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среда, 21 декабря 2016 г.

"At last I can go on holiday"

Noemi Lelliott explains why she blew a whopping £15,900 on 12 luxury breaks - and cancelled all of them
Each summer for 12 years, Noemi Lelliott booked and paid for a family holiday to a string of idyllic destinations.
But at the last minute, she cancelled them all - because she couldn't bear to be seen in a swimsuit. As she excitedly planned the trips to exotic places like St Lucia and Mexico, Noemi convinced herself she would lose weight before the departure date.
But when the day arrived and she was still a size 16 and 14st, she couldn't face the beach.
"Often as late as the morning of the holiday, when the suitcases were in the hall, I would break the news to my husband, Scott, that we couldn't go," recalls Noemi, now 36. "The thought of anyone seeing me with my flesh exposed was just too unbearable.
"The fear of other people looking at me and being repulsed made me feel so sick, I couldn't put myself through it.
"Luckily, Scott was very understanding and supportive. He would just hang his head and carry the cases back upstairs.
"I felt so bad for him that I'd book another holiday for the following year, convinced I'd have lost weight by then."
Scott, also 36, a businessman, says: "It was hard because everyone gets tired and feels they deserve a break. We ran up lots of debt on credit cards paying for trips we never got to enjoy. But I didn't put pressure on Noemi as I knew that was the last thing she needed."
Noemi, a former lawyer and a mum-of-two, lived like a hermit for more than a decade, hiding in her home because of her weight phobia.
The family didn't have a single mirror in the house because Noemi, who started putting on weight at the age of 20, couldn't stand looking at herself.
"My wedding day in 1995 was the worst day of my life," she says. "I'm 5ft 4in and weighed 13st 12lb at the time. I felt so fat and hated all the guests looking at me."
One of the few times Noemi went out was at 6.30am. The streets were deserted and she felt safe walking in the fields surrounding her East Sussex home. The rest of the time she refused to answer the door.
"I was a recluse," she admits. "If a friend asked to meet me, I'd make any excuse not to go or cancel at the last minute. I lost contact with so many mates. And all because I was fat."
Scott would even drop their eldest son, Damon, now four, off at nursery and take a late lunch break at 3pm to pick him up again.
Noemi was so disgusted with the way she looked, she couldn't even bear to have her son's friends over to play.
"Damon would see me crying all the time and ask what the matter was," she recalls.
"I would say, ‘Mummy is ugly and fat,' and he would say, ‘No, you are not.' It was difficult for him to understand what was wrong with me."
"Noemi needed space and time to work through her problems and that's what I tried to give her," Scott says.
Noemi eventually sought help from her GP, who prescribed antidepressants.
"They didn't help at all because I wasn't depressed," she says. "My only problem was that I hated the way I looked."
Noemi would spend days eating nothing but fruit in a desperate effort to lose weight. But, ravenously hungry, she would end up raiding the fridge at night once her family were in bed. Then, in May last year, shortly after her son Luke was born, she read about the SureSlim diet, which uses blood tests to determine which foods the body is sensitive to. The theory is these problem foods make people fat. Noemi was told to cut out chocolate, crisps, most fruit and breakfast cereals.
"During my first months with the SureSlim club in Tunbridge Wells, I'd visualise a dream holiday as my incentive to carry on," recalls Noemi. "I'd think of the beach, the water, the boys having a nice time and lots of pictures taken of me in a swimsuit."
Noemi had weekly consultations and weigh-ins and lost a staggering 6st in six months. She is now a slender 8st 3lb and a size 8.
"Now I can look in the mirror and I feel normal," she says. "I'm the mother my children have always deserved - we play in the park, they have friends round and we go to the seaside."
And it's not just the kids who have benefited.
"Before, I was so disgusted with how I looked that I couldn't play an active role in bed," Noemi adds. "Now Scott thinks I've been reading up on it, I'm that good!"
Finally, the family have managed to get away on holiday - to New York.
"We had the time of our lives, skating in Central Park and seeing all the sights," says Noemi.
"Scott paid £400 for me to have a Nicky Clarke hairdo before we went and I spent a fortune on designer clothes. Finally making it on a family holiday was the best feeling ever."
By Helen Carroll
Contact SureSlim on 0870 321 4014 or visit .

Catalogue of abandoned holidays

  • 1995 Bali honeymoon "We never told anyone we'd skipped our honeymoon." Cost £2,000
  • 1996 Mallorca "I starved myself for weeks then binged on junk food, so we cancelled." Cost £1,000
  • 1997 Menorca "I called this trip off the day before we were supposed to leave." Cost £800
  • 1998 Egypt "We were locking up to leave for the airport when I had a panic attack." Cost £1,200
  • 1999 Ibiza "Scott refused to look forward to this trip. He was right - of course we didn't go." Cost £1,400
  • 2000 Lake Louise, Canada "This time I faked a pain in my kidneys to get out of going away." Cost £1,800
  • 2001 St Lucia "Scott had refused to get involved in booking holidays at this point. " Cost £2,000
  • 2002 Las Ventanas, Mexico "With our suitcases in the hall, I told Scott I couldn't face it." Cost £2,800
  • 2003 Montacute, Somerset "It was so hot and I just couldn't bear people seeing me in shorts." Cost £500
  • 2004 Boca Raton, Florida "A friend invited us to stay at her house in Florida. I told everyone our tickets had been lost." Cost £600
  • 2005 Positano, Italy "This time our departure date passed without mention." Cost £1,200
  • 2006 Andorra "I never even told Scott I'd booked this one." £600


"It sounds like Noemi's lack of confidence was so bad that it affected her work, her social life and her relationship.
Her weight wasn't really extreme at all, but her perception of it was out of all proportion to the reality. It is very likely that she was suffering from body dysmorphic disorder - a condition in which the sufferer has a distorted view of their own body and becomes obsessed by something everyone else regards as normal.
There may have been elements of depression and bulimia, as the three things are often inter-related. But her weight loss has certainly done the trick ever since then. She should give herself a huge pat on the back for turning her life around."

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