I Gave Fat The Boot
Up and down…would I ever be happy with my weight?
by Alpa Jadeja, 27, Luton, Beds
Sitting down to watch EastEnders with my family, I instinctively reached for a biccie. As it was coconut one, I told myself they were healthy. Before I knew it, I’d polished off half a pack – and was at risk of turning into Heather Trott!
Though I was 17, 5ft 6in and a size-22, my weight had never really been an issue for me. I’d always been big. I hated breakfast as a kid, always skipped it. Lunchtimes were tricky too. I wanted to be outside playing football. But my mum Urmila sent me to school with sandwiches, and a dinner lady sat with me until I’d finishes every morsel.
Only then was I allowed a kickabout. Running round the playground, I worked up an appetite for dinner. And Mum would make delicious curries with rice and chapattis. So tasty, I’d pile a mound on my plate. But despite being active, the weight stacked on.
Kids called me names. ‘Fatty’, the;s shout at me most days.
But I paid no attention, as I had lots of friends. And altough the scales told me I was big, I didn’t see it when I looked in the mirror. Then, in 2003, I caught a chest infection. Mum took me to the doctor, where I was weighed. ‘You are 18st 8lb,’ the doctor said. ‘You need to loose weight.’
I left with some antibiotics, burning with shame. A few weeks on, I went to Nando’s with mates. As we left, a man was staring at me. I am a friendly person, so I smiled at him. ‘Damn, you’re a big girl,’ he said. I was so shocked. But though his words stung, they gave me the push I needed. In 2004, I did a religious fast with my family – we did it every year. I just eat one meal a day of whatever wanted. for the first time, the weight quickly fell off. I dropped a couple of dress sizes. ‘You’re looking slimmer,’ my friends commented.
So I pushed myself further…
I started just having broccoli and carrotts as my daily meal, or a bowl of cereal. Plus, I was exercising four hours a day. Incredibly, I was full of energy. In a year, I’d shrunk to 6st 8lb. But my family were concerned, constantly commented on what I ate and how much attention I was giving to that.
So, gradually, I began eating properly again. But, scared I’d go back to my old ways, I started myself throw up. – I knew I shouldn’t, but I kept doing it. I wans’t fooling anyone though. ‘You eat so much and never put weight on,’ my dad Bharat said. I fobbed him off with excuses of exercise and a better metabolism now I’d shed a few stone. But it wasn’t until 2007 that I realised I’d become obsessed with my weight. I was forever counting calories, thinking about my diet. I didn’t want to go back to being fat, but I needed to bulk up a bit. So I ate three meals a day. A fry-up for brekkie, ready-meal for lunch, veg and rice for dinner. It took all my willpower not to make myself sick.
Within seven months, I was up to 12st and a size-16. With heaps more energy, I felt fantastic. Until I saw photos of myself from a recent holiday…
‘Oh my God!’ I gasped in horror. I’d an extra tyre around my tum and a double chin…gross!
Determined to get trim, I started watching what I ate again. Cereal for brekkie, chicken salad for dinner, I joined a gym, too.
But, deep down, I knew my yo-yo dieting wasn’t doing me any good. then I read an article about New You Boot Camps, who could help you lose weight and eat healthily. I signed up for a week in Wales in September 2008. Up to 5.30am, we spent the days rock climbing, abseiling, gorge walking and running. Talk about tough! But…’I feel great,’ I smiled at the end of the week. I’d toned up, and even lost 5lb. Since then I’ve stayed at 8st 10lb and a size-6.
But what I put my body through has come with a price – I have excess skin around my stomach, so I’m having a tummy tuck in November. I can’t wait. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve finally given fat the boot forever! *
Alpa’s diet before:
Breakfast – Nothing
Lunch – Sandwiches, crisps
Dinner – Curry, rice, chapattis
Alpa’s diet afterwards:
Breakfast – Cereal with rice milk
Lunch – Chicken salad
Dinner – Soup, chicken and veg
Snack – Fruit