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Marisa Mackle: I don't want to be the fat mum at the school

MY son's uniform arrived by courier last week. I carefully hung it up in his wardrobe, ready for school in three weeks' time.

It feels weird. I still can't get my head around the fact that Gary is starting school soon. I mean, I still consider him a baby.

He still sleeps with Blue Teddy and his soother! When people tell me they have a baby, I always automatically answer: "Oh, so do I!"

But I don't have a baby, do I? I've a little boy who will soon be wearing a shirt and tie to school. God, where on earth did the time fly to?


It seems like just the other day that I was pregnant. And, to be honest, sometimes I still feel pregnant, never having properly lost all the baby weight. I was never cut out to be a bikini model anyway, but at least I could wear bikinis on holidays. Now it's a bathing suit and matching sarong. Bikinis and Caesarean scars don't tend to exactly complement each other.

Now that Gary is going to big school, I've stared to fret a bit. After all, I don't want to be the fat mum at the school gates.

I have tried every diet under the sun, only to give up at the first hurdle. I blamed everyone from Gary leaving his leftovers on his plate, to my dad cooking me my favourite risotto, to friends calling over with wine.

I knew my weight was creeping up over the past couple of years, but I didn't really care. Yes, it was annoying, and it crossed my mind more than a few times that I should really do something about it.

But the excuses came so readily. How could I join a gym when I had to mind Gary?

How uneconomical was it to make a balanced evening meal for him and another low-carb one for myself?

Mum would tell me off for wearing an elasticated dress. I thought it was quite pretty, but she threatened to throw it in the bin.

Even Dad said I'd better slim down before I got diabetes. So it's not like people weren't warning me. One extended family member even offered to go to Weight Watchers with me!


But of course I made up excuses that I didn't have enough time. Friends never said I'd put on weight. They wouldn't dare. Nobody ever says: "You're looking great having fattened up, how did you do it?"

But I do notice surprise in people's faces when they haven't seen me in a while. Some don't recognise me at all.

Recently, I was at a smart Beverly Hills boutique in LA. None of the large-size dresses fitted. The rail-thin assistant offered a sympathetic look. "We do have a few extra-large sizes in the store room," she said. "We don't tend to put them on the shop floor as there isn't much demand," she trailed off.

The absolute shame! So I started the Atkins diet the following week. Atkins allows you to eat as much eggs, meat, fish and chicken as you like.

The only problem is I'm a strict vegetarian. I ate so many eggs I almost turned into an egg. I lost three pounds. As the politician would say, "a lot done, more to do".