I stared at the ground, unable to meet the gaze of the boisterous teenagers chatting loudly through my lecture. I should’ve told them to stop, calm down and concentrate, but instead I fought back tears and nipped into the ladies. I looked at myself in the mirror in my loose fitting, unflattering clothes – I didn’t just look older than my years, I felt it, too.
It had all started in 2013, when I began feeling sick and fatigued. I had terrible pains in my joints and muscles, and I developed jaundice. Eventually, I was diagnosed with autoimmune liver disease. I was put on strong steroids, which made me feel hungry all the time, and I started to gain weight. I decided to move back in with my parents for support.
With all the going on, teaching a class at college had become a daily torment. I wanted to feel confident standing up there, dressed in trendy Topshop clothes like my friends. As I reached 16st 6lbs, though, none of my favourite brands seemed to have the size 20s I needed. It was on one particularly upsetting shopping trip, when I failed to find a new work outfit, that I decided enough was enough.
A colleague had lost weight with Slimming World, so I phoned my local Consultant who sounded warm and understanding. Even then, I was so shy it took three calls before I plucked up the courage to go to group.
As the scales went down, I felt more energetic, despite my condition. Now I felt ready to make the move into a place of my own and, during the summer holidays, Dad and I renovated my new house. And I started filling my wardrobe with stylish clothes – even Topshop skinny jeans.
I hit my target weight of 11st 6lbs and now, whether I’m holding the attention of a classful of students, walking my toy poodle, Dillan, or feeling great in my clothes, I feel like a 20-something again.
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.