Marie's Weight Loss Success Story

Marie wanted to lose weight and be healthy for her family. Now 4st 5lbs lighter, the serial dieter shows us how she finally lost weight.

Marie's Weight Loss Success Story

Marie, Age 51, Height 5' 4"
Start Weight 13st 13lb
Current Weight 9st 8lb
Goal Weight 9st 7lb - 9st 13lb
Weight Lost 4st 5lb
Working to Rate of Loss 2lbs per week

About Marie

I had always been on the chubby side, and felt that I was fat.

I come from a large family, and I don’t mean there are lots of us! My mother wore size 24 dresses and my elder sister is probably nearer a size 30. 

I was actually the skinny one but was still bigger than I wanted to be and terrified that I would end up like them one day.

I put on a lot of weight when I had health problems in my early forties and it felt like it was out of my control because every treatment I was given (mainly hormonal) seemed to make things worse and I was also constantly very tired and felt as if I was walking through treacle most of the time.

I was eventually diagnosed with polycystic ovaries and endometriosis and had a full hysterectomy.

"Things did start to look up but the weight didn’t magically drop off and it felt like a mountain I just couldn’t climb."

I worked in travel, organising educational trips for travel agents and spent a lot of time abroad in 5 star hotels being served three beautifully prepared three course meals every day.

I also spent a lot of time at glitzy awards dinners and entertaining prestigious clients and hoteliers. Not a recipe for losing weight.

I was 50 when I joined wlr and fed up with being overweight. I had managed to lose just over 2 stone on my own but it was slow going, one step forward two steps back.

I gave up on all the fad diets just after I got made redundant from my glamorous job and thought I would go back to basics and count calories.

"The weight did come off but I found it hard to stick to the calorie counting, especially as I was losing very slowly, just ½ lb a week if I was lucky."

It was easy to get disheartened and slip back to the biscuit tin, especially at the weekend.

I am married to Dave who is naturally thin and eats like a horse all the time. He builds aircraft, teaches Martial Arts in his spare time and works nights.

I have three sons, Nick (29), Shaun (25) and Declan (21). Declan lives at home and his sole purpose in life is to be a pain to me and to eat everything that is not nailed down.

Sometimes it is quite tough living with two naturally thin men and watching them scoff crisps, cakes and biscuits.

"It doesn’t help having temptations like those in the house but I’m pretty good at blocking them out of my mind most of the time."

Dave has been really good. He has changed his eating habits quite a bit along with me and now eats more lean meat and nuts and dried fruits as snacks because he says it’s probably good for his health even if he doesn’t need to watch his weight.

He works nights and I know he still has pies and sweets at work but at home he sticks to healthy salads and lives without take away dinners. Bless him.

I now work in the British Gas call centre as a customer service advisor. It’s a very stressful job and I work ten hour shifts four days a week.

"Most of the time I’m sitting down at a computer, which is not great for exercise."

There are the usual office sweets and cakes going round most of the time, as it always seems to be someone’s birthday.

Because it is so busy though and we are monitored on how much time we spend away from the phone, it’s pretty easy to just get on with it and ignore them.

There is also a very good canteen but they have some great healthy options, a fantastic salad bar, freshly baked potatoes and lots of healthy eating choices, including skinny milk in the coffee machine.

I have a great team and we do have quite a few evenings out together, usually all revolving around eating and drinking.

Luckily I’m not that keen on alcohol but the food can sometimes be a problem and I have to save calories for those evenings and do extra exercise to work them off.

What diets have you tried in the past?

I’ve tried most of them. I flirted with the Atkins when it first came out and I did lose weight at first but it was so tough to live without bread and potatoes I used to dream about them.

I don’t think I was particularly healthy on it either, I always seemed to be either unable to go to the loo or unable to stop.

I cut out meat and dairy for a while too but the boys got fed up with that one pretty quickly and I didn’t lose any noticeable amounts of weight.

I tried the cabbage soup diet but couldn’t keep it up for more than a week. It played havoc with my digestion and I wasn’t very much fun to be with right about then, if you know what I mean.

I had some pills from the doctor that were meant to stop me absorbing fat, I did lose weight but I couldn’t eat anything with even a tiny amount of fat in or I got the most horrible bloating, pain and diarrhoea.

I was frightened to go out in case I needed to go.

I tried over the counter weight loss pills but all I lost was money.

I bought Paul McKenna’s I Can Make You Thin and although it did work it was tough finding time every day to listen to the weird CD and if it wore off pretty quickly if I stopped listening daily.

Tell us how your weight has affected you

I really was terrified of ending up like my mother and sister but there were times when I felt like I couldn’t control it.

"Being bigger made me feel old and tired and I had no confidence."

I looked in the mirror and saw myself getting more and more like my Mum every day and I hated it.

I was bursting out of my clothes and really didn’t want to admit that I was a size 20 so I shopped in places I knew the sizes were generous to try and fool myself.

Deep down I knew the truth though and it made me miserable.

"I was ashamed for people to see how big I was and I tried to disguise it by wearing layers."

I also hated Dave to see me undressed which put a bit of a strain on our marriage at times.

What has been your main motivation to lose weight?

I wanted to lose weight because I wanted to feel good about myself again.

I wanted to wear nice clothes and be able to shop in normal shops. I wanted to go on holiday, go on the beach in a bikini and come home with some photos I didn’t want to rip up. I also wanted to be healthy.

"Hitting fifty I knew that if I didn’t do something I would just get bigger and bigger and ultimately it would cut my life short."

I have two little granddaughters and I didn’t want them to grow up being afraid they would turn out like their grandma or being ashamed of me as I often was of my Mum.

Marie Before

Which tools and resources on wlr do you find most valuable?

I use the food and exercise diary every day (Ok so sometimes I slip up) and it has honestly been the main reason I have been able to lose the weight.

I think a lot of the time I had not been eating enough because I was exercising and sticking to fairly low calories.

"Learning about starvation mode and exercise calories was a revelation and from then on things got easier."

I also use the Members Forum daily. I’m usually to be found on the BL board where I have made some really great friends.

I think, more than anything, their support and advice has been the secret of my success.

Seeing how far some of the others have come has been inspiring, especially Elaine (MrBumble) who never sleeps, Mel (MelanieC) who seems like a weight loss machine, Lucy (Mcmotherpants) and Lorraine (Lolabelle87) with their challenges and AnneP who is the American voice in my head telling me not to give up when I really want to.

I’d like to mention each and every one of them but there just isn’t time or space.

"I love the wlr challenges too and they have really pushed me to try harder."

I was especially fond of the recent walking challenge and have just joined the new Holiday Countdown Challenge.

Have you purchased or used any products/fitness equipment that have helped to reach your goals?

I got a Wii Fit the Christmas before I joined wlr and I’ve found that really helpful.

It’s good to have something that makes exercise fun. I bought an exercise bike recently and have been using that and some Pump it Up work out DVD’s.

I do get a bit of training from my husband when he has time and he pushes me quite hard on the punch bag and pads (The BL girls have nick named him The Commando after one of the trainers on the Australian Biggest Loser series), he recently bought me my own pair of white ladies boxing gloves.

"My main exercise is walking though as it is something I really love doing."

I got a Garmin GPS pedometer at the beginning of the year to help me train for the London Moonwalk and that has been invaluable and probably the most used bit of equipment I have.

Why do you think wlr has helped you lose weight where other diets have failed?

I think the support of the lovely BL board members and the help team, along with the diaries, has given me the tools I need to get the weight off and now to keep it off.

I used to see a diet as something you did until you lost weight, a short term thing.

"wlr has taught me that it isn’t something you do, it’s a change you make and you make it for life if you want to keep the weight off."

I’ve learned some valuable lessons and joining was the best thing I ever did.

Try wlr's tools for yourself

Weight loss is easy with the tools in wlr. Like Marie, you can use the information on Weight Loss Resources to count how many calories you need to consume each day and how many you are actually eating. Try it free for 24 hours.

Have you struggled at points in your weight loss journey? Experienced a weight loss plateau? What has kept you motivated?

I have had several periods of plateau, especially towards the end of my journey.

I know they can be frustrating, especially when you are just a pound or two away from a goal or target.

"In the past, I would have given up and told myself I would never be able to lose any more weight and I’d probably have ended up putting weight back on."

The kind words of my friends on wlr have seen me through these times, almost everyone has been there.

Since losing weight can you give examples of how your life has changed?

Well, I’ve sold all my old clothes on eBay and bought entire new wardrobes three times now.

"I have so much more confidence and I actually like looking in the mirror and having my photo taken."

Dave loves to see my confidence back and he likes the fact that I don’t mind wandering round the house in my underwear these days.

I enjoy exercise now and feel really down if I can’t fit any in each day.

At the end of last summer Dave took me on a surprise holiday to Naples and I realised a lifelong ambition to climb Mount Vesuvius and to visit Pompeii.

"Climbing that mountain was hard work and not something I could have done before wlr."

I have always liked walking and had always wanted to try the London Moonwalk but didn’t think I’d be able to do it.

This year, spurred on by my success in climbing the mountain in Italy, I entered the London Moonwalk.

I completed the Moonwalk, along with Mel and Elaine from the BL board who copied me shamelessly and signed up as soon as I posted that I’d joined.

It was great to meet up with them for the first time in London and to meet Anne who came along to offer her support.

It was one of the proudest moments of my life to get that Moonwalk Medal and I actually cried when Dave told me how proud he was of me and when I then got a text from my son Nick and my Daughter in Law Debz telling me they were proud of my achievement.

Without wlr I don’t think I’d ever have had the courage to sign up for something so ambitious. I’m looking for my next challenge now though.

Marie Now, with her old jeans!

Exercise routines adopted

I walk the two miles to work every day. It used to seem like a long way when I started but lately I’ve been wondering if I can take a different route to make it longer.

I think I may be going slightly mad. I also do about 45 minutes of exercise before I leave for work every morning.

Because Dave teaches martial arts we have a large gym at home so I vary it, sometimes it’s Wii Fit, sometimes I get the boxing gloves out and beat the punch bag up or I might use the big mirrors and do a Pump it Up DVD or some weights.

I’ve even been known to get the stepper out when I’m watching TV.

I walk a lot at the weekend, get out in the garden and tend the veg plot we built this year, I feel like I have so much more energy now and I rarely sit down.

What do you love about your body now?

  Before Now
Weight 13st 13lb 9st 8lb
BMI 33.5 23
Body Fat - 28.8
Chest 40G 34DD
Waist 38 29
Hips 48 38

I love that I have collar bones and ribs. It’s great to wear nice clothes and know I look good in them.

Being able to feel my hip bones and not having a big muffin top hanging over everything or a roll or two of fat when I sit down was something I never thought would happen.

"I’m off to Agadir next week for a beach holiday and I will be wearing a bikini with pride, not trying to wrap myself in a sarong the whole time."

I think the main thing though, is that I feel younger, full of energy and healthier than I have ever felt.

I know I’m 51 but my friends at work are all in their 30’s and at times have been known to forget that I’m not the same age as them. I’m always smiling these days.

Marie's hints and tips

After seeing an episode of Biggest Loser where the contestants were made to do a long walk with sandbags representing the weight they’d lost I got the idea of making up bags of builders’ sand to represent the weight I lost each week.

I bought myself a good quality rucksack and started to carry around my sandbags when I walked to work and on my weekend walks.

Before long I had 16lb of sand in my rucksack and, because I had built it up slowly I was used to carrying it.

I did stop adding sand at that point because the bag wasn’t big enough to take any more and I’m not sure my back would have coped.

It really upped the calorie burn of my walks and helped with my weight loss.

"I was known as the mad woman with the really heavy rucksack wherever I went but I didn’t mind because the weight was coming off."

Now I’m maintaining I’ve gone back to a normal bag because otherwise I end up with too many calories to eat.

Start a Free Trial Today

Weight Loss is easy with the tools in wlr. You can use the information on Weight Loss Resources to count how many calories you need to consume each day and how many you are actually eating. Try it free for 24 hours

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* Note: The success stories published on Weight Loss Resources are written by WLR members, past and present, telling their own stories in their own words. As you will see if you read more than one or two of them, everyone's story is different and they have reached their success from a variety of starting points and lost weight at varying rates. Individual results may vary.

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