I can’t recall a time I have ever been thin. Slim, yes, for about 5 minutes thirty years ago, but never thin. I first realised I was fatter than my friends when I was about eight I suppose, though the word ‘fat’ was never used. I was ‘chubby’, it was ‘puppy fat’. When I asked my Mum what puppy fat was she made it sound like it was going to magically disappear when I got to about 13. It didn’t.
So when I reached 13 and was still inexplicably larger than my friends I embarked on my first ‘diet’. Oh how I wish I could tell my thirteen year old self not to bother! It set in motion a life time of bloody dieting. I think my first diet was simply to eat fruit and nothing else. I lasted about a day.
When I got to 15 I heard about Dr Atkins and his revolutionary low carbohydrate diet. I read his book and others such as Pure, White and Deadly by John Yudkin. Eat Fat and Grow Slim by Richard Mackarness was another one. That was it; I was convinced. This time I really was going to lose weight and be beautiful.
And I did. Lose weight. About 20lbs. I wasn’t particularly beautiful but I was beautiful-er. I found it quite easy. No more slices of thick buttered toast when I came home from school, no more bars of Galaxy. Now it was cheese. I ate a lot of cheese. I took cheese and pickled onions on skewers for my lunch at school and my friends thought I was mad. But it worked.
However. Inevitably the weight crept back on. I kept it off through sixth form college but by the time I was 20 I was back to being somewhat porky. But then the boyfriend I absolutely adored did me a massive favour by buggering off to Paris with another girl (and borrowing money from little old unsuspecting me to do so) and the weight dropped off again. I was inconsolable. I had no appetite. I hoped that if I lost weight he would love me again. He didn’t. Bastard. He messed me around and screwed with my head. He was my official First Love, although now I think about it I did fall in love when I was 16 with a boy called Derek who tried to kill himself by taking 10 iron tablets when I dumped him.
The times when I have been slim have almost always been the result of severe emotional trauma. I need to break that cycle. I need to not be relying on the next catastrophe to lose weight. I need to grow up.
So here we are, forty years on, and I’m still low-carbing. In the intervening years I have tried every diet imaginable at some point and I can now safely say, after exhaustive research, that the only diet that works when you get to my age and have hypothyroid and metabolic disease is low carbohydrate. Or to use its current cooler name, ‘ketogenic’. The sad thing is that after years of dieting I can’t even get away with eating much cheese on a low carb diet. And that is a very sad state of affairs.