I remember the moment when my weight loss journey really started. It was Christmas Day 2012, and I was standing in front of the bedroom mirror, desperately trying to do up my size-18 party dress. I twisted and turned, but the zip just wouldn’t budge. Eventually, I gave up and threw on one of my usual loose-fitting tunics and a pair of comfy trousers. Although I put on a brave face as we sat around my mum’s table for dinner, I felt deflated and I knew my weight was the reason.
Going round to Mum’s for Christmas dinner was usually one of the highlights of our year. We’d pile our plates with roast pork and crackling, potatoes cooked in goose fat (with bread to mop up the fat from the pan) and wash it all down with several pints of lager. We’d go home feeling completely stuffed and Boxing Day was usually a write-off, as we tried to recover from the day before.
That year was different, though. I still enjoyed being with my loved ones, but my weight had put a real dampener on the celebrations.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but my husband, Graeme, had been feeling uncomfortable, too. He’d actually gone home halfway through the meal to put on a pair of joggers because his jeans felt too tight. Although he laughed it off at the time, it must have played on his mind, because he came home from work a few days later and told me he was joining Slimming World. I’d been a member a few times before and I knew it worked, so I decided to go with him.
Lisa and Graeme’s Christmas past
Breakfast: Pastries, bacon and eggs fried in oil, a glass of Buck’s Fizz.
Lunch: Roast pork with crackling, honey-glazed carrots, stuffing, potatoes cooked in goose fat and gravy. Plus, bread to mop up the extra fat.
Dessert: Christmas pudding with custard.
Dinner: Ready-made buffet food, such as sausage rolls, cocktail sausages, chicken skewers and mini pizzas.
Snacks: Mince pies and Quality Street.
Drinks: Several pints of lager.
Lisa and Graeme’s Christmas present
Breakfast: Mince pie porridge – made with porridge oats, fat-free natural yogurt and mincemeat.
Lunch: Roast turkey, carrots, Brussels sprouts, roast potatoes and parsnips cooked in low-calorie cooking spray and gravy.
Dessert: Slimming World’s pavlova wreath.
Dinner: A selection of home-made Food Optimised buffet food.
Drinks: A single shot of gin topped up with diet mixer.
MORE FOR MEMBERS: You’ll find all the recipes for Lisa and Graeme’s festive menu on the member website and app – including our Christmas pavlova wreath
Our Consultant, Wendy, couldn’t have been more welcoming. Straight away, we knew we’d come to the right place and, for the first time in ages, we began to get excited about our future! We swapped ready meals for filling and healthy home-cooked dinners, such as meatballs and pasta, pulled pork with salad and potato wedges and even curry and rice.
We loved being in group. There was something about stepping on the Slimming World scales that helped us feel more accountable, and staying to IMAGE Therapy made a world of difference. We learned so much about ourselves as slimmers, from what our danger zones and trigger foods were to how our emotions were driving our meal and snack choices.
MORE FOR MEMBERS: Click to find out how Lisa overcame her biggest weight loss challenge with the support of her group
Our new healthy eating habits gave us so much more energy and confidence that we decided to start adding Body Magic activity, too. We both took up walking, then running, and I joined a local boot-camp class.
By Christmas 2013, I’d hit my target weight and Graeme wasn’t far behind me. We both bought a pair of skinny jeans to wear on the big day and we felt so much more confident.
This time, Christmas Day started with a quick run, followed by a bowl of mince pie porridge for breakfast. Then it was off to Mum’s, where we used our Food Optimising knowledge to put on a Christmas dinner that was bang on plan.
The experience was completely different to the year before. It felt fantastic to be able to enjoy the occasion without feeling the need to constantly readjust our clothes or worry about how we might look in any photos. And when we woke up the next day, we were full of get up and go, rather than feeling like we needed to stay in bed all day to recover.
We’ve been at target for more than nine years now, and we can look forward to every occasion knowing that our weight won’t hold us back. I can’t wait for Christmas this year. Our daughter will be hosting, and we’ll be bringing a few dishes with us to make sure there are plenty of Food Optimising foods for us to enjoy. I know it’s going to be amazing!
MORE FOR MEMBERS: Read Lisa and Graeme’s top tips for a cracking Christmas here
Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.