Sophie: I used to be a size 22, look at me now!
The new healthy habits I picked up soon become a way of life
Start weight: 17st 9lb | Weight loss: 4st 8lb
Current weight: 13st 1lb | Goal weight: 13st 8lb
Height: 5' 11" | Age: 27
Time taken to goal: 1 year, 3 months
Meeting: Peterlee, Durham
Coach: Sharon Lowes
Getting to goal seemed impossible
for me at the start, let alone working as a fashion model. I’d tried to lose weight as a teenager, but my unhealthy eating habits proved hard to break and I ended up regaining whatever I lost, plus more. To hide the insecurity I felt about my body, I often joked around and, by my 20s, I’d developed a confident persona – it was my protective shell.
By 2015 I was wearing a size 22
and dressing the way I wanted to had become a challenge, especially when one of the few things I could squeeze into was a shapeless pair of trousers. I’ve always been passionate about fashion and believe that anyone can look great at any size, so when I saw a magazine offering real women the chance to model for a high-street brand, I decided to take a risk and enter. I was one of three women chosen and, although I felt awkward when some of the clothes at the photoshoot didn’t fit me, I loved the experience, especially having my make-up done and posing in front of the camera. I was definitely bitten by the modelling bug!
I knew my weight was preventing me
me from feeling happier with my body, so in January 2016 I joined Weight Watchers. Determined to succeed, I attended every one of my meetings, to help keep me motivated, and the new healthy habits I picked up soon became a way of life. It was a simple approach, but it worked. As the pounds fell away and I inched steadily towards goal, the modelling agency’s words kept nagging at me. I thought, ‘If I don’t do it now, I never will,’ so I took the plunge and contacted them. After a few test shoots they offered me a contract! Since then, I’ve appeared in ads and have even done a catwalk show.
Becoming the Weight Watchers Official Eating Officer
last year gave me a taste of being in the spotlight, and being able to show other members they can enjoy eating out and still lose weight felt really positive. I haven’t swapped my job in PR for fashion just yet, but now that I’m at goal, the dream is to walk the catwalk at The Curve Fashion Festival in Manchester, then at London Fashion Week. I’d also like to work with ASOS, designing clothes to suit larger body types. I know from experience that just because you wear a larger size doesn’t mean you don’t care about fashion!
Being so busy these days,
it’s difficult to maintain. In fact, I’ve found that remaining at goal can be harder than losing weight because, once you’re at goal, there are no more milestones and you have to switch your mindset from viewing your weight as a stage in your life, to a permanent lifestyle. It was also hard to accept that maintaining isn’t a straight line. Everyone’s weight fluctuates to a point – you’re not a robot – so it’s okay to gain as well as lose a few pounds.
To help me stay on track
I always make time to cook healthy meals. The recipe finder on the app has been a godsend and I now see cooking as me-time. On weekends I’ll cook a curry, then portion it up for the week ahead. My cooking has become so good, I actually think it’s better than some of my favourite takeaways!
I never used to enjoy
going to the gym and would get bored on the treadmill, but I’ve realised that regular exercise is essential if I want to maintain and have a healthy work-life balance. Now, I see the gym as a chance to have fun, so instead of the treadmill I’ll meet a friend and do a class together such as boxing – which is great for letting out any anger or stress – or something like Zumba or Boogie Bounce.
My weight loss left me
with loose skin in places, but it’s a sign of what I’ve achieved and I’m not ashamed of it. However, my confidence can still wobble when I’m modelling. I’m not keen on doing a bikini shoot any time soon, but never say never! I believe it’s important to be happy in your own skin, and – even though I have a bit too much of it – I think I’m nearly there.
5 things that helped me on my journey
1. Motivation My Coach says ‘Keep your “why” close by’, so I keep an old pair of size-22 trousers at home as a visual reminder.
2. Packed Lunches I always take a healthy packed lunch with me; it helps me avoid the temptation to buy food when I’m out.
3. Breaking Habits I deleted takeaway delivery apps from my phone and, although I still have the odd takeaway, they’re often not as satisfying as home-cooked food.
4. Guidence My brother was a professional boxer, so it’s been great to have him train with me and show me exercises to help me tone up.
5. Sweet Treats I always have Weight Watchers yogurts in my fridge, for breakfasts, snacks and desserts.