Sunday 25 September 2011

Life as a Fat Chick

As far as I can recall I have always been fat. That's how I've always seen myself, which is sad. Because now, when I look at photos, up until the age of about 14 I was quite slim. Then it hit me, my weight started creeping up and up.

I even declared my weight on national tv this week, 19 stone. But researching for this piece I have discovered something, I am, in fact only 18 stone!!! I converted the kilos wrong....woo.

My weight started creeping up in high school. There were a number of factors. In Australian schools, sport is very important. I have always been completely and utterly useless at sport. I run like turkey, I look awkward. I can't do sports like archery. I have been known to miss the target and hit nearby trees. As for gymnastics or athletics just forget it. PE class was always an ordeal.

I was bullied terribly, which had a dual effect. It made me avoid group exercise. The other factor was I medicated my pain and social isolation with food. When I recall how much I used to eat, I am astounded that I am only 18 stone and not 28. I got into a terrible cycle of eating chocolate, crisps and cake.

When I was 15 my mum sent me to Weight Watchers. This made everything worse. I felt punished, embarrassed. I felt completely out of place. It made my overeating worse, if anything. It made me concious of everything that went into my mouth, and made me obsessive. But I lost weight and got near "normal". Then it all came back, and more.

Once I left home at 17 and went to university everything got worse. I had complete food freedom for the first time in my life and ate everything in sight. I lived on site in my first year, and all meals were included, they weren't exactly healthy fare and we had pudding every night. My sweet tooth got worse. And then there were the endless takeaways at weekend.

I reached 120 kilos by my mid 20s. I have had two periods in my adult life where I have successfully got down to 90 kilos, but it never lasts long.

The reasons are complex and simple. The simple part is, I eat too much and don't exercise enough. Easily fixed. The complex reasons are I feel comfortable at the weight I am at. I find clothes for plus size are completely adequate, I feel comfortable in my own skin. I don't even mind sticking on my swimming costume. However, as I lose weight, I feel frightened. I hate being looked at, commented on, admiring glances, it makes me nervous.

But, now, I have long term health concerns. I am worried I am on the track for diabetes. I didn't get gestational diabetes in pregnancy, as far as I know, my test was due at 28 weeks. I had a recent blood test and I am not at risk at present. So really, I have to do it now, to work on my weight and my eating and exercise. I know this. I already have essential hypertension, which may be due to pregnancy but who knows? I come from a family where this is quite common, regardless of weight, and I am now on medication.

I am entering into my 40s and becoming aware that old age, is really, not that far away. I want to see Joseph grow up, enter work or go to university,  marry (or enter civil partnership) and achieve his dreams. I want to be there to help him and to support him. I don't want to go to an early grave.

I need to lose the weight, and lose the monkey on my back.

I just need to figure it all out.


  1. Oh bless you Kylie. Wishing you lots of luck. I think you hit on something though when you say about losing weight not increasing your confidence and sense of well-being. No matter how big or small we are it's not necessarily the size that does us in, it's the mental place we're in. You're achieving so much at the moment (pinkwellies told me about your TV turn! :D), I hope that your success as a mum, campaigner, and writer act as a springboard for a newfound self-confidence - they bloody well should! ;) xXx

  2. This post struck a cord with me. I am indeed a fat chick and to be honest I am far happier with a bit of meat on my bones than being stick thin. I was stick thin for about 6 months of my life and I was self conscious and unhappy, this is probably because I've always known myself as a bigger person and have learnt to be happy as I am. I do need to eat a bit healthier and exercise and I do try, I just need to try harder but i'll never be stick thin again.

  3. Hugs. As you know I also loathed Phys Ed at school and think it's a crying shame that PE teachers are still taught that there always has to be a competitive element (Martin was made to take a PE component at uni and was told that introducing element of competition is how to motivate students). I would have been so much happier if there was a yoga/brisk walking/lap swimming/gym circuit option that didn't involve keeping score or competing but instead focussed on making personal goals or appreciating a general sense of physical wellbeing.

    Eat less and exercise more is deceptively tricky, eh? It's really hard to exercise with toddlers and really easy to have bad eating habits. It's also easy to make excuses not to exercise. For me the secret to beating gestational diabetes was having options for exercising at home (for me yoga and fitball), as well as getting out on my own with an audiobook for some strong walking - you need to tag Corey in at the end of the day. The other thing was adjusting portion sizes at meals - which I reckon was one of my worst habits - and having morning and afternoon tea (like Nanna!) It's weird, I was thinking about all the foods I used to eat semi-regularly which I almost never have any more - chips, crisps, chocolate, lollies, soft drinks, juice, white or brown bread and other bakery products, arborio rice, large serves of pasta, full fat dairy...but I don't really miss them or feel deprived. I have new favourite foods instead. And I'll still have the odd chocolate, handful of chips, or piece of cake, but I am selective about when I eat them and what I have them with (ie always have a carb with a protein, if I make cake it will be with almond meal etc).

  4. I've been bigger and smaller and can totally relate to not feeling myself when thinner. I loved being thinner and feeling skinny and wearing fab clothes but I felt so self conscious and it didn't come at all easily. In fact in order to maintain skinny me I was verging on real health issues (over exercising and not eating properly). I have now put half of the weight back on again and feel awful with myself again. Knowing I can be thin is worse than never being thin. I'm my own worst enemy, so I've embarked on a sensible exercise plan (not overdoing it or hating myself if I can't get a workout in because of something else getting in the way) and sensible eating. It's taking alot of getting used to and alot of mental effort but I'm hopeful that I won't let my weight define me and if I weigh more than I want to it's not the end of the world. There are more importnant things in life and every now and then eating a slice of cake (or crisps/doughnuts/chocolate whatever your vice is) isn't the worst thing in the world, just don't eat the whole cake every day!

  5. It's funny I've stuck to a lot of the habits when I lost all that weight a few years ago. I ditched nice cheese and can no longer really eat it, I stopped crisps and now rarely touch them. My achilles heel is sugar and I've managed to stop the sugary drinks, that's been 3 months now and I notice I've lost a little. Building exercise in is hard. Nursery is helping as I walk there and back twice a day 3 days a week. I need to do more strengthening work which I can do at home. Bread and pastry is another problem too. I can do this, I just need to find the will!

  6. I have different issues. I am slim, and have been thin (not a positive word!) but I am not happy in my body. It has taken pregnancy and motherhood for me to begin to accept it. I can completely relate to how things like school PE can have that effect - I am still completely uncoordinated and find that I only enjoy solo physical activities as I don't want to embarrass myself. The photo on your profile shows a beautiful woman and I think you look great. I think the focus on healthy rather than slim is really important and you seem to have the perfect attitude - I'm sure you'll make it to a healthy weight if you commit to it but weight isn't the be all and end all.

  7. Thank you so much, I think one of my issues is I have worked on my self esteem and I am happy in my own skin, which is fab. But my health will suffer if I don't do something about it. I don't want to be a poorly old person and the longer I leave it the harder its going to get.

    I think one thing I have learned is we all have body issues, regardless of weight, and that it's so hard to accept ourselves as we are.