Monday, 16 September 2013

Bigger isn't always better...

I did warn you that I'll be posting snippets from my life, as well as my foodie posts. As a further disclaimer, I'm going to add that my life really isn't all that interesting, but I do think that through sharing some of what I've learned over the past few years will be useful to other people...

I mentioned before that I had lost a lot of weight, which was really kicked off by illness and the recommendation of my doctors. 

What I didn't mention was, that I was just over 24 stone...341 pounds... 154.6 kilos... BMI of 55

Yep, that's pretty big. 

So.. first things first...

How the hell did I get so big? I ate crap, lots of it, and didn't do any exercise.No excuses here... I can't blame a glandular condition, or the medication I was taking. I had been overweight for as long as I could remember, but during my late teens, my weight really became a problem. When I went to college, I had a terrible student diet of processed foods and too many cocktails. During college my weight rocketed. I was always the 'fat one', and I hated that. It really damaged my confidence. Hindsight is fabulous, I don't think I saw it like that at the time, or perhaps I just didn't admit it to myself. For me, I couldn't wear the clothes I wanted to wear, and I didn't like that feeling of being 'different'. 

That feeling continued after I graduated. Once I started working, the problem got worse. Instead of using my new found riches to buy better quality healthy food, and join a gym, I just bought a larger quantity of processed foods. I wanted to lose weight, and clearly I knew what I needed to do to make it happen, but I'm not quite sure why I wasn't prepared to commit. I guess there's always that fear of failure, and there was definitely a lack of confidence that I could do it. 

What changed? Why did I decide to change things? 

In January 2011, my hair started to fall out because of radiation therapy for a mass in my brain. I FREAKED out! Seriously, I was hysterical. I knew it would fall out, but no amount of knowing that prepares you for the moment that you're in the shower and clumps of hair start to fill the shower floor. I had quite long hair, but had cut it into a nice bob in preparation for the hair loss, but wow... there was so much hair. I remember wiping away the tears as I pulled my hair from the drain. That's really vain I know... but I loved my hair. I spent a lot of time looking after it, because it was probably my favourite thing about myself. Seeing it being washed away was horrendous. I'm not sure I've ever cried so much since.

Only the hair on the crown of my head had fallen out, so I looked like Andy from Little Britain. I decided to go to a hairdressers, and have my head shaved the following day after work. I had already picked a wig, so I was ready to go. I told a friend that I was dreading having it shaved in a hairdressers, but couldn't bear to do it myself, and I was also dreading people realising that I was bald. Today FM were organising a world record attempt for the most number of heads shave in one place as part of their Shave or Dye fundraising event for the Irish Cancer Society, so I decided to take part. It would be a bit of fun, I'd raise some money, it would make me feel better about shaving my head and everyone would know and the difficult questions would be avoided. 

Decision made... I had my head shaved on 18th February 2011. Ray D'Arcy chatted to me on the radio as they shaved it, and thankfully I managed not to cry! 

For the next few months, my focus was on treatment and still the poor food habits continued.. I could eat whatever I wanted cos I was sick right?? Wrong... 

Why did I decide to change? In late May 2011, a friend emailed me a link to photos of the Shave or Dye event. I always avoided cameras, but here was an unposed (clearly even more unflattering) photograph of me having my head shaved. Holy crap. Yes, it was bad. This combined with the knowledge that my weight may have been hindering my recovery was all I needed... 

I threw out all the processed foods in the house. I went and bought gym gear.... size 26. Yeah, I know alright?!

Getting started was the hardest... but it was the best decision that I've ever made. I've lost 13 stone, dropped 7 dress sizes, 2 shoe sizes (yes it is possible to have fat feet), and a serious number of bra cup sizes (plastic surgeons offering free boob jobs, leave your number below!) ... What I've gained is far more important so listen up.. 

I'm happy, healthier, more confident, fitter, can wear the clothes that I want to wear, and do the things I want to do..

I fully intend to keep you updated with how I did it, lessons I've learned, struggled I faced, the little victories, and how I'm pushing towards a new set of goals...

Oh and you know what.. I'd never have done this before, here's that photo!! 

And just for balance... 

Here's my totally posed Twitter (@gingerbreadmiss) pic! I'm blonde at the moment...feels a little weird!! 


  1. Gorgeous, before and after! Congratulations on your new life and your regained health. I am in the process of attempting this myself. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  2. I agree, beautiful before and after, but I am sure mentally you feel like an entirely new person.
    Thank you for sharing x

    1. I do! It's unbelievable how much weight can hold people back in life. Hopefully I can help others figure out a way to reclaim their health & happiness :)

      Thanks for the comment Ann

  3. you are brilliant. And you are beautiful, both before and after! And you're an inspiration! And your food is fecking gorgeous! Thanks for it all, your honesty, your commitment to help others and not forgetting the recipes. Well done girl!

  4. You've come such a long way. Well done to you and thanks for sharing.
    I can relate to some of what you say. I lost 4 stone with WW in 2007 and it was the best thing I ever did for myself. Though buying the wedding dress before losing all that weight and giving the seamstress a heart attack had not been part of the plan!
    Two pregnancies later and I have been able to keep it off...did my first ever 10K run last year and am looking forward to my first half marathon this year (running AND walking though! :))

    I will be looking to your recipes for some more inspiration! They all look so yummy!
    Wishing you continued good health!!