From grandma to glam-ma
Kim McAree’s weight had been creeping up for years, then seeing an unflattering photo of herself was the final blow. Since losing 13st* she's fulfilled life-long dreams to take a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon and cross the Nile in a hot air balloon. Plus, she's been crowned Slimming World’s Diamond Member 2015.
"Everything changed in August 2007 when I saw that photo. I couldn’t believe the woman in the picture was me and I definitely didn’t want to look like that anymore. I was lucky not to have had any health problems at that point, but I knew that if I stayed the size I was it would inevitably affect my wellbeing. I was coming up to 50 and I didn’t want to be fat and 50 either.
"I'd tried losing weight before by following diets of my own design, which always involved cutting down on portions or skipping meals, and never worked in the long-term. I realised I couldn’t do it alone so I bought a copy of Slimming World magazine and decided to join my local group.
"At first I was curious about whether Food Optimising would work because I couldn’t understand how you could eat to satisfy your appetite and have your treats and still lose weight – it seemed too good to be true – but when I lost 5lbs in my first week there was no more doubting – it worked!
I love cooking and it’s great that the recipes are family-friendly so you don’t have to eat something different from everyone else in your household, our favourite is Slimming World-style spaghetti carbonara.
“I’ve never enjoyed exercise in the traditional sense of the word, but Slimming World’s Body Magic activity programme showed me that you don’t have to join a gym or run miles to be active. I’ve got two dogs and I love walking them every day.”
“I set myself small targets along the way and would reward myself with a little treat at every stone lost; I never dreamed I’d lose more than half my body weight but before I knew it I had reached my target weight. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my Consultant April and the rest of the group though, and I still follow the eating plan and attend the group regularly – for free now I’m at my target. I find it really motivating; I love picking up recipe ideas so I’m never bored with what I’m eating and everyone’s advice helps me to stay on track.
“I used to live in big, baggy skirts, but now I have many pairs of designer jeans and I feel great in them! One of the highlights of my journey has been buying a size 10 dress for my daughter Charlotte’s wedding – it was a totally joyous experience going shopping with her for my mother-of-the-bride outfit and being able to walk into any shop I wanted.
"I felt equally amazing in a gorgeous white gown I wore when Tim (my husband of 30 years) and I renewed our vows in Las Vegas in 2010. Losing weight has allowed me to do things I would never have even dared to try when I was bigger. In America we flew in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon and in October 2011 we went over the River Nile and the Valley of Kings in Egypt in a hot air balloon. At my biggest I would have been too heavy to do either of these flights, but now nothing stands in my way and that’s a great feeling.
Tim and I have just returned from celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary while on holiday touring China, it was a fantastic way to celebrate both our anniversary and maintaining my weight loss.
“I can’t put into words how much my weight loss has changed my life for the better. My quality of life is much improved and I know I’ve given myself the best chance of a healthy retirement when the time comes. I’m looking forward to spending many years to come with my 10-month-old granddaughter, too, which is something I might not have been able to say if I hadn’t made that change eight years ago.”
*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.