After taking her health into her own hands, Dubliner Anne Hackett reveals how she lost over 5st and saw her mobility and daily life transform
I had previously had back surgery nearly 20 years ago. I knew I was slow, I couldn’t walk very far and I was restricted in what I could do, in terms of my mobility. My weight was always at the back of my mind.
I walked through the doors of my local Slimming World group in Blackrock last May and weighed in at 19st 10lbs. I was a size 26, so I knew what I weighed, but I just didn’t admit it to myself.
I had a few baggy tops and pull-up jeans — aside from these, I genuinely had no clothes. I hid for years in photos, and shopping was so depressing. I wouldn’t go to places and I avoided social events.
For 20 years I was just getting by. I truly wasn’t living the best life I could.
Start weight: 19st 10bs Current weight: 14st Total loss: 5st 10lbs Consultant: Aishling Harbott
One Tuesday I bit the bullet and decided it was now or never. I was terrified of walking through the doors of Slimming World: I was convinced that I would be the biggest person there. It was also hard because I finally had to admit that I needed help.
I lost 6lbs during the first week, but it really hit me when I went on holiday in July — I was fitter and able to do more. And then I realised I needed new clothes. My whole outlook on life began to change.
When I went to Lisbon in October, I could move on the airplane seat, the handrails weren’t digging into me and there were no marks on my side when I got off the airplane. That was absolutely huge for me.
Now I don’t have to look for specific car park spaces — I can just drive into any spot now and still have room to get out of the car. Those are the simple things that can change your life.
In seven months I have lost close to 6st. I am not saying it is easy, but I am eating tasty, nutritious, normal food. I was eating all this food and thinking, how is this going to work? But it does. Someone at work stopped me recently and asked me: “Did you get the surgery?”
There are no food groups that are cut out so you can eat whatever you want. Before joining Slimming World, I was doing a lot of mindless eating and I just wasn’t aware of that.
I plan my meals now and shop with a shopping list. I prepare my breakfast and lunch in the evening for the next day.
I really love making overnight oats for breakfast: porridge oats, blueberries and then I grate an apple and add fat-free yoghurt.
I love the slow cooker and I make lovely curry recipes and bolognese. My daughter Roisin, 13, and my husband Rob are fully on board with the plan too.
I’ve gone from a size 26 to a size 14-16. It is phenomenal to be able to go into high street shops now and buy whatever I want.
There are some people I have met that do not recognise me and they are completely gobsmacked by my appearance.
One thing I will say is that the group is so important: you get so many tips, but if you are having a bad week, people really lift you up and support you. It’s an amazing social setting.
Slimming World has also had an incredible impact on my job. I am a cardiology nurse and I was telling people how to look after their heart even though I was overweight myself. I love my job and I am no longer self-conscious when I am talking to patients. Every aspect of my life has changed.
It’s for life and it is not a fad. There is no judgement — people just want to see you succeed, and you really can succeed with the plan.
INTERVIEWS & STYLING: DENISE SMITH PHOTOGRAPHY: EVAN DOHERTY FASHION: ICLOTHING.COM HAIR: QUEEN HAIR MAKEUP: DONNA MORRIS @DONNAMORRISMUA