Thursday, 29 May 2014

I Used to be Fat: How I lost 9 stone

I'd like to begin by saying how much I hate the word "fat", however it is a word that became very important to me and the reason why I have used it as the title to this post.  Back when I was at my largest I could never describe myself as "fat", I was "chunky".  The word "fat" was a horrible, nasty, offensive and scary word that I never wanted associated with myself. The day that I finally accepted the word "fat" into my life was the day that I admitted that I had a problem and the day that I made the change. 









































My weight loss isn't something I've really touched upon much on my blog, yet as it's briefly mentioned in my sidebar it is a question I get asked from time to time and it's a subject I very much enjoy talking about as I'm so proud of my story.

Today marks a very important anniversary - two years ago today I reached my goal weight, and was in my healthy BMI for the first time in memory.  When I started on my journey a lot of people warned me that those losing a lot of weight tend to struggle to keep it off when they return to "normal life".  Well I'd like to stand up and say that I am not one of those people, I am still at my healthy weight today and am living proof that anyone can do it. 

Before I continue, I should rewind to the start.

I don't really remember a time when I wasn't larger than everyone else.   I had two sisters who were both smaller than me and therefore, to me, seemed beautiful, slim and popular.  My Mum spotted my love of food when I was a child and as I was growing up tried to keep a close eye on my weight.  I remember coming home from school and telling her exactly what I'd had for lunch - I always told her "ham salad" but in reality I'd quite often had sausage, beans and chips and a chocolate brownie for afters.

Thanks to my Mum's efforts I remained a healthy weight during my childhood, but as I got older and more independent the weight started piling on.  I remember quite often having to lie on the bed whilst she attempted to zip me into my jeans.



























As a kid I loved my food and given half a chance would cram as much food on my plate as I could!

I loved my High School years and had lovely friends, but was very aware that I was large and awkward compared to them.  I never had a boyfriend and remember a brief stint of getting bullied by a girl who nicknamed me "bus".  At one point I felt so low I was too scared to leave the house at weekends in case I bumped into her.

 I hated PE with a passion, there's nothing more embarrassing than being forced to wear a tiny PE skirt when you're larger than all the other girls in the class.   I also remember being terrified of being asked to describe myself in French class in year 7.  We'd learnt the word for "fat" and I didn't want to have to stand in front of the class and announce "my name is Chloe, I'm 11 years old, I have ginger hair and I'm fat".


My first day of High School, already gaining weight and looking bigger than the other girls

Through High School I started gaining a stone in weight for each year of my life and by the time I left school at 16 I was 16 stone.

In the back of my head I knew I had a problem but never wanted to admit it or would make excuses.  I'd see someone on the street who looked larger than me and therefore I could justify the way that I was.  My family warned me of the dangers and that diabetes ran in the family but at the time nothing could give me in the incentive to change.

I remained this way all through my 20s, growing larger and larger by the day. 

































My first day of work aged 20 and struggling to find office clothes that fit comfortably

I'd reached a fairly unhappy place by my late 20s and decided to move to London to "find myself".  By this time I had problems that I never would have admitted to anyone - the bottoms of my feet were so sore from carrying extra weight that I struggled to get out of bed in the morning, my periods had become irregular, I was secretly stuffing myself with sugary foods every evening and then crying myself to sleep and I was struggling to make it the short walk down to the tube station without getting very out of puff.


Greek Holiday in 2010, I felt large and very uncomfortable in the heat 

In 2011 I decided I had to make a change.  I'd just had my 30th birthday party and was horrified by the pictures of myself.  I'd reached a size 20, none of my size 18 clothes fitted and I was having to go to work in leggings.   I was beginning to really hate myself and was on self destruct.  As an added incentive my little sister's wedding was planned for the Spring of 2012 and I did not want to be the largest bridesmaid.







My 30th Birthday Party in 2011 and one of the photos that was to change my life

I decided to give Weight Watchers a try! 

I had no idea how a weight loss programme really worked or how I'd be able to adapt it to my life.  I remember so clearly the weekend before I started.  I ate myself silly, like I was never going to be allowed to eat ever again.   I went to an England match at Wembley with my friend and we had a fry up for breakfast, alcohol for lunch and Pizza Hut for dinner.  I ate until I made myself feel sick!



The last weekend before I joined Weight Watchers

I walked into my first Weight Watchers meeting before work one Monday in June 2011 with no idea of how much I weighed.  I was so nervous getting on the scales and when it flashed back at me 19 stone 7 lbs I was horrified.   I walked to work, sat at my desk and cried.  How had I let things get so out of control?

And that was it, my moment,  I had to change and I was going to do it.  

I was rather cautious of the plan to start with, I knew that any foods were allowed if you pointed them correctly yet I still didn't understand how going anywhere near chocolate or cake would allow me to lose weight.  I'd very much grown up under the influence of the media, thinking that the best way to lose weight was to never touch nice foods, avoid carbs and live on a diet of lean meat and greens. 

I dropped half a stone in the first few weeks and soon realised that I could allow myself treats, the plan gave me weekly points which I used to enable me to go out and continue to enjoy London life - afternoon teas, the odd latte and dinner with friends.  I learnt that the key to weight loss was to change my mentality and attitude towards food and control my portions.   Yes I could meet a friend for cake in the afternoon, if I was sensible with my meal choices the rest of the day. 

Weight Watchers appealed to the geeky side of my personality - I loved adding up my points and using them in the best possible way to get a good balance of healthy foods and tasty treats.


A trip to Edinburgh with friends in August 2011.  I'd been doing Weight Watchers for 2 months and could finally fit back into my size 18 jeans.  I felt amazing!

At times it was frustrating, I worked and worked and worked at it for months, losing well over a stone and was so annoyed that I was still stuck in size 18 clothes.   I went to Coast to try on a bridesmaid dress for my sister's wedding, I proudly took a size 16 and 18 into the changing room.  I couldn't get into either of them.  I was so upset, and it would have been very easy for me to give up at that point and think "why am I bothering"?  I walked home past a supermarket and the urge to walk in and buy chocolate to binge on was overwhelming.  But I was strong and walked past, and I think that's probably one of the proudest moments of my life.  I  think if I had given up at that point it all would have come crashing down.

I'd never enjoyed PE at school, preferring more academic subjects like English and  Languages.  As soon as I started to lose weight though I knew it was important to get myself moving so I began with very small steps, sticking to exercise I was confident with.  I took myself out for hour long power walks every lunchtime, walking over Tower Bridge, along the river and back over London Bridge.

Finally in October of 2011 I decided it was time to be brave and join a gym.  I'd never stepped inside one before and I was so scared at my induction I felt myself feeling very emotional, I had tears in my eyes.   I soon realised that gyms are for everyone - as I saw people of all ages, fitness levels and sizes working out I began to relax.  I was still a little nervous about people looking at me so I spent my workouts walking on the treadmill fast up an incline that I gradually increased and increased.   I really enjoyed my sessions but it still took me a further 5 months of walking up hills to finally have the courage to try out a run.   I remember the day, it was on my 31st birthday in March 2012, I was in a small gym at a hotel and realising I was there on my own I decided to up the speed and try out a run, and I ran and I ran and I ran.  I  was so happy you literally couldn't wipe the smile off my face.    It was the most incredible feeling.

I worked hard in secret for the first 6 months, losing a nice steady amount of weight every week. I'd purposely not gone home to Norwich to see my family in that time and had kept my weight loss a secret from them, it was hard work but I really wanted to see their faces when they saw me for the first time at Christmas.   I will never forget the look on my Dad's face when I met him at Norwich train station on Christmas Eve in 2011, I'd slimmed down to a size 16 he didn't recognise me and looked straight past me.   I had to go up to him and say "Dad!" and all he could say was "BLOODY HELL!"  It made my Christmas.



Going home for a Size 16 in my new dress

I set myself goals as my journey continued, little things to motivate me along the way.  It was easier to keep focussed that way rather than to think about all the stones I had to lose.  My first challenge was to fit into a coat that I'd never been able to fit into.  It was a gorgeous red coat that my Mum had bought me years earlier.  It was a size 18, but it had always been very tight round the arms and I'd never been able to do up the buttons.  It was an amazing feeling the first time I got it buttoned up and soon I was wearing it all the time, a daily reminder of how far I'd come.


Finally fitting into the size 18 coat my Mum had bought me years before. 

There were times I felt very frustrated and demotivated.  It hurt when friends who hadn't seen me for months didn't compliment me on my new figure, and to this day many of my closest friends have never acknowledged my achievement. I've cried a few silly tears over it before realising that there's more to life. 

From the beginning of my journey I started writing a blog, it really helped being able to talk to others about what I was going through, to share my struggles and achievements and read inspirational stories from people who had got to goal.  I'd always loved writing so wrote my thoughts and feelings every day that  I weighed in.  If anyone is interested in reading my entire weight loss story you can read the blog even if you're not a WW member here.

I soon got up a little following of readers who were all very supportive and encouraging.  One in particular stood out - a northern lad called Simon who had joined Weight Watchers around the same time.  Like me he'd struggled with his weight for many years.  We got on straight away, reading and commenting on each others blogs.  Getting a comment from him on a post always made my day.   After a while we began chatting on Facebook before eventually swapping numbers. 

Yes that's right, I'm talking about my Simon.    

A few months after we started talking he got a National Express coach all the way from Newcastle to London to take me out on a date and that was the start of something really special.


My confidence had taken years of bashing and I'd always felt ugly.   Simon was wonderful in helping me to regain my confidence.  He told me every day how beautiful I was and how he couldn't believe his luck that he was with me.  To start with I found the compliments hard to accept but after a while I began to listen and then slowly I started to believe in myself.  Weight Watchers might have helped me lose the weight but it was Simon that taught me how to love myself again.

Weight Watchers quickly caught on to our relationship and before we knew it we'd been invited to a gorgeous house in Surrey for a photo shoot.  It was an amazing day, we got to try on lots of clothes and were interviewed about our experience.   They liked us so much we ended up being used in lots of promotional material.   You can see our "Success Story" on the Weight Watchers site here and if you want a laugh there's even a video here!


Weight Watchers Photo Shoot

Just under a year after starting I finally reached my goal weight after losing just over 8 stone.  For the first time in my life I was slim, healthy and wearing a size 10.  I'd been saving money up to buy a new wardrobe when I hit goal and being able to walk into any shop that I wanted and fit into beautiful clothes was so surreal.   I'd never taken much pride in my appearance before but I suddenly found myself with an interest in fashion.

I continued losing a bit of weight until my body settled at around 10 lbs under my goal which is where I continue to be to this day.  I've had a total weight loss of just under 9 stone.


Getting to goal - the new me with my old size 18 jeans that had been too small for me when I started!

I'm not going to pretend that all my problems were solved overnight, it took quite a while for my head to catch up with my body.  Whilst I could feel that I was slimmer I couldn't always see it in the mirror and was always amazed when I saw photos of myself.  Also whilst I look slim with my clothes on my body is a bit of a mess underneath, but I've learnt not to care, my damaged body tells a wonderful story and I wouldn't have it any other way.


Dressing up for a friend's wedding in October 2012, a healthy size 10 and feeling amazing

Every day I still wake up thankful that I made the change and succeeded, I don't think there'll ever be a day that I take it for granted.   Losing weight has given me not only a new start in life, but has also lead me to Simon.  I never could have imagined that taking that brave step to my first meeting would lead me to him and my new life in Newcastle.

I leave you with just one thought - it's never too late to make a change. 

58 comments:

  1. This is really inspiring Chloe. Thank you for sharing your story. I've always thought of myself as fat. I love food and even though I lost 2 stone with Weight Watchers last year I'm still a size 14 and have put on half a stone since Christmas. I need to join the gym as I know that diet alone isn't going to get me to where I want to be. You look amazing. I haven't been a size 10 since I was 16, 12 years ago. Xx

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    1. I think when you love food it is a bit of a life long struggle and you'll always have a problem. As you all know I love my cake and afternoon teas and still very much enjoy my food, it's finding that balance between loving food and loving your body. I think a size 14 is a gorgeous size, sometimes I think I actually preferred my body at a size 14 than how it is now, I was really curvy and healthy looking x

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  2. Loved reading this, super inspiring! I relate to a lot of it, I have never felt comfortable with my size and I am very much in denial! Exercise has never been a problem, I love running and biking and I'm suprisingly fit 'for my size' but its the food, food food food, obsessed! But truly reading stories like yours I feel super inspired. Thanks for sharing it. x

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    1. It is bloomin hard when you're obsessed with food, I will forever LOVE food! My weekends are planned around food, if I have friends visiting I get excited about where I'm going to take them to eat, once I've finished one meal I'm super excited about the next one! In some respects every day is a struggle to keep it under control. I've always thought myself as having a bit of a food addiction, it's tough at times but I think the key is everything in moderation, be super sensible during the week and then treat yourself at weekends :)

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  3. This is such an amazing, inspiring story - I feel like I know you better now! You and Simon make such a sweet couple too; the video is lovely :) I also love the dress in that last photo - you look incredible. Fantastic post!
    x

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    1. Thank you :) The video is SO cringe! I'm a very emotional person, so at the end when Simon says if he hadn't walked into his meeting he never would have met me you can see me sitting there blinking because I'm trying not to cry on camera! It makes me cringe every time I watch it :D

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  4. Such an inspiring story, makes me so hopeful, thank you for sharing, x

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    1. You are so welcome, believe me, if I can do it anyone can! :) x

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  5. What a lovely and very inspiring story! As a bit of a cake lover (y'know, just a bit!) I could really do with losing quite a bit of weight myself and now I know it can be done without giving up the afternoon teas I'm that much more encouraged!

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    1. If I'd had to give up afternoon teas I wouldn't have been able to do it .... FACT! I managed to have the odd afternoon tea whilst I was point counting, I'd just save as many as my points as I could for it and then exercise like crazy :D

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  6. Wow, what a fantastic story! And some seriously impressive determination. (And Coast always drastically overestimates their dress sizes. They have a lot to answer for!!)

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    1. That makes me feel better ... honestly Coast almost prompted the end for me! I was so shocked and upset when I couldn't get into a dress!

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  7. beautiful :) I remember your first WW post, as you joined around the same time I did. Brilliant mentality to food and life in general :) x

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    1. Thank you lovely lady .... it was people like you who helped me through it all :)

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  8. Oh my word, what a fantastic story, I'm so so so impressed with you and the fact your story includes love makes it all the better! You look amazing now and I'm glad you feel so much more happy and confident. STAR BAR x

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    1. ... it's like a proper cheesy rom com isn't it? I can't quite believe it myself :D

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  9. What an amazing story Chloe! My weight jas yo yo'd for years, but after living in a hotel for a year, its at an all time high. I just got my act in gear a month ago but hurting my back has set me back. Can't wait to get back to exercising now. You're an inspiration xx

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  10. I can't believe how different you look now! Such an amazing story as it's always difficult to lose weight, you did so well, and are living proof that you can have everything in moderation! Well done lovely :) x

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    1. .. although maybe not quite as much cake as I'm sometimes seen to be eating in this blog :D

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  11. I was not planning on blubbering at my desk this morning Chloe!!!
    This is a fantastic story of determination and commitment with a whole lot of love chucked in, just gorgeous. And it's lovely that you feel happier and more confident now, I know I don't know you in the real world but even in the photos in this post you can see your smile brightening with every target you reach. Really inspiring.
    I'm off to cheer myself up with the WW video now...
    M x Life Outside London

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    1. Sorry! If it makes you feel better I cried like a big baby when I wrote it! I also cried during that WW video, they asked me how WW had changed my life and I got all emotional and blubbed ... THANK GOD they cut that part out!

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  12. Chloe, I'm a sentimental old fool as this got me welling up especially the part where you met Simon. What an amazing story and what a journey you went through!! I'm so glad you lost the weight such a healthy way as I've got friends who crash dieted on Lighter Life and things like that! When I met Mr Silver I was really skinny but I put on a stone in the course of the first year of our relationship (happy weight from shared dinners, bottles of wine and holidays) but I soon realised I wasn't happy with my self and also went on a diet, I completely agree its not as hard as people think. Portion control is the key thing and little treats and treat meals are fine once in a while! Anyway thank you so much for this post it was really lovely :)
    Lots of love,
    Angie
    SilverSpoon London

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    1. ... don't get me started on Lighter Life ... GRRRRRRRR! People are so desperate for a quick fix they don't realise that they're not learning any life lessons to carry forward - I'm pretty sure everyone who does diets like that end up putting all the weight back on. WW and Slimming World are fantastic, I believe the NHS are even prescribing them to people now to help them lose weight.

      My tummy has definitely got a bit bigger in the last year since living with Simon .. I actually rejoined the gym last week :)

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  13. Don't think I can think of much to say except 'Wow'!
    Well done and congratulations, you look utterly unrecognizable in the old photos!
    x

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  14. Oh my gosh, I can't believe the motivation you had and that you stuck with it! You are so inspiring missy! You have done such a great thing and improved your quality of life ten fold! SO proud of what you achieved :D xx

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  15. Frazer is most happy to have made an appearance in the photo that changed it all, and has informaed me that he will make it the picture which changed his life before he checked into rehab ;-) seriously though, you actually just made me cry at my desk. So proud of you! Now, if only I could lost 9 stone before the wedding...! xxx

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    1. It did amuse me that he has such a starring role in the blog post, that picture is funny!

      I think if you lost 9 stone there'd be nothing left of you!

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  16. What a great post, you have been on one hell of a journey and you look amazing following what must have been bloody hard work. To find love on the journey makes me really smile a lovely way to begin the journey of a wonderful life together Lucy x

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  17. What an amazing, inspiring story - well done you! You look fabulous, and how great that on your journey you found love and it led you to a whole new life!

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  18. Good for you girl - what an inspirational story and thank you for sharing! :)

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  19. Chloe, this post is so inspirational!

    I read it this morning before work and was almost in tears!

    It is definitely something from within that has to click before you can do something about it! It's really hit home that I need to do something about what I eat/ my attitude towards food and exercise. I'm really not happy with my body but the only person that can do something about it is me - choosing to actively change is half the battle but maintaining it is the hard part (where I struggle).

    Thank you for making me rethink!!

    Ruth // excusemeforawhile

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  20. I read this before I went to work this morning, I was almost in tears.

    You've definitely hit the nail on the head for me and it's really made me think about how unhappy I am and need to rethink my attitude towards eating/ exercise. I have no-one but myself to blame, so I need to break this viscous cycle once and for all!

    Thank you for posting this, as it has really made me think long and hard about how unhappy I am but how I am the only person that can do anything about it!

    Ruth // excusemeforawhile

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  21. What a fantastic post, sat in tears at this - im so happy you found love and how to love yourself, what an inspiration you are X

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  22. People above have written every words that sprang to mind whilst reading this post Chloe. So heart felt. You're truely a weight watchers success, but more your own doing than theirs. As with most things, they give you the tools and you use them how you wish and you REALLY went for it!
    I've been sat here emailing and blogging thinking to myself that I want some icecream, but do you know what, after reading that, I need some of your self control! :p I know we're allowed cheat days, but I'm saving that for Sunday! ha!
    What makes your story so much more sweeter (excuse the pun) if you finding Simon and each other.. it's like a fairytale and has to be good that you were both in the same boat so respect each others change in eating habits. I sometimes feel bad for giving my Mr a 'child' portion of dinner or change what I was going to cook for dinner as he likes carbs.. we work it out though.. :)
    Amazing. :) x

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  23. Chloe, this is incredible and inspiring! I had no idea what a complete change you had been through! You look absolutely stunning and I hope you feel so proud of what you have achieved. Sod your 'friends' who didn't support you or give you the kudos you deserved! Definitely not worth your time!

    You're awesome :)

    Caroline x
    www.cocktailsandcaroline.com

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  24. Chloe, you're just wonderful!! Your story is such an inspiration and I often think of you when I'm struggling, you give me hope that if you can do it I blummin well can too!! xxxx

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  25. oh wow well done you look amazing x

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  26. Hey Chloe, I've pinned this post to my bookmarks at work so if I'm thinking of going to get chocolate or avoid the gym I can read this & be inspired!

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  27. Wow, what a story! I'm a firm believer that life should never be about what size you are, as long as you're happy inside. Well done you x

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  28. Chloe you have done AMAZINGLY well! I cant believe your story, so so SO inspiring. Im trying to loose weight at the mo for my holidays and your story has inspired me. Its so lovely that thats how you met Simon! MASSIVE well done! I hope I used capitals enough to express my enthusiasm! haha ! xxx

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  29. Can't believe I'm only just reading this now! This is amazing, well done for having the courage to post this along with all the photos of yourself throughout your weight loss journey! As you know, I love this story, and the way you met Simon etc, but what I love the most is that you still love cake! :) Now I just need you to coach me in weightloss/Primark please! xx

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  30. wow ! your story is amazing and congratulations to your weight loss !!!! you look so good in that last picture with your white dress! :) well done!

    http://katsees5.blogspot.co.at

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  31. you should be SO proud of yourself Chloe - not necessarily because you are slimmer now (though obviously it's so much better for you health-wise) - but you strived to achieve something that has made you infinitely happier, healthier mentally, and even lead you to Simon! what a story. you're amazing x

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  32. Wow! What a story, you should be so proud! I know how hard it can be to loose even just a little bit of weight, I managed to go from a size 14 to a size 10, but it took me years! You look so lovely and healthy now, thanks for sharing! x

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  33. WOW! You look absolutely amazing! Well done for all your achievements, I can't even imagine the hard work, discipline and self-motivation it took to get that far. I'm on Weight Watchers at the moment so this was a huge inspiration to me! You go girl :)

    Lyndsay | Fizzy Peaches

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  34. Oh my gosh this is amaaaaaaaazing! Your pictures are inspirational thankyou for sharing this

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  35. Wow. I was so intrigued when you briefly mentioned your story yesterday - I had to find this.
    How amazing. You have done so well and look incredible - an absolute inspiration. xx

    www.marriedtoageek.co.uk

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  36. This is amazing! Just watched the Weight Watchers video and you and Simon seem like such lovely people. Well done on what you've achieved!

    Kirsten | kirstenlearns.com

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  37. Wow - Great post, you look amazing! I loved reading this especially about your dad not recognising you in the train station and finding out how you met Simon.

    I could still tell the child hood pics were you by your eyes. You should be so proud, I bet you can't wait to wear your wedding dress!

    Ami x

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  38. woohoo just reading this again and it's such an inspiring read!! xx

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  39. I really enjoyed reading your open and inspiring story Chloe, well done to you for reaching and maintaining your goal. How lovely too that your initial decision to make a change led you to Simon. June xx

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  40. Oh wow Chloe. That's an amazing journey and story. Well done you

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  41. This is so inspirational Chloe. What an incredible journey. You're very strong to go through all of that and stick with it. I'm sure loads of other woman will be motivated by your story. You've inspired me to start running again and get back in my summer clothes! Great post

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  42. This is so inspiring eapically when I'm at the start of my journey. Your transformation is amazing! I totally can relate to this post as so many things hit home including the word 'fat' espically when I've been called it for no reason. What did you start doing at the gym? I've just gone back to the gym and I have no idea where to start. I've tried running previously and I can last 5 seconds. Any tips?
    Just shared this on my twitter :) I love motivating stories. www.nattsjourney.com

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