Sharon Martin, 46, from Forsbrook, Staffordshire explains how Davina's TV show was the kick up the bum she needed to change her life.
The advert popped up on my computer screen when I went to check my emails.
A deep booming voice asked three questions.
Are you sick of putting off the things you want to achieve in life?
‘Yes, I am,’ I nodded.
Are you feeling stuck in a rut?
‘Oh, yes,’ I nodded again.
Are you up for making a pledge in front of the nation that in one year your life will be dramatically different?
It was June 2015. And the time had come for a change.
I was a district nurse.
Every day, I visited people in their homes, changed dressings, took blood pressure, talked to them about healthy lifestyles…
And every time I did, I blushed.
‘It’s like the pot calling the kettle black,’ I said to my husband, Craig, 48. ‘I mean, look at me!’
I was 17st. A dress size-22. And 5ft 2 tall.
Couldn’t take a flight of stairs without struggling for breath.
Who was I to lecture people on healthy lifestyle choices?
I put most of the weight gain down to my job.
I loved being a nurse, but there just weren’t enough hours in the day for proper meals.
Always on the go, instead of breakfast I’d stuff a load of biscuits down my neck.
For lunch, it was the same, with a bag of crisps thrown in.
And by the time I got home in the evening, I was too wiped out to cook.
It’d be takeaways or supermarket pizza.
The patients must have thought I was a hypocrite. Or worse…
One afternoon I visited a 90-year-old woman.
I was kneeling to change the dressing on her leg when I found I couldn’t get back up.
‘Are you okay, dear?’ she asked.
‘I’m stuck!’ I admitted.
And so, the patient had helped me to my feet again. At 90-years-old. With a leg-wound.
Afterwards, tears stung.
But fear, too.
If I carried on like this, would I be round much longer?
Then, just a couple of days later, that advert popped up.
It was looking for people to take part in a new TV show called This Time Next Year, presented by Davina Mccall.
The idea was to set yourself a goal, and give yourself one year to achieve it.
It could be to learn karate, write a novel, lose weight- anything you wanted.
I sent off the online application form. And after two Skype interviews, a producer called me saying they’d love to feature me.
First, I’d film an interview with Davina. Then, I’d have one year to get to a healthy weight.
A year on, we’d film another interview with Davina. All the footage would be edited together and shown on the telly in December 2016.
‘And you’ve got to do it on your own,’ the producer said. ‘We can’t help you.’
‘You’re on,’ I agreed.
But the thing is, I wasn’t on my own.
When I met Davina to film our interview, I was asked to wear my nursing uniform.
I was so nervous, but Davina was brilliant.
And she believed in me.
‘I know you’re going to meet your target,’ she said.
She made me WhatsApp her a selfie every month. In a bikini!
And she took the time to call, too.
I wasn’t losing weight just for me. I was doing it for Davina, too.
What better motivation is there than that?
I did my best to eat properly and have regular lunch breaks, and I signed up to Bodychef – the UK’s first fresh diet plan. Bodychef delivered food straight to my front door, making sure I got all the goodness in my diet I needed without overeating.
And whenever I could, I exercised. Started Nordic Walking. Short distances at first, building on them all the time.
The weight started to fall off.
More importantly, I started to feel so much better about myself.
I hadn’t even noticed how much confidence I lacked before. But now, I had it in shed-loads.
A year on, and it was time to film the second interview with Davina.
This time, instead of my plus-sized nursing uniform, I chose a pair of leather trousers and a vest-top and a jacket.
And when I met Davina…
‘Oh my GOD!’ she cried. ‘You look incredible!’
‘I feel it!’ I smiled.
The cameras rolled while I filled Davina in.
‘I’ve lost 6stone,’ I said. ‘These days I am 10st 11, a dress size-14.’
Truth was, I didn’t care about the numbers.
All that mattered was how I felt.
Healthy, confident, alive.
‘And now the patients won’t be thinking I’m a hypocrite,’ I laughed.
In December 2016, the programme was shown on telly.
‘I’m so proud of you,’ Craig told me.
The other nurses and all our patients were really proud of me, too.
Especially the 90-year-old who’d helped me off the floor.
Since then, I’ve kept the weight off and I’m hoping to slim down even more.
I needed a change, so I made it.