Tales from Fat Camp

Posted on January 25, 2011


In late 2010, a trusted friend suggested that I was “addicted” to Bootcamp*.

Me, an addictive personality?  Shut UP.

*May or may not have participated in Bootcamp for eight months in 2010.

However, upon further reflection – mostly brought about by my newly minted husband informing me daily I had a warped body image and me not being able to escape this feedback due to now cohabitating with him – I decided to do a stocktake.

It turned out that the thing that occupied my mind the most – more than aforementioned husband, more than the Saviour of my Soul, more than Glee Club – was weight loss.

Gosh it burns me to admit that.

Reinforcing this inconvenient truth was a journey back through last year’s diary which was peppered with calorie counts, meal plans, food diaries, weight loss countdowns and almost every single day had a weight reading next to it.

Obsess much? No, indeed.

(In unrelated news, if you’re wondering how many calories are in two scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast, it’s 317.)

So here I am, telling you that I have a problem.

Apparently (though judging by how frequently I avoid my own reflection in the mirror, I struggle to believe this) that is now half the battle won.

But let us backtrack a while…

I believe the inception of this alleged obsession began from growing up looking a lot like Tilda Swinton.

sucks to be me, yes?

Boys were only really interested in me when it came time to choose teams for sports.  Due to my above average height, speed and hand eye coordination I could generally guarantee a number one or two pick.  Not too shabby if you plan on embracing androgyny full time in later life.

This shaky beginning was consolidated by a string of bad haircuts and a particularly memorable season of making all my pants into flares during teen years which did not exactly propel me into the mystical land of feminine desirability.

However, the issue escalated following an epic weight gain during my Mancunian tour of duty circa 2007/2008, which saw me balloon from a size 10 to a robust 14-16.

English people eat a lot of “crisps” and don’t tend to do anything other than go to the pub.  I embraced this culture wholeheartedly but it had drastic consequences which led to my English Uncle exclaiming in shock when he saw me “what on EARTH have you been eating, girl?”


Propelled by panic upon my imminent return to Australia in mid 2008, I hired a personal trainer and began a strict 1000 calorie per day diet (fyi this is more than a supermodel would eat, but less than Oprah).

My heart rate monitor quickly became my best friend and over time I found myself actually looking forward to eating beetroot salad.

After many hard working months I had lost an epic 19 kilograms and found myself back on the skinny side of a size 10 – which on a 176cm frame is just fine.

Or was it?

Along this journey, my love for food, especially cheese and fried carbohydrates, an epically slow metabolism and a penchant for stress eating caused me considerable grief.  I felt like a labrador – I was never not hungry.

Also, I never felt quite like I looked the way I wanted, even at 60kg.  Thus I set the ever elusive goal of hitting 58kg (because clearly an extra 2kg was going to make a huge difference).

Ironically, the more stressed I became about this, the more weight I would gain.

Fast forward a year and I am happily married and survived months of incredibly intense training to fit into my wedding dress. Alas, due to the cruel impact of stress hormones on my special needs metabolism and despite me training for two hours, six times per week, on my wedding day I was the biggest I’d been in two years.

My shoes are awesome, yes?

Add to that a delightfully indulgent Tasmanian honeymoon feat. Valhalla ice cream and too much Pinot Noir – a custom which has remained fully embraced during our first few months of marriage  – and I am now packing an extra 6 kilograms.


But given my new found desire to develop a healthy, non compulsive and/or fear-based approach to health and fitness, and the fact that I am far from relocating to Morbidville, I have allowed myself to sit on the couch eating salt and vinegar chips to spite myself.

This approach has clear advantages e.g. regular salt/sugar highs, but also comes with logistical downsides, e.g. the fact that I can now only fit into two pairs of my pants.

I now spend the vast majority of my time rifling through my husband’s drawers looking for drawers and spiral into panic at the thought of beach visits… Skin cancer is dangerous, people.

Despite this, I am choosing to give myself a break, to be content, to develop healthy perspective.  I have pulled out of bootcamp, cut back on basketball and am allowing myself to rest a little.

I do plan on fitting back into my trousers, but not until my head is in the appropriate space.

Keep you posted.