Weight loss: 16st 2lb
Start weight: 30st 2lb
Current weight: 14st
Goal weight: 12st
Height: 5ft 3in
Time taken so far: 2 years, 7 months
Studio: Haydon Wick, Wiltshire
Wellness Coach: Helen Martin-Hicks
"My biggest wish is to help as many people as possible, because without WW, I’m not sure I’d even be here today. It saved my life.'"
Yesterday, I took my dog Beau for a walk in the sunshine. We went through the park, up and down hills, and by the time I got home I was beaming. I’d been walking for an hour. That might not sound long, but for me, it was extraordinary. That’s because three years ago I couldn’t walk more than 250 yards. Weighing more than 30st, I couldn’t even get around the supermarket and would sit in the car park while my husband Darren did the shopping.
My weight problems started in childhood. For me, food was linked with love and I spent years eating for comfort. I tried various diets, but always put the weight back on. At my heaviest, I weighed 34st and felt so embarrassed about my size, I’d keep the curtains drawn during the day to hide away from the world. I felt so unhappy, I even contemplated suicide. In 2011 I suffered a heart attack, but amazingly that didn’t give me the wake-up call I needed. If anything, it made me comfort eat more!
It was at my father-in-law’s funeral, in 2014, that my lightbulb moment finally came. Gathering around the coffin with my husband and children, I looked at my family and thought, ‘This is going to be me if I don’t resolve my weight issues’. I then joined WW.
It was such a relief to find WW, as I never felt like I was ‘on a diet’. I have a real sweet tooth and joke that I’ve lost weight by eating puddings! In the old days, I’d eat several chocolate bars after an evening meal. Today, I have puddings made with fruit and bran, or sugar-free jelly with quark.
Since losing weight, my life has changed so much. When Darren was able to pick me up and swing me around the dance floor at our daughter’s wedding in September 2016, I felt wonderful.
WW tools used
- App: ‘I’m on it about 10 times a day!’
- Connect: ‘I enjoy being part of the WW community and I find it so inspiring. People tell me I inspire them, too, which is great.’
- Barcode scanner: ‘I was thrilled the other day when I scanned mini macaroons in Tesco and they came up as two for 1 SmartPoint. I did a little “Woop!”’
- Online coach: ‘I often check in. It’s great to have experts on hand to answer queries.’
- Library of recipes: ‘I like browsing and particularly love the images, which inspire me to make things.’
- Be Happy book: ‘It’s one of the loveliest things I own and has helped me maintain a positive mindset. Now and then I pick it up and turn to a new page and there’s always something I’ve not noticed in detail before. It’s really supported me emotionally.’
- Baked berry porridge: ‘I love sticky puddings, and this recipe gives me that comfort-food texture I look for.’
- Puddings: ‘I used to eat a lot of chocolate, and by making healthy puddings I’ve managed to kick the chocolate-grazing habit. Healthier doesn’t have to mean boring. I love to experiment and have found an alternative way to make waffles, pancakes and muffins. I use oats, with bananas or cooked apple as sweeteners.’
- ‘The way I now eat and shop is dramatically different to when I was bigger. Before, I couldn’t even stand long enough in the kitchen to make dinner and would sit drinking wine and eating snacks while Darren cooked. Now, I cook for us and it’s always healthy.
- ‘My diet used to consist of high-calorie dishes like fish and chips or takeaways, but now I think of myself as a “food explorer”. I find food exciting and at the moment, I’m enjoying the flavours of beetroot, rhubarb, aniseed and vanilla.
- ‘Darren has lost some weight by eating what I’m cooking, and my daughter Elizabeth recently joined WW as a result of seeing me lose weight. She said, “You’re my biggest inspiration,” and that meant the world to me.’