Weight loss: 4st 5lb
Start weight: 20st 8lb
Current weight: 16st 3lb
Goal weight: 15st
Time taken so far: 3 years
Studio: Warmley Community Centre, Bristol
WW Coach: Alice Harvey
"I’m now a WW Area Manager and I sometimes think Mum and Dad would laugh – in a good way – if they knew that. But I also think they’d be very proud of me. I’m proud of me, too."
Standing on the scales at my first meeting, I couldn’t believe what I saw. I knew I’d been getting bigger and was buying clothes in size XXL, but I’d only gone to the WW Workshop to support a friend! I was shocked to learn I weighed more than 20st. Most people say they need a wake-up call before they join WW, but I had mine at my first WW Workshop.
I’ve always been an emotional eater. My mum died when I was 15, and that’s when I turned to food for comfort. Dad said he didn’t know how to take the pain away, but made sure I felt loved by keeping me fed and warm. So for me, food became associated with love.
As I got bigger, and I’d tell people I had a “rugby build” – which is ridiculous, as I’ve never played rugby in my life! Although I didn’t let my size get in the way of my job or making friends, I never felt particularly confident. I remember hating hot, summer days because I’d feel so uncomfortable, drenched in sweat.
My health began to suffer, too. Dad died when I was 27, and the whole family went on a long country walk in his memory. I had to stop before the end, because I knew I wouldn’t make it all the way. I was too tired and out of breath.
When I’d tried to lose weight in the past, I’d kept it a secret. This time, I told everyone what I was doing. That way I’d be more accountable. It’s also really helped me lose weight because everyone understood if I didn’t want to eat at a particular restaurant.
I joined a gym and gave up my 40-a-day smoking habit in a bid to get healthier. I realised that I often ate because I was bored and needed to do something with my hands so I took up knitting! It worked.
WW tools used
- App: ‘The app is my best friend because it’s discreet. When I had to track on pen and paper, I felt like people knew what I was doing, but now I could simply be texting a friend when I’m actually checking my points.’
- Connect: ‘It’s nice to see other people’s success stories and get ideas for meals.’
- Barcode scanner: ‘I absolutely love gadgets and this is amazing, although it does mean my supermarket shop takes twice as long because I end up scanning everything!’
- Online Coach: ‘This is great if you can’t find an answer on the app. If I’m out and need to know how many SmartPoints are in a kebab for instance, they’ll tell me straight away.’
- Fitbit: ‘This has stopped me being lazy and if I haven’t got 10k steps by the end of the day, you’ll find me going for a walk at 9pm – even in the rain. It’s funny because I know all my local shops by steps rather than time or distance.’
- Kitchen scales: ‘I love a big plate of food and this really helps me maximise my food output. If a recipe says 30g of ham, for instance for 2 SmartPoints, I keep piling it on until it reaches, say 38g, which is still 2 SmartPoints.’
- Lovely lasagne: ‘It’s one that I learned from WW 13 years ago and it’s really tasty. Doesn’t take long to make and I’ve served it to guests and they haven’t a clue it’s a low-fat recipe.’
- ‘In the past, whenever I’d been on a diet, I’d deny myself chocolate and after three or four weeks, I’d be so desperate for it that I’d wolf down several bars. My favourite is a Cadbury’s Star Bar for 12 SmartPoints. I fit it around my plan and totally appreciate every mouthful.’
- ‘I never used to have breakfast, but would snack all day between meals. Now I look forward to breakfast. One of my favourites is porridge with peanut butter or blueberries and raspberries. I used to eat breakfast in front of the TV, barely noticing what I ate, but now I try to eat at the table so I appreciate my food.’