Updated: Aug 13
As a child and teenager, I was healthy I wasn’t big and I wasn’t underweight I was normal sized for a child my age. I never had a problem with my weight until I turned 19 in 2009 and I was put on a mental health medication for my depressed mood which increased my appetite I feel it was Prozac and with that I gained weight in the end I refused to take the medication which caused problems but, in my head, I felt fat and my size 12 skirt would not fit on a holiday in Cornwall so I starved myself for quite a while. I was under eating disorder specialists as I got very underweight 6.7-7 stone size 6 clothes were too big on me my family were worried sick about me, but I ended up eating in the end and getting into a healthy relationship with food again. A blood test result frightened me which made me listen to that doctor I ended up getting very sick after eating the first few times. I never listened before that I did what I wanted and listened to what I wanted to hear. I did relapse and want to do it again but those times were very few.
On February 15th 2011 I was sectioned into Brooklands hospital. Over the years since school my mental health deteriorated and got worse to the point of self-harming every single day many times during the day and night, suicidal thoughts, overdosing and very depressed moods. I was in hospital over 18 months. I am thankful to the hospital for me getting mentally well, but my eating got worse not starvation but the other way it was eating too much. I would binge and secret eat on sugary junk food items which the hospital knew I was doing that, and they didn’t address it with me at the time or my family (at meetings). Doctors and nurses were shocked at my discharge meeting in August 2012 when my weight was recorded at just over 16 stone. I was in size 16-18 clothes. I really don’t know why they were shocked they saw the weight increase go on. I may have refused to be weighed by hospital staff but they must of seen how I went from a healthy size 12 to a much bigger size in a short amount of time.
Over the last nine years since I came out of hospital my weight has increased, I have been very much a yoyo dieter. I would lose 1 stone quickly and then I would gain when I stopped the diet and go on-off on several diets which caused me to gain more weight than lose most of the time.
January 2013, I began my first weight loss plan with a lady who I lived with at the time we both needed to lose weight. I thought it would work for me, I thought I’d do well and lose the weight, but I didn’t it was Slimming World and I struggled understanding it, but I did keep going back between 5-6 more times on and off in the end I gave up and I literally got sick off doing it a few times with eating fruit that was too acidic for me with all of the rest I had to eat to lose weight.
After Slimming World, I tried calorie counting, Slim Fast and then Weight Watchers in 2017. I did really well doing Weight Watchers plan I lost 2 stone in 6 months which is a little slow thinking about it now but I was proud of losing that 2 stone. I did exercise classes and walking. I purchased my first FitBit watch around that time, so I was tracking my steps too. I had a very lovely support worker Becki who encouraged me to join Weight Watchers which she had done when she needed to lose weight when she was 19 and she joined in with the exercise classes with me such as step and legs tums and bums which encouraged me. She was into diet and fitness which she did in her own time when she had free time.
Weight Watchers changed the plan which had been trialled out on members across the UK and world. Weight Watchers do change the plan every 2-3 years. It changed to Weight Watchers Flex in November 2017 which confused me a lot. I never lost any weight for many weeks which disheartened me, and I left Weight Watchers just before December 2017 with the idea that I will carry on by calorie counting on a free app. I did for around 2 weeks and by Christmas 2017 I had let myself go back into my old eating habits unfortunately.
January 2018, I tried calorie counting once again I did well at first I was into a good diet routine and I was going to Boots shop to be weighed every Monday morning and by the summer I had stopped and once again I lost track I went back to Weight Watchers group locally to me but the leader had changed it was now a leader who was a personal trainer in gyms around Birmingham. I lasted around 4 weeks. I had a pattern of losing around 1 stone and getting very fed up and could never deal with the dizziness of coming off sugary food and drinks.
I tried gyms time and time again, walks, on-off on diets and by January 2019 I was in a bad way health fitness wise, and I had a severe bad back. My back locked in January 2019 and an ambulance was called out I could not move. 9 hours in total waiting for an ambulance then being in a & e. I was told it was a mild case of sciatica by a doctor, but I doubted it as I couldn’t walk it kept going my back and I had huge spasms and I couldn’t explain the pain. I was put on co-codamol for 1 week, but it only got worse.
By the end of 2019 I was having physiotherapy locally at a primary care centre I was told losing weight would help by a doctor at a walk in centre. I was on a lot of pain killers 4 times a day. By January 2020 a spinal doctor saw me, and he referred me to have an MRI scan. I felt I was being listened to at this point as the pain as affecting my life. I was still on-off on diets every few months I feel it was. It never sunk in that my weight caused my back to go not anything else other than my weight other than my weight I was a healthy lady for my age at that point in my life.
It took a long time to get my MRI scan due to covid the world was in a global pandemic. I had my MRI scan and got a phone call with my results within a week it showed a slipped bulging disc on the nerve on the right side. I was offered to have a root block injection in my back done by using a X-ray scanner, I was offered the injection when I got a face to face appointment a few months later, which I agreed too I had that December 2020. I was now under a spinal doctor at Solihull hospital.
I struggled a lot with dieting and exercising during 2020 during the first year of covid pandemic. I gave up and ate very unhealthily binging a lot and not ever feeling satisfied with eating. I was eating so much. I would go on walks but would struggle because of my back and being out of breath very easily and having to stop a lot because of the excruciating pain I felt in my back. I would have spasms and pain constantly.
In March 2020 I began exercising when covid lockdown began and by the 2nd or 3rd week of covid national lockdown I had gave up. I put on at least 2 stone by December 2020. I ate a lot of sugary sweets, chocolate, crisps, popcorn, cheese, white pasta, and pizza. I get into routines easily due to my autism diagnosis and food was another routine eating the same things, but binging was now a routine. A very unhealthy dangerous one.
December 2020 I went to hospital at good hope to have a root block injection; I had positive hopes for the injection to work I really hoped it worked so I could live my life out of pain. I had 24 hours of it working then the pain got worse. I was miserable it was affecting my mental health. I was put on Ora-morph a liquid morphine but it never worked with the pain and I became allergic to it with itchy skin and rashes. I was put on an allergy tablet when the doctor found out about me being allergic to Ora-Morph.
Christmas week and new year week 2020 was a worrying time I was very overweight I know I was classed as obese on the weight charts doctors have. My parents were concerned for me and my health because of my weight. My Dad on Christmas Day night 2020 told me I need to lose weight for me and for my back as it will help ease the agonising pain, I was in. i feel my parents probably had told me before with small hints but I never really took notice but this time it stuck nobody but me and Dad was around so I had to listen. I really listened and I thought about it for a long time and it’s still in my head that conversation. I started weighing up which weight loss programme to do that night I began looking online. I also ordered myself Weight Watchers scales within a couple of days. I decided I would start my weight loss as soon as I get back to normal life after new year the morning after which was January 3rd, 2021.
Morning of January 3rd, 2021 (I was back home then), I stood on my scales in the bathroom at 19 stone 1 lb. I was shocked but not surprised. I was shocked at how my weight had crept up but I was now at my heaviest weight I had ever been at. I analysed it and thought about it, and I was in denial of the size of clothes I was wearing I was in size 18 clothes squeezing in, and they didn’t fit properly they were too tight I was a 20. I decided there and then I was going to Weight Watchers digital plan (I only chose digital because of the pandemic no groups were running face to face) and I was going to be on it fully weighing everything with kitchen scales and adding everything into the app. This was serious weight loss plan. I felt scared as it was a long journey ahead it felt that it would take at least 4 years.
I was never allowed to have my own bathroom scales for years it came from my admission into Brooklands Hospital when I was quite underweight for my height and had an obsession with weighing myself several times a day but then in January 2021 I felt I should have them as I felt it would help my weight loss as I could keep track with my weight and if I forgot it was my fault not my support staff who forgot but I have never forgot as when I have a routine it’s set to that time and day it would be very unusual if I forgot. I was never good at asking for my bathroom scales if I wanted them. I would of gone to Boots the shop but we were in a lockdown so I couldn’t and it wasn’t the real weight as it could be at any time of the day and I may have eaten and drank before weighing which could of added any amount of pounds onto my true weight.
Within the first week I had lost 7 lb my first milestone in one week half a stone. I set my weigh day as a Sunday morning after getting up in the morning. During the first month it was a very big challenge there were times when I felt dizzy, weak, nauseous and the usual feeling of giving up, but I was motivated this time. There was know giving up. Doctors, nurses, family, mental health professionals had all told me in the past I had a high BMI which made me in the obese category and encouraged me to lose weight possibly on Slimming World, Weight watchers or using a doc spot gym referral membership for 12 weeks. I did try NHS Weight watchers referral once in 2015 but once it was over I gave up.
It helped that there was a lockdown in the country, and I had to eat at home and I couldn’t easily go and eat in Greggs, Subway or have an unhealthy pub meal also my staff team had 2 new members of staff who helped me come up with recipe ideas and would encourage me to eat healthily, didn’t bring in chocolate for me and they never knew the unhealthy larger Lucy. I also couldn’t just go to a shop without wearing a face mask and I hated those masks so that helped when it came to going out buying unhealthy food
I battled through wanting to binge on unhealthy foods when I felt low in mood, I swapped it for artwork - getting dedicated to art, painting by numbers, diamond painting and making cards for all occasions. My art has improved within the past 2 years or so.
During February it is my birthday, and I normally would fall back into old eating habits after my birthday celebrations, but I proved to myself I didn’t need to do that and got back onto healthy eating diet plan after my birthday. I had 1 day off and got back on it. I changed my lifestyle choices. I stopped buying biscuits, chocolate, cake, cereal bars, sweets, some crisps, and white rice/pasta/bread. I changed my pasta to wholewheat, brown rice and 50/50 bread.
By April there were still covid restrictions, but the gyms reopened, and I joined one Energie Fitness which helped massively with my weight loss I was dedicated to the gym and losing weight. I got a personal trainer named Mikey for a few months. he really helped me learn what food to eat and what to drink and what exercises to do to burn calories. I even did a few classes after a while at another gym which I did join after a while called North Solihull sports centre. I gave up on the group classes but continued at the gym.
All through my weight loss journey I have taken weight loss photos on my phone and kept a track of my weight every single week and my BMI number on a app. I have been told BMI is outdated but I liked to see my BMI number being reduced. I started my weight loss journey when my BMI was 43.2.
I was amazed by how my face and body had changed by the autumn. I was strict with myself and would track everything even months later. I never trusted myself.
My health improved and my slipped disc was less painful. I had some appointments with my consultant quite a few over the phone and 1 face to face and he felt that I needed another MRI. I was put on another medication in 2021 called Amitriptyline for pain at night so the consultant wasn’t quite sure if it was the medication or the weight loss that helped.
In November 2021 Weight Watchers plan changed, and I struggled to see how it was going to work let alone understand it, it felt very much like Slimming World. I knew it was coming but I wasn’t prepared for it to be drastic and confusing. I gave it a few days I known I should of tried it for longer but I didn’t and reverted to calorie counting on Nutra Check to start with which did cost after a free week but by the end of the year to keep costs down I reverted to calorie counting on My Fitness Pal which is a free app and I had used it before when I had tried dieting to lose weight previously.
My clothes size had reduced which I felt happy about I finally could shop in clothes shops that weren’t just online, on the high street and fashionable trendy clothes instead of stretchy leggings and elasticated tops. My face shape had changed also my double chins had disappeared.
I continued to lose weight at a steady pace. I had my last and my 3rd MRI for my back in January 2022 and the results were great. I had a phone call appointment with my consultant in March and he said my slipped disc had improved considerably and it has moved back into place and it was not on the nerve anymore. My consultant even told me he wished all his patients who needed to lose weight due to a slipped disc would do what I have done he called me an inspiration. I was on a list for a major operation and I’m glad covid came and delayed it as I had plenty of time to get my weight down which meant I didn’t need the operation in the end. I should have had the operation by July 2021 but because of the huge waiting lists and the backlog from before and during covid I never went for the operation. I really was frightened and it was causing me a lot of anxiety thinking of of the operation as I was told of all the risks the operation could do which including blindness, death, paralysis and so many more risks I would also be in a hospital ward for up to 3 – 4 nights. Staying in hospital is what worried me most. I hate staying away from home at the best of times but in a hospital was even scarier than going abroad on holiday. I dislike holidays a lot due to routine and hating change because of my autism diagnosis. I went on holiday a few years ago and came back after 24 hours due to not coping with the change and wasn’t what I expected Butlins Minehead to be like. I was took off the operation list as soon as the MRI results showed that my slipped disc had improved and I was kept on his list for 2 months just in case it happened again or the pain returned.
Losing weight has had many health benefits to me and I can now live without pain, I can walk further, move quicker, I’m healthy and I feel like I am a different person. It’s the best thing I have done in recent times. I feel that I am a healthy 32 year old now and not a 32 year old with bad health. I do feel my health is at the stage I should be at my age. I could be fitter but there’s time to work on that.
My fitness pal is where I lost the majority of my weight. I tracked and I stuck to the app I used religiously . I changed the calories whenever I lost weight which helped my weight loss to continue. I weighed every Sunday morning. I occasionally did weigh more than once a week due to wanting to know if I had lost weight before Sunday.
I have began maintaining and hope my weight stays off for good this time…