Tried on an old shirt, size 32 to size 22

10 months into living on WW2 rations, it’s been a rollercoaster, quite honestly it’s been a looong time.

Luckily for me, as I was unpacking some old boxes (yep, 3 years after moving in), I found an old shirt I bought several years ago. During that period of time my weight had spiralled up again, I may have been over 300 lbs again. All I know is I bought the shirt for wearing it to the office, it was the biggest size they did and it NEARLY fit (but not quite). I put it aside in the hope it would soon fit properly.

Somewhere between all the house moves since returning back to the UK in 2013 (there have been 4 moves) it got put in a box and stayed there. We’ve moved so often I rarely unpack all my boxes.

Finding the shirt brought forth a myriad of conflicting emotions, especially when I tried it on. Delight and relief that the shirt was now so big, but also recognition of the physical and emotional pain that I was going through during that time. Medicating oneself with food IS A THING, I know it, don’t tell me it isn’t. These actions aren’t about greed or gluttony. The food (especially the Ultra Processed Foods) were the drugs that quietened my mind, that made me calm down, that gave me that comforting hug, just as someone might reach for alcohol, or opiates or a joint.

For me, reaching out and eating vast quantities of “Ultra Processed Foods”, soon became an addiction and has been something I’ve struggled with for nearly 30 years. It waxes and it wanes, it never disappears but sometimes it takes a vacation. It always comes back home though.

Living for the past 10 months on a diet that is mostly whole foods, and very little Ultra Processed Foods has seen the addiction take an extended holiday. I feel happiness, the physical and mental pain is dissipating, I feel stronger and I want more from life that I did in January.

I’m REALLY going to make these final TWO MONTHS of the 1940s Experiment count!

C xxxxx

24 thoughts on “Tried on an old shirt, size 32 to size 22

  1. I do the same with clothes, keeping them in case I slim down to fit into them if I especially like them. You’re so much more successful at slimming down than I am. Bon courage for the final few months!

    • I think keeping a range of clothing sizes is good if your weight goes up and down but I think this time, when I get below 200 lbs I’m going to donate all clothes over a size 20 to charity xxxx C PS Thanks xxx

  2. I am so pleased that you are feeling so much better. I’ve been eating too many UPFs lately and yes, I eat much more, even when I’ve started feeling stuffed… I have just finished a long stint working away for several days every week, and I’ve spent part of today baking homemade snacks- still treats, still sugar and fat, BUT crucially not the UPFs… I eat only one or two homemade Anzac biscuit, not half the pack of bought hobnobs!!
    I’ll be using some of your recipes in the coming weeks to help get us back into eating what our bodies actually need, and not overeating because of the UPFs enticing us!

    • In the book Ultra Processed People it does say sugar as sugar is better than forms of sugars in UPFs .. that book was such a mind opener to me. Feel so much better with reducing my UPFs and sticking mostly to whole foods xxxx PS: Loved reading your thoughts!!! c xxx

  3. Dear Carolyn, You look so much happier.

    I think the Ultra Processed Food Industry should bear the responsibility for the harm it has done to all of us. I listened to Dr van Tulleken’s book on Spotify as I got stuck reading it.

    You are right that the obesity epidemic is not about our over-eating and our poor choices, and our mental health. They are the results rather than causes.

    It really has been caused by the bad advice on diet which we have been given, and the bad stuff we have been told was healthy, or was a treat we deserved. We have been told so often that cooking is too difficult and too much effort, and fake food is better.

    It is downright wicked that we are made to feel guilty, when the food has been manipulated to make it addictive, to give us sugar highs and lows, and to make us feel hungry all of the time, so that the company profits will increase.

    The News today said UPF made up 57% of the average British diet.

    Your diet based on the 1940s British diet has been proof that real food is the answer to so many modern health problems.

    Are you planning for 2024, because I shall be with you on the same journey.
    Love and best wishes,

    • Whilst I partially agree that the food industry undeniably plays a significant part in what we eat.

      However, it’s also about time we started to accept our own individual responsibility for poor diets made up of highly processed and pre-packaged food.

      No one holds a gun to anyone’s head when they load up the shopping trolley with mass-produced ready-meals every week. Or acquiesces to teens with regular visits to McDonald’s etc.

      Unfortunately, I really can’t see the situation changing any time soon, as it’s almost become cultural, and we know how difficult that can be to alter.

      • Poor education contributes to the bad food choices.
        There was a huge Ministry of Food campaign in WW2 to teach everyone about food values and cooking, and avoiding waste.
        We learnt how to cook real food at home and at school.

        I feel pity rather than contempt for the people in Asda with a trolley full of junk food. If the NHS tells us to buy things labelled low fat, and to fill up on carbohydrates, where will they get sound food advice?
        Trusted food brands wouldn’t sell us harmful stuff, or change traditional ingredients for cheap substitutes, would they?

        How many people read the small print on the box of cereals with big health claims, “Wholegrain, Added Vitamins, Lower Sugar,” in bold on the front?

    • Oh I agree with you Nellie. By rights, education should play a significant roll in people’s diets (and thus their overall health).

      However, in the real world, a significant proportion of the population simply refuses to be educated. And that’s really not going to change. As I say, poor diets have become almost cultural now.

      Going back to the 1990s, popular ‘sleb chefs’ like Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall attempted campaigns of nationwide education and awareness on the subject, demonstrating how cheap, easy and beneficial it can be. With hindsight, remind me again effective they were…

      In reality, the best we can do is adopt it within our own households, and let those who can’t be bothered to, frankly, just get on with it.

  4. You inspire me to keep up the struggle to be healthier. I appreciate YOU and your efforts these past 10 months.🤗

  5. You look great Carolyn. Keep strong. Only 1 month and 24 days to go. Then 12 months keeping to it, and your fat holding cells will forget what they want to do.

  6. Loved your response xxxx I also think overeating is a coping mechanism for many but when you bring a lot of UPFs into the equation as part of the coping mechanism, it can be so hard to break the habit (or addiction). All I know from this experiment is that this year I haven’t binged or overeaten, hell that first month or two I so badly wanted to but just kept filling my face with whole foods and vegetables and so far so good.

    We undoubtedly need to also take responsibility for our actions, but also be kinder to people who really struggle with food addiction.

    C xxxxx

  7. Thanks Paul, a long way to go. 100% (well 99% I’ve had a few blips) living on WW2 rations for a year. I will continue to eat in a similar way as I love it but allow some of my favourite wholefoods in like bananas and avocados next year!

    • Bananas..? Wow, a rare treat!!

      You know, there were toddlers at the outbreak of war who never actually saw or tasted a banana until they were nigh-on teenagers.

      Puts me in mind of the old 1923 song ‘Yes! We Have No Bananas’ which I believe became popular again during the war (for obvious reasons).

  8. Noooooooo I only found your website today and I’m loving everything I’m seeing and all the rescepies only 2 months left ? Noooo I don’t want the updates to end yet lol

    • LOL!

      Carolyn’s been doing this blog-site and posting all over the place for years.

      I seriously doubt she’ll be disappearing into a black hole at the end of the year, regardless whether she maintains a war rations regime or otherwise.

      Keep calm and carry on… 😉

      • Haha Stephanie xxx thanks. It will take me another year to get to a healthy weight and my passion is ration book cooking so I’ll definitely be sticking around. Thanks for your lovely comment xxx C

  9. lol I saw what you did there

    Carolyn I’m same ! I hit 21 and went from size 12 to 18 for no reason every year it’s steadily increased regardless of what diet I followed or pills I took. NHS is useful as a chocolate tea pot they just go eat less. 🤦‍♀️ only thing that did help was injection that nhs won’t do down here in London yet as they like £60 to £120 every 6 days.

    I’m now size 24 sigh. But I saw your progress and was like I’m liking !! This got it down to a tea , let do this !!!!!
    She got the secret. To be fair never seen a larger lady in any WW2 photos so they must of be doing something right.

    So Carolyn !!!! Keep at it , your doing great and your motivating people

    • Stephanie – it might be useful to check out some of the other YouTube channels out there doing similar to Carolyn (just do a search and you’ll find them). If nothing else, they’ll give you further inspiration to succeed.

      Seriously, you don’t need dedicated injections to lose weight – just follow what Carolyn’s been doing over the course of twelve months, don’t waver or cheat, and you’ll win that war.

      It’s early November, so start your planning NOW, and kick it off on the 1st of January. Stick with it, and why not post regular updates here too.

      You have nothing to lose but the weight. 🙂

  10. Thanks Sean! appreciate the support. im 30 next year , i just want to be healthier , i haven’t lost any weight in 10 years.

    this weekend it go time , research on the 1940’s life style and finger crossed it works

    • Only 30? Wow, I wish I was 30 again… LOL!

      I think what Carolyn’s demonstrated, more than once in fact, is that straight forward dieting (going ‘cold turkey’ so to speak) can be really difficult for many people.

      Yet by doing it based on a theme, in this case Second World War rationing, it’s not only proven to be nutritionally healthy and lower calorie (it sustained the population for years), but you can actually learn something from it too whilst having a bit of fun in the process. And all that just helps to drive you on to successful weight loss.

      Even if you’re pants at cooking, that’s okay. Carolyn’s put up literally hundreds of really simple straight forward authentic wartime recipes on this site to try. They may not have quite the same appeal as a Friday night take-away, but the difference it will make by the end of next year will be really noticeable.

      Throw caution to the wind, and just do it! 🙂

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