Real-Life Weight Loss: Anne Royal-Smith
“2010 was my ‘fat year’. It wasn’t all my fault – I gave birth to my daughter Christina in February, but rather than follow the yummy mummy route of exercising for five hours a day and living on lettuce, I slouched around in my maternity clothes. I’d had a C-section for the birth of my daughter so I wasn’t able to exercise for a while, but I didn’t help myself by serving up huge food portions and nibbling on small treats like ice cream. After giving birth, I weighed almost 14 stone and I was a size 16. At 5ft 6in, I was the wrong side of my recommended weight. Whenever my husband would offer to take me out to dinner, I would turn him down as I was too embarrassed to be seen eating out in public.
I started January 2010 nine months pregnant, but I weighed almost the same post-birth in April. I’m an emotional eater and the more depressed I got about my size, the more I’d eat. The crunch time came when one of my friends told me about a meal delivery diet programme she’d been on that worked for her. She said the company she went with was called Live’ly (live’ly.ae) and they supplied you with everything you could eat at the beginning of each day in a handy lunchbox. The idea of having all your meals supplied to you every day really appealed to me, as I’d always had problems with portion sizes. The packages were priced from Dhs2,000 to Dhs3,300 a month and, although they were a bit pricey, I was desperate for something to work.
When I joined Live’ly in May, I felt very sceptical, but the nutritionists made me feel welcome. I began with a body composition analysis, which is where you find out how much fat you’re carrying and how much you need to lose. I hated this as I finally found out I really was as big as I felt. I didn’t realise I weighed almost 14 stone until that moment. In shock, I knew I would have to lose three stone if I was to get back into my old size 10 dresses.
I chose the gourmet seven days a week package on a monthly basis, so that I could quit if I felt it wasn’t going to work. Live’ly brought me my meals at the beginning of each day and the whole box never amounted to more than 1,300 calories. I loved opening the green bag and looking inside to see what treats awaited me! The food would range from yogurt and cereal for breakfast, beef stews and sweet and sour for lunch and a salad for dinner. I was pleased to discover that I never felt hungry come the evenings – largely thanks to the great snacks you’d get to eat in the day. My fave was the cheesecake! I began to feel a lot better about myself and, after just a month, I’d already lost a few kilos and felt more energetic, and this was all the motivation I needed to continue. It was hard sometimes, like when I had to attend a summer wedding and the cake was calling me. There was also a period when my son suffered from meningitis, which almost threw me back into the biscuit tin, but I stayed strong. Thankfully, he got better and we both pulled through.
By September, I was a stone lighter and able to start exercising again. I took up a Kettlebell class, which is like weights, but I found it more effective. Combining this with the diet really made all the difference. I could actually see the shape of my body change.
By December, I reached my desired weight of 10 stone and a size 10 dress size. To celebrate, I bought a new dress for a party – everyone complimented me and I felt fantastic.
Beginning 2011 as the new, slim, improved me is wonderful. I’m still on the Live’ly programme as I’d like to lose a few more pounds, but I think I’ll be able to go it alone by February as I now know the key is moderation. I spent Christmas in Texas and I’ll admit I had one or two lapses, but I don’t beat myself up about it. Best of all, when my husband asks to take me out for dinner now I never refuse, but I might skip dessert!”