About MeHaving lost 189lbs myself, I'm now passionate about helping you on your weight loss journey to achieve long term success.
I’m so pleased to welcome you to Successful Slimming. Losing weight truly has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. At my biggest, I was almost 23 stone and a UK size 30. I’m now thrilled to be a UK size 8 after having lost a massive 13.5 stone (189lbs/86kg). It’s been life-changing and my biggest passion now is sharing my experience with others, to help and motivate people to reach their own weight loss goals and in turn experience the same joy and freedom losing weight has given me.
I wasn’t always wildly overweight. At age19, I was a comfortable size 14 and happy with it. I worked for Rover Cars at the time in their manufacturing plant in Oxford and was rather ambitious. Within a short time of joining them, I was promoted to Retail Communications Manager, responsible for a team of 96 people and I loved it. So much so that I spent almost every waking hour there. My big mistake was being so driven to constantly work, that I wouldn’t stop to eat properly. The vending machine was just 5 steps from my desk and was my constant source of energy when tiredness would inevitably kick in. Although my career was soaring, so was my weight and before long I was a size 20 and starting to feel conscious about my weight and looks.
Move forward a few years and my weight had started to affect my health. I’d developed gallstones, as a direct result of my weight, and after surgery to remove my gallbladder, developed the chronically painful condition Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction. As a result, I was prescribed opiate painkillers, in massive quantities, and my life became a juggling act between working; being in indescribable pain, and being zonked out on morphine! My mood was low and my comfort became food and my weight inevitably soared once more.
At my biggest, I was a size 30 and almost 23 stone. I was 32 years old and I ached. I struggled to climb stairs and running around after my young son was nigh on impossible. I was old before my time and had the lowest self-esteem imaginable. I’d tried every diet going and yet for one reason or another, I couldn’t keep the weight off. It’s true I’d lose weight sometimes but then something in life would happen and I’d stop counting points or something and then before I’d know it, I was off my diet and back to my old habits and my lost weight would be regained…plus a few pounds more! My marriage was suffering as a result of my low self-esteem and worsening chronic condition and I couldn’t see a way out. I resigned myself to always being the ‘fat ugly bird’ and figured weight loss success and happiness only happened to other people. Other people with better lives than mine. Other people who had more motivation and willpower than me. Just other people.
Then one day, my son came home from nursery. He was upset. He loved me dearly and was upset that a friend had said something mean about me. They’d said my ‘bum was the size of a planet’!! My poor son. To him, I was the perfect mummy and for someone to be saying something mean about me hurt him desperately. It was the thunderbolt I needed. The truth is, at that age, children are rarely mean for the very sake of it. They just say what they see and to be fair, that little boy was right. My bum was rather ‘planet like’! The thing is though, whilst I considered that this little boy wasn’t being deliberately mean but just making an accurate observation, in time my son would get older and come across other children who would happily ridicule him for my size. My son could get bullied because of me. I realised if I didn’t do it for me, I had to do it for my son.
Paul McKenna’s book “I Can Make You Thin” had sat on the side for a good couple of years. I’m not sure how I came about it but it had sat there unopened, gathering dust just like the other dozen or so fad diet books I’d collected over the years. With the new motivation of protecting my son from bullying ringing in my ears, I opened and read it. Oh my goodness! Why hadn’t I opened this before? It made so much sense. All of it rang true for me. It told me how me being overweight wasn’t all my fault and how I just needed to reprogram my mind to think like a naturally slim person and make decisions like a naturally slim person. This wasn’t a fad diet. There was no food plan or list of restrictions. This made sense and was the key I needed to be able to change my habits for good. I just knew this was my answer.
The weight fell off. I lost the first 5 stone in 6 months and it felt great. I was finally doing something sustainable for life. Although my marriage hadn’t survived the turmoil the past few years had provided, I was happier and could finally see a new life for myself. I met my incredible partner Paul in 2012. I’d managed to get down from a size 30 to a size 16 when I met him and his continued encouragement helped me continue my weight loss journey until I’d lost a total of 10.5 stone and was down to a size 12. I couldn’t believe how happy I was and how different my life was from just a few short years before. One of the best things was how incredibly proud my son was of me. I’d done it. I was officially slim!
As a result of losing weight, my painful condition, Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction, improved. So significantly that I no longer needed to be on the constant high doses of the opiate Fentanyl that I was being prescribed by way of a transdermal patch. I went on a detox. OH MY GOD! It was hell! For 12 years I’d been on opiates and my body had inevitably become addicted to them and the resulting withdrawal was like literal torture. However, with the help of doctors and my partner and family, I did it and was finally off opiate medication. Detoxing from opiates is a long journey. Although the initial pain and torture of withdrawal is over relatively quickly, the effects on your body can last months and within a very short time, I noticed I was becoming a lot hungrier than normal. In fact, this wasn’t normal hunger. This was ravenous hunger like I’d never experienced before. I’d wake in the night from hunger pain. The only way to soothe this pain would be to eat. Having reprogrammed my mind and lost weight with Paul’s system, I knew I wanted to make good quality food choices, and did, but there was no getting away from the fact that my constant ravenous hunger meant, even with good food choices, I was consuming more calories than I was burning and the weight was going back on. I put 4 stone on in 4 months! I was beyond upset. Paul’s system wasn’t helping me anymore. I was confused. I couldn’t understand what was happening to my body and I was desperate not to go back up to a size 30 again. But this ravenous hunger was awful. It was debilitating. It was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. Something was wrong.
My doctors couldn’t truly understand it but said it was likely happening as a result of the opiate withdrawal and detox and my body would probably settle back down in time. I couldn’t wait and hope on the off chance that it would get better. I might be back up to a size 30 by then and that just wasn’t an option. I became an internet research junkie! I came across some research that suggested hormone levels that affect hunger could be put off balance after opiate withdrawal. Was this what was happening to me? Was a hormone imbalance causing me to be constantly hungry and put on weight? I managed to find a doctor who could test my Ghrelin levels.
My Ghrelin hormone levels were ‘off the scale’. For some reason, the opiate withdrawal had created a significant hormone imbalance that, not only made me constantly ravenously hungry but also promoted fat storage in my body. I’d found the reason for my weight gain but now I had to figure how to stop it. Sadly, my doctor explained how although they now knew the problem and reason for my ravenous hunger, there wasn’t any straightforward remedy. I had to get my research hat on again.
Ghrelin, the so-called “The Hunger Hormone” is produced and released by the stomach and is responsible for stimulating hunger, food intake and promotes fat storage. It seemed to me that if there wasn’t a way to turn off the hormone with medication, then perhaps surgery could be the answer. Perhaps someone could remove part of the area of the stomach that produces and releases the Ghrelin, thereby controlling how much hormone I produce. Incredibly, it really was that simple and so that’s just what we did. I found a surgeon in Belgium who was able to remove the tiny little area that was causing all my woes. I woke from surgery and for the first time in months, I wasn’t starving hungry. I felt normal. I felt back to being me. Thank god.
By this time, my hormone issues had seen me make my way back up to 16 stone and a UK size 20. When I was on my way down from a size 30, being a size 20 was wonderful. I loved it. But having been a size 12 and going back up to a size 20 felt different. Quite frankly, it felt awful but my recent surgery meant a line had been drawn in the sand. My hormones weren’t going to cause me to put on any more weight and I finally had an opportunity to get back into it and lose the weight once more. And that I did.
I am now down to a very comfortable size 8 with a total weight loss of 13.5 stone. I never ever dreamt I’d be this size. I can now buy clothes from ‘normal’ high street stores. I don’t have to feel embarrassed in the supermarket, paranoid that people are judging me for what’s in my basket. I don’t have to scan cafe’s, pubs and restaurants for chairs without arms that cut into my fat or stick to my sides making the chair come up with me when I stand. I don’t have to ask for an extension belt on aeroplanes or feel the discomfort of my car seat belt cutting into me. I can go on long walks with my partner and son and not get out of breath or wince at the pain in my knees. I can wear skirts in summer and not feel the burning pain of my thighs rubbing together, sometimes to the point they bleed. I could go on more…
Losing weight has opened my life up to a million opportunities I wouldn’t have had before. It’s allowed me to find a happiness I didn’t even realise I was lacking. And now I want to share that with others. I know the pitfalls. I know the struggles and I know a way to handle them. Sometimes I think losing weight can feel like being inside a maze. There seem to be several options for a way out but too many times they end unsuccessfully. I’m passionate about helping people; giving them the tools and inspiration to join me and find their way out once and for all. To reach their weight loss goals and with it their overall potential. So join me, and let’s embark on this journey together where you find you can be successful at slimming.