Sitting behind the reception desk at work, I was really looking forward to catching up with a former colleague who was coming to visit. As she walked in, I saw a big smile spread across her face... ‘Oh, have you got something to tell me? Congratulations!’ she said. Blood rushed to my cheeks as I followed her gaze to my tummy and realised she thought I was pregnant. Although I laughed it off, deep down I was burning with embarrassment.
My weight had been creeping up for a while. I enjoyed a busy social life and my husband, Craig, and I ate out quite a lot. As I got bigger, though, I started to avoid meeting up with friends, and dinner dates at our favourite restaurants became cosy nights in, snuggled up on the sofa with takeaway curries or creamy pasta dishes.
Discovering Slimming World
A few weeks after the ‘pregnancy’ incident, I got talking to my neighbour, Gary. Every time I’d seen him recently, he’d looked slimmer. ‘You look amazing,’ I told him. ‘How have you done it?’ He grinned and revealed that he’d joined Slimming World.
As he told me about all the tasty food he’d been eating and how simple the plan was to follow, I found myself listening intently. ‘I wish I could do that…’ I said. ‘Why don’t you come along with me?’ he suggested.
The following week, I headed to my local group for the first time. I instantly felt the lovely, warm buzz in the room, and the other members were so welcoming – I quickly felt like I’d known them for years!
When the Consultant talked me through how Food Optimising worked, I didn’t quite believe that I could eat as much Free Food as I liked. Still, that week I followed the plan faithfully, cooking big portions of chilli con carne, beef lasagne and cottage pie, and enjoying the odd glass of wine and bag of crisps using my Syns. When I stepped on the scales and saw that I’d lost 3½lbs… well, I was hooked!
Committing to changes
Even though my job as a deputy head teacher kept me very busy, I made sure nothing stopped me getting to group each week. I’d even take a bag full of school books to mark while I sat in on IMAGE Therapy, just so I didn’t miss out on all the great food learning and ideas from other members.
With the support of my Consultant, I began to understand how much I associated food with love and comfort. When I used to visit my grandparents as a child, their table would almost groan under the weight of all the food they put out for us – and I realised I’d been doing exactly the same thing with my own family.
Once I recognised this habit, it was easy to make a change – I just adapted our go-to meals so they were Food Optimising-friendly. I’d make a spaghetti carbonara by swapping cream for plain quark, and cook chips using low-calorie cooking spray instead of oil. I also picked up a fantastic tip in group: crack an egg* into mashed potato instead of adding butter or milk. It gives the mash a fab creamy taste and texture for Free!
New me, new career!
I lost 2st 1½lbs in six months, and when I reached my target weight of 9st, I finally felt like ‘me’ again. My social life was thriving and getting dressed up to go out with Craig and our friends was a pleasure.
My confidence was so high, in fact, that I decided to train as a Slimming World Consultant. I went along to an opportunity event and was blown away by how much care and commitment goes into the role, and by the training and ongoing support.
At first, I carried on working full-time, but I loved my new role so much that, within three months, I’d resigned from my teaching job and opened a second Slimming World group. It’s such a privilege to make a positive difference to so many people’s lives – I think that’s my proudest achievement of all.
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 kind, committed people to run their own Slimming World groups. Find out more about this life-changing role here.
*Pregnant women, the elderly, babies and toddlers are advised to eat eggs showing the British Lion stamp if eating raw or partially cooked eggs.
Weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.