DesktopToday I’m dreaming of puddings. Specifically, that pudding I made at Christmas with the sticky toffee sauce. I took a photo of it at the time and right now it’s dished up as my desktop wallpaper (click the pic for closeup). I can see the dense crumbs, I can even make out individual chunks of carrot. There’s a pool of toffee sauce and melted ice cream and I wish I could dive right in. You can even see the wee flecks of vanilla in the ice cream! Just staring at the picture is almost as satisfying as the real thing.

Aye, right!

. . .

Someone arrived here today from Google with a very precise search string: Dietgirl, the Amazing Adventures of. Like it was in a catalogue or something! For some demented reason, that comma made my day.

There are a lot of new people coming by lately so why not say hello? I don’t bite! I am not that hungry.

. . .

The Mothership sent me a card in the post this week. Inside was an old photo she’d found, taken the day I left Australia. On 27 March 2003 I was about 110 kilos (250lb) and a size 20/22.

I gawked at that photo in complete disbelief, barely recognising myself. Which is strange because at the time I’d felt so tiny, having spend the previous two years busting down from 350lb, as you know.

I remember that final morning in Oz – frantically stuffing things into my suitcase, sneaking online one last time to type goodbye to friends, and The Mothership fretting we’d get SARS in Singapore or shot down over Iraq. Now I look at my eternally chubby cheeks in the photo and think, Dude, if only you knew all the crazy shit that’s going to happen once you get on that plane. Woohoo!

Sometimes I have trouble remembering how things used to be. When I came to the UK it was almost like wiping the slate clean. The first two years of lard busting had changed me, but the real changes began once we arrived in Edinburgh. I really had to leave the fat girl insecurities and fears at the airport, coz we had to find a job and somewhere to live quick smart. There was no time to be shy and scared of strangers.

These days I am so used to feeling comfortable in my own skin that I almost forget that it used to be very different, and that it was a real stinking struggle to reach this point.

. . .

I was getting a haircut the other day and my beloved hairdresser was chatting away about Dr Gillian McKeith’s new show, in which she gets the fatties to live in her house for eight weeks so she can torture them at closer proximity and examine their poos at any hour she chooses. My hairdresser found out about my weight loss so she often talks about That Sort Of Thing with me.

Another stylist overheard us and asked what she was on about. My gal explained, "Well, Shauna used to be… bigger."

I cracked up laughing but then the inevitable questions came. How much bigger? She’s lost 12 stone. No way! I know, you’d never know would you? It’s amazing! How did you do it!?

"I dunno really," I mumbled, "I ate less and did a lot of exercise!"

You know, I’m bloody proud of myself for turning my life around and I’ve never been at all ashamed or contemptuous of my former heavier self. Sometimes I do wonder why on earth I made my past so bloody public. It’s really unsettling to have someone staring at you, knowing they’re trying to picture an extra 70 kilos on your frame.

Just as when you’re morbidly obese you want people to see you as more than your fat, when you’re smaller you want people to see you for more than the fat that used to be there.

I know people wouldn’t really do that, but it’s more of a reminder to myself that there’s more to me — to all of us — than the size of our pants. Past or present!

53 thoughts on “Bigger

  1. Just wanted to say your blog is a joy to read. Still. And, of course, the more public you are, the more (I think) we love your site (and you!). That’s enough brackets for one comment! xxx

  2. Just wanted to say your blog is a joy to read. Still. And, of course, the more public you are, the more (I think) we love your site (and you!). That’s enough brackets for one comment! xxx

  3. Hi
    I’m probably one of those new people reading your blog. Your weight loss was such an amazing journey. I just start and it help to see that other peopple were abble to do it.
    Keep posting new entries.
    And your christmas pudding look amazing.

  4. I remember when I moved (just across town) there was a thrill knowing my new neighbors wouldn’t know I’d lost 150 pounds in the past year and a half. It was like when we moved to another state when I was a kid and I went from using a nickname to using my full name. It was like changing my identity. I’m sometimes hesitant to mention the loss to new people because like you said, I want them to see me and not the fat that isn’t there.

    Congrats on the Oprah Magazine mention, BTW! I saw the links on OneFatBitchypoo.

  5. PQ – sooooo true! it’s like a witness relocation program πŸ™‚

    jbo – it’s Taco HTML Edit, freeware for Macs –

    thank you Woof dear! πŸ™‚

    And Sandra, welcome aboard mate. i shall go check out yer blog the noo!

  6. I’m admitting to being a constant lurker so I shall comment…that pudding just looks so good – I love reading you πŸ™‚

  7. Won’t it be nice when losing weight is such a distant memory that you don’t define yourself by it?

    First, we think of how overweight we are. Then by how much we’re losing. Then by how much we’ve lost.

    Does there ever come a day when we stop thinking about it?

    I loved your post and the picture of that dessert. Very tempting.

    But what I loved most of all is I clicked through to Sandra’s blog and it was in French. I haven’t read or spoken French in years. And now I can not only read a great blog, I can brush up on my French.


  8. I know what you mean by when people talk about how much you’ve lost. Seems like they are looking at you and thinking just how fat and dumpy did she look. Of course, they prob. aren’t thinking that. The other problem I have is that I was think when I was young and in school. So, if I see a person from the past that hasn’t seen me since then, I cringe a little wondering if they are thinking, “gosh, she’s gotten hefty”. Oh, the mind games or the negative self talk we do.
    I enjoy reading your blog and have a great week!

  9. Hello,
    I guess I’m one of your new readers. Found you when I was looking for inspiration – stayed because you’re such a fun read!

  10. The strangest thing I can remember from when I’d lost 110 pounds was how derisively people would talk about “the old me”. I actually started feeling protective of her because being fat is not a character flaw, it’s a physical characteristic, but folks made it sound as though I’d been a terrible person. When you lose weight, you’re still the same person you always were, you just have better habits about eating and moving. (Or, so it appears to me.)

  11. holy shit denise! that was a real eye-opener of a comment. thank you so very much.

    i have been trying to nail how i feel about things and i think you got it. i do feel really protective of the bigger me, and when people go “OH MY GOD i can’t believe you were so huge” part of me feels almost defensive and wants to say… “Yeah? So what?”

  12. I love this. I’ve included my url which is in its very very early stages of production but may not go anywhere. More so you can see who I am one of the many readers of your wonderful blog!

  13. Hi, I’m a new reader as well, I found your blog through a yahoo! search a couple of weeks back. (yup, I’m a lurker too. Well… not anymore I guess)
    I’ve just started losing weight too, and am keeping a blog of it. I’m only two weeks in but it’s great to have your blog to read to try and keep me strong!
    take care,
    PS. The pudding does look good!!

  14. You are totally right, there is more to us than our fat/loss/size now/before…. I am sick to bloody death of people only talking to me about weight loss, and how wonderful I look now etc. I was a person before too eh? The only difference with you and me is that I do feel ashamed of how I was before, I know I should never have let myself get that big.. even though looking back I can see why I was big (emotional eating). So, as a consequence I don’t actually feel that proud of myself now, cos of how I feel about getting in such a bad way to begin with. Does that make sense?

  15. Hey there! One of your elusive lurkers checking in. Was just catching up on the archives (the 5th Anniversary posts), great stuff! I wish I would have seen this blog a few years ago! I’m starting out on a similar adventure right now with my own blog. Thanks so much for the candid and entertaining posts. You are an inspiration to us all!!!!

  16. I found your site by its mention in our local Minneapolis, MN newspaper and it’s a great read. I’ve been overweight my whole life and recently took up running (oh–the embarrassment of those first few weeks) and have lost 22 lbs. I’m also a wee bit obsessed with Scotland and play the pipes so I enjoy your blog on multiple levels. Thanks for keeping us motivated–your motivation is infectious.

  17. I was just looking at that pudding the other day on your blog and wishing I could taste it! Being an American we don’t “do” puddings…certainly not like that! *sigh* I didn’t even get to try a toffee pudding when I lived in England! *pout* Anyhoo, I am still an avid reader, so please keep the posts coming! πŸ™‚

  18. “You know, I’m bloody proud of myself for turning my life around and I’ve never been at all ashamed or contemptous of my former heavier self. ”

    You answered a question I had been thinking about for a few days with that statement. I’ve just lost 12 lbs in 4 weeks and have a load more to go, but already there’s contempt sneaking in for people-who-are-fat-but-don’t-do-anything-about-it. I guess I’m starting to worry that I will become some self-righteous horrible thing that thinks everyone should do what I have done (and I haven’t even done it yet!). I’m relieved to hear that you and commenters still feel protective of their old self.

  19. Hey there…
    I’ve only recently started reading your blog and find your journey up ’till now an absolute inspiration!!! Will keep reading for the fun posts and the motivation (need to loose around 7 kilos myself).
    So I guess we will spot each other around πŸ˜‰

  20. Wow, do you really expend 5 calories posting a comment? I’m a new reader too – surfed on in one day when I got fed up of scanning the same ol’ recipes and diet tips and then kept tuning in cos your blog was so much more *real* than the other stuff. Thank you so much for making me laugh out loud instead of munching cake. No blog yet but I’m working on it…..

  21. Your blog is so fantastic and inspiring. Well, I guess its you who is so inspiring (and fantastic for that matter!) I have to say, however, that I just relocated to London from Chicago, and I am half horrified, half fascinated by the Dr. Gillian show you mentioned. What is up with the bullying and cruelty? Not just the poo inspections and evil little tricks played on the
    “fatties”, but the camera angles and descriptions. Its awful on so many levels. Why do people put themselves through this and why is it aired on TV? Or is it just my biased perspective?

  22. Chris H, right on mate. it does make perfect sense!

    thanks for your comments folks, especially the new people who said hi, woohoo! πŸ™‚

    anon, it’s not just you dear! that show is utter crap and the bullying and poo-pokery is just tooooo much!

    and welcome to the UK, btw! how are you coping with the much milder winter? hehe πŸ™‚

  23. Hi Shauna,

    I’ve been reading your site for a few years now, and I just wanted to say: be proud! I’ve never been overweight, but I’ve wanted to lose weight for most of my life, and have never done it before without stress just making me not want to eat. In other words, I’m not the one in control of my weight. No matter how big you used to be, you should be proud, because while some of us can’t lose 1 stone, you’ve lost 12. So don’t feel embarrassed when people find out how you used to be, because there are plenty of us, even those who are naturally smaller, who are pretty damn impressed by you. We’re not seeing the fat that used to be there, we’re seeing someone who’s accomplished something amazing.

  24. I’m new to blogging, so hello everyone. I really like Denise’s comments. Fat doesn’t have to be a character flaw, and if the person loses weight, they’re still the same person. I think I’ve always thought that, but I’ve never really known how to say it. I hope to hear from you guys soon.

  25. Right on with the “taking up for the fat girl”! My weight has gone up and down my whole adult life (by 100 lbs or so) and I consider the fat me to be “ill” and the skinny to be “well”. I suppose that’s sort of true not only from a health standpoint but from a mental health standpoint as well. When I get comments about my fat self, I tend to make excuses for “her”.

  26. the toffee pud does look exceedingly delicious. there is no way i could have that as my wallpaper – i’d slobber all over my keyboard.

  27. I just found your blog today, after reading about it in an article in O The Oprah Magazine.
    I love your blog and applaud your success and your willingness to help others. I find your experiences and information to be very inspirational and “real”.
    I’m a student in the southern US and am trying to balance working and studying with eating right and exercising.

  28. Hi Dietgirl,
    I soo relate to you when people look at you wondering what an extra 70kg must look like. Since 2001 I have lost 35 kilos and because I am Australian people say “f…k you musta been heuuuuuuuuuuge’ or they just look and say nothing and go about their business not quite knowing what to say. Or they get this look on their face that says ‘how could she let herself get so big’. (doesn’t help that I have about 20 to go :-)) It’s kind alike, if people think ‘sheesh, she’s fat’ and I find people are often caring enough to share that (what’s that about?) and I say…in Crocodile Dundee fashion..”you think this is fat……you shoulda seen me befawwwww”
    The reaction is interesting, but as you will know, at first, it seems to be important to impress others with your results, then later, it doesn’t matter what they think, it’s about what YOU you agree? I can ‘t wait until that day when people don’t even see me as a ‘new me’ and we can just get on with it…your thoughts?

  29. I’m a lurker too. That pudding looks delish. I love reading your Amazing Adventures. I don’t know what I did with my time before I discovered blogs!

  30. Just found your blog today so popping in to say “hi”. You have done a fantastic job – the transformation is amazing – it is great what eating less and moving more will do if you stick at it!
    Looking forward to checking in regularly.
    Katie xxxx

  31. Yeah i agree. Being fat is not a personality flaw. for me its the result of years of unhappiness. how is that my fault? all i did was cope the best way i knew how at the time. now i know better. and still the diet police ask me if i ‘should be eating that?’ hello!! not helping. the old me and the new me will/would both clobber you for that! πŸ˜€ keep on blogging Shauna. Oh and since we both live in Edinburgh i wondered if you were adverse at all too meeting with a beginner fat fighter?

  32. Congrats on the Oprah mention. I am guessing that’s bringing lots of visitors to your site.

    It’s funny looking back and realizing how much has changed. Makes me wonder what I’ll be thinking about when I look back on THIS time, two or three years from now.

  33. Heya. I got here via Pastaqueen.

    After my second Immigration (from South Africa, to Holland and now in the UK) I finally got the courage and determination to finally work on my weight. I just started but you go girl! You kick ass!

  34. Just staring at the picture is almost as satisfying as the real thing. Um . . . no. No, it’s not. I just can’t bear to stare at it and I find it not at all satisfying, alas.

    But the pix is lovely and the inspiration I take from your 12 Stone Weight Loss is marvelous. Thank you.

    Be happy that someone searches for such a wonderful thing in order to find you. Many of my fleeting visitors are searching for “big ass pu**y” πŸ˜‰

    aren’t they surprised?

  35. I just did a search for “diet blog” and I liked your title so I stopped in and read everything on the first page. I will be back… often πŸ™‚ Off to read about your old adventures.

    Keep up the great work! I just lost my first 12lbs, so you’ve already inspired me to keep going!

  36. As I told a male friend who has lost 20kilos…you have crossed over to the dark side…you are no longer one of them, you are one of us. Therefore people will be hamfisted and possibly quite rude about your former size. Even at my father’s funeral I got ‘geez you’re looking good’ which translated means ‘you’re smaller than you were.’
    Glass half full…you did put a lot of hard work in, you do look great. Enjoy it as positive feedback.

  37. My best friend refrained from mentioning my 30kg loss because having lost 40 herself some years ago she was very aware that the words “Damn you’re looking good!” can easily sound like “Damn you looked crap before!”. And I really appreciated it when she told me why – it’s nice to think that someone realises that it’s sometimes uncomfortable to acknowledge that you were a wee bit porky at some stage in your life.

  38. OOh! ya got some comments here chicken ain’t ya? U know why? Coz you are a god damned legend babe! I’ll be here no matter how skinny ya arse gets/ : )

  39. Another long time lurker – with about 140lb to lose – checking in.

    You are a true inspiration.

  40. 14 years ago I reached my top weight of 271 (my height is 5’0″) when I lost down to 160. In Sept 2004 while on my way back up, I weighed 190 lbs I then resumed the long low-calorie & exercise path down, and today I weigh 111 lbs.

    I do not show anyone my former fat pictures, because I have similiar negative feelings about people who emphasize the physical “change” in me. I look really good now, and feel great, and I know exactly the way I used to look.

    However, I feel protective love for my body, which has taken good care of me while fat & thin. I don’t like hearing or seeing the negative “astonishment” of others when they see how “bad” I looked before.

    SO I keep my fat pictures to myself, and accept all compliments on my appearance just as though I had always been thin.

  41. How can you possibly survive with such temptation on your desktop? Even looking at the tiny photo of it in your post makes me want to go get some ice cream and cake! Maybe for my birthday πŸ™‚

  42. I noticed you mentioned Gillian McKeith again. There is a long article about the (very dubious) scientific merits of her claims in today’s Guardian. Worth a read for anyone interested in nutrition and the social factors which lead to obesity and ill health.

  43. Hello, I’m one of those new people. Not entirely sure how I found your blog, but it’s ridiculously inspiring. Keep up the good work, both writing and living healthy!

  44. I love that you said, “These days I am so used to feeling comfortable in my own skin”! That is precisely what I want to feel in my own skin…comfortable. Am not there yet. Will be one day though! I do have hope.

    Meanwhile I’ll continue to eat less and move more.

    Just found your blog through the O Magazine article on dieting & blogging. Glad you’re sharing about yourself and your past. Makes us feel comfortable too.

    Thanks πŸ™‚

  45. Hey,
    I just started reading your blog a few weeks ago. I was so captivated by your story that I literally sat in front of the PC and read it almost non stop for about 8 hours. I am inspired and bitter about your story. I lost 100 lbs about 5 years ago and have gained it all back. Im attempting to get on that same track again. The place you go when it finally “clicks” and you have inspiration, drive, motivation. I was you once and Im stunned that Ive let mysef get right back where I was before, only this time it seems so much harder than it was then to get…and stay…motivated. Like so many I have been heavy all my life. First diet at 5 years old. My yo-yo dieting has turned my already questionable metaboliam into a slug..( see slime trail behind me)..and I know my only hope is massive exerciseing and massive eating changes.
    Ive been doing Weight Watchers, and it does help me be accountable for what I eat. I do exercise. I have a gym in my house so I really have no excuse. 7 years ago I lost 100 lbs in less than a year. I was going to the gym 5 or 6 days a week for at least 2 hours a day. I had stopped eating meat, and my caloric intake was under 1000 calories a day for the most part…well accept for alchohol… It was the only time in my life Ive ever been successfull at losing weight. I kept it off entirely for about 2 years, then slowly it started to creep back on and it seemed like there was nothing I could do to stop it. ( accept maybe put that slice of pizza down ) Ive been back at this size for about a year now and Im trying so hard to “get it back”..whatever that thing was that made me say no to all the fat food and exercise like I was insane. Im so afraid Im never going to get to that point again. I dont even know why Im telling you this.
    Anyway, its great to be so close to your goal. Even after my 100 lb loss I still had about 50 lbs to go. I didnt make it but I hope to one day.
    Keep up the good work.

  46. What an inspiring way to put things into perspective. All this time I’ve hated my former fat self. Your perspective has made me rethink that. It is better to embrace your former fat self and to embrace everything else about oneself both past and present. I’ve known that all along. It’s just helpful and refreshing to hear somebody reinforce that idea. Thank you.

  47. Hi – yep, longtime lurker, but have never commented before. I can totally relate to feeling protective of your former fat self. I lost about 45kgs (about 100lbs) a year ago, and recently, on a trip home to NZ, my step-dad saw fit to tell me about the time he saw a photo of me (when I was bigger) and later said to my mum how HUUUUGE my legs were. Mum, (God bless her & her mother bear instincts) didn’t speak to him for a week after that and made him promise never to tell me that. But because I’m smaller now, he felt free to laugh at what I used to look like to his hearts content. What the hell is wrong with people? It’s like they think you are a different person now. Newsflash people, we’re still the same person, just smaller. I’ve finally realised that the secret (for me) to keeping the weight off and truly loving myself is accepting the bigger me and loving her just as much as I love me now. When I stopped hiding evidence of the ‘fat me’ away, I started loving myself, not just my body.

    Good luck everyone!!

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