I am an avid reader, unsurprisingly, of weight loss blogs, weight loss success stories and weight loss magazines and books.
Nothing sucks me in quicker than the "before and after" stories, especially the before and after photos.
They show me the promise of what is indeed possible.
Call me superficial (and I am, at times) but I love to see the snaps from the last decade of the fat bride looking gross and uncomfortable alongside the recent snap of the very same woman looking slimmer and so much happier.
For me, it is totally inspiring. A pictorial statement that someone has made a choice to get from fat to fit, to take control back.
I have very few photos of me of when I was at my largest weight. I avoided cameras. The truly awful ones just got deleted. And these days I generally forget to take as many progress snaps as I should.
So it is with a fairly scared deep breath that I jot down my before and after habits. These tell a far more illustrative tale than the photos ever could-
Two or three cigarettes
At least three coffees with full cream milk
4 slices of toast with butter
A morning full or regret over what I didn't manage to not eat the previous day.
Lumber after the kids all morning, dressed in ugly size 24 clothes. Sneak off for cigarettes.
Get cranky with the kids because they want me to operate at an energy level I just do not have.
Sneak off for cigarettes.
Grocery shop and buy a lot of healthy food, as well as a lot of junk food snacks. Suck my stomach in the whole time just in case someone thinks I am pregnant again. Feel so dreadfully self conscious.
Go to the library with the kids and feel very fat and uncomfortable in comparison to other Mums with their kids.
Make the kids a healthy lunch, and then sneak off to eat my lunch in peace. A couple of big fat sandwiches as well as a couple of bags of chippies, washed down with a lot of orange juice. And a couple more cigarettes.
Get cranky with the kids because I feel lethargic and tired. My joints ache and I feel bloated all the time.
Make the kids a healthy dinner and pick at what they are having. Make dinner for me and lovely husband. Big portions of carb and fat laden meals. Lots of healthy salads, also full of cheese and nuts.
Get the kids to bed. Fall asleep on Olivia's bed.
Wake up and have a couple of cigarettes, then cruise the kitchen for snacks.
Chill out with lovely husband, eat half a big block of chocolate. A couple more cigarettes
Surf the internet, feeling guilty at the amount of crap I have eaten. Wish I could find a solution.
Watch some TV and eat more chocolate, even though I feel a bit sick. Feel like crap. Have one last cigarette.
Crawl into bed. Joints aching. Snoring.
Wake up feeling shit.
Note: no exercise at all.
Alarm goes off at 5am and hop out of bed, have one coffee which I enjoy whilst I blog.
6am, off for a run/walk/resistence training/intervals
7am: Make brekky for me and the kids and grab a quick shower and slap some makeup on. My brekky is a protein shake and some fruit.
8am : Start the school run
9am - Grocery shop for fresh produce based on a menu plan: a menu plan that is supportive.
10am Take Lexie for a swim or a play in the park. Fruit for morning tea.
11am Quick chores around the house. Cup of herbal tea.
Make a healthy lunch for me and Lexie: usually tuna or lean meat in a Burgen roll. No butter. Some raw chopped veggies and a diet yogurt.
Whilst Lexie naps I blog and listen to some hypnotherapy and have another cup of herbal tea
3pm School run time again. Take water with me.
3.30 Afternoon tea is fruit
5.30 Dinner. I eat with the kids. We all eat the same thing. Lean meat or fish. Salad or steamed veg. Low GI carb such as Doongara rice or a baked potato.
6pm Homework time whilst I run round doing chores. I am happy.
7.00 Stories and bed. Cuddle them all, and realise how lucky I am
7.30 Chill with lovely husband.
9.00 Feel "peckish" so have a diet yogurt or some cut fruit or a chuppa chup.
Bed, with a candle and some more hypnotherapy.
(Note: no cigarettes at all.)
And so when people ask me how I stay motivated, I think of this. I think of how happy and guilt free I am now, in comparison to then.
I can never, will never, go back to how I was before. If I never lose another kilo, if I only maintain for the rest of my life, that is OK, I will just never go back to that sad addicted life I had before.