Weight Part 2

So after looking around at different options, including a life coach, psychologist, counsellor etc, I decided to join the Bariatric Mind Mastery Course. I had a life coach a few years ago and whilst it was good, the work didn’t manage to get my mind on board with itself, and I didn’t lose weight. I have had a virtual gastric band via hypnotherapy, which at first was great but then I put all the weight and more back on again. I have tried all the fad diets, I have tried weight watchers so many times and slimming world slightly less, all work initially but I felt deprived and that meant it wasn’t sustainable and as soon as I got fed up/disheartened all the weight and more piled back on. I was tempted to go private to a counsellor/psychologist but it is very hard to know online who is actually going to be any good. I am under the NHS weight loss service, that pretty much shut down with Covid, except for the lovely exercise lady, Steph, she has been fantastic throughout. If I am honest, I feel very let down by the service, if it wasn’t for Steph I would have given up. I was referred to have a Psychology assessment and the Psychologist felt I needed to do some psychological work in order to move forward with my journey- this was in May 2019. This year in June they finally started virtual group sessions, on a Thursday which I have to work every week as other nurses are already off. So I was not able to attend. To say I was disheartened would be an understatement especially as I had been told they would more likely be on a Friday, which I could have worked around. I got dispondant, Covid was smashing through, stuff was going on with hubby’s job, I couldn’t see loved ones and I put on weight getting to my highest ever weight. Cue crying and self hatred going through the roof, which led to overeating to smoosh down such horrid emotions.

I got in touch with a company which specialises in gastric balloons, they offer one for a year and it has an 18month support program after which I felt would be beneficial and necessary. I clearly could not get into the right headspace, I was frustrated with people who said they had gotten fat during lock down, maybe putting on a stone or two. That added to my self loathing, if they hated two stone they must think I am disgusting and awful. My head wasn’t a nice place to be.

I am a member of two bariatric support pages on facebook, and have been for a while, these are for people who have bariatric surgery which I have been toying with for a couple of years now. One of my biggest fears, was getting surgery, it being life altering, yet I put all the weight back on because it is a tool and won’t fix my brain. The NHS weightloss group are clear that I wouldn’t be a candidate until I could prove I could lose weight on my own- ironic as the reason I was part of the group is because that is my problem! Emotional me finds that upsetting and frustrating, rationale me understands that to make this tool work I have to think differently. There is very clear evidence that says that people who are morbidly obese will find it extraordinarily difficult to lose more than a stone or two without drastic steps, such as surgery. There are many reasons for this, including that our bodies will have stopped producing the I’m full hormone, so even if we eat less we won’t get that full signal, our gut bacteria is often full of unhelpful bacteria which craves sugary food, and because we are used to huge portions etc it is just so hard to manage. There is more about this that I will waffle about at some other time!

So anyway, one of the facebook groups I am in, is ran by Debbie- The Shrink on Your Couch. I have seen her advertise her Bariatric Mind Mastery courses several times and toyed with it. She uses DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) as a cornerstone to the course, DBT focuses on emotional regulation and understanding behaviours. I have used it in my professional role on a small scale with people who self harm and suffer with suicidal impulses, and it has worked well when implemented as it taught them how to understand themselves and work on other ways to cope. So I decided, fuck it, its £473 (500$), I am worth that small investment and worst case it won’t bankrupt me if it doesn’t work- I am so optimistic!

I love this course, I love it. Debbie had a gastric sleeve, she was obese, she struggled with her mind like I am, she gets it. Other’s think they get it, but they don’t. I said to my dad, I know you think everyone is the same, but they can’t be, or else they would all be morbidly obese like me! It felt so validating to read someone else felt similar, and the first week of the course was eye opening. A new chapter is released weekly over eight weeks and I have just worked though week 3. I don’t feel like I am dieting, I feel like I am just thinking it through, if I want cake or chocolate, that is fine, if I want wine, that is fine. But think about it, examine any feelings and emotions that are showing up, do I want it, or am I suppressing a feeling? Its a wonderful, complex topic and I would like to share some of the things I have learnt going forward, I feel this could be it, whether I will still need the assistance of a balloon or surgery in the future or if I can do it alone, I don’t mind.

This fat girl can:

I thought I would do a little post about some of the misconceptions of being fat people have. I am fully aware that as a morbidly obese person I am much more at risk of many horrible diseases and illnesses, I am aware that I could in theory be a big drain on the NHS- this isn’t a given, lots of fat people have minimal contact with health services, though we are aware we are more at risk. I also think that we are judged harshly by ourselves and others, there are many people who are disgusted by the fact I take up more space than others, and I myself can also feel disgusted and try and fold myself up into the tiniest space I can. So here are some things that this fat girl can do!

  1. I can walk really far, before lock down I walked 12.5miles with my dad, made good time and though I was tired the next day I could get up and walk again if I wanted. Some thin people would find that hard.
  2. Last year I walked 15miles for charity, it was a 20mile walk, but despite training I ended up with blisters and still managed 15miles
  3. My blood test results are perfect-I am not borderline Diabetic, my cholesterol is great, the GP has no concerns about internal health, and neither should anyone else
  4. I can work 12hour shifts as a nurse, carrying out personal care and doing general duties as expected, my weight may make this more difficult on a personal level, I assume, as I have never been slim so have nothing to compare it to. But I am a damn good worker and do not slack off because of my weight
  5. I am a good nurse who is compassionate and caring, I am a good team leader and share mutual respect with my wonderful care team. My weight has no bearing on this
  6. I can be a lot crueler to myself than any other person can be, I don’t need trolls to tell me awful things about myself, I have probably said worse- and am working on this!
  7. I am not restricted, I can dress myself fully, cut my toe nails, clean the house, etc etc
  8. I can spend hours thinking about my mortgage and overpayments, checking we have good deals and working out where I want to go on holiday!
  9. I am trying to know my worth, I am more valuable than my weight alone, my weight is one part of me and in fact, not very important in the grand scheme of me!

This was a small exercise in reminding myself of how much more I am than my weight, that my skills and value as a person are not encompassed in my looks. I follow Iweigh which was started by Jameela Jamil on instagram, she started it as fat people are more likely to be undiagnosed with serious illnesses/diseases, as it will be put down to being fat and not explored. The world can be a cruel place, and so can my brain, so I am working hard on not being ashamed as I take up more space, as what I have to offer is much more than my weight. Within that, I am on a journey to feel more comfortable in my skin, which for me would include being physically smaller, but shouldn’t be defined by weight itself. 🙂

Weight part 1

So, I have struggled with my weight for my entire life it feels- in my memory I was always a little bigger than others, except when I was a baby maybe…I always had a little tummy- oh its just puppy fat, you will grow out of it! Except, I would have had to grow to about 10ft tall to have been in proportion by the time I was in my 20’s. I remember very distinctly when I was 11, we went to Florida for the first time, I wasn’t fat per se, but I was soft, and on the first day I ended up with horrid chaffeing on my thighs and it really put a downer on the holiday.

I don’t remember ever being comfortable in my body, it feels as though we have been at war for so long. I remember trying the Atkins diet with my mum and stepdad when I was around 13/14, trying weight watchers by 15 and all sorts of other diets from then until now. None of these things ever helped me, and I feel that they in fact increased my very unhealthy relationship with food. I lived between my parents and they were both very different in the way they treated food. My mum didn’t believe in restrictions or not having certain foods, my stepdad cooked well and we always had access to sweets and chocolates, I would get pudding but had to eat all my dinner first. My dad was very much a ‘we don’t have that crap in this house’ kinda guy, my stepmum is an amazing cook and would make great meals. It was at my dad’s house I first started to secret eat. I would buy crap and eat it in secret then hide away any evidence, I did this from a young age- definately early teens until mid way through my 20’s. Though it wasn’t always a secret and I would definately binge eat too. I spent a lot of time with my grandma when I was growing up, and she would always give me the biscuit tin with my cup of tea and she would allow me to have as many biscuits as I wanted, it was always a lot. I do not blame my family for my poor eating habits, but feel that I was confused about the role of food and treats and always having to eat until over full to fit in a pudding, food was a source of comfort and pleasure, it didn’t judge or make rules and it made me feel happy. I have over eaten for as long as I can remember, always eating until it was uncomfortable, doesn’t matter how big a portion, I would eat it!

I was planning on writing more, but to be honest, this has made me feel quite vulnerable and emotional! I am rarely honest about my eating with anyone, I accept I am fat and do not pretend that I don’t know why. I understand exactly why, I understand how to lose weight but the brain battle and habits are so entrenched and fixed, it is very hard to move forward. Bear with me, I am hoping that by allowing my brain to fart all this stuff, I can help to get it on my side 🙂

Jodie