Wednesday, 20 July 2011



 I'm Helen, a 29 year old Mum of two currently living in Bedfordshire in the UK. I have been blogging for about 4 months now, and decided it's time to branch out from my addiction to nail polish and write about something else very close to my heart at the moment. Weight loss. My weight has been something I've struggled with for a long time, but I'm finally doing something about it. For good.

A brief 'history' of my struggle with my weight. I have always been a "big girl". 9lbs10oz at birth (my poor mother!) I was always the chubby one at school. We ate healthily at home, plenty of fruit and veg, no pudding unless you ate your dinner and we ate together as a family. The odd takeaway and treat, but generally a healthy, well balanced approach to food. But the pounds crept on. This was me at uni, aged 18ish wearing at least a size 22.

I wasn't happy with my size, but I wasn't particularly worried about it either. I ignored my weight, avoiding scales and shopping in places that had plus size sections as if having the same New Look bag as my friends meant I was no different to them. I wasn't unhappy.

Then came a turning point. At the start of my second year at uni I suddenly started losing weight for no apparent reason. I was working 3 jobs and studying full time, so I was pretty tired all the time, and had no appetite. You'd think this was pretty normal for a typical "student", but 4 days before Christmas 2001 I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and put on insulin. It runs in my family and I was young, so apparently it has nothing to do with being over weight, but it sure as hell can't help.

Shortly after I met my partner Andrew. He didn't seem to mind that I was a bit bigger than most girls, in fact he liked it. He loves my big boobs and bum (well someone's got to!) and sure enough the weight I lost before I was diagnosed came back on. And then some.

After I finished my BA I trained as a teacher and moved into my first proper flat (not student digs) with Andrew. The more settled routine of teaching every day, regular meal times and less going out had a positive effect and I lost a little weight again. I even joined Weight Watchers with a colleague during this time, but didn't stick at it long. Once I qualified as a teacher I took a job in an office while I looked for a teaching job. But being a newly qualified teacher with no experience in sunny Cornwall isn't easy, and my temp job ended up lasting 3 years on and off. Doing a sedentary job I hated meant that by the time I fell pregnant in September 2006 I was about 16 stone.

Unfortunately, I suffered a miscarriage at 11 weeks, probably due to my diabetes and blood sugar levels. But on my 25th birthday in February 2007 I found out I was pregnant again and this time gave birth to a healthy baby boy in October. When Oliver was a few days old, we were told our landlord wanted to renovate our flat and we were given 2months notice to move out. So when he was 5 weeks old we moved 300 miles to Bedfordshire, where Andrew is from, to be closer to family and to give Andrew better job prospects. I'm from London and my family is still there which means we get to see them an awful lot more now!

But of course, packing up and moving house away from all your friends with a 5 week old baby and having just had a c-section isn't fun. I didn't know anyone and the only thing I could do, not knowing the area and not being able to drive, was walk to the local supermarket. Which was Waitrose. Have you tried their cakes? I have...

New Year 2009, I'd made a few friends with babies the same age as mine. They'd all lost their baby weight and some were even thinking about the next one. I couldn't tell if I'd lost mine or not. All I knew is that I was fat, and it was making me unhappy. I couldn't bear my photo being taken, so all the pics we had of Oliver were with his dad, and the rare ones of me were awful. So I joined Slimming World and lost almost three stone in 6 months! It made an incredible difference! We went on holiday to Spain, and I could wear boob tubes and strapless dresses confidently, smile when my photo was taken and not worry about sitting by the pool in my cossie.

Still a long way to go but I was getting there!

I only gained 2 pounds while we were away, and soon lost that and a stone more. Then I decided it might be nice to have another baby, and after only a few weeks of trying I was pregnant again. I had a difficult pregnancy with Oliver, but this time was worse with a toddler to run around after. I was so sick all the way through, and had so little energy to even stand and cook that I feasted on ready made stodge and junk food, as it was the only thing I could keep down! Pie and mash, meatballs and gravy, takeaways. It was no surprise that by the time Jake arrived in July last year I was massive. He was born by emergency c-section a month early (weighing 8lbs8oz!) due to complications with my diabetes and was in the special care baby unit for a week before we could bring him home.

Since then, weight loss has always been at the back of my mind, but I never felt like I could tackle it and be in control like I did when I was doing Slimming World. We moved house again before Jake was born, only to the next village this time, but it means I can't attend a SW meeting anymore as there isn't one close enough to me that fits in around the children. I did it on my own for a bit, losing half a stone in 3 weeks, but I really feel I need the kick up the bum of knowing I'm going to be weighed by someone else (and paying for the privilege!) at the end of each week. 
Me in April this year

A friend of mine joined Weight Watchers and has lost an amazing 50 pounds! I'd always been put off WW by the fact that you have to count everything (SW isn't like that at all) and everything is weighed and measured, and resented having to use 'points' for an apple (er fruit or crisps - I know what I'd chose...) but with their new ProPoints system, you don't. Fruit and veg is (mostly) free, and the system isn't based on calories at all. Every food is designated a ProPoints value and you're given a daily and weekly allowance. SO, I bit the bullet and joined 3 weeks ago and since then, I have lost 12lbs! In three weeks! I'm stunned. Of course I know I wont lose this quickly as I carry on with the plan, but it's a great start. And it has been so easy to follow, I've had meals out, party food at my sons first birthday last week, wine - nothing is banned. And yes, you do have to weigh and measure everything, but it's really no hardship for such good results.

So, the idea behind this blog is to track my weight loss, post recipes, ideas, review different products and foods and keep me on the straight and narrow! I'll aim to post a little something each day, hopefully, even if it's just from my phone as I don't have continual access to a computer at the moment. Hopefully I'll get a few followers...I'm sure there are people like me out there! Come and say hello :)


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