It's coming up to my three year anniversary since I began adopting a healthier and happier lifestyle, which has seen me lose eight stone and five dress sizes. I didn't go on a faddy diet or take slimming pills - sadly there is no magic way to melt that fat away. I basically moved more (I initially began walking an hour a day but my new found love of exercise sees me go to the gym four days a week) and I started to think about the food I was putting into my body.
It hasn't been easy and it continues to be a daily battle. Some days are a harder battle than others. The past week has been an emotional one and I have seen my comfort eating habits making a comeback. It scares me as I get so easily hooked back onto the enemy - sugar!
I'd always been overweight. Even at infant school I remember hearing the f-word, which I would continue to do so throughout high school and into my twenties. I guess I had a love for food and the more I enjoyed it, the bigger I got and the more criticism I received. So I ate to comfort my shattered emotions. It really is the most vicious of cycles. My self worth and confidence plummeted.
Back when I was a size 22 but still happy and smiling!
I never thought I had the will power to make a change to my lifestyle and eating habits but a bad breakup and lots of heartache was my turning point. I didn't want to just lose the weight that was holding me back but I wanted to work on my self-worth and learn to love myself before meeting anyone else.
I have always been lucky enough to be surrounded by friends and family who loved me for me. Now they are pleased to see that I am so much happier in mind and healthier in body. I still have goals I want to reach and I still have weight to lose. I'm setting myself fitness goals at the gym with the help of my amazing gym buddies and trainers, and making sure I meditate every day to ensure my mind is getting TLC too.
Feeling confident enough now to do some modelling!
Over the past three years, as I've gradually lost weight, I've been aware of so many changes - not just in my body but life in general. Here are 10 things that you don't expect to happen when you lose weight...
1. Your skin will loosen and head south. I know, gross. Once you start dropping the pounds, it's also important to be doing plenty of exercises to help with the very tough mission of toning. I'd say it's even harder than denying yourself that piece of toast in the morning. I wish my wobbly tummy would just piss off!! Try yoga and Pilates along with plenty of core exercises.
2. Your boobs will shrink. I miss the fullness of my boobs. Don't get me wrong, they are still a good handful but not quite what they were. However, the weight training I've been doing over the past year has seen them get back to their perkier selves. They are now the boobs I should have had all along.
When I looked more buxom
3. People will encourage you to fall back into old habits. You will notice that some people, perhaps at work or in your social circle, will encourage you to go back to the dark side and give a cheer if you have a chocolate. They will also roll their eyes when you have a salad for lunch instead of a jacket, beans and cheese or when you tell them you actually enjoy going to the gym first thing in the morning.
4. You feel guilty for even looking at a cookie. I'm more relaxed with my eating now but in the first year I would feel so guilty if I ate something 'naughty'. Do allow yourself treats (weekends are a good time for this) but in moderation, of course!
5. Hangover food is a tough business. The other night I had a bowl of soup when I got in after one too many rather than a greasy takeaway... Now that's dedication! However, there isn't wrong with the odd burger so don't feel too guilty for enjoying yourself. Life is too short. Just don't do it every night.
6. You become a bore. I'm sure I've bored friends and family with my nutritional advice as they bite into a sandwich. Sorry.
7. It's hard to constantly come up with delicious yet healthy recipes. It's so easy to grab a sandwich rather than a pathetic looking salad for lunch. So make your meal times fun and interesting. Fill your salads with delicious ingredients that are colourful and have texture. I love pear, walnuts and goats cheese in a leafy salad or roast veg, chicken and avocado. Just remember to cut down on processed foods and eat fresh as much as possible.
8. You have to say goodbye to 'favourite' clothes. I've sold numerous dresses on eBay and many held treasured memories. They were like old, dependable friends which I knew would make me feel good. I have had to buy a whole new wardrobe. It's an expensive business but luckily I am a dab hand at finding a bargain.
Feeling chic in a bargain outfit for my friend's wedding in September
9. Losing weight doesn't equal happiness. I still struggle not to see myself as the 'fat girl'. When I look in the mirror I am still drawn to the bits of my body I don't like. Losing weight is only half of the battle, there is a hell of a lot of work to do with your mind. I am getting over my insecurities. I no longer have daily bouts of feeling self-conscious. I can walk down the road with my head held high and back straight, not worrying about the size of my thighs. After all, there are more important things to be worrying about.
10. Even your knee high boots won't fit anymore. Yep. I was walking to work one day and noticed my knee highs slowly gathering at the bottom until they were round my ankle. Not a good look.