Flabby skin, jealous pals and the pressure to stay thin ¦how we overcame the harsh realities of dieting
Starting on a weight loss regime it’s easy to think that once you’re slim the hard part is over. People assume I’ll get fat again.
Penny Rainbow, 36, is a full-time mum to Isla, five and lives in Southampton with her partner Adrian, 39.
I’ve always been a party girl and that’s the reason I piled on weight in the first place I’d always say yes to another dink or raid cupboards when I got home tipsy. Then in 2010 I hit 12st and a size 16-18 and knew I had to change. So I did something that shocked everyone – I signed up to run the London Marathon. I threw myself into training, even going to the New You Boot Camp in Hereford to kick—tart my new regime. The weight fell off me. However I realised very quickly how much negativity there is surrounding weight loss. People told me I was stupid for getting rid of my old baggy clothes as they thought I might need them again.
Even strangers could be cruel. I did London Moon Walk for breast cancer as part of my training and a black can driver shouted Go on fatty . By the time I finished the marathon, in April 2012, I weighed 9st 4lb and was size 8. I carried on running five days a week but I knew everyone was just waiting for me to quit. When I ate out with my friends people would comment if I ordered a big meal.
That’s tough, especially because as a former dieter you never put anything on your computing if you should. People don’t realise I’ve had to change my mind-set forever.
Everyone asked me how I managed it but as soon as I told them it was by exercising hard and cutting down on my food their eyes glazed over. People want you to give them a quick fix. My friends also struggled with the fact I no longer fitted into the party girl role. I still love going out but realise I can’t do that all the time or I’ll fall back into my old habits.
The thing is, beforehand I was the bubbly party girl on the outside because I was unhappy. Now I’m happier than ever and I realise it’s not a glass of wine or slice of cake that’s going to make me content.*