Being Slim: Not That I See It

Last updated: October 2018

Editor's Note: The following article mentions details surrounding the author’s experiences with dieting and body image, which may be upsetting for some readers.

The plus of cancer is that I became thin without having to do anything. I’m mental about my weight/appearance. I was fat when I was little. I think that I think I was so much fatter than I actually was at the time.  I remember how I felt, and I felt huge.  I don’t know if I actually was. When I look at photos of me when I was little and fat, I just see a sad little girl.  I see a fat girl.  I don’t see how I actually was.  I don’t see how I am now.  I just see fat.

People tell me today that they can’t imagine me being fat.  They are amazed that in my early 20’s I was a UK size 14-16 on a bad day.  I think the heaviest I was was 12 and a half stone (175 pounds) and I’m 5ft 6 and a half (1.67 meters).  That was all down to booze and drunk food in my first year at Edinburgh.  A very carb filled time!

Unexplained weight loss

When I was little, being overweight was more noticeable. Far fewer children were overweight in the 80s than now. I was never bullied or made to feel it by others. I just told myself that I was fat and ugly. That voice is still there. Quieter...but still there. And then by magic, I was thin! I didn’t have to do anything. It just happened over the space of about 6 months. And it was AMAZING!!! A UK size 8-10. This was winning! And then being told I had cancer.

Well, That explained it.

Other than a blip, I have stayed that size. I put on around a stone and half (21 pounds) in 2010 and then became obsessed with My Fitness Pal and calorie counting. I was limiting myself to 1300 calories a day and got anxious if I went over it, or didn’t input something I ate into the app, which felt like I ‘lied’ to myself.  I had to delete the app.  I was getting mental about food and I refuse to have anxiety around eating. I did lose the weight though.

A mixed relationship with exercise

I also started running again around this time. I have a mixed relationship with exercise. I love it and hate it. I was signed off from sports at school due to bad knees and have always felt self-conscious exercising in front of others because I’m fat/have no body strength/am rubbish at classes etc etc etc.  But I discovered in 2009, when I agreed to do a half marathon, that I liked jogging and I didn’t care that people could see me doing it.  I have since then done 2 marathons in 2012 and 2016. The last in 2016 was horrific. Doing it with chronic fatigue and working nearly killed me. Not literally. But I was in a dark, dark place.

I’ve had to stop exercising as I can’t manage jogging and work.  It’s too much.  I also push myself.  I’m not happy with 3 little runs of around 2 miles each a week.  I want to be doing 5 miles, 3 times a week.  Because the more I exercise the less I have to beat my self up about not being as thin as I was.  When I was really really ill…..

The downside of not knowing how ill I was when I was diagnosed is that I just remember what I felt were the good things.  And I casually ignore how my body was showing that it was in serious need of help.

Cancer has taken away a lot of things.  But it’s made me thin. And for that, I will always be grateful.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Have you taken our Blood Cancer In America Survey yet?