By Alyce Collins
A HEARTBREAKING split after a “whirlwind” overseas romance led this woman to finally see that she was tipping the scales at EIGHTEEN stone after food became her comfort but now even relatives barely recognise her after she shed over FIVE STONE.
Head of customer support, Amy Smith (29) from London, UK, had been overweight since early childhood and later turned to food as her comfort after her parents divorced when she was a child. Food became her crutch during her own break up years later, leading her to gain over five stone as she went up six dress sizes.
When she was just 11 years old, Amy’s parents separated and she relied on food to provide the support and comfort she needed. At the age of 11 years old, Amy was already a UK size 14.
After moving to Colchester for university, Amy’s portion sizes grew even bigger when she began cooking for herself and doing no exercise to balance it out.
In 2011, just before Amy’s final exams, she split up with her boyfriend of a year who she’d met during a year abroad in Germany. The break-up hit Amy hard and made her realise she needed to do something to turn her life around and ger herself out of the rut she’d been in for nearly a decade.
At her heaviest, Amy weighed 18st and wore a UK size 22. Now, after shedding the weight and finally embracing her figure, Amy is 12st 11lbs and wears a UK size 10.
“As a child, we were always told we’d get dessert if we cleared our plates and I think that’s what started me on the rocky road as a greedy child,” said Amy.
“I unintentionally turned to food after my parents separated and it just piled on as puberty hit.
“I was deeply unhappy, but I put on a front and I was always the fun, bubbly girl. My friends still tell me that they never noticed my weight because they just saw me for me.
“I ate massive portions, especially at university where I would eat meal deals for lunch, sweets and chocolate galore. Then I did little to no exercise on top of that.
“I gradually gained more and more weight as I got older and I tipped the scales at 18 stone when I was 21 years old. Being relatively tall for a female, I carried my weight well, but I definitely knew deep down that I needed to do something about it.
“A broken heart just before my university exams in 2011 led me to think ‘sod this’. We’d been together for just under a year – it was a whirlwind romance from my year abroad in Germany as part of my degree.
“I was quite sad initially, but I decided that was the time to focus on myself. I was just going into my final year exams and I knew that graduation was looming, so it was time to bite the bullet and I started to eat healthily.”
Amy’s break up urged her to finally do something for her own happiness and to put herself first. She chose to try the Weight Watchers diet and lost three and a half stone in the first year.
After a year of eating Weight Watchers meals, Amy decided to switch over to Slimming World and see how that helped her weight loss.
“I lost a fair amount of weight with Weight Watchers, but I didn’t like the reliance on their branded foods to lose the weight,” said Amy.
“I have friends who have tried Slimming World and it really worked for them so I thought I’d give it a go. I remember the first week I followed the plan and I marvelled at the fact that I didn’t feel hungry at all and I’d been able to eat loads.
“I have a completely different relationship with myself now. I have some loose skin which does bother me, but I’d rather accept that than be the person I was before.
“It’s a mental and physical struggle as it’s taken years for my brain to catch up with my body and accept the person I’ve become.
“I went from doing no exercise, to a few workout sessions a week and walking everywhere I possibly can. I now cook all my meals and I enjoy my Sunday meal prep to get me sorted for the week ahead.
“I eat lots of fresh fruit and veg, and it’s amazing how many new foods I’ve discovered since starting this journey.
“I’ve taken the scenic route with my weight loss – slow and steady wins the race. I’ve still enjoyed myself while following the plan, but it gets tougher the closer you get to the target.
“For the last six months I’ve been chipping away to get back to where I feel most comfortable. It’s a case of remembering what the end goal is and persevering to get back there.
“My friends and family can’t believe the transformation, and they don’t actually believe the before pictures are even me. A relative at a wedding I went to recently didn’t even recognise me – that was an absolute highlight for me.
“The Instagram community for weight loss is huge – as my journey has progressed, I’ve found inspiration through some of the amazing Slimming World followers who post their recipe ideas.
“If you’re looking to get into exercise, find yourself a friend to exercise with, the motivation will be there to not let the other person down and you’ll bounce off each other.”
To see more of Amy’s inspiring transformation, visit @aimsterlouise.