1: Introduction: My Re-Design For Life – Losing the Weight and Gaining a Life

2: Begun is Half Done: – Taking That First Step Towards Changing Your Life

If someone had said to me a few years ago, you’ll be climbing mountains, walking 90 miles and riding horses someday soon, I’d have laughed at them. Then probably beat myself up about how I wasn’t able to any of those things and then eaten myself into a coma.

Scaling My First Mountain
I walked Ben Wyvis earlier this year, something I would never of dreamed of even trying in the past.

But here I am just a mere 2 years 7 months after starting my journey, doing all those things and making plans for more adventures and new challenges.

Now this may seem like a long time to some, however it’s all relative. I personally feel it’s a drop in the ocean. Particularly when you consider that I have spent in excess of 27 years of not being able to do those things.

The most common question I am asked is “how did you do it?” And “you must feel like a new person”

In answer to the first question (in a nut shell) I would say I have been successful this time by;

  • Attending a well-known slimming group and following a healthy eating plan.
  • Learning how to plan what I’m going to eat in advance and making sensible choices when I’m out and about.
  • Receiving help and support from my friends and family. Mainly my fabulous husband who has been my rock throughout.
  • Challenging myself with personal goals and physical activities.
  • Visualising success and changing the way I see things (including myself).

In answer to the second question, yes, I absolutely do feel like a new person. Just one with lots of memories and experiences of being, as professionals would call me, ‘grossly or morbidly obese’. Living in a world where I didn’t partake in, well, looking back on it pretty much anything fun that my kids and family wanted to do.

A wall Flower at my son's birthday party
Being to self-conscious to take part in my son’s pool party when he was a little boy, I sat on the side watching them all have fun

Looking back I seemed to live in a very circular world of extremes. Dieting and bingeing, excessive exercise fads and not doing anything. Feeling like crap inside while portraying a happy and bubbly person, to feeling utterly desperate and demoralised.

It was an incredibly self-destructive merry-go-round with nothing really merry about it!

So why am I telling you this? Why do a blog? Who really cares about my story of how I, finally, after 30 years of trying, managed to find some strength to lose my weight. And how hard is it really to just stop eating crap and be like everyone else!…

Well my aim is to try to offer some inspiration to others who maybe feel or have experienced some of what I have or who may be on the same type of journey that I am still on. Or perhaps to just share my story with people who don’t know or have no knowledge of what I’m on about who are interested in how others live and experience life. Or maybe you know someone who is going through something similar.

So far I’ve managed to lose 14 stone 4lb and I’m still losing, with at least another stone to go to my target. On average this equates roughly to 1.5lb a week.

This has seen me drop 10 + dress sizes and has opened up a whole new world to me.

One where I ride horses, ride a bicycle (went on a 21.3 mile cycle yesterday), wear skinny jeans with heals and figure hugging dresses.

Riding high
After over 25 years I finally started riding again this year.

One where I can sit with my legs crossed (some of you are thinking, And… but some will know what I mean, I now can’t sit without crossing them just because I can!).

And finally buying clothes wherever I want – off the rack.There is nothing more empowering than walking into a shop and having the freedom to choose what you want to wear – the same as everyone else.

One of the things that motivated me to take that first step in this journey, was seeing my photo at my son’s birthday. I wore a frankly hideous top (the only one that would fit me at the time) and a pair of joggers (same reason), with my hair a mess (why bother to do anything with it?) and at my heaviest I looked and more importantly felt truly dreadful.

The photo that did it!
After seeing this picture of myself at my son’s birthday tea party I decided enough was enough and I was going to change!

Empowerment and freedom are probably the two words I would use most to describe the journey that I’ve taken and am still on.

Empowerment as I feel that I have taken control of my life, particularly around food, which is complicated as I still do have the urge to binge occasionally. However I have found ways to manage and control these more than I did before.

And Freedom as I can do pretty much anything I want now (within the law of course), which I couldn’t before and I now have the freedom to truly choose the activities and things that I would like to do.

Before I lost the weight I would say that I literally lived in a living jail.

One where I would sit on the side lines of life, watching others live and have fun. I watched my kids ride on fairground rides, telling others and myself that ‘I don’t like them’. When in reality, initially I was too afraid the protective bars wouldn’t fasten so I would abstain, then I was just plain too heavy and above the weight restrictions.DSCF0518

This pattern echoed it’s self throughout my teenage years until fairly recently, stopping me from doing many things, I call this withdrawing from life.

This included one of my true passions, horse riding, where I basically became too heavy to ride horses anymore. ‘This was okay,’ I reasoned with myself, ‘because my kids love horse and I can support them to ride’.

However if I was honest with myself, which of course I wasn’t, I really wanted to ride and would have loved to have been riding alongside them. Not looking on from a bench or the side of a ring.

It also got to a point where others had to lead my kids around as I wasn’t even fit to do that anymore…

But again I rationalised that ‘I loved looking after horses’ (which I did) and ‘I wanted to focus on caring for them and perhaps schooling them more’. Which whist was lovely, was a long way off from my real dream and aspirations which I suppressed as they were, as I thought then, ‘just not achievable and unrealistic’.

Eventually I sold our horses partly due to a change in work patterns, which was a big wrench.

This act was a significant one as it was the last gasp of a dream that I had been fostering, of trying to lose weight to ride my lovely 15.1 piebald cob Polo.

Polo & Me
My Beloved Polo

I also withdrew from attending things, going to the cinema was challenging, until they kindly brought in VIP seats, I couldn’t fit into the stalls.

Also going out for a meal was challenging, I had to vet places in advance so I knew that the seats were okay and could withstand my weight and the environment was not too cramped.

I remember going into a café once and not being able to squeeze into the fixed booth, needless to say I was mortified.

I also have a vivid memory of sitting on a plastic chair on holiday and it collapsing under me, the compare who was doing some games for the residence kindly laughed and made some comment on his microphone, to my utter embarrassment. To which I responded by escaping back to the other side of my hotel and not visiting that area again.

I have another memory of being verbally attacked when on holiday in Portugal with my family, the woman, who spoke little English, told me I was ‘hurting her eyes’ as well as blurting out a torrent of abuse in her language, which was rebuked kindly by some passers-by who obviously understood her.

Whilst I laughed off this experience, which was bizarre in the extreme, as nonsense. I was devastated on the inside and it affected what I wore and where I went for a long time afterwards.

Experiences like this meant that my world shrank. Why would you put yourself through the pain and uncertainty of going to places you didn’t know? With people who didn’t know you and who basically judged you in a not very discreet fashion for being overweight?

This feeling was compounded over time and shaped the person that I became. A ‘clinically, morbidly obese’ deeply unhappy woman, who had internally withdrawn from life, but externally was the life and soul of the party.

My Son's 21st Birthday Party
My son’s 21st birthday party – I remember my limited wardrobe and while I was outwardly smiling I was inwardly unhappy with the way I looked.

So there is small glimpse into my complex world of being overweight and losing weight and in doing so beginning to find myself again.

I could go on and on about the different negative experiences I’ve had over the years, but I’m not going to as my main focus these days is the vast amounts of positive experiences and opportunities I’ve had and know are still to come.

I feel that I have been lost for over two 3rds of my life. Buried underneath the burden of literally hundreds of pounds (not the monetary variety) and I am now slowly being excavated. Revealing some of my hidden treasures/talents, interests, particularly with the way I look and feel. Which are the things that I had long forgotten about. Almost like the forgotten soul’s, harboured in one of the many long-lost cairns that are frequently unearthed in this country.

I’m not special. I have no super powers, wealth or great intelligence I could impart on the world. I’m just an ordinary person, with a family and a job and the same stuff that the majority of people have.

I’m just someone who has lost weight and have got/am getting my life back and if I can do it maybe you can too…

I plan to use this blog as a way of sharing my experiences and stories, both good and bad in my journey back to me – my true self.

I hope that my stories and experiences inspire, motivate or enlighten you. Or perhaps offer you some small comfort, in that you’re not alone and others have successfully travelled this road.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. If you have experienced something similar to anything that I have shared, please do send me a comment as I would love to hear about your journey/story too.

Similarly please let me know if there are any specific related topics that you would like me to write about and share in future posts.

A new woman
Feeling fabulous and confident before a concert this year

Much love

Marie x

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2: Begun is Half Done: – Taking That First Step Towards Changing Your Life

25 thoughts on “1: Introduction: My Re-Design For Life – Losing the Weight and Gaining a Life

  1. Katherine October 8, 2017 / 6:05 pm

    Hi Marie
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and writing this blog. I relate to so much of what you have said and experienced. This week is the first week of me starting slimming world. I started Monday but by the weekend have gone of it despite desperately wanting to succeed at it. Tomorrow is my first weigh in day and I will start again your blog gas made me determined to succeed. I am sure I can do it ! Take care I look forward to heRing more love Katherine

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marie McIlwraith October 8, 2017 / 9:28 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment Katherine. I’m really glad you found my blog interesting and I hope that it does give you a boost this week and even though you’ve had a wobble over the weekend, the fact that you’re going to group to Monday is a great step in the right direction to getting where you want to be. Let me know how you get on, my day is a Tuesday so I’ll post an update then. Good luck xx

      Like

  2. Sheena October 8, 2017 / 6:53 pm

    I love your blog Marie, very inspiring! I have followed your progress on Facebook and you look fantastic and I love all the adventures you are getting up to now! Thank you so much for sharing your journey, I think it’s time I started mine now!! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marie McIlwraith October 8, 2017 / 9:32 pm

      Hi Sheena thanks for your comment. I’m glad you find my adventures interesting and has inspired you in some way. As you know I’m always looking to push myself and try new things so you’ll no doubt see some more of these 🙂 Would be lovely to hear how you get on with your journey, should you decide to start one. xx

      Like

  3. Emma October 8, 2017 / 8:08 pm

    Marie. I remember you starting your weight loss journey at ‘fat club’ and I feel privileged to have seen you literally disappear in front of our eyes. You are a true inspiration; focused, motivated, tenacious, and always with a smile and a kind word for others. I am delighted you have got your life back and I look forward to hearing about all your new adventures. Good luck with the blog!! 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marie McIlwraith October 8, 2017 / 9:34 pm

      Thanks Emma, you’ve been a huge motivation in my journey and the ‘fat club’ has been my glue, so thank you for all your support over the years xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Susan October 9, 2017 / 5:37 pm

    What a star …..the journey has definitely been worth it when we see how active and healthy you are now

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marie McIlwraith October 9, 2017 / 4:52 pm

      Thanks Susan, it most certainly has and I’ve loved taking up dancing – went to ballroom last night and have been moved up to the improves group 😁

      Like

  5. Doctor Jonathan October 11, 2017 / 1:42 pm

    First, congratulations on your success. Have you reached your desired health status/weight? If so, what steps have you taken to MAINTAIN a healthier self at a healthier weight? Was a key part of your equation determining an emotional issue(s) preventing you from achieving long term results?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marie McIlwraith October 13, 2017 / 3:46 pm

      Thanks for your comments and questions Doctor Jonathan. I haven’t quite reached my target yet, but I’m very close now. So far my focus has been very much about learning new habits and strategies, as well as losing weight, which will hopefully help me to maintain my new weight and lifestyle once I get there. However I am very much aware that in many ways this will be where the hard work starts as I could not just slide back into the old unhealthy habits from the past, or i would end up back to square one. Your correct in thinking that self reflection and identifying past behaviors and triggers has very much been part of this journey and is one of a number of reasons why I have been successful this time. I’ll cover this in greater detail in future posts. Thanks again for reading my post and for you questions. Marie x

      Liked by 1 person

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