I’d struggled with my weight since primary school, and was referred to a dietitian at just 11 years old. I found it all really traumatic – at my hospital appointments I was told that I wouldn’t be able lose the weight without surgery, which is quite a lot to process at such a young age.

I felt so embarrassed and ashamed that I turned to food for comfort, and gained even more weight. It came at a time when I was being badly bullied at school as well, so it was all just too much. I couldn’t see how I could ever change things.

I felt desperate and tried everything to slim down, from slimming shakes to cutting out entire food groups.

Diets never worked because they were too restrictive and I just couldn’t stick to them – and I never learnt anything about healthy eating or how to change my lifestyle.

Then a Slimming World leaflet dropped on to our doormat. It looked quite different to everything I’d tried before, and when I found out about Free2Go (Slimming World’s specially devised eating plan for young people, which focuses on making healthy lifestyle changes with the whole family), Mum and I figured that we’d give it a go. I was worried about joining a group, though/ I thought I’d be judged for being overweight at such a young age and nobody would take me seriously. I couldn’t have been more wrong – I’ve made friends for life at my Slimming World group and was made to feel so welcome! 

I’d always associated losing weight with not eating anything, so it came as a bit of a surprise when I realised I could still eat quite a lot!

My family was really supportive and enjoyed the same meals as me and Mum – favourites like spaghetti bolognese and home-made curry were still on the menu, which made it easy for everyone to get on board. It helped me to learn about food and cooking, too. I’m quite the chef now!

When I was bigger, I’d be out of breath all the time and my feet used to hurt. Now I go to the gym four times a week, I run at the weekends with my brother, and I love it – something I never thought I’d say.

I really enjoy clothes shopping these days, but it used to be an awful experience. I was so down on myself because of my size and I’d end up just buying whatever I could find in a size 24. Now I’m free of that, I experiment with different styles and swap clothes with my friends. I have things in a size 8, which still blows my mind a bit!

My group has been the best support system throughout my journey, they’re like a second family. I’ve had weeks when there was an unexpected gain or I felt like quitting, and they’d build me back up and make me determined to smash the next week.

Although we can’t be together in person at the moment, I love seeing my Consultant and fellow members in my virtual group – it really helps to keep me motivated and on track.

It’s a difficult time for everyone, but as long as we’ve got the support of each other we’ll be OK. 

Losing 8st has made me feel like I can achieve anything. I proved my doubters wrong and for the first time I feel like I have a bright future ahead of me – and that’s an amazing feeling.

Holly’s day on a plate

Before

After

Breakfast

White bread with butter and chocolate spread.

Overnight oats with frozen berries and sliced banana.

Lunch

Sausage roll, crisps. 

Large home-made chicken salad or a ham and pepper omelette. 

Snack

Pastries.

Fruit.

Dinner

Pizza or burger.

Evening

Crisps and sweets.

A Slimming World Hi-fi bar or a small chocolate bar.

*Weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.