Woman of the Year Runner Up 2016/17
I have been overweight all my life. Currently I am slimmer than I have ever been as an adult – the last time I was this weight I had just started high school! I have been on “a diet” for as long as I can remember, but I have never successfully achieved a significant weight loss until now.
I would receive regular taunts, verbal abuse and humiliation from complete strangers on the street. Being overweight was extremely difficult to live with at times, but it seemed acceptable just to shrug it off.
My parents were war babies, growing up with restrictions on food and very little to go around their families. They overfed me as a small child because food was available in relative abundance, and that’s how they showed their love. Of course, this food and happiness connection was inbuilt in me from day one.
Large portions of home-cooked meals three times a day were not uncommon, and I gained a stone in weight for every year of my life until I was into my 20s.
I left home at 18, went to university and enjoyed all the social aspects there were again adding more pounds to my frame. I regularly entered eating competitions!
I met my husband-to-be whilst studying and we planned to marry, but we only gave ourselves 6 weeks to arrange everything including my dress! This was impossible to find off the peg at a size 28-30, so a lady who made clothing for transsexual men designed and made my wedding outfit! Fortunately it was fabulous, but it wasn’t how I'd really wanted my dress to look.
A lightbulb moment happened when I got a job as an MRI radiographer. Part of the role is to weigh and measure every patient, and we were asked as part of an NHS initiative to offer advice on healthy lifestyle changes. One of these changes was weight loss – I was horrified!
How could I suggest that someone lose weight when I was 25 stone and much heavier than the majority of my patients. How could I set an example when I wasn't taking my own advice?
In May 2015 I decided that this was it. I was going to become a healthy weight and prove that it could be done. I wanted to take part in all the activities that my weight had held me back from. I wanted to live a healthy life!
I remembered how my friend had lost weight and maintained it through Cambridge Weight Plan, so I e-mailed my local Consultant.
I could still enjoy a healthy evening meal with my husband and even plan for meals out. I rang restaurants in advance and asked for chicken or fish with salads or vegetables. It was so easy – why didn’t I do this before? Sticking to plan 100% meant that I was getting great results, and I was empowered. I had also just taken on a rescue dog called Pip who was overweight and together we embraced the weight loss.
The biggest difference for me is I now grab opportunities. They had always been there but I chose to avoid or ignore them – scared of my own lack of self-belief because of my weight.
I am a new woman and Pip is a new dog!
Rate: 12 months *The weight lost and/or timeframes are particular to this slimmer. Everyone’s weight loss journey is unique to them.