LLG contemplates shrinking…

by Sasha Wilkins on July 19, 2010 · 72 comments

Red books feature page 2 - Copy

Exhibit a: (above) Me at my heaviest in January, photographed with my mother (& Maudie the Jack Russell) for a feature I wrote in a national magazine.
Exhibit b: (below) Me a few weeks ago, photographed at a friend’s party

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I’ve lost over a stone (14lbs) this year. At my heaviest in January I weighed just over 11stone, that’s 154lbs, the largest I’ve ever been. Now I hit the scales at 9, 13 or 139lbs. For my height, 5’5 1/2, that’s right where I am supposed to be*. For someone with my very small frame (32 back, sticky legs & arms) a stone makes an enormous difference: every extra pound shows, and once I started to move above 145lbs (my ‘resting’ weight), I started to wobble.

Put it this way: The last time I was 140lbs was in 2001.

How did I put on weight? It’s simple: My lifestyle has been shockingly sedentary. I work from home, I don’t go to the gym and I cook – & eat - a lot of delicious food. I had gradually been putting on a couple of pounds each year during the past decade – and they weren’t going anywhere. I’ve always fallen into the category of not quite vain enough: I care, a lot, about how I look, but just not enough to deny myself that bag of chips or bowl of Eton Mess.

And then last year I really starting piling on the pounds. I had given up my Manhattan apartment to spend time on the West Coast. I didn’t have any scales, and I had stopped shopping, (I was living out of suitcases), as I concentrated all my efforts on writing and on this blog.

I then spent a blissful four months in New Jersey with Y&J cooking & eating, eating & cooking, followed by several months doing the same at my mother’s in the English countryside and, whilst it made for great content on LLG,  it wasn’t so great for my health – or my mental state.

Until I lost the weight, I didn’t realise how miserable I was about it. Whilst I’m realistic – my large chest means I’ll never be able to wear a sample size or adopt many current looks - dressing with style is important to me – I am a fashion editor after all.  So  I relied on having fantastic legs to draw attention away from my apple-shaped torso. Tent-like short dresses, tunics, smock tops paired with shorts, mini skirts were my thing.

Problem is, it wasn’t 2007 any more: those lovely loose smock dresses we all wore back then, whilst delicously comfortable and forgiving of tummy rolls, were so passé as to be ludicrous. (And I was fed up with people thinking I was pregnant.) I couldn’t wear trousers because to find a pair that would do up without a muffin top, they’d flap around my ankles, even in the skinny cuts. I told myself I wasn’t shopping because I was on a financial diet, but the truth was I wasn’t shopping because nothing fitted my shape. I’d go into Zara with armfuls of clothing and not a thing would work on me. And forget Barney’s or Bergdorf. So I just stopped going into stores, and did some food shopping instead.

The warning shot was fired by the excellent & interesting homeopath I consulted at my Health Assessment at The Organic Pharmacy back  in January (more of this later) who warned me I was a mere 5lbs from being clinically overweight.

She didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know at the back of my mind. I’d seen some photographs of me in my swimsuit and I was not happy. And, as I headed out of my year’s writing sabbatical, I needed a new grown up wardrobe. But it was the snowiest January in England since the 1940s and I was guzzling carbs like the Cookie Monster.

Then fate intervened. How did I lose the weight? I got busy & I got sick. Simple as that.

In February I went from 0-60 overnight, as I decided to slough off my LLG anonymity in an interview & shoot for Grazia, build & design (myself) a new site to re-launch LLG, head to Denmark to cover Copenhagan Fashion Week, collaborate with Mercedes Benz to be their voice of social media at London Fashion Week (& work 20hr days covering the collections), and then deal with the email & media deluge following Grazia’s amazing piece .

In March I got a very, very nasty 72 hr stomach bug (believe me, you SO do not want to go there) from pigeons in the attics at my mother’s house in the country, which saw me shedding 6lbs almost overnight. And then in April I picked up a tropical parasite abroad. Un-diagnosed & un-treated for over a month, I continued to lose weight, as my body fought the massive infection in my blood and liver.

(Lest any of you think this was an easy way to lose weight, I have been properly, comprehensively unwell. There’s been the five day stay in hospital, over 50 blood tests, endless outpatient appointments and weeks of painful, aching, vomitous misery where I had no idea what was wrong with me.)

And then suddenly I was slim again. I didn’t realise it until I went to Mango to spend the voucher they gave me at the Madrid show. Every piece I picked off a rail fitted me – and looked good.  Even the ambitious dress above. I cannot remember a time since 2001 when that has happened to me.

But now is where is where it gets tricky. I know from the past decade that I put on weight just by looking at cake. Staying where I am right now is going to take discipline, exercise and restraint around the cookie jar.  But I am determined to keep the weight off. Not just because I feel mentally better, and can fit into lovely clothes again, but because women who store weight around their abdomen & major organs (the apple shape) have serious, documented risk of heart attack, stroke, problems in pregnancy & blood disorders. I’ve been sick enough this year. I’ve no intention to get sick again.

*(If I was flatter of chest I’d be a lot lighter, but each 32GG cup weighs approximately 5lbs. Someone with an apple figure and large chest will lose relatively little from their breasts if they diet, as it’s hereditary breast tissue.  You can lose fat, but tissue isn’t going anywhere, unless it’s via a surgeon’s scalpel.)

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{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

Blonde July 19, 2010 at 05:38

Gorgeous in both, but by GODS you have cracking pins in that second pic.

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La Chat Noir July 19, 2010 at 05:47

This was like reading my own bio – well apart from your exciting job – also piled on the pounds for same reasons – ill health, stuck at home, cooking/eating good food. I agree that you are gorgeous in both pics but lets be honest in saying that we both probably feel better & healthier when we are slimmer. Now I just need to follow your encouraging lead as I’m still very curvy size 16, oh dear :) ps agree re chest weight – currently 36G and I swear that’s almost a stone going on, ouch!

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She Wore It Well Blog July 19, 2010 at 05:57

I put on weight solely on my abdomen. I recently blogged about my juice detox. It helped to wean me off the bad foods and has me drinking lotsa water. Maybe worth a try

xx

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kimberly July 19, 2010 at 05:57

thanks for posting this LLG. Good for us ‘civilians’ to realise that fashion eds have normal problems like weight worries, too.
I tried on that GORGEOUS mango dress a few weeks ago but unfortunately i have the opposite problem to you, being a pear shape, & it just didn’t work at all on my shape (massive bum!).
Hope you’re on the mend after your illness – stay healthy!
kx

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Northern Snippet July 19, 2010 at 06:02

You look lovely in both shots.You’ve also reminded me I need to shift a few pounds.I lost a lot of weight thru illness a few years back(Coeliac)but am healthy now and have piled on over three stone…I was 7st at my worst so remembering how I was makes me associate “thin” with “ill”.Which isn’t really a good thing as the pounds keep piling on.

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carolinefo July 19, 2010 at 06:13

Dog-walking, LLG.

It’s the only way. It’s the one form of exercise that you can’t put off until tomorrow, next week or next year. If I didn’t have to spend vast amounts of time yomping through the hills with Freddie, I would be completely spherical.
And however reluctant I might feel to drag myself out at 6.30 am – as is necessary here in the Aegean in summer to avoid the heat – I always enjoy it, and feel fantastic afterwards. Dogs are so permanently full of joie de vivre that they always lift the spirits.

I know your peripatetic lifestyle doesn’t allow for a permanent dog of your own just now, but you can always borrow them. When I lived in Oxfordshire I spent a lot of time taking other people’s dogs for walks, which had the added benefit of making me hugely popular both with the dogs and their owners.

This is preaching to the converted, I do realise – your tweets about Posetta Bad Dog are so funny – but am of the fırm belief that the physical and mental benefits of dog ownership cannot be stressed too often.

When I came to live in Turkey a dog was the last thing in the world that I wanted – and now I can’t imagine life without Freddie.

They’re cunning little b*st*rds, aren’t they?

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Milla Fox Shops July 19, 2010 at 06:25

Ah yes, restraint around the cookie jar and financial diet. I know them so well!! What a fabulous story of self-awareness and mental strength. We all need a little inspiration from time to time so I’m framing this one and hanging it up in the bedroom for daily motivation. I’m also going to be alot nicer to my E cups! They decided to stick around and play following the birth of my BB2 and I’ve complained about them ever since. Now if only I can do the same to my credit card.

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Penny Dreadful Vintage July 19, 2010 at 06:43

It’s tough isn’t it, to love both good food and good clothes. The thing that works best for me is to make sure I have a routine to stick to – during the week I eat fruit for breakfast, salad for lunch and something vegetable-heavy for dinner, and generally not much cake or sweet stuff. The weekends are fair game and I eat exactly what I like. And to clarify, I do not ‘do’ gyms or sport, it is just walking for me. The routine method might be more tricky for your non-office lifestyle, but if possible I do recommend as it still leaves room for plenty of delicious food, and you don’t have to diet so much as simply eat sensibly most of the time and give yourself regular time off. The golden mean!

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Rose July 19, 2010 at 06:55

I was very sorry to hear you had been so poorly and am glad it seems you are recovering now. it must have been so scary! The silver lining of weight loss must be wonderful though, although I think you looked good in the article with your Mother I completely empathise with your feelings. I am too large of cup- although I’m a 34 back so not so small there- they really do add weight and I agree nothing will shift them, I danced quite intensively in my teens and although I wasn’t fully developed i still had enormous boobs and the rest of me was very small! I wouldn’t want surgery or anything though I don’t feel.

Weight is something I struggle with. i never did when i was young because I was so so active, dancing, working at a stable lugging saddles and bales and doing athletics and things too. I do try I really do, I go to yoga and I walk everywhere in London but it’s not enough- and I eat and I have so many friends who really don’t- they either live on a very calorie restricted diet, eating only vegetables and soup and saving up for nice meals- probably eating only once properly on a weekend when they go out for a meal (they might have a muller light or something like that once a day but nothing else). I can’t live like that and I think it’s as unhealthy as being a bit big. It’s very hard though.

I work full time, long hours, not 9 to 5 at all, I blog, I write elsewhere and I have a life. The other thing I note is lots of people do make excercise their social life but I think that is easier when you are in a couple. You might do a class instead of going out but the guy probably quite likes time alone or going out with friends and you are in by 9 say and then you see them.

There we go moan over- glad you’re better and you look fabulous!

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Chic 'n Cheap Living July 19, 2010 at 07:03

It’s the small things: not keeping junk food around, eating tons of grains and vegetables, having a kick butt playlist to motivate you at the gym, and finding an activity that’s fun and aerobic as well (my husband and I just tried krav maga – it’s awesome and if you ever want to learn self defense and safely tackle a loved one, this is it).
It’s work, no doubt, but gets easier with every small whole wheat bite and step on the elliptical.

Let the next fabulous Mango or other outfit motivate you!

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