Instead of enjoying my 20s, I’ve spent most of the last decade hiding myself away. Every night I’d sit in my bedroom, surrounded by chocolate wrappers and empty crisp packets, and wonder where my 20s were going.
My poor parents didn’t know how to help me. The problem was, whenever my mum or dad tried to talk to me about healthy eating, I’d burst into tears, or insist I didn’t care that I was overweight. To be honest, it bothered me lots: I just didn’t have the confidence to tackle it.
I briefly joined Slimming World, though I wasn’t quite ready to admit how dependent I was on my nightly snacking sessions. Not surprisingly, I regained every pound I’d lost.
Over the years, I watched my group of friends find partners, settle down, get married and start families. Although I loved visiting people’s new homes and holding the babies, it made me feel a bit envious.
Why wasn’t I living the life I wanted – and why did I feel so powerless to make changes?
It was time to take charge, find a healthier way to eat, and get some help to overcome my food cravings. So I joined Slimming World again, confident I’d be shown a way to eat properly without starving myself and that if I really wanted crisps or chocolate, I’d be able to use my Syns for them.
The biggest challenge on my first evening at group wasn’t getting to grips with the eating plan – it was discovering my true weight on my Consultant’s scales. Bernadette didn’t judge me, of course. She just explained how a carb-lover like me could get slim with plentiful portions of pasta, rice and potatoes.
My mum couldn’t do enough to help me. She decided we’d all eat the same meals at home, and we sat down together to plan a week’s worth of menus.
From then on, I was on a mission. I replaced my biscuits and cereal bars with fruit and Syn-free yogurt. I started taking a filling pasta salad to work for lunch instead of buying sandwiches. I was amazed how much I enjoyed fruit and veg, having avoided them before.
I also discovered that Slimming World fish and chips (no deep-fat frying) tastes just as lovely as the takeaway version.
I quickly reached my Club 10 target. For the first time I could see the weight loss in my face and was delighted to discover I’d dropped a whole dress size.
I began to think about the things I’d wanted to wear but never could – tight jeans, slinky dresses, smart fitted skirts. It occurred to me that if I continued losing weight, I’d soon be able to fit into every one of those fantasy outfits.
I joined a health club, went swimming three times a week, and started saying yes to invitations out, using my Syns on a glass or two of wine or an Italian meal. I even planned a holiday to New York. I looked and felt happier and healthier with every pound I lost.
Of course there were times when I’d be really tempted to overeat. Family occasions were the worst as there’d be tables laden with party food. A part of me wanted to go mad and eat everything in sight. I never did, though. The thought of disappointing friends and family (and myself, too) kept me focused.
Three months later I was strutting around New York in skinny jeans and a slim-fitting jacket.
My weight loss continued at a steady rate of 1-2lbs a week right up until I reached my target. I’m so proud of myself for all that I have achieved – both outside and, more importantly, on the inside.
I don’t just look good these days, I really feel it, too. I’m still a swimmer and I’m also a regular at the gym, doing kettlebell workouts and running.
When I look at photos of the ‘old’ me, I want to give myself a hug and say, ‘It’s going to be OK’. I try not to dwell on the past too much, though. I’m really making the most of the rest of my 20s, and with the help of Slimming World I’ll be making the most of every year to come.
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.