My name is Fiona, and I have had problems with food my whole life. I have always been overweight, since I was a little girl. My mum always used to say not to worry, it was puppy fat and it would all go away when I got older, unfortunately she was wrong, it was a sign of unhealthy choices every back then. I’m still overweight now, although I did have one period of “normal weight” when I was a teenager, and at that point a vegetarian. However, I went back to eating meat when I left home, and had my first bout of depression, and the weight came back on and I just ballooned. Not to blame my lovely children, but I used my two pregnancies as an excuse to stuff my face to a truly horrible level. I’m not sure why I felt like I wanted to eat so much but pregnancy gave me the excuse.
I had a large gap between pregnancies but never lost all of the weight in between. I was always unhappy with my weight. Annoyed that I had let myself eat so much and get so big, that my weight had become a problem in my life. I couldn’t shop at normal places, I didn’t have the stamina for an energetic life. I slipped slowly into deep periods of depression, perpetuated by my weight and giving me further go ahead to eat.
One thing I ate a lot of – meat. As an ex-vegetarian, I attempted to not think about where the meat was coming from, and most of the time I did manage to blot it out, but sometimes it would hit me and I just felt bad. But for some reason I had been conditioned into thinking that being vegetarian was too much hassle in my life, I was busy with studying, kids, my pets, I could never do that now, it’s just not realistic. Even my daughter said she wanted to go vegetarian and I very rationally talked her down, I feel ashamed thinking of that now. I spent years eating a high fat diet, too many takeaways, too little exercise and balooned to 19 stone.
Then, I had two very traumatic life events happen to me, my mum, my best friend and confidante died unexpectedly in September 2013, then my father died slowly of a brain tumour in May 2015, in less than two years. I was a wreck when my mum died but when my dad was diagnosed almost exactly on her year anniversary I pulled myself together and steeled myself for what was coming. He lived for 8 months after the diagnosis and I continued stuffing my face, takeaways while staying at his, junk while travelling there, I was exhausted, for that period of my life I don’t blame me. To add insult to injury I smoked like a chimney, I could barely walk for 10 minutes, I really was a mess. But as the end of his life was approaching, I realised I had to make a choice for myself, was I going to accept this as my life? or was I going to change? I didn’t feel I was really to accept defeat, and something inside me hardened to the acceptance that I was really going to need to change.
After my dad died I stopped smoking within a week, and lost a stone within a month. I lost weight at around a pound a week, slowly in part due to stopping smoking. In November 2015, while in uni I saw someone on Instagram suggest watching a youtube video called 101 reasons to go vegan. My life changed in that hour more than I ever thought possible. One watch of that video and it opened my eyes to veganism.
I never thought veganism was an answer to weight loss, although I did think eating more fruits and vegetables couldn’t hurt.