I am obese.
No, you didn’t read that wrong. I have had a weight problem since I hit puberty. All the hormones, all the grief over losing my dad. The two hit me like a tonne of bricks (literally) and I started gaining so much weight that, pretty soon, I ballooned to a size 14 at age 13.
I’ve been on all the diets under the sun. At 15 I was put on a (now proved to be fake) diet created by The British Heart Foundation, which included pretty much force-feeding me a spoon of peanut butter every day (not in a physical sense, but I hate peanut butter unless it’s in a chocolate biscuit). When that didn’t work, at 17, I was taken (by my mum) to see a ‘doctor’ who prescribed amphetamines. In the 1990s this was shady but still legal. I lost weight. I lost LOTS of weight. Did it stay off? Clearly not. Less than a year after successfully going down to less than 7 and a half stone I was back up to 16 stone and struggling again.
I have been overweight for what feels like my whole life. I have struggled to lose it and occasionally managed more than a few stone (at one point that ‘few’ was 12), but I have a self-sabotage chip and I gain it all back and then some, so much quicker than I can lose it.
A few years ago (just before a milestone birthday) I lost a lot of weight. I took Orlistat to kickstart the eating plan, then went on a low carb no fat diet. It worked…until it didn’t. I ended up in the hospital a year later with the after-effects of the successful weight loss in the form of gallbladder disease. Agonising, weight causing, nausea-inducing, gall-stones that caused pain for 10 months before they were removed.
After the gallbladder incident, I dropped into a mental funk which meant I was given yet another medication (to add to the four I was already on – none of which are kind to weight loss anyway). This new med caused so much weight gain that I was battling fat-feeling depression as well as the nervous breakdown induced sort.
This year I was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2. Yep, the one that everyone blames on weight. Well, yes, I am overweight. However, I eat less than 1000 calories a day, walk 3 miles a day and STILL I can’t lose the weight. I was referred to a weight loss programme by my GP and, just yesterday, was told that due to my mental health issues I no longer qualify for their help with losing weight.
I am, admittedly, angry…and confused. Apparently, obesity is an issue that the health service are trying to resolve (almost desperately if you believe what the newspapers are throwing down), yet the only service that there is to help with weight loss won’t help if you have mental health issues…That’s fine. Until you get to the funny side of things and discover that if you have eating/food issues, the mental health services won’t help you either.
It’s a catch-22 situation. I have a history of eating disorder (if you want to lose weight, never for one minute think that being bulimic helps, it truly doesn’t) so the lines to mental health services to help me get back on the eating programme are totally blocked.
I have been on every diet you can think of: weight watchers, slimming world, lighter life, orlistat, south beach, obsessive exercise (I exercised 7 days a week for 2.5 hours a day). Yet here I am, in my mid-somethings, still desperate and determined to lose weight and still struggling.
I got a new med a few weeks ago, because my sugar levels are not proving easy to control, and guess what…side effects “rapid weight gain”. Seriously, you cannot make this stuff up.
Is anyone else out there struggling, finding all ways to help are being effectively blocked by people who think they know you better? Has anyone else managed successfully on their own LONG term when they struggle to a) eat b) afford the good stuff c) take medications that cause weight gain d) hate looking at themselves in the mirror?
I am trying to see the positives here, obviously, that wasn’t the route I was meant to take (or some such message), but every single time I think that I am taking a few steps forward I get a door slammed, pretty solidly, in my face. It’s getting rather tiresome.