"I absolutely love food and socialising is a big part of my life. I love that I can enjoy both while still losing weight!"
Start weight: 18st 12lb | Weight loss: 7st 4lb
Current weight: 11st 8lb
Age: 26 | Height: 5' 6"
How long it took: 5 years, 1 month
I was always a chubby child but it was when I went to university to study equine science that it really became a problem. I was living in catered halls for the first two years which provided a full cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. At the weekends, I’d live off takeaways and convenience food. Add to that all the drinking – my favourite was white wine – and snacking on croissants during lectures and it’s no wonder the pounds piled on.
I went from a size 14 to a size 18 in a matter of months, but I tried not to let it bother me. Most of the other students were slim but I had a great group of friends and I was bubbly and confident, probably over-exaggerating my personality to fit in.
But during the summer holidays of my second year I fell down some stairs and broke my ankle badly. I had to have two plates and screws inserted and was told to bed rest for 12 weeks. It was horrible. I went back to university and was laid up in my room for nearly three months, doing my course online and getting meals and food brought to me. I was miserable. Needless to say, even more weight piled on and it began to affect my studies. Part of my course was to ride horses – which I absolutely loved – but I got too heavy and was told I couldn’t ride anymore. I was so upset about that.
When my dad picked me up at the end of term he was shocked by how big I’d become. Never one to hold back, he said I should try WW and I agreed so I signed up. I was horrified when I first stepped on the scales and saw I was nearly 19 stone.
Two weeks later, I was on holiday with friends in Croatia and I realised just how much I needed to lose weight. It was so hot, around 40 degrees and as my friends swanned around in skimpy shorts and bikinis, I was covered up in long-sleeved tops. I hated it – although I did lose five pounds on that holiday.
Nothing is off limits
When I got back to the UK, I threw myself into WW. It was so much easier now that I was in a self-catered house as my main problem had been portion control. I loved cooking meals. I’d have porridge for breakfast, salad, soup or pasta for lunch and one of my favourite evening meals was the WW pizza. As for drinking and socialising, I’d save up my weekly SmartPoints for student nights and started drinking vodka instead of wine. I also upped my exercise. I started going to the gym and my friend Jill and I signed up to a bootcamp in the local park. I really loved the fact that I could drink and eat what I liked – even if I fancied chocolate I’d have a Curly Wurly or a Freddo.
Back in the saddle
As the weight came off, I was allowed back on the horses – something I live for now as a riding instructor – and it was great being able to fit back into clothes I loved again. For so long, I’d avoided shopping but now I can go to my favourite store, Zara, and pick any outfit I like.
It’s not all been plain sailing. I had another accident in 2014, ripping a muscle from hip to knee and that meant I couldn’t exercise and put on about a stone. That was very frustrating. But I got back on track in September 2016. Losing the last few pounds has been hard and I’m only ten pounds off goal now but I’m not putting any pressure on myself. I’m enjoying life and that’s the most important thing.
Find Kara on Instagram: @weightwatchers_kara