When I began wanting to lose weight in my early 20s, I thought restricting what I ate was the only answer. When diet after diet inevitably failed, I’d blame myself for having no willpower. My reaction to feeling so bad was to eat more, and I’d easily get through a family-size bag of crisps and bars of chocolate while watching movies in bed – anything that numbed the pain of how useless I felt.
It was when I saw a photo of myself as a bridesmaid that my mindset shifted. Yes, I was smiling, but I kept staring at the expression on my face and thinking that it looked like a mask. I could see through to the unhappy person underneath and I remembered how that feeling had been with me throughout the day.
I started wondering what my purpose in life was. What was I working towards? I felt so low that some days I found it hard even to get out of bed. Then, one Wednesday morning in January 2020, among all the negative thoughts swirling around in my head was one little voice telling me I already knew a way I could change my life for the better… by joining Slimming World. It was as if the penny had dropped – this time, I was doing it for me, and I was going to stick with it.
My first day at my new group made me realise I wasn’t alone. From the moment I was greeted by my Consultant, Jennifer, I could tell she’d been in my shoes and that she genuinely cared. Hearing other members speak made me feel even more like I was in the right place. They shared stories about overcoming difficult relationships with food, issues that had crushed their self-esteem, and fears that there would never be any escape. It was a weight off my shoulders to know I wasn’t the only one going through these things.
One by one I built up healthy new habits, and steadily my weight began to fall. As well as losing a pound or two every week, I was also becoming more and more confident at putting together a Food Optimising day. I’d ditched the mentality about my transformation happening overnight and embraced the small changes I was noticing, reminding myself that each one was a step closer to where I wanted to be.
Soon it became the norm to go to bed to watch a film and not take anything to eat. I was eating meals that satisfied my appetite, and if I fancied a sweet treat for dessert, I’d choose something that fitted into my daily Syns, like lower-calorie ice cream or the Hi-fi bars that I got from group.
I learnt that in the past I’d overeaten because I believed if I had one ‘bad’ thing the damage had been done and I may as well have more. Now, that guilt around eating the ‘wrong’ thing was gone and I knew that if I went over my Syns one day, I could just get back on it the next without feeling the need to beat myself up.
I’d never been into playing sport and I hated the idea of going to the gym, but when I heard that Body Magic activity videos had been added to the Slimming World app, I decided to take a look. Some were only five minutes – ‘I could do that…’ I thought, surprised at myself. So every morning before getting ready for work, I started doing just five minutes in my pyjamas. That small habit boosted my confidence and made me realise I could become active. Soon, I was following the 15-minute videos, and as my fitness improved, I upped it to 30.
Now I’m 3st 8lbs lighter and I’ve recently trained to be a Slimming World Consultant. I’m so excited about helping others find their own happy weight. I started running the Wednesday group I’d been attending, which fitted around my day job, and now I’m the one welcoming people through the doors and greeting new members.
Going through the tough times has given me the tools I need to help my members. That tiny voice in my head on the day I began my Slimming World journey is now a big voice reminding me that if I approach anything step by step, I can do it. And I’m looking forward to all the other things it’ll help me achieve.
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.
Sarah’s slim-safe snack ideas
Free Food is my go-to – it stops me feeling the urge to eat crisps and chocolate in the day. I’ve always got a stash of beetroot, pickled onions and fresh fruit on standby.
Overnight oats topped with lots of frozen berries are another favourite. I like to save my Healthy Extra ‘b’ choice for later in the day so that I can enjoy this as a filling treat.
There are lots of lower-calorie ice creams I can enjoy within my daily Syns – they’re perfect when I fancy a something sweet for dessert.
The Slimming World Hi-fi bars I get in group are a lifesaver! I keep a couple on me at all times in case a snack attack strikes.
Weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.