Working as a hairdresser when you're not keen on your reflection is a bit of a challenge – you can't avoid it! At my heaviest, I hated looking at myself in the salon mirrors every day.
I'd tried all kinds of restrictive diets and bizarre fads, without success. Then one of my clients, who'd clearly lost a lot of weight and looked amazing, told me about Slimming World and suggested I go along to group with her.
I make all my own soups and sauces from scratch – in fact, I’m famous for my Slimming World-friendly creamy garlic mushroom pasta.
In my first week I lost 7lbs and I've never looked back. Two years later, I reached my target weight of 10st 1lb, having lost over 3st. I didn’t race to target because it was important to me that this wasn’t just another quick fix. Slimming World has never once felt like a diet – to me it was about getting to where I wanted to be and staying there.
The day I hit target, I felt incredible – and fitting into a pair of size 12 jeans was the best feeling!
A typical day might be scrambled egg on wholemeal toast or a classic big breakfast fried in low-calorie cooking spray, with chunky home-made soup for lunch, then a big plate of pasta with lots of veg for dinner. In the evening I enjoy a small packet of crisps and a bottle of lager.
Within a year of becoming a Slimming World Consultant, I decided to give up hairdressing to concentrate on it full time. Now I look after 500 members in my groups each week and I love it.
I've also trained as a fitness instructor and started teaching Zumba on a Friday night to Slimming World members in the area. All of the money goes to charity and recently we raised £1,000 for Help for Heroes.
This year I’ll be celebrating 20 years at my target weight. I love being able to say to people, ‘I’m going to help you get to where you want to be and stay there’, and I think that keeps me even more motivated, too.
To me, Food Optimising is just natural: it’s the way I shop, the way I cook, the way I look at a recipe – I always joke that it’s as natural as putting on my red lipstick. If I can inspire one person to join Slimming World who wouldn’t have done otherwise, then I’ll be happy.
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.