• Lizzie Astin

My Weight Gain Shame


When I got back from travelling I had already warned my friends and family that I had gained weight, I didn’t want them to look at me and react. I had been away for 18 months and my extra weight detracted from the excitement of coming home, I was embarrassed.

How had I gained 3 stone? I had eaten and drunk too much, more than my body needed and I hadn’t moved. It wasn’t rocket science, I was carrying a lot of fat. It wasn’t healthy and I was determined to lose the weight. Being fat held me back, I felt I couldn’t move forward with an area of my life until I shifted some pounds. I couldn’t move back to the city, I had to be thin to live in the city. I couldn’t date, who was going to fancy me? I felt trapped by my weight gain, I was waiting to live because I was fat.

I told everyone I was going to lose weight, so they wouldn’t feel sorry for me or wonder if I knew I had gained nearly 3 stone. I had breakfast with a friend while on the Atkins diet and just ate a plate of meat, I told her I was on a diet, she ate the same thing, there was no punishment associated with her meal.

But the weight didn’t fall off, in fact it didn’t shift at all. I ended up having to buy clothes for my new size because I couldn’t lose it fast enough. I sat in my bedroom alone and I cried, I was so ashamed that I couldn’t lose weight. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong, I didn’t know how to do it, I had never felt more lonely.

The more I told myself I was on a diet, the harder it was to stick to anything. The more I exercised as punishment the less I enjoyed it. It got a lot worse before it got better. I was drinking a lot, but not just a couple of glasses, I was drinking until blackout point, my self worth was so low, I didn’t really care and I would rather be too hungover to get out of bed on a Sunday than feeling fine because I didn’t want to see anyone, I didn’t know what to do.

It never occurred to me that the problem was self-love, that if I could shift my thinking I could shift my results. That I could start nourishing my body, exercising because it brought me pleasure, confidence and would eventually become my therapy. I didn’t think about lifestyle, I just thought, lose the weight, get through it, get the result, once you’re there you can go back to normal. I was living in prison, waiting for a freedom that was attached entirely to a number on the scales.

The process came first, I decided to stop attaching myself to people that were also suffering with their own demons and I made friends with some new people. I spent Saturday nights with my Mum, having dinner and chatting. On Sundays I went to the beach instead of lying in bed. I started to take time to eat properly, even when I was alone. I got a routine going with the gym and I started to enjoy it for it’s own sake, not the result it promised.

It took me 3 years to lose 3 stone. I had to stop hating myself, I had to stop being ashamed, my body is my freedom, not my prison.


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