A POLLOKSHIELDS woman is opening up on her extraordinary weight loss journey, and how she kept motivated to keep going during the height of lockdown.
Carolyn Sleith, 53, has lost just under 10 stone in the past three years, going from 19 and a half stone to just below 10.
Carolyn took the decision to shed the pounds in 2017, after attempting to buy a dress she had her eye on for Halloween.
She said: “There were a lot of factors that led me to wanting to do this.
“I remember scrolling through Facebook, and I came across this dress that I thought was perfect for Halloween.
“I was between a size 22 and 24 at the time and the biggest size the dress came in was an 18.
“It was the final straw – I was sick of not being able to fit into clothes that I wanted to wear.
“I was turning 50 in 2017, and I knew that menopause was coming soon, and that meant that it would be harder than ever to lose the weight.”
Carolyn took the first steps and joined a local Slimming World group to help her in her journey, something which she says has been key to losing and keeping the weight off.
She said: “Everyone at the group is on the same journey, which really helps.
“I would say that 90% of what I get out of the group is the support from others.
“Strength comes from the group and sometimes you need someone who is going through the same thing as you who can be honest.
“You are accountable to everyone, not just yourself and if you have a bad week or month, everyone comes together to get you back on your feet.”
Carolyn’s incredible weight loss journey has led to her being awarded Woman of The Year 2020 at the Shawlands-based group.
Kirsty Flockheart, Carolyn’s Slimming World consultant, said:”Carolyn is a big inspiration for the group.
“We always talk about body magic, it’s not about being on a diet,and people choose their own target weight, we don’t tell them what they should weigh.
“The group are fantastic, and even over Zoom calls during lockdown, we have been able to keep each other motivated to keep going.”
Lockdown has been difficult for many to keep active, with lockdown pounds being piled on, but for Carolyn, who works as an Information Scientist at NHS Health Scotland, she tried to use the situation to her advantage.
She said: “It was really hard to keep motivated during the height of lockdown, as it was for many.
“The only place that was really open was the supermarket, and we were all miserable and bored, so I think a lot of people turned to food for comfort.
“I decided to treat my exercise period religiously. I walked to work to avoid public transport and the car too, and it ended up that during lockdown I was walking around five miles per day.
“I made little changes too. I would eat an apple on the way home from work instead of a cake or biscuit and the change in my energy levels were unbelievable.”
She also took the opportunity to take up the NHS ‘Couch to 5k’ challenge during lockdown.
She said: “Three years ago, I would have never imagined myself finishing a 5k, I could barely walk up a flight of stairs without having to take a break.”
Not only did Carolyn’s weight loss make her feel fantastic physically, it also gave her a boost in confidence to do things she had never dreamed of.
During lockdown, Carolyn created a new project called ‘Buskers of Glasgow’ where she filmed and featured street performers from the city centre online, bringing the music to those stuck at home.
She said: “The weight loss has completely changed how I carry myself and going up to buskers in the street is something that I would never have imagined doing when I was heavier.
“My confidence has tripled since I lost weight and I push myself into social situations that I would never have thought putting myself into before, and I am proud of myself for that.
“I would go for a long walk into the city centre and film the buskers in town.
“I was able to get my exercise in while also pushing myself to interact with other.
“I feel 20 years younger, the biggest thing I keep asking myself is why didn’t I do this when I was 30 and felt like this then?”