"WW gives you the perfect balance of structure and discipline, at the same time as the freedom to live your life your way."
Start weight: 15st 11½lb | Weight loss: 6st
Current weight: 9st 11½lb
Height: 5' 4.5" | Age: 27
Studio: Meetings and Online
Wellness Coach: Jane Angell
My journey with WW has been a long one, and somewhat of a rollercoaster! I have always struggled with my weight. I was a chubby child but passed it off as puppy fat for as long as I could, but was bullied in secondary school when my weight sky rocketed and I reached about 14st before I was even 16.
I first joined WW in the summer of 2006. I was fed up of being the fat friend. My main motivation was to lose weight for my summer prom. Thanks to WW, I went from eating a bucket of cereal for breakfast, unhealthy school lunches, McDonalds and chocolate on the way home from school followed by dinner when I got home, to eating three balanced meals a day, and the odd healthy snack in between.
I managed to maintain my goal weight all through sixth-form college, and all but the last few months of my 3-year undergraduate degree - still attending Wellness Workshops to make sure I kept an eye on things. Towards the end of my degree, around March 2012, I ended a long-term relationship and met my then new (and I'm very happy to say, now current!) partner Pete, which meant lots more going out drinking with my friends and a lot more dinner dates and weekends away. The weight slowly began creeping back on, although I had stopped weighing myself, I could feel it; but I was happy regardless.
In December 2015, I was diagnosed with depression, which I think looking back was largely to do with study stress, and my weight. Over the next few years the weight gradually piled back on, until I was the size I had been when I first joined WW. Having slimmed down to a size 10 before meeting Pete, by now I was lucky if I got into a size 18. And it wasn't just my physical appearance that had changed - my bubbly, outgoing personality had nearly disappeared and I had retreated into my shell, feeling self-conscious and anxious most of the time.
Risk of diabetes
The moment I knew things had to change came whilst we were living away. After a few weeks of feeling exhausted, thirsty and having suffered various infections, I was sat in the pharmacy car park having picked up some antibiotics for one of the infections, and the fear suddenly hit me - I had given myself Type 2 diabetes (thankfully I hadn't). With a sister with Type 1, my risk was already increased, and I had made myself more vulnerable by letting my weight get so out of hand.
I decided the start of my PhD would be my fresh start, as I knew I was going to spending a lot of time sitting at a desk, and I also knew I would have to do things like stand up and present at conferences in front of a lot of people, and the thought of doing that feeling the way I did about myself was just terrifying.
I decided to visit my GP for some advice on how to lose weight again, and he said he would refer me for the Tier 2 Weight Loss Management Programme. I was really excited, but I was disappointed when I was told my BMI was not quite high enough to be eligible for the programme.
My GP offered me a 12-week referral to WW or Slimming World instead, and I opted for WW, as I had tried Slimming World over the past few years and never really got on with it. On 12th October 2015 I went to my first Wellness Workshop, feeling a funny mixture of hopeless and determined. My weight was 15st 11.5lb, the heaviest I had ever been. I was ashamed, but not shocked, as I knew from the signs my body was giving me that it was bad. When I sent off my GP-referral check-up form I think I had lost 27lb in the 12 weeks. My sister joined with me, although she had a lot less to lose, and it was really great to have a buddy along with me on my journey, always telling me how proud she was.
By October 2016, I had lost 4st. In that time period I had lost it slowly but consistently, not missing one Wellness Check-in, and only having two tiny gains throughout that year. This consistent weight loss was helped by the fact that I was a helper at my meeting, which held me to account to be there every week and kept me completely engaged with the programme.
When I reached my 5st milestone in January 2017 I cried with happiness, as this is the most I had ever lost, and when I stood on those scales weighing nearly 16st I never dreamed I would get anywhere close to what I had weighed when I was younger.
In March 2017, I climbed Mount Snowdon with my other half and his family - something I never thought I would be capable of doing. Not only that, but I stormed up there like a pro! No back pain, no wheezing, no moaning, and I really enjoyed it.
I truly believe that WW has helped me to keep my anxiety under control by giving me something else to focus on, something I feel I do have control over, and helping me to feel better in myself and more able to face things head on. It doesn't feel like a diet because you are not told you can't eat anything. You just get all the information and support to make informed decisions. It is very rare that I have to go outside of my SmartPoints® budget, especially since WW introduced more ZeroPoint™ foods. But when I do, I know that I can draw a line under it, get back to my Wellness Workshop and get my injection of motivation and be back on track in no time. I can eat out, throw dinner parties, go to the cinema, have a completely normal social life, and not worry because it's so flexible it allows for real life to continue.