A TEACHER who ballooned to a size 22 thanks to nightly Ben & Jerry’s binges has managed to shed an impressive 8st.
Allison Forrest, 33, of Basingstoke, Hampshire, had been overweight since childhood but her diet went from bad to worse when she started working.
She’s start off eating a healthy breakfast and lunch but once she returned home from school, would spend the evening downing litres of Ben & Jerry’s, bags of crisps and multiple bacon butties.
Eventually, she hit 17st 13lbs and was so embarrassed by her excessive snacking that she started to hide the evidence from her husband Jordan.
“I’d get home and have a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream or a family-sized bag of crisps with dip,” Allison recalled.
“Then, I’d hide all the wrappers from Jordan as I was ashamed to be eating so much.”
Originally from the USA, Allison was bullied at school for being overweight.
Over the next few years, she tried everything to try to shift the pounds but every time she succeeded in slimming down a little, the weight piled back on.
Then Allison went to uni in the states and there, like many students, her diet became even worse.
She met Jordon online when she was over in the UK for a study programme.
She continued: “I met Jordan online just before I went over. I wanted to get to know some people, so I’d have a friendly face in a new city – plus I’ve always liked British guys.
“I was more or less at my heaviest weight when I met him.”
Eventually, she moved to the UK permanently to be with Jordan. But homesickness saw her comfort eat even more.
And when she began to work as a teacher, it finally escalated out of control.
Breakfast would be a nutritious bowl of porridge, followed by a school lunch in the canteen.
When she got home, however, she’d binge on junk food before Jordan came home for dinner.
“I have no idea how many calories it was all adding up to in the end,” she said.
“If I had to guess, I’d say around 4,000 a day, when the NHS recommends around 2,000 for a woman.
“It got to the point where my confidence was really quite affected. I would hate buying clothes, as it just reminded me of how nothing fitted, so I’d wear the same few outfits, recycled again and again.
“I was also getting all sorts of health problems. I’d get awful back and joint ache, which could last for months at a time, as well as struggling with asthma symptoms, which got worse the heavier I was.”
It was only a chance remark from a nurse about the weight loss and wellness plan WW during a routine asthma checkup that set Allison on the road to better health.
Sick of feeling sluggish, she joined WW in January 2018 and she’s never looked back.
She recalled: “I did feel nervous going to that first meeting. I hadn’t weighed myself in a while so I wasn’t sure exactly how heavy I was, but I kept reminding myself that I had to start somewhere.
“I think WW worked where other plans didn’t because their SmartPoints system makes it so easy to keep track of what you’re eating.
“I can track all my meals – even if I’m going out to eat – and plan in when to allow myself a little treat.”
Today, Allison eats completely differently.
She begins the day with a protein shake, has salad for lunch and a healthy home-cooked dinner.
She explained: “I’ve always loved cooking, but I now know how important it is to make those healthy swaps.
“For example, the other day I had a chicken and mushroom pie, but instead of pastry, I made it with cauliflower and lentils.”
Using the WW app, Allison has also been exercising more and is planning on taking part in the WW 5KMyWay challenge in June.
“I started out running, and now I go four to five times a week, as well as weight training and yoga,” she said.
“I don’t go the gym, I just use the app.”
MORE ON WEIGHT LOSS
Now 8st lighter at her goal weight, Allison says she feels amazing and hopes that her story will inspire others who may be struggling with their body image.
“To anybody else out there trying to lose weight, I’d say it’s okay if you fall off the wagon – we all have our off days – but it’s about pushing through and getting yourself back on.
“The best advice I can give is to take it one day at a time.”
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