What made you join Slimming World?
I, as everyone who is overweight knows, knew for a long time that I needed to lose weight. However, I had convinced myself that, I was big boned and would never be slim, I could do it alone if I put my mind to it, or made other similar excuses for a long time. Whenever I had tried to lose weight on my own I struggled but when I was thinking of New Years Resolutions at the end of 2013 I concluded that the things that would make me feel happier the same time a year later would be to end my marriage that was unhappy and abusive, also as every other year I wanted to lose weight! This year however was different I had reasons I knew I would no longer feel safe in my marriage after September of that year for reasons I prefer not to go into and I knew that if I was to end my marriage then I needed to build my confidence to do it and I knew this would also come from losing weight. So after having spoken to a friend Catherine a year previously about Slimming World I made the step to join on 29th January 2014.
My skin will never be perfect, lets face it who’s is? I have a few stretch marks and a few saggy bits but I am very happy with how it is after weight loss given that I have lost over ten stone and previously had given birth to a big baby. My start waist measurement was 130cm, at target it is 70cm, so inevitably there will be a little skin but I am extremely happy with it personally and Stuart is happy with it and that is all that matters to me, a picture of me at my target in a bikini is below and at the top of the post for you to decide for yourself what you think. I have had no surgery! Just remember everyone is different some people will be more fortunate than others and I personally believe this is all down to genetics amongst other things so I feel you can not predict your experiences based on someone elses.
In the past I have tried Weight Watchers which I found too time consuming with the adding of points throughout the day and cooking myself separate meals. I am aware the plan has changed since then so couldn’t comment as to whether their current plans would have suited me. I have tried calorie counting before too, but again found it too time consuming. On a few occasions my doctor put me on Orlistat tablets which I never found helped me as I didn’t always eat a particularly high fat diet and when I was on them wouldn’t eat the fattening take away meals however I still was eating the wrong amounts of the wrong foods so never lost more than a few pounds on these either.
I have always believed I was overweight and I have never been slim before however when I was younger, looking back, I was relatively average size. Looking at photos I think I would first have been considered as overweight at about aged 12. I can remember feeling fat and overweight from as young as 6.
During my weight loss journey, and still now, I have eaten a huge variety of foods. I have been vegetarian since I was 10 years old so all my meals are vegetarian. I love curries, pasta meals, potatoes, chips, stir fry, salad, risotto, well pretty much everything that’s vegetarian really! The only foods I don’t like are mushy peas, guacamole (because it looks like mushy peas!), avocado, and some chocolate mousses and cakes (I much prefer real chocolate to chocolate flavour things!). So I really do eat a huge variety, I love fruit and vegetables and know I can have most foods as long as the proportions are right on my plate. Slimming World has taught me this, that I don’t have to eat salad daily to lose weight, its not a diet, just a lifestyle change so I have changed the way I cook and serve my meals and I still love food just as much! If you want to see recipes for some of my favourite foods just check the tabs at the top and select the recipes tab.
What is an average days food for you now, and what was it before you joined Slimming World?
Before Slimming World:
Breakfast- half a big packet of custard cream biscuits
Morning Snack- the rest of the pack of custard cream biscuits
Lunch- Quiche (either 2 mini ones or a family sized one), oven twister chips with lots of cheese sprinkled on and baked beans
Afternoon snack- family bag of minstrels or a big bar of chocolate
Tea- meal deal from local take away which consisted of 12 inch vegetarian pizza with 3 slices of garlic bread and a can of Dr Pepper, sometimes I would also order a bag of chips with this too
Evening snack- Share size bag of crisps and a bar of chocolate or a pack of Jaffa cakes, if I was feeling particularly depressed it would also be a large tub of Ben and Jerrys Ice cream
Drinks- Throughout the day I would drink hot chocolate (sometimes with squirty cream on the top) and Dr Pepper, both not the lower calorie versions.
During Slimming World and now to continue to try to maintain my loss:
Breakfast- Fruit and yoghurt. My current favourite is pears in rhubarb and vanilla yoghurt!
Morning Snack- Grapes and veg sticks (carrots, babycorn, peppers, sugar snap peas)
Lunch- Jacket Potato with cheese (measured for my healthy extra allowance) and baked beans with a large salad
Afternoon Snack- Cereal bar (healthy extra allowance), fruit and if particularly hungry more yoghurt.
Tea- Butternut Squash Risotto with roasted balsamic Mediterranean vegetables
Evening Snack- Hot chocolate, cereal bar (remainder of my healthy extra allowance), meringue nest with fruit and sweetened quark or Greek style fat free yoghurt
Drinks- Pepsi Max Cherry, flavoured tea, flavoured syn free coffees (black with sweetener).
Did you have treat days and do you drink alcohol?
I didn’t have a regular treat day as I believe if you do you are constantly spending time trying to catch up and it seems pointless. I did however have odd days off plan where I made sensible choices where I could but knew I had eaten too much of the wrong foods! These were on days where I was away or had limited options that I could not plan for however these were rare and amounted to about 5 days over a year so not at all regular. I do not drink alcohol on a regular basis though at Christmas, on holiday or rare nights out I do have a few drinks.
I find it helpful to plan meals in advance the best I can as I feel this limits the chance of me making a choice for an “easy” meal that is high in syns due to lack of planning! I also have found it helpful to always get rid of clothes as soon as they are too big (except the few items to see how far I have come) and also to have clothes in the next size down to aim for. This doesn’t have to be expensive and can just be an odd item bought in a sale or a charity shop but having that aim really helped to keep me focussed.
I understand that people may think that their shopping bill has increased however, I do think that it depends on where you shop, how carefully you chose what to eat, and mostly if you add take away meals, snacks at the petrol station and vending machine snacks to your original shopping bill and compare like with like. If you are only comparing a small weekly shop with a full weekly shop now it is going to be different because you spent less at the supermarket and more on junk food! I did anyway! I do think however shopping at the right places can help and using ingredients that are on offer or in season too can make a massive difference. Prepared vegetables, pre-packed vegetables, frozen vegetables, all very different prices for the same item, buying carrots and cutting them up works out cheaper than buying them pre-sliced and ready packed for example! Overall I would say if I am careful not to eat fruit or vegetables that are expensive as out of season my shopping is similar price overall if not cheaper. A full post can be found here Money Saving and Eating Healthily on a budget
What was your start weight? Dress size? Bmi? And what are they now?
Start weight on Slimming World was 22 stone and 4lb. Dress size is hard to tell as I mostly wore men’s elasticated trousers and clothes that I had stretched and didn’t fit properly, I was even known to sometimes loop a hair bobble through a button hole and around a button of trousers I couldn’t do up. I do know that when I was searching for a wedding dress at a similar weight to my start weight (8lb lighter when I married) I was trying on size 30’s so I guess I was about that. My BMI was 44.8 when I joined Slimming world, and at target it is 24. I am a big believer that BMI is purely a vague indicator as I am sure if I lost much more weight I would look ill despite being still considered healthy according to my BMI! My target is 12 stone but maintaining is tricky! At target I am in size 6-8 clothes!
– Make vegetables interesting, don’t always cook them in the same way, roasted carrots taste so different to boiled carrots for example.
– Use a variety of flavours and vary your meals so you don’t get bored easily
– Plan meals in advance where possible
– Do not cheat you are only cheating yourself!
– Stay to group and chat to other members online or at group, other peoples ideas can help you when you are struggling and give you ideas of new things to cook, feel free to join my Facebook group to find new friends to chat to about weight loss!
– Take start measurements and photos! I don’t have a good before photo but luckily do have my measurements!
– Try and feed the whole family the same food if you can, less cooking then and you don’t feel different so are less likely to sneak a bite of something!
– Check everything, don’t presume what you think you remember is right, if you think its 6 syns but actually its 7 and have it every day that’s an extra 7 syns over the week just like that!
– Do not keep clothes that are too big then you cant let the weight creep back on!
– Do not buy things for the kids that will tempt you as treats, buy them treats you don’t like or even better non food treats!
– A bargain is only a bargain if it wont cost you more to lose the weight you gain from eating that huge cream cake etc! The cake may only be 20p but if it takes you a week longer to get to target that’s £4.95 plus the 20p, does it seem as appealing now? I need to remember this advice myself admittedly!
– Don’t let a bad day turn into a bad week! Start afresh now not after the scales! Don’t give up!
– Eat plenty of the right foods, missing meals and going hungry will not help!
During my weight loss, no! I did on a few occasions decide I would start exercising and joined the gym, took up running, or used my exercise bike as more than a clothes horse! I even managed to get some body magic awards in the first few months of my Slimming World journey! Those bursts of commitment to exercise didn’t last, and they didn’t happen very often at all so I can say pretty confidently that they have not affected my weight loss!
A year after reaching target I started running and set myself a target of running the Great North Run Half Marathon! Which I did in just 2hrs 24mins and I am so proud of this. To read more about my running click here.
Not buying bargain cakes and pastries, they are so tempting but so high in syns for the few moments of pleasure! I also struggle a lot with my body image I still feel much bigger than I know I am and my confidence isn’t great still but it is improving! I think I expected losing weight to miraculously mean I was extremely comfortable with my body and super confident! I am so much better than I was but still a work in progress!
There are costs involved in becoming a Slimming World consultant which I am unable to afford at present. Also, I would have difficulty due to training, meetings and group sessions often being outside of school hours and as such needing childcare for my son Ben which due to his disabilities can be expensive and hard to find. I am also very happy writing my blog and doing what I do now and feel being tied to one company wouldn’t be right for me.
Yes this is something that does worry me however I know if I stay as a Slimming World member and weigh regularly if I start to lose control of my weight I will be able to stop it before I get to that size again. I know with the support of my consultant, my Slimming World friends and my amazing boyfriend and son I should never have to struggle so much with my weight again but I am aware that it will be a lifelong commitment to keep an eye on my weight. I have struggled to keep the weight off entirely but I know that there is no way I will allow myself to get that size ever again and I constantly work towards being at target!
I occasionally do miss foods since I have started Slimming World, this isn’t because I cant have them now because on the Slimming World plan you can eat anything, the reason I miss them is because of the quantity I used to have. For example I used to think nothing of eating a whole family size cheesecake and now I know I couldn’t without gaining weight but I could still have a small slice! I do not miss being obese and all the bits of my life I hated then so I remember this when I am tempted to buy a cheesecake and soon change my mind! I am generally happy with my life now and food does not cure depression, it does not make you happy, it just in excessive quantities makes you unhappy and overweight.