I slimmed to be a bridesmaid – and now I’m next!
Holly Weir, 27, lost 3st 7lbs* and is a Slimming World Consultant for the Levenshulme group in Manchester, where she lives with her fiancé, Jono.
“One of my earliest memories of being overweight is a primary school teacher humiliating me in front of my friends. She said I was so big, I wasn’t able to fit into the standard uniform. I can still remember how ashamed I felt. I wasn’t aware that there was anything wrong with my diet. I came from a family where we all had big appetites and finished everything on our plates, so I just thought it was natural to be larger. At one point, everyone in my family was trying to lose weight – even the cat!
By the age of 14, I’d been on numerous diets, including one that involved more or less living on beetroot (I’ve not been able to face it since!). I got into a pattern of losing then regaining the same stone or so, and was around a size 16 by the time I started university.
When I met my fiancé, Jono, I was at a loss to understand what someone so good-looking saw in me. It didn’t matter how many times Jono explained that he loved me for who I was – I felt like people were looking at us and wondering why we were together...
After graduating with a marketing degree, I started a job as a media planner.
On the outside, I came across as fairly confident and outgoing. On the inside, though, I hated the way I looked.
I covered up whenever I could in baggy clothes to disguise my tummy, hips and thighs, never imagining that things could be any different. I thought I was destined to a lifetime of starting a diet on Monday, getting bored and giving up by the end of the week.
The turning point came at Christmas 2014, when Jono and I were invited to be witnesses at a friend’s wedding. While I felt OK on the day in my gold sequinned dress, I wasn’t at all happy when I saw the photos. My best friend, Hannah, had invited me to be a bridesmaid at her wedding that summer, and I couldn’t face the thought of more unflattering pictures. I realised now was the time to get serious about tackling my weight. No more daft diets – I was going to find a new, healthy way to eat, and stick to it. I joined Slimming World in January 2015 and straight away I knew it was right for me. I’d been expecting to have to give up my beloved pasta, potatoes and wine. Finding instead that there were no banned foods was a real plus, especially as my job involves lots of parties, receptions and meals out. I’d just need to spend my Syns wisely and plan ahead, choosing pasta in tomato sauces and lean steaks with any dressings or sauces on the side. Slimming World macaroni cheese was one of my go-to dishes when I was cooking at home, along with Free barbecue pulled pork, which was a real crowd-pleaser whenever we had friends over for a meal.
In my first week I lost 4½lbs and was so excited. It gave me the courage to start exercising again, too. School PE lessons were always such a nightmare that I’d avoided physical activity ever since – now, as an adult, I was relieved to find the gym a much more friendly experience. These days, I enjoy it so much that I go most mornings before work.
I carried on losing 2lbs or so almost every week, so that just before Hannah’s wedding day in July, I’d lost a whole 3st. I must have given the dressmaker nightmares because every time I went for a fitting, my measurements had gone down again!
On the day, I felt wonderful in my gorgeous floor-length, yellow dress.
Since then, I’ve settled at a weight that feels genuinely right for me. It’s great to be able to pick up a size 10 and know it will fit. Although Jono still insists he doesn’t mind what I weigh, I know he appreciates the slimmer, more toned new me. I catch him taking cheeky glances at me when he thinks I’m not looking – and I love it! It’s as though our relationship has been given a little extra spark.
After eight years together, I loved the idea of getting married to Jono and had been dropping not-so-subtle hints that I’d like a ring! We were travelling to see my mum, who lives in Mallorca, for my birthday. For a whole 12 days beforehand, he kept buying me little presents, before finally going down on one knee. I was so surprised and, of course, I said yes. We’re now planning a big wedding in Northern Ireland, where I’m originally from.
As well as helping to make me feel good about myself, Slimming World has brought me an unexpected career boost. I became a Consultant last year, combining running my group with my full-time job. Before losing weight, I was always a bit self-conscious about standing up in front of an audience – now I take it in my stride. And helping people lose weight doesn’t feel like work because it’s something I genuinely want to do. It’s my way of giving something back, because Slimming World has brought me so much joy."
*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.