Since 2017 I have captured 20,889 photos in my camera roll. Clearly, I enjoy snapping away, capturing anything and everything. Moments to take away and reminisce over later. I love the yearly memories that pop up. Amongst the strategically angled selfies, far too many pictures of Matt (I see why he gets annoyed), and of course my beautiful Charlie I could only find 21 Full body shots of myself.
Clearly, I do not enjoy snapping that. Here they are, yes it is all the same person. And yes, i’m different.
One thing that was very apparent whilst scrolling through my pictures is I have very few of me when I have been on the larger size. Heaps of me when I am losing or have lost a significant amount of weight – little bit vain really.
Weight. Let’s talk about it. More specifically my weight.
I’ve always had a relationship with food. Not necessarily with ‘good’ food or ‘bad’ food – I don’t discriminate. But a relationship none the less.
Like any other relationship it’s come with it’s ups and its downs. Fights, fun, adventure. And like any relationship it requires constant attention, work, and consistency.
We all know our body needs fuel. I recently watched a doco about 30+ water day fasts – nope, not for me, my tank would not get me very far. But food is so much more than a life necessity.
If you become complacent, your fuel choices become sloppy; your body and mind suffer, and the downward spiral continues (or upwards if we’re looking at the number on the scale), then you find comfort in the very thing that has made you feel this way in the first instance as it’s familiar, it’s safe. You chose to ignore the red flags. The long-term damage it is doing.
Everything you do in life requires a choice. What television series you chose to binge (currently loving Yellowstone – Beth, my god what a woman), what outfit you put on in the morning, the friends you choose to associate with, picking up or not picking up dog poo (I know I bring this up far too often – but this is a thing). Often you choose familiar – Trending series, t-shirt and jeans (the stretchy kind) and no poo. It’s easy, it’s what you know and there isn’t a sniff of the word hard. What you fuel yourself with is also a choice.
Every relationship is different, food is no exception to this. Some like a little spice, others prefer sweet, and apparently some rely solely on fluid for lengthened periods of time. Sometimes it can take a little bit of experimenting to find what you do or do not like. That’s ok. Your body will respond accordingly. Just pay attention to it.
For many people, it is about finding the right balance. Unfortunately (or fortunately because I lack self-control) I am more restricted on my love choices.
My relationship with food started at a very young age, too young to even understand where it began. So don’t psychoanalyse me – I had a good childhood, well rounded meals, you ate when you were hungry, you stopped when you were full and repeat. Sure, we had treats, my parents were cool, but never in excess. Okay maybe sometimes in excess but there’s only one row of chocolate left, and I must have it before someone else gobbles it. I do know I’ve always loved it. I find comfort in food.
My family is tall. Myself included. 185cm to be precise, a smidge over 6 foot. Since the age of 14. So, I have always stood out, anything I did people noticed – you couldn’t miss me. “You’re tall” No shit. “Do you play Basketball?” No, do I look like I could manoeuvre around a court? “I have a tall friend; they must be about your height” Cool – bet they are just as awesome. “How’s the weather up there?” Fan-fucking-tastic. It always blows my mind how many people like to tell you that you are tall? Like you didn’t know? How would I have missed that? But thank you, I am now reassured that I am, in fact, tall.
As a teenager I always just wanted to fit in. I was a tom boy, I was awkward, I didn’t know how to be comfortable in my own skin.
My genes, I so fortunately inherited, have also given me the ability to sniff cheeseburgers and gain 5kgs so that’s never really helped my case. Watching my brother down a mac attack combo and then moan his arms were too thin, left me intensely jealous.
So now I am very tall and overweight – cool.
I was very lucky to be never really bullied in high school. Not to the extent some kids are. The odd fat joke here and there and ‘Big Bird’ was thrown around often but nothing to leave me with horrific scaring. No one wanted to date me, however. Anytime I got close to any sign of a relationship their mates would tease them for dating the ‘big’ girl. I never liked being the joke. Not when it was about the way I looked. I became very conscious of people being embarrassed by associating with me, again I was never horrifically bullied and potentially my own self-esteem levels helped create this more in my mind than in actual reality, but none the less – your feelings are your feelings. Then the arguments. Whether they were with siblings, friends, acquaintances or just some random person that pushed in front of you in a queue. Any form of heated discussion always ended in some remark about my size. Typing this, maybe this is where I get my avoidance of confrontation from?
I wasn’t lazy as a kid. It’s not that I wasn’t active or didn’t enjoy sports. I just avoided anything that could result in embarrassing myself, I never wanted to look like a fool. I remember one instance in High School when my mum spoke to my PE teacher asking if I could skip the warmup and just do the activity. I would make up any excuse to get out of PE, because of the warmup, which was usually a lap of the school field. The thought of being last and everyone waiting and watching as I huffed and puffed my way back made me sick to my stomach. Don’t even get me started on cross countries. My PE teacher at the time agreed to this and I, for the first time, enjoyed PE.
I’ve always cared what people have thought of me and needed reassurance that I am worthy of my place in society. I have spent many years trying to mould myself into what, I believe, other people wanted me to be. It’s exhausting. I ended up in all sorts of situations I never wanted to be in, and it got me no further ahead with finding my place in the world. I was afraid to stand up for myself, in what I believed in. I was scared it would be retaliated with a judgement on my appearance and my self esteem was so low I couldn’t bare another hit. I looked for love in all the wrong places, I turned to alcohol, and in turn did stupid things. And food. Food was my friend. It was a consistent in my life. Sadly, I found comfort in it. But just like any one night stand it’s only good at the time until you wake the next morning, hungover and wanting to chew your arm off.
Being funny, well attempting to be. Such a stereotype. The Funny Fat friend. But I understand it. If people’s initial perception on you is based on your appearance – at 16 I was fucked. So, you make them laugh. You make jokes about your size before anyone else gets a chance (This usually makes people uncomfortable – I don’t recommend it). You just feel if you get in first then there will be no damage done. Self-preservation at its finest. Unfortunately, this does end in people’s perception being that you are comfortable in your skin and it’s okay for them to joke about it too. It’s screwed up but it is not okay.
I have immense respect for the (socially deemed) overweight women that have such body confidence. That are out there rocking whatever the fuck they want when ever they fuck they want. I know this is how all of us chunky dunkers should feel, but it’s hard. Sometimes too much damage is done. I wish I was that woman. I am not.
Along with the support it’s given me in my ‘woe is me’ moments there’s also the social aspect of food – who doesn’t enjoy a catch up with friends or family over a delicious meal and a wine? Christmas, so much about food. We all know the Christmas day food coma. The first dates – Anything alcoholic to calm the nerves and a meticulously thought-out menu (no pasta, ribs, tacos, or any other meal that will end up more on your mouth than in it) to impress your potential suitor. Stop in for a wine, I’ll pick up a cheese platter. Hot day let’s get an ice cream. Delicious food is literally every turn you take.
Finally, after the 20 years lead up, my ever-evolving relationship with food changed. A medical scare jolted me in to exploring a whole new form of nourishment I didn’t even know existed.
Losing weight is hard as fuck, at first.
I’m going to say Keto. I’m sure some of you straight away think ‘fad’ and the rest will think ‘religion’.
For me it was the later.
In 2018, I was referred to a specialist physician, that explained to me why my body wasn’t working for me. The outcome was he talked about this low carb diet that avoided all the foods my body wasn’t coping with. He gave me six weeks on this diet combined with 16:8 intermittent fasting that would hopefully turn my health around, and if achieving a good result, I would need to continue this way of eating until the issue was rectified. The alternative was not very pleasant.
Now I’m not usually very competitive and am quite happy enjoying the experience. I also have a fond attachment to this world. So, I mustered up every Monopoly, goal scoring, award winning ounce of competitiveness I had and nailed it. He was happy, I smashed it out of the park.
4 months later I had lost 36kgs.
Some pics below, I’m sure you can work out which is before and which is after.
Aside from my new physical lease on life, it was the unknown factors of winning I wasn’t prepared for. I wasn’t tired all the time, I was smashing work, I was happy, I was on track. Thanks to this Doctor, the Ketogenic Diet and Intermittent fasting. I was on top of the world.
I managed to keep the weight off for a couple of years. The keto diet became the only way of eating for me. What had always been my salvation had become nothing more to me than fuel. I didn’t even think about who ate the last row of chocolate.
December 2019, 3 months after I met Matt, I was told I was going to lose all my teeth. This was nothing to do with the diet I was on it was those grand genes again. Mortifying just beginning a new relationship. In hindsight it was cool, and I love my teeth, but yuck. Having 28 teeth pulled out while you’re awake is less than ideal. They don’t prepare you for that much blood. The first few months were hard while adjusted to my new pearly whites. They looked great but I did not know how to use them. I couldn’t eat anything hard, and it was becoming very difficult living off coconut yoghurt (I still can’t really eat it). I finally resorted to mashed potatoes and packet pastas – potentially the worst foods you could eat, but I was limited with choice. So many carbs.
To my surprise I didn’t gain weight. Not at first. I was in a new relationship and loving every moment of it. As time went on it became too difficult to get back to my old, healthy, eating habits. Then we moved in together and I was preparing meals for two half the time and meals for five the other half. I attempted to get back on the keto bandwagon again, a few times, but never got very far. At the time, juggling everything was hard and I did not put myself first.
Just like an unwanted Christmas gift (vacuum cleaner springs to mind mum) the weight came back. It took awhile but there she was in all her glory. It’s weird how you seem to look in the mirror one day and think ‘what the fuck happened?’. I guess you are aware, maybe you’re in denial? Who knows. But she was back, and she was not slowing down.
No surprises (yet funnily enough I was surprised) I ended up back with the same health problem. This time I would have to do this diet for the rest of my life. My body, although big boned, was not made for living large. I knew what to do and surprisingly it was very easy to fall back in to my old ‘healthy’ habits. No longer a diet. Now a lifestyle. I had a choice here too but this was the only one with a good outcome.
I’m 4 months in again and 15kgs down and starting to recognise all those benefits I hadn’t realised I even missed. I am very aware that this is a forever journey, and I am honestly excited about where the future leads. Pulling out packed away clothes, covered in dust, waiting on the ever so common “No I won’t throw it out, I’ll fit that again one day”. It’s that day. It actually comes. If you work for it.
We live in a faced paced world; we are all aware of that. It’s a competitive world, often we take on more than we should. Social media and the perception of ideal lifestyles lead us to believe we can do it all. Be amazing parents, partners, employees – all at once. Our home should be spotless, our bodies without flaw, our hair always perfect. Despite the fact there are only 24 hours in a day.
Generally, the first thing that goes by the wayside, amongst the chaos, is looking after ourselves.
Sometimes you need a little nudge. A health scare will do it, but I don’t necessarily recommend it. Don’t leave it too late. It’s about mindset. It’s about how much you want it. I’m not only talking about food. You save for a house, you work hard for a promotion, you study for an exam – You invest in yourself daily in more ways than you realise. Your health is a priority. Make time, stop making excuses, get your shit together and invest in yourself. The pay off will be your greatest yet.
I enjoy having you here on this journey, and I will follow this with a lot more info on my journey, the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting, in a lot less words I promise. I think that’s enough for today.
Ciao for now
One response to “dating food.”
I just love your writing Kris xx