Ruth's Weight Loss Success Story
|Start Weight||16st 7lbs|
|Current Weight||10st 10lbs|
|Weight Lost||5st 12lbs|
|Working to Rate of Loss||2lbs per week|
|Time Taken||10 months|
I am married with 3 children: a daughter of 23 (from my first marriage) and 2 sons 18 and 15. My family did not really affect my eating habits prior to my weight loss.
"I always ate healthily in front of them and was very conscious of eating the correct foods whilst they were in sight and giving them healthy lunch boxes etc."
(What I did when I thought they weren’t watching is another matter!)
I guess my job in a way does affect my efforts to lose weight but no more than anyone else’s.
I work in a school; there is always a big tin of biscuits, full with the type of biscuits that you would only normally buy at Christmas.
There are about 200 plus staff, so it’s always someone’s birthday, and therefore cake is always around.
What diets have you tried in the past?
I have never tried any fad diets. I did Slimming World once and lost a couple of stone, but found it restrictive when cooking for the whole family.
I found it didn’t educate you on eating patterns, as they had ‘free’ foods that could be eaten in any quantity whenever you wanted! Trouble is I saw that as a challenge!
I was a veteran Weight Watcher! Every time I rejoined I went to a different meeting as I didn’t like to go back to the same one after putting the weight back on! (Eventually I ended up running out of meetings).
Guess I have been going to Weight Watchers on and off for 20 years! I did lose 5 stone at one point.
"Trouble is as soon as I lost it, I went back to old eating habits and put every single last ounce back on."
Again although this was an easier diet to follow and still allowed me to cook ordinary meals and eat with the family, it took the responsibilty for what you were eating away from you. Also exercise did not really feature
Tell us how your weight has affected you
My weight has affected me for about 22 years now. It has affected every aspect of my life.
I used to dread going to social occasions, as I literally had nothing to wear.
"My attitude was that I am fat, what is the point in trying to wear nice clothes or look after myself, if you’re fat you’re fat nothing can disguise it."
I was more invisible to people when I was large! On the whole rightly or wrongly, people make judgements about you on your size, from everything to your intelligence, to your lifestyle, everything.
Looking back now I feel that the last 22 years have, on the whole, been wasted. I did not do the things that I should have with my children when they were growing up.
I would never push myself forward for anything, never do anything that would make me stand out. As a result, unfortunately, my children have grown up to be quite shy and introverted.
What has been your main motivation to lose weight?
I remember feeling old and thinking "what’s the point in losing weight, I’m old now who cares?"
Then I was chatting with my husband one day and he was saying that, now the kids are almost off our hands, it wouldn’t be long before would be able to start going away together.
This is something we have never done before, as we have always had children around us even when we first got married.
I remember thinking with dread about having to haul myself round sightseeing and having to get dressed up to go out!
"Then I thought - hang on I’m only 47 and yet I feel so old and tired all the time and I should be looking forward to some time with hubby, what’s wrong with me?"
I knew then that somehow I had to lift myself out of my apathy and do something, but at that time I really didn’t know what.
I think the final straw came when I had my photo taken for work, and we were given 4 ‘complimentary photos’. I could have cried when I saw mine.
I used, and still use, this photo as both a warning that I never want to be that person again and a reminder of how proud I should now be by how far I have come.
Which tools and resources on WLR do you find most valuable?
I seriously think that everything on WLR is invaluable, the whole set up. If I had to choose one it would be the forum boards.
I never used them in the first few weeks as I was too busy trying to get to grips with the food diary and the calorie counting! Then I felt a bit overwhelmed by it all.
"The minute I started using them I realised that I wasn’t the only one who had strange food habits, or the only one that would kid themselves about stuff."
I suddenly realised that I was normal and that there were so many people on here that were going through what I was going through, also people that had been through it and survived!
The help and advice that you get on the boards is absolutely unbelievable, whatever time day or night there is someone there, someone to help and encourage, or to give you the swift kick up the backside that you need!
No question is too small or insignificant, no one ridicules you.
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Have you purchased or used any products/fitness equipment that have helped to reach your goals?
When I first started I was too heavy to do too much exercise without injuring myself. I purchased a pedometer, a top of the range one, that showed calories used etc.
"I then used this to track my progress on my dog walks. I had about 3 or 4 routes of differing distances that I would then set myself targets to beat, time wise, every time I walked them."
I also after a couple of months purchased a HRM, which as far as I am concerned is a god send and the only real piece of equipment that I can’t do without
Why do you think WLR has helped you lose weight where other diets have failed?
The difference with WLR and other diets is that WLR makes you take ownership of your own diet and future.
"By calorie counting you know exactly where you are."
Even if you buy something out or have a meal, you can work out exactly how many calories it has ‘cost’ you.
Also there is a big emphasis on healthy eating and exercise. I think that once you realise how much exercise you would have to complete to eat that packet of crisps that you just have to have, but don’t have the calories for, you start to look at it in a different light.
I remember thinking when I very first started that to have my usual treat of a family sized packet of crisps I would have to walk for something like 3 hours! I think you suddenly realise exactly where you’ve been going wrong.
"With WLR there is no, you can’t eat this or you must exclude this food group, it’s just a very non-patronising approach of, this is what is healthy, this is what you should be aiming for but don’t forget we are all human and we will all need help."
Once I started using the boards the overwhelming message was the only way to lose weight and the only diet that would work, is the Eat Less and Move More diet.
I have never deprived myself of any food since joining WLR; I have maybe had less of one type of food and just have it on special occasions but have not given anything up.
I have throughout my weight loss journey and while I have been maintaining had a full cooked breakfast every Saturday morning.
"It is a very special family time when we are all relaxed and sitting round the table together chatting. It is possible to have a healthy cooked breakfast!"
Also as I have mentioned before, the support from the boards and the Help Team. When I am asked how I lost my weight and I tell people about WLR, they say “oh I could never do it on my own like that, I would need to go with friends somewhere”.
I try to explain all the help and support that you receive. It’s like going to a slimming club meeting whenever you want.
Have you struggled at points in your weight loss journey? Experienced a weight loss plateau? What has kept you motivated?
Yes of course there have been times I have struggled; if I didn’t struggle I would never have been so overweight in the beginning!
I really struggled at the beginning, throwing real strops and complaining to my long suffering hubby that I couldn’t possible log everything that I ate on the diary that it was too time consuming, that it was stupid, and maybe I should just stay fat forever!
"I really threw my toys out of the pram, my hubby very bravely said that he would fill my diary in for me till I got used to it! Bless him."
He has been so encouraging from the start. Without his initial help I would have fallen before I even got to the first hurdle!
There was a time when I must have been about half way through my weight loss and for about 4 weeks I stayed the same, or went up or down by ¼ lb. This was a very trying time and I felt very disheartened.
I would come home and think what the point in going out for a walk, nothing I am doing is making a difference.
The kids would then come in from school/work and ask why I was sitting there when I should be walking the dog. They would then bully me till I went out!
One day I came home from work and it was wet and windy and cold and generally horrible, and my youngest son had got my walking boots out for me and my thick ‘dog walking’ coat, and just said “see you when you get back Mum!”
What could I do except go! After a while the weight loss started again.
Since losing weight can you give examples of how your life has changed?
My new life is so far removed from my old one; it’s almost as if I am talking about someone else.
I am now out going confident, not afraid to stick up for myself or draw attention to myself. I love to party!
Most of all I have discovered a love of the sun! When I was bigger I used to spend holiday covered up and continually sweating.
"Now I can’t get enough warmth and sun! I wear shorts and bikini tops, or little summer dresses. Although I had been abroad when fat I never went on a plane, we travelled everywhere by car."
Summer 2010 was my first ever plane journey! It was the first time that I didn’t have to worry about fitting in a plane seat!
Also while on holiday I completely gob smacked my family by going parasending! I still don’t think they’ve got over the shock.
It just makes such a difference that if you have to be strapped into a harness that you don’t have to have the extra large one, and when they ask your weight to help them balance things out you reply in a loud confident voice rather than having to whisper or just run away.
It was so out of character for me to do anything quite so bold!
"I now have a passion for shopping, and think it should actually be a sport!"
When I look back to the other me, the difference is unbelievable; I used to clothes shop only when I desperately needed to, and the trips were so painful and demoralising.
I used to buy things that fitted, it didn’t matter what they looked like as long as they fitted.
"The tears I have shed in changing rooms and the arguments I have had with my husband over shopping, are heartbreakingly too many to recall."
Now however when I go shopping, it’s wonderful. Quite often I will take 6-7 outfits in the changing room, and come out with nothing, hubby says, “what was wrong didn’t they fit? I thought they looked fine”.
My reply is “yes they fitted but actually I didn’t like them that much!” It took quite a while for me to stop picking up the size 20’s, I would pick up 10/12’s and think but they are tiny that’s never going to fit.
Taking them into the changing room and having them fit perfectly is the biggest kick in the world!
Exercise routines adopted
When I first started exercising I had to be careful and started off walking, gradually building up to 6-8 miles, 3–4 times a week.
I had been looking at the forums’ runner’s board and noticed something called C25K. I made enquires and found out it was a running program.
Couch to 5 kilometres in 9 weeks. So I set myself a target of once I had lost 2 stone I would follow the program.
I started the programme in late March 2010, and by late May had ‘graduated’. I had my first 5k race in September 10 and then entered a 10k in October 10, followed by several more.
"I then entered The Grim in December 10 - a 9 mile mud fest! Waist high muddy puddles and hills, all through the army vehicle testing grounds in Aldershot!"
Since then I have taken part in an organised race at least once a month, have run several 10 mile races and 2 half marathons.
I have such a passion for running I sometimes surprise myself! Going out in all weathers and the cold dark evenings of winter.
"What makes me the proudest about my achievements is how my family has also taken up running."
Hubby and oldest son were quite fit anyway, as they are both involved in teaching martial arts, but their interest for running was sparked when they saw what I had achieved.
My daughter who was a self confessed couch potato started the c25k program, and now runs regularly for pleasure.
She has also taken part in a couple of races with the rest of us, but runs mainly for the enjoyment, as she is not competitive at all.
When I asked her why she started running, she said because she saw how much of a difference it had made to my life, she could see the benefits of it and the fact that I went on about it so much that she thought she would give it a go.
Just have to work on the youngest son now!
What do you love about your body now?
I don’t know if I should really say this, but I love everything about my new body. I know that will sound terribly conceited but there it is.
"We never had any full length mirrors in our house before, but now we have one at the top of the stairs and every time I walk up the stairs I still get a shock."
I still can’t quite believe that it’s me starring back!
Yes I have a few wobbly bits and yes something’s aren’t quite as perky as they once were, but I look so good to how I used to, I just want to celebrate that fact.
Ruth's hints and tips
I really approached my weight loss in a different way this time and I think that this is what has helped me stay motivated.
My reasons for wanting to lose weight this time were for me, for the sake of my health.
Not for anyone else and not for the reason of wanting to look good, although that has been a welcome side effect!
"You will need buckets of PMA (positive mental attitude). You have to have the right attitude."
Before I would start a diet, get to week 4 and a stone lost and crash and burn.
I used to set myself up for a fall, by saying things like "you just watch me I’ll do really well then I’ll lose interest , it always happens".
This time I just said, "this would not happen, that that was the old me, this is the new me it will be different." When danger/trigger times came I just thought, "yes I could now fall back on food like before, but how will I feel afterwards, will it actually help me?"
Instead where possible I would go for a walk/run and realise how actually that made me feel better, and that whilst out walking/running you have sorted things out in your head and you feel so good from the buzz of the exercise.
"I actually hold whole conversations with myself in my head! When I’m tempted it’s like the old Ruth talking to the new Ruth, and 9 times out of 10 the new Ruth wins."
I never set out thinking right I have 6 stone odd to lose. I just set myself a target of 2lb a week, and would really focus on that. 6 stone was just too big an amount to even contemplate!
I also think you have to become selfish as well. We are so used to putting family and loved ones first that we only think about ourselves after everyone else is sorted.
You have to have time for yourself, to exercise, you family will survive for the odd hour here and there.
You have to grow a thick skin is well, because a strange phenomenon happens as you start to lose weight.
You suddenly become public property and people think that they can say what they like to you! It really is like being a celebrity, your life is no longer your own!
I found that once people had started to notice my weight loss (at about 3 stone down) they would start saying things like, "you don’t want to lose any more", "you’ll be too skinny/look to ill/don’t need to!"
This was when I was only half way through! I even had someone say "you look great now but rumour is you’ll put it all back on again!"
When I reached goal people would stop me and stroke me and touch me saying that they couldn’t quite believe it.
Other people told me how worried they were and that I mustn’t lose anymore as I looked ill! In the end I found it best to lie. So when people said, you’re not still trying to lose weight I would say no!
As for those that said I looked ill or told friends that they should have a word with me because I was clearly obsessed, I just had to keep telling myself that I was a healthy BMI and that was what mattered.
"I had hubby and my kids to tell me that I looked great and that they would soon tell me if they thought I had gone too far."
I think it was just the shock of how different I looked to some people. The majority of people though were very supportive and understanding, I think the trouble is working with 200 people - that’s a lot of people to have opinions!
After a year of maintaining my celebrity status has diminished and people have found someone else to talk about!
What also keeps me motivated to stay at goal is the effect that I seem to have on my children and their eating/exercise habits.
It is very scary how much you influence your children without realising. I always thought that I set them a good example by only eating well in front of them for 90% of the time.
Without realising how closely they watch you and copy your habits.
I am so proud of them now with their healthy eating attitudes and their love of exercise. If I go back to my old ways, how do I explain that to them?
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
* 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.