On 19th January 2010, at about 7pm, I was utterly terrified. I was just about to go to my first Slimming World meeting and I was fairly certain I was going to be the fattest person in the room. I suffered from extremely low self esteem and was wholly convinced that everyone was going to laugh at me. They didn't, of course. What I found instead was a room full of warm, kind, friendly people, who'd all been exactly where I was.
I took a deep breath and stepped onto the scales. 16 stone 3 pounds. I could have cried.
I knew I was big but, in the mirror, I just never thought that I looked that bad. Call it inverse body dysmorphia if you will. I saw a thin person when I looked in the mirror. Sadly, the reality was far from that. I was unhealthy, I slept poorly and I thought nothing of eating two 12 inch pizzas in one sitting. Yes, really.
For years I'd been a binge eater. In private. I would buy mounds of junk food from the shop, gorge myself on it, and then feel awful afterwards. Truly awful. A bad relationship only served to heighten my lack of self worth and self esteem and I spiralled out of all control. Ending up obese, miserable and wondering how on earth I would ever lose the weight.
I'm not sure what finally gave me the willpower to lose the weight I'd been wanting to lose for 10 years. But something did. In January 2010 something pushed me to join Slimming World and the same thing kept pushing me all year. By December 2010 I was 5 stone and 4 pounds lighter, weighing in at a more acceptable 10 stone 13 pounds. Still slightly outside of being a 'healthy weight' but utterly transformed. People I knew when I was younger no longer recognise me (which is sometimes a good thing!) and sometimes I don't recognise myself.
I'm still in the process of getting used to my new size 12 body (I NEVER though I would be a size 12 in Topshop skinny jeans) and, sometimes, I do still struggle with food. I'm not one of those people who no longer craves cheeseburgers. It's a constant battle. But I win it 90% of the time. I've still got about another stone to go until my goal weight and I cannot wait to get there. My current motivation is a beach holiday in Spain in July. Must. Have. Bikini. Body.
I tried numerous fad diets in the past (SlimFast was a particular low point) but nothing ever worked for longer than 3 weeks. I ended up depriving myself so much that I just binged and put all the weight I had lost straight back on. Slimming World has totally changed my life in that respect. I don't deprive myself, but I have treats in moderation. I drink at least 2 litres of water every day and I always drink at least 3 cups of green or fennel tea. I eat in excess of 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day and I stick to spirits when I go out, instead of the more calorific wine or cider that I used to be partial to.
It hasn't been easy, I cannot lie. But has it been worth it? Absolutely.
If anyone has any questions about Slimming World or how I've lost my weight in general, then feel free to get in touch either in the comments below or by email.