• Aled Rees

Me vs My weight

I’ve battled with my weight for many years. As a teenager, my weight peaked at 17 stone, with a 36-inch waist! This was when I was around 15 years old. 

I honestly can’t blame anyone but myself for my weight as all I did was eat. I'd also demand large potions of food when we went out as a family. If I didn't get my adult meal then I would go ape and dream the place down. 

Over years my weight would gradually increase and with it my clothes. I can't say that I was bullied as a child, however, people would regularly make fun or comment on my weight. 

The boys would often make fun of me, because I was fat plus to add to the ensemble I also had very bad acne and braces on my teeth, so pizza faced, metal mouthed fat boy! Words hurt, and I often laughed the comment off! 

I was the funny one in the group, I had to be the funny one, otherwise I would just be the overweight one. 

I tried everything as a teen to try and lose the weight, the boy thing I didn’t try was to stop eating! Deep down, I feel that I was eating to repress my inner homosexuality. 

I honesty wished, and if I had a time machine, I would go back in time and have words with teen Aled! I would tell him that it's ok to come out, that once you do, your life is going to be amazing that you are going to achieve and accomplish the thing that you’d never thought or dreamed that you would. Plus I’d slap him and say come out for fuck sake and go on a diet ASAP! But do it healthier!

I was bulimic as a teen, I went from 16 stone to approx 10 stone something over the summer holidays! Yes!

That is a dramatic drop in weight!

You might think, that’s not possible Aled, however by doing silly things like making yourself sick and not eating for days then it is, and this is not something I condone to anyone to do! 

The weight loss was so dramatic that when I returned to school in September none of my teachers recognised me. 

I remember my registration teacher calling out my name, I say yes, she didn't recognise me so she noted me absent! I repeated that I was there, and that’s when she looked up and stared at me, like, who the hell are you. 

I looked good, I was finally thin, and people noticed me, however inside I was suffering. 

I had now gone from my daily battle with my sexuality to now also battling my bulimia. 

I went from one extreme to another, forever counting calories and living off low cal and low-fat meals, but also throwing them up at every chance possible. 

I would go some days without eating at all, yet nobody new, nobody had any idea of what I was doing to myself, that is until one fateful school assembly.

It was a Monday morning school assembly and the entire school congregated in the school hall, almost like a scene from Harry Potter, without the grand hall, tables and floating candles, so pretty much nothing like Harry Potter.

The headmaster was standing on the school stage and addressing the school from his lectern. Yes, our hall had a stage! Looking back the hall almost resembled an old village hall, the only difference was we had a life-sized image of the rugby player Jonathan Davies in our wall like some sort of shrine to the former Ysgol y Gwendraeth pupil.

As I stood there, I remember staring at the headmaster as he moved further and further away from me. It almost looked like the headmaster was staying at the end of the tunnel, as his voice began to echo down the narrow lane. 

I will add at this stage, these were the early 00s so we still had a Head Master! Not a Head Teacher as in today’s modern schools. My secondary school, as in most of the schools in Wales at the time, were stuck in the ’80s.

Eventually, total blackness overcame me and the next thing I remember was waking up in the nurse's office. 

I had blacked out. 

I eventually woke then just like that I started lying to the teacher and nurse stating that I felt warm during the assembly etc and that is why I collapsed. I did, at this stage, got away with my lie however what I wasn’t ready for was my passing out would be a regular reoccurrence.

I collapsed at nearly every school assembly and woke up regularly in the nurse's office.

Suspicions arose from the faculty, and I remember being pulled in by my head of year, asking me what was going on and if I had anything I’d like to confess to him. Naturally, I would laugh it off and continue with my lie about getting warm etc And yet again that was the end of that conversation and I carried on with my daily schedule of lessons.

The big revelation came during a biology lesson. I sat near my mates and my teacher who also was my registration teacher began to discuss the human anatomy, and as she did so I began to fade away. 

I began to sink deeper and deeper, I was sinking deeper and deeper under my desk whilst looking consciousness. Eventually, I lay completely flat on the classroom floor. 

And that is when the proverbial shit hit the fan and my secret had now become reality. My eating disorder had now come to light, my passing out had now become a school issue, and now it had to be addressed as a serious matter with the school and with my family.

Having an eating disorder doesn’t disappear overnight, it takes a lot of serious time to sort out, but it will always be there. The important part is to manage it and of course, control It, but ensure you start to understand why you developed your eating disorder. My issue was based on people commenting on my size, but also because I was gay but didn’t realise it myself.

People would point out to me that I was gay and that It was ok that I came out, however, I wasn’t ready and to be honest, I still wasn’t sure who I was, and to combat these feeling I would eat.

The other aspect of my eating disorder was trying to make myself as thin as possible, so I went from the extreme of overeating to extreme starvation and like my overeating, this was due to my mental health issues which subconsciously was due to my battle with my sexuality.

Since my teenage days of battling with bulimia, my weigh is forever fluctuating, even too this very day.

I have a very strange relationship with food. I want to be able to enjoy food and appreciate it, however deep down I am bloody terrified of if!

Terrified? Yes!

And yes this is a strange thing to say about food but because of it having such a negative effect in my life I struggle with understanding and of course enjoying it. When ordering food I’m forever thinking, how many calories is in this meal, or will this make me fat or will this make me ill. 

Like most things in my life, I'm forever over thinking about the issues the food infant of me or the pain it will cause me in the long term, however deep down I'm worried and scared that I will be come that overweight kid again.

I should also add, my gluten and dairy intolerant, but I'm historically bad at managing this and so I have been known to eat gluten knowing too right of its negative consequences on my stomach.

Dairy on the overhand is very easy for me to manage as I can’t stand milk or milk products, and it gives me an instant migraine! And if you like me have had major migraines you will avoid that shit like the plague.

The older I get, the more confident I get in the managing of my dietary requirements and needs. I've suggested with my digestive system for a year and have had a lot of pain and discomfort due to it, so I’m a lot better these days in managing it, finally!

I’m now 33 years old and since lockdown, this has given me a lot to think about, mainly my health and indirectly my weight and eating habits.

Recently I’ve joined a gym, which I try and attend 3 or 4 times a week and also I try and prepare all my meals, yes I’ve become who of those annoying people! You know the type! All they do is talk about the gym and their protein intake and how many miles they can run in 30 mins blah blah blah I shan’t bore you anymore.

Having goals and routines help me focus, and so, due to a drunken purchase at DragCon 2020, my friends and I bought a photoshoot session in London for October 2020, ironically in a photo studio called Vanity in Shoreditch, Landan. 

This purchase has ensured that I will and must lose weight! I will not be a photographer whilst looking Chubby! Plus the camera adds 10 pounds! So hitting the gym is a must until that very day when I stand in front of the photographer's camera.

Fingers crossed they have photoshop.

I’ve consciously decided that I will not date anyone until I lose this belly and so I'm on a mission to work my ass off at the gym, but most importantly eat healthily and enjoy my meals.

In the words of RuPaul, If you can't love yourself, how I the hell are you gonna love somebody else?

Can I get an amen!
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