A mum-of-one has said how ‘confident’ she feels after losing more than 7 stone in weight.
Melissa Smith, from Silverdale, has been maintaining her weight loss for around seven years. She originally joined her local Slimming World group when she was 20 and by the time she was 23 she’d hit her target weight.
Over the years she admits she has been to different groups and even tried to follow the plan on her own from home, but despite these changes she has managed to maintain her 7st 7lbs loss, which took her from a size 22 to 24 to a size 10 to 12.
“I originally started because my mum suggested we go together,” explained 31-year-old Melissa.
“I’ve always been the bigger one in my friendship group, and I’d always wanted to lose weight. My mum knew this so she came along with me for a bit of support. Without her I might never have joined, so she really was my saviour!
“It took me about a year and a half to get to my original target, but then I went a little bit further and lost the full seven-and-a- half stone.
“I remember the day that I hit my target and it was honestly one of the best feelings ever.
“I was finally able to wear things that I never thought I’d wear and I just had a lot more confidence with my clothes.”
Melissa says her weight loss journey wasn’t easy, but maintaining has been even harder.
“Maintaining is so much harder than losing weight,” Melissa explained. “Even though you have hit your target, you still need to be mindful and continue to follow the plan. You can start adding little extra bits back in that you might have avoided before, but it can be a challenge.
“I know that carbs really stick to me, so I do try and watch how much pasta and bread I eat.
“Because I have been following the plan for so long, it’s second nature to me, and I’ve formed lots of healthier habits over the years. Slimming World isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle change, and it becomes part of your life that you just continue to follow every day.
“I’d never cook with oil anymore, for example. I always use Frylight now, and that’s just one small change that you can make which makes a difference.”
She continued: “I never realised how nice roasted veg was until I started losing weight. I have always loved vegetables, but I never had a lot with my meals. I’d always have oven chips or onion rings, but now I just fill my plate with veg.
“I incorporate so much into our family meals and my partner and seven-year-old daughter are more than happy to eat them. I love warming, filling meals, like spag bol, chilli and curries. Since Slimming World I’ve also started to eat a lot more fish.”
Slimming World encourages members to treat themselves regularly with their ‘syns’ – and Melissa saves hers for her favourite tipple.
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Melissa continued: “I like to spend my syns on alcohol. I enjoy being able to have a gin – it’s really low syn and there are so many different flavours you can try.
“I know a lot of people might avoid eating their syns to try and lose more weight, but it never works. Your syns are there for a reason because your body needs to have that balance, so you have to just have them and enjoy them.
“I’d say to anyone who is joining Slimming World for the first time, you need to really understand it. Take the time to learn the plan and make sure you follow it, because doing just one thing wrong can affect your weight loss.”
Melissa says she was able to lose her weight without doing any exercise, but now she enjoys doing light workouts to up her fitness levels.
“As I’m getting older I want to try and become fitter,” she said. “Before the lockdowns I would swim quite regularly and do around 100 lengths each time. It was always my time on my own and I really enjoyed it.
“I’ve also enjoyed doing kettle bell workouts for around 20 minutes a day to up my strength. It makes me feel better mentally too.”
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Thanks to her amazing weight loss, Melissa says she feels more ‘confident’ and loves going clothes shopping. She was even voted Woman of the Year in her group in 2015 too.
“Losing the weight really helped with my confidence. I think, as women, we’ll always find things about ourselves that we don’t like and wish we could change, but losing so much weight has enabled me to wear clothes that I can feel confident in.
“I’ve always been quiet loud and outgoing, but I do still put myself down a bit sometimes.
“But being able to go out and pick up clothes that I know will fit, and having so much more choice in clothes shops, is just amazing.
“Now I can get dressed up for an evening out, put on a nice dress, look in the mirror and think, ‘I look beautiful’. It really does boost your confidence.”