Hi, my name is Caroline and I have been reading Where are my Knees pretty much since it began. I always read Sarah V's blog and discovered it through her. I really enjoy reading blogs about health and weight loss and feel much more inspired by these than celebrity fad diets. I can't write this without saying a big well done to Gemma, I think she is doing really well and it's great to read her progression, she is fantastic motivation too.
So back to me, I'm 26 and work in media, so as you can imagine I'm constantly surrounded by skinny minnies, and that's not just the girls I work with, I spend all day staring at posters of Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie. At the moment, I am relatively happy with my weight (I say relatively, it will do!), but it tends to fluctuate, I'm probably about a stone lighter now than I was this time last year. I hate my stomach and my legs (not that I can do much about those!!) and would like to get more toned up. I wouldn't stay I'm constantly on a diet, but I always get the guilts after eating too much rubbish.
Up until I was 18, my weight never bothered me. No, I didn't think I was perfect and had areas I didn't like but generally I didn't have much to worry about...then I went to University. I was put in catered halls, full cooked breakfasts on offer and three courses meals for dinner. And these meals were carb overload, they'd serve you Lasagne AND chips or a potato??? Before I went to University I didn't eat particularly healthy (I didn't do vegetables) but in hindsight I didn't have a very large appetite. I was blissfully unaware of my weight gain and blamed the washing machines and dryers for shrinking my clothes (true story!). It was only when my parents came to collect me for the Summer holidays and my mum said she nearly walked past me because she didn't recognise me that I realised perhaps I'd piled on the pounds. When I stepped on the scales at home I found I'd put on over 2 stone - eek.
At this point I was also having a lot of stomach related issues, I was diagnosed with IBS but I think perhaps this was due to bad diet and excessive drinking. That Summer I lost 22lbs, I ate normally for the first half of the Summer then after speaking to a nutritionist I cut out wheat, sugar and tomatoes. As soon as I got back to Uni I was unable to keep up this level of control. But, the plus side was I was now very aware that I could not just eat what I wanted, whenever I wanted. Moving out of halls also meant I could prepare my own meals and not eat quite so much food, I didn't need three courses in the evening. Since then my weight has stayed fairly stable, it goes up and down by about half a stone but generally it's ok.
This January I booked a holiday with friends (cue bikini fear) and so I joined my local swimming pool, since then I've lost about half a stone and have actually started to enjoy it! I would never utter the words enjoy and exercise in the same sentence previously. In fact, I never did any exercise, at all.
I now try to go swimming 3 times a week, and it also means if I do have a big dinner coming up or I eat some rubbish I don't have to worry about it quite so much. I know a lot of people get put off swimming because they may be embarrassed or scared but I would genuinely recommend it. The first time I went I swam 15 lengths, last week I swam 50!! And, there are often adults having swimming lessons in the pool, something I was very surprised to see. I'm even tempted to have my own lesson to improve my technique. I wouldn't by any means say I'm a good swimmer, and I refuse to wear a cap, yep I am that vain! But, there are a lot of other girls there like me, some faster, some slower, but definitely no-one is judging anyone else.
I'm still not at what I'd call my perfect weight, I'd like to lose another half a stone ideally. I'd kill to have a washboard stomach, but unfortunately I think that is going to require a bit more effort than swimming three times a week. Apparently Gwen Stefani used to do 500 sit ups a day, sigh!
I know Where are my Knees haven't featured any stories about swimming yet, so if you have any questions or would like to know anything more about me, then please feel free to send them my way and I'll do my best to answer them. My favourite thing about swimming is, I never feel like a sweaty mess, the water keeps me nice and cool and I always come out feeling really energised. I admit the smell of chlorine is a bit annoying, but I'll put up with that if it's going to help me be that bit more confident in a bikini this Summer!!