Wow Miss, you look amazing!
Primary school teacher Stacy Kerr from Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire had given up hope of ever losing weight. Now she’s 8st 10lbs* lighter and top of the healthy eating class.
"I'll be 29 next year, but instead of enjoying my 20s, I’ve spent most of the last decade hiding myself away. Every night I’d sit in my bedroom, surrounded by chocolate wrappers and empty crisp packets, and wonder where my 20s were going.
"During term-time, I’d use work as an excuse: I’d tell friends that I would love to go out, but I had too much marking to do. During the school holidays, I’d visit people at their houses or persuade friends to come and have a night in with me.
"My poor parents didn’t know how to help me. The problem was, whenever my mum or dad tried to talk to me about healthy eating, I’d burst into tears, or insist I didn’t care that I was overweight. To be honest, it bothered me lots: I just didn’t have the confidence to tackle it.
"From time to time during my teacher training, I’d try to lose weight. At one point, I even joined a Slimming World group and lost about 1½st. Unfortunately I was too shy to enjoy IMAGE Therapy and I still wasn’t quite ready to admit how dependent I was on my nightly snacking sessions. Not surprisingly, I regained every pound I’d lost.
"When I left university and started working in my first school, I wasn’t sure how the children would react to having a ‘big’ teacher, but I never heard a single rude comment. In fact, no one ever said anything. All the harsh words came from my own mouth.
"Over the next four years, I watched my group of friends find partners, settle down, get married and start families. Although I loved visiting people’s new homes and holding the babies, it made me feel a bit envious. Why wasn’t I living the life I wanted – and why did I feel so powerless to make changes? It was time to take charge, find a healthier way to eat, and get some help to overcome my food cravings.
The start of my Slimming World journey...
"Luckily, I already knew that Slimming World would be able to show me a way to eat properly without starving myself, and I knew that if I really wanted crisps or chocolate I’d be able to use my Syns for them.
"The biggest challenge on my first evening at group wasn’t getting to grips with the Extra Easy plan – it was discovering my true weight on my Consultant’s scales. Bernadette didn’t judge me, of course. She just explained how a carb-lover like me could get slim with plentiful portions of pasta, rice and potatoes.
My mum was so delighted I’d joined Slimming World that she couldn’t do enough to help me. She decided we’d all eat the same meals at home, and we sat down together to plan a week’s worth of menus. We particularly enjoyed our own low-Syn version of spaghetti Bolognese which we made with tomatoes, fresh onions, garlic and lean mince.
"From then on, I was on a mission. I replaced my biscuits and cereal bars with fruit and yogurt. I started taking a filling pasta salad to work for lunch instead of buying sandwiches. I was amazed how much I enjoyed fruit and veg, having avoided them before. I also discovered that Slimming World fish and chips (no deep-fat frying) tastes just as lovely as the takeaway version.
"I couldn’t believe how much people wanted me to succeed. It made me like myself so much more. I absolutely loved reporting to my proud family each week that another 2lbs or so had disappeared.
"By the beginning of February 2013, I'd reached my Club 10 target. For the first time I could see the weight loss in my face and was delighted to discover I’d dropped a whole dress size. I began to think about the things I’d wanted to wear but never could – tight jeans, slinky dresses, smart fitted skirts. It dawned on me that if I continued losing weight, I’d soon be able to fit into every single one of those fantasy outfits.
Living and loving life
"As the weight dropped off, I started to emerge from my self-imposed social exile. I joined a health club, went swimming three times a week, and started saying yes to invitations out, using Syns on a glass or two of wine or an Italian meal. I even planned a holiday to New York. I looked and felt happier and healthier with every pound I lost.
"Of course there were times when I’d be really tempted to overeat. Family occasions were the worst as there’d be tables laden with gorgeous party food. A part of me wanted to go mad and eat everything in sight! I never did, though. The thought of disappointing friends and family (and myself, too) kept me focused. I’d have a little of what I fancied… and step away from the buffet.
In June 2013 I was down to size 16 and could shop from the regular ranges: no more plus-size rails for me! Three months later I was strutting around New York in skinny jeans and a slim-fitting jacket.
"My weight loss continued at a steady rate of 1-2lbs a week right up until I reached my target in May 2014. My group made an enormous fuss of me with a bouquet of flowers and champagne, and there was even a photographer from the local paper, as I’d also become my group’s Greatest Loser!
"I’m so proud of myself for all that I have achieved – both outside and, more importantly, on the inside. I don’t just look good these days, I really feel it, too. I’m still a swimmer and I’m also a regular at the gym, doing kettle-bell workouts and running.
"When I look at photos of the 'old' me, I want to give myself a hug and say, ‘It’s going to be OK’ – you can see the misery oozing from every pore. I try not to dwell on the past too much, though. I’m really making the most of the rest of my 20s, and with the help of Slimming World I’ll be making the most of every year to come. I might even meet Mr Right soon, and have the marriage and family I’ve always dreamed of. And I’m not going to settle for just anyone, because I know that I deserve the best!"
*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.