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“My secrets to lasting weight loss”

May 20 2019
Punteha van Terheyden
By Punteha van Terheyden

Katie Clark, 47, has maintained her 72lb* weight loss for over seven years. Here, she shares the healthy habits that are helping her stay slim for life.

“My secrets to lasting weight loss”

Congratulations, Katie, you look amazing—for you, what’s the best thing about being at your target weight?
“Without a doubt, it’s having the confidence to take part in fun activities with my 10-year-old daughter, Beau. We’ve just started going to a trampoline fitness class together and as we’re bouncing away to the lively music, I’ll see the joy on her face and think how different it would be if I was still self-conscious about my weight. I hadn’t always been overweight—in fact, I’d been a Slimming World member before and had lost over 60lbs. Then I met my partner, Lee, and as we settled into a happy relationship, my healthy lifestyle went out of the window and the pounds began to creep back on. I started eating big bowls of sugary cereal for breakfast, sandwiches, fries and candy for lunch, and dinners like spaghetti bolognese made using a jar of sauce from the grocery store with cheesy garlic bread on the side.”

So what brought you back to Slimming World?
“It was a moment in the park that gave me the push to rejoin. I was taking Beau, then 18 months old, down the slide with me. Settling her on my lap, I pushed off—only we didn’t budge! With my hips and thighs wedged firmly against the sides, we weren’t going anywhere. I used my free arm to pull us along all the way to the bottom, at the same time thinking, ‘This is getting silly and I’m going to do something about it!’ I knew I was bigger than I’d ever been, and likely to get bigger still if I didn’t take action. Beau was so little, she didn’t realize what was going on, but I wanted my daughter to grow up with a fit and healthy mom as her role model, a mom who was comfortable in her own skin—and that was all the motivation I needed. I reminded myself that Slimming World had worked for me before, and knew that it would again.”

What was it like rejoining after so many years?
“The warm welcome was just as I remembered it! As was the flexibility of the Slimming World eating plan—I could still eat my favorite foods, such as potatoes and lean beef mince, and I found Food Optimizing stews were great for sneaking in more vegetables, which I’m less keen on! My group was a fantastic resource, too. Other members would share pictures of their dinners through the week and I’d be inspired to try new flavor combinations. All that variety made it easy to stay motivated. Working as a hairstylist, I’d tended to run out for ready-made sandwiches at lunchtime. Now I started to batch cook all my meals from scratch, bringing in leftovers for lunch, and keeping extra portions in the fridge or freezer for busy evenings. As I became more in tune with what I was eating, I had a bit of a light-bulb moment about my daily cookie habit—I’d often eat half a pack without really noticing. I decide to choose to have just one cookie and really savor it instead. I liked to remind myself that the first one you eat is the one you’re craving—you don’t need to invite 10 of its friends to the party!”

How did you start fitting activity into your week?
“I was already walking our Labrador, Lola, twice a day and when I heard about Body Magic, Slimming World’s gentle, get-started activity plan, I was inspired to step it up a notch. I knew that the fitter I got, the more active a mom I could be for Beau. I had an added incentive, too, as we had a family wedding in Cyprus coming up and I wanted to feel good about myself in a bathing suit. I started going to fitness classes and soon I found I was able to give Lola her walk in half the time it had taken before. At the weekends, I took Beau swimming, and as she got faster on her feet, I was able to keep up with my increasingly speedy toddler! By the time the holiday in Cyprus came around, I felt like a completely different person to the woman who’d got stuck on the slide. Beau and I had a joyful splash around in the hotel pool and afterwards, as I dried us both off, I realized I didn’t feel at all self-conscious. I was so proud that I’d succeeded in changing my shape, and my body confidence, and I held on to that feeling, knowing it would help keep me focused.”

So exercise is a big part of your life now?
“Absolutely. As I get older I want to keep as fit and healthy as I can. Body Magic is fun, and it’s the one part in my day that’s purely ‘me’ time. The key to maintaining my weight for over seven years has been a combination of going to group and keeping active. I don’t ever want to go back to being over 200lbs again. I love seeing the slim person reflected back at me in the mirror, so that keeps me motivated. Of course, I’m only human, and I do have the occasional off-plan night—but I know that as long as I don’t let it demotivate me, and I get straight back to Food Optimizing 100 percent afterwards, it won’t throw me off track.”

How do you think Beau is benefiting from your healthy lifestyle as she grows up?
“For most of her life, Beau has seen me cooking meals from scratch and being active every day. It’s normal for us to have a nutritious, home-cooked dinner together, then all go to our various activities—it’s just what we do. Beau and I hop onto scooters to school, cycle at the weekends and we love any fitness class that gets us jumping about. I’m thrilled to know I’m giving her the best possible start for a lifetime of positive food choices and an active mindset—and that’s inspiring me to maintain my healthy lifestyle, too!”

Inspired? You’ll find lots more support and inspiration on our website, helping you to make real, lasting changes and lose weight for life.

If you’re planning to start a new exercise program, it’s always a good idea to check with your health care provider first—especially if you have an existing health condition, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma.

*Your weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and the amount you have to lose.

Punteha van Terheyden

By Punteha van Terheyden