I have legitimately been trying to lose weight since I finished high school, it started when I saw my formal photos and the image of myself in my head didn’t match what I was seeing. I have always been overweight, I was really tall in primary school and always a little bigger than everyone else. I remember as a six year old starting dancing and having to wear a leotard and I was thankful I wore a green sash around my tummy as I felt like that distracted the lack of flatness. I always wore a ‘special’ costume that was different to everyone else’s because most costumes showed tummy and I was very self conscience of mine. The thing is though as a teenager, I thought I was fat when I was wearing size 12 and 14 when all of my friends were in 8s and 10s, my best friends were always the tiniest little things but boy did I have a surprise coming. You know that meme that says “man I wish I was the size now that I was when I first thought I was fat” that’s exactly how I feel.
I had always been an eater- as a child I remember convincing my Grandma to let me have four pieces of toast lathered with butter but the rapid weight gain started when I started dating a boy. I would go and stay at his place for the weekend, there was never food in my house because we were pretty poor but when I went to his there was just so much food! I remember us making a cup of tea and finishing a packet of Milk Arrowroot biscuits together. He used to make me sausages for lunch- like eight of them and we used to regularly drink this milk shake thing that was milk, milo, chocolate ice cream and these chocolate flakes on top. Not only were we eating so much, we were also not doing any activity. We would go to the video shop- hire a number of movies and watch them for the entire weekend. There were meals between meals of chips from the fish and chip store, every Monday at dancing I would get chicken and chips and then eat dinner at home afterwards. My sister and I were very busy with lots of extra curricular things and during eisteddfod time we would be a McDonald’s pretty much every night. Life was just so busy so there wasn’t time for home cooked meals. I distinctly remember going to put on my size fourteen skirts that had fit me just the week before and not being able to get them past my thighs. I was a bit concerned but I had no idea just how serious the situation was.
There are mental things that go along with this as well, I was a very depressed teenager and I have on and off been a very depressed adult. Eating has always helped with that but I know the old “I eat because I am fat but I am fat because I eat” cycle very well. The eating with my teenage boyfriend brought me happiness, my home life was pretty rough with an abusive and very mentally unwell father so I escaped home, hung out with my boyfriend, ate and temporarily wasn’t depressed. There was also the constant hounding from my father about the fact that I was fat- note to fathers: telling your children they are fat, will NOT help them lose weight, especially when you’re not doing anything to promote healthy eating or family activity. Also when your daughter says “You’re lucky I don’t have an eating disorder” and you reply with “Not much chance of that.” or say things like “I am surprised someone your size feels the cold so much.” Also doesn’t help. But enough of that shit.
So 17 year old Caitlin gets her formal photos back, they don’t quite look the way she expected. I just couldn’t believe it!! Why had no one sat me down and really explained how much I had gained??? It wasn’t their fault though, I would never have believed it. So I finally weighed myself- I weighed 98 kilograms at seventeen years old!! My mum and I then tried on and off and fairly unsuccessfully to lose weight but back then there wasn’t the wealth of info there is these days. I lost a bit but nothing to write home about.
The next major turning point came again from seeing photos, this time from my 21st. I didn’t look twenty-one, I looked like a large 35 year old. This time I swore I would fix it. I was living out of home by then but mum and I joined weight watchers and I had finally started to cook for myself. I had some awesome success with weight watchers, I lost 15 kilos and it is great as a starting point. It taught us a lot of stuff we didn’t know like portion control and how to substitute food. To be honest though- since learning more and getting into gym and fitness more than ever, I just found that I didn’t agree with some of the things they do- this is absolutely not me saying weight watchers is bad because it absolutely is not, I just felt like it wasn’t the right fit for me and my goals anymore.
So I lost 15 kilos, bought a pair of size fourteen skinny jeans and was the skinniest I have ever been but then I moved to London and went travelling. Now I absolutely do not regret a single calorie I put on overseas- it was all so worth it. I had this attitude of “I am only here once and I am on holiday” even though this ‘holiday’ was a year long but I ate and drank everything I wanted to. I came home 8 kilos heavier. Not too bad considering I had a friend who was there for two years and put on twenty kilos. I came home, lost most of that again and then I broke up with my boyfriend of six years.
I moved cities, I changed jobs, I started to enjoy my life in Brisbane and once I started making money, I loved going out and eating and drinking.Then I got a breast reduction and had a terrible recovery. And then I went to America for two months, met a boy and finally went back to the gym for the first time in a bout a year and a half and I was back to 95 kilos- nearly my heaviest.
That brings me to now, I can definitely attribute getting back into gym to my now partner. He has lost an incredible 20kgs and loves body building and I knew I couldn’t just sit at home being fat and lazy while he went out and gymmed. I know that even though he first met me at my near heaviest and still liked me, I want to feel better about myself and try again. Every other time I have lost weight I have done it just by doing cardio and gym was such a chore that I did not enjoy. This time though, my partner has shown me how to lift weights and I love it so much more. Sure I am not losing weight as quickly as I have in the past but I really like it.
I recently hit a snag when I broke my ankle, it came at the worst time, just when I was finally starting to make progress but this time I did something different that I didn’t do in the past. I kept going- I didn’t let the setback or change to circumstances undo all my hard work. Even at the end of last year after finally doing really well and losing about 6kgs, I got distracted by the stress of studying and by the time christmas was over I had gained it all back. This time however, I tried as hard as I possibly could to eat as well as possible and I didn’t stop going to the gym. I broke my ankle on a Friday and on the Sunday I crutched my way into a thankfully empty gym and did a shoulder work out. The next day I went when it was busy and I was so worried people would think I was an idiot but the trainers were so supportive and other members were supportive as well, one guy even said I was the most dedicated person there (I am not sure that’s true though). Now my ankle is getting better and I am able to slowly use the exercise bike and this week I did my first cardio since the injury a month ago. I don’t have much of an idea how I am going weight wise and I don’t think I have lost anything but the upper body stuff I had to stick to has definitely provided some results and I don’t feel like I have gained any weight. This year for my birthday I am going to wear a strapless dress- something I don’t think I have ever done. I am legitimately proud of myself for not letting this set back make me have to start again and I think this shows I am well on my way to this being how I live my life. I think that this shows how committed I am to being the healthiest I possibly can. My goal is to be a powerlifter but I want to be a small one so I am wanting to lose about 20kg first.
So that’s my incredibly long winded (and perhaps a little heavy in subject matter at times) struggle with weight loss, if you have made it reading this far- good work, I hope you enjoyed it. This gives a little insight into why when I see people who lose weight quickly and seemingly easily and who think they have found the magic recipe to weight loss, while I am genuinely happy for them there is a part of me that also hurts and sometimes gets frustrated. I have cried about my weight and weight loss more times than I can count and I know I shouldn’t compare my success to that of others but I do, and it makes me think “Why not me, why am I not good enough?” But it will be me and one day I won’t even gain it all back and I will just be healthy and happy for life.