NC Files:
File 4 - Article 12 Previous Index Next
Author: Beverley Brown
Title: Nutrition - Better Late Than Never!

Having had a weight problem almost since I was weaned, it has taken me 50 years to discover the joys of feeling hip bones, being able to go bra-less (without risking injury) and slip into a pair of jeans from a standing position.

My parents divorced when I was seven and my father was never seen or heard of again. As a result, food became a major comfort. Teenage puppy fat became a permanent fixture and when three children came along in quick succession (now aged 34, 32 and 31) I went from over - weight to obese at around 13 stone, which might have been okay had I been a foot taller. I dieted, of course, everything from cabbages to eggs and grapefruit. And I lost weight, only to put it all back on (and more) as soon as I stopped.

My problem was a personality that swung to extremes. I could eat no biscuits, or the whole packet; what I couldn't do was eat one or two. So diets that advised everything in moderation or incorporated daily treats never worked for me.

Then came a breakthrough. In the late Seventies I lost around four stone. This time my mantra was 'you are what you eat'. And for a while the weight stayed off. Old habits die hard however, and as I gradually returned to binging on all the sweet things I craved, it soon returned.

The following decade I lost it again, coinciding with the start of a three-year degree course that was to lead to a career in journalism. But by my graduation the weight was back along with gall stones and a gall bladder that had to be surgically removed. Life continued on a roller coaster of diets and desperation. By now editor of a monthly consumer magazine, the stress of working 60 + hours a week to meet deadlines was also taking a toll on my health as was smoking. Then the peri-menopause kicked in and added night sweats, aching joints, panic attacks and more to the mix.

My first wake-up call came eight years ago when I was told I had mild hypertension. I came out of the doctors, dropped my cigarettes in a bin, and have never smoked since (the all or nothing principle again). The second occurred three years later when my first grandchild was born. As I looked at my grandson's beautiful little face I was over - whelmed by a desire to live long enough to see him grow up.

This time it had to be for keeps. A naturopath friend advised me to detox by eliminating wheat and dairy from my diet (years earlier I'd tested positive to a wheat intolerance but had chosen to ignore it), drink water and start eating food made by nature and not in a laboratory. The result was magical. Every craving I've ever had vanished for good. I also rediscovered the joys of cycling. For the first time my 'all or nothing' personality was actually working for me. And by removing wheat and processed food from my diet, as an added bonus, I began to lose weight.

Almost six years later, I'm five stone lighter and fitter than I've ever been. I eat a far more varied diet of organic fruit, vegetables, oats, fish, nuts, tofu, seeds, eggs, and occasionally, chicken. I practise yoga several times a week and hope to qualify as a yoga teacher in a few years. And I still cycle, especially as I now live near Peebles, surrounded by glorious Borders countryside. I try to live in the present, so I don't beat myself up too hard with thoughts of *I*if only I'd done it sooner*I*. Clearly I needed to make the journey first in order to succeed. And en route I've learned a great deal about myself. I also take comfort from the belief that it's never too late to adopt a healthier lifestyle and make a difference.

How right Hippocrates was when he said:-

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."