Name: Emma McGowan
Height: 5ft 3
Start size: 14/16
Current size: 8
Australia should have been the trip of a lifetime for Emma McGowan, instead it gave her the wakeup call she needed – to no longer be the girl left on the bench.
“I have never been happy with my weight. Throughout school and at extracurricular activities I was always one of the ‘bigger girls’. I remember at PE we would have dance rehearsals in December for the Christmas Dance. A boy never chose me to be his partner. Not once. Unless I was the last one on the bench and he was forced to by the teacher. This didn’t happen often as there were more girls than boys in the class so I was mostly left sitting on the bench – sometimes alone. I dreaded rehearsals to the point I felt sick. Every year at the dance I was left devastated when I would choose a nice dress and feel good in it, just to be left on the bench watching everyone else have fun. There were also a few boys in my class who made fun of my weight throughout school. One time in French class our teacher was telling us the word for ‘fat’ and one of the boys turned round in his chair and stared at me. School was an upsetting time for me and it knocked my confidence massively.
“When I left school there wasn’t as much emphasis on my weight. I was no longer surrounded by naturally petite girls and immature boys. I made friends who were of similar build to me so I began to feel a bit better about myself – although I was still very conscious about my weight.
“In March 2014 I made the decision to leave my life here and start a new life in Australia. I booked a flight for November of that year and was excited about all of the adventures that would be in store.
“After my birthday in May I decided I wanted to try and lose a stone or two to be beach body ready for my new life down under. Moving to Australia was my motivation to lose weight and be confident for my new start. I tried various different diets in the hope of looking good and being body confident. I found it hard to stick to any of the diets I tried and with disappointing results I began to get demotivated. I was constantly hungry and not losing much weight so what was the point? Every time I weighed myself and I had lost nothing or just 1lb I was frustrated. I had worked hard all week for nothing. I became stressed and turned to food for comfort – Australia was fast approaching and I wasn’t ready.
“I began binge eating. Every day I would go to the shop and buy myself two king-size chocolate bars, a sharing bag of crisps and other snacks for after my dinner. This soon became a habit and before I knew it I had gained almost 3 stone in just a few months.
“In November I moved to Australia. This was meant to be the happiest time of my life but my weight made my mood and self-esteem so low that I couldn’t enjoy this once in a life time experience. Rather than looking forward to going to the beach, surfing, snorkelling etc. I dreaded it and sometimes didn’t take part. I missed out on a lot of good memories.
“For my 23rd birthday I booked a skydive over the Great Barrier Reef. It was a very cloudy day so I was hoping it would be cancelled. When I got there I was told I would be weighed to make sure I was under the weight limit for the skydive. I was mortified. What if I was too heavy? Everyone in the room would know and I would be left sitting on the bench just like I was at school. The clouds eventually cleared and they decided we would be ok to do the skydive. They weighed me and surprisingly I was under the limit. This was a massive relief and a big wake up call. The shock of missing out on my birthday skydive and being publically humiliated was the kick I needed to sort my weight once and for all.
“I came home and decided enough is enough. I had heard amazing reviews about Cambridge Weight Plan so I was determined to give the Plan a try.
“I started on Step 2 and I saw results instantly. After my first week I had lost 8lbs. This was exactly the motivation I needed to keep me going on my weight-loss journey. I had amazing support and guidance from my consultant and without this I wouldn’t be maintaining my 4 stone loss today.
“People can’t believe how different I look now and are even more impressed when they see before and after photos side by side. Even I still can’t believe the difference, it’s like two different people. I was told by a colleague a few months ago that seeing my transformation has motivated her to lose weight. Another colleague has started her own Cambridge Weight Plan journey as she was so motivated by my success. My friends have commented that this is the best I’ve ever looked and the happiest I’ve ever been. My family are very proud that I managed to stick to the Plan and reach my goal and have also noticed I am much happier within myself.
“Cambridge Weight Plan has done so much more for me than weight loss. My whole attitude has changed and I have a much more positive outlook. I am now able to enjoy life. I wear what I want and feel confident. My self-esteem is back so I look forward to social nights out rather than hiding. I enjoy meals out without going home to binge eat afterwards. I have the confidence to wear a bikini on holiday and not hide in the shade fully covered. I take part in activities without feeling self-conscious. Yes, I still have bad days where I want to eat my emotions, but thanks to CWP I now know how to overcome this”.