Monday, 28 January 2013

A Weighty Issue

I suppose within any singular person lies one strong issue that follows them through life. One thing that they struggle with more than any other, or one thing that they particularly dislike about themselves. Perhaps its a wonky nose, small breasts, hair that just refuses to behave, or a past that they would rather forget. For me (L), my issue has always been my weight.

At primary school I was probably considered fairly average. Chubbier than the friends I had at ballet class, but certainly not big enough to be considered overweight, just a fairly normal kid. Then puberty hit and the weight began to settle on my broadening hips and swelling breasts; my Mum assured me it was just "puppy fat" which was find its way back out of my body in the seemingly easy way it had found itself in. I went off to private school aged 16, and my parents were pretty pleased to see that with each holiday I returned home a dress size or so smaller than when I had left for the term. But what nobody really knew that being a gay teenager in a boarding school brought a whole heap of depression, and I was controlling that depression by controlling my food intake. Far from the eating well and exercising frequently image my parent's conjoured of me at school, I was living on water biscuits and fizzy water, and making excuses not to sit at the dinner table with the others in my year. And thus my issues with food began; when I'm happy I eat contentedly, and when I'm sad so I control my food intake.

Having these weight issues is the reason choosing a wedding dress has been, for me, both the best and worst part of our wedding planning process. At our engagement I was 17st6. I was not unhappy, I was at an incredibly happy time of my life, but my size made me unhappy. It made me feel so unattractive, so unsexy, and so hot and bothered a lot of the time. And so the day of our engagement I promised Sarah that I would marry her as a happy, healthy size 12. Its important to add that although I made this promise to Sarah, I was actually making it to myself. I was the unhappy one at a size 22, Sarah never told me anything less than I was beautiful, and sexy, and that she fancied me. I just couldnt believe her because I hated the way I looked!

Photos from my 'bigger' days

So Project Wedding Dress began! This time last year I went with my Mum to try dresses on, expecting to feel great as I'd lost a little bit and was hovering around the top of 15stone mark, but getting there and being told you should always go for dresses the size bigger than you normally wear because of the way they are sized meant I was trying on size 20 dresses, and I was really, terribly unahppy about it. So onward with the diet...

I have to say, I am RUBBISH at dieting! I do so well for a few weeks but the problem is I.ABSOLUTELY.LOVE.FOOD. Love it! And what makes it equally as hard - Sarah does too! We had spent the first years of our life together basing a lot of our social outings on food; we dont smoke, we dont take drugs, we very very rarely drink, but we love good food! Meals out, takeaways in, sunday afternoons baking cakes, even a shopping trip isn't quite complete without a coffee and all had to stop. Or at least be cut down to very, very occassionally. But the determination to not be wearing a size 20 wedding dress kept me going.

Throughout the year I tried various diets - all the biggies like Slimming World and Weight Watchers, plus a no carb diet, a juicing diet, a soup diet, a 'dont eat after 5pm diet'. Some lasted a few weeks, some a few days, but gah, all those rules to stick to! The one that has worked for me has been the good old calorie counting diet, using apps on my phone to keep a track of what I'm eating.
Getting there...
So now it's 5 months before the big day and I really had to get a dress. So my Mum and I, last Friday, visited the same shop that we went to this time last year. But I was over-the-moon and up in the stars to find that the size 16s were too loose on me, and the lady helping me suggested that the 14s might fit better. I am very very pleased to say that I now have my wedding dress! A size 14 ivory 'pull me in in all the right places' wedding dress, and one that I absolutely adore. I didnt want to take it off!

The good thing about going for the lower size is that although it fits, at the top end of 12 stone I probably have another stone or so to lose until I could say I'm happy with the way I look, and this dress will allow me to do that. Along with working so much to pay for the wedding, I have to say that loosing the weight has been my biggest achievement. 62lbs gone and some more still to come off, I'm so very proud of myself. And now when Sarah tells me she finds me attractive, I let myself believe her! After our wedding the next stage will be learning maintenance. It's funny that for so many people eating 'just enough' comes so naturally to them. They naturally eat a good diet, and they naturally only eat just enough of it. Its been such a long time since I was at a healthy weight, and at that weight by eating properly, well over a decade in fact, that it is a way of life that I need to re-learn. And I have to live that lesson for the rest of my life, if I want to remain at a size I am happy with. I accept that I will never be one of life's waifs, but that suits me fine - I like my curves and Sarah would divorce me if I became too thin, but I want to be a size that I can look at and think 'yeah, I look alright!'  And Im happy to work at it for the rest of my life to keep myself that way, Ive learnt that lesson and travelled this road too many times before! But for now - I HAVE MY WEDDING DRESS!!
A stone or so to go!


  1. Wow, you've done so well, and you look so beautiful - We're so pleased you'll be happy with yourself on your wedding day!! Now I just need to follow your lead... :)

    Laura xoxo

  2. You are doing amazing are looking gorgeous.... You can do it..... :) xxx

  3. You look amazing!! keep it up! x

  4. Lauren,

    You looked beautiful before and after. What matters most is that your healthy and happy. I definitely feel encouraged to do the same for my sister's upcoming wedding.

    Keep being awesome!

  5. Love this Lauren! I think you've handled this in a really positive way!

  6. I can relate to this... I struggled with ED most of my lif and now I am finally learning how to feel comfortable in my own skin. You look absolutely beautiful and have come such a long way! You will truley look amazing on your wedding day! -S

  7. I can def. relate to this too. I have battled overeating since my early teens and in addition have a great love of food which sometimes makes it hard to keep my weight down.

    What I have found works the best is not a diet but the way of eating as suggested in the book "The Beck Diet Solution". I was recomended the book by my therapist as it is based on cognitive therapy/psychology.
    You can read about it here:

    I think that we, who love food will always struggle in some way, but it has def. given me some great tools to stop overeating.
    Just a small tip.

    And BTW thanks for a great blog:-)


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