It's been a while since I wrote about Slimming World

I've always been a bit of a loser, but now I've been nominated for an award to mark being a long-time loser!

Beth, my Slimming World consultant, text me yesterday to let me know I had been nominated for the Diamond Target member of the Year award.

Basically, for those non-Slimming World go-ers, you become a Diamond Member when you have been at target for a year.

When Beth text me I was chowing down on a Kit Kat Chunky. It's like she knows when I am putting chocolate in my mouth and chooses the exact moment to text. When she used to text me each week to see how I was getting on, it was always just as I unwrapped a bar of chocolate, or contemplated face-planting a chocolate fudge cake.

The food I consumed over the weekend was far from Slimming World friendly. And while I tried to remain on track the best I could, the track was like a tightrope and I was just about staying on thanks to a very big harness.

I had pizza, white bread, wine, cake galore, sweets, sausage rolls, pork pies... I'm salivating just remembering the delights I enjoyed. But I felt bloated and a bit bleugh as the new week began. 

So Beth's text really cheered me up, and spurred me on to be good until I get on the scales tonight. 

I reached my target in March 2016, four months after joining Slimming World on a cold, wet November evening.

I still remember now, the bag of nerves I was walking into the room that evening. I'd been toying with joining Slimming World for a number of months but kept putting off, thinking I could just eat healthy at home and continue to try all the quick fixes out there.

But nothing worked, and I knew I needed some proper help.

I had written a story at work about Beth launching a brand new group in Selby so dug out her contact details to get in touch.

As I walked into the room I felt so nervous. I was like a tortoise that just recoiled into its shell in a blind panic.

Stepping on the scales that night was awful. I knew I had put weight on - I could feel it, see it and tell by the fact my clothes didn't fit. But I didn't realise just how much until I saw the scales.

I set myself a target of losing two and a half stone and my journey began.

I found Slimming World so, so easy, losing 4.5lbs in my first week. I only had three gains during my entire four months of losing - one was Christmas (1.5lbs), one after New Year (0.5lbs) and one after Tom's birthday (2lbs). Every other week was either a loss or a maintain.

During that time, I still ate out, still ate chocolate and takeaways, and still enjoyed a drink. My life didn't change at all, I just made better, more healthy, choices.

I changed as a person, too. I became more confident again, I started sleeping better, my skin improved - it was all round changes I was seeing.

I lost my way a bit after initially getting to target, believing I could do it on my own without the need to go to group every week. I couldn't, though.

I went back to group in February and was just 1lb out of my target range.

Again, for those not privy with how it all works, you've 3lbs either side of your target range to work with. Once you go beyond those 3lbs, you have one week to get back into the range before having to pay again.

Second week back and I was right back into my target range, and have remained there since.

It's now almost five months since I started going back to group every week and I am so, so proud that I have stayed within my target range the whole time.

Of course, I have weeks where I am nearer the top of said range, and have had other weeks where I've neared the bottom, but that's all ok. This week will be touch and go whether I sneak out the top after my extravagant weekend - so that will look great after being nominated for this award for being at target over a year. Irony is painful sometimes!

I don't deprive myself of anything, and that's the beauty of this plan. I won't call it a diet, because it isn't a diet. A diet, to me, is eating rabbit food and missing out on the good stuff.

I still eat biscuits, crisps, chocolate, bread and all the nice things in life. I still enjoy wine, takeaways and cake. Hell, life wouldn't be worth living if they were out of bounds!

Without realising, Slimming World has become a way of life for me. I now 'food optimise' without even really thinking about it. I make better choices when I eat out (most of the time) without giving it a second thought. 

It just proves it is possible to lose/not put on weight by enjoying food and drink - and isn't that what everyone wants?

I won't lie to you, maintaining the two and a half stone loss has been much more difficult than losing the weight was. But having things to aim for keeps me motivated.

At first it was my wedding, now it's my best friend's wedding, then it'll be our honeymoon. I'm pretty sure after then, given that it'll be my birthday then Christmas, I'll struggle far more to keep on track. 

Trying new recipes is also a good way to keep focused. I love finding new favourite meals and discovering all the different variations I can try.

Slimming World has changed my life. And I will be forever grateful for that.

Getting to target at all was the biggest prize for me, so I already feel like a winner.

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