Something you’ll find out about me sooner or later is that I suffer with a few mental health problems, so just putting them out there now, I suffer with anxiety, I’ve got OCD tendencies when it comes to food and I also have body image, weight and eating issues.
These problems or challenges as I’ve tried to think of them as, developed at different points in my life; when I was diagnosed with anxiety (several years ago now), I can’t say I was surprised. I had always been quiet as a child and was often forgotten to even be in the room because I never really spoke.
Every single parents evening at school I would be told the exact same thing – “Victoria is getting good grades and always listens to what’s being said but she needs to put her hand up and participate more”. Something that I never understood was that if my grades are up then why did they always want me to put my hand up more? I always did the work and homework and never misbehaved. But hey, I guess they just thought it’d help my confidence. I would turn red in the face just having to say yes to during the register.
Sometimes it felt like it’d never get easier for me to speak up and that’s probably due to the anxiety, I have a deep fear of making a fool of myself, disappointing people and just generally talking to people I don’t know very well.
Here’s the thing with my anxiety, as I’ve gotten older I’ve learnt to hide it (with lots of practice), so it’s not always obvious that I suffer with it. If you saw me with people I’m close to then you’d think there’s nothing wrong with me. If I’m comfortable with you I’ll just say whatever comes into my head. I suppose my anxiety around talking to people has got a little better over time, but I do know that I’m a better listener than when it comes to talking. (I can see I’m starting to rabbit on a bit about this now so I’ll move on..)
When it comes to my OCD tendencies and my eating/body issues, these are much more recent things in my life. You see, this time last year I was a size 18 girl who was going on 13stone+. I absolutely hated myself and how I looked then, and I’d tried all different diets and fads out there to try and lose weight. Long story short – nothing worked for me. I’d always wished that I could love my body and props to all the men and women out there who do love themselves, you’re an inspiration!
So for me I was in denial about how I felt about my image, I’d tell myself that I liked how I looked and I liked my size, but deep down I couldn’t stand to look at myself. Then one day came along and I decided to try the one thing I hadn’t yet done, Slimming World. I started Slimming World in July last year, and since then I’ve lost 3 stone and 2 pounds and am now a size 10. It’s taken loads of hard work and perseverance and I was lucky to have the support from my family, friends and lovely boyfriend. Now, as proud of myself as I am and that I do like how I look more than I did; I still hate seeing how wide my body is in the mirror(somethings never change I guess!).
For me, going to slimming world has had positive and negative affects on my life. Positives are that I now eat a lot healthier, I work out 3-5 times a week, my weight is now healthy for my height (still think bmi is a load of rubbish though), I can share clothes with my mum and sister(big pros for when any of us are off out!) and I’m more confident in public.
The negatives that Slimming World has had on me are something I’m working on getting better. So although I have more of an awareness of what I’m eating – which is good to a certain extent – I now obsess over every little thing I consume, syn counting (a Slimming World method of counting ‘unhealthy food’ – like weight watchers points) has kind of taken over my life to the point where I can’t control myself when eating as all I think of is the amount on syns in food and I start freaking out when I don’t know what’s in food. I now feel guilty for every single bite of food I eat and feel the need to workout compensate for any food eaten, and I still see myself as that size 18 girl. I have an immense fear of putting all of the weight on, and I have to weigh myself every morning and see the number on the scale going down or I’ll beat myself up. Luckily I’ve got great support from my family, friends and boyfriends so I’m slowly getting a better mind-set towards food again.
Even though I’ve got all of these issues now I’ve lost weight, that’s not to say that if I had the choice to do it all over again that I wouldn’t go to slimming world, because I would. The good things for me have certainly outweighed some of the bad in my mind, and I’m trying to think of these bad things as challenges to overcome rather than just bad consequences of weight loss.
After all, I’m a lot healthier physically now than what I was, and that’s good; my mental health will always be a work in progress and that’s ok. I would say though, I feel like weight loss groups should have more of an after care for when people have lost lots of weight to tackle potentially developing things like eating disorders and body image issues. For now, I’ve decided to stop going to slimming world, and instead I’m focusing on staying healthy in my body and working on my mind-set towards food, and treating it like fuel to keep my body running.
I do just want to say that if you’re suffering with anything remotely like an eating disorder or other mental health issues then definitely go to your GP or a mental health service for some help and support, it’s totally worth the initial anxiety of talking about it.
Anyway, enough of my blabbering! That’s it for me about all of those things for now, I’ll maybe do a before and after post in the weeks to come… But we’ll see what happens. Thanks for reading and have lovely rest of the weekend!!