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  • Writer's pictureJackie Thomson

Weight Loss with Love

A story of realising that I don’t need to be anything more than I am.

My story

I’ve always had issues with weight. Or at least I thought I did.

From when I was around 10, I felt fat. I felt fat and I really believed I was. Maybe it was only ‘puppy fat’ but that’s not how I saw it.

Growing up

Back in the 1960s – yes, I am that old – I hit puberty. At the age of 11, whilst still at junior school. Back in days of the indignity of girls at my school having to wear just navy blue knickers and a vest for PE, no skirts or shorts. Need I say more? And children can be so cruel! The boys called me ‘42’.

Senior school wasn’t much better. I didn’t fit in with any of the little groups of friends because, well I just didn’t fit in. I was musical, I played the clarinet which I loved but that wasn’t ‘cool’ to anyone but the musical kids. I was never any good at sport. In the early years I went to dance lessons outside of school but I was never what could be called graceful. In my head I was a fairy, but in reality I was more like fairy elephant (not my words!).

Happiness doesn’t depend on your weight or size

And so it continued, this dislike of my body. I always knew that one day I’d be skinny and then everything would be all right. Except, of course, that never happened. I didn’t know then that my happiness doesn’t depend on my weight.

There aren’t many photos of me as a teenager, I shied away from being photographed because I didn’t like how I looked. And you know what? In the few photos I have seen, I don’t look fat at all! In fact I’d be very happy to be that slim now.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t skinny like a lot of girls at school, but then I’m not built that way. I’m quite tall and ‘big boned’. But I didn’t see that then, I just considered myself fat. I didn’t like myself very much. I compared myself to everyone else.

My body always did its best

Fast forward to my 30s when children came along. I lost my first quite late in pregnancy. Cue the comfort eating... Then I had my son at the tender age of 30, having been told I was a geriatric mother. Lovely turn of phrase! I put quite a lot of weight on, and also had pre-eclampsia, spending several weeks in hospital before he was born. Bring on the hospital food – yuk – so everyone brought me McDonalds at every possible opportunity! Oh, how I longed for a McDonalds milkshake!

I went on to have two more children. With my first daughter at 32 I craved burgers all the way through pregnancy. My second daughter was born at 36, so I was a really geriatric mother! I had pre-eclampsia issues with all of them. And four pregnancies took their toll on my body. It was never quite the same again, and for some reason it was harder than ever to lose weight.

Maybe it was because I felt I didn’t have the time to look after me any more. Maybe it was because I ran my own business from home as well as bringing up a family, always cooking quick easy meals, something I knew the children would eat. Maybe it was lack of sleep. Whatever the reason, I just carried on getting bigger and bigger. And, let’s face it, I love food.

Eating habits

And the way my personal life went as the years went on, I did it all – emotional eating, starving myself, telling myself I couldn’t afford to eat well, drinking more wine than I ever had before, eating on the run because I was always busy. And bingeing. One biscuit was never enough. I was stuffing my emotions and doing myself no favours at all. And then I had an early (surgical) menopause which didn’t help.

Eventually I realised that the only person who could change all of this was ME. It was me who put the food in my mouth, nobody forced me to eat it. And it was me not loving and appreciating me. Nobody else was going to love me and put me right, it had to come from me.

How weight loss changed my life

I hit rock bottom. I didn’t know what to do, and I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. So, around 20 years ago I went to a slimming club. Rosemary Conley, remember that? I hated it. I hated having to eat a certain way. I hated having to exercise in front of everyone. I’m sure everyone else did too but I wasn’t looking at them – I felt like they were all looking at me. Of course they weren’t, they never are because they’re all wrapped up in their own angst. But that’s how I felt.

Eventually I settled with Slimming World – and I lost weight. Lots of it. Of course, I stopped for a while and would slip back a bit and then start going again, but overall I always lost a bit more. About 7 stone overall. That’s a small human!

I know not all diet plans suit everyone but this one wasn’t too bad for me because I could still eat the things I liked. Only every time I’d get so far and then plateau. I’d get stuck. Nothing more would shift and I couldn’t work out why. I followed the plan but still got stuck.

The turning point

And then in 2014 my life changed completely. I met Mark, my husband – another story for another time. I was still running my business and working from home, which I’d done for over 25 years by then. I was still doing something I’d never enjoyed. It was just a means to an end, and that end had changed completely and was no longer relevant.

In 2015 I trained as a Louise Hay Heal Your Life workshop leader and discovered that I’d never really loved myself, and I’d certainly never believed in myself. The penny started to drop in many areas of my life.

I knew then what I needed to do. As I did the work on myself and for myself, I made lots of changes. I even gave up the business I’d been stuck in and started to do something I enjoy, something I’m passionate about.

I realised, too, that the extra weight I’d been carrying was just a layer of protection. If I wasn’t skinny I couldn’t be hurt, I wouldn’t have to let anyone in emotionally. I wouldn’t be noticed. After all, nobody looks at the fat girl, they always look at the skinny ones. And I could eat all the cakes because wasn’t that what big girls did? And I’d been called a big girl often enough to know that I was one.

So why weight loss with love?

Most of us think weight loss is all about discipline and willpower. That you can only lose weight and keep it off by sticking to a rigid diet and exercise plan. But that’s not true.

In reality, weight loss is much more about how we feel about ourselves and our bodies. We feel that we are not lovable. Nobody will love us because we’re not at a certain number on the scale. Or we’re lazy because we don’t exercise, but we can’t exercise because we’re too heavy. And, goodness knows, there’s enough body shaming going on, both on social media and in real life.

But stop, and just think about this possibility for a moment. How about if we change the way we feel? How about if we begin to love and accept ourselves and our bodies just as we are right now? Is it possible that we might WANT to look after ourselves a little better?

What if the only thing that’s wrong with you is you think there’s something wrong with you?

Whilst we’re on the emotional rollercoaster of weight loss and gain, telling ourselves we’re only able to do X when Y happens, we’re putting life on hold, always waiting for something better.

Getting off the emotional rollercoaster

It seems easier to love ourselves once we’ve lost a few pounds. We begin to feel better, healthier, more energetic. We’re on a high. Once we put the weight back on though, we go back to where we were, sometimes even further. We love ourselves less again. We feel bad or feel ashamed and our self-esteem goes down. Then we find it difficult to get going again. Just like being on a rollercoaster. And I don’t like those either!

But we are all worthy, lovable people regardless of the numbers on the scale.

We weren’t born with unhelpful habits

None of us were born overweight. As babies we only fed as much as we needed to. Hands up, I’m guilty of trying to get the baby to finish their feed or worrying that they’re not getting enough. But they’re very resistant, and they’ll soon let you know when they need more!

So somewhere along the way as we grew up, we developed the unhelpful habits whatever they may be and for whatever reason they came about. Because they’re a way of self-soothing, of making us feel better. Whether they actually do make us feel better at the end of the day or not is another matter. It’s our mind’s way of coping with stress, emotion or boredom, until it becomes a habit that we feel we can’t do without.

Forge a new relationship with your body

Instead of worrying about having the ‘perfect’ body, whatever that may be, creating a healthier relationship with yourself and your body can change your life. Changing the way you think about your body or your physical appearance can change the thoughts you have about yourself, and help you make small sustainable healthy changes to your lifestyle which are enjoyable and effective.

So, if you’re feeling that you can’t love yourself until you lose weight, stop right there! Because that couldn’t be further from the truth.

To create a sustainable healthy lifestyle, we need to think of weight loss as something we’re doing BECAUSE we love ourselves and know that we deserve to be healthy. When we love and accept ourselves exactly as we are, right now, we make good decisions which are healthy and sustainable rather than following crash diets or pushing ourselves too hard in the gym.

Woman hugging herself or her reflection in a mirror, loving herself

You are only ever a thought away from any change you want to make. By eating healthy food and finding enjoyable forms of exercise that you enjoy, you’ll stick with the lifestyle because you love and respect yourself enough to want to.

Are you ready to embrace the possibility of change?

To find out how hypnosis can help you can lose weight with love:

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