Whenever I hear the name Slimming World, I smile.
I suppose the journey started after I had had to give up my job as a swimming teacher. Every two years there was a requirement to take the RLSS Pool Lifeguard exam and part of that includes a 60 second timed swim of 50 metres (two lengths). My weight had been increasing over some time and it had become impossible to achieve this part of the test and so my only option to was to leave the job I had loved for 22 years and pursue other things.
Once I left I soon realised that it was harder to maintain my weight and I had a huge gain of two stones in just over a year. My health deteriorated and when I saw my GP about my symptoms, her greatest concern initially was how high my blood pressure was. I asked whether joining a gym might help to regain my fitness but I will never forget her response… that no gym in the land would allow me to join with a blood pressure as high as mine was! After taking blood pressure tablets for a while, things got worse. My kidney function dropped dramatically over a very short period of 6 weeks and I got close to needing dialysis. I was really very scared at this point. Without wanting to sound over dramatic, I thought I was dying. I learned that the main contributing factor to my high blood pressure was likely to be caused by my weight increase. It seems that this was also causing a serious amount of damage to my kidneys.
It doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to realise that if I wanted to be here for a lot longer, then the wisest thing to do was to lose weight. As I was going through this, in June 2014 I had a leaflet through my door inviting me to our local Slimming World group. I felt huge at a Size 24. My confidence was at a low. I hid behind dark, baggy clothes. But mainly, I was afraid. Going to Slimming World to get help seemed like the only way I could take control of what was a desperate situation.
I called my Slimming World consultant, Sue Denton, to ask her whether she thought me joining her group would help me. Oh how I will be forever grateful for her kind and gentle response with me. I was feeling extremely emotionally fragile at this point, and I suppose quite desperate to fix things. However, it was still a huge thing to walk into that hall for the first time, not really knowing what to expect. I have come to understand that I am not alone in experiencing these feelings when you go to a group for the first time. I suppose it makes me want to make sure that anyone walking in as a new member who needs help and support, feels welcomed and reassured. I love being on the Social team where I have the chance to do this.
So here my Slimming World journey began. I lost 10 pounds in the first two weeks and within four weeks I received my one stone certificate. I was well and truly on my way. One important point is that my actual weight was never ever mentioned… only the amount I was losing each week. Once weighed, it was quietly written in my book for me to see, but there is no mention of it in public.
As my weight started to come off, I started to get really excited about the results, and about the control I was feeling in being able to change. My Renal Consultant was very impressed by my determination to improve things for myself, and my kidney function started to increase. Week after week, I lost a steady amount of weight, and this led me to being awarded various Slimming World awards over the year such as Greatest Loser, Miss Slinky and Woman of the Year. I treasure those awards because it was my group’s way of saying that they were behind me. I am extremely humbled by this. I really dislike being the centre of attention, but if my weight loss is also helping someone else at the same time, then that really means a lot to me.
I achieved my Target weight on 8th December with a total loss of 8st 2.5lbs. I have had an interesting time trying to get the balance of keeping my weight steady but the great thing about Slimming World is that if you are up to 3lbs over your target weight, or 3lbs under it, then you are still considered ‘within Target’. I still plan to continue to attend my Group each week. I am on the Social team and I have the wonderful job of supporting Sue on a weekly basis. She really does an amazing job and has been a huge part of my success.
As for my kidney function, things have improved drastically. I will never get full use of my kidneys back but my health is not affected by this. Eighteen months ago, I would have never believed it if I had been told I would be swimming at least 5 miles a week, and at the speed in which I am able to complete each mile. (My manager has suggested I might like my old job back haha) I sometimes am so overcome by the change in myself, that when I’m swimming and I can feel the power of being able to move my body through the water, I want to cry because I have managed to do this and that life feels so good.
But mainly, like I said, when I hear the name of Slimming World, I smile. It really has changed my life.
My Blog will include thoughts about how Slimming World has worked for me, including tips and favourite healthy recipes. I will also share with you how I ‘cheated’ from time to time, but still had a weight loss on the scales!! Please feel free to add your comments.