I struggled with my weight from childhood. By the time I was 15, I was taking slimming shakes into school for lunch. I couldn’t stick to them, nor to any of the other diets I tried – fasting, cereal diets, juicing, calorie counting... I’d always crack after a few days and quickly make up for feeling starved.
I have a degree in nutrition and teach food technology to secondary school students. You’d think knowing so much about healthy eating would have helped me, but I struggled to apply the science to my daily life. I was good at putting on a smile and people would have generally described me as ‘bubbly’. In reality, though, my confidence was at rock bottom.
I’d started following a blog written by Slimming World Consultant Nikki Ryan, and it was amazing! She posted pictures of all the delicious recipes she was cooking – she never seemed to stop eating! And she looked incredible. I felt she knew a secret – something I didn’t despite my nutritional training. So when a friend joined Slimming World, I decided to go along, too.
I’d always tried to lose weight on my own before, so I didn’t know what to expect and I was worried about being judged or having to step on the scales in front of everyone – which, of course, I didn’t.
I hadn’t had pasta for years, so being told I could eat it and still lose weight seemed too good to be true!
I lost 2½lbs the first week and 3½lbs the second, then after that my weight started to yo-yo. Some weeks I’d stick to the plan and lose, others I’d be sent off the rails by the guilt of having a “bad” day – and occasionally I’d go back to being really restrictive about what I ate and not understand why I wasn’t shedding pounds. It wasn’t until one night at group in November, five months after joining, that something clicked and I finally “got it”.
I usually start the day with a protein-loaded omelette with ham, cheese and lots of veg that keeps me full all morning. For lunch I eat leftovers from my dinner the night before, with fruit and a Free fat-free natural yogurt. Dinner is something like pasta, curry or steak and Slimming World chips. I used to have a real sweet tooth, then as my meals became more balanced, I found I craved chocolate less.
Body Magic is a big part of my life and I still love going to the gym. I do aerobic and strength classes three times a week, plus I walk my dog. I've also signed up to do an outdoor obstacle race called Tough Mudder.
I even became a poster girl for the Sheffield city Move More campaign, which encourages people to be active and enjoy the whole-life benefits of exercise.
My picture was on a billboard outside Sheffield Wednesday’s football ground – that was a real thrill.
Last summer, I felt confident in a bikini for the first time ever. I’ve been so many sizes over the years that my bank balance has taken a battering! Now I love the feeling of zipping up a size-10 dress so much, I’m determined that’s where I’ll stay.
Taking pictures of the food I cook and posting them online really helps me to keep on plan. The response to my posts has been incredible and now I have 5,000 followers on Facebook. I discovered Slimming World because I followed Nikki’s blog and now other people are being inspired by me – that makes me really proud.
For the first time, I have a healthy attitude to food. I really feel that without Slimming World I would have ended up very overweight, or perhaps with an eating disorder. That’s why I want to share its benefits with as many people as possible. I’ve become a Consultant now and I know exactly how my members feel when they walk through that door into group. We’re all in this together – and together you can do anything.
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.