MY LIFE AS A YO-YO DIETER
Get off the diet rollercoaster
Ispooned my allowance of cottage cheese out of the tub. This was my lunch for the foreseeable future. Till my curves had gone. Till my boobs had shrunk to suitable proportions. Till was slim. Aged 16, I was a size 12 – but that was the wrong shape for 1980s chic and, like the kids from Fame, right here was where I had to start paying. In cottage cheese.
Looking back at photos of myself then – and also aged 26 and 36 – my overwhelming emotion is one of sadness and surprise. My weight varies by three stone, but whether I’m a size 10 or a size 16, I’m always the same Kate. Selfconscious and round-cheeked with – as one boyfriend once told me – quality hair. If only I could reach back through the decades to smash the cottage cheese and crispbreads to smithereens, then perhaps I wouldn’t have wasted 30 years worrying about what I put on my plate.
I had no problem wearing a bikini as a child. I loved swimming and the first question whenever we were going on holiday would be, ‘Is there a pool?’ Mum would watch from the side, hidden by a forgiving smock. I knew she was self-conscious about her body. Back then, it didn’t cross my mind I’d ever feel the same.
But when I was 10, I went through early puberty. The shock of it was intense – I had no one to talk to about the reality of periods and of having boobs while the other girls stayed flat-chested. Ashamed of my developing body, the seeds were sown.
At secondary school, I was studious, hopeless at PE and invisible to boys. By the time I was doing my A levels,