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Sam and Simon started with us back in the Summer of 2012 and together have lost a staggering 14 stone. Their BEFORE and AFTER photos show only part of the staggering journey they have been on.

When Simon proposed to me 6 weeks after we started dating, I was quite sure that he was the one for me.  We argue even to this day over who “knew” first.  My first size related issue was wedding dress shopping.  I remember being told, quite audibly in front of other sylph like affianced young women, that my dress would likely cost me an extra 15% on top of the rack price because of all of the “extra material that would be needed to cover me”.  I retreated to the confines of a dress maker and the dress and the day were perfect.  I was to encounter further weight related issues in public settings when I was handed a tabard during a cookery lesson during my PGCE training and the other potential primary teachers had pretty daisy printed pinnies.  I couldn’t count on two hands and two feet the amount of times that I felt that I’d been differentiated against because of my weight.  I would laugh it off and make a joke about it, as that’s what fat people do.

But here’s the rub.  I didn’t want to be set apart, I wanted to blend.  I didn’t want to stand out.  And if I was going to stand out, I certainly didn’t want it to be for my weight.   It’s clear to me now that I was miserable, I was unhappy and when I thought back to how I was when I first met Simon, I wasn’t the same person.  I was someone who would hide on the sofa at weekends, afraid to go out for fear of being stared at.

It was a truth universally accepted that I was the chubby one in the family and I would quite often hide behind the wall of almost truth that a huge contributing factor was my medication and that I took steroids.  It’s almost true because I did take steroids.  Ten years ago.
The truth of the matter is that I ate too much, and too much bad food and I didn’t move enough.  People talk about a wakeup call, mine came, as it normally does, with a health scare.  My transplanted kidney wasn’t doing so well.  The stress I was putting it under with my excess weight was resulting in its decline.  I was put forward for bariatric surgery and turned down.  I didn’t fit the criteria.  Initially, I was devastated; I knew that I needed to do something.  I needed to take back control and deal with my problem face on and no longer hide behind the wall of half-truths.

So I emailed a lady called Philippa.

Fast forward 2 years and I have lost an AMAZING 8 stones in weight.  I have learned not to hate exercise and look forward to it.  I have learned about calorie control and healthy eating.  But most importantly I have learned that failure isn’t falling off the wagon, it’s not getting back on it.  I have learned not to give up when you don’t get the results you were hoping for.  They will come.  I have learned that weight loss is not a straight line, it’s a wobbly one.  I have also learned that sometimes, a group of near complete strangers can more supportive and encouraging than any family and friends.

I won’t lie, it’s not been easy, it’s probably been the hardest thing I have done in my entire life, and there have been tears, lots of them.  There have been frustrations and sometimes an over worked knee.  But then there have been the AMAZING results.    There have been the positive comments from friends and family, but for me personally, the most important change has been the positive results from the hospital.  My weight is 70% less of an issue for the longevity of my donated kidney.  70% because I am not quite at the end of my weight loss journey.  And when I do arrive, I know that I will have to work just as hard to maintain my changed lifestyle.

I started this lifestyle change with a degree of trepidation, I had pretty much tried every other diet going and whilst the results were good for a few weeks, there would come a point at 6 weeks when I would falter and give up.  I know now that it was because I wasn’t ready in my head to accept the changes that I needed to.  I realise now that any lifestyle change and fitness plan needed to start in my head, I needed to adopt a different mind-set; it needed to be a decision to commit to change and accept that change wasn’t going to happen overnight.
2 years later and I am enjoying all of the benefits a new, healthier, fitter body has to bring.  And all because I changed my mind.

Sam and Simon Wells, Didcot