Secret slimmer Azra drops 5 dress sizes
A mum who slimmed in secret has become Slimming World's Consultant Slimmer of the Year 2016 for her inspirational weight loss after dropping five dress sizes.
When Azra Bashir was told she needed to lose weight for an operation, she was too embarrassed to tell her family and friends that she’d joined a weight loss club. But now just over two years later the secret’s out and not only is she 4st 3lbs* lighter, she’s also opened her own Slimming World group. Azra shares her story here.
'My weight problems began as a child and by my 30s I thought I was destined to be overweight forever. I tried following meal replacement plans and low-carb diets, but I'd always regain any weight I lost when I went back to my normal eating habits.
'At school I weighed the same as my age; at 12 I was 12st, at 13 I was 13st and so on. As I got older I gained more weight with each of my three pregnancies, and I thought being big was just the way I was going to be for the rest of my life.
'However, in July 2013 I was diagnosed with gallstones and doctors said they’d be unable to operate on me until I'd lost weight. That, coupled with an unflattering photo of me that was taken on a family holiday, was the final straw.
'I saw a banner for my local Slimming World group, and joined in November 2013. I kept the decision a secret from my family and friends though, telling them I was going to a nearby Zumba class instead.
'I didn’t tell anyone I was going to Slimming World. I suppose I thought it was something that wasn’t necessarily seen as part of our Asian culture. I didn’t think Slimming World would fit with my life, that I could eat Asian food, but it fits so well.
'The basic concept of Slimming World’s eating plan is making meals from scratch and that’s the Asian way – finding fresh ingredients and putting them all together to make beautiful food. Once I told my husband and my children they were very supportive and now we all eat our favourite meals but in a Slimming World-friendly way – my husband’s lost 5st, too.
'As I started to lose weight, I decided to actually give Zumba a go too and now I enjoy going to the dance class twice a week.
'In total I've lost 4st 3lbs, dropping from 14st 9½lbs to 10st 6½lbs and a dress size 20 to a 10. And in May 2015, I took the decision to train to become a Slimming World Consultant.
'I thought a lot of Asian people would think the same way that I had about Slimming World, so I wanted to bring it into our community and help as many people as I could to lose weight.
'Weight is something that everybody deals with; it doesn’t matter where you’re from or what your background is – I always make a joke that even in the rainforest there’s probably someone worrying that their ‘bum looks big’. And that’s the thing at Slimming World, everyone there is in the same boat and everyone will get a warm welcome whether you’re 17 or 70.
'Losing weight has changed my life. Before I would sit back and watch my kids play, now I’m an active hands-on mum, and I’ve learned to believe in myself too. Being named Consultant Slimmer of the Year is absolutely amazing, especially to be the first ever Asian woman to win this award.
'When I was younger I loved playing princesses but I could never dress up in the pretty dresses like my friends because they didn’t fit me. Now I feel like I’m Cinderella and Slimming World is my glass slipper – it just fits.'
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose
You'll find more delicious recipe and menu ideas at your local group, along with all the help you need to get started and reach your target weight.