I’d struggled with my weight since childhood – I didn’t know what it was like to shop in fashionable high-street stores or swap clothes with my friends. I was a size 16 at the age of 16, and when I left home my eating habits became even less healthy. I’d have a takeaway for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Unsurprisingly, the weight piled on very quickly and, before I knew it, I was almost 19st.
When I was expecting my son, Joshua, and then later my daughter, Charlotte (now 12 and nine), I remember feeling disappointed that people didn’t congratulate me or ask about the baby – and I think it was because my weight meant that I didn’t look obviously pregnant. As the children got older and started to become more active, I realised that I could end up missing out because I wasn’t fit enough to keep up with them.
The turning point came when my husband and I went to Alton Towers and decided to go on the ‘Air’ ride. After a bit of a struggle I managed to get the harness to fit, but as the ride started I began to panic that it wouldn’t be able to hold my weight. I cried the whole way round. Worst of all, it took three men to get me out of the harness. I was so mortified – especially as everyone in the queue looked on – that we just went straight home afterwards.
Later that day I came across a picture of an old school friend on social media. She’d lost a lot of weight and was looking great, so I messaged her to see how she’d done it. She told me that she’d joined Slimming World. I decided enough was enough and looked up my nearest group.