A 21.7lb carer lost 10th place after promising New Year’s 2018 that she would overhaul her lifestyle in time for her 40th birthday.
Rachal Collins, who is 5ft 9 inches tall, went from a size 24 to a size 14 and now weighs 11.7 pounds after prioritizing her health.
Amazingly, Rachal, a trained beautician who is now the full-time carer of her mother Carol, 72, with whom she lives in Sandhurst, Berkshire, says she only planned to lose a few stones.
She explained, “When I was 38, I looked in the mirror and said to myself, ‘I’m not going to look like this when I’m 40.'”
She added: “In the second week of January 2018 I found and joined a local WW weight loss group down the road.
“When I started, my goal was just to lose 2nd place, which I thought would take forever, so it never occurred to me that I would lose an entire person’s weight!”
Rachal explains that her emotional eating got worse because of family issues.
In 2012, she became her mother’s caregiver when she was hit by a car crossing the street, leaving her with a serious back injury and other mobility issues.
Then, in 2013, Rahal’s father Daniel, a landscape gardener, died at the age of 59 from kidney cancer — compounding her unhealthy relationship with food.
She said, “I come from a family where we are built tall on both my mother’s side and my father’s side.”
She added, “I had lost weight before but it went up and down and then after my mom’s accident and my dad’s death it just went downhill because I started eating even more.”
Being tall, Rachal says she looked older growing up and was bullied in secondary school because of her height.
“When I was 11, I looked 15, so I got teased at school,” she said.
She added: “I had a friendship group where some of us were bigger and although I stood up to the bullies, when I got home I just ate because people were saying things that hurt my feelings. like “fat”.
“We lived across the street from a store so it was easy to buy a snack and when I was younger my dad’s mom lived across the street so I would go there after school and raid her cookie jar and then come home and do the same my house.”
By the time she hit her late teens and early 20s, Rachal says, she took a firm stance on her weight and said to herself, ‘It’s my life and my body and I can do whatever I want.'”
Looking back, she wishes she had gotten her weight under control back then.
She said: “It’s so much harder to lose the weight and keep it off as you get older. Your body changes, so I really wish I had started in my twenties.”
Rachal, who is single, also had some serious health reasons for losing weight – with middle age and the impending risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
She said: “I haven’t found the right person to partner with yet, but if someone comes along I’d love to be in a relationship.
“But losing weight was never about that. I did it for me and for my health.”
Still, she loves looking and feeling so much better and being able to buy clothes from the front of the rails instead of going to the plus size dresses tucked away in the back.
She said: “I kept some of my larger tops in a box under my bed.
“I take them out sometimes and look at them to remind myself I’ll never go back to that weight.”
At the beginning of her journey, Rachal was very strict with her diet and worked with the WW point system.
Initially, she received a daily allowance of 43 points.
But the allowances dropped as she continued to lose weight – eventually dropping to 23 points a day, part of which she used on a chocolate bar or a glass of wine at the weekend.
“Once the weight comes off, nutrition becomes more about healthy eating and portion sizes,” she said.
She added: “On birthdays and Christmas I detach the points entirely and then come back to them after the holidays.
“I weigh myself weekly, either at home or in the weight group, and once I’ve gained a few pounds, I work hard to shed them.
“So what I would say to anyone thinking about losing weight this year is to try and not give up.”
She added: “If you’re having a bad day, don’t make it a bad week or a bad month. You’re only human, so once you’re in the right mindset, you should go back to your diet.
“If you’re going through a crisis, don’t try to go on a diet. Eat whatever you want, but once you’ve calmed down, return to healthy eating so you can lose weight.
When she first joined her local WW group, she was afraid of being judged and now feels like a steadfast one.
She said: “I soon realized I was being silly because we were all there for the same reason, which is to lose weight.
“It doesn’t matter whether someone just wants to lose one stone or 10, we all want the same thing, so we are all the same.”
Looking back over the past four years – with the pandemic meaning she’s had to monitor her own weight loss from home as lockdowns halted her WW meetings – Rachal says she’s proud of her accomplishment.
And her advice for anyone else looking to get in shape is simple.
She said, “Believe in yourself. Never give up and keep your head high because you can do this.”
For information on WW’s newest program, PersonalPoints, where no two plans are alike, visit: weightwatchers.com/de
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