‘Miss Slinky’ Megan has lost 5st and hopes to inspire others
A young woman who says being overweight left her insecure and filled with self-loathing wants to give hope to others after losing more than 5st.
At nearly 17st Megan McGee, who has been named Slimming World’s Miss Slinky 2016*, felt like an inconvenience to those around her and hated what she saw looking back at her in the mirror. Now, since dropping from a size 22 to a 10/12, the 25-year-old says she feels like a new woman and wants to let other people know that it’s possible for them to change their lives just as she’s done.
Megan, who lives with her parents and brother in Middlesex, says: “To those around me I probably looked happy enough but a smile can hide a lot – I happen to have a pretty large smile and I used my smile to hide behind. But, in reality, I was a deeply unhappy person – I had no self-worth and no self-esteem.
“Since losing weight I’m physically and mentally stronger than I’ve ever been before. The physical changes are great, but the psychological changes I’ve had are the ones that have benefitted my life beyond anything I could ever have imagined; my weight loss has been an outward reflection of my healthier state of mind. I want anyone who’s struggling with their weight to know that they don’t have to struggle forever, and they certainly don’t have to do it alone because there is help and support out there.”
The student nurse says that when growing up she was always bigger than her friends but saw her weight increase dramatically after entering into an abusive relationship that lasted almost 5 years. She says: “I stopped doing all the things I used to do like seeing friends and going to the gym, so I became quite isolated. When I started reconnecting with my friends again, I realised that I had become the ‘fat friend’. I didn’t like going out because I hated the way I looked, shopping for clothes would always end in tears because I had become so embarrassed about my size and could rarely find things I liked to fit. On buses and trains I would feel incredibly self-conscious and humiliated about taking up two seats and invading other people’s space, so much so that I felt like my life had become an inconvenience to everyone around me.”
I realised that I needed to become my own best friend instead of my harshest critic.
In early 2013, Megan had a revelation. She says: “One day I suddenly thought to myself, ‘Just imagine how different life could be if I were to take all of this time and effort that I spend hating myself and put the same amount of time and effort into creating a life that I love and could be proud of’. I realised that I needed to become my own best friend instead of my harshest critic. I decided that I wanted to do something with my life that would benefit the lives of others, so I enrolled at the University of Surrey to study Adult Nursing and could not believe it when I got in. I decided that I wanted to be the healthiest version of myself that I could be in that role too, so when a friend of mine asked me to join Slimming World with her it just felt like the timing was right.”
Megan joined the Sunbury Slimming World group, along with her mum Sue, in September 2013 and they began following the Food Optimising healthy eating plan. She says: “We’re originally from America so our family celebrations, like Thanksgiving and Fourth of July usually centre around food. I’ve tried other diets in the past but counting and measuring everything I ate completely took the joy out of food for me. I realised that I didn’t need another diet I needed a lifestyle change, and straightaway Food Optimising just seemed too good to be true. I was eating a lot of the same meals as before but I learned how to make them differently so they were healthier like using lean meat and making sauces from scratch. I definitely eat more now than I did before and I never feel hungry or unsatisfied. I used to skip breakfast or lunch and would end up snacking and grazing all day, now I have regular mealtimes and enjoy wholesome homemade dinners. My favourite is Slimming World’s Chilli con carne with rice and salad.
“Following the Food Optimising plan with my Mom and having the chance to support each other throughout this journey has really deepened our relationship. I cannot thank her enough for showing me just how strong women can be.”
As she slimmed down Megan, who spent part of her childhood in Africa, also became much more active. At her heaviest she found any form of exercise uncomfortable and felt self-conscious about working out. Now Megan loves being active; she enjoys playing volleyball, going to Zumba and Body Pump classes at her gym and has just signed up for personal training sessions. Megan has lots more energy for her busy shifts as a healthcare assistant at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital Trust, where she works alongside her nursing placement in St Peter’s accident and emergency department, too.
Megan has now lost a total of 5st 1lb, dropping from 16st 13lbs to 11st 12lbs and a dress size 22 to a 10/12, and would like to lose a little more to reach her newly-set target weight. Her mum also reached her target weight with Slimming World having lost 1st 7lbs.
Since losing weight she’s had the confidence to medically volunteer in Tanzania for her elective nursing placement, and this summer she’ll be travelling to the Alaskan wilderness to work at her family’s new business ‘The Alaska Trophy Adventures Lodge’. Her biggest ambition in life is to travel and explore, using her nursing career as means of providing healthcare to people all over the world, and she’s set her sights on medically volunteering on the Africa Mercy Ship in the future. Megan says: “I’m definitely still a work in progress, but I feel so much happier in my life and my smile is real now. I feel like I’ve woken up from being asleep on myself for years and I’m discovering a whole new me – a me that I am insanely proud of and am learning to love unconditionally. I’ve found a sense of peace with myself that I’ve never had before.
“It’s crazy to think that I have won Slimming World’s Miss Slinky 2016 because I’m sure there are so many other women who deserve this title – in fact, I know of many in my Slimming World group alone. I feel as though Slimming World offered me a glimmer of hope at a time in my life where I didn’t have any. From that first night when I walked into the group and got such a warm welcome from my Consultant Denise and all of the other members, I knew there was no going back. I’ve got so much joy, hope and excitement in my life and I feel as though I’ve been completely revived, so I’m incredibly proud to have won this title.
“Above all else, I want to be an ambassador of hope to those who feel as hopeless as I did. I feel honoured to get to be a part of the glimmer of hope that Slimming World offers people who are trying to improve their lives, and I want to inspire people to be brave enough to take that first step and really embrace the chance to change. There really is nothing to lose and so much to gain.”
Name: Megan McGee
Starting weight: 16st 13lbs/237lbs/107kg
Current weight: 11st 12lbs/166lbs/75kg
Weight loss: 5st 1lb/71lbs/32kg
Starting dress size: 22
Current dress size: 10/12
Date joined Slimming World: September 10th 2013
Group: Megan attends the Sunbury Slimming World group run by Denise Tomlinson.
Breakfast: Cup of coffee, sometimes with a chocolate croissant
Mid-morning: Another cup of coffee
Lunch: Frequently skipped lunch or sandwich, crisps and a chocolate bar
Mid-afternoon: Chocolate bar, crisps, biscuits or a slice of cake
Dinner: Big portions of mum’s dinners or takeaway kebab, Chinese, Indian or pizza
Evening: Chocolate, crisps, biscuits or cake again.
Breakfast: Weetabix with skimmed milk and chopped fruit or porridge with fresh fruit
Mid-morning: Fat-free yogurt or piece of fruit
Lunch: Jacket potato topped with tuna and sweetcorn or baked beans and cheese, with salad
Mid-afternoon: Carrot sticks, fat-free yogurt, piece of fruit or some homemade ‘Slimming World’-style quiche
Dinner: Homemade chilli con carne with extra veg, boiled rice and salad. Followed with sugar-free jelly and fruit for pudding
Evening: 2-finger Kit Kat with a cup of tea.
Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell (OBE, FRSA) in 1969. There are now more than 18,000 groups held weekly across the UK and Republic of Ireland via a network of 4,000 community-based Slimming World Consultants, who receive specific training in the role of diet and physical activity in weight management, as well as sophisticated behaviour-change techniques.
Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, Food Optimising, is based on the science of satiety and energy density. Our phased activity programme, Body Magic, eases members into activity until it becomes an intrinsic part of their daily routine. The principles behind Slimming World’s philosophy are based on a deep understanding of the challenges faced by overweight people and a recognition that those who struggle with weight carry a double burden, the weight itself and a burden of guilt and shame about their weight. Slimming World’s programme integrates practical, up-to-date advice with a highly developed support system based on care and compassion, and Consultant training focuses on facilitating behaviour change in a warm and friendly group environment. Consultant training is delivered through the Slimming World Academy. Slimming World also invests in a comprehensive research programme to develop its support for long-term weight management. The group support provided by Slimming World is recognised as effective by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the NHS.
For more information about Slimming World’s approach visit www.slimmingworld.co.uk or call 0344 897 8000.
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