ANNE Brewer should have been so excited about marrying her fiancé, Sam. But her dream wedding dress turned out to be a nightmare.
“I hated what I saw when I saw my reflection in the mirror,” says Anne. “My size 20 figure was spilling out, but I felt I had no option and bought the dress anyway.
“A few days later I paid a visit to my doctor. I had been suffering from headaches and I was feeling tired all the time, so he did some blood tests. When the results came back, I was asked to go in for my results immediately. They told me I had a fatty liver. I didn’t drink very much alcohol so I couldn’t understand, I was stunned.
The doctor went on to tell me that it was down to me being overweight. It was the wake-up call I needed. As a busy lawyer, I had been neglecting my health for far too long.
“I knew I had to do something about it so the following day I joined Sarah Greenwood’s Slimming World group in Silsden. I’d seen some Facebook posts about these ladies and gents that had amazing results, people who had completely transformed their lives, and I thought ‘If they can do it why can’t I?’ My health had to come first and after seeing myself in my wedding dress I took my first step through the Slimming World doors.”
Adds Anne, 27: “I was so nervous on my first night. When I stepped on the scales, I weighed 15stone 10lb and at 5ft 2in, I felt like I was the biggest person in the room. Sarah made me feel so welcome, the whole group made me feel at ease and I quickly felt supported. Sarah reassured me that losing weight wasn’t going to happen overnight, she told me that it wasn’t necessary to follow a restrictive regime or cut out food groups or embark on a very low-calorie diet to see significant results. She said filling up on my favourite satisfying meals, cooked in a healthier, nutritious way would give me the results I wanted.
“My first week didn’t go to plan and I didn’t get the result I wanted, I was so embarrassed but Sarah never judged me or humiliated me, in fact she went out of her way and gave me lots of support to get through my second week. She didn’t give up on me and when I stepped on the scales again I had lost a whopping 6lb – that great start Sarah told me about did come and I felt I could get through anything.
“My eating habits have completely changed. My job was so full on, so I regularly skipped breakfast and had a milky latte. I ate crisps and sandwiches for lunch and when I got home at night, tired after a long day, I would reach for my phone to order a takeaway or throw in a ready-made curry or pasta dish in to the microwave. I would very rarely eat fruit and vegetables, I snacked on crisps and chocolate.
“Now I’ve ditched the microwave meals and I make healthier versions of cottage pie and lasagne from scratch. I love overnight oats for breakfast, soups and salads for lunches, and my trolley is filled with fruit and vegetables. I could still have my favourite meals in a healthier way. My shopping bills were decreasing at the same time as my waistline, which was even better.”
Sarah Greenwood, Slimming World Consultant at the Silsden group, says: “Anne is a true inspiration, her determination has paid off and she has done amazingly well. When we went into lockdown in March 2020, I was so worried that many of my members would feel they couldn’t continue, lots of hurdles were getting in their way, however everyone at Slimming World quickly got us up and running on a virtual platform so we could still support our members through the pandemic.
“We know that group support is pivotal in our members’ success and without it I don’t know what we would have done. I felt so lucky to be able to continue the role I love. Anne’s determination meant she could continue to lose weight through these tough times and that is what she did, along with many others.”
Says Anne: “As the UK went into lockdown, I weighed 13st 4.5lb and when our dream wedding was cancelled (due to the pandemic), Sam and I were devastated. We made the decision to move the wedding to this year, that was the motivation I needed to carry on.
“I was so glad the Slimming World groups went virtual; it gave me the extra support I needed. Sam and I used our spare time to go on long walks, exercise was something I had never really done before, but losing the weight meant that I could enjoy more activities.
“I feel so proud of myself. I have now lost four stone and weigh 11st 10lb. My fatty liver has decreased significantly, and my doctor is thrilled with how I have transformed my life.
“I couldn’t be more grateful. I have a completely new mind set and to top it all off my wedding dress has had to be remade because I have dropped four dress sizes. My dream wedding is r-booked for July this year.”
Lyn Long, District Manager for Slimming World, says: “Anne is a true inspiration; she never gives up, even when things don’t go to plan. Our Slimming World consultants support thousands of members each week, to dig deep and overcome the challenges life throws at us. They are experts in behaviour change, we know that successful weight loss requires the support for people to make deep-rooted changes, and that support can be found in bucket loads in our groups.
* For more about local Slimming World group call Sarah on 07703 772796 or visit slimmingworld.co.uk