I once watched a program (Thirty Something, 1980s and 90s) where four friends each listed how they saw themselves. You know: Mother, wife, teacher, that kind of thing. I don’t know why it has stayed with me but occasionally, I will formulate my own little list, and it never starts Mother, wife… even though I am both of those things.
Mine would begin like this: Buddhist, writer and blogger, fat person, action taker. As you see, number 3 is Fat Person. Throughout my life I have let weight affect many things, such as: my choice of clothing, my sense of self, my desire to take up physical activities in the presence of others.
On 9th June 2021, I tipped the scales at 15st 11lb (210lb, a little over 100 kilos). I am admitting this here because I am about to embark on a voyage, an attempt to work out why I, who eat a mainly healthy diet and am active, find it so hard to control my weight.
There are two main triggers to this undertaking.
The first is my Buddhist practice. Through chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, I have managed to overcome many negative tendencies, but if my attitude to food crops up in a session, I have avoided facing it. Now, my Buddhahood will no longer let me escape this blight on my life. I recognise that I must understand my illogical tendency to eat and drink too much and, increasingly, be unable to lose the weight. But I did not know where to start, until one evening, while talking myself out of eating an unnecessary snack, I found myself, almost physically, holding my craving in one hand and studying it. It was suddenly clear that this urge to eat need not be connected to my pleasure centres. I could manage it. This was a revelation.
The second trigger was a health scare. I thought I had breast cancer – was convinced of it. Reading the things that exacerbate cancer (not that I didn’t already know but the time must have been right), weight and alcohol intake were high on the list. I took this scare to be the Universe’s prompt that I should get my act together.
Here is my plan. I will research the science and evidence, and:
- Look at my childhood – the eating and drinking and lifestyle habits I learned at home.
- Examine the diets and exercise regimes I have tried and how successful they were.
- Research the science of exercise, water intake and diet and perhaps debunk some of it or put it into perspective.
- Find out more about the impact of artificial sweeteners on the body.
- Discover why some people can eat more than I and remain skinny.
- Decide why I lose weight so slowly.
By doing this, I hope to discover an eating regime and mindset that will make me healthy and slim for the rest of my life. There are so many so-called experts quoting so-called science with such confidence, it is easy to be taken in. Let’s face it, the diet and exercise industry is lucrative. Even now I am following two schemes, one aimed at women’s hormones: Natural Health Sherpa, and another at the psychology of eating: Noom. I have a nasty suspicion there is some value in both, but neither can tell the whole story. I am persevering with them and will keep you posted.
It is my hope that this series might help other, older women to understand their bodies. I will also record a version of these articles on YouTube.
Fat Girl Fat 2 coming very soon.