A humourous title it may be, but the reason behind setting up this blog is serious business. I invite you to join me on a long hard mission to lose weight, get fit and get pregnant! I apologise in advance for any insane ramblings, tears and tantrums that may occur along the way...

Saturday, 31 December 2011

#2 - Waving Goodbye to 2011

Current mood: Grumpy

Reason: Really not sure. It could be that the hubby is annoying me. But then that MAY be a result of me looking for something or someone to blame for my grumpiness.

So the REAL reason?

I think that today I am coming to terms with the mammoth task ahead of me. I am waving goodbye to one life (albeit not a great one) and saying hello to a new one. It's a life I grew accustomed to throughout 2010 and was really happy with. I was focused and driven. Nothing was going to stop me from losing a massive amount of weight. If there were goodies in the staffroom, I made sure I sat far away from them with my little box of grapes. If there was junk in the classroom, or we made food with the children, I refused it.

Everyone around me admired my drive and determination. I've never had great willpower so a few people did not expect me to stick to the Slimming World regime so strictly. But I did.

In just 6 months I lost an amazing 4.5 stone. This was without an exercise regime. This was simply a result of eating well and making good food choices. I looked much better, I felt much better. I had no backache and was able to walk for miles without the pain that had plagued my lower back for years. I dropped from a size 28 jeans down to a 22. Still very much plus sized but for me? It was a wonderful achievement.

So, what happened to put me back to a size 28 jeans?

I partly blame the 6 weeks summer holidays from work in summer 2010. But mostly? I blame myself. I used it as an excuse to relax the tight reigns I had on myself. The lack of structure to my days, eating out, failure to keep my online tracker up to date...all contributed to my downfall. I still attended my Slimming World meetings until February 2011.

We moved at the end of February this year and I had to stop attending the group as it was too far for me to get to. I did not rejoin a local group until the summer of 2011. However. by then most of the damage was done. I had gained back about 2/3 of the weight I had lost and motivation was gone. I never regained it and slipped back into my old ways.

I am a creature of habit and do not adapt well to change, hence the grumpiness at accepting today that tomorrow is a fresh start. I hope that once I get going and find the drive my attitude will change and I will be happy with my new lifestyle.

Anything has got to be better than being 31, obese, childless, unable to conceive and full of back pains and joint aches eh?

I said yesterday that I would give you a greater insight to the problems my obesity has given me. Of course there are the physical and mental problems that go hand in hand with looking the way I do. My esteem is rock bottom, my physical health is impaired. I feel old. My mobility is severely reduced. I was once fit and supple...now? Not so much.

I have to deal with the looks, smirks and comments from absolute strangers who think the have a right to be cruel to the heffer. The last time I ventured our for a proper night out I was ridiculed by no less than 5 separate gangs of people. I felt uncomfortable and just wanted to go home and cry. I am out for NYE tonight and already dreading it on so many levels - What will I wear? Will I look stupid? (I may post a picture later of my outfit and you can leave a comment and tell me how I look.) How many people are going to laugh at me? Will I relax enough to just enjoy myself? The list of worries is endless.

There are those loving family members who try to be tactful about my weight but fail miserably and make me feel worse.

Those are the obvious affects my weight has on me. One effect that may be obvious to some but not to all is the affect it has had on my fertility. It is well documented that being severely underweight can affect a woman's menstrual cycles, to the point that they just stop. However this too is true for severely OVERWEIGHT people, although there is not as much information published to back up this fact.

My cycles started when I had just turned 11. They were on the dot, regular every single month until the age of 24. I knew exactly which date I would come on and at what time of day too. They were heavy flow with all the usual symptoms...spots, mood swings, sore breasts, bloating They drained me to the point I would be quite pale some months.

Then at the age of 24, I missed a period. My husband and I (at that point we were just engaged) thought that maybe I could be pregnant as I never missed a cycle. The test came up negative and I was more than a little disappointed. It wouldn't have been a great time to have a child as I was in the middle of a teacher training programme (which I later dropped out of anyway) BUT I knew I was desperate to have a child.

Another month went by and still no period. This was odd. A few months later I went to the GP about this problem and was assured that nothing was wrong and that a woman in her mid 20s often went through some upheaval with her cycle and that it would settle and return soon enough. I went away unconvinced but put my trust in her.

About 9 months after my cycles stopped I finally had a period. However, this was not to be the end of the problems. Again I went months before my next period. Eventually the GP arranged for me to have some investigative blood tests. All came back normal so again I was assured that there was nothing sinister. All the same, they sent me for an ultrasound to rule out PCOS. Thankfully no PCOS was found.

Then the doctors just left me to get on with it. Every time I went back to them with these worries that I had not regulated and the gap between periods was increasing they just told me to lose weight. As usual, blaming the weight for any health problems a fat person may be experiencing. I swear I could go to them with earache and they would blame the weight if they could!

So I have spent from the age of 24-31 feeling less and less like a woman.

The blood tests have been repeated a few times and as recently as this year I was again scanned to check my ovaries (which I have to add were described as healthy looking with no PCOS). This year the latest GP I saw explained exactly why the weight may be affecting my fertility. My latest bloods showed that my oestrogen level was very slightly raised beyond normal. She explained that in cases like mine, the excess oestrogen fools the body into thinking it is pregnant therefore the ovaries effectively shut down, preventing more eggs being released. Hence no periods. Makes sense doesn't it?

So what's the solution?

Yes, you guessed it. LOSE WEIGHT FATTY!

Only it is not easy. As I mentioned yesterday I am a very emotional eater. When I am depressed I eat junk. Sadly I have been feeling down about trying and failing to get pregnant that I have allowed myself to wallow in this misery and eaten my way back to a terrible state. I have masked my feelings by eating...and eating...and eating.

We have been trying to conceive officially for 2.5 years now (but unofficially since our little glimmer of hope back in 2004 with that first "missed" period) against all the odds. I have tracked my incredibly long cycles on the Fertility Friend website, I have used ovulation prediction kits (OPKs) tested for pregnancy too many times to count I have taken agnus castus, soy isoflavones, folic acid, vitamin B complexes. You name it I have tried it.

I should add that at present, I haven't had a natural period for well over a year. In September this year I had my first period in a year, brought on with a course of norethisterone (progesterone tablets). I was told that it may not kickstart my cycles but would bring on a period. It worked a treat and I had a normal looking period but again since then...ZILCH. So had I not had that course of norethisterone this would be my 15th month without a period.

The only speck of hope I have had over the last few years is when I lost the 4.5 stone in 2010. For about 6 months, every 28-35 days I was seeing small traces of potential cycle activity. I would have a small amount of spotting, sometimes not even that but definite traces of something TRYING to happen. I guess this backs up the GP theory that I need to lose weight in order for my body to start working again.

So this is why I have set up this blog. I need to document my minor and major achievements over the coming weeks, months, or even years. I need some record to prove to myself that losing weight will only improve my life. It will improve my mobility my self esteem, my appearance and most importantly, my fertility.

Sorry, I am rambling again. I promise not every entry will be this long. This if you believe me, is only the short version of the events of recent years too. It has been a long tough road.

So today is the last day to enjoy a pig out. I intend to enjoy a few drinks tonight and one last takeaway of the year.

Tomorrow I start my new life.

I am scared, excited, anxious, apprehensive, hopeful...too many emotions to put into words.

Much love

Friday, 30 December 2011

#1 - So The Journey Begins...AGAIN!

If you know me, you'll know I have been quite a long way down this road before. If you know me, you'll also know that I backtracked somewhere along the way and ended up back where I started. If you don't know me, I'd better fill you in.

The question is "How did I get here?"

To give you the appropriate answer requires a brief history of me! Here goes

- July 1st 1980 I was literally pulled into the world with a pair of forceps while my poor mother lay unconscious due to birthing complications brought on by me being 3 weeks overdue and her suffering from full blown eclampsia. A long story for another time perhaps?

Here I am at 3 weeks old (playing my imaginary flute!)

- My childhood was pretty standard, apart from moving around a lot and having to adjust to new towns, schools and peers a lot. My parents were Salvation Army church officers until I was 11.

Cue embarrassing kiddy pictures...cringe!

- At 11 years old our family moved to my Mum's home town of Bolton after my parents came out of officership with the Salvation Army.

- I stayed there till I was 21 years of age. My mother and younger brother moved down to the south coast, specifically the Bournemouth area after my Mum and Dad divorced and my mother married a Dorset man. Again there is a long story behind this story. It's a fairytale love story really despite some tragic prior circumstances for both families involved. I stayed in Bolton, living with my older brother after the marriage despite only being 16 and thinking I was adult enough to look after myself. I finished college, then moved out of the old family home into halls of residence and a string of rather grotty student digs. I stayed in Bolton to complete my degree in Theatre and Film studies. I graduated with a 2:1 honours. Then after finishing uni and realising that Bolton was not the centre of my universe (again a long, not very pleasant story) I ran away to rejoin my mother, step father and little brother who were by then living in Poole.

- A few months of soul searching and very hard work (the start of my career with children) I found myself in a local rock club. It was Valentine's Day 2002. Not the best date to go out into town for the first time to find friends, but I don't do things by halves. I never have done! I went back 2 days later, determined not to give up the quest to find a social life. That very night I found my future husband.

- We moved in together 6 months after we met. It was more of a trial to see how we would get on as he had enrolled on a magazine journalism diploma course in Portsmouth. So we moved there together for the 6 months duration of his course and have never been apart since. We moved back to Dorset where we still reside today, with Hudson the Hermit a.k.a our Syrian hamster, the latest in a string of little fluffy hamsters we have owned together. We married in August 2009, happiest day of my life.

A couple of my fave wedding shots

 And a terrible picture included only because it shows off my dress well!!

- Over the last ten years I have been working in various schools as a teaching assistant. I have always been drawn to, or ended up working with children with special educational needs (which I will henceforth refer to simple as SEN as it is too long to keep typing out). I have worked in both mainstream and special schools with children aged 3 right up to 16 years old. I currently work in a special school in a class of wonderful primary aged children all of who have Autism. It is the best job in the world. I achieved Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) status in February this year. I also run an after school Drama club and teach Drama as a subject to pupils in the year 10 and 11 groups in the senior end of the school. And that takes us to today.

I know what you are thinking...

"So how does any of this relate to you being a chunky munky on a mission to slim down?"

Well, all events in our life lead us somewhere. The events of my life happen to have lead me to this point. I guess here is where the real sob story begins.

Let's put it this way, I have NEVER been typically slim. Apparently I was described as having 'rugby player legs' as a baby. I was stocky but not bigger than average as a child. I was into all the usual outdoor play I was fit and active. Even at secondary school, when it became apparent that I was larger than average still not hideously fat, I was on the sports teams. I played for the netball and rounders team. I did tennis coaching, swimming, everything really. I was a competitive payer and hated to be beaten, especially as a self conscious teen due to being that bit larger than all the popular slim girls. Aside from the sports, my real passions at school were music and drama. I was in the school choir and played in the school steel band for the duration of my secondary school life.I performed at many events in and out of school both musically and dramatically. So despite being conscious of my size, I still put myself out there. By the time I left school I was about a size 14-16.

As a reference point, here is me at aged 15 in my final year of school. I am the one at the front in the blue shirt (Yes prefects were made to dress in a different colour and stand out like a sore thumb!) So as you can see, not overely big but definitely not slim...I had decent shaped legs!!!)

 I do remember in year 8 being part of a parent's evening and modelling some PE kit for prospective parents. Unfortunately I was given the job of modelling the dance leotard. Great choice for the larger girl. I stood on stage in front of a couple of hundred people holding my belly in!

My self image never got any better and as I got older I gradually gained weight. I can attribute this to a number of factors. I ate poorly and at university I became more accustomed to junk food and alcohol with no other exercise than dancing at my local indie/rock club.

Here's me at about 19 years old, In my first year of Uni. I'm the one on the far right in jeans. In a size 18 here but not that much bigger that average but again I thought I was hideously fat back then. If only I knew then what I know now!

I am also one of life's great comfort/emotional eaters who seems to like the self destructive path to obesity. Many circumstances of my life have left me feeling very down and I turn to food. A lot of these circumstances I will not go into in great detail, painful memories that need to be laid to rest.

However, one factor I do have to talk about. It will become a primary focus of this blog. Unfortunately this factor is brought on by my weight and has left me trapped in a vicious circle. This factor is trying to conceive a child. I think this particular blog entry will become MUCH too long if I go into every detail here so I will just give a brief overview and come back to focus on it in more detail as time goes on.

For now I will say that as a result of my weight, trying to conceive a baby has been impossible. We have been officially trying for almost 2.5 years. Sadly it looks as though my weight has played havoc with my cycles, which at the current time of posting this blog have been all but absent for the last 7 years. Until the age of 24 I had NO issues, then....they just stopped for a year. They returned on average twice a year but more recently I have waited a year or more. Various tests deduce that all should be in working order and that my weight is the only thing standing between me and a baby.

I went on a mission to lose weight in January 2010 joining Slimming World. By June 2010 I was 4.5 stone lighter and Slimming World's woman of the year at my group. Somewhere along the line I took that big backtrack and have gained all the weight back. I won't say my actual weight but I am morbidly obese with chronic back pain. I hate it.

Here I am almost 4 stone lighter back in 2010, still big I realise!

But in comparison here I am, once again bigger earlier this year. Yes, I dress up now and then! (I usually live in jeans and and black tops)

And most recently, this was taken about a fortnight ago. Back to my biggest and not happy about it!

So here I am today pledging to get back on track with the weight loss in the hope of one day being slim enough, fit enough and able to conceive my much longed for baby. Which is where this blog comes into play. The purpose of this blog is to document that journey. I will be weighing in weekly and posting my thoughts, feelings, weight losses/gains, photos, videos, pleas for help...you name it. It will all be here.

I just don't think I can do it alone.

Which is where YOU come in. Please feel free to leave comments of encouragement and support. It helped immensely last time. I want to be announcing the birth of my baby here one day. When that day comes I will be the happiest woman alive.

Until then blogspot will share my life.

Tomorrow I shall go into more detail about my current circumstances and explain exactly what I hope to gain out of this journey, maybe share some photos of me to give you all a visual reference point.

Come January 1st 2012, the mission to take the chunky out of the munky truly begins...along with the tears and tantrums I mentioned... :)

Much love,