How Alex James and Oprah Winfrey changed the course of my diet journey.
I started a diet on January 1st of this year and it has been a rollercoaster ride of sorts. I lost weight but I hated the dieting. I hated the focus around food and body image. I hated waking up and going to sleep thinking about what to eat, what not to eat and what I should be doing differently to look skinnier and prettier.
I had felt this since the beginning of my diet, but two things happened in the past month to make me decide to stop my diet obsession and instead be happy with who I am. The first thing was an interview with Alex James (previous of Blur, now Cotswolds foodie - the latter was the reason he was in my life for a brief moment), the second was a series of Behind The Scenes TV programs of Oprah Winfrey's final season of the Oprah Show. Yes, this sounds quite random, I guess, but do stay with me.
I run a business in The Cotswolds where I live, www.CotswoldsConcierge.co.uk, and as Editor, I was invited to a Launch Party for The Big Feastival, a great event dreamt up by Cotswolds local Alex James alongside Jamie Oliver. I was also asked if I would like an interview with Alex James, something I happily accepted, of course. After the interview, I was photographed with him and this photograph represented a huge dilemma for me. Because for as long as I can remember, I have not had many pictures taken of myself, and of the ones I have had taken, only one or two have ever been used on business websites or Facebook, etc. after being SEVERELY photoshopped. Now, this snapshot with my iPhone was not "Photoshop'able" so as such not fit for sharing... but I really wanted to share it for the sake of my business. Dilemma!
Around this time, I was also watching the Behind The Scenes TV programs for Oprah Winfrey's 25th and final series of The Oprah Show. I love Oprah and have watched her shows on and off for many years, so this behind the scenes sneak peek was interesting, I thought. It featured many of her extremely talented producers, assistants and directors, most of whome were women around my age and a bit older. About half of these women, like me, were overweight. But that had absolutely no focus in this programme, of course, they were there to do a job, they were there because they were the best in the business. I watched these programmes and were left in awe of their abilities and their minds, not thinking of them as overweight or inferior because of their appearance. And in any case, most of them looked absolutely gorgeous at the size they were and they seemed to live fulfilling lives where professional successes and lovely families were not overshadowed by low self esteem brought on by body image or by an eternal, mind numbing diet and exercise regime. I watched these women and I thought, "That's it... that's how I want to be".
So on my drive home from my interview with an image on my phone of myself next to Alex James, one I knew I should be sharing in order to promote my own business, I made a huge decision: I am done dieting and I am done feeling down about the way I look. From this day forward I shall measure my successes by the smiles on my children's faces, the happiness of my family and the big future of my business. Nothing else.
As for a final diet update: This new way forward doesn't mean I will start eating unhealthily and not care about myself, of course. I lost 17kg's in these months following my New Year's Resolution and I will continue the healthier lifestyle for sure. But I will be a lot more relaxed about how I look and I am also done sharing, documenting and meticulously measuring my success in kg's on the scale.