BEFORE 20ST 4LB
As my son Oliver, then six, walked up to me with a sweet grin, he outstretched his little arms and threaded his hands around me. ‘Love you, Mum,’ he beamed.
As he snuggled into my chest, I couldn’t help feeling a bit embarrassed at the fact his fingertips weren’t reaching each other. Maybe he could have if it wasn’t for the huge frame he was trying to wrap himself around. It was 2017 and, at 20st and wearing a size 24, I was the biggest I had ever been. At that moment, I’d never felt more ashamed of myself.
My weight had always been a struggle. When I was a schoolgirl, I’d scoff a bowl of sugary cereal for breakfast before running to the corner shop to buy three or four chocolate bars before class. By the time I hit my teens, I was acutely aware of my friends’ slender physiques and the niggling fact my body was not like theirs.
‘You’re just like me,’ my mum would smile as I groaned about my protruding stomach. Unlike my sister, who’d inherited our dad’s tall and skinny genes, I was definitely curvaceous like Mum.
So, when I was 14 and weighed 11st, Mum took me to a local weight-loss group with her. I was determined to slim down to the same size as my sister or friends. Instead, it became the start of a long cycle of yo-yo dieting. Over the years, I’d lose a few pounds, but always congratulated myself with a treat or two, and it wouldn’t be long before I’d put the weight back on, plus extra. Willpower was something I really struggled with.
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