Farewell to Fat is my weight gain and loss story … I hope that by sharing my understandings of ‘what went on’ that I might add value to your pathway to a fitter and healthier you …
I’ve been debating as to how to share my 18 month journey from fat to fit(er). In fact, I didn’t think I would share it, but I am now, as I want a 50 years+ context out there. I think I have a bit of the ‘reformed smoker’ about me, a little zealous, a whole lot of happy and a touch of amazed that I have done it. Because, you know I thought after I turned 50, that’s it, fat for life now. Get use to it. Now at 53 I know it’s not true for me.
In my experience losing weight after 50 was a vastly different proposition to losing weight before 50. Firstly, I didn’t even know why I was putting it on. Nothing much had changed consumption wise. I hadn’t taken up eating loads of takeaway, we mostly ate at home and on a gluten free regime. I wasn’t drinking more alcohol, or eating more chocolate than normal. Yet the weight stacked on and stayed put, and would not leave. The last 5kgs were definitely related to stress eating, but the first 10kgs just piled on for no obvious reason.
At 49 years, I didn’t know it then, but it was my last ‘normal weight year’. Like most women I had a weight range I considered ok for me. But, I moved beyond that range. My weight gain peaked in October 2018, at 83kgs. Now at 53 years, in June 2020, I have lost 22kgs and I know in my heart and mind I have said ‘farewell to fat’.
It’s a bit of a saga, so I’m going to break it up into parts. This is Part 1 – The Numbers Go Up. I envisage Part 2 as The Numbers Go Down. Part 3 will be my health story. Part 4 is about moving and Part 5 will be about food. I think there will be a final part that pulls it all together, but we will see.
From October 2016 to October 2018 I added 15kgs to this 156cm frame. I don’t think I have a single full body image from 2018. I think you can get the general look from the pics below. Look at my beautiful boys, awww. Look at my little face getting wider and wider. The sunnies in pic three are the same ones I have on in the pic above. My weight went on everywhere. I stayed curvy, just more so, but my dress size went up and my health and well being went progressively down. More on that in Part 3.
In early 2019 I looked around the weight loss genre. So many wonderful stories of younger women losing weight. So many blogs, so many YouTube channels, and so many powerfully positive stories of women under 30 losing weight and creating their best selves.
When I saw the occasional woman over 30, shouting about her achievements, it always turned out that they use to be a) a professional athlete/dancer/performer/triple threat or b) a marathon runner or c) a model. None of these wonderful women were that relatable, as it seemed these women had been ‘in the club’ once before, and were, to my unjustified thinking, just getting re-admitted.
After dieting in one way or another, off and on all my adult life, I admire everyone who can shift weight. Yet after watching another 24 year old tell me about her very real struggles, her fat kid childhood, her chubby teens and then, at 21, discovering a way forward to her magical 24 year old self, I said ENOUGH.
How can I see myself taking the same pathway as a 23 year old to weight loss success … I could not, so I got educated, made my own trail and followed that …
It was 2019, I was a 52 year grown ass woman, mother of two teen boys, with no athletic backstory, still only 156cm, into year one of menopause and a hefty 83kgs. This is when I found Dr Libby Weaver. Thank goodness. More on Dr Libby in another part. Back to my numbers going up.
Numbers don’t tell the whole story, yet we love to hear the numbers, so I will give the numbers. I am short, as always, and had gotten progressively heavier since the end of 2016. My well worn ‘normal weight’ space had been 64kg to 68kgs. Yet, being the little over achiever I am, by October 2018 I was 83kgs.
While I found the 20 somethings weight loss journeys inspirational, I could not find my 50+ year old self in their tales. It just wasn’t relatable. I rationalised … she’s had no children, oh just wait and see what happens when she reaches menopause, I am twice her age, I have a stressful job, I have teenagers, and on went my rationalisation.
Never part of the slim club, I had boobs, hips and thighs … you know, like most women … still have them, happy they have stayed …
Just quickly, a little bit of back story. I have never been a slim person. I was a chubby baby (think Michelin Man, I had so many baby fat rolls), a rounded kid, a solid teen and a curvy 20 something.
I got slim at 10 years old via kidney failure, not recommended. I was a weight around 1999, that I felt content with. When I had my cafe, and was working with food all day, it made me less likely to eat it, plus I was running. So at around 30, I weight 55kgs for about three months. I remember it clearly as I borrowed my beautiful, forever a size 10 sister-in-law’s dress for a posh function.
My weight is not ‘baby weight’, I breastfed two babes and those little suckers almost slurped me up!
Late to motherhood, I had babes at 36 and 38. I breastfeed one, then two babes. Breastfeeding kept me a size 12. I could eat anything during those four years and it did not stick. Babes sucked all the fat out of me. Plus made my hair fall out and a few other less desirable things. After that ended my weight went up and stayed in the 64kgs to 68kgs range for years. Still curvy, but proportionally so and it worked for me as a size 14. I walked most days and ran around after small kids and worked full time in jobs I loved.
Things changed in late 2016. From October 2016 to October 2018 I went from 68kgs to 70kgs to 73kgs to 78kgs to 80kgs to 83kgs. I put on 15kgs. As I saw those numbers rise, my heart sank. I was conscious that I was putting on weight, but never did I think it would keep going up. Apart from the last five months, when I was very stressed and ate a lot of chocolate, I wasn’t eating more than usual, I hadn’t become a daily drinker, I didn’t eat takeaways all of the time. I just got fatter doing the same ole same ole. In response, my usual efforts to restrict food intake made no difference. Something had changed. I could not find my way back to my ‘usual range’. I was accidentally overweight, big time.
Many well intentioned promises were made, but my body was not on board, something else was going wrong …my usual methodologies failed me …
Firstly, I promised myself I would be ‘back to normal’ by my 50th birthday. That milestone came and went. I didn’t have a party, as I could not find it in me to celebrate being 50 and fatter than ever. When I hit 73kgs I remember thinking it could not get any worse. But it did.
All through 2017 I just managed to keep a lid on 73kgs. I even adjusted my thinking and decided that 70kgs – 73kgs was my new normal. It wasn’t. The year 2018 was a big gain year. From 73kgs I moved to 75kgs, then 78kgs and then 80kgs. The first time I saw 80 on the scales I was floored. But by October 2018 I was at a new personal worst … 83kgs. I had put on 15kgs in two years.
There were reasons for the gain, I can see them in hindsight, that will be explained in other parts of Farewell to Fat, because of course, it’s much more than just a weight loss story.
In January 2019, we moved from New Zealand back to Brisbane. The boys and I arrived into the hottest January , with 30 days straight of 30+ temperatures, with none of the usual summer afternoon storms. I was 83kg. I was fat, hot and unhappy with the state of Le. 2019 was a year of change, the numbers went down. Part B to follow soon, The Numbers Go Down.
Shared with love and kindness, and zero judgement, Le xox