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With many people waving their children back to school, the start of a new season and with real-life Slimming World groups reopening, now is the perfect time to get your health back on track if you’ve been struggling. Slimming World member Karen Darler decided to focus on her own health after realising she was missing out on an active life with her family. Read all about her fresh start – and find out how to get £20 off a Slimming World Online membership – here…
Walking along the beach with my husband Steve at sunset, I felt so proud of how far I’d come in the last eight months. Here I was, feeling confident wearing a black dress that I’d bought from a fashionable clothing brand, fresh from a day spent swimming laps in the pool and relaxing in the sun. It was a world away from how I’d felt the previous summer, when I was 7st heavier and had felt uncomfortable in the heat and very self conscious.
My weight started creeping up after leaving school and continued to rise when I began working for a travel company (and all the social benefits that brings!) I enjoyed my fair share of takeaways and meals out while travelling around the country as part of my job, and my weight gradually increased without me recognising the impact it was having on my health. I attempted to lose weight several times over the years, including joining my local Slimming World group more than once. Although I loved the meal choices and camaraderie of the other members, I found trying to slim whilst juggling a family life with a hectic full-time job didn’t leave much time to focus on myself. I soon lost my motivation for slimming and stopped going to group, quickly regaining the weight I’d lost.
As I reached my mid-40s, even climbing stairs was leaving me breathless. Steve had always been active and wanted us to try a skiing holiday. He encouraged me to join him for walks as a starting point. I desperately wanted to share his love of the outdoors, but I was always nursing sore knees and hips and couldn’t see myself enjoying any form of fitness.
My turning point
Things finally came to a head in January 2020. I was on my phone, scrolling through the family photos we’d taken over Christmas. While Steve, my son and parents looked so happy, there was something missing…me! I had become so self-conscious about my appearance that I avoided every photo opportunity, offering to take them myself. Realising I was missing out on making memories with my family brought my weight into sharp focus. I resolved to change my lifestyle for good and re-joined Slimming World later that month.
As I pulled up outside my local Slimming World group, I almost couldn’t bring myself to step inside. What if I was the biggest person in the room, or worse, if I saw someone I knew? But I had to give it a try, so I took a deep breath and walked into group. As soon as I got in there, my worries were swept away. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. When I got home, I read the new member pack and planned the meals I was going to batch cook, like bolognese and chicken tagine, to make it easier to fit Food Optimising around my busy work schedule.
A new healthy routine
From the start, Steve was right behind me. He would help with the food shopping and prep our meals while I was out at work, and in the evenings he’d encourage me to join him for a walk. At first, I could only make it to the end of the road; then gradually the distances increased. Soon after, I joined a ladies’ gym, initially doing a weekly half-hour circuit. It was hard at first; even a ladies’ only gym was not my idea of fun. But my progress was steady and, as my fitness improved, I started doing higher intensity sessions several times a week.
Within a couple of months, I’d lost 2½st and I was getting into the swing of my healthy lifestyle…then lockdown happened. I was placed on furlough and, with my Slimming World group temporarily suspended, I knew I could easily fall back into unhealthy eating habits. I’d already noticed a difference in my body shape and confidence, and I was determined to use the time to focus on getting even healthier and fitter. Although I missed the interaction of my Consultant and group members during lockdown, I logged into every virtual session and used the Slimming World Magazine and website to find new recipes. With the gym also closed, we stepped up the walks, eventually achieving distances up to 5 miles around the Daventry Country Park area every day without fail.
Embracing new horizons
Despite having a couple of blips along the way when I maintained my weight for two consecutive weeks, my Consultant Louise and the other members rallied to remind me how far I’d come, which motivated me to continue through. By the time we could meet in-person again in August, I’d achieved an overall loss of 7st. It felt great to receive my weight loss awards and having face-to-face contact again. This spurred me on to set a goal of losing 10st by Christmas and with weekly groups back up and running I’m confident that I can achieve this.
Thankfully, the lockdown restrictions eased enough to travel on our holiday. On the plane I didn’t need a seat-belt extension this time (even the tray table came down!), which was a relief and fantastic start to our trip. The holiday itself was amazing. We swam and walked along the beach every day and it felt great to be active together – things that were impossible before. In the evenings I looked forward to wearing my new outfits (losing weight definitely reignited my passion for fashion!).
During this year I have become more aware of the health dangers associated with being overweight. I know that by eating healthier foods, getting more active and losing weight I’m doing everything I can to improve my long-term health. Losing 7st 4½lbs has really broadened my horizons, with a skiing holiday high on that list. I’m so glad that I joined Slimming World in January. Now, my knees and hips are pain free and I’m planning a life full of new possibilities. And this Christmas I will be in the family photos!
Get £20 off Slimming World Online membership
If you’re like Karen and feeling ready to reset your health, we’ve got a special offer to help you get started. We’re offering £20 or €25 off Slimming World Online membership if you sign up before 10th October 2020. If you’d like to take that step towards better health, click here and enter the offer code RESET to take up the offer.
Best-ever Slimming World offer for new and existing members
If Karen’s story has inspired you to join a Slimming World group, we’re running our best-ever offer. When you commit to a six-week Countdown before 10th October 2020, you’ll receive a FREE copy of our new recipe book, Take 5, Second Helpings, and get six weeks for the price of five. Contact your local Consultant to book your place in group.