When I posted this photo on the left I said how it was probably the only photograph of me in shorts since I was a child because I actually just never owned any. I thought, first, my thighs were too fat, and then I registered that I actually don't have ankles at all (cankles, hi), and then it was that my knees were too fat. It wasn't a case of me thinking I was like ugly fat overall, I was generally okay with my size. It was just the pesky legs that stopped me from, well, a lot. I blamed the flat feet (they're pancake flat!)

I have lost 8kg. It's not a huge amount, certainly not going to get me on the cover of any magazines, but it's significant. I have polycyclic ovaries, and I used to have the syndrome that accompanied. This is an imbalance in hormones which is difficult to address, for many the resolution is to lose weight which is all well and good except for the fact that PCOS hinders your ability to lose weight greatly, and makes it very easy to put it on. In my worst times I was going to the gym and working out for an hour minimum a day, cutting calories at every turn, and I did not lose a pound. Not a single one. My work at the time depended on looking good and the longer I don't tone or lose the harder that was because my confidence plummeted. 

I have said as of late that it is not my size that I am concerned with, I am fully aware that I am in a position where I can buy clothes that fit in every shop I go to. My issue was with being comfortable, and more specifically being comfortable in summer. I was tired of sweating so much, of feeling so tired and run down, of avoiding certain clothes because I didn't feel good in them. It's easy to tell someone not to mind it but that doesn't solve the problem. One much change, inside, mentally and emotionally.

So onto Slimming World. 

I have tried every diet known to man. At 17 I dropped to 44kg with endless exercise and near on starvation, at 18 I gained everything back and then some, I did diet after diet. Most recently I tried Keto which I had heard was good for PCOS and breaking through the plateaus. It worked for a little while, and then I fell pregnant with Ezra. 

Two babies in two years is tough on the body, and I am incredibly lucky in that despite my eating and the hormonal changes I did not gain any weight from the pregnancies. But this left me at the point I'd started at where I wasn't very comfortable anyway. 

Exercise has always been a point of contention with me. I have joint hyperflexibility which affects my ability to do things - not enough to be considered a disability mind you. It means my joints bend too far in the direction they shouldn't, it affects my ankles, knees and hips mostly, which in turn affects my back and neck. Running and the like was absolutely out of the question, as I could barely even walk ten minutes. I took advantage of being postpartum and signed myself up for Pilates classes which due to being made for new mums were gentler and more relaxed. My strength improved but I didn't lose weight etc.

I had heard of Slimming World before. It came alongside weight watchers. The newer, fresher, younger sister. It allows unlimited pasta and potatoes etc. This, I thought, is wild. They definitely did not see me coming. Did they not know how much pasta I could eat and how often??? I laughed in the face of their infinite pasta! Come at me.

However, what I didn't realise was that there was much more to it than that. My life and relationship with food boiled down to denial and excess. To diet and to lose weight was to deny. Slimming World, I believe, aims to change that and harbour a healthy attitude to food. It was not that I was not allowed or that I shouldn't have something, it was that I should be sensible. 

Pasta is an easy food to make, an easy base for meals, and so with dieting's obsession with cutting carbs it made dieting just a chore. Too much preparation and too much time, especially with a baby. I didn't have the patience. I could always start a diet well but it would eventually devolve into toast, or pasta with cheese on it. 

What Slimming World has done has removed the element of guilt. Guilt is the common denominator of dieting, rather than helping one to change their thinking around food is it installing a sense of guilt when you eat something that you “shouldn’t” be eating. At the moment this is focused on carbohydrates, and sweet things. The problem with guilt is that it often doesn’t stop you doing things, it just makes you do things in secret. 

There are, of course, benefits to this, in terms of short-term weight loss. But Slimming World, I think, aims to help people to create a life-long habit of choosing foods that are alright. I don’t think it aims for us to make perfect choices for every single meal, which is generally unrealistic (at least it is for me) but its aim is to make sure we don’t make bad choices for every meal.

As far as I am aware, I have not really denied myself anything. I have eaten my fair share of meals with little to no vegetables in them (save for the tomatoes in the sauce). Today, for dinner, I had pasta and pesto, I threw some salad leaves on the side but to be totally honest there was much more pasta. I have also had days out where I have simply forgotten that I’m supposed to be “dieting” so much it hasn’t felt like a diet. I have not paid for any books or memberships, I have simply got the general rules down: low fat, pasta is ok, potatoes are ok, high fats like cheese and such in moderation are “healthy extras” and don’t eat into your “syns”, “syns” are reserved for things generally considered to be junk food. Ascribing labels to things can be both a benefit and to our detriment. To me, a benefit, because it feels like I’m a part of something, it feels good having some kind of rules to stick to and to remind myself of.

I'm not entirely sure when I started on this, but I've not been doing it long and I definitely haven't been strict. I don't cook on weekends, usually, and so whoever cooks for me loads up on the vegetable oil for the roasties. Pizza on a Saturday is almost a law (followed by leftovers for lunch on Sunday).

I started at 74kg, and I am now 66kg. Like I said, it isn’t much, but with everything in mind I think it’s great. It’s more weight than I have lost in eight years. I have felt the difference in the fit of my clothes, in my being comfortable in my clothes, and being comfortable in this disgusting heat. I feel better.