‘I still eat burger and chips,’ says slimmer who shed 11.5 stone to halve her weight
She might quite literally be half the person she used to be – but Tracy Arnold says she is “healthier, happier and much more confident” after losing an incredible 11st 7lbs.
The 48-year-old joined the Abbots Activity Centre Slimming World group in Colchester in March 2018 after weighing over 20st for 15 years.
"My weight impacted on so many aspects of my life, from struggling to find clothes that I like to fit, to not being able to do simple everyday tasks without feeling tired and out of breath," she said.
"Before I lost weight, I hated having my photo taken and whenever I saw pictures of myself, I didn't feel like my smile was real."
Yet Ms Arnold, from Monkwick, Colchester, now she says she is "beaming" at her remarkable turnaround in 18 months - which has seen her halve her weight from 23st to 11.5st.
Even though "walking through those doors was one of the hardest things I've ever done", she said the support from fellow Slimming World members helped her through.
She followed a "food optimising" plan, which saw her swap snacking on family-size bags of crisps or a pack of chocolate biscuits for healthy meals such as a stir fry.
Many people would think you have give up some of the unhealthiest meals, but remarkably Mrs Arnold said: "I still enjoy all my favourite meals like burger and chips and roast dinners, but I've learned how to make small changes like using lean meat or cooking with low-calorie spray instead of oil or butter.
"It fits in so well with the rest of my family and we can all eat the same meals. I know that I haven't 'gone on a diet', this is a change that I've made for life and I have the tools I need to stay like this forever."
She has also increased her exercise regime to include regular swims, gym sessions and cycle rides.
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The result is that she has dropped from a dress size 28 to a 12 - and has become such as Slimming World success story that she is now going to run her own weight loss group at Queen Boudicca Primary School, every Thursday from 7.30pm, to help others achieve similar milestones.
The new group launches on November 14.
"I've been overweight all my life and for the last 15 years have been over 20st. I'm so proud and happy to have reached my dream weight," she said.
"I feel like a new woman since losing weight - in fact, I look so different that people who I haven't seen for a while often can't believe I'm the same person.
"For me though it's the change on the inside that have been the greatest - I'm happier, healthier and much more confident now.
"I've made so many friends at the group and I honestly don't think I could have done it without their support each week.
"People think slimming means going hungry, eating nothing but salad or obsessively counting every calorie you eat, but it's not like that at all at Slimming World.
"I love food and it's never once felt like I was on 'a diet' - in fact, people are always surprised at how much food I have on my plate and can't believe I'm losing weight eating so much without ever feeling hungry."
Alice Turburville, who runs the Abbots Activity Centre Slimming World group, said: "The changes we've seen in Tracy are incredible.
"I hope her success will inspire other people who'd like to lose weight by forming new lifestyle habits and as a result, become happier and healthier to come and join us."
To join Ms Arnold's new Slimming World group, call her on 07800 734464 or come along on one of the evenings.
To join the Abbots Activity Centre group, which runs on Tuesdays at 5.30pm and 7.30pm and Wednesdays at 9.30am, call Ms Turburville on 07834 195844.
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