I struggled with my weight from a young age. At school I was the curvy girl who tried to cover her insecurities by being bubbly and loud. At the age of 14, I won a scholarship to a performing arts school in London. I was ecstatic, but that’s when my weight really started to affect me.
I remember one occasion where a teacher took me outside of the classroom and said: ‘You’re a good dancer, Sophie. But you’ll never make it in this industry if you don’t lose weight.’ After that, I tried to carry on, but my confidence was badly dented. One day I told my mum: ‘I can’t do this any more. I want to quit.’
Back in Nottingham, I gave up dancing and spent each evening alone in my bedroom. I turned to chocolate and rounds of bread and butter for comfort, and my shape changed quickly. In less than a year, I went up two dress sizes.
I went back to college to study make-up artistry and, when I left, found a job working on a high-street cosmetics counter.
I still wasn’t happy with my weight. I tried every faddy diet going; meal-replacement shakes, calorie counting and everything in between! Nothing worked long-term.
Discovering Slimming World
Last year, just after I’d given birth to my daughter, Vogue, I went on a night out with my friends. The girls were snap happy and one particular photo made my heart sink. When I saw myself, I couldn’t believe it was me. I was so worried in case one of them decided to share it on social media and in that moment I knew I’d had enough – I didn’t ever want to feel that way again.
I spoke to my mum about how I was feeling and she suggested we go to Slimming World together to support each other. I was nervous about joining the group, so having Mum alongside me really helped. We sat down with my Consultant, Margaret, as she went through the list of foods we could eat in unlimited amounts – pasta, rice, fruit, potatoes, lean meat. The list went on!
At first I was shocked at how much I could eat – could I really still lose weight?
I was still enjoying curries, pasta dishes, chocolate and even wine! And I began to cook healthy meals from scratch for my family.
Once the weight began to drop off, I felt able to up my activity levels a bit more. I joined the gym – although running after Vogue was paying off, too! Chasing after her at soft-play centres became easier and easier each time we went.
When I reached my target I was over the moon! Now, my confidence is sky high – so much so that I’m going to join a local dance class. It’s been years since I performed in front of an audience and instead of dreading being on stage, I’m really looking forward to it!
And I'm no longer afraid of having my photo taken, either – I can pose for pictures with a genuine smile. I finally feel truly happy being me.
Sophie’s day on a plate
Breakfast: Cup of tea with two sugars, big bowl of cereal and a couple of chocolate biscuits.
Mid-morning: Chocolate or more biscuits.
Lunch: Shop-bought baguette and a cake, or a ready meal.
Dinner: A takeaway or ready meal, followed by a pudding with custard.
Breakfast: Fruit and yogurt or porridge.
Lunch: A jacket potato with salad, or a pasta dish with lean meat and plenty of veg.
Mid-afternoon: Seafood sticks or a Slimming World Hi-fi bar.
Dinner: Home-made spaghetti bolognese, or home-made burgers and chips, followed by strawberries with fat-free yogurt and a meringue, or a chocolate bar.
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.