Real life: How los­ing 10st turned back time!

Tara Ka­vanagh hoped that los­ing weight would make her health­ier. But her trans­for­ma­tion was even more spec­tac­u­lar than she imag­ined

Now (UK) - - COME ON IN... -

Look­ing back at old pho­tos, it’s easy to pick on your­self. Most peo­ple would pick out one or two things they’d change, but I was spoilt for choice. At the age of 22, I should have been out and hav­ing fun with friends. In­stead, I was slumped in a chair, hid­ing from the world.

Grow­ing up, I’d al­ways been big, com­ing from a fam­ily of fast-food lovers. Most peo­ple rem­i­nisce about their mum’s Sun­day roasts, but my favourite was a mac­a­roni cheese ready meal, to which my mum added mince and cooked up in the fry­ing pan!

It’s not like we never ate fruit and veg. But given the choice be­tween a healthy stir fry or a take­away? No com­pe­ti­tion.

It wasn’t un­til I was eight and a girl in class called me ‘fat’ that I re­alised how big I was. By the time I was 13, I was wear­ing a size 14 and had to shop in the women’s sec­tion of the depart­ment store for baggy jeans and sweaters that made me look more like a par­ent than a teen.

My only hobby was per­form­ing with the school choir. But even that was dif­fi­cult – we all had to wear match­ing, cus­tom-made dresses. I dreaded go­ing to the fit­tings with the seam­stress strug­gling to pull the tape around my paunch. I was ter­ri­fied that class­mates would dis­cover my mea­sure­ments.

Mum en­cour­aged us to try di­ets. But even she couldn’t stick them out. When the week­end came around, we fell back into old habits.

Red-faced ex­haus­tion

It wasn’t un­til I was 17 and 17st, and met my first se­ri­ous boyfriend on­line, that I started to feel happy. I sent him a pic­ture of my­self and thought I’d never hear back. But when he asked me out on a date, I was ec­static.

We even­tu­ally mar­ried in Novem­ber 2000, and just over a year later our first daugh­ter ar­rived, fol­lowed by an­other lit­tle girl in March 2004. My weight had rock­eted to 20st as I spent most of my days sat in the house, eat­ing and watch­ing TV.

I didn’t work, and even walk­ing around the house left me out of breath. When I did go out, I was so big I could barely bend over to tie up my own shoelaces, let alone pick up my girls when they tripped over in the park.

I stopped styling my hair and putting on make-up be­cause I was too scared to look in the mir­ror. Fam­ily pho­tos were my idea of hell. But one day, at a fam­ily meal, my hus­band man­aged to catch me slumped in my favourite green arm­chair.

Look­ing back through the prints a few weeks later, I was hor­ri­fied. Dressed in a baggy man’s T-shirt and jog­gers with my mousy hair scraped back, I looked two decades older than my 22 years.

Star­ing at the aw­ful photo, I broke down in tears. ‘How could I have let my­self get into this state?’ I thought.

Pac­ing up­stairs, I took a deep breath and stepped on the bath­room scales. The marker shot to 22st. I was dumb­founded. ‘That’s it,’ I said. ‘Some­thing needs to change.’

I read up on­line about nu­tri­tion and fit­ness. I re­alised if I was go­ing to do this se­ri­ously, I had to over­haul my en­tire life­style.

That meant no more pro­cessed meals, and no fast food. I chucked out all the boxes in my pantry, and re­placed them with fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles.

I de­vised a strict, new rou­tine of three daily work­outs and a clean-eat­ing regime. When I told my hus­band I wanted to buy a tread­mill, he looked du­bi­ous. ‘Are you sure you’re go­ing to stick this out?’ he asked. I was de­ter­mined and when I lost 15lb in just one week, I was in­spired.

New regime

By the end of May 2005, just two months into my new regime, I’d al­ready burnt out the mo­tor on the tread­mill. The man­u­fac­turer sent a new one. But just a month later that mo­tor burnt out too, fol­lowed by a third in July 2005.

‘Three mo­tors in three months!’ laughed my hus­band. ‘How much have you been us­ing it?’ When I told him be­tween two to four hours ev­ery day, he was amazed. ‘Maybe it’s time we in­vested in a proper, gym-grade one then,’ he said.

By Septem­ber 2005, I’d lost six stone. Slip­ping into my teenage jeans in front of the mir­ror, the sense of achieve­ment was in­cred­i­ble. That Christ­mas, my fam­ily mar­velled at my slinky new size 12 fig­ure. With my nipped-in waist and toned pins on show, I felt en­cour­aged to make an ef­fort with my make-up and hair. I cared about look­ing nice again.

Fi­nally, by May 2006, I’d lost 10 stone in just over a year. Go­ing to din­ner with my old rock choir friends, they were amazed by my trans­for­ma­tion. Wear­ing an or­ange maxi that skimmed over my hips and with my new hair­style, I felt a mil­lion dol­lars.

When my third baby was born in De­cem­ber 2008, I worked dou­bly hard to get back into shape. I’ve stayed a trim size 10 ever since.

I fi­nally have the looks and en­ergy of a woman in her 20s. Just as well – with three lit­tle ones to chase around. I need to be quick on my feet!

Although I al­ways knew los­ing weight would be good for me, I could never an­tic­i­pated just how much it would change my life.

In Au­gust 2017, I qual­i­fied as a yoga in­struc­tor and

I’m a health coach too, help­ing other peo­ple to lose weight. Now when

I look back on old pho­tos,

I don’t cringe. In­stead, it ce­ments my de­ter­mi­na­tion to never be­come the woman I used to be.

‘Star­ing at my aw­ful photo, I cried’

Ex­er­cis­ing so of­ten meant Tara wore out three tread­mills in three months!

A fan of fast food

Tara: A size 10 since the birth of her third baby

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.