Thursday, 9 August 2018

Finding my 'happy weight'

I wanted to do a post about this because it's been on my mind a lot recently.

For those of you unfamiliar with my weight loss journey, I have been a member of Slimming World since October 2016 and have lost 9 stone 6lbs (132lbs) and 10 stone 6lbs (146lbs) overall.

When I started my journey with SW, I had lost a stone, so my starting weight was 22 stone 10lbs. When I joined I was asked whether I wanted to set a 'target weight'. 

Although I was already pretty sure I wanted to lose at least 10 stone, setting a target weight was really tough for me as I had no idea what I'd look like at 13 stone, 12 stone etc.

It's just such a personal thing, hence why everybody's target is different and of course, two different people can look completely different at exactly the same weight.

So, for the first few months of following the plan, I didn't set a target weight at all. I wanted to see if 1) I could stick to the plan; and 2) Whether I could at least get off to a good start by losing at least a couple of stone.

Around 3 months in, early 2017, I checked what weight my BMI said I should be on the NHS website to be classed as 'healthy'. As I am only 5 ft 4, this came out at between 7 stone 10lbs to 10 stone 6lbs. 

At that stage, although I'd lost a few stone already, I still weighed around 20 stone, so imagining myself even at the higher end of the recommended weight range (10 stone 6lbs) was so difficult.

Due to this, I decided to set my target weight as 12 stone, with the knowledge that I could lower this if I wanted to when I got there.

I knew if I set a target weight of 8 stone, for example, that this would have been so overwhelming, and for some reason 12 stone felt like a decent enough target to at least have at the back of my head as I reached each mini target I set as I went along!

As of right now, I weigh 13 stone 4lbs. Hopefully now I am edging towards being in the 12 stone bracket within the next few weeks, so reaching my current 'target weight' of 12 stone has been on my mind.

Throughout my journey, I've learned more and more that changing your life, body and mind is not all about the scales. Most of the time I've learnt that the hard way, after weeks where I've struggled with old eating habits creeping back in, feeling out of control, unexpected gains etc.

I think it's so important to focus on other aspects of losing weight as well. For me, I have tried to do this by measuring my waist and hips on a monthly basis, and by generally assessing what I look like/how I feel vs. what I weigh or how I've done at weigh-in that particular week.
(FYI I have lost 15 inches off my waist and 15 inches off my hips in my journey so far!).

It's easy for the number on the scales to get in your head, but ultimately, we are not a number, whether that be a weight or a dress size.

Nobody looks at someone else and labels them as '10 stone 4lbs'. That would just be ridiculous wouldn't it?! Yet sometimes we can let the number on the scales define us and drive us absolutely mad!
To quote Ashley Graham (I'm currently reading her book about body confidence), you can't see weight, so it is really not important (kind of ironic when you're on a weight loss journey, but hopefully you know what I mean!).

While at the moment there are parts of my body that I've embraced as I've got smaller (most of the time anyway, because we all have off days), there are a few areas where I'd like to lose a bit more weight from.

My main 'problem area' right now is my stomach. Unfortunately though, we can't choose where the weight comes off, so really I have to just hope for the best that losing just over 1 stone will make my stomach a bit flatter at least!

Of course, there are always exercises that I can do to potentially change this, and I am definitely willing to focus on stomach exercises if I'm not happy when I get to 12 stone, and if this doesn't work... well, I will cross the 'loose skin removal surgery' bridge when I come to it.

Although I already exercise, I don't do specific stomach exercises (mostly a mixture of overall weights and cardio), and right now I feel like that is enough until I reach a weight that I'm happy with.

For a few months, I had this idea that I'd eventually lower my target from 12 stone to '10 stone 10lbs'. The idea of losing an equal amount of stones just appealed to me! (that would mean I will have lost 12 stone with SW and 13 stone overall).
The thing is though, I am still questioning whether I was thinking that because I actually want to be that weight, or whether I just want to weigh less because I know I can keep losing weight, basically for the hell of it.

Just because I can keep losing weight, if I'm happy enough with most areas of my body right now, then why should I keep losing more just to chase a particular number?

So for now, for fear of over-thinking it way too much, I am just aiming to get to 12 stone as originally planned. This is nowhere near as daunting now that I am relatively close!

Ideally, I would love to do this by the time I go to Florida at the end of September, but this only really gives me 7 weigh-in's to lose 24lbs, which is obviously asking a lot.

At the very least, to be in the 12 stone bracket by the time I go to Florida would just be amazing in itself as I never, ever dreamed I'd get even half way to that.

There is no harm in setting my own goal of getting to 12 stone as at least it is something to motivate me for the next 7 weeks or so. 
Whether I get there or not by then, I will definitely be thoroughly enjoying 2 weeks of eating what I want in Florida as planned, and come back ready to find my 'happy weight'... but most importantly, feeling ready to get back to my healthy routine again.

If any of you are target members/generally happy with your weight/size, what is it that makes you know that it's right for you?
Do you have a particular weight/dress size that you feel comfortable at? I am really intrigued about this and would love some feedback.

I'm sure I will post regular updates on the lead up to Florida, so watch this space for the next installment of my pre-holiday progress.

As always, thank you for reading, and please remember to always believe in yourself.

- Melissa. x

Follow me on Instagram/Twitter: @justaslimmer

Monday, 30 July 2018

Letting go of 'food guilt'

Firstly, I wanted to give a little update as to where I am in my weight loss journey.

At my last weigh-in on Saturday 28th July, I lost 2lbs which means my total weight loss is now 9 stone 2.5lbs with Slimming World and 10 stone 2.5lbs overall.

I was so relieved to see the number on the scales actually going down after experiencing a gain the previous two weigh-ins.

The first gain I had was on Saturday 14th July. I gained 5lbs and absolutely expected it as I'd eaten junk food/chocolate most of that week.

After that gain, I got back on plan 100%, hoping to lose at least a couple of lbs of that gain the week after. To be told I had gained another 0.5lb was just so disappointing.

These two weeks of gaining weight could have been enough to make me think 'screw it!' and go home and binge on a Dominos pizza... but this weight loss journey has actually taught me how not to feel guilt or shame and just move on.

I wasn't always this way. When I first started losing weight, I was very disheartened when I would have an unexpected gain and would just think 'what did I do wrong?'... 'why has X lost 2lbs eating takeaways and I've eaten well and gained weight?!'

The truth is, life can be cruel and unfair sometimes, and losing weight is no exception.

Some weeks your body will just do what it wants and even when you feel good about your body/what you've been eating, it doesn't always reflect on the scales.

I've been following the SW plan now for 21 months and I have had quite a few occasions where I have gained weight, and whether it was deserved or not, it's always really hard to hear you've gained weight.

The first few times were hard, but it does get easier over time... especially when you look at the bigger picture (as my consultant told me, 'what's a 0.5lb gain when you've lost over 9 stone?!'... and she's right).

When you work hard all week and get weighed, for that moment you can only see that result, that week by itself, instead of seeing how much you have actually achieved overall.

For example, you might have gained 1lb one week and it will feel like the end of the world, but when you look across the month, it could be that you're actually down 6lbs for the month. This is why perspective is important!

In the time I've been following the plan, I've enjoyed a lot of 'off-plan' meals. At first when I'd do that, I'd immediately feel conscious that I should not be doing this and that I am doing something wrong.

It's quite ridiculous that we place all of this guilt on ourselves for eating. We feel as if we've killed someone, when in reality we've just enjoyed a bit of indulgence!

The truth is, life happens sometimes. It's definitely all about balance and that is something I am still learning how to deal with to this day (and probably will continue to learn for the rest of my life if I'm honest).

Eating fatty or sugary foods does not make you a bad person, no matter how often you do it.
Nobody should ever be shamed for what they eat.

And for me, all of this is so ironic that it's actually quite funny, because before losing weight I would eat exactly what I wanted, never feeling guilty as my weight crept up over the years. Now that I've totally changed my mindset around diet and lost so much weight, feeling guilty for eating 'bad' foods seems natural.

Getting out of this mindset of immediate guilt after a bad meal is not easy and I'm still not totally there myself, but I'm a lot better than I used to be, and that has only come with time and persevering through the bad times.

I can now enjoy a day of indulgence once a month, feel totally satisfied and then just move on. Of course, sometimes one day can lead to a few days, but that doesn't happen very often. I think this whole process is just a learning curve on how to control your cravings while still feel like you're living your life and finding a balance.

Right now, I have just over 8 weeks until I go to Florida so I am going to try and stay on plan until then, to (hopefully) keep getting losses until then.

However, if I feel like giving into the odd treat in that time, I will do it. I don't believe in depriving yourself completely, that is not real life and it just doesn't work for me.

I would absolutely love to lose at least another stone by the time I go to Florida. To have lost just over 10 stone with SW and 11 stone overall would just be amazing.

My target weight of 12 stone is not really that far off (I currently weigh 13 stone 7.5lbs), and although losing 21.5lbs in 8 weeks seems very ambitious, to actually achieve that before I enjoy two weeks in Florida would just be an indescribable feeling!

Even if I lose another 7lbs before I go... or a little bit more to get under that next stone bracket, I can still go feeling so proud that I am no longer at my highest weight of 23 stone 10lbs... and that I will have essentially lost half my body weight!

I will update you all in a few weeks of how I'm getting on... and I will definitely do a blog post before I leave for Orlando. Watch this space!

- Melissa. x

Follow me on Instagram/Twitter: @justaslimmer

Monday, 9 July 2018

How I lost 10 stone!

Hello! It's been a while since my last blog, but since then I've hit a massive milestone so I thought it was only fair to write about it!

Before I go into reaching the goal, let me take you back to 1st October 2016, when I first joined Slimming World.

On that day, a Saturday morning, I headed to my first Slimming World class not knowing that this decision to join would change my life forever.

I was really nervous because I was joining on my own, unlike most people who usually join with friends/family members. I can remember the day so clearly. I was wearing size 24 jeans that dug into my stomach as I sat down and a size 24 coat that I had to wear unzipped because it wouldn't zip up on me anymore.

Everybody at group was absolutely lovely and made me feel welcome straight away. I loved my consultant, Jackie, straight away as she was/is always so positive and encouraging. I thought to myself 'Why didn't I do this sooner?'

When I joined I had lost a stone on my own by cutting a few things out of my diet. However, this had taken me around 3-4 months as I wasn't very disciplined with myself.

Within a month at SW, I'd lost a stone and felt amazing about my progress. It was so rewarding to see my hard work pay off as the weight came off every week. More importantly, I never felt deprived as I was eating healthy but substantial meals that filled me up, and still having small treats such as Milky Ways, Hifi bars etc.

After I had 'proven' to myself that I could stick with the plan for a month, I began to wonder what I could truly achieve if I put my mind to it. As I still weighed almost 22 stone at that point, having lost a stone with SW and a stone previously, I knew I wanted to lose a massive amount of weight overall, so I came up with the target of losing 10 stone overall.

Let me tell you that when I set this target, I never, ever believed I'd actually do it. At first, it seemed even comical to me to even attempt it.
Even after seeing results those first few weeks of SW, it still felt like I had a mountain to climb.

Instead of overwhelming myself with having to lose 10 stone (well, 9 stone with SW was 10 stone overall really), I decided to focus on each award (7lbs) at a time.

The sense of achievement I have felt reaching each award has really keep me striving for the next one and motivated me to stay on plan. I think it's important to find what keeps you motivated and focus on that when you feel your will power has gone out of the window.

I have not been perfect along the way (far from it). I have had a lot of 'off plan' meals during my time as a SW member, but at least 95% of the time I have made better food choices and worked so hard to change my lifestyle.

I think what has definitely helped me is seeing this plan as a lifestyle rather than a diet. 
Having this mindset has caused me to see the plan as just how I generally eat, my default eating setting if you like! I am eating well, looking after my body with the occasional off plan treat, and that just works for me.

On Saturday 2nd June 2018, 18 months after joining SW, I received my 9 stone award and have lost another 6lbs since then... meaning I've lost 10 stone 6lbs (146lbs) overall.
Reaching that milestone and getting that 9 stone certificate was such an amazing feeling.

You know those size 24 clothes I mentioned earlier that I wore in my first group?, well now I'm in size 12-14's (and sometimes 10's depending on the shop!). Trust me, I never, ever thought I'd see the day where I'd be buying those kinds of sizes.

I never, ever imagined I would be the type of person to change my life so dramatically. When I started this plan I did not have much self belief or even will power. These two things came with time and with the love and support of the people around me.

The highest weight I've ever been was 23 stone 10lbs (which was only 2 years ago), and right now I weigh 13 stone 4lbs. 

My current target weight I have set with Slimming World is 12 stone. I am hoping to reach this goal ideally by the time I go to Florida at the end of September, however I am not pressuring myself in any way because I know I will get there eventually.

The most amazing feeling for me, is knowing that I will be travelling to Florida at least 10 stone lighter than the last time I went. That is an indescribable feeling.

The whole experience will be different for me. The travel there and back alone will just be so much easier. Imagine a 9 hour flight feeling uncomfortable in your seat, feeling like you are 'in the way' because you are taking up some of the person next to you's seat, and having to embarrassingly ask for a seat belt extender in front of the other passengers.
That used to be my experience every time, but I know now that I will never experience any of that ever again.

To be able to fit comfortably on any roller coaster while I'm in Orlando is going to feel truly amazing and will be the biggest reward for all my hard work.

To say my weight loss has been life changing is an understatement.
I didn't realise how much my weight actually consumed every part of my life until I started to feel like I was a 'normal' size due to weight loss and looked back on how I used to be.

I could not be happier that I decided to start this weight loss journey when I did. It has taught me more than I ever thought possible.

What I would say in the form of advice to anyone who wants to lose weight is to please just give it a try. Take one step towards changing your life. It only has to be a small step, but if you make even one small change, this can develop into something amazing.

It's not going to be easy and I will never pretend it is, but all of that hard work is totally worth it when you start seeing and feeling results.

On top of feeling healthier, fitter and more confident about my body, there is also the obvious change which is my health. Thankfully, I never developed any major health problems due to my weight, but since losing weight I am so glad that I've reduced the risk of so many conditions so drastically.

If you overwhelm yourself with how far you have to go, this may cause you to give up and believe you are not capable.

Keep people around you who are going to keep your focussed and who will support you.

Having a food diary on Instagram has been the biggest help for me as it has kept me accountable of everything I eat, so personally this has helped me to help keep track of my syns throughout the day and to record my workouts.

I've said this many times, but if I can change my life so dramatically, I truly believe that anyone else can too. I didn't have a magic wand that suddenly made me lose weight. It took time, a change in mindset, perseverance and hard work.

It's never, ever, too late to change your life.

You are capable and you are worthy.

- Melissa. x

Follow me on Instagram/Twitter: @justaslimmer

Friday, 1 June 2018

My favourite syn free/low syn meals

Hi everyone... another big gap since my last blog but nevertheless, I thought I'd do something a bit different today.

I've been following Slimming World for around 18 months now, so I thought I'd write a post with a few recipes for my favourite meals that I've discovered along the way.

Just a heads up, I use a lot of the same ingredients for most of the meals I make, which is a good thing really as it just makes it easier in case you change your mind and want to make something different than you planned (and it means you can keep your cupboards stocked up with your staple ingredients!).

Bare in mind that I don't eat meat, but of course, there will be lots of alternative options available if you are a meat-eater!


Three ingredients, low-syn and super tasty! I was given the recipe for this by a fellow SW member on a Whatsapp group (side note: these are so good for support during your journey!). I saw that the recipe was three ingredients and thought 'no way will mine turn out right!' but when I bought the ingredients and tried it, I was surprised at just how easy it was (and how good it tasted).

3 medium sized eggs (syn-free)
A packet of Batchelors Mild Curry super rice (syn-free)
A tin of chickpeas/lentils (I use a tin of the Asda Chickpea and Lentil Dahl which is 1 syn for the whole tin but really flavoursome compared to plain chickpeas/lentils).

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Cook the rice as per the instructions on the packet.
3. When the rice is fully cooked, mix in a bowl with the eggs and chickpea and lentil dahl (you can add extra spices if you want it a bit hotter!).
4. Spray frylight in a loaf tin and pour the mixture into the tin.
5. Cook for around 30 minutes (keep checking the loaf every 10 minutes or so just to make sure!).

This is perfect for lunches with salad or a smaller amount could be eaten as a side dish!
1 syn for the whole loaf. Divide up whichever way you like.


Quorn mince
A tin of chopped tomatoes
A tin of red kidney beans
A small jar of passata
2 vegetable stock cubes
Soy sauce
Chilli powder
Cayenne pepper
Garlic powder
Celery, peppers, red onion (and any other vegetables you want to add)
Asda Rainbow Rice/White Rice steam bags (amount will vary depending on how many portions you want to make, but I like to batch cook at least 3 portions at a time).

Please note, where I have not specified amounts in the ingredients, this is due to the fact that these foods are syn-free or speed foods on Slimming World, so do not need to be weighed/measured. I would advise just to use your common sense and work out how much of everything you'll need as you go along.

1. Chop all your vegetables and get out as many steam bags of rice you will need from the freezer.
2. Spray a wok with Frylight and cook the Quorn mince for a few minutes on a medium heat before draining the water from the tin of red kidney beans and adding them to the mince.
3. Add the chopped vegetables, chopped tomatoes and passata.
4. While you are cooking the chilli, prepare your rice (the ones I use you can just pop in the microwave and only take 3 1/2 minutes per steam bag!).
5. Once the vegetables, kidney beans and Quorn mince are all cooked through, add your spices, vegetable stock cubes and a dash of soy sauce (and any other seasonings you want really... I keep tasting the sauce as it cooks until I get it to the right spice level for me).
6. Once the rice has cooled, serve this with an equal amount of chilli for each portion and that's it!

All ingredients are speed/free foods on the SW plan and if you are calorie counting, this meal is jam-packed with low calorie ingredients, especially if you're using Rainbow Rice instead of White Rice.
If you find you have extra chilli left over, you can store this in a container and have it over chips or with a jacket potato and a salad.


Dry spaghetti
Quorn mince
2 vegetable stock cubes
Chilli powder
Garlic powder
Soy sauce
A large jar of passata
A tin of chopped tomatoes
Courgettes, peppers, mushrooms, red onion (and any other vegetables you want to add)

Please note, where I have not specified amounts in the ingredients, this is due to the fact that these foods are syn-free or speed foods on Slimming World, so do not need to be weighed/measured. I would advise just to use your common sense and work out how much of everything you'll need as you go along.

1. Cook the spaghetti in a pan as per the instructions on the packet.
2. While the spaghetti is cooking, chop all your vegetables.
3. Spray Frylight in a wok and cook the Quorn mince on a medium heat for a few minutes.
4. Add your vegetables, the tin of chopped tomatoes and passata.
5. Keep stirring until all the vegetables and Quorn mince are cooked through and add your spices, soy sauce and stock cubes! (you can use chicken or beef stock if you prefer).
6. Once the spaghetti is soft, drain the water from the pan and start distributing it into Tupperware containers/plates.
Add your bolognese on top of each spaghetti base and serve... I always have cheese on top of mine which just gives it extra flavour.

This is one of my favourite on-plan 'comfort meals'. It's completely syn-free and absolutely delicious. 
If you find you have extra bolognese left over, you can store this in a container and have it with a jacket potato and a salad.


Dry arborio risotto rice
Mushrooms (preferably a few different types)
Garden peas
Garlic and herb Quark cooking cheese
Vegetable/chicken stock cubes
Chilli powder
Garlic powder
Lazy garlic

1. Chop your vegetables (you can add more if you like, pretty much anything goes!).
2. Spray a large frying pan with Frylight and cook the vegetables on a medium to high heat for a couple of minutes.
3. Add boiling water and the risotto rice (make sure you have enough water to cover the rice so it might mean boiling the kettle 2-3 times).
4. Change the heat to low and keep stirring the rice, water and vegetables. If the water dries up and the rice starts sticking to the pan, keep adding more water and tasting the rice until eventually the rice is soft.
5. You can add your spices/stock at any time but I like to add mine once I know the rice and vegetables are all soft.
6. Add 2-3 tablespoons of garlic and herb flavour Quark to make it really creamy!

Mushroom risotto is another of my favourite on plan 'comfort meals', and it's all syn-free! You can use any flavour Quark really for this or even some Laughing Cow light cheese triangles mixed in to get that lovely creamy consistency and taste.
Serve on its own or with a side of vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and cauliflower.


I know I probably don't need to tell you how to cook a stir fry, but this is just so easy and tasty and really is one of my 'go-to' quick meals so I had to include it in the list.

2 eggs
A pack of fresh Stir Fry vegetables
Soy sauce
A vegetable stock cube
Garlic powder
Chilli powder
An Asda White Rice steam bag (if I'm making 2 portions I'll use 2 steam bags and save some for lunch for work the next day)

1. Drain the tofu and chop into squares.
2. Fry a wok with Frylight and add the tofu and vegetables. Cook on a medium to high heat and keep stirring.
3. While your vegetables and tofu are cooking, cook the rice in the microwave (they should take 3 1/2 minutes each).
4. Once the rice is cooled, add it to the wok along with the soy sauce, spices, vegetable stock cube and the 2 eggs.
5. Keep stirring everything together until the egg has scrambled and until everything is fully cooked.

This meal is all syn-free. I love using pre-prepared stir fry vegetables because it means I can whip up a stir fry in around 10 minutes!
I usually use rice but you could use noodles instead as lots of brands are syn-free/low syn.
Instead of tofu you could also use Quorn pieces which are a good substitute for chicken.

So there we have it... just a few of my favourite meals that I find myself cooking on a regular basis. I love trying new foods but I always come back to these meals because they're all really easy and delicious.

What are your favourite meals?

Are there any other quick and simple veggie meals that I need to try?

- Melissa. x

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Update and my April goals

Hello everyone.

I can't believe it's been so long since my last blog post! How fast has that month and a half gone?!

So first of all, a little catch up for you of how my weight loss journey has been going over the last month or so...

As you can see, it's been a little up and down for me. March was tough for me because I had my siblings' birthdays, my birthday, Mother's Day, and the run up to Easter to contend with!

So, because of that, my weight bounced around between 14 stone 1/2lb to 14 stone 7lbs.

At latest weigh in, yesterday morning, I lost 3.5lbs after a week of resisting Easter eggs and takeaways! It was such a hard week, but gaining 5lbs the week before really kept me fighting for a good loss!

April goals

Losing 3.5lbs in a week got me thinking about my next award which is now 7.5lbs away!

I know I'm a week late to do my 'April goals', but seeing as we have the majority of the month left I thought I'd do them anyway!

Get my 9 stone award!

This is the big one for me really! I would have liked this a while ago, but I know now that this journey is not a race and I'm trying to embrace the rough with the smooth and work as hard as I can to get each award at a time.

I feel like I'm really back on track after getting a good loss this week and as I'm only 7.5lbs away from getting my 9 stone award, I thought this would definitely be possible by the end of April as I have 3 weigh-in's left!

I will be working as hard as I can to achieve that this month. 

That 'overall 10 stone loss' achievement has seemed within my grasp for so long, but I know I can get there eventually (even if it's not by the end of the month!).

Although it's tough to feel like things are taking longer than you'd expect, I have found that you have to keep going and let things happen naturally.

Worrying/stressing about things are so counter-productive and such a waste of time, but we are all guilty of doing a lot of it!

I'm a big believer that 'everything happens for a reason', and despite everything, I've come so much further than I ever expected already!

Exercise at least 3 times a week

Within the past two weeks I haven't exercised a lot (I usually go to the gym/swimming/classes 3 times a week). The most I have done is a bit of walking during my lunch hour at work, which I suppose is better than nothing!

Yesterday I felt so motivated/inspired after losing 3.5lbs that I decided to go to the gym to get a workout in.

I don't usually exercise at the weekends but I think this is something I'll keep up as it really gave me a boost and started off my week in a positive way!

So from now on, definitely for the rest of April, I'll be making more of an effort to commit to at least 3 workouts a week, whether it's a class, the gym or swimming.

Although I know I can lose weight just by controlling what I eat, exercising makes me feel good and really productive.


I thought I'd leave you with a little comparison picture to remind myself, more than anything, of how far I've come already...

Highest weight - 23 stone 10lbs (332lbs)
Current weight - 14 stone 3.5lbs (199.5lbs)

Biggest dress size - UK 24/26
Current dress size - UK 12/14

Please remember to always believe in yourself.
Believe me when I say that you are capable of so much more than you think.

- Melissa. x

Follow me on Instagram/Twitter: @justaslimmer

Friday, 23 February 2018

What inspires and motivates me

Hi guys!
I thought for this post I'd speak a little bit about what keeps me motivated. 

I often get people saying to me that my will power/determination is amazing. What people don't realise though, is that nobody handed me motivation and will power at the beginning of my journey (or ever). It just takes practice and hard work to sustain and keep going despite all the low moments you may face.

I will be the first to admit that I've fell off the healthy eating wagon more times than I can count on both hands, but what I have learnt is that this is okay. I have changed my life for life and I would never go back to my old eating habits full time. A blow-out every now and then does not mean the end of the world, in fact sometimes it can give you an opportunity to come back fighting harder than ever.

Here are some strategies that have helped me in my weight loss journey so far...

Plan and prepare

I cannot stress this one enough. Every week, I write out a meal plan, buy the items that I need to make each meal/snack and batch cook meals for the week (usually lunches for work). In the beginning I seriously had limited cooking experience. My dinner's usually consisted of a frozen pizza or a takeaway. I very rarely made anything from scratch.

Now everything I make is from scratch; spaghetti bolognese, mushroom risotto, veggie chilli, roast dinners etc. All personal favourites that are usually syn-free/1-2 syns per portion. Proper filling, comfort foods!

It's such a great feeling knowing you have lots of healthy 'ready meals' in the freezer which just need defrosting and reheating in the microwave!

Usually when I've had a blow-out day/weekend (which I'll do maybe every 3-4 weeks), the very next day I'll plan and prepare my meals. Having a freezer full of delicious meals that I've batched cooked for the week makes me feel back 'in the zone' and prepared for the week ahead.

Don't overwhelm yourself

When I first started losing weight, although I thought about the 'bigger picture', about losing 10 stone (140lbs)+, I tried to focus more on the awards in my Slimming World group, one at a time. 

This is hard when you have so much to lose, of course, but when I got that first award (1/2 stone/7lbs) after two weeks of following the plan (I lost 10lbs in my first two weeks), I felt such pride that I'd made such a difference and it didn't mean my life had ended. I was enjoying food and drink like never before and seeing results! The next award didn't seem that far away... just a few extra lbs and I'd be there!

It's okay to say 'no'

Temptation really is all around us. I didn't notice just how much until I told myself I couldn't have those things when I first started losing weight. Sure, it's hard to resist a cake in the office or a dessert in a restaurant during a family meal, but those are the times when you have to remain in control and remember why you are doing this.

There have been a few occasions where I have asked to change the restaurant because there was nothing 'on plan' that I could order in the original one. Sometimes you feel like you are being selfish for choosing somewhere where the rest of the group may not even want to go (thankfully I have very understanding and supportive friends and family who are quite flexible!). There have also been times when I've felt like I've been missing out on the indulgent foods as I see my family digging into pizzas, fries etc while I eat a salmon fillet and vegetables.

The important thing to remember, is that this journey is yours. Not everybody will understand and might sometimes think you need to relax more and order what you want, but we should never apologise for discipline or for making positive changes in our lives. Keep people around you who will support this.

Be your own motivation

So you've probably seen this quote on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook on those motivational pages. The old, cynical me would have found this really corny, and probably rolled my eyes.

It can feel narcissistic at first to praise yourself so much, but why shouldn't we? This is something I am still working on, and have been throughout my journey, as I still struggle with confidence issues at times (like everyone else I'd imagine!), but it just makes so much sense to see ourselves as the reason and the motivation to change.

After only a week of making changes to my diet, drinking water and exercising, I remember feeling totally different to how I'd felt before. My attitude was so much more positive and I couldn't believe that what I was eating and drinking was making such a difference to my mood.

When I began to see results on the scales, losing 10lbs in my first two weeks, I began to develop the belief that I could do this. Even with that belief, I never imagined I'd be where I am now, but it still makes me really happy how much those first two weeks really did change my life forever.

Now, around 16 months after starting Slimming World, I am 8 stone 3.5lbs (115.5lbs) down and I am learning every day to appreciate how far I've come and what I can achieve when I put my mind to it.

I think a lot of people (myself included) focus on other people rather than themselves and see others as competition, which is very counter-productive.

Praise yourself for planning your meals, for committing to a gym membership, for saying 'no' to that donut even though you really want it.

Celebrate everything which puts you a step further towards a happier and healthier life. Even if it feels like a relatively small step, it's still a step, still progress towards improving your life.


It's no exaggeration to say that I genuinely don't think I'd where I am right now if it wasn't for the truly amazing people in my life. I feel so lucky to have an amazing consultant, a brilliant group of fellow slimmers and the best friends and family in the world.

I have also found amazing support on Instagram. I have been recording my food diary since I started SW at the end of 2016, and have been overwhelmed with how much support there is on social media. It is such a lovely feeling to have somebody you've never even met rooting for you every week as you get weighed, and to do the same for them. I know I've said this before, but the SW Instagram community are absolutely brilliant and have been an integral part of my journey. They all inspire me so much with their own weight loss journeys!

Ultimately, of course, the hard work has to come from you, but I must admit that it's been an added bonus to have so much love from others along the way.

Always remember...

You are worthy of a happy and healthy life. Even if you don't feel like you can do it at the beginning, fake it until you do. Stay consistent and you will start seeing results which will hopefully build your confidence to believe in yourself.

Never, ever give up, even when you feel like it's the only option. Believe me, it isn't. There is a better life waiting for you. It's up to you.

It's never going to be easy, but it's totally worth it!

- Melissa. x

Follow me on Instagram/Twitter: @justaslimmer