This week I thought I’d hand over my usual blog spot to a very special guest: Slimpod Community Manager Lynn Haddrell, who has written a wonderfully inspiring summary of her Slimpod journey so far and what it has meant to her. It’s about SO much more than weight loss!
Last weekend (Valentine’s Day, to be exact) was my official Slimpod birthday and I thought I’d take time to reflect on the past 12 months.
Well, where to begin? I could write a novel about the positive changes that have happened for me over the past year but I’ll try to keep it to a synopsis or at least a short story.
Some of you may only know me as one of your Community Managers but I’m also a Podder, just like you, on my own Slimpod adventure and I joined the day after my lovely friend and fellow Community Manager, Kate Morris. Happy anniversary sweetie!
One thing that was key for me in the beginning was that I was ready for change and open to learning about a new way of living. I was also determined to make a conscious effort to stop comparing myself to anyone else and follow my own path.
I was wrung out from 40 years of yo-yo dieting, calorie counting, starvation, feeling miserable and craving love and approval anywhere I could find it (those tubs of Ben and Jerry’s, box after box of Magnums and truckloads of sweets and chocolates lied when they said they loved me).
From craving to be thin and beautiful I’d then eat my way to undesirability and oblivion. Food was my morning, noon and night. I was ruled by my all-consuming secret binge eating and riddled with guilt. I was weary from the constant self-loathing, the self-harm, the terrible black depression that never went away and chronic physical pain. I was weary from pretending to be happy and fun when actually my first thought on waking every morning was disappointment that I was still alive and then a feeling of terror deep in the pit of my stomach at having to get up and go out into the world. On the rare occasion I looked in the mirror I was vile to the poor woman in the reflection. As someone who has experienced both physical and mental abuse, it now makes me so sad to think how, ultimately, I was abusing myself in such a horrific way. I’d never talk to another living soul in that way and I’m so grateful to have learned I’m worthy to love and be loved.
Take a look back at Sandra’s interview with Lynn from November, where she discussed her new-found freedom from emotional eating:
One year on and I’m still me, but a me I could only ever dream about; a me I used to think was destined to remain hidden forever.
I don’t eat in secret any more, ever!
I overeat occasionally but when I do I tell someone and it’s OK because I know I’ll get back on track
I enjoy exercising every day (who knew!)
I cook from scratch and enjoy that too (I thought chefs were weird, I mean why bother with all that faffing about making sauces when you can simply buy them pre-made in a jar filled with sugar and who knows what other gut destroying and addictive additives)
I’ve had maybe a dozen drinks in the last year. I haven’t tried to give up the booze, I just don’t crave alcohol at all
I’ve dropped three dress sizes
My scrubs that were splitting at the seams are now hanging off me and it feels great not having to worry that my backside might burst out every time I have to get down on my knees and wrestle a Rottweiler! My boss has ordered me a size SMALL
I’ve melted away lots of fat on the inside and the outside… over 7 inches gone from my waist and loads more from everywhere else
My BMI is now in the healthy range
I have loads more energy
My physical body hurts so much less and even with osteoarthritis and osteoporosis I’m fitter now than in my 30s and 40s
I’m kind to myself
I can look in the mirror and smile
I’m brave and have confidence in my own ability
I believed I had the skills and personal attributes to begin a new chapter as a Community Manager for Slimpod and made it happen!
I’m happy in my own skin (even the saggy bits)
I no longer take or need antidepressants because I have the self-awareness and tools to help myself in other ways and the courage to ask for help if I’m still struggling
I’m positive and happy
I am good enough
I’m hopeful for the future
AND WEIGHT LOSS TOO…
For anyone new to the programme you may be confused as to why “lost ‘X’ amount of weight” isn’t included in my list of highlights. I understand you’ve joined to drop weight; so did I – after all it’s not called ThinkingHappier, ThinkingKinder, ThinkingConfident, ThinkingPositive or ThinkingResilient… it’s ThinkingSlimmer! But I feel all of these things. I didn’t feel any of them before Slimpod and the weight loss has become secondary.
But yes, I have lost a lot of weight. Quickly initially, then much slower, with a few blips and long plateaus along the way. But it doesn’t matter how much I’ve lost, this is my journey not yours. I’ve usually weighed every 2-3 months because reaching a healthy BMI was my goal. Over Christmas I could tell by the feel of my clothes I’d gotten a bit bigger, but for the first time I didn’t panic and I certainly didn’t weigh! I told my inner saboteur to bog off! By January 14 I weighed again knowing whatever the scales said wouldn’t affect me and was thrilled to weigh the same as on my previous weigh-in on November 14. For comparison, between Christmas 2019 and joining Slimpod in February 2020 I’d piled on 2 stone, so I’m taking maintaining with a slight swell in the middle as a huge win!
Well, I’ve had a great month, but I’ve worked for it! Emotionally it’s been one of the toughest. Being separated from my children due to Covid has become harder than I could have imagined and the realisation that my brother who passed away in September is never coming back is really sinking in and I’m still heartbroken. I miss my friends. I miss hugs so much. I’m fighting against agoraphobia as I used to have panic attacks in crowded places and even the current semi-empty supermarkets can still put the fear of God in me. My other job at the vets is relentless and exhausting at the moment. We wear full PPE all day and aren’t permitted to take our masks off unless we are outside and away from the building. We need to keep our staff and clients safe. I get dehydrated. I eat lunch in my car. I will forever be in awe and full of gratitude for everything every single carer and NHS worker does and will never take them for granted again.
Having a great month has meant that rather than turning to my old ‘friend’ food, I’ve pushed on with eating less, moving more and choosing better. I’ve dropped 7lbs and another inch off my waist. How? I did a new goal map, have started a new journal, listen to my pods, put aside time every day for self-care, upped my exercise, drink more water, read up on healthy eating, choose not to eat refined sugar and cook everything from scratch. But although I’ve worked for it, I haven’t deprived myself. I’m not on a diet! It’s so easy to slip back to diet mode when you think of restricting certain foods or ‘having’ to exercise but the penny has finally dropped that healthy eating and exercise isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle choice and by thinking of it this way I genuinely don’t feel deprived at all.
And I’m not scared of feeling hungry anymore. I was always hungry as a child and somehow as an adult this turned into making myself believe that I needed to feel full to bursting all the time to feel safe. Feeling hungry was really bad and meant bad things would happen. Now if my belly rumbles I’ll have a drink, maybe focus on an activity, wait a bit and if I’m still hungry, guess what, I have something to eat. It wasn’t easy and I messed up plenty of times but with time and patience I think I’m there.
I chose not to eat chocolate, sweets or Magnums (yum) for a month as I was feeling sluggish after enjoying myself but overindulging at Christmas. I wanted to see what I could do to feel better but I still ate ‘normal’ food, including a rather large gluten-free pasty that hubby bought back from a business trip to Cornwall last week and it didn’t enter my head to worry about the pastry (horror) or the number of calories (double horror). It was delicious and it was no big deal. I also made a batch of cakes this month and ate them too (just not all at once). Normalising the way I feel about food has set me free. It’s about balance. It’s about trusting yourself but not beating yourself up when things go a bit off track because sometimes they will. And that’s OK. It’s about keeping calm and carrying on.
EMBRACING THE MAGIC
I often call Slimpod magic, and it is, but I think of myself as the magician, Trevor and Sandra as my glamorous assistants and all you lovely people as the best audience ever, smiling and clapping and willing me to do well! And Slimpod is magic, it gives you the tools to succeed and a gentle nudge in the right direction, but you do have to choose to pick up those tools and do some work. You do need to take responsibility for yourself and the choices you make. You’ll get out what you put in. After all, even the best magicians need practice every day to fine tune their performance. Any time you put on your own magical FB extravaganza I’ll be in the audience rooting for you. And if things don’t always go to plan don’t worry, you can take a break, have a kind and honest conversation with yourself and see what you can do to make things better. Nothing is ruined, no wagons have been derailed, it’s just a blip, a rubbish moment or even a rubbish day. But that’s OK. It’s just a day and tomorrow is a new one. You might just need a bit more practice. And if you’re still not sure what to do, you can reach out for support here. There’s no shortage of that in this wonderful community! Either way, I’ll be here with the rest of the Group cheering you on and clapping like a demented seal!
Thank you so much to Sandra, Trevor, my dear Buddies (you know who you are) and also every single one of you lovely Podders. You are all truly fantastic and being here with you has made all the difference. I have never known such a kind, safe and supportive place. When someone is happy we love to celebrate with them. When someone falls down, we help them get back up with ideas, encouragement and positivity.
Please, please always look for the bright side. Even on days when it’s really hard. The dark side is not a nice place to be. The sun never really goes away and will always appear from behind the clouds, shining brightly once any storm has passed.
I am finally happy in my own skin and glad to be alive. I can feel joy and find it in the simplest of things. It’s taken 40 years, so maybe I’ve been a slow burner but this is who I am now and I’m never going back.
Take inspiration from Lynn’s journey!
Whether you’re considering signing up to Slimpod, you’ve just begun your journey with us or you’re an ‘old hand’, I’m sure there will be much of Lynn’s account that rings true for you too.
Don’t forget, if you’re already a member you can join me on our Slimpod Club page for a Facebook Live tonight at 8pm UK time.
If you’re a Slimpodder who’s not on Facebook or Instagram, there’s free Zoom support especially for you. Join Kate every Wednesday at 10am at www.goldgatherings.com
I love to read all your comments, so if Lynn’s journey has resonated with you, please let me know in the space below.