I've fixed my relationship with food
Before teacher Charlotte Hall from Sheffield joined Slimming World, she was trapped in a crazy-restrictive diet she knew wasn’t sustainable. Now 3st 10lbs lighter, she’s a role model for eating well, being active and staying slim for life.
‘I struggled with my weight from childhood. By the time I was 15, I was taking slimming shakes into school for lunch. I couldn’t stick to them, nor to any of the other diets I tried – fasting, cereal diets, juicing, calorie counting... I’d always crack after a few days and quickly make up for feeling starved.
‘I have a degree in nutrition and teach food technology to secondary school students. You’d think knowing so much about healthy eating would have helped me, but I struggled to apply the science to my daily life. I was good at putting on a smile and people would have generally described me as “bubbly”. In reality, though, my confidence was at rock bottom.
Discovering Slimming World
‘I’d started following a blog written by Slimming World Consultant Nikki Ryan, and it was amazing! She posted pictures of all the delicious recipes she was cooking – she never seemed to stop eating! And she looked incredible. I felt she knew a secret – something I didn’t despite my nutritional training. So when a friend joined Slimming World, I decided to go along, too.
‘I’d always tried to lose weight on my own before, so I didn’t know what to expect and I was worried about being judged or having to step on the scales in front of everyone – which, of course, I didn’t.
I hadn’t had pasta for years, so being told I could eat it and still lose weight seemed too good to be true!
‘I lost 2½lbs the first week and 3½lbs the second, then after that my weight started to yo-yo. Some weeks I’d stick to the plan and lose, others I’d be sent off the rails by the guilt of having a “bad” day – and occasionally I’d go back to being really restrictive about what I ate and not understand why I wasn’t shedding pounds. It wasn’t until one night at group in November, five months after joining, that something clicked and I finally “got it”.
‘I usually start the day with a protein-loaded omelette with ham, cheese and lots of veg that keeps me full all morning. For lunch I eat leftovers from my dinner the night before, with fruit and a Free yogurt. Dinner is something like pasta, curry or steak and Slimming World chips. I used to have a real sweet tooth, then as my meals became more balanced, I found I craved chocolate less.
‘Body Magic is a big part of my life and I still love going to the gym. I do aerobic and strength classes three times a week, plus I walk my dog. I've also signed up to do an outdoor obstacle race called Tough Mudder.
I even became a poster girl for the Sheffield city Move More campaign, which encourages people to be active and enjoy the whole-life benefits of exercise.
‘My picture was on a billboard outside Sheffield Wednesday’s football ground – that was a real thrill.
Last summer, I felt confident in a bikini for the first time ever. I’ve been so many sizes over the years that my bank balance has taken a battering! Now I love the feeling of zipping up a size-10 dress so much, I’m determined that’s where I’ll stay.
‘Taking pictures of the food I cook and posting them online really helps me to keep on plan. The response to my posts has been incredible and now I have 5,000 followers on Facebook. I discovered Slimming World because I followed Nikki’s blog and now other people are being inspired by me – that makes me really proud.
‘For the first time, I have a healthy attitude to food. I really feel that without Slimming World I would have ended up very overweight, or perhaps with an eating disorder. That’s why I want to share its benefits with as many people as possible. I’ve become a Consultant now and I know exactly how my members feel when they walk through that door into group. We’re all in this together – and together you can do anything.’
*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.