I’d struggled with my weight all my life. As a child, I was put on a special diet and had to be weighed at school. While the other kids were eating battered cod and chips, I had to have separate meals on my own – usually something bland like boiled fish and potatoes. It made me believe that weight loss was miserable, embarrassing and shameful. It didn’t work either – I gained weight every year into my adulthood.
When I went away to university, it was like the floodgates had opened! All the things I wasn’t allowed as a child were suddenly available to me and my weight shot up. I’d try to slim down occasionally, but the only way I knew how was to cut out the foods I loved and follow some crazy fad diet I couldn’t stick to.
Feeling out of control
After I graduated, I found my weight affected my job as a teacher, too. I often felt like a hypocrite – especially whenever I was teaching the children about the importance of eating healthily and being active. My joints and back would be in agony after a day on my feet, too. I’d plaster on a smile, but inside I felt like a fraud.
My big wake-up call came when my GP recommended weight loss surgery. After that appointment, I went away and researched the procedure – and discovered that my weight meant the anaesthetic would be risky for me. I just couldn’t shake the fear that I might die on the operating table...
My first night in group
My cousin, Fiona, was a Slimming World Consultant. She’d been gently encouraging me to join her group for a long time, but I’d never felt ready. Deep down, I was worried it would be yet another failed weight loss attempt.
How wrong I was... From the moment I joined her group in May 2018, I was surrounded by warmth, kindness and compassion. Standing on the scales for the first time was daunting – I was terrified I’d be too heavy for them to weigh me (thankfully I was wrong about that, too!). Although the number was frightening, it also felt like the start of something positive.
Fiona told me that she’d never give up on me and she kept that promise. She was with me every step of the way – and so were the rest of the group. They helped me to really believe I could do it, and that was a huge turning point for me.
Becoming a confident cook
It was easier than I’d expected to get to grips with the Food Optimising plan. I’d never cooked from scratch before, so I started by picking simple recipes with only a few ingredients.
As I became more confident in the kitchen, I experimented with new dishes and found I could recreate all my old favourites, like curries, pizzas and Chinese dishes, with a few slimming-friendly adjustments.
I’d been in a battle with food for most of my life, so being shown that I could eat generously, never go hungry and enjoy my meals while losing weight... well, it was genuinely life-changing.
The children at school often ask me, ‘What’s in your lunch bag today, Mrs B?’ and these days, I’m proud to show them the plentiful, colourful, delicious food I’ve made.
Life just keeps getting better
Losing 18st has obviously been fantastic for my health and confidence, but by far the best thing about losing weight is the relationship I now have with my son, Josh. I no longer feel like I embarrass him, and he tells me he’s proud of what I’ve achieved. He’s a county and regional-level swimmer, and being more in tune about activity and nutrition has brought us so much closer together.
I’ve got lots more energy, too, so when Josh suggests fell-walking, rock-climbing or kayaking, I’m excited to get involved rather than worried I’ll be over the weight limit.
We’ve recently been on holiday to the Lake District. After a tough climb to the top of a fell, I looked out to the view below and suddenly felt tears welling in my eyes. I was thinking about how much I’d missed out on – so many beautiful views and experiences...
There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ve saved my life by losing weight – and now, it’s a life worth living!
Kelly’s day on a plate
A pastry from the petrol station.
Overnight oats made with fat-free natural yogurt and plenty of fruit.
A sandwich, crisps and a cake from the bakery.
Home-made soup, pasta salad or a crustless quiche.
A Food Optimising curry with rice or doner kebab and Slimming World chips made in the air fryer.
Crisps, chocolate, biscuits, cake, pies.
A Slimming World Hi-fi bar, fruit, yogurt or a small chocolate bar using my Syns.
Weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.