‘self-belief got me a job’
michelle Smithies, 25, lives in Greater manchester.
The alarm was blaring as I reached out and hit snooze for the fifth time. After dragging myself out of bed, I grabbed a cola from the fridge in the hope that the sugar would give me an energy boost.
When I arrived at the bank, where I worked as a PA, I slid behind my desk. It was a hot August day in 2015 and despite feeling hot, I wasn't taking off my jacket – nobody was seeing my arms!
If I went clothes shopping, I rarely liked the way I looked in the changing room mirrors. Then one day, I went into River Island to buy my usual pair of size 14 jeans. They didn’t come close to fitting and when the 16s didn’t get over my thighs either, I decided to join Slimming World.
When the consultant, Aimee, told us about the plan, my jaw dropped when I realised I’d still be able to eat curries and pasta dishes, and I soon started cooking everything from scratch
By February 2016, after losing 2st 7lb, I felt ready to start doing some activity. I started pole fitness classes and it took tremendous strength to spin myself around the pole to begin with. Then, after a few classes, I began to find it easier.
By August 2016, I’d lost 3st 7lb and I saw a job advertised for a corporate wear manager, responsible for the uniforms of some 16,000 bank employees across the UK. I felt bold enough to put myself forward.
I got the job, and not only am I confident addressing rooms full of people, I also model new workwear designs – in a size 10 – and I’m happy for anyone to see my arms.