My weight loss saved my life!
After her mother suffered a fatal heart attack, 39-year-old Georgina Wallace from Feltham in London was warned that she'd follow in her footsteps if she didn’t lose weight herself. Now she's lost nearly 8st* and says slimming down hasn’t only changed her life, it’s saved her life.
"I'd been overweight since primary school and my weight spiralled out of control after losing both my parents in my mid-20s. I was 26 when my dad was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer, then a year later my mum had a heart attack and died just days later. My world was completely thrown upside down and food was my only comfort.
"While my mum was in intensive care the doctor explained that the main reason my mum was lying in that hospital bed at just 59-years-old was her weight. He warned me that I was heavier than her and, if I carried on the way I was going, would probably not even reach her age. Those words will stay with me forever.
"Following my mother’s death, I nursed my father until he died 18 months later. Afterwards, with the doctor’s warning still ringing in my ears, I tried slimming down and yo-yo dieted for more than seven years. While I managed to lose 7st at one point, I found the diets I followed didn’t help me to change my relationship with food and I struggled to manage my weight in the long term.
"I finally joined Slimming World in 2010 after hearing about the club’s Food Optimising eating plan from an ex-work colleague. We’d gone out for dinner and my friend ordered a huge plate of pasta with cheese on the top and even had a glass of wine, yet she told me she could have all of this with Slimming World and still lose weight. I looked up my nearest group as soon as I got home and joined the very next week.
“I was terrified of walking into a room full of strangers. I thought I’d be the biggest person there and worried everyone would judge me because of my size. I couldn’t have been more wrong though; nobody was pointing or laughing or judging me and straightaway I felt like I was one of them. It was a magical feeling; I felt safe and I knew I belonged in that room.
I discovered a love of cooking including whipping up my favourite homemade chilli con carne with rice. I make it using lean beef mince (less than 5% fat), onions, peppers, courgettes, mushrooms, tomatoes, mixed beans and lots of chilli powder and cumin. It's so tasty, filling and always feels like a treat.
"For breakfast I enjoy porridge piled high with strawberries and raspberries and snack on fruit all morning. I enjoy my lunch at work which is usually homemade chicken soup or a massive salad packed with chicken, pasta and mixed beans. If I'm not having my favourite chilli for dinner, I love curries, roast dinners, salmon stir-frys and homemade burgers. In the evening I enjoy low-Syn treats like hot chocolate, small chocolate bars or popcorn.
"I also started slowly becoming more active by tracking my steps. Nowadays I walk around 20,000 steps a day including the 5km home from work and I've taken up running, completing several 5km runs and one 10km run to raise money for charity. I've also quit smoking!
“For the first time in 30 years I am in control of my eating. I used to treat myself with food when I was happy and comfort myself with food when I was sad or angry. Everything I’ve achieved has shown me that I am a strong person and I don’t need to use food as an emotional crutch anymore.
I’ve been a Slimming World Consultant for nearly 18 months now. Knowing that every week my members are changing their lives and I’m helping them to do that makes me so proud. They motivate and help me to stay on track in my own journey too, so this award is for them as well as me.
“I’m fitter and healthier – my doctor says I have ‘perfect’ blood pressure – than I have ever been in my life, so I always say that losing weight hasn’t only changed my life it’s saved my life. I would love to go back to the hospital and thank the doctor who looked after my mum because even though I didn’t act on his words straightaway I never forgot them. My only regret is that my parents died before I took control of my weight, I know they’d be extremely proud of me though.
"My next challenge is to fulfil a lifetime ambition to scuba dive. I've always loved the water but the fear of putting on a wet suit has always held me back. Now I’ve lost weight I feel like I can do anything so this is definitely top of my to-do list.”
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose
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