Through a combination of good fortune, privilege, and conscious effort, I am less affected by our culture's body policing than most women. I had made peace with being overweight, and wasn't going to take 'but it's for your health' from anyone who couldn't keep up with me on a ten mile run. But recently I realised that I was not just fat, but getting fatter. Despite continuing my running, trying to cut down my portions and carbs, and trying to avoid deserts; I was getting large enough that I needed to buy new clothes, and heavy enough that it was slowing me down when I ran. So I am dieting.
I lost quite a lot of weight on Weight Watchers At Home several years ago, so it was the natural choice this time. I put a lot of that weight back on during pregnancy and breastfeeding*, and more since. I enjoy Weight Watchers. There are rules that I find easy and fun to follow; I quite like rules. I find the challenge of trying to pitch my eating in the narrow band between the daily minimum and my daily allowance pleasing. And most of all I enjoy Weight Watchers because it feels like a game, and it's a game I'm good at.
I expected to hate the ProPoints system which replaced the comfortably familiar system I used last time; change confuses and angers me. The new system removes half points, introduces weekly points in addition to the existing daily points, changes how points are calculated, and makes almost all fruits and vegetables 'free'. All of these changes, to my mild irritation, make it better.
Despite starting with a five day week, I lost six pounds in week one. I've been losing a steady pound or two a week since. Last time I aimed for the mid range of 'healthy weight' for my height, but found that my face started to get too angular under ten stone. That was before I took up running, and I have gained a lot of muscle mass since. So this time I'm aiming for ten stone six, the high end of 'healthy' for my height. I've already lost more than 5% of my starting weight, and I'm about a third of the way to my goal weight. I might update again when I get there.
I've struggled with my weight my whole life. I was a large child, I gained several stone during my junior cert, and apart from the brief period between the first time I did Weight Watchers and a month or two into my pregnancy, I've always been big. Some times more than others. So the really interesting bit here isn't how I look and feel in a few months when I reach my goal weight, but how I look and feel in three years time. Maybe I'll update on this again when I get there, too.
*A lot of people say breastfeeding makes you lose the baby fat. Maybe it does for some people. But I think this didn't work for me for the same reason exercising for weight loss doesn't work for me; it makes you hungrier, and only makes you lose weight if you ignore that extra hunger.
P.S. These comparison photos also teach me that my running bra is whatever the opposite of flattering is. But it is very good at its job.