Popping a sausage onto my plate, I sat down on a plastic garden chair and licked my lips. It was May 2020, and I’d reunited with my family for the first time in months, due to lockdown restrictions, and we were celebrating with a barbecue.
But moments later, my son, Ollie, then two, bounded onto my lap, pushing me backward. In an instant, the chair leg snapped, sending us both plummeting to the ground. ‘Ollie!’ I screamed, as I hit the floor. Luckily, neither of us was hurt, but my humiliation was obvious. It was no good blaming my boisterous toddler, though – at 21st, it was my fault the chair had collapsed and I felt my cheeks burning with embarrassment.
I’d always loved food. Even at the age of five, I was bigger than other kids at school.
My mum tried to encourage three meals a day, but I’d sneak packets of crisps when I got home and take them to eat in my room.
HEAVIER AND HEAVIER
At secondary school, I’d spend my lunch money on savory snacks and chocolate.
Aged 12, I weighed 12st, and I continued to put on a stone each year. I struggled to fit in school uniform, and I ended up with size 18 skirts from the womenswear section instead.
By the time I was 18, I weighed 18st, but despite my size, I was active. I took part in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme and often did long hikes. It was a struggle, but sugary snacks and determination kept me going.
At university, I lived on takeaways and I’d buy packs of doughnuts at the supermarket to eat on the way home. It wasn’t healthy, but once I had food in the house, I couldn’t think about anything else other than eating it. I’d scoff multipacks of crisps and I could easily polish off four large chocolate bars.
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