Walking around the swanky designer concessions in the department store, I kept my head down. My partner, Chris, had insisted I look around as he wanted to treat me to a new dress, even though I hated these places. Well, I loved these places – the problem was, at my size, these places didn’t love me. Surrounded by slim women, I felt utterly intimidated. The sales assistants didn’t say anything, but I could feel them looking at me, thinking: ‘Nothing for you in here, love.’
‘What did you get?’ said Chris excitedly when we met up later. ‘Oh, I didn’t see anything I liked,’ I lied.
I’d tried it all – soups, shakes, even prescription pills. Nothing worked for me once that initial motivation had worn off. I kept putting on weight and I didn’t feel capable of doing anything about it.
Then Chris and I went on a tour of the Coronation Street TV studios. Although I usually avoided having my photo taken at all costs, as it was a special day, I relented. Oh my goodness, when I saw the pictures! I barely recognised myself.
A few months later, my daughter, Phoebe, and I moved in with Chris. It was an exciting time for us – a new chapter in our lives – but one thing was bugging me. I was really worried about hanging my clothes in his wardrobe because I didn’t want him to see that some of them were a size 18. As I stood in front of a suitcase full of clothes, something suddenly clicked, and I told myself: ‘This is ridiculous.’
I decided to embrace this stage in my life by finally addressing my weight, so I joined Slimming World. Although Chris was as supportive and loving as always, I could tell that he didn’t really think I was going to do it. Why would he? I’d said it so many times before. But turning 40, moving in, my daughter, Phoebe, growing up… It felt like the right time.
And it was. I lost 6lbs in the first week, just by making a few simple switches: using low-calorie cooking spray instead of oil in recipes, swapping sugary drinks for diet versions, and replacing processed food with home-cooked meals made using fresh ingredients.
Each week, a little more weight came off – and, just by eating the same meals as me, Chris lost 2st, too! Every time I received another half-stone award, he’d buy me flowers or a new charm for my bracelet. And he never stopped telling me how gorgeous I looked and how proud he was of me.
Still I kept turning down that offer of a designer dress – until, that is, I got to my target weight of 11st and a size 12. It was my birthday, so we returned to the department store, this time with Phoebe for extra support.
Instinctively, I reached for the bigger sizes, until Phoebe plucked a black and white, very fitted shift dress from the rails. ‘Try it on, Mum, please,’ she said. So I gave it a go. Slipping it over my body, I waited for the fabric to catch or tug or bulge… it glided down perfectly. It took everything in me not to burst into tears. As I walked over to the till, I couldn’t believe how far I’d come.
What a difference losing weight has made to my life! It’s been positive for the whole family and I know Phoebe, though not overweight, is picking up healthier habits thanks to my weight loss. We even go to the gym together now.
For the past 20 years, I haven’t really felt like me. Now I do. This is how I was supposed to look and feel. I’d say to anyone, whatever their age, to just do it. You can’t top this feeling!
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.