'I feel so much happier, healthier and confident' - mum tells of winning national Slimming World award
PUBLISHED: 12:32 24 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:36 24 October 2018
A Suffolk hairdresser and mother is celebrating after being recognised with a national award for her healthy lifestyle.
Katie Clark, 46, was named Slimming World’s Diamond Member of the Year 2018 after maintaining her 5st 2lbs weight loss for almost seven years.
The title recognises those who have successfully maintained their target weight.
Ms Clark - who lives with her partner Lee, 42, and daughter Beau, nine - went from a size 20 to a size 12 over the course of just under two years after finding that her weight had begun to impact on her day-to-day life.
Her turning point came when she could not play at the park with her young daughter after getting stuck going down a slide.
Ms Clark said: “Beau was about 18 months old, so too young to go down the slide alone. I climbed up with her and sat her on my knee, but when I went to push myself off, I realised we weren’t moving.
“I was wedged so tightly in the slide that I had to push us down to the bottom with my spare arm.
“I knew then something had to change.”
Ms Clark decided to lose weight and become healthier.
She joined her local Slimming World group in Mildenhall, having previously been a member in the 1990s.
Ms Clark said: “The first time I joined Slimming World was because I was fed up of being the ‘fat one’ in my group of friends.
“I felt really uncomfortable on our girly holiday and I knew it was my weight that was making me miserable.
“I decided the next time we all went on holiday I’d be feeling happy and confident.
“I lost 4st 11lbs and felt amazing – I was even the first-ever member to appear on the front cover of Slimming World Magazine in 1998!
“After a while though I started to think I could go it alone.
“Soon after I met my partner Lee, and we got comfortable with lots of meals out and cosy nights in. A few years later I had my daughter Beau and my weight just went up and up.
“Before I knew it, I was heavier than ever.”
“The slide incident was bad enough, and then Lee’s cousin announced she was getting married in Cyprus and that we were all invited.
“Instead of being excited, I was filled with dread about going away at the size I was. I feared it would be like that first holiday all over again.”
Having returned to the group in Mildenhall, Ms Clark achieved her target weight in under two years and enjoyed support from her fellow members.
“A year later I reached my target weight,” she said.
“By the time the wedding came around I was feeling fantastic and enjoyed the day without worrying about my weight.
“Best of all, I knew that my size would never stop me having fun with my little girl again. We had a great time playing in the pool and making the most of our holiday, rather than hiding away.”
Losing the weight also helped Ms Clark to fall back in love with exercising, which has benefited her in a number of ways.
“Another amazing thing I developed as a result of my weight loss this time around was a love of fitness,” she said.
“I still exercised when I was heavier, yet losing weight gave me a whole new zest for it.
“These days I have so much energy that I need a way to burn it all off! A few years ago I even started my own Hour of Power exercise classes, which I absolutely love.
“I now feel so much happier, healthier and more confident.”