Before I start, in this post I’m not going to tell you about a secret pill or shake that will magically make you drop weight or mean you can eat whatever you want without gaining. I haven’t done anything out of the ordinary or found a ‘cure’ (I wish I had!) but I’ve gone down the route of changing my lifestyle with healthy eating & exercise. I can’t change your way of thinking in one blog post or stop you from comfort eating that family sized bar of Dairy Milk when you’ve had a crap day; the one thing I’ve learnt is that it’s all about when you are ready to change & if you aren’t, then it’ll never work. It takes hard work, determination & most importantly, time.
On 2nd January this year, I made a New Years resolution to lose weight. I had done the same thing pretty much every year previously & ended up sticking to it for maybe a few weeks or the month of January at best before caving in & going back to my old ways. I was the stereotypical yo-yo dieter who’d decide every few months that I was going to lose weight then pile it all back on (plus some) not long after.
Nov / Dec 2017
I was a size 18-20 & hated my appearance so much so that I hid behind the camera rather than in front of it wherever possible. I decided that enough was enough & 2018 was going to be the year that I finally changed my awful eating habits to better myself & be a role model to my children.
For me, it wasn’t being pregnant which was the problem, it was the time afterwards when you’re too exhausted to cook proper meals or the picking at leftovers post weaning…half a packet of skips here, a few chicken nuggets there, then before you know it you’ve basically eaten a meals worth before your own dinner. The easy solution was always to reach for the takeaway menu & we’d have 2 or 3 a week which then became a habit.
This blog post has been requested more times than I could count but is also one of the hardest I’ve had to write as it’s so personal & if I’m honest, I look back & feel embarrassed that I let myself get to the point I did. Give me interiors any day of the week but opening myself up is a whole other kettle of fish.
I can’t explain what changed inside of me this time around & made me achieve what I have so far this year which is currently a crazy 5 & a half stone but it was like a lightbulb moment.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take any ‘before’ pictures that weren’t me completely butt naked in the mirror…so obviously I can’t share them, so you’ll have to make do with some other horrific ones I’ve found to grasp how far I’ve come.
I was at a stage where I felt so down about my appearance that I didn’t make any effort with the way I looked at all. I’d scrape my hair back in to a ‘mum bun’, couldn’t be bothered with make up & I remember saying what was the point in buying nice clothes when you won’t look/feel good in them anyway. Something needed to change. Now I get up every morning, do my hair & make-up & have a whole new wardrobe (although as I’m not 100% where I want to be, I’m still limiting myself to clothes).
I didn’t follow any particular weight loss plan in particular other than 2 weeks of the Slim Fast 123 challenge as part of their ‘Wellbeing Walkies’ campaign with Mungo back in February. You can read about how I got on in the post here. I suppose in some ways I follow some Slimming World principles after doing it a few years ago, but mainly it’s been healthy eating with lots of salad, fresh fruit & veg, lean meat, tons of water & recently some exercise to boot. I very rarely eat carbs & if I do then it’s brown pasta or sweet potato in limited quantities. Everything is cooked from scratch to be as healthy & nutritious as possible.
Calorie counting has been a big aspect of my diet. I downloaded ‘My Fitness Pal’ & it’s super simple to log what you’re eating. I’d aim for 1200 kcal a day typically & within time this has not only taught me what kind of things to eat (I mean technically you could eat 3 pieces of dominos pizza for that but then be starving throughout the day…or instead you could have 3 healthy but good sized meals with snacks thrown in) but also it’s become second nature. I rarely have to reach for my phone to see the calories in items but just know what I can & can’t have.
My daily meal plan is what you’d imagine if you think of someone on a diet; lots of veg, salad, fruit & lean meat. I make the right choices 99.9% of the time & yes, it can be pretty boring but I’ve made this my priority & am prepared to make sacrifices along the way. I’ve said no to countless invites for dinner or drinks (because we all know drinks leads to cheesy chips when stumbling home…) & instead try to steer social situations towards going for a walk or coffee rather than focusing around eating. Previously, everything I did revolved around food; “oh lets go to the beach to get fish & chips/ice cream”, “lets go in to the New Forest for afternoon tea” or “lets go for dinner & drinks”. Now looking back I realise I was addicted to food.
The main thing has been that I have been completely dedicated for the vast majority of the time. I think & plan ahead to make sure that I don’t slip up. I can count on one hand (pre Bali..) the number of times anything ‘bad’ has past my lips. Some may think it’s extreme but personally, I don’t actually want to eat badly.
The same pair of jeans, bought in the sale – they wouldn’t do up Feb 2018 so I put them away in my wardrobe in the view to wear when I’d lost more weight, I tried them on beginning of August & they were huge! Ebay it is.
What has kept me going throughout this is simple. Each week I’d stand on those scales (Monday AM, after going to the loo & completely naked) in the middle of the kitchen & every week, I’d see the scales going down. After not long, I started noticing my clothes getting looser & then, everyone around me started seeing the difference too & making comments about how great I looked. I’d then be able to buy clothes in a smaller size & not from any plus ranges. That right there, beats eating a Domino’s pizza hands down.
I couldn’t do this post without talking about my BFFL/sister from another Mr, Sian who embarked on the same mission I did at exactly the same time. We both decided we were going to do it together & having that support there has been absolutely invaluable. We’ve both been super strong but I know for a fact that if I was going to fall off the wagon then she’d be the one sending me abusive messages & visa versa. We spend far too much time together too so it’s nice to be able to make healthy lunches & be in the same boat. She’s now 4 and a half stone down. Its safe to say I’m SO super proud of her! You can follow her Slimming World page at @sian.and.slimmingworld for lots of inspo.
Dec 2017 – Aug 2018
Top pic was at Darwin Escapes 31st Jan (2 days before we started our diet) – second pic is back at Darwin Escapes mid June at 7.5 stone down between us
A turning point for me was going away to Belfast with my lovely Insta-chums in April this year. Spending a few days with ladies who I presumed were ‘naturally’ slim I felt totally out of my comfort zone but it actually opened my eyes. We had a huge afternoon tea spread put on by the beautiful Fitzwilliam Hotel which we stayed in & as I sat with a glass of champagne, I noticed how they’d allow themselves a couple of little sandwiches & maybe a cake each but other than that, they didn’t do what I would have done (& what I thought was completely normal behaviour previously…) of eating the entire spread even if I was so full I felt sick. That wasn’t normal, this was, & they weren’t ‘naturally’ thin, they just aren’t greedy & set a healthy limit. Food is meant to fuel us & not to always be a pleasurable thing.
Another was at the beginning of August, on my trip to Bali, I did something that I thought I’d never be able to do…I walked up a volcano. I was SO incredibly unfit & unhealthy at the start of this year, so to be able to get to the top was something I’ll never forget & that overwhelming sense of pride made everything so worth it.
So what are my top tips for anyone about to embark on the huge task of losing weight? –
1. Don’t compare – this is something that slips SO many people up & is all too easy. Don’t compare your weight loss to anyone else’s. Everyone carries weight differently; heights & builds all mean what one person looks like at 10 stone may be completely different to another. If someone is losing weight quicker than you then don’t get disheartened, they may naturally drop quicker!
2. Keep going – probably the most important factor is to keep going. It doesn’t take a couple of months to put on a substantial amount of weight so don’t expect it to come off that quickly. It’s harder to lose than it is to gain. I aim for 2lbs a week but as long as it’s a loss then I’m happy. This is a lifestyle change & even if it takes years but each week you’re going in the right direction then so be it. I found one of the best motivations was setting little targets & rewards so for example when I hit 3 stone I went to a Mac counter & had my makeup done then treated myself to not only look nice but feel nice too.
3. You’ll have up’s & down’s – some weeks you’ll have big losses & be super motivated, others you’ll have tried really hard, eaten the right things but had an unexpected gain or not lost as much as you expected/wanted. Put it behind you & move on. The body is a funny thing…I found for a few weeks after I started exercising I’d get tiny losses even though I was trying harder than ever before but I persevered & it eventually started coming off plus I felt better in myself & could see a difference in the mirror, rather than on the scales.
4. Don’t buy bad food – this sounds like an obvious one but don’t buy ‘bad’ food or have it in your cupboards. Have a big clear out & donate to a local food bank. If you have kids then obviously you can’t completely restrict them (because crisps are essentially every childs staple diet…right?) then put them in a separate cupboard & mentally tell yourself that is out of bounds. At the start I had a situation where my two had finished eating their dinner & I’d demolished a few chips without thinking…I started getting out the anti-bac kitchen cleaner & spraying it over to stop myself. Now I’ve developed the will power (& it comes naturally) to not even look at it.
5. You don’t have to exercise – but it definitely helps! Even taking a few more steps a day (I wore a fitbit charge 2 for the first half of the year & couldn’t recommend it more to make you consciously think about how much you’re moving & to get that all important 10k a day) to joining a local gym. I don’t exercise for weight loss necessarily, I now do it because it makes me feel SO good; I leave my PT/bootcamp sessions (with @pwrfitnessuk who I couldn’t recommend more to anyone local) energised & with a clear mindset.
6. Make the right choices – half of dieting is common sense, we all know what we should be eating but lets be honest, if weight wasn’t an issue we’d all be eating pizza over salad. If you can make the right choices the vast majority of the time then you can make the wrong choice occasionally.
7. Find a balance – I personally am an all or nothing kind of person & wanted a quicker result so was good 99% of the time but for others that want to take a more scenic approach then give yourself a cheat meal once a week if it’s what you need to do…just draw a line under it the next day & climb back on the wagon. You won’t be on a diet for the rest of your life so it’s important, especially as you get to where you want to be, to make sure it’s sustainable & to find what works for you.
8. Drink drink drink – an obvious one but you’d be surprised how often your body is telling you it’s hungry when actually you’re probably just thirsty. I try to drink 3L a day as an absolute minimum & before every meal I have a glass of water/sugar free squash to fill me up a little bit too.
9. Don’t starve yourself – I’m not 100% sure how it makes sense, but the weeks where I am so busy I forget to eat enough or that I’m desperate to reach a number on the scales so restrict myself, I don’t end up losing as much. It’s the weeks when I feel like I’m constantly eating (the right things…) that I get the best results.
10. Be kind to yourself – remember that you are not defined by the number on those scales. You are a beautiful person & so very loved, so whether you start now or in a year, it really doesn’t matter. Don’t let anyone tell you any different! More than anything, make sure you’re doing it for yourself first & foremost.
Instead of including a ‘usual’ meal plan in this now very lengthy blog post, I’ve decided to instead do a week of showing you guys my food on Instagram stories (I can highlight it so it stays up) just to give you an idea of what sort of things I eat on a day to day basis so keep your eyes peeled as for next week starting tomorrow, Monday 17th September. I’ll try to keep it fairly quick so not to annoy the majority that couldn’t care less!
I’m not 100% where I want to be just yet & if I’m honest I probably don’t feel ‘ready’ to be writing this blog post as I’m still knee deep in lettuce leaves but if I can help to inspire even one person who wants to overhaul their diet & in turn lose some weight to be healthier then it’s been worth it.
Losing weight hasn’t been a purely physical thing for me, it’s been so good for the mental side too. I have so much more confidence to embracing life & take opportunities without hiding myself. My energy levels are so much better & I’m smiling for what feels like the first time in so long.
I know it’s a cliché but if I can do it, anyone can. So what are you waiting for? Go for it.
Well done, your blog is fantastic and I found it really motivating to read a real persons experience, thank you, you are a great inspiration x
I’ve loved reading this and you I think you look bloody fab x
Well done! I’m on slimming world at mo and it’s not easy esp as a veggie. You are an inspiration for the coming weeks! Xxx
You look amazing!! I’ve been following you now for just over a year and the difference in you is just so noticeable… in your confidence not just your size. Congratulations x
Then I’m going for it, more so than what I have been doing! 🙂 well done lovely; you look amazing.
Can I ask; when did you start exercising? Was it concentrating on food first and then bringing workouts into the mix?
Thank you ,
What an inspiration you are. Lovely post and I’m sure will be the kick start many of us have needed. Loved the hack about spraying the kids food!! ???❤️
So inspiring to read this without any ads or recommendations for shakes or pills etc. This has totally given me the kick up the backside that I needed. Thank you and congratulations, you look amazing!
So kind of you to share your personal wellness journey. You will inspire many people and are saying all the right things. Well done, Charlotte. I’m so happy for you and how you must feel inside??
Brilliant post Charlotte! Excellent achievement in under a year. I’ve had a look at some of your slow cooker recipes. I look forward to your stories this week. I know your blog is home oriented, but I’d love to see some of your wardrobe – I do like your style. All the best for the rest of weight loss journey.
Amazing and so so inspiring. Well done Charlotte you look amazing !
Amazing and so so inspiring. Well done Charlotte you look amazing !
Well done and you do look amazing. Weird how you felt before to how you feel now. Be proud of your blog post you are helping out more people. X
Felt a little emotional reading this, funny that as I don’t know you but I’m currently a size 16-18 trying to loose weight with slimming world and I think I’ll keep skipping back to this for inspo thank you so much you’ve done bloody amazing
You look amazing and your blog post was a pleasure to read. Well done you. So inspiring xx Jemma
Thank you so much for this! So inspiring and honest xx
Fantastic blog.. huge well done, you look amazing.. you should be really proud xxx
Wow….you look amazing, well done!! I actually felt emotional reading this as I can totally relate to everything you have written! Thank you for sharing your journey and I am looking forward to seeing the insta food posts ?
Just come from Instagram!! Brilliant!! Well done Charlotte you look amazing and more importantly it sounds like you feel amazing ? you have every right to feel super proud ?? Xx
Thank you so much for sharing your journey Charlotte, you look absolutely amazing! I’m also using my fitness pal and find it much easier than slimming clubs, in a way it makes me feel in control rather than someone telling me what I should and shouldn’t eat. I look forward to seeing your food posts this week and thank you again, it was a very inspirational read xx
Thank you for sharing this post. You have completely given me that extra kick up he bum to start what I new I needed to start. Back then basics!
You’ve done so well and definitely are an inspiration for me. Xxx
Wow what a inspiring read, thank you for sharing. You have so inspired me. I am starting a new job next week so new job new lifestyle new me ?
Fab ??????Well done xx
Thank you, thank you Charlotte and congratulations. Hopefully I am right behind you and can overhaul my demons too! I know it was hard for you, but it has helped me so thanks once again.
This has inspired me more than ever now I started slimming world 4 weeks ago and I want to change my entire lifestyle for the better and lose weight is key. And to learn how to eat healthier and never fall into that hole again would be amazing,
Thank you for sharing your story.
Love Claire x
Thank you Charlotte you have completely inspired me! Your story at the beginning could be exactly me that knows I am overweight at size 20 (pretending a lot of the time I am size 16) but not knowing where to start! Monday 17th is my 36th birthday so I am now sat here feeling like it’s a better time than any to start! Thank you again for sharing ?
Hi Charlotte. You look absolutely fantastic. So well done. You must be so proud of yourself and im sure Joe is too. Its really nice of you to do this post. I know ive been one of your hundreds of thousands of followers who’s asked for you to post this. Sorry 4 nagging. Im going to look forward to your week of food that you eat. You seem to have done it so quickly too, although im sure the thought of Bali helped. Im a bit like you were – not bothering how i look. I just need to my head sorting too – im 21st and hate myself and embarrassed but it still doesnt give me the kick up the pants i need. Thank you once again. Toni xx?
Amazing! Well done for sticking to it, you really do look incredible for it and you’re motivating me to get back on with weight loss!!
Loved reading this and you’re such an inspiration. I’m
Currently on a similar weight loss journey by calorie counting, exercise and (never thought I would ever do this) but lots of running by doing couch to 5k and just finished my second year! I was a size 18-20 2 years ago and amazingly lost 3 stone but still have a long way to go.
Before, I yo yo dieted too and I never seemed to get past a certain weight but then soon realised you have to work bloody hard for it so that’s what I did to kick start it and like you said be a role model for my 2 kids.
Keep it up girl – you look amazing.
What a fantastic blog Charlotte❤️ Xxx
You are so very inspirational and a lot of what you said rings true for me. I am so thrilled you finally found the key to unlock the weight loss. You have changed so much since you started that I don’t even remember you being the size you were. Thank you for sharing xxx
Very informative and inspirational Charlotte ?Thank you for sharing! Xx
That was worth the weight. I am so inspired by you. My diet starts tomorrow and when I struggle, which I’m bound to, I’m going to read this blog again and look at your photos. I hope that by next summer I can send you my photos x
How bloody amazing and inspirational ❤️?❤️?
You looks truly amazing and I can only imagine how on top of the world you must feel. You have inspired me ! ?
Lovely to read about your journey to this point. I’ve currently gained the 3.5 stone i’d lost with slimming world and trying my best to find the strong willpower that seems to be in hiding! Your posts show what can be done in such a short period of time! Hopefully I’ll be joining you in the feeling great club soon! You look fantastic!!! X
Love this! Well done you – what an inspiring post x
Thank you x
I actually adore you, such an inspirational lady
Always my first insta stalk of the day. Keep doing what your doing ?
I think your honesty and sheer determination is so inspirational Charlotte.
I have always been the same weight until my Fibromyalgia started to limit the amount I can do.
The illness robs you of a purpose. Since finding you and Catherine from DaintyDiaries I have been inspired on many levels.
Your dedication has certainly paid off you look incredible…… many thanks for sharing something so personal.
I know I have messaged you in the past about your weight loss and amazing results. Reading this has totally inspired me again. I was attending slimming world which more often than not I had a gain. I had a total thyroid removal a few years ago due to a multi nodule tumour. Since then have struggled with my weight and hormones, now more recently the peri menopause ?? however I think I have also used it as an excuse to make bad choices and eat the wrong foods!
You have been amazingly honest where so many of us can relate too! Thank you for your honesty ? I love all your posts so keep them coming! Xxx
Well done lovely you look great xx
Charlotte you are such an inspiration to so many people. Having met you in person I’m in awe of your gutsy determination and am amazed at how you have transformed your body with the same mindset. You look absolutely stunning and you always were! You look healthier, happier and more confident. This post is wonderful and I’m sure will inspire many others of us who have yo yo dieted all our lives.
Well done Charlotte!
Fantastic motivational blog. I have been waiting ages for you to do one on this subject. So pleased you have. You look amazing, great achievement ?
You are so gifted Charlotte – you write with honesty and sincerity. What’s great about your new body image is the freedom it gives you to get on with life without worrying about what to wear, how you look etc. Your home and the other interior projects you have completed are stunning and you – fyi – are too !x
You look absolutely smazing and I’ve been waiting for this blog for s while now. I’m a serial yoyo dieter and I’m always starting on monday but then monday never comes. The worst part is I suffer with back problems and have for the ladt year so i know thst by losing even two stone would make a masdove difference for me. Thanl you so much for this post I honestly think it’s going to of given me the kick up the bum I so badly needed so all I csn say is thank you and that you look fantastic and well done on your journey.
Thanks Julia x
Charlotte, you look wonderful and I am so proud of you and inspired by you! This journey is not only wonderful for you, but for your children. You are making yourself the best Mother! Stay strong and I will too!
You look amazing! I half heartily follow the Slimming World plan and eating ‘speed food’ and drinking loads of water is the key to a good loose each week I found too. Love to see other peoples achievements, it helps kick start my motivation x
I Loved your blog and look forward to so many more, your Instagram posts are my favourite and you are a real inspiration. I am where you were in January, I love my life but hate my weight!! Well done you are amazing. ♥️??xxx
So inspiring! I lost 3 stone last year and I’ve put over a stone back on, but I know once you’ve set your mind to it, it’s easy to get the weight off again! You’ve definitely motivated me. You look fab! X
Bravo! For the weight loss journey and for being so honest and real!
Well done Charlotte, there is no magic cure just hard work and adjustments. I too am on a similar journey, although I have always been fit and climbed mountains even with excess weight, there is a really amazing guy on Insta who I could not recommend more, he filters through all the confusion of the health and fitness industry and provides a common sense and holistic approach, he also provides a free 4 week plan to get anyone started! Sam_xceedfit – highly recommend following this guy!
That smile looks good on you well done Charlotte you look beautiful
I had to comment, I’ve followed your blog for a while, unfollowed then come back again. The second time around I realised how much I liked you the first if that makes sense! Lol you’re down to earth and I love seeing how beautiful you’ve made your home, it enspires me. The weight loss thing is another that I can relate to, having lost weight so many times but it back on AGAIN! Looking forward to the slow cooker ideas, as sometimes that can totally screw it up, especially when you get home from work tired nd grab a packet of crisps! Thanks for sharing your journey I for one M LOVING IT!!! Aniya x
Fantastic blog post one of the best I’ve ever read
You look amazing what an incredible story . Thank you so much for sharing so inspirational ?
Audrey Galway Ireland .
You’ve done amazingly well. Every day I watch your stories and around march time I noticed how well you were doing and decided to join back at slimming world on April 13th and I’ve lost 1/2lb off 3 stone, including a week away abroad for my friends wedding, so thank you for the encouragement even though you aren’t aware you gave me it.
Well done you ??Something that hits a chord with me is “you can’t hate yourself thin”. We all need to learn how to be kinder to ourselves and the bodies that have done so much for us. If I heard my daughter talk about herself in the way I think and talk about myself my heart would break that she thought so little of the amazing little person that I created and grew from scratch. I always say in a world where you can be anything, be kind. We all need to be kinder to ourselves x
Just brilliant, very well done. Thanks so much for sharing Charlotte … I’ve found both you and Sian so inspiring …. I’m at the beginning of my journey, with a long way to go but I keep browsing Sian’s page and your blog to keep me going. Thanks again, you look amazing xxxx
Well done Charlotte, you really do look amazing and have done so well. Ive been following you for about 2 years now on instagram so I have seen you change over the months and even though I dont actually know you Im really proud of you as I know how loosing even 2lb can be. A great inspiration for all.
Fantastic post ❤️
Thank you so much for sharing this .. I am eagerly following and making notes. Having tried so many times to lose weight (and failing!) I feel a little bit of hope rising after seeing your amazing success.
Well done Charlotte. You look amazing. That photo of you at the top of the volcano is #goals
Thank you for posting this – it’s just what I needed! I have PCOS and have gained weight steadily for years as a result. I feel the same way you felt – not bothered and I would hide behind the camera. Until my grandad passed away at the beginning of the year and the last photos I have with him are of me looking so huge, I couldn’t ignore it any more. So I’ve recently started a very low-carb diet which is HARD. So hard. And I’m struggling to stick with it right now but your post has inspired me! So thank you. You look fab and I can’t wait to be in front of the camera with a smile as beautiful and confident as yours x
Oh Leanne, don’t beat yourself up..you need to move past it & cherish those photos for what they are. The first few weeks are definitely the hardest but you’ll feel so much better for it once your body gets used to it all. You can do this! x
Im struggling so much at the moment.. when i remembered your blog post given it a second read as a boost! Its so tough you look fab! X
This is beautiful story well done you, your amazing at everything you touch xx
So inspiring and great to hear a normal story of motivation helping achieve a goal. Thank you! You look great!!!