My slimming world journey 

For most of my life, I have been extremely lucky to have had no issues with my weight. I was always able to eat whatever I liked without having to worry. I probably took it for granted. The last couple of years though, as I’ve hit the wrong side of 40, I’ve noticed the pounds slowly piling on. It probably didn’t help that I’d also become quite comfortable with myself, very happily married and settled. They say people put on weight when they’re happy or comfortable. But then that can lead to unhappiness and feeling uncomfortable! We can’t win! For some time I’d been feeling unhappy with my weight but didn’t have the willpower on my own to do anything about it. I needed that kick up the bum that you just can’t get from going it alone at home. It got to the point where I realised I had to do something. There’s nothing like the short, sharp shock of catching yourself half dressed in the changing room mirror in TK Maxx to make you google your nearest Slimming World group. On the 9th January 2017, I did it. I needed help and sought it in the form of my local Slimming World group. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’d heard so many positive stories from friends about their weight losses, and online too. In fact, I hadn’t heard anything bad about Slimming World at all, and that’s because it works.  If you’re serious about changing your lifestyle for good, for a healthier, happier one, then I’d highly recommend it. I remember after that very first meeting, getting given your book and various leaflets, and having sat and listened to everything, my head was in a complete spin.  It was so much to take in.  It didn’t help that when I got home, my hubby was constantly saying, but how? How can it work? I don’t understand how you can lose weight while still eating all the things you can eat. It was driving me crazy, but you have to not think about how it works because you’ll never get your head around it.  You have to just trust it and go with it.  If you follow it, and are honest with yourself and your food diary, it will work.  It may take a little while, but slowly and surely is certainly a better way to lose weight and keep it off for good. You have to remember it’s not a diet, but a change of lifestyle.  You have to make it work for you and you have to be flexible.  Life happens sometimes like birthdays, celebrations, meals out & holidays.  No-one is expecting you never to enjoy yourself again, it’s all about the choices you make. And preparation, that is KEY. For instance, if you’re going out for the day and will be out over lunchtime, either take a packed lunch with you, or plan ahead and look at the menu for where you’ll be going.  There’s often things on the menu that are completely syn-free, or low-syn at least.  You can also ask for your salad to come with a dressing on the side so you can control what goes on.  Choose a jacket potato or new potatoes over chips.  Have chicken breast or steak which are quite common on lots of menus.  Some places might also be able to cook your food more healthily if you ask.  I’m pretty sure whipping out a can of frylight from your bag is taking it a bit far though! But frylight is your new best friend.  I found that lots of the meals I made before can simply be made SW friendly by swapping the olive oil for frylight. I was only thinking a few weeks ago, that when you join up to slimming world, they should issue you a little welcome pack containing a can of frylight, a Hi-Fi bar, a pencil for drawing a line under it (i.e. when you’ve had a bit of a bad week!) and a description of what quark is! I’m pretty sure most people have no idea until they join slimming world. I might suggest that little pack idea to Paula, our lovely consultant.

Anyway, I hadn’t set myself a time scale for achieving my target, but a couple of weeks ago, I did it! Actually, a couple of weeks earlier I’d hit my original target, but decided that a few more lbs off would be my ideal weight. So anyway, I did it, I hit my final target!

I was over the moon! Throughout it all though, I had this really strong determination that I would succeed, that I was strong and could do this. It came from somewhere deep inside because I never used to have this kind of willpower. And no matter what, I would keep going until I won. It’s a great feeling. It was definitely worth the hardship and the hard work. And it has been hard at times. On the food side of things especially. We’ve seemed to have had quite a lot of meals out and celebrations that you just can’t not be a part of. It’s part of life. I always used to look forward to meals out and parties, but since being a member of Slimming World, it’s been something you dread, which is a shame. But that’s also where your flexibility comes into play. If you save some syns for that special occasion you can still enjoy it, without ruining all your hard work. Some weeks were harder than others but I just had to tell myself that whatever the scales said, I could just draw a line under it (that’s when that pencil would come in handy!) and get back on track. 

Now, to exercise. Body magic, as they call it in slimming world. It’s not a necessity, but it sure does help. And I’d become so unfit. I never realised. My starting slimming world actually coincided with Jude starting preschool, so I’d already incorporated a regular walk to and from school twice a day into my routine without even trying. I also try to walk the dog every day although it’s not always possible. Around February time, I took the big brave step of joining the gym. Nothing fancy, just the council one. My aim was to get there about twice a week, I’m averaging around once a week at the moment but I’m trying to fit a workout at home in too. That can only happen on a Tuesday when I have the house completely to myself for a couple of hours. I just couldn’t do it in front of anyone else, I’d be too embarrassed. Now I’ve gotten into the swing of things, I’m really loving it. It makes me feel so much more energised and I feel bad on the days I don’t get to do anything. I feel like it’s really making a difference to my health which can only be a positive thing.

Here’s a few facts for you. It was all little by little.

It took 18 weeks to achieve my target weight.

My biggest loss was 3.5 lbs in one week.

I gained 1 lb on one week.

I maintained my weight on 3 separate weeks.

My total loss was 1 stone 8 lbs.

I dropped a dress size although it wasn’t my intention.

Since hitting target, obviously the aim is to maintain your weight. It’s recommended that you add an extra ‘B’ option to your daily intake. I’ve been doing this mostly, but have also been allowing myself a few extra syns here and there. Largely of a congratulatory kind. Well I deserve a treat for doing so well don’t I? This is a slippery slope and before I find myself slipping down without any control, I need to stop and get back on track. And I do feel like I’m getting back in the zone now, I’m hoping it was just a temporary glitch, an adjustment if you like to my new lifestyle.

One bonus to dropping a dress size is needing new clothes. I used to have some size 10 clothes hanging around at the bottom of my wardrobe hoping that one day I might get back into them. Last year I finally faced facts and got rid of them! Typical! Saying that though, they’d probably be a bit dated now anyway. It’s been a real treat to go clothes shopping, looking for size 10’s that actually fit me. The saying “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels ” is very true.

Some of the small changes that I made that I think will stick with me forever is changing from semi-skimmed milk to skimmed. 6 months ago I’d never dream of saying that. To me, skimmed milk was virtually water with a splash of milk in, yuk. But now I find my tea tastes awful if it’s got semi-skimmed milk in. And although I still crave a nice, thick slice of white toasted bread, smothered in real butter, I think it’s wholemeal all the way now. Knowing what the difference it makes to my weight has really opened my eyes. Eggs are something I’ve never eaten so much of in my life! But I love them and they’re so versatile. Our girls can’t lay enough for us so we have to buy loads too. But salads are what have really helped me, loads and loads of speed and really tasty too.

I do miss baking, you know, things like fairy cakes, cookies, all the things that are soo bad for you. But I’m always on the hunt for slimming world friendly recipes. I’ve made the weetabix cake a couple of times now, it tastes quite a lot like bread pudding. And I’m close to getting a near perfect brownie recipe. These aren’t completely healthy, but are low in fat and syns. Nice for when the sweet tooth is craving something scrummy.

Although I’ve reached my target, my journey is far from over. I need to ensure I don’t stray away from my new lifestyle. I don’t want to undo any of my hard work. It’s all about planning and preparation. And when things like holidays come up, I fully intend to eat and drink what I fancy. But I know I can prepare in advance for this and also know what I need to do to pull it back if needs be.

It’s taken me quite a while to write this, I suppose it’s a lot to fit into one post. I probably should have done it gradually, as I was going. But hindsight is a wonderful thing. I also regret not taking any before and after pictures or measurements. Part of me feels like I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved, but another part of me almost feels a bit of a fraud. After all I didn’t have that much to lose. So many people join slimming world with a far more arduous task ahead of them, and I applaud each and every one of them. Because recognising you need to take action is half the battle. You have to want it, if your hearts not in it, you won’t succeed. But for me, it’s one of the best things I ever did, and I’ve no doubts at all that this is me now, no going back. 

After hitting ‘publish ‘ I realised I forgot to add this photo……..

I lost just a bit more fat than this….. gross! X