"You're almost unrecognisable", commented my twenty-three year old son as we were selecting the 'before' picture for this article. And he is correct, I feel completely different - and not just physically.
In the 'before' picture, I am actually standing with three friends. We have had various pictures taken over the course of our thirty year friendship. In them, I have been slim, overweight and pregnant - and in this particular photo I weighed the most I have ever been, even counting during pregnancy!
I was slim for a long time, but between 2003 and 2009 I gained weight steadily, but did not take any responsibility for addressing it. The dress in this picture was a size 18 - I had never had to buy this size before, and I was shocked that I was no longer a 12!
A work colleague told me about Gwen's classes, and in February, 2009, I went to my first one - which was the best decision I had made for a long time. With Gwen's support, advice, honesty and encouragement I managed to achieve my target weight in November, 2011. During this period I lost weight regularly, but whenever it went back on, I heard Gwen's voice saying, "until the job is done", and kept going!
I maintained my target weight until 2014, by which I had regained a stone, which felt absolutely awful. However, I stuck to my guns, and managed to get back to my target weight in May, 2015.
I was fifty in August and I feel simply fantastic. Gwen has taught me that it is possible, and I will always be grateful that I came to her class and reclaimed not just my weight, but my life.
p.s. I still wear my 'before' dress! Sandie Jolly made it fit my new figure, and also made the black flower dress I am wearing in the 'after' photo. I love wearing them!