I’d struggled with my weight since I was young. Throughout primary and secondary school I was the biggest in my class, and the other kids made sure I knew it.
At college, I fell in love with performing arts. I was always the shy one, though, hiding at the back in baggy clothes, and I’d never put myself forward for roles. I settled for the ‘big girl’ parts instead – my confidence was at rock bottom.
When I was 17 I met my boyfriend, Scott. I gained 4st 7lbs in a year from starving myself all day and only eating when I got home. I felt so ashamed of myself that I became obsessed with searching online for ways to lose weight, and would spend hours doing it.
Looking for a quick fix, I tried all the fad diets – the raw diet, all-day fasting, protein shakes – you name it, I tried it! I’d end up starving hungry and sooner or later, I’d give up.
The final straw was when I was asked to move seats on a rollercoaster at Thorpe Park because the bar wouldn’t fasten. It was really humiliating.
I sat down with my mum and confided in her about my weight worries. She was already a Slimming World member, so I agreed to join her at our local group.
It felt hard in the beginning because, at 17, I was the youngest in the group. When Mum and I walked in together my Consultant, Robyn, was really welcoming, though, and talked me through the Food Optimising plan. It sounded too good to be true!
After my first three weeks, I’d lost a stone and gained some much-needed confidence. I got really stuck into group, making friends and looking forward to helping out every week.
As my energy increased, I decided to conquer my fear of exercise. I used to hate anything sporty because it would make me red and sweaty. I was too ashamed of my size to go to a gym – I thought everyone would stare or laugh at me. Now I’ve joined a gym and I love it. It makes me feel strong.
In just over a year, I’ve lost 4st 10lbs and gone from a size 18 to a 12. I’ve changed on the inside, too. I finally feel like I can complete my life-long ambition of singing and dancing on stage. I’ve started taking dance lessons outside of college and I've even had the confidence to take part in a dance competition. I'd never have considered it before!
Being overweight as a young person can be very difficult and something I wish no one had to go through, so if I can inspire just one person to make a change I’ll be very happy. Losing weight isn’t a fix for all of life’s problems, but it’s a great start and losing weight certainly changed things for me and my family.
Lunch: A takeaway meal.
Mid-afternoon: Chocolate bar.
Dinner: Takeaway pizza.
Evening: More chocolate.
Breakfast: Porridge topped with fresh fruit.
Mid-morning: A fat-free yogurt.
Lunch: Jacket potato with a big salad.
Mid-afternoon: Fresh fruit, including mango and pineapple.
Dinner: Home-made curry or stir-fry.
Evening: Small chocolate bar.