Today marks the beginning of a new journey. A new relationship. A new commitment. After what feels like a lifetime of unhappiness with my body, I am embarking on a new, and scary, adventure.
Thirty faces turned simultaneously to face me as Sophie introduced me to the group. "This is Beth, she's our newest member, everyone make her feel welcome." My face reddened as I took in the scene. The fruit basket placed in the centre of the table around which we all huddled. The cardboard cut-outs of smiling women, smugly adorning figure hugging dresses. The scales looming ominously in the corner of the church hall.
The next hour was taken up by weight loss triumphs, weight gain commiserations and copious amounts of clapping, as all of them (us, I guess. I'm one of them now) shared calorie counting anecdotes of their week. My heart rate increased as I realised that I, too, would have to stand, legs shaking, in front of the crowd and share my experience next week. A room full of silently judging faces, all competing to be the thinnest. Even the congratulatory comments and encouragement didn't strike me as being wholly genuine. This was a competition and your supporters were also your rivals.
On the whole, I am extremely dissatisfied and often upset with my figure and my weight, but, I am aware that I am by no means obese and my weight is causing me no significant health risk. However, the most poignant thought that struck me since decided to join a weight loss programme, is that no one questioned my motives. No one in the group challenged my belonging to their circle. My family didn't question my decision to join. My boyfriend didn't try to dissuade me. I have known for quite a while that a change in my weight is necessary, but it's the ease at which those around me have accepted, and agreed to, it that has scared me and given me an added incentive to commit to a long-term weight loss plan.
So, here goes. I managed to persuade Sophie to lower my target weight to less than is considered healthy for my BMI (she even adjusted my height in order to cheat the system to appease my request). Thus, my aim is to lose nineteen and a half pounds. More than that though, my goal is to obtain a healthier lifestyle. To re-establish a positive relationship with food. To feel confident, sexy and thin. Wish me luck.
(P.S. I WON THE SLIMMING WORLD RAFFLE AND MY PRIZE WAS A MUG SHOT, COMPLETE WITH MUG. HIGHLIGHT OF MY MONTH)