My weight issues began when I was 14 when I changed from a super skinny kid to a ‘well rounded’ teen. My mum assured me it was just ‘puppy fat’ and that I would grow out of it. I was still waiting to grow out of it 32 years later! In those 32 years I tried every diet under the sun to lose weight, attended every slimming club and bought every new diet book. I counted the diets I could remember having tried, and I remembered 29 different diets and books but I’m sure there were many more!
Needless to say, although some of the above diet plans worked to some extent, I couldn’t sustain them and afterwards the weight quickly piled on plus a little extra each time. I got bigger and bigger and consequently more and more depressed.
When I got married I managed to get down to 10 stone 7. For my small 5ft 2 frame this was still very overweight and I looked and felt dreadful in my wedding dress. All my memories of special occasions – weddings, anniversaries, parties – are marred by how miserable I felt at each of them. I was consumed by how awful I looked, how disgusted I was with myself and how desperately I wanted to be slim. I thought about it constantly. It was the first thing on my mind in the morning and the last thing at night. Every Monday was the signal for the start of a new diet. And the beginning a new failure.
I avoided social occasions. I missed out on all sorts of things with my children because of feeling I was too fat to do them. I have very, very few photos of myself, with or without my children, as I always hid from the camera. I had no self-esteem and no confidence. I hated my body and I hated myself for being so weak-willed. I constantly put myself down, telling myself I was ugly, useless, fat, stupid, hopeless. I ended up being on anti-depressants for most of my adult life and I’m convinced my weight problem was a big factor.
The turning point came in January when I saw a photo of myself that shocked me to the core. Obviously I had seen, and cried at, many photos of myself over the years. But this one was different. It was a group photo of when my orchestra was meeting Princess Anne. The photographer was standing behind me when he took the snap so I was photographed from the back. I’d thought I looked as good as I could that day, but when I saw that photo I realised just how terrible I looked even from the back. Rolls of fat were quite visibly hanging above and below my bra strap. My hips were enormous. I was absolutely mortified. Something about that photo shocked me more than any other photo I had seen and I knew I had to do something about it.
So I decided to follow a low carb diet again as I knew it was one of the few diets I could have some success on. My starting weight was 12st 4lbs which put me in the obese category as I’m only 5 ft 2. I lost 10lbs fairly quickly then hit a plateau. My weight continued to rise and fall into April which was incredibly frustrating and demoralising. In desperation I searched the internet for inspiration and found Slim & Save. I’d never heard of it before, which is amazing since I’m quite the authority on diets of all types! Since it seemed to be the only remaining diet that I hadn’t already failed at I decided to give it a go. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of my entire life.
Towards the end of April I received my first pack. I had decided to follow the Simplicity plan as it looked so easy. And it was. I didn’t have to meal plan, try to fit my meals around the family or even have to put any kind of thought process into the diet at all. I loved that! After the first 6 days I fell into ketosis and the weight and the inches started to melt away. It was the simplest diet I had ever tried. I was never hungry and didn’t have any cravings. I rarely felt like going off-plan or giving into temptation. It was miraculous. I loved knowing that my body was getting all the nutrients it needed to be healthy despite still losing weight. My skin started to glow and I had loads of energy. I slept better than I had in years. My psoriasis cleared up. I had suffered chronic cystitis for 25 years but after starting Slim & Save I never had another flare up, more than likely due to the increased amount of water I was now drinking.
All the non scale victories I experienced along the way were what kept me motivated – being able to cross my legs neatly, managing to wrap a bath towel around myself without any huge gaps, being able to see the scales without physically holding my belly in, discovering I had collar bones, cheekbones and even hip bones! going from a size 18 down to a size 10 and buying whatever clothes I wanted to, loading up bags and bags of baggy black clothes and replacing them with the brightest, fitted clothing I could find, catching sight of myself in a mirror and smiling with pleasure instead of wincing and turning away, being able to wear stilettos without any excess weight making wearing them pure agony, enjoying all the lovely compliments from those who met me and the occasional woot de woo in the street!!
But the biggest motivation for me were my fellow slim & savers and the sns staff on the forum and the Facebook page. They were always there to pick me up when I felt down and give me a kick up the backside when I needed it, full of advice and great ideas. They were there with me every step of the way. Knowing I wasn’t alone was such a help. What a resource! I used them to the full and I hope I gave back as much as I gained.
I’d set my target at 8.12 but as I dropped into the 9’s my weight loss slowed down. I finally got down to 9st 2lbs after four months on Slim & Save which was a loss of 34lbs. Add on the 10lbs I’d lost prior to starting gave me a total weight loss of 44lbs. It took me some time to realise that my body seemed to have found its natural weight so I stopped trying to reach that miraculous number of 8.12. I was well within my healthy weight range and I felt great and looked better than I ever had.
I successfully followed the refeeding programme and am now following a healthy ketogenic diet to maintain my weight of 9st 2lb. I now attend a gym for weight training and cardio fitness and go running on the days in between. My goal now is not to lose any more weight, but to be as fit, strong and healthy as I can be. And to stay that way for the rest of my life.
To say this journey has changed my life would be an understatement. I have so much more confidence now. I’ve become a sociable person. I feel like I can do anything and be anything I want to be, and I’m doing my best to try as many new experiences as I can! I missed out on a lot due to being overweight but I’m starting to make up for that now! The biggest change is that I have learned to love and respect myself.
At the beginning of the year I was 46 and miserable. I vowed I would not see another birthday being fat and frumpy. Today I am 47 and I am slim, healthy and happier than I have ever been. My life has finally begun. It has taken me a long time to find the real me, but thanks to Slim & Save, I finally have. And the real me is here to stay.
Jan Atkinson, AKA Tisi