Imagine sailing the seas on a luxury liner with food on offer 24/7. For 34-year-old Gerri Tate from Luton, Bedfordshire this wasn’t a dream holiday, it was her job! Still she navigated her way to a fantastic 6st* weight loss – here’s how...
I can’t believe how much my life has changed since I joined Slimming World. Here’s my diary, charting my course from overweight and uncomfortable to slim, confident and happy...
I’m at an exciting fashion event with Mum – it’s teenage heaven! Girls with modelling potential are having their picture taken and I’d love to be one of them. But when we line up to have a chat with the lady from the modelling agency, she says all the clothes are in small sizes, so I’m not what they’re looking for. At the time, I just shrug off the disappointment. Mum’s brought me up to be proud of the way I look – although sometimes I do wish I could wear the latest cool teenage fashions like my friends.
My mum’s joined Slimming World and I’m going with her. To be honest, my heart isn’t really in it – I don’t feel hugely overweight. I’m still living at home and Mum does the cooking – this means I’m not putting meals together myself, so I don’t get my head around the plan. When Mum can no longer make it to group because of other commitments, I stop going as well.
I love travel and have landed my first job in the industry, on a cruise liner, with ports of call in the Mediterranean and Brazil! Although the man who interviewed me didn’t mention my weight directly, he implied that they preferred staff to be a healthy size. I felt a bit ashamed when he said that. I do diet from time to time, choosing something that promises a fast loss. Then, when I can no longer resist crisps and sweets, the weight piles back on.
Oh dear. I love my new career, but it’s been disastrous for my figure. The combination of shift work, a sedentary job and delicious food on hand whenever I fancy it, has resulted in a big weight gain. I’m having so much fun, though, that I don’t really care. I can always diet it off when I’m back home.
Between cruises, I manage to get my weight down a little. I’ve now been promoted to management, which means the Captain calls me onstage at the beginning of each cruise, to introduce me to the guests at his formal cocktail party. That’s when I dearly wish I was slimmer, and that instead of my old faithful, loosefitting black gown, I could wear something more slinky and young-looking.
I never expected to meet my future husband on a cruise. But I knew there was something special about Rusdi when I saw him singing and playing his guitar in one of the ship’s shows. Now, after dating for nine months, we’re planning to spend two whole months together in his home town of Bandung, Indonesia. Rusdi knows that I don’t always feel 100 per cent comfortable with the way I look. He insists he loves all of me and doesn’t care what size clothes I wear.
Back in the UK again to start my first ever nine-to-five position, working for the head office of my cruise company. The trip to Indonesia was wonderful, and in October Rusdi will be moving here to live with me! I loved staying with his family, although I did notice everyone seemed to be so much slimmer than us Brits. A couple of older women actually praised Rusdi for choosing a girl with ‘good meat on her bones’, which made me feel even more self-conscious.
Just married! We got engaged shortly after Rusdi moved to the UK and decided to hold the wedding as soon as we could. I wore a lovely cream dress with a shawl. I did consider losing weight before the big day, then thought, why go through the stress of depriving myself? Mum worries that I might develop Type 2 diabetes, as she has. I’ve been tested, though, and so far I’m OK. Sometimes I do think I should be more active. Rusdi loves badminton, so maybe we’ll give it a try. It would be fun to do something new together.
Disaster: I’ve snapped my Achilles tendon. I was playing badminton with Rusdi as part of my campaign to get fit and lose weight in time for my brother’s wedding in September. Now I’m confined to the sofa, unable to put any weight on my right foot. Rusdi is cooking me lovely Indonesian food to cheer me up.
My sister-in-law looked so elegant at her wedding. I felt like I’d ruined all the wedding photos by being such a big bridesmaid. The doctors told me the excess weight I was carrying around was impeding my recovery, which really worried me.
I went to my GP and asked for Slimming World on Referral as I’d heard it operated in my area. It was really hard to admit that I needed help, so I was deflated when my doctor’s initial response was to suggest that I eat more protein and become more active instead. I was determined, though, and pressed on, explaining that I’d tried to diet without support and it really hadn’t worked. My doctor was persuaded, thank goodness.
I’m so glad I made it to group that first night. People were so lovely and friendly to me, any initial trepidation I felt quickly disappeared. I left feeling both reassured and inspired. Now I’ve lost more than one-and-a-half stones in just eight weeks. I can’t quite believe it. This time around, I was determined to understand everything about Slimming World from the word go (although during the first week I did think that avocado was a Free Food – it was a good job I’d completed my Food Diaries, so that my Consultant could pick up my misunderstanding and put me straight!). Every week, I put on the same green dress for my weigh-in. And you know what? It’s starting to get a bit bigger on me now.
My group is fantastic, and I always stay for IMAGE Therapy. I’m sure it’s a big part of the reason why I’ve lost weight every single week since I joined. I learn so much from listening to other members. I also like being able to tell new members how much I’ve lost, too!
I’ve lost so much weight, and yet I’m eating more food than ever before. I make porridge with fruit for breakfast, snack on fruit all morning, have a big serving of pasta salad at lunch and a cooked meal in the evening. Now I’m getting married again in Indonesia! It’s a blessing rather than a full ceremony – Rusdi’s family arranged it as a lovely surprise. This time round I’m wearing a gorgeous traditional dress and make-up. I would never have been able to fit into it before. Now I’m size 14, it’s no problem at all. It’s wonderful to feel so glamorous.
Oh my goodness. I’m at my personal target! As my group and my wonderfully supportive Consultant, Heather, gather around to congratulate me, I think about how much my life has changed in just nine months, thanks to their unfailing support. I was hardly able to do any sort of activity at first. Then I joined an aqua exercise class in January 2014, and now I go to BodyPump and spin classes and run three times a week. I’ve even completed the York Marathon! My dad can’t believe it. He’s always been very fit and in the blink of an eye I’ve changed from someone who couldn’t get moving to joining him as his running mate. It’s a lovely way for us to spend time together. And Mum’s so proud of everything I’ve achieved.
January 2015 Can you believe it? After all these years, I’m finally starring in a photoshoot! I was so excited when I heard I’d been chosen to appear in Slimming World magazine. It’ll be a wonderful way to celebrate the new me. Seeing myself in print will be the extra proof I need to believe that, after being overweight for so many years, I’m finally slim for good.
*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.