Simmi Sharma, 47, is a mental health nurse and aesthetic practitioner. She lives in North Yorkshire, with her husband, Patrick and is a target member of Stevie Muscroft’s Slimming World group in Saltburn-by-the-Sea.
Below, in her own words, she tells how she went from 16st 13lbs to 11st 2lbs.. 5st 11lbs lighter, she’s enjoying a life filled with fun, family and friends.
“Growing up in my close, loving Hindu family, every celebration was marked by a huge feast. Dad did most of the cooking – traditional curries, chapatis and deep-fried sweets. Food represented love for us – I couldn’t get enough of it.”
“When I was 30, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and pre-diabetes. Although the doctor told me it was connected to my weight, I just took the medication, reminding myself that cardiac issues ran in the family, so it was inevitable they’d affect me, too. By now I was a nurse and, at over 16st, I knew deep down that my weight was probably affecting my health.”
“Each time I tried a fad diet, as soon as I felt deprived I’d think: ‘Why am I stressing? Embrace food! You only live once.’ I was worried that committing to weight loss would mean sacrificing my social life. I tried a weight-loss club, but when I lost just 1lb after a week, I gave up. It was more fun to go out with the girls, eat chips and have a dance.”
“At 40, I fell in love with Patrick but when he told me I looked nice, I felt like a fraud, certain he was only saying it to make me feel better. And even though I loved every moment of our Bollywood-style wedding in 2015, I couldn’t help wishing I’d been slimmer under my colourful saree.”
“One evening, during a girls’ night in, my chair broke and I ended up on the floor. I was sure my weight had caused the chair to collapse beneath me and I felt bruised, inside and out.”
“But I slapped on a grin and joked about it and they laughed along with me. Once I left, I burst into tears. Soon after, a friend from work said she was joining Slimming World and I said I’d go with her. As I walked into the group, I was wary. I was afraid of being made to feel ashamed, but everyone was friendly and normal. When the Consultant, Nicky, explained how much I could eat, I doubted I’d lose anything. For a week, I followed the plan, eating more than usual to prove my point. To my astonishment, the next week, I’d lost 6lbs.”
“Instead of buying ready meals and jars of sauce to make my curries, I cooked from scratch, using fresh ingredients. I learnt how to make healthier versions of some of Dad’s dishes, such as chicken curry, with lean meat, vegetables, and low-calorie cooking spray instead of ghee. As I could use lots of herbs and spices, I didn’t need to compromise on the fiery flavours I loved.”
“By now I’d switched to a new group, as the timing worked better. The support we gave each other was vital, especially when we’d been disappointed on the scales. Our Consultant, Stevie, was amazing – she’d remind me I was doing great and it always rebooted my motivation.”
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