It had been the trip of a lifetime and now it was ruined – all because of the way I felt about my weight. My boyfriend and I were on holiday in Iceland, and I was excited to visit Blue Lagoon. But when we went to collect our robes, I was handed an XXL – the same size as my boyfriend.
For the rest of the day I felt really self-conscious about my size, and I didn’t even get out of the pool to go to the bar in case anyone saw me in my swimsuit. We came home with only a handful of photos because I just didn’t want to be in front of the camera.
It wasn’t like me at all. Growing up, I’d always been comfortable and confident in myself, but when I started putting on weight in my 20s I became increasingly embarrassed about my weight. I dreaded going on nights out with my friends, concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find an outfit I felt comfortable wearing and worried about how I’d look in the photos. Still, it wasn’t until that trip to Blue Lagoon that I realised how much my feelings about my weight were affecting me.
Shortly after we got home from Iceland, my sister asked if I’d join Slimming World with her. She wanted to lose her baby weight but didn’t want to go to group on her own. I decided to stop putting it off and just went for it.
I’d tried so many quick-fix diets in the past, and I knew that if I wanted to get rid of the extra weight for good, I had to make changes for life.
Walking into group for the first time was a bit nerve-wracking. I soon realised there was no reason to be scared, though. Everyone was so welcoming and I quickly felt at home – it was lovely to have the support of my sister too. When I stepped on the scales and realised how much I weighed, I did have a bit of an emotional wobble, but I knew that I was in the right place.
The Food Optimising plan was a revelation. I’d been so used to trying to lose weight by restricting myself, and this was the total opposite. I went from living on takeaways to being the chef of the house! Mexican burgers, served with a salad and a side of Slimming World chips, quickly became my favourite meal, especially in the summer when everyone wanted me to make them for our barbecues.
My boyfriend didn’t come along to group, yet he lost 2½st simply by enjoying the same meals as me! It gave our relationship a boost, too. Now we were going to the gym together two or three times a week and taking the dog for an extra-long walk every Sunday.
As a teacher I used to feel so uncomfortable about my weight. I remember one pupil saying I was ‘big like Mummy’ and it crushed me. I knew he didn’t mean it in a malicious way – but it still hurt. I used to worry about job interviews, too, in case the schools wondered if I’d be fit enough to teach PE.
These days, I’m brimming with confidence and worries about my weight no longer hold me back. I’m striving to improve myself, and putting myself forward for things I’d never have dreamed of doing before. My long-term goal is to become a headteacher and help children achieve their dreams.
When I was at my biggest, I felt as though I’d lost myself. I wasn’t the bubbly, confident girl my friends and family knew and loved. Now I feel like I’m back to myself – and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Lunch: A shop-bought sandwich with crisps and a bottle of cola.
Dinner: A burger meal from a fast-food restaurant or a takeaway kebab with chips.
Evening: Chocolate, crisps, sweets.
Breakfast: Weetabix with milk, a mug of coffee and a banana.
Lunch: A big home-made salad with lots of tuna, followed by some fresh fruit.
Dinner: Salmon with sweet chilli dressing, served with plenty of rice and veg.
Evening: Slimming World high-fibre cereal bar, some chopped pineapple or melon, or a low Syn chocolate bar.
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.