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The Truth About Weight Loss

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Things they tell you about dieting:

It will be hard
It's not. Boring, dull, tedious; whatever you want to call it. It's definitely that, but nothing worthwhile in life is easy. All you need to learn to do is say no. Simple.

You have to eat lettuce
You don't have to. Honestly. As for cabbage soup, bleurgh. Who even does that?

You will only be successful if you sign up to Weightwatchers/Slimming World/Cambridge Diet/etc

Bollocks. I did it all myself and I'm far from the only one out there. Each to their own: if you find the group atmosphere supportive and helpful then great. If you baulk at paying someone money to tell you what the figure on the scales says, that's fine too. Find what works for you.

You have to become a fitness fanatic
Bit more exercise: yup. Doing triathalons: nope.

You are likely to become a diet bore
Well, you don't have to. I'm sure some people do but I'd like to think I avoided the worst of it. Just remember to keep your calorie consumption to yourself - you're probably the only one who really cares about the intracacies of it all.

Things they don't tell you:

To start saving up
Buying an entire new wardrobe is expensive. Plus it sucks when all your old favourite clothes have to go because they swim on you.

Your feet shrink
That is a complete nightmare. Insoles are my new best friends.

You don't end up with the perfect body
You'll more than likely be a similar shape, just smaller. Unless you're the sort who stores all your chub in one place.

People start saying really bitchy things disguised as compliments
"It's taken 20 years off you!" was my particular favourite. Did I look 46 before? Really??

And the kicker:

Losing weight won't magically fix you
It will help. Don't get me wrong; I don't want this to be a doom and gloom piece. But from my bitter personal experience, it will only do so much. There is a certain never-ending fascination about twirling in the mirror and thinking "Where did I all go?". There's a definite high about having the confidence to try out something you'd never dreamed of wearing before. The feeling when you meet someone you haven't seen for a long time and they literally don't recognise you; that, my friends, is a sweet feeling.

But it doesn't make you a new person. It won't soothe all your inner demons, magically restore all your confidence or endow you with brand new personality traits.

You know what? The important people in my life never loved me any the less because of what I looked like, but people in general were vile and often unbelievably hurtful. I've been the pig on "pull a pig" night, I've been abused in the street, I've run the full gamut of disapproving looks and comments from complete strangers. It fucking hurts, and it's not the sort of thing that can be easily forgotten. When your brain has fucked you into a horrible pattern of shying away from doing things/interacting with people because you are fat and fearful of being laughed at, and then becoming shyer and shyer just because you have got out of the habit of talking to strangers, that's hard to change. Looking different on the outside doesn't change the inside. You're still scared of starting conversations. You still don't trust it when people look you up and down. You still panic when people behind you start laughing in case they're laughing at you.

Losing the weight was easy. Rewiring my brain. That's hard.


  1. What a great post. Really gets down to what I imagine is the reality of losing weight (I've got a long way to go). I didn't think it was depressing, just honest. Jen x

  2. Brilliant post- so many people are unrealistic about dieting.
    When I lost weight my feet shrunk too! From a size 6 to a size 4.5/5! Crazy isn't it?!

  3. This is a beautiful blog post. I can totally relate to your experiences here. I've lost 2 and 1/2 stone and I look different. Rewiring my brain to think differently about myself is proving to be a different matter all together. What changes on the outside doesn't change what's on the inside. For me, changing what's on the inside seems to be a matter of learning self-acceptance, regardless of what I weigh. Em x

  4. This is a brilliant blog post, so honest and thoughtful.
    Ella @ Belle Vintage

  5. Great post hun. People who love you, love you for who you are not the size you are!

    I want to loose a few pounds for me and no one else and I think that has to be the key driver. That and my favourite clothes are a little too tight.

    X x

  6. Have I mentioned how much I love you lately? Love the honesty, and whilst I appreciate that having never needed to lose weight particularly means I'm in not much of a position to commment on the reality, I reckon you're one of the few who really seems to get that weight loss is about making sustainable changes to your life in order to maintain a healthy weight, size, shape and fitness level rather than just concentrating on xKG or Y dress size.

  7. This is a great piece of honest writing, Alex. I hope you can find ways to "re-wire", just as you found new ways of eating/exercising. I also hope that your blogging friends can help this process; I have found the positivity and acceptance in the blogging community a wonderful aid to my self-esteem and confidence. What some people have said to you in the past has been hurtful; what people say to you now can maybe contribute to healing those wounds. Try to believe it when we say you look GREAT! xxxxx

  8. All so true, I did without a group. Just me and my oh. Did you get other people saying don't lose any more weight, and the look of oh you are really pretty! Still worth it for my health.

    I agree with everything you said and well done for doing it for you. The only reason to do it.


  9. I really love this post. I'm in the position of needing to lose the weight first but I've lost lots of weight in the past and you're right the mind thing is a whole complex issue!
    I've always kept my fat issues with me no matter what size I actually am. Great thought provoking post.
    Kandi x

  10. i can completely relate to this post. i've gained and lost quite a bit of weight several times over. i always seem to have that idea in my head that by losing however many more pounds my life will instantly become better. i'll have more friends, i'll gain more confidence, i'll be prettier etc. my shape is still awkward even though i'm a lot thinner now & i still lack confidence in my appearance and with other people. i can only hope something clicks and i can stop thinking of myself as an obese goth teenager because that is most definitely not who i am anymore. i hope you can gain that confidence in yourself too xx

  11. Pft, I'd rather rewire society than rewire my brain. If people are nasty based on looks, that's their damn problem, not mine.

    95% of weight loss can't be sustained longer than 5 years. Never tie your self esteem to something so transitory. Good post.

  12. A brilliant post and one I think a lot of people will understand. I've been a size 8 and a size 18. I've felt crap at both ends of that spectrum. I felt fat when I was thin, and thought I looked thin when I was fat.
    Self esteem is a hard one, it knocks me for six more often that not.
    Absolutely LOVED this post gorgeous girl. x x x

  13. I loved this. So honest and open and one anyone can relate to whether they are overweight or not. You are so damn inspiring. And I'm liking the idea of shrinking feet because I refuse to buy 9.5's any longer.. I was wondering why my feet were swelling! This self control crap is sometimes hard but you seem to have the hang of it and you inspire me to do so.

  14. >:D< Thanks, Alex. Printing this out for my family's post-Christmas diet programme.

  15. Great post Alex, I sure do hope this has an impact on every single person who reads it. Because whatever size, shape or weight we all may be, inside we are all scared, have our insecurities and have had to fight battles of our own. Most of the time it’s bottled up inside, ignored and overlooked, but speaking out about these feelings shows a very brave individual xxx

  16. My lovely daughter - you've never been anything less than perfect to me! A wonderful and inspiring posting - we Muirs are brilliant at bringing about positive longlasting change xx

  17. Wonderful post! I too have felt those things, lost weight and felt awkward and put it back on only to pine over the photos of the smaller me. You look gorgeous, I hope the demons bugger off so you can believe it too xxx

  18. What a great piece of writing. I am going to print this out and show it to my daughters. My twelve year old, who is perfect, is a little worried about whether she is 'fat'. She isn't at all, but it made me sad that the worry and self doubt has already set in for her. I reassure her that she is fine, remind her that she is beautiful and that she will be beautiful no matter what shape or size she is, as long as she is happy inside and confident about who she is. But it never sounds the same coming from your mum does it? So I will show her what you have written. I hope it will make her think.

    I wish you luck with your emotional ride. I know it isn't easy, beating the voices in your head. I have never had a particular problem with my weight, but there are plenty of other little voices going off inside me all the time which have roughly the same effect as you describe. Just learning to shout over the top of 'em. That's the trick.xx

  19. Oh Alex, this has actually made me cry. I agree with the poster above that is society that need rewiring, not you

  20. Aw, I miss your blog. I love your honesty. It's truly amazing. I think most bloggers that lose weight prance around like their lives have improved in every aspect and everything is perfect. truthfully, losing weight is a lifestyle change and nothing is easy about that! congrats on your success!

  21. I love this post its totally honest.
    I've lost 4 stone since I left college. ( A long time ago) and I feel no different if anything I feel more disappointed in my body. I aim to loose another 2 stone this year to get down to my goal weight and I hope that then The feeling of disappointment may change. fingers crossed. XXXX

  22. Alex, I wrote and re-wrote and then deleted a comment. You've touched on a subject here that is close to home and it seems that I need to look at my response to it. I have watched someone very close to me battle for years (and it has been a battle) with her weight, it has had a huge impact on her life and seemingly mine too. Thank you for this honest, thought provoking post.

  23. This is such a good post, you are right about it all, been there done that and now I can tell you the calorie content of pretty much everything! It is hard, it does require hard work but no one wants to believe it, they think you are hiding some fabulous secret and being a total bitch. The rude crap people have said to me since loosing weight is pretty hilarious to be honest. Weight loss is easy in theory just eat less exercise more. Its the mental dedication that's the hard part!

  24. What a brutally honest and brilliant post. I find it really interesting to hear from people after the weight loss, so thanks. You're from the same school of thought as me - get on with it and don't go on about it! xx

  25. Great post, really interesting, and mostly true!

    I lost 3 stone a couple of years ago and have since put a stone and half back on, which I want to lose again, but I'm finding it nigh on impossible! The problem isn't "just saying no" it's that I travel a lot, and eating out 3 times a day 3 or 4 days a week is practically impossible without putting on weight, or at least not losing it.

    Virtually the only solution is to not eat all day in order to have an evening meal as the portion sizes and selection available from takeaways and most restaurants essentially uses an entire days allowance of calories/points/whatever you're following. *sigh* oh well.

  26. I thoroughly agree with the part about weight loss not being able to fix you.

  27. have you read 'you don't have to tell me you love me' by sarra manning? because that really reminds me of the last section you put here - the 'losing weight won't magically fix you' bit. i definitely know what you mean. but this is a good post, thank you xxx


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