My name is Loo and……I’m not really sure how to end that sentence.

To say that I am a yo-yo dieter would be true to some extent.  To say that I have no self-control would put down all the times that I have the utmost self-control.  If I said I was all or nothing would confuse the current status quo.

My name is Loo, and like many others, I have a very complicated relationship with my weight and fitness.  (snappy, huh?)

As an overweight, but not a particularly fat school kid, I’d say my self-awareness didn’t really kick in until age 14 or 15 like most of my peers. I was (and am) a classic secret and comfort eater, and as I piled on pounds I found myself sat in my first Slimming World class aged 16. So I lost weight, went to university in Aberystwyth and put on weight again.  I joined SW again and lost weight (losing weight when you’re a student is great.  I ate 1 pack of pasta ‘n’ sauce each day and saved all my ‘syns’ for 1 bottle of vodka every week.  Snarf. Eventually, I fell off the wagon and put on weight again.  I remember this being a particularly horrible time, overclouded by a deep depressive period.  Anyway, my next period of weight loss was my first that was linked to the gym.  I had moved to another small town in Wales and joined the local leisure centre.  I loved keeping fit, and for the first time in my adult life, I felt healthy.  It lasted a long time, but as usual, in time it ended and the numbers on the scales went up again.  I tried Weight Watchers, and the numbers dropped, I met a new man (now Mr TDF), and the needle on the scales went right.  We joined WW together and both lost weight, then a couple of years later when I got pregnant I once again put weight back on again.  When I was 33 weeks pregnant, we moved to Stockport and I joined SW again, more focused than I had been, and over the following 9 months, I lost 8 stone.  The week before I got married I discovered I was pregnant with my youngest small thing, but I was determined to stay as healthy as possible.  I did OK until I was about 6 months pregnant, and then I slowly lost control again.  I got back on the weight loss wagon straight after his birth, but when I returned to work, the stress, unhappiness and depression returned, and I ate and drank myself into oblivion once more.

That brings us up to 6 weeks ago.  Sorry, I realise it’s not the most riveting story.  Anyway, my regular GP appointments flagged up the PARiS scheme.  It stands for physical activity referral in Stockport and is basically a GP referral to Life Leisure (Stockport gyms) for a number of conditions one of which is depression. I knew how beneficial for my head keeping fit could be, but I entered into it a little half-arsed about the whole thing. Luckily my next door neighbour, Sue, is an avid gym goer, and she encouraged me to try body pump (something which months before I said would NEVER happen).  I loved it!  The instructor Lauren was fabulous and set the bar unfortunately high for any future class instructor I was due to meet.  Sue talked me through the moves and the weights, and Lauren flashed encouraging grins and really engaged with not just me, but the whole class.  I started by doing a mix of classes and gym sessions, and over the course of a couple of weeks, I got the bug.  Since then I have been going most days, and I don’t know if I am addicted to the endorphins or something, but I am loving it.

I’d like to say that this was the start of my next weight plummet, but it’s not.  My head and life in general is not in a place where I can really embrace healthy eating at the moment, but that’s ok.  What the gym is doing is giving me space.  The hour a day that I spend there is not spent worrying about things, splitting up bickering kids, doing housework, or work work, feeling like a bad parent, or being anxious about anything and everything.  It is spent sweating, breathing hard, raising my heart rate, occasionally listening to a podcast, but the most important thing is that it is not spent doing all those other things.  It’s cathartic.

This isn’t the end of my weight battle story, and I appear to be at ease with that.  At some point, I will feel empowered enough to lose weight again, but I’m guessing that won’t be the end of the story either.

For now though, for that one hour a day my head feels clear, and sometimes even untroubled.  For the way I’ve been feeling recently, i’ll bloody take that.