Lying in a hospital bed, I tried to make sense of what had just happened. I could remember the car pulling out in front of me and I’d been told that my leg was seriously injured and I’d need an operation. As the shock wore off, I started to worry about how my weight would affect my recovery – and, at more than 20st, it was clear the doctor was concerned, too. Ironically, I’d just made up my mind to do something about it – and was looking forward to going to my first Slimming World group – when disaster struck.
I’d always been a big emotional eater and I used food as both a comfort and a reward. At school, I’d often eat my packed lunch and then head to the canteen for more food, and in the evenings, I’d settle down in front of the TV at my grandparents’ house with a big bag of sweets. When my grandad commented that they weren’t good for me, I started eating in secret instead.
Looking back at photos, I can see that I put weight on steadily throughout my childhood. At 10, I weighed 10st and was picked on constantly. By 23, I weighed more than 20st and I struggled to enjoy life as a young woman. Clothes shopping was a no-no, and while most women my age were going out dancing, my size made it difficult just to walk. My weight affected my job as a carer, too – although I never admitted it – and I was constantly exhausted and uncomfortable.
I was at work when I first heard someone talking about Slimming World. Later that day, I googled it and was surprised to read that I could eat as much Free Food as I liked – which included pasta, rice and potatoes – and lose weight. I was also pleased to see that I could still enjoy treats and the odd glass of wine. It didn’t sound like any of the diets I’d tried before, when I’d had to cut out certain foods or skip meals altogether. Everything I read about Slimming World told me that I didn’t have to feel hungry to slim – I couldn’t believe it!
That night, something inside me clicked. I was fed up with feeling unhappy and unhealthy, and with having zero confidence – my 20s were nothing like I’d wanted them to be. So I found the details of my local Slimming World group and messaged the Consultant. She was so warm and friendly, and not at all judgmental, that I instantly felt at ease. I couldn’t wait to join group that week but, unfortunately, fate had different ideas and I found myself in hospital.
Get the number for your local Slimming World Consultant here
Iʼve retrained as a Slimming World Consultant, so I can help others to achieve their weight loss dreams
At first, I was so frustrated that I’d finally taken that big step and been immediately knocked off course. Then I realised that my injury meant I needed to lose weight more than ever. Despite my setback – and the fact it would be six months before I’d be fully back on my feet – I felt determined. So as soon as I was discharged, I asked my grandad to take me straight to my local group, crutches and all!
On that first night, I sat with the other new members while the Consultant explained Slimming World’s Food Optimising plan, and I remember thinking, ‘I can do this!’.
Before long, going to group was the highlight of my week, and the other members quickly became good friends. It was such a relief to open up about my emotional eating during IMAGE Therapy, and my group helped me to understand and break the habit without ever feeling deprived. I finally had some structure around food and control over my eating. Before, I’d pick my way through the day, snacking on crisps and chocolates and then finishing with a takeaway. Now, I was cooking my meals from scratch, making delicious Slimming World versions of my favourite recipes, like chicken tikka masala.
Slimming World also helps you to get more active through the Body Magic programme. It’s all about going at your own pace and building on that bit by bit, which was perfect for me because I didn’t want to feel rushed into exercise. So once I felt ready and able, I added daily walks to my routine.
In the past, whenever anyone asked about my weight, I’d always say that I wanted to lose 8st – and my Consultant, Wray, fully believed that I could. And, as my weight loss awards started stacking up, I began to believe it, too. Three years on, I’ve lost that 8st – and one more for luck! At my target weight of 10st 10lbs, I’m living the life I always wanted. I used to hate shopping – these days I love experimenting with trendy styles and bright colours.
My life has changed in other ways, as well. My leg injury meant that I struggled with being on my feet for long shifts as a carer, and I felt ready for a change. I always enjoyed the ‘care’ element of my job but I wanted something more flexible, which would give me a better work/life balance. After seeing how my Consultant helped so many people in my group, I decided to apply to become a Slimming World Consultant myself.
With Wray’s encouragement, I went to an opportunity day at Slimming World’s head office. I was absolutely blown away by how much thought and passion goes into the Consultant role, and by the ongoing support and training that you’re given. Now, I’m running my own group and I find being self-employed so freeing. I work the hours that suit me and my members – no more early starts and very late finishes – and I finally have time for a social life. We have great fun in my group, too, and I love helping my members to believe in themselves, achieve their weight loss dreams and start living their best lives – just like I have!
Could you be a Slimming World Consultant?
If you’d love to help transform lives and make weight loss dreams come true, we’re always looking for caring and committed people to run their own Slimming World groups. Find out more about this life-changing role here.
Weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.