Megan hopes to inspire others
At her biggest, Megan McGee from Middlesex hated what she saw looking back at her in the mirror. Now, more than 5st* lighter and a size 10/12, the 25-year-old says she feels like a new woman and wants to let other people know that it’s possible for them to change their lives just as she’s done.
“To those around me I probably looked happy enough but a smile can hide a lot – I happen to have a pretty large smile and I used my smile to hide behind. But, in reality, I was a deeply unhappy person – I had no self-worth and no self-esteem.
"Growing up I was always bigger than my friends but my weight piled on after entering into an abusive relationship. When I started reconnecting with my friends again, I realised that I'd become the ‘fat friend’. I didn’t like going out because I hated the way I looked and shopping for clothes would always end in tears.
“One day I suddenly thought to myself, ‘Just imagine how different life could be if I were to take all of this time and effort that I spend hating myself and put it into creating a life that I love and could be proud of’. I realised that I needed to become my own best friend instead of my harshest critic. I decided to do something with my life that would benefit the lives of others, so I started studying adult nursing. I wanted to be the healthiest version of myself that I could be in that role too, so when a friend of mine asked me to join Slimming World with her it just felt like the timing was right. My mom came along too.
“We’re originally from America so our family celebrations, like Thanksgiving and Fourth of July usually centre around food. I realised that I didn’t need another diet I needed a lifestyle change, and straightaway Food Optimising just seemed too good to be true. I was eating a lot of the same meals as before but I learned how to make them differently so they were healthier like using lean meat and making sauces from scratch.
I definitely eat more now than I did before and I never feel hungry or unsatisfied. I used to skip breakfast or lunch and would end up snacking and grazing all day, now I have regular mealtimes and enjoy wholesome homemade dinners. My favourite is Slimming World’s Chilli con carne with rice and salad.
“Following the Food Optimising plan with my mom and having the chance to support each other throughout this journey has really deepened our relationship. I cannot thank her enough for showing me just how strong women can be.
“As I lost weight I became much more active; I enjoy playing volleyball, going to Zumba and Body Pump classes at my gym and have just signed up for personal training sessions. I have lots more energy for my busy shifts as a healthcare assistant, where I work alongside my nursing placement.
“Since losing weight I've had the confidence to volunteer in Tanzania on a nursing placement, and this summer I’ll be travelling to Alaska to work for my family. My biggest ambition in life is to travel and explore. I'd love to help people all over the world, and I've set my sights on medically volunteering on the Africa Mercy Ship in the future.
I’m definitely still a work in progress, but I feel so much happier in my life and my smile is real now. I feel like I’ve woken up from being asleep and I’m discovering a whole new me – a me that I am insanely proud of and am learning to love unconditionally. I’ve found a sense of peace with myself that I’ve never had before.
“It’s crazy to think that I have won Slimming World’s Miss Slinky 2016 because I’m sure there are so many other women who deserve this title – in fact, I know of many in my Slimming World group alone. I feel as though Slimming World offered me a glimmer of hope at a time in my life where I didn’t have any. From that first night when I walked into the group and got such a warm welcome from my Consultant Denise and all of the other members, I knew there was no going back. I’ve got so much joy, hope and excitement in my life and I feel as though I’ve been completely revived, so I’m incredibly proud to have won this title.
“Since losing weight I’m physically and mentally stronger than I’ve ever been before. The physical changes are great, but the psychological changes I’ve had are the ones that have benefitted my life beyond anything I could ever have imagined; my weight loss has been an outward reflection of my healthier state of mind.
I want anyone who’s struggling with their weight to know that they don’t have to struggle forever, and they certainly don’t have to do it alone because there is help and support out there.
“Above all else, I want to be an ambassador of hope to those who feel as hopeless as I did. I feel honoured to get to be a part of the glimmer of hope that Slimming World offers people who are trying to improve their lives, and I want to inspire people to be brave enough to take that first step and really embrace the chance to change. There really is nothing to lose and so much to gain.”
*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.