what's best for you.

    I totally get the emotional eating, I do that! Eating as much junk as you can in the shortest amount of time so that no one knows you've done it. I live alone and still do it, which is a bit crazy.

    Finding the motivation to get out and exercise is just the worst, I definitely wouldn't get out as often if it wasn't for my friend. I really love walking an exploring the countryside but it's just not as fun when you go on your own. Talking lets you get the miles under your belt without even realising it.

    I've been debating trying slimming world as a way to get into healthier eating, cause I'm a huge fail at it, but I don't know if it'd work well if I don't want to lose weight.

    It looked like you had so much fun on your trip, and got to do so many amazing things!

    x

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  4. I've been debating whether to join slimming world for so so long. I don't know what is putting me off! Your post makes me feel like I can do it. Would love to see some more SW posts, especially what you eat in a day!

    Rach xx

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  5. Sian, you are amazing and such an inspiration! As I continuously told you at Bioderma, you look incredible and I barely recognised you. Regardless of size you are the loveliest person and constantly smiling!

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  6. Wow you've done incredibly well Sian! I think you're one of the lucky few who looks stunning at any size. It's horrible that girls in the plus size community act like they're disappointed that you've lost weight, no one needs that kind of negativity. I've been struggling a bit with my eating lately & am definitely considering going to slimming world too. Would love to see a few posts about your diet xx

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  7. This is so amazing Asian and you have inspired me. I am happy in my body but lately I have discovered I could do a lot better and maybe loose some to make me feel happier. I'm hoping to take some ballet classes and just start eating healthier. I did it before but I got stressed and I'm a stress eater too and that's what started it again. So glad you feel happy and you are inspiring so many people.

    Jackie | fashionxfairytale |

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  8. Fantastic post. ive been bigger all my life, tried every diet and dropped it after weeks. I was almost 15 stone and a size 18/20 with most trousers being 20. Then about 2.5 years ago I think, my blood pressure which had always been high got dangerously high - my dr was saying things like "have you a family history of stroke ". I said that was it and I went to Motivation Weight Loss Clinic and lost 3 stone . I have put about 10lbs back on and using slimming world to help get those off and just eat better in General . I think anyone who criticises you is wrong. It's all about how you feel and how you yourself want to look. I personally hated being bigger , gated buying clothes , hated photos . Now I'm a 12/14 and while I want to be back at a 12 in happy enough with myself . You look amazing and your fashion sense and look is one I love , no matter what weight you are and as a few people have said you definitely glow!

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  9. Sian you look absolutely fabulous-I am so shocked some people have reacted negatively to this-you're still the same person fundamentally. I'm desperate to lose weight now that I am in remission but I am finding it a very stop/start process-I am either super motivated or eating the fridge bare.

    Stories like this though are really inspiring-I am proud of you for sharing

    Stacey | Expat Make-Up Addict

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  10. Well done for writing this my puddin' and keep carrying on and doing what you need to do to make YOU happy! Be proud of your achievement.

    Beautiful no matter what the scales say!

    Lots of love

    Naomi

    www.diamondsnpearls.co.uk

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  11. Fab post Sian, so honest and well written.... I have been a fan of you and your fashion for years, but you look amazing at the moment... Slimming World is definitely a game changer.. I've been going for a while now but haven't been exercising, so i think your post is the kick up the bum that I need

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  12. Wow, amazing story.

    Laura xo

    bigglassesandcoffeecups.blogspot.co.uk

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  13. What a brilliantly written post. I loved your honesty, and all the power to you for achieving your goals. I'm at the start of my weight loss journey, and, like you are waiting to be a certain weight before joining slimming world and the gym, so could relate so well to this. Also, like you, walking is my go to exercise at the moment - this week's goal, being to do it every day, not just twice a week.

    Thank you for this, it's so good to be able to read something that's not been airbrushed, and has the honesty factor, which is why I love your blog. As for the certain parts of the plus size community that feels that you're selling out for losing weight; you're not. You're living your life for you.

    I've got 10+ years on you, and you have honestly inspired me. I've saved this page, which will no doubt be my 'go to' in my darker moments, but more than anything, I just wanted to say a massive thank you. You've inspired me with regards to my wardrobe and confidence, and now, here you are again, inspiring me for my weight loss. Thank you, and good luck for everything you do.

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