At 46, Mandy Emmerson from Chester-le-Street, County Durham dropped a whopping 10 stones.
A huge fan of Gary Barlow, Mandy finally got the chance to get a picture together with her idol. But upon seeing the photograph, she got disappointed at how huge the woman she has become.
“I’d been gradually getting bigger since giving birth to Aaron when I was 20. I had a slow recovery following an emergency caesarean and, as a single mum, I felt terribly lonely and struggled to lose the 3st I’d gained while pregnant. I became heavier still after having a hysterectomy at 30.
A few months later, she got diagnosed with various health problems like EGPA, and over the following years, she developed diabetes, asthma, and high blood pressure due to her gaining an extra 7 stones. Her health has worsened and she’s grown varicose veins and swollen legs. She felt hopeless. Her doctor then asked her if she’d consider a gastric bypass. She can’t believe she’s gotten that big.
“Even then, I put any idea of slimming to the back of my mind. That is, until I was sharing the picture of Gary and the size-28 me on my social-media pages, and realising I couldn’t ignore my weight any more. I went to see my GP to ask for help and was offered Slimming World on Referral – a few weeks later I plucked up the courage to go to group.
Food optimizing helped her shed 8 lbs in just a week and from then on the pounds kept on dropping week after week.
“I started to tweet Gary Barlow telling him how well I was doing, and I was thrilled when he tweeted back congratulating me! Feeling bold, I asked if he’d mind us updating that photo once I’d lost weight and he was kind enough to direct message me back, which really spurred me on. Eventually, when I’d lost 9st, my dream came true: I went to see Take That perform on The X Factor and Gary invited me onto the stage for a new photo – and, this time, he could loop his arms right around me.
She’s reached her target weight and she loves her new self – fitter, healthier and happier woman with normal cholesterol and blood sugar levels. She can now actively participate in a fitness class, go cycling and swimming. A woman who doesn’t shy away at looking at her own reflection whenever she’s having a haircut. She’s so proud of herself now and how she got there.
“I still go to lots of concerts – though instead of sending my slimmer friends through the crowds to keep me a space, I now run straight to the front for the very best view!” she happily exclaimed.
Here are some of Mandy’s tips for success with Slimming World:
Realising I could eat proper food without feeling guilty was a real revelation to me. I decided to share pictures of all my favourite meals on Instagram to keep me motivated and I’ve now got over 5,000 followers. One of my favourite recipes is pulled pork, which I often make when I have friends coming over. If I’m short on time, I pop it in the slow cooker and it practically cooks itself!
When I fancy some chocolate, I make sure my Syns go as far as possible! A chewy 26g Cadbury Curly Wurly bar feels like a real treat for 6 Syns.
I love creamy-tasting yogurt – Arla Skyr Icelandic Style Yogurt Mixed with Strawberry is 3½ Syns per 450g pot and is fab with fresh fruit.
I used to have so little energy. Now I cycle, go swimming and take part in a weekly FitSteps class. Body Magic is such a buzz!
At my biggest, I really wasn’t into fashion – I just wore whatever would fit. In fact, I pretty much lived in black trousers; day in, day out. Now I’m happy showing off my shape in skinny jeans and fitted dresses.
When I got to target, I treated myself to a shopping day – it’s so much fun now everything fits!
After years of avoiding the hairdresser, I enjoy spending time on my hair. My styling tool kit includes lots of products and my trusty straighteners!
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