Be­hind the photo: My 21st scuba shame

Rosie Horner dived into the wa­ter not re­al­is­ing her size was about to put her at risk

Woman's Own - - Woman’s Own Welcome -

Look­ing back at this snap of me snorkelling, I cringe. The sight of my 21st body is em­bar­rass­ing. It was Au­gust 2013, and I was in the mid­dle of an in­tern­ship with a con­ser­va­tion foun­da­tion in Tener­ife. As a bud­ding marine bi­ol­o­gist, it had been my life­long dream to marvel at the colour­ful corals of the At­lantic sea.

Yet by the time I’d gone to univer­sity two years ear­lier, I was a size 22. At 5ft 5in, I knew I was far too big for my height but I loved ev­ery­thing about stu­dent life from gorg­ing on piz­zas and cheesy chips, to down­ing su­gary mo­ji­tos. My weight spi­ralled and by the time I landed my in­tern­ship, I was a size 26. It never oc­curred to me my weight would be an is­sue – un­til we did our first dive.

Af­ter a morn­ing of snorkelling and tak­ing pic­tures, I couldn't wait to go deeper. But as I strug­gled to yank on my huge wet­suit for the dive, I was sud­denly much more aware of my vast size. Luck­ily, when I hit the wa­ter my wor­ries evap­o­rated. The weight­less­ness was eu­phoric.

Fac­ing the truth

As our group sunk down into the wa­tery depths, a ship­wreck emerged. It was cov­ered in mul­ti­coloured co­ral. I was so en­tranced I for­got to check my oxy­gen level.

It wasn’t un­til we were 20 min­utes into the dive that I looked. See­ing the nee­dle in the red ‘dan­ger’ zone, panic struck me. Tap­ping my in­struc­tor on his shoul­der, I ges­tured to the gauge hys­ter­i­cally. In a mo­ment he was haul­ing me to the sur­face.

Break­ing the wa­ter line, my ears thud­ded with pain from the pres­sure change. ‘I thought you said we had an hour’s worth of oxy­gen in our tanks,’ I panted con­fus­edly.

‘You use more oxy­gen when you’re big­ger,’ he said sheep­ishly. Mor­ti­fied, I scram­bled back onto the boat to wait for the oth­ers. Al­though ev­ery­one told me not to feel em­bar­rassed, I couldn’t shake my shame. Then flick­ing through the pho­tos on my un­der­wa­ter dig­i­tal cam­era that night, I came across that aw­ful snorkelling pic­ture. That’s when I vowed to change my ways.

Back in the UK, I spent the next three years try­ing to shift the weight but no diet worked.

Then in Jan­uary 2016, I was ac­cepted to study a PHD in Marine Bi­ol­ogy and was given a free gym mem­ber­ship.

I’d read that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. So ev­ery day for the next month I com­mit­ted to do­ing 15 min­utes in the gym. The first time I went

I thought I was go­ing to pass out on the cross trainer but it did get eas­ier. I over­hauled my eat­ing habits too, so that I was liv­ing on soups, sal­ads and fruit. In four weeks I’d lost a stone. I was so proud I doc­u­mented my progress on In­sta­gram. By Au­gust 2016 I weighed 16st, and still the pounds were van­ish­ing. Now I can fit into a size 14 wet­suit. At 13st, I’m hap­pier and health­ier than I ever was. In fact, I’ve just re­turned from a three-week div­ing course near Bali, with a new set of snaps to re­place that aw­ful snorkelling one. I’m hop­ing to get a job at a con­ser­va­tion foun­da­tion in Hon­duras next year and I’ll spend my days div­ing. Los­ing weight has not only made me feel so much bet­ter but opened up a whole new world.

Fol­low Rosie on In­sta­gram @rosiesweight­lossjour­ney

Rosie wa des­per­ate to mak a change afte see­ing this phot

Rosie over­hauled her diet and started ex­er­cis­ing

Be­fore the diet swap

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