WOMAN'S OWN|December 02, 2019
Pulling a cracker with my husband Mark, and plonking the paper hat on my head, I hungrily tucked into the festive feast in front of me. Mark busied himself passing around sprouts as our twins, Ben and Abi, 14, giggled at cracker jokes we’d all heard before. With laughter rumbling around the Christmas dinner table, my eldest son, Lewis, 30, draped a protective arm around his pregnant partner, Charlotte, 33.
Suddenly, I glanced down at my plate piled high with food and felt a flash of worry. I was about to be a grandmother for the first time, but at 16st 5lb, I was the biggest I’d ever been. I constantly felt dreadful and sluggish, with high blood pressure, too. How was I supposed to keep up with a toddler?
The truth was, my body hadn’t always been a battleground. I’d been a size 10, energetic single mum to Lewis when I’d married Mark in 1995, but after our miracle IVF twins arrived in July 2002, I was struck with Bell’s palsy, a type of paralysis of the facial muscles.
The steroid treatment made me so hungry, I ate constantly. The only thing that satiated my appetite was bread, and I'd eat whole loaves of it. Thanks to this, in just six short months, I managed to gain 4st.
Battling the bulge
The ‘face droop’ lasted about a year, but long after my smile had returned to normal, my appetite and confidence hadn’t, plunging me into a vicious cycle of self loathing and overeating. Every diet I tried, failed. If I did lose weight, I’d gain it back and then some – and, at some point, I focused on Lewis and the twins and didn’t bother to look after or worry about my weight anymore. ‘I’ll be a great mum instead,’ I’d comforted myself.
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December 02, 2019