Wednesday, 29 January 2014

My Weight Loss Journey - Slimming World

January is a time of year when a lot of people venture into a new weight loss plan. A few weeks in though, and motivation can be lacking - it can be easy to slip back into old ways (I know, I've been there). So, I thought for today's post I would share my own weight loss story. Perhaps it may motivate some, who may now be a few weeks into their new year health kick, to keep going.

I was always relatively slim throughout my school & sixth form years. The weight for me began to creep on when I started work, and even more so when I passed my driving test. I became a lot less active by driving everywhere, as opposed to my 30 minute each-way walk to sixth form every day and the sporting activities I was made to join in with (very reluctantly, I might add!). For the most part, I always had a job in the centre of town, so rather than make my own healthy packed lunch, I would always head off to Subway or Greggs - very rarely opting for a healthy option from anywhere.

In 2011, I moved in with my boyfriend and things got progressively worse from there. Both of us hated food shopping and would just grab whatever took our fancy to get out of the supermarket as quickly as possible, usually frozen pizzas and ready meals. By this time, I was also working a lot further away than I was previously, and was getting home from work very late and was exhausted, so takeaway was also an option we often took so we could slob out on the sofa for the rest of the evening. I was very unhappy in this job so would often turn to comfort eating an entire packet of cookies at a time just to cheer myself up. I must have gained over a stone in the six months I was in this job.

A few months later, my boyfriend and I got engaged. Whilst I was thrilled and so excited at the thought of planning our wedding, I knew I had to do something about my weight - I didn't want to be the size I was on our big day. We decided pretty early on that we wanted to get married in 2014, so I had almost three years to get the weight off. Having so much time meant I developed the "I'll do it tomorrow attitude" and it was a long time before I even bothered to attempt any sort of healthy eating. But as time was ticking by, I had more weight to lose and even less time to do it in.

It took a warning from my doctor for me to finally give myself the kick up the backside I needed. I knew I'd been feeling very unhealthy for a while, I'd go red and get out of breath at even the shortest of walks. But when I was told I was very overweight, bordering on obese, and could have to be taken off my contraception if things didn't improve, I was shocked into action. I was booked in for a check-up six months later and off I went, crying the whole way home.

It was that night that I made a vow to start eating healthier meals and exercise more. I started off well, losing about half a stone, but my motivation started to slip after a couple of months and I could feel the old me, along with the pounds, creeping back in. In a desperate cry for help, I posted a status on Facebook, to which my cousin responded, asking me to join her at her local Slimming World group, which was actually my local group too. I was actually petrified, but agreed to go along. The thought of a room full of people looking at me and judging me was almost enough to stop me going - it didn't even occur to me that everyone was in the same boat and were all there to achieve the same goals.

My first night at group was a revelation. I sat down with my consultant and she ran through the plan with me and a few other new starters, whilst some of my family members went to get weighed in (I think it helped that I went with people I knew, as I didn't feel quite so alone). The Slimming World plan is based around free foods. These are the foods to fill up on, as you can have as many as you like throughout the day. I couldn't believe it when my consultant listed them off - you've got your obvious fruit and veg but also lean meat, rice, potatoes, pasta (carbs?!). There's also room in the plan to treat yourself, whether it be a cheeky takeaway or a chocolate bar, as long as it was within your "syns" allowance, you could have it. This made socialising a lot easier! Don't get me wrong, there were times when I would go over my daily allowance (Dominos is definitely not Slimming World friendly!), but I found it so much easier to get back on track the next day and would sometimes even come out with a loss on those weeks.

The longest I'd lasted on any diet previously was probably around two months, I was always bored and hungry and just gave in too quickly. With a few healthier tweaks, such as making my own chips, I was able to still enjoy foods I loved whilst I lost weight, so getting bored of the plan was not an option for me. At the start of the plan I began walking around the local park to break myself into exercise gently, but within a couple of months I had joined the gym and completed a 12 mile walk for charity (see "before" picture below - that's why I'm so red in the face!).

Some people may think that receiving stickers and certificates should end when you leave school - but I love them! Each sticker on the back of my book was a sign of how far I had come and a real motivator for times when I was struggling. I got my first half stone award after 4 weeks on the plan and I was chuffed to bits. My weight loss was very slow but steady, most weeks losing 1-2 pounds, but always the occasional gain or big loss thrown in. I felt like I had to do it this way - it was the best way of keeping the weight off for good. Allowing myself the occasional slip up, but always going straight back to plan made it a more realistic long term plan - this wasn't about losing weight for my wedding anymore, this was about being healthy for life.

In August 2013, my lovely group members voted me the groups Woman of the Year. I was in so much shock I couldn't actually speak and just kept saying "yeah" every time my consultant asked me a question! I must have looked ungrateful to the rest of the group, but that was far from the truth - I actually cried when I got home. By this point I was so close to my target, so close in fact that I set my goal to achieve it in the next couple of weeks. Sadly though, those last few pounds were super hard to shift, one week I'd lose, then next I'd gain, and it became very frustrating - they do say the last few pounds were always the hardest. At times during those final few weeks to target I did feel like giving up as I thought I was never going to get there, but there was no point in throwing away months and months of hard work.

I finally achieved my target weight in October 2013, 17 months after first joining and 4 stone 5 pounds lighter. I was over the moon! After years of failing at the first hurdle when it came to dieting, I'd finally got down to the size I've always wanted to be. And I did it just in time to try on my wedding dress for the first time! Knowing I looked exactly as I planned to be on my wedding day when I was wearing it that day really lifted me. I had no more weight to lose. My engagement ring has also had to go in to be resized after it fell off at work because it's now too big - I'm quite lucky I didn't lose it, actually.

It's been over 3 months now, and, with the exception of a Christmas over-indulgence, I have stayed within my target weight range. I still attend group every few weeks just to check I am still on track, which is made easier now I have free membership for life (as long as I stay at target!). It hasn't been the smoothest or easiest journey, but it's one I'm glad I took. Not only will I be the size 10 bride I wanted to be, but I am so much healthier as a result.

To anyone who is starting out on their own weight loss journey, the most important thing is to stick to it. If you have one bad meal and think you've blown it, you haven't. It was one meal out of 21 you have in a week, you can easily get back on track. It is important to treat yourself now and again, or your diet will feel like a punishment. If you feel like giving up just think of how far you've come so far and why you're doing it. You don't want to undo all of the good work you've already done.

I'd love to hear any of your weight loss stories - leave me a comment or a link below. I'd also like to know your thoughts if you've ever tried Slimming World. Did it work for you?


  1. You've done so well!! Well done :) I'm trying to lose weight. Used to be a size 10, but now a 14. I agree, when you move in with a boyfriend you get too comfy and just not bother with food.

    I'd love to hear any tips and tricks that you have, as I'm going on holiday in may!


    1. Thank you hun :) my biggest tip is to plan ahead when you go food shopping. if you have all your meals for the week, you're less likely to grab a takeaway. also, make big batches of meals and freeze some so if you do end up with nothing fresh in, you've got back ups xx

  2. Wow this is amazing! Well done, you look incredible! I have a friend who goes to slimming world and it's worked brilliantly for him too. It's obviously much better than any of the fad diets at out there!

    Jenn | PhotoJennic


    1. Thank you so much :) it is such a fantastic plan - you can eat so much to keep you satisfied and still lose weight x