My journey and my struggle to lose weight
My name is Hayley and I am just an ordinary mum to three daughters. I am not a doctor, nutritionist or a dietitian so any advice or information you see on this website is purely my own opinion based on my own experiences and research I have carried out to change my lifestyle, lose weight, find a cure for my Coeliac disease and find a reason for the decline in my mental health.
My weight gain happened around 20 years ago when I got pregnant with my eldest daughter, I never had any weight issues before this point, I was a fit, healthy and a very slim 9 ½ stone, a size 10 normal 18 year old.
I was a very active person and walked everywhere, I was also quite a picky eater at the time and hardly ate anything, I did enjoy the odd treat now and again but I wasn’t really into eating junk food.
I found out I was expecting my first baby and although she wasn’t planned I continued with the pregnancy. I was a smoker at the time and as soon as I found out I was pregnant I gave up there and then, that was the trigger for my weight gain and food cravings and my struggle to gain back control. I don’t know if giving up smoking and the pregnancy kicked off my auto immune disease but from then on it was an uphill struggle.
The pregnancy was quite rough I had really bad morning sickness and the thought of eating all the food I was normally eating made me more sick, sounds really bad now looking back but the only thing I could stomach and keep down was strawberry gateaux.
The cravings for junk food grew so strong that I had absolutely no control over what I was eating. I started eating all the foods I never ate before cakes, chocolate, sweets, pasties ect and I ballooned up to 17 stone in 5 months.
I got to the point that I craved food not stop, all day every day and would binge eat. I literally would go to the shop every day and spend between £10 and £20 on junk food each time and I would eat the lot including my breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was addicted to food, never ever feeling full or satisfied from what I ate instead I felt fat, miserable and completely out of control.
I have tried every diet you can think of from weight loss pills, potions to meal replacements but nothing ever worked long term, eventually the demon would rear its ugly head and drag me back to hell and I would go right back to binge eating, self-loathing and being completely miserable all over again, which led me to eat even more.
I did have some success with an appetite suppressing diet pill at one point, I was taking it for 18 months and I lost 9 ½ stone in that time, I felt like I was in control and the only side effect was loose skin from losing the weight, I thought I could handle that, then one day it stopped working and the cravings came back and I gradually started to gain back all the weight and more,
Within months I ballooned up to my biggest of 3lb short of 24 stone, I was a big fat mess. Taking that pill was the worst thing I ever did, I didn’t know the effect the loose skin would have on my confidence at the time but it even hindered my weight loss years after, as I was scared it would get worse if i carried on dieting.
I hate wearing t-shirts because friends kids used to grab at my arms and say why are your arms so fat and wobbly? Or if I was out people would look at them hanging there it’s embarrassing, I always wear long sleeve tops as the excess skin bothers me so much.
At one point I asked for a referral to see about skin removal but was declined without even having a consultation, so now I’m stuck with it until I can get the skin removal done myself.
I recently went out for a friends birthday dressed up in a moulin rouge outfit although I felt slim I was completely out of my comfort zone with my arms on show, I felt like everyone was looking at me, even though they probably weren’t .
My keto journey and the road to recovery from 20 years of abusing my body with bad eating habits
I have suffered over the years with my health, my sleep became non-existent and my mental health was terrible, I was a shadow of my former self, I was angry, bitter and feeling terrible.
I was back and forth to the doctor every week having tests with the same reply NORMAL there’s nothing wrong with you.
I knew there was something wrong with me, I had a list of symptoms that filled a double sided a4 sheet of paper, I had severe ocd where I couldn’t even hug my own kids because touching made me feel physically sick, but test after test came back negative.
Eventually after 20 years of suffering and feeling like my body was falling apart I wrote down all the things that had been going on with my body and yet again was turned away saying they couldn’t find anything wrong with me and it was practically all in my head, I was in a very dark place for a long time and desperate for answers.
My mental health was so bad that at that point I felt like I was having a breakdown, I shut myself off from everyone, I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning and couldn’t even face my kids, my 15 year relationship had ended and I was now a single parent to 3 kids on benefits, my world literally fell apart and in all honesty I was ready to quit.
Here in the UK you are only allowed to buy so many boxes of paracetamol per person, I had a plan i was going to visit as many shops as possible hoarding as many packets of paracetamol that I could to end it all……….. this is when i knew i had hit rock bottom, that life wasn’t worth living anymore.
Once I finally accepted that I had hit rock bottom I visited the doc for help and they wanted to start me on anti-depressants, that was when I knew it was bad. There was no way was I putting that poison in my body so I decided to go on a diet and joined the gym.
I tried slimming world and had some success with it but then I started to gain every week as I couldn’t balance what I was eating, I would be good all week and then come the weekend I would crave naughty food and I would fall off the wagon and get stuck in a vicious circle of cravings and binge eating.
What I think happened was while I was smoking I had been getting serotonin from the nicotine, when I gave up smoking cold turkey my serotonin dropped and I used food as a way to boost it back up again, causing damage to my gut (leaky gut) and an over growth of candida, I never had the symptoms before I gave up smoking and it was like my body was screaming for sugar 24-7, now I know that candida feeds on sugar it all makes sense and all the symptoms I got when I ate gluten.
I developed food sensitivities especially to wheat and gluten, where I would bloat really bad and had issues with diarrhoea or constipation, I used to get mouth ulcers which were so bad I could have up to 20 in my mouth at a time, all of which were a classic signs of Coeliac disease, yet tested negative twice.
I then heard of a high protein diet, I lost 7 ½ stone in a year, and I felt really well, I was going to the gym 5 days a week, sleeping better no depression or food related issues and I did that for around a year until I started to get really run down (lack of fat I think), it was then that I met my partner and the diet went out the window, I started eating takeaways and junk food and before I knew it I was back to my old diet and I had gained 3 stone.
Feeling fat, miserable, suffering with food sensitivities and feeling like my mental health was once again in decline I went off to the doctor, I was told yet again there is nothing wrong with you, I have no idea why I never made the connection to my diet when it was so clear that what I was eating was making me sick.
Fed up of not getting any answers from my doctors and when I say doctors I’m talking 30-40 different doctors over a 20 year period, I came home deflated I posted a search on google with a list of about 5 symptoms and wham Coeliac disease popped up, not one doctor ever suggested I might have Coeliac or a gluten intolerance even though all the symptoms I had were CLASSIC Coeliac symptoms.
You see a doctor’s job is to diagnose and treat illness with medication they don’t have any real nutritional training except for around 6 hours when they first train to become a doctor, so how on earth was a doctor going to diagnose my food related illness?
When I had changed my diet to high protein I did really well the cravings went away, the symptoms almost disappeared, my sleep improved and I lost a lot of weight but I never made the connection to my previous diet being the issue.
I had been gluten free for around 2 years but I was still having symptoms weight gain bloating ect so my quest continued to start eating for my health, yet again my friend google pointed me in the right direction and I found keto! No bloating, no cravings, no side effects and my mental health issues all gone and I even managed to lose the weight taking me to 11 stone loss
My life got so stressful during 2017 I fell off the keto wagon, piled 3 stone and I was no longer able to run my business, and eventually had to give it up. In January of 2018 I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I cannot tell you how much of a relief it was to actually have a diagnosis, a name I could put to the years of being ill, chronically fatigued and in pain.
After my diagnosis I spent the best part of 3 months bed bound, doctors put me on mild anti depressants and gabapentin, for a month I felt like I was drunk, I felt sick dizzy and off balance, I refused to accept that this was the life I was going to live for the rest of my days so I decided to ditch the medication and jumped right back into keto.
My pain is minimal, my sleep improved and my mental health is stable, I’m working on detoxing my system of all the toxins, chemicals and I’m also working on healing my gut and getting my candida under control.
If I have learnt anything over the last 20 years it’s not to take the doctors word for it, seek a second opinion from a registered dietitian or naturopath, not everything has to be treated with medication it can be treated naturally with just a simple diet change. If I listened to my doctor I would of been a walking mess still in pain, not being able to get out of bed and addicted to anti depressants and god knows what to counteract the side effects from other meds, trust your instincts you know your body. You don’t have to take the medication your doctor prescribes, medication doesn’t treat the disease it treats the symptoms.
Gluten and coeliac disease have also been linked to other auto immune diseases including multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, IBS ect, changing the way you eat has been shown to have huge impact on the symptoms and even seeing patients coming off medications and living symptom free purely just by cutting out certain food groups, there is now evidence to suggest that auto immune diseases are due to leaky gut.
If anyone is having issues, food allergies, intolerance’s, upset tummy or bowel problems or with mental health, depression anxiety or OCD ect you really should do some research on the effects of leaky gut and gluten, it is shocking!
Eat clean, cook fresh, avoid any and all processed food and you will see a massive improvement not only in your diet but also in your body and mind.
I hope after reading my story you can see why I am so passionate about spreading the word that you are what you eat and we don’t have to just accept a life of suffering, being fat, sick and unhealthy, that we can change our diet and we can live, disease and pain free by using diet to treat the disease not hushing up the symptoms with medication.
My motto in life is what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger! and I refuse to let fibromyalgia beat me.
Stay positive! Eat right! Get your head right! And trust the process! #iluvketo