I was only 15 when my doctor sat me down to explain that if I didn’t lose weight naturally, I'd have to undergo gastric bypass surgery – a weight loss procedure that reduces the size of the stomach. At the same time, I was diagnosed with a form of liver disease, which was worsened by my weight of over 20st.
I felt so worried about how this was going to affect my health in the future.
My weight gain started from a really young age. I was only four when my mum first consulted the family GP about my size. From the time I started secondary school, I put on 8st. I’d buy crisps and chocolate from the shop and eat them on the way home. My mum was desperately worried, but it was my way of coping with everyday life.
My mum had become a member of our local Slimming World group. After facing the possible reality of surgery, I decided to go with her.
I was nervous about joining Slimming World as I expected to be the only young person in the group. I quickly discovered that didn’t matter – I got a really warm welcome, and realised that everyone there was in the same boat. I’d tried diets previously, but didn’t like feeling deprived. Slimming World encouraged me to fill my plate with lots of satisfying foods, which I couldn’t believe!
My day would start with poached eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms on my Healthy Extra wholemeal toast, and for lunch I’d have a jacket potato stuffed with tuna and salad. I loved the fact that I could still enjoy my favourite treats, like a fun-size chocolate bar or an ice cream.
The BBQ pulled pork is amazing – it’s great to be able to prep it quickly before college in the morning, leave it in the slow cooker all day and then come home to a delicious dinner.
I looked forward to seeing my friends in group on a Tuesday night and everyone was really supportive – during the good and the bad weeks. When I reached my target of 11st 3lbs, I was over the moon!
The biggest thing for me was overcoming my emotional eating. Rather than eating to relax after a stressful day, I’d take my dog, Millie, for a long walk or I’d go for a run after college. It’s crazy because I used to dread exercise – I’d worry about what I looked like, but not any more.
As well as my fellow group members, my mum has been a fantastic support through my journey and together we’ve lost more than 14st.
Since losing weight, I’ve reversed my liver disease and been discharged from hospital – an amazing feeling, and my doctors are delighted.
I’ve maintained my weight loss for over five months now – even during my exams – so I’m confident I’ve discovered healthy habits that will stay with me for life.
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.