“Just take the photo, quickly before I change my mind”, I said to Himself, as he grappled with his cell phone camera. He has a plethora of reading glasses dotted all over the house but strangely none to hand when the intricacies of reading small print and symbols require the power of a magnifying glass the size of a dinner plate.
And so it was, for the first time in at least five years I allowed a camera to capture my morbidly obese shape, front, back and rear in all its inglorious expansiveness. When we bought this house I was both amazed and horrified to find several full length mirrors dotted all over; every room had a reflective object just mocking my size at every turn. I became magnificently adept at averting my eyes as I quickly sloped past these monstrosities telling it like it was. The camera never lies, nor do mirrors it seems. Like most women who carry extra mounds of flesh, I could just about tolerate blow-drying my hair and applying makeup, never liking the reflection of the bloated face looking back at me from the dressing table mirror. Aversion techniques, if you don’t see it, it doesn’t register.
I steeled myself for what was to come but it was time to really take a good look at what our extended partying, the menopause, depression, giving up smoking and sinking my butt in a chair had done to my body for the last five years. It wasn’t a pretty sight; pretty shocking really, my backside, so big it looked like it should have another pair of legs to support it, my stomach a wheelbarrow to carry it around in, my boobs like two swollen but half depleted water filled balloons with nipples in danger of scraping the floor. But there was method in my madness. And what did I do with the photos? Why, they are on the fridge door to remind me of the reason I am sticking to this diet, to act as a superb guide to my progress and to stop me spending time with my arse hanging out of the fridge looking for something to sabotage my diet with. And proudly displayed alongside are my slimmer of the week certificate and my half, one and two stone weight loss certificates too. I’m stunned at my progress, I’ve lost over 9lbs in the last three weeks – no matter what I tried during the menopause, I’d no sooner lost some weight when I’d stall and dispiritedly watched as it crept back on - okay I lost 21lbs before I started this gig but it was a tough old slog.
My fellow dieters have had their fair share of success too. The support of these women is like a warm bath in scented oils, it is a mutual admiration and support society. How different to when I embarked upon my first diet many years ago. I shared a house with a frenenemy whose sole purpose was to scupper my diet in any way she could. I remembered being shocked that someone could be so underhand. Day after day, I’d come home from work, ravenous and ready to eat the first thing with a pulse that got in my way to the kitchen. Day after day there would be a fine selection of deliciously tempting cream cakes, an array of chocolate bars to send a chocoholic insane with desire and all placed strategically around the kitchen, within easy reach of a starving housemate subsisting on 800 calories a day. But, much to her frustration they remained untouched and as she couldn’t bear the waste, she was forced to gobble these down lest her hard earned money would go straight in the bin. What she didn’t know about me is that cream cakes and chocolate bars and anything sweet turns my stomach, makes me heave and sickens me to the core. I lost the 7lbs I needed to; she gained a size and a half in clothes. The lord works in mysterious ways.
Today my life feels amazing. The exercise boosts my progress and my mood to boot. It helps keep me focused too, I’ve never felt sharper. I wrote over five thousand words of my book at the weekend whilst stopping from time to time to enjoy the green and lush view of my garden from my conservatory where I write; a tranquil oasis that encourages the muse in me. I am calm, centred and excited as to how my life is panning out. I feel incredibly happy and on track to climb Snowdon later in the year. I won’t be shooing Himself away when he whips out the camera to record our progress; I’ll simply smile, pose for all I am worth and know that the camera won’t lie, it’ll simply see me as I will be; a once morbidly obese woman looking slimmer, healthier and with a smile the size of a banana on my face, assuming he remembers his glasses that is.