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суббота, 14 января 2017 г.

Need an extra push to kick-start your diet? Look no further than these women who lost weight and changed their lives

'I WENT FROM FAT TEEN TO BEAUTY QUEEN'
Charmaine Lewis, 20, was bullied as a schoolgirl for being fat - but with her mum's help, she lost 5st to be crowned a beauty queen. Now a civil servant, she lives in Swansea.
"As I slipped into my size-10 ball gown and prepared to walk out on to the stage, I tried to calm my jitters.
Gone was the size-18 girl who secretly gorged on chocolate and hid her curves beneath baggy jumpers.
After years of battling with my weight, I'd finally slimmed down six dress sizes, and now I had the confidence to enter a beauty queen competition. I wasn't expecting to win a prize, just taking part was enough.
Then I heard the words: 'And the winner is Miss Charmaine Lewis!' I nearly collapsed with shock. I'd won!
As the tiara was placed on my head and the sash tied round me, I could see my mum and nan in tears in the front row, and my friends screaming with excitement. I'd always been a chubby child, and taller than other girls, but when I started comprehensive school at the age of 11, bullies picked on me for being different for being fat.
Charmaine as a teenager
Unhappy, I turned to food for comfort. I'd have huge helpings of my mum's home-cooked meals, then secretly snack on crisps and chocolate in my bedroom.
I hid my body under baggy, shapeless clothes so no one could see how big I really was. I never went out, preferring to stay home. While other girls giggled about what boys they fancied, I never joined in, knowing no boy would ever be interested in me.
When I turned 14, I weighed just over 15st. That summer, we went on a family holiday. When my mum saw me spilling out of my swimming costume, she gently suggested we join a local slimming club together, as she wanted to lose a few pounds and would like some company.
I agreed to go. I wanted to be slimmer - I didn't want to be invisible any more. With Mum's help I transformed my diet - cutting my portion sizes, eating more fruit and vegetables, and only having chocolate as a treat. We exercised regularly, too.
Over the next two years I lost over 3st and went from a size 18 to a 14. Although I left the slimming club when I was 16, I carried on following its rules and dropped another 1st, taking me to 10st 5lb. Buying my first pair of size-10 jeans in time for my 17th birthday was the best present ever.
I started college soon after that and felt like a new person with a new life. I could shop for clothes without bursting into tears - and had the confidence to talk to boys!
I was approached by a couple of modelling scouts, but I never thought I had what it took to be a model.
Charmaine won Miss Swansea
In the summer of 2008, a friend entered the Miss Wales competition and I went to support her. People kept telling me I should enter Miss Swansea the following year, and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to. I applied last August and when I got a letter a few weeks later telling me I was through, I screamed with excitement. I just couldn't believe it!
I reached the final, which was last November, and friends and family came with me. First was an interview with the judges, during which I showed them my 'before' photos. Next was the jeans round, then the party-dress round. The grand finale was evening wear.
Slipping into my purple satin gown, I looked at my reflection in the mirror. If you'd told me when I was a 15st teenager that I'd be wearing a size-10 dress and about to compete in the Miss Swansea final, I never would have believed it.
Winning gave me closure on my old life. I'm proud of my weight loss - it's part of the journey that's made me who I am today."
Louise with daughter Annabelle
'I WAS TOO FAT TO BE A MUM'
Full-time mum Louise Collins, 25, lost 6st to achieve her dream of motherhood. She is married to Ian, a 26-year-old engineer, and lives in Telford, Shropshire.
"Most women look back at their wedding photos and smile at the memories of an amazing day spent with friends and family.
I do have some wonderful memories of my wedding, but I loathe the photos because I look so awful. My 20st, size-22 body had been squeezed into an ivory satin gown, and I looked hideous.
I'd been overweight since my teens. After my parents split up, I was brought up by my dad and my gran. I was always tucking into roast dinners and snacking on muffins and sweets. I'd try dieting, but would fall off the wagon because I had no willpower and just loved food too much.
Louise before losing the weight
By the time I met Ian in an internet chat room in 2001, I was 17 and already a size 18. Our relationship progressed quickly - we started dating and moved in together two years later. We both enjoyed cosy nights in, cuddling up on the sofa with a takeaway - and we both gained weight. Seeing Ian go up from 11st to 13st made me feel better about my ballooning figure.
On our wedding day, Ian told me I looked beautiful. I believed him. Looking back, I know I didn't. Not really.
We desperately wanted a child and started trying a couple of months before our wedding. I'd always had irregular periods but never anticipated I'd have any major problems conceiving. But I did. A year after we married we were still childless, and I was heavier than ever at a size 24 and almost 21st. At just 5ft 8in, I was huge.
I went to see my GP and was sent for fertility tests, which showed I could have a baby. When I asked my doctor why I wasn't getting pregnant, she told me quite bluntly there was probably just one reason - my weight.
But I was in denial about my size. Instead of taking the hint and dieting, I continued eating unhealthily. It was another few months before my wake-up call came. I'd been to a family wedding and was going through the photographs when I saw myself. I was hideously overweight, and I looked bloated and old.
There was no denying it any more. I needed to diet. I started crying. While Ian did his best to reassure me, I knew the doctor was right - I was too fat to be a mum. I needed to lose weight to have a baby.
I should have weighed around 10st - less than half my actual weight. It seemed impossible but if it was the only way to have a baby, I had to do it.
After doing lots of research I started on the Cambridge Diet, a low-calorie eating plan that involves meal-replacement shakes and soups.
If I was ever tempted to eat bad, fatty foods, I'd just think about holding my baby in my arms.
As the weeks passed, the weight fell off. Every month or so I was another dress size smaller.
I kept one outfit from when I was at my heaviest and each week, Ian would take a photograph of me in it. I was literally shrinking!
Louise at 10st 12lb
Ian started on the diet plan, too, and we lost weight together. In April last year, five months after I started, I was almost 6st lighter and wearing size-16 jeans for the first time in years. I felt sexier then I had done in ages.
Then a week passed without me losing any weight, and I was gutted. Soon afterwards, I started feeling nauseous and dizzy.
Simply out of curiosity, I bought a home pregnancy test. It was positive. I called Ian and we stared at the thin blue line in silence, then he scooped me into his arms. 'We're having a baby!' I squealed.
I came off my diet and decided not to weigh myself - the health of our baby was my priority now.
Although I went up to a size 18 during my pregnancy, the main thing is that our baby, Annabelle, was born on November 30, 2008, weighing a healthy 7lb 9oz.
When she was three months old, I went back on to my diet plan.
I hit my target weight of 10st 12lb last November and am now a happy size 10. I feel younger and have so much more energy. I don't need to go to the gym because I burn off so much energy running around after Annabelle, who's now 13 months old and toddling.
Sometimes I forget the journey I've been on, and that a few years ago I was twice the size I am now.
Ian and I hope to have another child one day, when the time is right, but for now I'm loving being a mum. I'll stay fit and healthy for my little girl's sake - and mine."
Rania and Hazem on their wedding day
'I LOST 5ST AND FOUND LOVE'
Rania Kashi, a 26-year-old estate agent, slimmed down from a size 20 to a size 10 and bagged herself a hubby - IT consultant Hazem, 27. They live in Wembley, north-west London.
"I used to stare at couples holding hands and feel a stab of jealousy. 'Will I ever have that?' I'd wonder. But I knew the answer. If I didn't like myself, how could I ever expect someone else to love me?
As a child, my weight was fine. But once I hit my teens, the puppy fat never left me and I became just fat. Really fat.
I tried diets such as Weight Watchers and the Atkins Diet, but they never seemed to work. By the time I was 18, I weighed 14st and was a size 18-20.
My teens were meant to be fun - but I spent them hiding away in my bedroom bingeing on junk.
Mum would make me healthy meals, but it didn't matter. I would just secretly buy junk food on the way to school and scoff it before I got to class.
I'd always make an effort with my hair and make-up, but boys at school never paid me any attention. They would always end up chatting to my slimmer, prettier friends.
Being such a loner, I spent most of my time studying and did really well at school. After passing my A levels with flying colours, I went to Cambridge University to do Oriental Studies.
However, unlike the other students, I didn't embrace the party lifestyle. Watching the other girls go out, laughing and looking fantastic, I'd feel so down. Instead, I stayed in, watching telly and snacking on ice cream and cakes from the mini fridge I'd installed in my room. There were many nights when I'd just sit and cry. But the sadder I felt, the more I would comfort myself with food.
Rania before losing 5st
My body had ballooned so much, my arms wobbled and my thighs rubbed together. I felt so unattractive.
Mum had always been aware that I wanted to lose weight, but was careful about not upsetting me. However, in 2004, when I was 21, I went to stay with my parents for the summer and she could see how miserable I was. She handed me a leaflet for a diet programme called Howard's Way. Her friend had tried it and had been really successful.
However, it meant I would be having just three liquid-based meals and four litres of water a day. How was I meant to survive on that when I was used to a huge sugary breakfast and two big meals a day - as well as crisps and chocolate?
But I desperately wanted to lose weight, so reluctantly gave it a go. The first week was hell. I would have hunger pangs and go to bed early just to get over them. However, each night I was so proud I'd got through the day, I knew I could do it again.
Within 16 weeks, I'd lost 5st and reached my goal weight of 9st 7lb. I was a size 10-12 and allowed to gradually introduce healthy foods into my diet.
I had to throw out all my fat clothes and buy a whole new wardrobe of sexy dresses and tight jeans. Men began to notice me more, too - it was a whole new world!
In September 2004, as part of my degree, I went to Egypt for a year to study Arabic. Six months into my trip, I met Hazem, a friend of a friend. We all met up one day to go to the beach. I couldn't take my eyes off him. He kept smiling at me too and we soon started talking. I was shaking with nerves - I'd never kissed a boy before and was flattered that he was interested in me.
Within a couple of weeks we shared our first kiss as we walked around the pyramids. As clichéd as it sounds, as he took my hand, I felt butterflies in my tummy and my heart raced.
When Hazem saw pictures of the old me, he couldn't believe it was the same person.
After just six months together, Hazem proposed to me after a romantic meal. I said yes immediately. I know friends and family were worried as he was my first boyfriend, but I knew he was The One.
In the autumn of 2005 I returned home, and he soon joined me. We married in August 2007 and now have a son, Yaseen, six months.
I thought I'd never find love, but losing weight has not only made me feel like a new woman, it's helped me find my dream man."
Lisa's weight loss saved her marriage to Jason
'LOSING WEIGHT SAVED MY MARRIAGE'
Lisa Goldby, a 40-year-old full-time mum, was on the brink of divorcing her husband, Jason, 40, a site manager - then she started to diet. The couple have four children - Mia, eight, Max, six, Dexter, five, and Austin, four, and live in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
"Being fat nearly destroyed my marriage. I honestly believe that if I hadn't lost weight, the ink would just be drying on the divorce papers.
I hadn't always been big. Jason and I met through friends when we were 18 and when we married in 1995, I was a trim size 12. At 10st, I was a healthy weight for my 5ft 5in height. But 12 years and four pregnancies later, my body was very different - ballooning to over 12st and a size 18.
Lisa's weight affected her relationship
But it wasn't just the physical changes that started to affect my life. My personality changed too. Moody and irritable, I constantly snapped at Jason. Whenever he tried to cheer me up or pay me a compliment, I'd turn on him. What did he know? He didn't understand how I felt.
Our arguing increased and in August 2008, I couldn't take any more. Packing my bags, I left Jason and the kids and went to stay with my mum, who lived a few miles away. Jason begged me to stay. But I couldn't understand why he'd want to be with a fatty like me. I even felt the kids would be better off without me at home. Divorce seemed like the only option.
'It's not right,' my mum urged, trying to encourage me to see things differently. 'You were never like this before.'
She was right. But there was one big thing that had changed. My body.
After visiting the kids every couple of days for a month, I missed them too much and returned home. Jason was pleased, but things didn't improve. I told him I wanted a divorce. 'We can work things out,' he promised.
But he didn't understand.
Then one day, I met up with a friend Jill, 40, who I hadn't seen for years. She'd always been larger, but had become a personal trainer - and slim. Seeing her so confident made me want to feel like that too. I began to realise that how I felt about myself was having an effect on my whole life.
Then a friend recommended Slim N Sexy herbal diet pills, which suppress your appetite and help you burn calories quicker while you eat a healthy diet.
I took them for four months from January 2009. I stopped drinking alcohol during the week, piled my plate with vegetables, and cut my portion sizes.
Lisa with husband Jason
As the pounds fell off, I began to feel happier. And my relationship with Jason improved too.
Now I'm 9st and a size 8-10. The divorce is well and truly off and I can't believe I put Jason through so much. I was convinced I hated him when I actually hated myself. I love him more than ever."
Jason says: "I knew it was how Lisa felt about herself that was making her unhappy. I was relieved when she started feeling happier with her body. She looks stunning and I'm so proud of her."

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