Slimming World has given me my life back
Once warned by her GP that she’d be dead or confined to a wheelchair if she didn’t lose weight, Cheryl Blythe from Basildon, Essex shunned weight loss surgery and joined Slimming World. She's lost a stunning 14st 3lbs* to completely transform her life, and has been crowned Slimming World's Woman of the Year 2015.
“My family says I’ve always been the ‘button’ that holds everything together, but the irony of it is that while I was looking after all of them, I let myself go.
“My weight problems began when I fell pregnant with my daughter when I was 17. Feeling lonely as a young mum, I comfort ate in secret to pass the time. I got so big that I couldn’t look after myself. My children would have to help me fasten my shoes and get dressed and my neighbour would do my shopping. I managed to keep working as a carer though, although I don’t know how. I had a BMI of 62 and my GP told me that if I didn’t do something about my weight I would be in a wheelchair or dead by the time I was 45. He suggested a gastric band, but I turned him down, and now I’m so glad I did!
I felt that by having a gastric band fitted I wouldn’t be learning anything about healthy eating or my own relationship with food – or helping my children to have a good understanding of healthy eating either.
“The day that changed my life was 9th September 2013. I went on a day out to Southend and my weight affected everything we did that day – my back was so painful, we had to keep stopping when we were walking so I could catch my breath, I couldn’t fit in some chairs because they were too small, and I felt like everyone was staring at me the whole time. I realised that at 31 my friends had become my carers and I couldn’t pretend I was okay anymore. Two days later, I joined Slimming World.
“I’d been a member a few times before so I was quite embarrassed about walking back into the group, but I needn’t have been as I got a really warm welcome. My Consultant Clare asked me what had gone wrong before and I told her how demoralising I’d found it when I’d lost a decent amount of weight – around 4st – and yet not dropped a dress size. I’d become fixated on going down a clothes size and quit when it hadn’t happened as soon as I’d expected. But we talked about it and I realised that at my heaviest I’d been squeezing myself into clothes that were too small and when I lost weight those clothes had actually become very loose, so I had probably lost a dress size – or more – without realising it. That was like a lightbulb moment for me, I felt more motivated than I ever had before and I’ve never looked back since.
“Now going to group every week is like being part of a family, we’re there for each other when we have good weeks and bad weeks and no-one ever passes judgement on one another.”
“With Slimming World I’ve discovered how to cook and eat delicious food that’s good for me too – and my family enjoy the same meals. Me and my 16-year-old daughter love cooking together now. I’ve swapped takeaways for healthy home-cooked meals including spaghetti Bolognese and chilli con carne.
“After losing 7st, I also started to become more active. I began walking more regularly and soon that progressed to running. Now I no longer suffer with back pain or breathing problems, and my doctor says I’m an inspiration to other people who are struggling with their weight. In fact, he’s asked me to give a talk to other patients about Slimming World.
“Slimming World has given me my life back. My health problems have disappeared, I no longer sit on the sidelines while my family have fun without me, my friends aren’t my carers anymore, I can wear whatever I want; the list is endless.
Being named as Slimming World’s Woman of the Year 2015 is an amazing way to recognise how much my life has changed.
“I’m now at the weight I’ve always wanted to be and I’m excited to be able to pass my experiences and support on to other members of the Basildon group. My family always said I was their ‘button’, holding things together, now my Slimming World group are my ‘button’. I’m so glad I didn’t go down the route of weight-loss surgery and I know that with everything I’ve changed and the new habits I’ve learned I’ll never go back to the way I used to be.”
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.
*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.