Links from Episode 4 – Shannon
Shannon on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/sw_shabba/
Welcome to Episode Four of the secrets of weight loss podcast all about how real people lose weight successfully and keep it off. Forget the celebrities trying to endorse things and sell your stuff. Forget all the personal trainers who looks super fit, but have never actually been fat and tried to lose weight. This is about how real people have done it successfully. And if you haven’t found a way of losing weight that works for you yet, hang in there. Make sure you subscribe because there will be something that works. No diet or weight loss programme works perfectly for everyone. You just have to listen to the previous episodes to to work that out. There was Beth in Episode One who tried many different things and then she had a lightbulb moment and everything just kind of fitted into place. There is Nancy in Episode Three who had weight loss surgery. Maybe you’ve thought about that, maybe you want to find out more, have a listen. This week’s episode is one that intrigued me. It was all about a way of losing weight that I’ve never experienced. And I’ve only ever heard bad things about it. So I wanted to talk to someone who had had a positive experience. This week I’m chatting to Shannon, a single mum from Doncaster, who works for the NHS. She got so big, she was afraid to go out with her son for the day for fear of what others might think of her being the big mum. That wasn’t the point that she thought right, I need to lose weight. It was a changing room situation. I’ll let her tell you more about that. The views and opinions expressed by Shannon are from her own experience, and not those of the secrets of weight loss podcast, or myself, Roberto, you can get in touch with me anytime on Facebook or Instagram. Just search Roberto presents, and you’ll be able to find a fully transcribed version of this episode on our website. Thesecretsofweightloss.com. Without further ado, let’s meet Shannon. So Shannon, let’s start as we always do with the figures. What did you weigh your heaviest?
So I started my journey at 15 Stone 6.
Okay, and what do you weigh now?
I weigh 10 Stone one and a half pounds at the moment.
That one and a half’s very important. That’s incredible. That’s really impressive. Like just over five stone weight loss.
Yes. So my target is 10 stone and I’m fluctuating
and I bet it’s that last little bit of that’s the hardest to get off right
It is yeah I did manage to get to nine stone six on Slimming World. But it was the summer so suppose like hot weather salads and things like that, did help me get down to that weight and walking a lot more. But obviously when the winter, mum she just wants to have that nice warm comfort foods. I’m guessing that’s where
also this lockdown hasn’t really helped with the weight. Let’s be honest for a lot of people.
I was surprised actually. Like I said, I did get to target during the lockdown in the summer. But these winter months have hit a lot harder.
I think we’re all feeling that, aren’t we? But you lost five stone just over five stone, which is incredible. Do you know what that is? In dress sizes?
Yes. So I started at a size 20. And this is the main reason why I started my journey. I did go to Matalan and I struggle to get into a size 20 trouser and I refused to go bigger than a size 20. So I’m now a comfortable 10. But I can get in size 8 top wise
and how good does that feel?
It’s absolutely amazing. And I know in your other podcast it is unbelievable like what people have said, when you pull things out and you’re like God, do I really fit into that!
Great feeling right.
So how long did it take you to lose all this weight then this five stone, over five.
So it took me a year and three months. But like you said, the last hurdle is so hard. So at first the weight was dropping off me really fast. And to keep yourself motivated is the hardest part when it does slow down. So I’m glad I did it. I’m glad I stayed and got to the end of my journey.
So let’s go back to the beginning of your journey. It was when you were in Matalan that you had that moment, what actually happened?
Like I said I refused to get to a size 22 just thinking at that age at age of 21 being bigger than a size 20. I just couldn’t comprehend. And I did have a fear of like when I went out people looking at me, I’ve always had anxiety of comparing myself to others. So being bigger than that.
It’s just not a good feeling. Now how did you get big to start with them.
So I did put all my weight on through having my little boy. My little boy was born premature at 27 weeks and he only weighed one pound eight. So we did have a form of hospital stay which as you can imagine, it was, where put your money in what are they called!?
vending machines! That’s it!
vending machine food, convenience, food, microwave meals, takeaways just to get me through the days at the hospital. But obviously after that, because of how I let myself go, I just refuse to go out. So when I did have Ruben I was just so embarrassed to be his mom and go outside and just isolated myself and I feel sorry because I have not got any like childhood memories of being with Ruben when he was small because I literally as soon as a camera whipped out I was like no I don’t want a photo taken. So I’ve got no before photos of me and Ruben and it is sad when I look back think how selfish is it that you can’t even have a photo with your own child but because of my mindset how I was and I was so embarrassed to be me. I just couldn’t comprehend looking at myself in a photo
if you’re not feeling it you just don’t want it done do you.
No, definitely not. No.
So how is Ruben now by the way?
Yeah, he’s fine completely fine. He’s three and as you can imagine, three’s are little monkeys
I’ve got a 15 month old at the moment and everyone tells me right youre heading up towards the two year old and at two years old it gets to a nightmare.
Yeah, no three’s are even worse believe me.
Oh, great. Thanks, Shannon. Really appreciate that. So prior to having Ruben you were you were thin? You were an average size girl?
No, I was always I’ve always been on the bigger side about 13 Stone before I had Reuben which I don’t think is massive but is big for the age I was but like I said I was just so busy comparing myself to other people and even from a young age when I was 15 I always looked in the mirror and thought God I need to lose weight I need to do something but never had the motivation to stick to it I’d rather just sit and munch a sharing of bar of dairy milk
so what stuff did you try to lose weight then prior to doing what you did?
Yeah, so I’ve done Weight Watchers before and I’ve also done shake diets.
Oh yes. A very good one. not sustainable at all. Not Not at all. No.
So you tried Weight Watchers? What was that? Like?
It was alright. I don’t think it’s bad. It’s more counting calories than it is compared to Slimming World. But I don’t think you get the positive feedback and the motivation you do from attending a Slimming World group than you do Weight Watchers group if that makes sense.
Right okay, I know very little about either of those which is why I’m quite excited about talking to you today finding out all about it and what’s involved and things like that. So how long did you try Weight Watchers for?
it wasn’t very long I was only young so it would have been about three months but like I said I just didn’t you’ve got to have that motivation to do something in the first place. So having that first week a bit of a loss and then you’re just like oh yeah, I’ve lost a bit now and then you go off it so having the mindset to start with is the main beginning of your journey.
Why didn’t you have that mindset back then then was it because you weren’t you weren’t that bothered about how big you are? You’re like yeah, I’m a bit big but it doesn’t really bother me although in the back of your mind you had that anxiety at the same time?
Yeah, it was really strange so like I said, I’ve always been big and I’ve always wanted to lose weight but I’ve just never had the motivation because I was still young and I wanted to enjoy my life. I just didn’t really care and look after the body and what I was intaking until it got like I said until it got to the breaking point where I just couldn’t stand going out anymore.
And the shakes diet that you did that for how long?
About two weeks
I did lose weight on it not much about I’d say about five pounds but it’s not sustainable. And I’m one of them people who are never ever full so I could eat to my heart’s content and not be full
Is that one of the reasons you got big to start with then you reckon you were in hospital? Nothing else to do so I’ll just carry on eating?
Yeah, I just don’t know when to stop and oh my god chocolate literally one square of chocolate and I just can’t. It’s like Cadbury’s fingers as well. Once you have one, you can’t stop.
My wife is exactly the same. She’s like right don’t buy Cadbury fingers. Because if there’s a pack there, I’ve got to eat them. I can’t have one but the whole thing’s gonna go
Do you reckon your anxiety led you to eating more as well? Always comparing yourself with others and maybe emotional eating came into play?
Yeah, definitely. And I wasn’t educated in food. I didn’t know what I was inputting in my body so I’d have a meal and then I’d have like a full tub of Ben and Jerry’s and like I’d go to Gregg’s and I’d have a steak bake as well as one of their big massive baguettes and I still wouldn’t be full. I would happily have another steak bake after I finished all that.
Wow. Clearly you loved your food. Did you always like that when you were getting bigger?
Yes. So it was that a lot of takeaways a lot of fast food. I’ve never never stepped foot in a kitchen before I joined Slimming World and never cooked for myself. So
Yeah. Yeah. Never ever cooked.
And that’s all changed now then because you’ve mentioned it already how you lost your weight was with Slimming World. And I know it can be quite time consuming or the food prep right?
Is yeah, it’s a lot of prep and a lot of planning but it’s worth it to eat good, healthy, nutritious food, that’s going to help you lose weight, it is all worthwhile.
So you tried Weight Watchers and the shakes stuff. What was it like when you went to Slimming World?
Like I said, I’ve got quite I’ve got a bit of anxiety so I did have to join with my mum. So me and my mum walked through them Slimming World doors and it was so daunting, I just felt like the biggest person in the room walking in that everybody was looking at me. And it is scary going to those groups, but I feel like once you’ve stepped foot in there, you can achieve anything. So I went in there, went home and I remember crying to my mum like oh my god, I don’t understand this. It’s so confusing. I don’t know what I’m doing. And I’ve got to group after my first week and I lost five and a half pounds. I’m like, oh my god, how like, I’ve ate like nice food! What is this about!
Five and a half pound in a week?
Yes, five and a half pound in a week.
Wow. That’s incredible.
Yeah, half a stone in two weeks and a stone in four weeks.
Were you doing any exercise?
No, I’ve not done any exercise through the whole journey. I’ve only just started now as I was saying on my story previously, because I feel like I need a healthy balance between being able to eat a bit more lenient. So bit of exercise has been introduced now.
So do you still follow the Slimming World eating plans now? Are you still a member of Slimming World?
Yes, I’m still a member I weigh in every Thursday
Is it going to be part of your life forever more do you think going to the Slimming World meetings?
Erm, I have been thinking about counting calories but I just feel like it’s such hard work putting them into the app and figuring every meal out and things when everything on Slimming World so all you meat all your veg all your fruit is free so you can and your carbs as well so you can eat as much as that as you want and you don’t have to put it in an app or work it all out and work out how many calories you’ve got left for the day it’s just a lot easier doing Slimming World I find
You mentioned some of the food there and things being free we’ll talk more about the food and Slimming World in a second but you have to pay to go to these meetings
You do yeah, so it’s £4.95 but when you are a target member it’s free
And obviously you’re a target member because when you hit your targets. So what happens when you join Slimming World then?
So when you join you have a little discussion and she goes through the book with you (man or woman) goes through all the foods you can eat so you can eat all you meat all lean meat without fat on, your veg your fruit which is classed as speed so the more speed you eat, the quicker your weight loss is going to be and then you can eat all your potatoes all your pasta, rice, so on so you get a healthy extra B which is like your bread or your cereal choice and then you get to healthy extra A’s as well which is your dairy allowance so you could use that on cheese, on milk and things like that.
I’m confused just listening to you there your A’s your B’s your speeds, it sounds really confusing you said counting calories would be hard but I don’t know in my mind I think counting calories would be easier than that that. Is it quite easy to understand?
Once you’ve got your head round it is easy and it’s knowing what is your healthy extra B and what is your A and then you’ve got your sins so like your chocolate and your crisps and things like that you have to sin and you get 15 sins a day so if I was to eat I think a Freddo’s like four sins I take that off my daily allowance but I could eat as much carbs as much speed protein as I like
So speed is like your lettuce your tomatoes your it’s a consistency between fruit and veg. So the more speed you eat, they always say you need to aim for 1/3 of your plate filled with speed. So just literally all salad stuff basically.
Okay, so you get these A’s the B’s the speeds
and sins, yes.
Do you think you’ve been educated in what food to eat? With all these things?
I feel like Slimming World is like a calorie counting diary for someone who is beginning to look into losing weight. So I think it’s a lot easier than calorie counting. And I think a few people will agree with me. It puts everything into a balanced diet of what you’re allowed and what you’re not allowed
Do they talk about calories when they’re talking about food or it’s all about your A’s, B’s?
No we don’t go into calories or things like that, which is why I’ve tried I’ve drifted a bit from Slimming World and I am looking into calorie counting because the cereal bars called hi fi bars and around 70 calories each so your allow two of them a day as your healthy extra B. So 140 calories, but if you’ve got a bread bun which was 140 calories that would not classed as your healthy extra B so to me that well it’s not different which before I would of like oh god no don’t have that bread bun it’s not on plan it’s not fixed. But I like said I am trying to be a bit more lenient with my food and take calories into consideration but I think without the help of Slimming World putting food in perspective at the beginning I wouldn’t have been even looked at calories so
It’s been a good starting point for you not knowing anything about food and what’s good and bad. It has given you an education kind of thing?
It has educate. Yeah, definitely educated me.
And what about the meetings then because I’ve heard really quite awful things about these meetings . And how intimidating they can be? Oh, you’ve heard some of the other podcasts?
Yes, I have. Yeah.
Yeah. How intimidating they can be. And what what’s it really like?
So I’ve always had a really positive experience with my Slimming World group and my consultant is absolutely amazing. And I think it all boils down to the consultant and how she’s educating you how she’s feeding back not putting you on the spot, not making you feel down. So it is a lot to do with the consultant. And I think for some consultants, it is a money game. But for others, they do put the care and the love into well they’re clients basically aren’t they so they’re putting the money and the time in so they’ll text you through the week, ‘how are you?’, they’ll send you little notifications, little messages to see how you’re doing and how you getting on, which I think when you are beginning, that’s what counts and the achieve the sense of achievement you get from Slimming World. I know a lot of people, have seen this as a negative where someone is getting slimmer of the week every week, and it might be like, oh, I’ll never get that. But you do get praised for every pound every half a pound, you lose. So, to me, it’s just like being in school, you can’t win everything. But if you’re doing better than you was that all boils down to you as a person and giving yourself like recognition for losing weight. But yeah, the certificates and things just keep you going. And I feel like concentrating on the main goal at the end is really difficult and Slimming World helps you focus on the little ones in between. So you get a certificate for every half a stone you lose. So you get to focus on like a bit of your journey rather than the big thing. And then eventually, like mine flew by because I’m like ‘god I need to get to my three and a half stone’ ‘now I need to get to my four stone’
Those certificates helps you keep on going and it gave you something else to aim for.
Yeah, 100%. So I’ve got them all displayed on a big wall where I’ve won Miss Slinky, Woman of the Year. I’ve got slimmer of the week, slimmer of the month. And then I’ve got all my stone awards as well. And it’s just so nice to reflect back on how far you’ve come. And I’ve got my before photos on my wall to remind me not to go back to that stage.
I think they’re really important. Before photos, I find those helpful having a photo of what I used to look like and going right ‘no I don’t ever want to look like that again’ or be that size again.
Do you think the certificates and the meetings kept you going? If it wasn’t for them do you think you would have lasted so long in Slimming World?
I’m one of them who needs praise, who needs to feel like I am doing well. So to get them certificates felt like, you get stickers as well. It’s like you’re a big kid, and you’re like, Oh my god, I need another sticker! I need this. I need that. So yeah, I did need the praise I need. I did need the claps to keep me going and keep me motivated. And that’s the best thing about going to group because it’s not only an achievement, it’s what you gain from other people, the recipes, you gain, see, like looking at other people’s journeys even and how far they’ve come. And it’s you look at them at the beginning. And then some of the members who are here now and it’s like oh my they look like completely different person. And if that’s not a sense to keep going, I don’t know what is
When you first join then, do you go there with an idea of how much weight you want to lose? Or do they sit with you and work out a realistic target or what?
Yeah, when you first join, you get you your target weight what you want to be. And then you do get an award when you’ve lost 10% of your body weight as well, which is a is a nice achievement as well. And after you’ve got that then you get I think you get a week free after being on it for five weeks or something like staying there for five weeks.
So you get that side of it from the groups you mentioned earlier on that before going to Slimming World you haven’t stepped foot in a kitchen.
Yes, I was a very very fussy eater before Slimming World. I would literally live off chicken and then chips and my signature meal was beans on toast I could not cook at all and literally now I feel like Gordon Ramsey!
I like it. So what do you get in the form of support from Slimming World, then that’s made you such a brilliant cook, do you get recipes and guides and stuff like that or what?
You do, so in the Slimming World group, they do sell recipe books, their own versions, which tells you the sin values and what’s free what’s speed and things like, they’re like five pounds per book. And they’ve got some really fantastic recipes in and I’ve got one where you literally just need five ingredients for each recipe and as a single mum on your own, you want the cheapest way so that book is absolutely fantastic but
Do you spend a lot of time prepping food then?
I wouldn’t say now, at the beginning I did because I was still learning the ropes and things so I used to plan my meals down what I’m having each week, go to the shop, buy everything and then cook it. The good thing what I’ve learned to do is because I’m on my own, I have loads of leftovers. And I find getting my dinner’s ready ready for work is one of the hardest, you know, variety is key to losing weight having different foods, different meals. So I used to take the leftovers of night, last night’s tea for dinner at work. And I still do that now. So I’m not wasting my weekends prepping hundreds of meals because I couldn’t think of anything worst standing and especially in summer standing in the kitchen for three hours prepping for different meals to stick in my freezer.
You mentioned variety in there. Is there quite a lot of variety or is it the same thing week in week out?
Oh, no, no, I’ve always been strict with myself and always change my meal plan every single week. So I’m not having the same food. I might go back to that meal plan. But yeah, I think variety is key to losing weight.
I like the idea there’s there’s lots of meals, it doesn’t seem very restrictive.
Yeah, that’s the whole point in Slimming World. They say it’s food optimising you should never class it as a diet. And to be honest, I don’t class it as a diet because you can eat exactly eat the same foods what I used to when I was big but cooked by myself and I know what goes in it. So I’ll have like a fakeaway KFC burger and it’ll be all onplan and
Fakeaway KFC burger?
Yeah, so you use dorritos you use your corn flour and things like that. I think it’s like two and a half sins so taking that off your daily allowance of 15 and everything else being free you think God it’s like best thing to real thing really!
I think I need to try a fakeway KFC I like the sound of that. I want to jump back to the meetings quickly. What’s it like when you get weighed in these meetings? Because that happens obviously?
Oh yeah god
I’ve always been strict on myself where I’ve never weighed myself at home and I feel like a lot of people do have a sneaky weigh in which puts them off go to group but yeah the person at the weigh in counter depending on who you get. Theyre like ‘you’ve gained this week, you’ve done this’ but
Oh so you don’t have a public weigh in? I had this vision in my head of a public weigh in in front of everyone!
No one knows your weight no one knows your target weight if you’ve gained they don’t announce it it’s not like oh god Shannon’s put five pounds on this week what you gonna do next week it’s just here’s Shannon she’s lost five and a half pounds and everybody will clap you’ve seen again this week so it’s always positive to start with and then if you have gained and you’re not happy with it, you look into ways of achieving and helping yourself that week which is where you get ideas from the rest of the group, what you’re going to change them things
it sounds also like a little bit of therapy when you go
It is yeah it is therapy and people go around and express how they’re feeling what struggles they’re having that week what’s going on. So I don’t know like it might be the skint weeks so they’re struggling with the shop so we’ll suggest like what they could do what they could eat what where they could shop at to still be on plan and still lose weight.
Have you made new friends through the groups as well?
Oh, definitely loads and loads of new friends.
I just wanna go back to the weighing thing a second you mentioned that you didn’t weigh yourself at home. Are you encouraged not to weigh yourself at home and just weigh in at the meetings?
I think it’s unhealthy weighing yourself every day which is personally why I don’t, you are encouraged not to weigh yourself before weigh in because everybody’s scales are different. So your scales might be saying that you’ve had a three pound loss and then you’ve got to Slimming World and it’s only two so you’ll be disappointed then. So I think just restricting yourself to one weigh in per week is not I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
No you get obsessed otherwise don’t you I used to weigh myself every Monday morning once a week and then leave it to the next week otherwise oh you’d be all over the place because your weight fluctuates
Yeah and that’s exactly what Slimming World is. So I used to go on a thursday night weigh myself on the thursday night that’s it I will not I’ll stay to plan for the rest of the week and after every single weigh in I can say I’ve always had a takeaway as well.
Excuse me! Are takeaways allowed?
They don’t recommend it but I have always always from day one had a takeaway so I’ll weigh myself at seven and get home for about about half past eight and order myself takeaway.
Was that kind of like your guilty pleasure then the one thing that you couldn’t give up whilst doing Slimming World?
Yeah I suppose so yeah, because I think it’s always you’ve got to live your life still. You’ve got to enjoy your food. And after having a week on plan I did fancy Chinese I did fancy a big fat pizza after I got weighed so that’s what I did and I didn’t feel guilty for it because the next day I was back on plan and I was eating the Slimming World food again
Did you go off plan often apart from on a Thursday night?
No, no. So after my first night binge that I felt like happy with that. So then I would it’s not recommended and my consultant didn’t advise it to everyone but after I had my takeaway I did keep my sins lower than the average range to counteract that which in some respectives goes towards calories as well. Because if you think about if you’re having a lot of calories in one night, you don’t want to eat loads of calories for the rest of the week. So that’s why sins and calories are very, very similar. And so yeah, I used to keep my sins between five and eight for the rest of the week. And just so I could have a takeaway each week,
In the guidance that you got about food for Slimming World, did they say don’t have takeaways don’t have this don’t have that, or was everything covered under your A’s, B’s, your sins, all that jazz.
There’s no food off limit with Slimming World. Obviously, when you do go out for meals and things like that, they always tell you to be food optimising and choose the best dish. But I’d say if you if you save your sins, and things like that, and keep your sins low, then it won’t be a massive like a dramatic gain on the scales then, but no they do have the book and all the sin values are in there and on the app as well. So you can, you can always check what meal like they always recommend if you order Chinese you get chicken and black bean sauce. But you know, you want crispy chilli, you want the full works that you want Chow Mein
You really do don’t you. If you’re going to have a Chinese want to go all out, you don’t want to try and do a healthy one do you!
No definitely not!
So you didn’t give up your guilty pleasures then whilst you were doing your Slimming World journey, and if you did have a guilty pleasure, you you then balanced it out?
The only thing I had to give up was chocolate. And I gave that up for the first three months because I just I couldn’t, I didn’t have any self control. I could not control myself when it came to chocolate. And like said one little bar, I just have to demolish the full thing. So I did restrict restrict myself. And it got to the point where I did ease it back into my life. So now it sounds weird now, but I can have one cube one square of chocolate and like that’s enough. I don’t need any more now. Because I’m thinking, Oh, yeah, and you think about the sins like in terms of calories. Think about the sins you think about the calories in the bar .You don’t want to demolish the full thing because you don’t want to gain weight.
You’ve got that self control over chocolate now. That’s brilliant.
Yeah, that that that’s the best part of this journey that I’ve been able to restrict myself.
Good luck is all our say. I think I know the answer to this next question. Your one secret to weight loss then would be Slimming World.
Yes. Yeah, definitely.
And he said at the beginning, you went there with your mum. Did your mum lose weight as well?
My mum did lose weight at first. Yeah. My mum finds it hard to stick to plan cuz she’s older. Losing it is a lot slower when you are older. So she did, she has found it difficult. But she’s on and off plan. She’s on at the minute. I’m here supporting her now in her weight loss journey.
Well, that must be incredible for her to see how far you’ve come.
Oh, yeah, she’s so so proud of me and everything I’ve done. I’m a different person to when I were big and I’m not that person anymore.
You haven’t got your anxiety anymore. You don’t care what other people think?
No, I am not bothered one single bit, I were in a job I didn’t like and managed to get a new job where I feel really comfortable. I’m not embarrassed to go out with my son and have fun I can have my photo taken and it’s weird having my photo taken now because also I’m not so scared of what I’m going to see back but now more come like Is that me? Like the first I remember losing about four stone and my mum took a photo of me and I look back I’m like, Oh my god, I’m actually thin.
crazy feeling, isn’t it? Yeah, is I have this image in my head that I’m still this big guy. But then I see a picture. I’m like, Oh, no, you’re not actually that big anymore. It’s really strange
is very much so. And I feel I’m just happy and content with my body now which I’ve never ever had a feeling of.
I think we’ll end it there because that is just a lovely point to finish on how good you’re feeling after losing all this weight. Thank you for your time today telling me all about Slimming World. It’s been an eye opener for me. And for you sharing your weight loss story with us as well.
No, thank you for inviting me.
If you want to see more of Shannon check out her Instagram page. I mean she’s always posting pictures of her food that looks so tasty like you need some food inspiration. Definitely Have a look. SW underscore shabba is where you’ll find her on Instagram. I’m Roberto, thank you for joining me this week. Make sure you subscribe, and we’ll catch up next week. We’ve got another great inspirational weight loss story for you. Thanks for listening. Find out more the secrets of weight loss .com