Getting engaged was one of the happiest days of my life, yet I couldn’t stop the dread from creeping in... I didn’t want to be limited to looking at plus-size wedding dresses – I wanted to be able to walk into any bridal boutique and have my pick of gorgeous gowns. Getting married felt like an amazing milestone in my life, so I wanted to enjoy every moment and have photos that I’d be happy to look back on.
I’d been overweight for as long as I could remember, so I’d experienced plenty of not-so-nice moments that I would have preferred to forget. One that still stands out in my mind was going on a waterslide at a water park on holiday. I hadn’t realised that when you got to the top of the queue, you had to be weighed to determine which ring you could use. I’d queued for so long that there was no turning back, but I was so embarrassed to be handed the biggest ring in front of everyone.
When I met my fiancé, Justin, I was over the moon, yet all the indulgent dinners out and cosy takeaways on the sofa meant that my weight continued to creep up, until I weighed 17st 6lbs. I’d tried to lose weight before, by calorie counting, but I’d quickly get fed up with the constant weighing and measuring. I always felt hungry, too, which would end with me ordering in a takeaway or reaching for whole packets of biscuits, pasties and crisps.
I’d heard of Slimming World and knew family and friends who had joined and lost weight, so I was curious to see if it would work for me, too. I discovered that, as well as Slimming World groups where you got face-to-face support, there was also a digital-only service, Slimming World Online. This really appealed to me because I could log on to the website or app whenever I liked, making it easy to fit around my work. And as I’d be weighing myself at home, it meant that I couldn’t use being busy as a reason to skip a week (which would probably have led to old habits creeping back in).
My top tips
1. Plan your meals
When I joined, I learnt all about Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan and was given so many tools to help me stay on track. I realised that, for me, planning was key, and the online Planner made it easy to see how my meals fitted into the plan. I still use the barcode scanner on the app whenever I’m at the supermarket – I just scan as I shop, so I know I’m making the right choices for me.
MORE FOR MEMBERS: You’ll find lots of practical advice on meal planning here.
2. Eat what you enjoy!
I also love browsing the huge online recipe collection for inspiration, and there’s always something new to try. Joining Slimming World has really brought out a passion for food and now I’m cooking from scratch most days – things like chilli meatball bakes, Mexican chicken mole and home-made bacon and cheese burgers. I really enjoy making ‘fakeaway’ versions of my favourite takeaways, too. Though if I do want to eat out or enjoy a takeaway, Food Optimising is so flexible that I can do that and still lose weight.
Emily’s favourite fakeways
3. Get moving more at your own pace
Within just four months of joining Slimming World Online, I’d lost around 2st and felt able to start adding some activity into my routine. Slimming World supports members to get active through its Body Magic programme, and you can log your progress and work through the set of Body Magic awards online. I got off to a bit of a false start, as I took up running and immediately suffered with awful shin splints – so I switched to long walks instead. So many everyday activities count as Body Magic and the point is to get moving more, in a way that’s manageable and enjoyable, and to build it up bit by bit. As I continued to lose weight, I soon felt able to give running another go. Now I run between five and 12km every week. I used to find that the weather was a barrier to me getting outside, but these days I actually prefer running in the rain to jogging on hot and sunny days! And if I really can’t get out, I do a quick 20-minute workout in my living room to get my heart pumping. I found that being active boosted my motivation to stay on plan, and within a year of joining, I’d lost 4st 7lbs and hit my target weight!
It’s fair to say that since becoming a Slimming World member, I’ve had a complete lifestyle change and transformed the way I think about food and exercise. The best bit is, I genuinely never feel hungry or like I’m missing out. My wedding day might have been the special occasion that inspired me to lose weight, but I know I’ll be able to carry on Food Optimising and stay at my target for life.
When it was time to go wedding dress shopping, I felt so much more confident and was thrilled when I found the dress of my dreams. The big day finally came in October 2021, two years after starting my slimming journey, and it was absolutely perfect. I felt amazing in my beautiful dress. I still look back at the photos and can hardly believe it’s me.
Now I’m looking forward to my future with Justin. We have some friends’ weddings coming up this year, which I’m excited to dress up for. We’re also planning a trip back to the holiday park with the infamous waterslide – but this time the only thing I’ll be worrying about is which of my new swimsuits to wear!
Weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.