The people have spoken and we are only too happy to respond with our pound of flesh. Several, in fact.
Since starting this blog we’ve been eager to hear what friends think of it and what they’d like to see on it. Before and after pictures of the King weight loss “journey” (sorry) keep cropping up so we’ve delved into the Facebook vaults to brighten up your lunch hour.
The first thing to say is that when we call them fat pics, we realise we were never enormous. I was a size 16 at my biggest, weighing in at 13st5 and Chaz only ever reached the dizzy heights of a size 14 around 11st (I am 5ft7 and she is 5ft5ish).
Growing up, I was always pretty chubby but weight was never a huge issue for Chaz until she hit the famous uni diet with a vengeance.
More important than our more ample sizes was the fact we were classic yo-yo fad dieters, routinely signing our lives and our wages away to WeightWatchers, Slimming World and the like in a desperate bid to reach the promised land of size 10.
We heard people say healthy eating had to become a lifestyle to be truly effective, then we laughed in their faces and continued to starve on diet Coke, cereal bars and tasteless (though fittingly named) zero point soup all week long only to binge ourselves stupid on a steady weekend diet of Pinot Grigio, takeaway pizzas and chocolate.
Every week Monday brought with it bloated carb faces and regret, washed down with the next dose of deprivation and misery. The diet industry saw us coming and milked us like the chubby little cash cows we were.
Exercise always played a part in our lives, but more as a punishment than a route to fitness, strength and happiness. We always ran and went to the gym, but our mentality was firmly in the “if I do this I can eat that” or the “must run this far to cancel out last night’s cals” camps.
After uni I lived with my friends Claire and Nat (shout out to the summer house sultans) and I can very clearly recall days spent subsisting on plates of veg alone so I could have a bottle of wine “for my tea”. In more recent years, I remember forcing myself to run 10 miles purely to negate the chocolate calories clocked up the previous evening. On completing the task, I felt zero pride in my achievement and simply saw it as a hard-won clean slate to commence another day’s enthusiastic gorging and glugging.
I didn’t wake up one day, leap out of bed for a green smoothie and wave a jaunty goodbye to the days of diet Coke-fuelled depression. Several things contributed to the slow transformation for me personally.
When my boyfriend started running with me I was bewildered by his pure enjoyment of it, his approach was the total opposite to mine and I began to see the point wasn’t to turn it into a form of self-flagellation (though that’s not to say his annoyingly upbeat quips on those long, cold slogs through muddy fields aren’t met with a steady stream of abuse by yours truly).
A few months on the 5:2 starting December 2013 really kickstarted the weight loss for me once and for all, and it helped Chaz along the way too for a time. We don’t follow this now – I had to quit when I started training for an ultra last year and needed more fuel for those back-to-backs, but I know there’s a lot of information backing up the benefits in the longer term. I would only ever advise people to do what feels right for them, but certainly for me the 5:2 was a good way to kick things off.
Giving up meat just over a year ago was another huge factor in my general healthiness. Not that the two things are mutually exclusive, more for me was the fact I had to work harder to find recipes, make food interesting and incorporate protein into my diet. This took me down increasingly healthy routes which made me feel much better and continue to lose weight.
I was never someone who thought it possible to be a size 10 or see any figure even a stone’s throw from the 9st region on the scales and I never even set out to be, my goal weight was always 10st7 but eating this way and running five days a week has seen me settle around 9st7 – 9st10 which I view as nothing short of a miracle. Anyone who came last in cross country or has cried in the changing rooms of a plus size shop at the realisation they are in the right place can back me up there.
For both Chaz and me, healthy eating has become something exciting, fun and fascinating for three reasons. The things we now eat, cook and buy all taste seriously good, we feel and look so much healthier for eating this way and – crucially – we are unbelievably greedy like you wouldn’t believe, so we will be talking about food one way or another.
Healthy eating may be fashionable right now and we’ll be the first to admit we love a bandwagon. But for us, it’s been a revelation and one of our healthiest obsessions.
Disclaimer: I may have named this post after a Miley Cyrus track. We used to go to a weekly WeightWatchers meeting and dubbed this the soundtrack to our dieting because we never quite made it to the top of the mountain.