How many diets does one woman need?

Sarah 2005OK, so it’s not unusual for a woman who’s about to get married in one of the most picturesque parts of the world to want to look good in her wedding photos. But 2005-2006 were just about the worst years ever in my diet obsession.

I blame online diet clubs, forums and magazines. Now it was SO much easier just to sign up to Slimming World or Weight Watchers and do everything online without the need to go to one of those bloody awful meetings where everyone sat around dissecting everything they’d eaten for the last week and then competed to come up with disgusting recipes.

Oh, but doing it online when I was meant to be working was OK, though…

Yes, I got the promotion and I was finally a manager in the civil service, but I still had no real idea what my job was because they changed it every five minutes. To be honest, the job wasn’t a problem, it was easy, non-stressful and as a ‘creative type’ it meant I could get away with looking at all sorts on the Internet and justify it by saying I was researching ideas for the staff newsletter.

I still hung out with my buddy although we weren’t sharing a lift into work anymore. We used to get ‘those looks’ as we disappeared off for lunch together yet again, but I had no idea he liked me, did I? He was the perfect gentleman and we just used to have a good laugh. Anyway, I was getting married.

So I joined three online diet clubs and was doing them simultaneously at some points. I was on Slimming World looking for a way to eat shit-loads of pasta without getting fatter, Weight Watchers because I could eat crisps and sweets as long as I Pointed them, and Weight Loss Resources because quite frankly, anything goes with them and you can even change your goal calorie level half way through the day if you’ve had a pig out. Mad, hey? I was chatting to the girls on the forums that went with the sites constantly and immersing myself in my weight loss obsession day in, day out.

I wasn’t losing any weight though.

I went to the doctor and asked for tests as I seemed to be half asleep most of the time and exhausted. I had thyroid and hormone tests but it wasn’t PCOS or hypothyroidism, even though I tried eating plans for both (I was still buying diet books too, of course). I also thought it could be PMS – extreme PMS. I wasn’t on the pill and my hormones were still not quite right, so I saw a reflexologist who helped with that, but I was still tired all the time and felt like I was ‘wading through treacle’ most days. He suggested I drink dandelion coffee instead of Alta Rica and swapped bread for rice cakes but I could only ever manage the lack of caffeine for a day or so before I imploded and ate everything in sight. Looking back, I reckon everything I felt was more about my life than my hormones – I was just a bit depressed.

I had to get a bus into Ely (the buses were usually late) and then a train to Cambridge, then walk from the station to my office. This commute took me two hours or so. I’d then have to do the same on the way back. The job wasn’t that exciting although it was OK, and I hardly saw Husband #2 because he was working away a lot now. When he wasn’t working he was at football or wanting to see L&P who by now were permanent fixtures at weekends, holidays or any time we might have spent alone together.

Summer 2005 is the point where I should really have given myself a slap and walked away from the wedding plans. L told me that H#2 had to talk to me. She wouldn’t tell me why but I’d confided in her that he’d been really quiet and hardly spoken to me in days. It turned out he’d told her he wasn’t sure if he wanted to get married after all.


Of course, now I know that was my cue to say “Neither do I, shall we call it quits?” but at the time, I thought we could mend it. Do you know, he never actually talked to me about it after the initial upset? I tried ‘working at it’ and making it better and he never said he didn’t want to get hitched. In fact a month or so before the wedding, he actually said he thought he might be coming round to the idea of kids. I was over the moon. Because kids and getting married always work wonders for a relationship that’s run its course don’t they?

We got married in December 2005. I was about 15 stone 10 I think. I’d lost NOTHING weight wise and I thought I looked pretty Wedding 1damn awful in my wedding outfit. We got married in Banff, Canada, and the surroundings were amazing, as was the hotel. L was my bridesmaid, P was best man and the only family was H#2’s mum. Two nights before we got married, he’d been on a stag night with P in Banff, got so drunk that I thought he was putting it on, and staggered back into the hotel room slurring, “You’ve got a fat arse but I still love you.”

Yes, he really did say that. I was mortified but still sat up and watched him sleep because he was so rat-arsed that I thought he might choke  on his own vomit.

We had one day alone on that honeymoon. The rest of the day was spent with L & P. We went on to Toronto for new year, and had a lovely time, but there was still a part of me that felt uneasy. He was already backtracking on the idea of kids, insisting I didn’t tell anyone and saying we should wait a while. He followed L around like a lovesick puppy making me feel ever so slightly left out on my own honeymoon.

The positive was that I think that trip was a turning point for my crappy relationship with food. In Canada, we were surrounded by food. Masses of choices, gargantuan portion sizes. It was like being a kid in a sweet shop! But after a while, the constant availability of food and overwhelming amounts and variety just seemed to get boring. I didn’t need to go back for seconds or stuff my face like the others were doing, I just didn’t feel like it. I started to just take what I felt like and for the first time I actually felt as if I could take food or leave it.

I did spend one Godawful day laid up in a hotel room in Toronto with period pains, while the other three went out to Bloor Street to look at watches. It was a couple of days into new year and the UK TV channels in Canada were showing wall-to-wall “You are what you eat” by Gillian McKeith. I don’t know how I managed to watch it now.



When I got home, I was the one who’d gained the least weight, just a few pounds in three weeks. I didn’t know it, but I was on the way to ditching diets forever.




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Filed under Food and diets, My weight story

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