Patricia Harvey woke up on her 40th birthday one January morning with a sense of impending doom. It was official – she was fat and 40 and, emotionally and financially, she felt her life was one big mess.
Working ever-changing shifts, eating at all hours and not being able to exercise because of a foot problem had all made Patricia’s weight rocket. She was only 5ft 2in, but approaching 16st.
Patricia says: “My reflection looked like something from the hall of mirrors at the fair – the one that makes you look like a huge invisible weight is on top of you, squashing you downwards and out at the sides.”
Then her mother announced she was getting married in September and wanted Patricia, who works for NHS 24 as a call handler, to be chief bridesmaid. She was happy for her mum, but it made her feel worse about herself. It was the perfect incentive to slim.
She had a Rosemary Conley Club near her Glasgow home, but her unpredictable shift patterns ruled out classes. Undeterred, and for once determined to get her weight off and keep it off, Patricia joined our site.
In 14 months, she lost 6st 6lb, coming down to a trim and shapely 9st 4lb. She reduced her dress size from 22 to 10, her waist from 42in to 27in and her BMI from 40 to 23.
After a lifetime of avoiding walking due to her clawed feet condition, which meant having to walk awkwardly on tiptoes, she threw herself into exercise and ended up doing the 26-mile MoonWalk for charity!
Patricia’s fabulous transformation from an unhappy 40-year-old couch potato to a fit and fulfilled 41-year-old has won her the title Rosemary Conley Online Slimmer of the Year 2011.
Says Patricia: “Online gave me everything I needed. Meal plans, recipes, even shopping lists. I could type in everything I ate and it calculated the fat and calorie content! Weight-loss coaches were there every step of the way.
“I am still amazed that things which were so strange to me in the past, like healthy eating and exercise, have now become part of my daily routine.
“Online opened up a whole new world to me. It’s magic.”
Shifts had played havoc with Patricia’s eating – and she ate whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted.
She says: “I would usually have something sweet as soon as I got out of bed, whatever time it was. I’d have a box of Magnum ice creams or a whole packet of biscuits.
“If I was working nights, I’d have a ready meal before I went out and take sandwiches, biscuits, crisps, chocolate and cereal with me. When I got home, I’d have two rolls and sausage and potato scones before bed.
“When I got home after the 5pm-2am shift, I’d have 4 slices of cheese on toast, a packet of biscuits and ice cream. I never really ate fruit or vegetables.
“I was also under a lot of stress. I was worried about losing my house to pay my debts. And the more stressed I became, the more I ate.”
Patricia used her crazy working pattern as an excuse to avoid socialising. “I felt so bad about my weight that I didn’t really want to be bothered getting dressed up to go out.
“I worried about my health – my father died from a heart attack aged 59 – and I was so unfit. I had constant pain in my feet and it caused problems with my ankles, knees and hips and being so overweight just put more pressure on my joints.”
To make matters even worse, she was nicknamed Fat Pat. “I really hated that,” she says.
She signed on to our site in June 2009 and lost 9lb in the first 2 weeks on the Kick-start Diet and a stone in 5 weeks on the Gi Hip and Thigh Diet. She says: “I logged on to the site every day and read posts from all the other slimmers. I found that, no matter what problems you had, there was always someone who had already been there and was ready to offer support and advice.”
She started doing 20 minutes a day exercise to a Rosemary DVD and then decided to try a walk around the block. But she waited until after dark, so no one would see her! Each time, she walked a bit further and, to her astonishment, was soon able to do 6 miles.
She was down 2st 7lb for her mother’s wedding and 4st by New Year’s Day 2010.
The walking bug really began biting and, in February, she began training for the Edinburgh MoonWalk. Venturing out on a 20-mile training walk was the moment she realised just how far she had come.
Come the day, she did it in a respectable eight hours 45 minutes. Her work colleagues also voted her “an inspirational colleague” in their in-house achievement awards.
When she hit her target weight of 9st 8lb in August 2010, she wept with joy! She celebrated by buying herself a size 10 little black dress. She has since come down another 4lb on the maintenance plan.
Patricia says: “I want people to know that living a healthy lifestyle does not have to cost a lot of money. I might still have financial worries but, thanks to Rosemary and her wonderful plans, I feel like a million dollars!”
Click here to choose a related alternative.
Click the link to add this food to your food diary.
Click the link to add this recipe to your food diary.