I'm at my slimmest ever with a job I love!
At size 22, 42-year-old Selina Pitchforth from Horbury, West Yorkshire felt lethargic and low. Now, 7st 9½lbs* lighter, she’s happily combining family life with a fulfilling career.
"When I was 20 weeks pregnant with my younger son George, my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I was crushed. I’d always been a bit of a comfort eater, and I found myself using chocolate and takeaways as a coping mechanism more than ever.
"Dad died when George was just three months old. With a tiny baby and his elder brother Harry to look after, plus a full-time job, I didn’t really take enough time to grieve – or to look after myself. My partner Sean worked long, unpredictable hours as an electrical engineer, and after feeding the children I didn’t have the energy for anything other than a few glasses of wine, some biscuits, and a takeaway or ready meal. I thought I was making myself feel better, but as the weight went on and I felt more and more bloated and sluggish, all it did was make me feel worse.
"Gradually, I gained around 6st over the next six years, all the time pretending it didn’t bother me. Sean knew I was unhappy, but didn’t want to upset me by talking about my weight. I never went near my scales, avoided mirrors and hid my body beneath loose, dark outfits. Looking back, I think I was probably depressed. I even turned down the chance to be a bridesmaid at my friend’s beach wedding because, at a size 22, I thought I’d ruin the pictures.
"I tried several quick-fix diets and another weight-loss club before re-joining Slimming World in August 2009. I’d been a member between pregnancies, though hadn’t really got my head around Food Optimising. This time, I really wanted to stick with it. I’d realised I was rapidly approaching 40 – and I wanted to feel good about myself on my milestone birthday.
While some people have quick losses, I’ve taken the ‘scenic’ route, reaching my first target of 10st in four years.
"I think I spent nearly a year gaining and losing the same half stone! Thank goodness for my lovely Consultant, Sarah, who never lost faith in me. I went to IMAGE Therapy every week and as my habits gradually changed, all the weight came off. Recently, I reset my target a little lower and I’m now the slimmest I’ve ever been in my adult life – a size 10!
"One of my new healthier habits is cooking. Food Optimising recipes are so easy and family-friendly. We like lots of the recipes from the Slimming World’s Fakeaways book, and Harry and George are big fans of my home-made chicken nuggets – served, of course, with some delicious Slimming World chips.
"When I think about the way that I live now, compared with when I was overweight, I’m a completely different person. I used to refuse to go anywhere near a pool with the kids – I couldn’t bear to be seen in a swimming costume. Now I’m slim, we’ve got a family membership at the local leisure centre and all jump into the pool together! I can play outside for hours with the boys and take our beloved Border collie Harvey on long walks; he’s been a brilliant Body Magic buddy since we got him four years ago.
"I used to do office work, then as the boys grew up I needed a job that fitted into school hours, and became a dinner lady. I loved being part of a school and, around the same time as I re-joined Slimming World, I became a teaching assistant for five and six year olds. At nearly 40, I’d finally found what I wanted to do when I grew up, and I still love every minute of it. Initially, running around with the children all day exhausted me – now, I’m the first one to volunteer for an egg-and-spoon race on sports day!"
Selina’s celebrating... Feeling fab at 42
"Setting myself the goal of losing weight in time for my 40th birthday really kept me motivated. When the big day came, I was down to 10st 2lbs and wore a pair of skinny jeans, a sweet little top and a stylish leather jacket. My boys were incredibly proud of me. I was pretty chuffed, too. In fact, I still am!"
*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.