How did I get here?

Looking back I was a normal sized child, a perfectly normal and healthy child. The problem is I didn’t feel that way. I have a distinct memory, I think I was 7 at the time, of looking down at my stomach (you know have children have a bit of a pot belly) and wishing that if only it didn’t stick out further than my chest, then things would be OK. How does a child of 7 learn to think like that?

 When I started high-school I was on the chubby side. Then I got into swimming and I lost the puppy fat. At the time I still felt fat but in retrospect I was slim, I wore size 10 jeans (I think that’s a US size 8). I have no idea how much I actually weighed at this point because I avoided the scales like the plague!

(aged 14 and aged 16)
Then I went to 6th form (ages 16-18). I’d quit swimming at 15 because it was interfering with my studies. And once you get to 6th form P.E isn’t compulsory any more so I wasn’t doing any exercise. At the same time suddenly I had a lot more freedom, I had a job which meant having money and the freedom to buy whatever I fancied; I walked into town most days with friends and bought chocolate or M&S cookies.
(I’m 17 here and in my last year of 6th form)
By the time I started University I was around 180. Then finally having freedom with food I went crazy. I had a 9-5 class schedule and worked 2 evenings a week as well as Saturday and Sunday at a local supermarket so I ate a lot of microwaveable rubbish! My weight crept up. By the time I’d finished my first year my weight was probably around 200lbs.
This is me with one of cousins on a family holiday in 2006 before (somewhere around 200lbs), at the time I was convinved it was just a bad photo (I still think it is) but I was in denial over my weight.

Then I did study-abroad in the US for the 1st term of my 2nd year and I actually lost a little weight and weighed around 190lbs:

Then when I got back my weight crept up again and by the time I left university was around 215lbs

(Getting dressed up for a night out and then at graduation)
Then over the summer I lost a little weight, probably got down to just under 200lbs.
(this is me at the Edinburgh fringe for my 21st with friends)
Then I started PhD number one. And things were OK until my wrist problems started and I had to decide whether to walk away or risk permanent damage to my wrist. I’m stubborn and didn’t want to quit so I stayed much longer than I should have and turned to my old favourite, food, for comfort.  And once again my weight crept up to the 210s.
The above photo was taken at a friend’s wedding in 2010. I met up with a friend whilst up there that had lost a significant amount of weight since graduation with weight watchers and that prompted me to join up and tackle my weight when I got home.
Over the following year I slowly lost weight getting down to 188!
(This is me at my friend’s wedding in 2011, my lowest weight since 18!)
Then things started to go wrong with PhD number 2. At first I was able to maintain for nearly a year. Then things took a nose dive, lots of death, bullying in the work place and other such delightful occurrences and once again I turned to food for comfort (anyone else see a re-occurring theme?). And my weight shot back up until January this year. I had lost a little weight by the time I braved the scale in April weighing in at 219.

These photos, with my brother and my cousin were probably taken just before I reached my heaviest.
Now my weight is on it's way back down and I am determined to break this cycle of loss and gain, this WILL be the last time I have to shift a significant amount of weight!


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