By Liana Jacob
MEET the British bridesmaid who was left so mortified when she tried to squeeze into her dress for her sister’s wedding that she has since lost three-stone three-pounds in just over a year and gained the confidence to wear a bikini for the first time.
Personal assistant, Lucy Ferguson (38), from Middlesbrough, UK, was overweight throughout her adult life. But by the time she had moved out of her parents’ house at age 20, she realised she had never learnt to cook, and this caused her to eat mainly ready-made meals and chocolate, this unhealthy diet resulted her to reach her peak weight of 13st and a UK size 16 to 18.
It wasn’t until she was asked to be chief bridesmaid for her sister’s wedding, that she decided to make an effort to lose weight. Despite spending six months of trying to lose weight, she was only able to lose one-stone and just about squeezed into her dress. From that point, she gave up, thinking she would never get to her goal weight.
It wasn’t until her sister introduced her to Slimming World, a UK-based weight loss company that offers lifestyle weight management programmes, that she began cooking for herself healthier versions of the food she used to eat.
Her new exercise routine of doing 30-minute-high intensity interval (HIIT) classes, body pump or spin classes and two netball games a week helped her drop down to a slender 10st 3Ibs and a UK size 10 to 12.
“I was brought up on healthy but big portions and when I moved out of home at aged twenty, I never really learnt to cook, so I would live off ready meals and takeaways,” Lucy said.
“I’ve never been confident with the way I look. I love fashion but hated looking for clothes that covered my fat arms, big stomach and huge bra straps to hold up my 36G breasts.
“I used to make jokes about my weight before anyone else could and my heart would sink when the camera came out; I hated photos of myself and would dread waking up after a night out to see what unflattering photos had appeared on social media.
“I had tried really hard to lose weight for my sister’s wedding in June 2015, when I was chief bridesmaid.
“It took me six months to lose one-stone by doing my own ‘diet’ and although I squeezed into my size fourteen bridesmaid dress, it didn’t really fit me, and I was mortified when I saw the official photos.
“Instead of spurring me on to lose more weight, it sent me the other way; I thought ‘what’s the point, I’ve tried so hard and I still look fat’.
“Then in March 2016, my family and I hired a cottage for the weekend in Yorkshire to celebrate my Mum’s sixtieth birthday.
“My sister insisted on cooking for us all on the first night as she had just joined Slimming World and wanted to stay ‘on plan’. The meal was delicious, and I was shocked you could eat food like that and still lose weight.
“The next day, we were looking through some photos my brother had taken that day on a country walk which I had struggled with physically, and I was shocked at how big I looked on them.
“When I got home from that weekend, I looked up my nearest Slimming World group and joined that week.
“Walking into my first Slimming World group and stepping on the scales was quite nerve-wracking, but my consultant and other members soon put me at ease, since we were all there for the same reason. I set myself a goal of losing three-stone, not knowing if that it was achievable.
“Joining Slimming World made me fall back in love with cooking and instead of getting takeaways, I’d make a curry or burger and chips and invite my friends over.
“Thirteen months after joining, I hit my three-stone weight loss target and I’m now a lot healthier and more confident.
“I recently had my heart rate taken by my GP and he asked me if I exercise. When I said yes, he said ‘I can tell, that’s the healthiest heart rate I’ve seen in a woman of your age in a while’.
“I also had a girl’s trip to Ibiza and not having to worry about photos being taken whilst I was in a bikini was so liberating; my friends all commented on how confident I was compared to before.”
Lucy says the hardest part about the process was keeping it to herself, worried she would be branded a ‘failure’ if it didn’t go to plan.
“I thought ‘what if I can’t lose any weight and I look like a failure’ and I also felt a bit embarrassed that I’d let myself get to a place where I needed support to lose weight,” she said.
“After the first stone, people starting commenting on how much better I was looking and asking what I had changed.
“By that time, I knew I wouldn’t go back to my old habits, so I was more open about my new lifestyle.
“I’ve never been very good at accepting compliments; I never believed people meant them, but I have to admit to feeling a little smug, but mostly proud, when people say how good I look now.
“I recently saw some friends who I haven’t seen for a year, and their first reaction was ‘wow, skinny mini, you look amazing’.
“I know I don’t have the figure of a Victoria Secret model, but I think the difference in how I carry myself and the confidence I have makes a huge difference to my appearance.
“Set smaller, interim goals, especially if you feel the mountain is too high to climb. I focused on half a stone at a time and rewarded myself with non-food or drink related treats when I got there.
“Also, think about your habits now – what are you willing to give up and how much time and effort can you realistically put into this.”
For more information visit: https://www.instagram.com/lucymanchester_slimming_world_/