Written by Janine Rudin


Diary of a fat lass: Doing it my way

Feeling crappy in head and body has prompted Janine Rudin to make some changes in her life – and make the kinds of promises to herself that are keepers.

tape measureA few weeks ago I started on a journey for better health, spurred on by turning 44, feeling fat, unfit, tired and unwell. I was a size 18 and weightloss was just one factor: health and feeling healthier was the bigger issue.

I’ve never wanted to be thin or *clenches fist* ‘bikini ready’ BUT something had to change because…

• The perimenopause is creeping into my life along with feeling tired, hot and irritable.

• As I get older my metabolism is going to slow, meaning I could get bigger, which I don’t want.

• I am scared of encouraging diabetes or other health problems because I can’t control what I shove in my gob.

And it’s easy, right? I just need to move more, eat less. Hahahahahahaha – if it were that easy, there wouldn’t be a multi-billion-pound weight loss industry.

I have tried to lose weight and get fit a few times over the years and I always end up in the same place – fat, sad and feeling like I have failed. In the past I have joined gyms, taken up running and tried to do exercise routines but have either hated every second or I’ve injured myself.

This has to be about making realistic lifestyle changes that last. So, this time I have analysed what I eat, when I eat it and how I move to see where my triggers are and where the changes can be. And rather than sign up to my nearest weightloss class, I’m doing it my way.

Me and food…

I like food and I treat myself with food – if I am tired, fed-up, depressed and even when I happy – and it can be a self-destructive thing for me to binge or eat rubbish food because of my low self-esteem. I need to develop a better relationship with good food.

Me and exercise…

I DON’T LIKE IT VERY MUCH but I know I need to move my body more and I need to do what I enjoy rather than forcing myself to do some bootcamp bollocks that I will hate every second of. I like walking, I like doing step, I like swimming and I like going on my bike, so that’s what I am going to do.

“As part of my depression I used to inhale huge bars of Cadbury’s, now I don’t feel the need. As I write this there is a bar within reaching distance and it is still there, intact.”

Best foot forward…

I have spent time thinking about how I eat, what I eat and my triggers for bad eating habits and it is these I need to change. But I also know that I need to move my ass more to lose weight; I can’t and shouldn’t do this with food alone.

• I need to walk and exercise more – I know this works for me.

• My main meals are pretty good but the regular unhealthy snacks have to go.

• I don’t want to eat late in the day.

• I need several days without the booze – I only usually have a glass of something each night, but even this is sugar and calories I don’t need.

• I’m not weighing myself, this doesn’t work for me, but I want to measure and I want to be more aware of how I feel and how my clothes feel.

Janine wearing Fitbit

Janine’s new companion: with her every step of the way.

Is it working?

I’m a few weeks in now and I feel great. There’s no huge transformation and I certainly won’t be doing Tough Mudder any time soon but I feel healthier and fitter. I have lost about 12 inches from my body – boobs, waist, hips and thighs – and my clothes are looser.

I am probably a size 16 now and some clothes have been ditched because they were too big. The scales haven’t really budged, though: this usually makes me fall face-first into cake but not this time!

Here’s what I’m doing…

• I am walking every day. I no longer just jump in the car, so I do at least 10,000 steps most days. I am ridiculously busy at work at the moment but I am also finding time to do my step exercise at home – it works for me, I enjoy it and I can do it while still being about for the kids.

• I am making a huge effort to be more organised so I am not missing meals and I have plenty of fruit at work so I am not tempted by cake.

• I am not eating after my evening meal and most evenings are now booze free.

What have I learned?

• I am enjoying walking again: it gives me some much needed headspace and me time and I know it has boosted my mental health as well.

• I have more energy, feel less sluggish and crappy if I eat well… I am 44, how do I only know this now?!! I am actually eating less and not feeling hungry because I am eating better food. Gone are the huge amounts of bread and the quick sugary snacks which still leave me hungry.

• I was addicted to sugar. As part of my depression I used to inhale huge bars of Cadbury’s, now I don’t feel the need. As I write this there is a bar within reaching distance and it is still there, intact.

• Small changes make huge differences and my bad habits are changing. This isn’t about being thin, this is about being healthy – the sugar in my diet and the lack of exercise was making me ill.

• It is actually a bit easier than I thought it was going to be, possibly because I’m not starving, possibly because I’m not forcing myself to do a bootcamp, possibly because I am doing it in a way that works for me.

For me, this approach is working and it is positive because I am thinking about what I am eating, I don’t feel deprived or hungry and I don’t dread having to move my body. It has boosted my mood and my self-esteem.

The results might not be quick enough for some people but this isn’t about a quick fix, it’s about the rest of my life.

Follow Janine’s continuing quest to feel better here.

Instagram: @birthandbaby

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Written by Janine Rudin

Antenatal teacher, postnatal group leader, birth & baby specialist, writer, mother, wife, friend, me. My time is spent with my family, working with parents and trying not to eat all the biscuits. @BirthandBabyCo