Jeannette Magnay, 45, from Hackbridge, Surrey speaks about the moment she knew she had to change...
The woman in front of me was chatting away while I smiled and nodded along. But I’d really no idea who she was…
Then she stopped. ‘You don’t recognise me, do you?’ she asked.
‘No,’ I admitted, blushing.
‘It’s me, Diane,’ she said. And my mouth fell open in surprise.
I’d known Diane ages, we caught the same train into London for work. But I’d not seen her for months, and she was a changed woman.
‘You’ve lost weight!’ I said.
‘Over 6½st,’ she replied.
I was impressed. Over the years, I’d been on loads of diets.
I’d lose as much as 6st. But I’d always pile it back on, ordering junk food every night for me and my hubby Nigel, 53, once our little girl Daisy, 4, was in bed.
Now, wearing a size-34, I’d no idea what I weighed. I’d been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. Plus, I was always exhausted, nodding off all the time.
Diane read my mind.
‘Come to my slimming class,’ she said.
‘Maybe,’ I replied. But you’d never catch me in a class like that, being humiliated.
Then, three months on, something happened that changed everything.
I’d taken Daisy and my brother Jamie to visit our parents. Driving home, the car was so warm, and I started to feel tired.
‘Wake up!’ Jamie yelled.
I’d fallen asleep at the wheel!
Just for a few seconds. But our car had veered into the opposite lane of traffic.
Jamie grabbed the wheel, and we were safe. But I was a mess.
‘I could have killed us!’ I cried.
My size had put my family in danger.
I’d a friend with sleep apnoea, a condition where sleep is regularly interrupted because your breathing is disturbed.
It makes you tired in the day. I knew it’s more common in obese people.
And thinking how often I’d been falling asleep – now while driving – I was sure I had it, too.
‘Why don’t you start at that slimming group?’ Jamie said, offering to come along for support.
Two days later, I was walking into my first Slimming World group, the one Diane attended.
It was a scary moment stepping on the scales, discovering I weighed 23½st.
‘You’ll never see this number again,’ the class leader reassured me.
Back home, I stuck to the eating plan religiously. And, that first week, I lost 6lb.
I began making healthy versions of old faves like burger and chips and Chinese takeaways.
Two months on, and I’d shed 3st. And I was waking up refreshed.
The changes spurred me on and the motivation of my group kept me on track.
My GP said I no longer had diabetes symptoms and my cholesterol was normal. My sleep apnoea had vanished, too.
Now I’m 12st 10lb and a size- 12/14, with just a few pounds to go.
Nigel’s been inspired and has already lost 3½st himself.
He’s not the only one. At the station one day, an overweight lady came over to me.
‘You’ve lost so much weight,’ she said, asking what my secret was.
‘Come to my class,’ I said. She did, and she’s since lost nearly 5st.
I’m so pleased. Slimming World has made me a different person.
Not long ago, I showed Daisy, now 6, a picture of the old me.
‘Who’s that fat lady, Mummy?’ she asked. She only recognises the mummy who’s healthy.
That makes me so happy.
I’d been wasting my life in exchange for junk food. And I thought changing my ways was impossible. I’m here to tell you, it is possible. You’ve just got to really want it.
I’ll always feel ashamed that I put Daisy in danger that day. But that shock wake-up call sent me on a journey where I’ve changed all our lives. And I’m really proud of that.