Back in 2002, I was 23 years old, about 19 stone (266lbs/120kg), UK dress size 26-28 and lost in miserable cycles of a non-existent love-life, uncontrollable overeating and complete denial. My pride stopped me discussing my weight with even my closest friends and if anyone tried to broach the subject with me, I strongly resented them for ‘interfering’.
My weight had steadily increased since my thyroid gland went under-active aged 11. By 16, I was 16 stone (224lbs/101kg) and my weight increased with my age, a stone a year, until by age 21, at my university graduation in 2000, I was 21 stone (294lbs/133kg). That was the heaviest I reached and when my health began to suffer so much that I thought I had diabetes, I knew this couldn’t continue.
Two summers later I was introduced to the idea that revolutionised my life. A friend lent me ‘The Raw Family’ by the Boutenkos – a testimonial book about eating mainly or only raw foods for optimum health. I was utterly absorbed – I’d never been interested in diets, health fads or slimming aids and suddenly it seemed the right answer was in my hands. I began the very next day and the improvements in my health over the next weeks were astonishing. You could almost see the weight burn off me – I’ll never forget seeing my collar bone again for the first time in years; my skin and hair quality improved dramatically, my energy soared and I was filled with vitality and a new hunger – for real life.
Within just a month of going raw, I had my first boyfriend in over 5 years – I was thrilled and increasingly inspired and dedicated to my new lifestyle. I found that as I became less of myself physically, I became more of myself as a whole person. I began to open up in ways that I hadn’t found possible before, allowing truth, honesty and trust to develop. I had been locked up in that body for so long and now the real me was appearing and generating much interest, especially from men.
It’s been over five years since I started eating raw and I’m happier than I’ve ever been – I’m now UK dress size 10, can wear whatever clothes I like, eat delicious raw food daily and take great pleasure in treating myself well.
I will always bear the scars of my experiences – physically, my skin is marked and emotionally and spiritually I experienced great depths of loneliness, depression and insecurity that take time to heal. However, the process has been an extraordinary learning experience and I would not wish to change what I’ve been through to become the woman I am today.