Last Christmas, a photograph of County Antrim Mum Niamh Fogarty in her brand new ‘little black number’ shocked her into wanting to do something about how she looked.
Less than a year later, Niamh is at her dream weight and couldnt have been happier with this year’s Christmas photo.
“Thanks to Slimming World, I have a new body I am happy with, I feel healthier and I have a renewed confidence and really enjoy life,” Niamh said.
Niamh is a Target Member of Shauna Gibson’s group in Crumlin, having lost 2 stone 12.5lbs.
Being a Target Member, Niamh has free Lifetime Membership with the group and can attend every week and receive the help and support of group to help her keep to her dream weight, free of charge
“I still have to pinch myself to remind myself that I have done it, I am the weight I want to be. I am a busy Mum with four children and as most mums know, after each baby, my weight increased,” Niamh said.
She added: “I would join an exercise class and deprive myself to lose a bit of weight, but after a few weeks I would give up and the weight would pile back on again quicker than the last time. I really started feeling stuck in a rut, a bit down and really unhappy with how I looked.
“Just before Christmas 2012, I was looking for an outfit to wear on Christmas Day and it was getting really frustrating, I just couldn’t find anything I felt good in. Eventually I bought a black dress, which hid all the bumps, that I thought was OK, until I saw a photograph of myself. I was really shocked. I knew I felt bigger and frumpier than I normally did, but when I saw my photo, I decided enough was enough.”
January came and one morning, a Slimming World leaflet was put through Niamh’s door.
“I saw this as a sign. How did that girl know I needed to lose weight. Looking back now I suppose that was the beginning of my Slimming World journey and the first experience I had of the support that was waiting for me in my local group,” Niamh said.
Niamh said she was apprehensive about going to her first class, but added: “I needn’t have worried though, I was greeted at the door, shown to a seat and offered a cup of coffee. By the time my new Consultant, Shauna had started to explain the Food Optimising plan to me, my nerves had disappeared,” Niamh said.
She added: “As Shauna explained the plan, I couldnt believe that there were so many everyday foods I was going to be able to eat in unlimited quantities! I kept thinking that I wasn’t going to be hungry and that the whole family would be able to eat all these foods and it didn’t sound like it was going to cost my any more money.
“My Slimming World group became a really important part of my week. After my first couple of weigh-ins the weight kept coming off, and I really began to believe this was going to work for me.
“Any week I found it difficult, the group was always there to encourage me and give me the deterination to keep going, and the following week when I saw the results I wanted on the scales, I knew it was worth it and it was my turn to encourage someone else.
“Now being at my Target weight, my life has changed so much! Throughout the time I was losing weight, I was delighted to be able to cook slightly adapted versions of our family favourites - I didn’t have to stand up and cook different meals for me and for the rest of the family. Our family favourites are still bacon and eggs for breakfast and Lasagne, chips and coleslaw for dinner.
“I am much fitter and healthier now and I really enjoy going to kettle bells, yoga and spin classes. In fact, I recently completed a 5-hour spinathon for charity - something I could never have imagined doing before! The whole family have benefited, not just from healthy eating, but from being out and about together as a family. We love spending the day out going for walks with the dog and enjoying a picnic and we all cycle together now, rather than me just watching the kids.
“I definitely feel like a happier, healther, better Mum now as I can do so much more with my family.”
Niamh credits Slimming World with changing her, both mentally and physically, and it has now given her a new career.
“I am delighted to be given the opportunity to relaunch the Toomebridge group on Wednesday, February 26,” Niamh said.
She added: “I am so pleased to be able to be part of the the existing members weight loss journey and also be able to welcome new members and start them off on their new healthy lifestyle.
“I am so glad that ‘little black dress’ photo in Christmas 2012 prompted me to join Slimming World, not only have I benefited, but my whole family have too.”
Niamh is relaunching the Toomebridge group on February 26 at 5.30pm and 7.30pm in the White River Hotel, Main Street, Toomebridge. To find out more, just come along at either 5.30pm or 7.30pm or phone Niamh on 07545 992 557.