WHEN Charmaine White from Exeter, who used to weigh 19st and wear a dress size 24/26, looked in the mirror she saw a “fat, frumpy and unfit” 50 year old.
But after three decades of failed dieting Charmaine, now 52, has succeeded in shedding a staggering 8st 7lb.
She now weighs just 10st 7lb and wears a dress size 12/14. Her slimming success has won her a Rosemary Conley Diet & Fitness Magazine Over 50s Slimmer of the Year 2013 Award and she is one of 12 Slimmers of the Year 2013 who have lost a staggering 102 stone between them.
Charmaine received her award – along with £1,000 cash – at a glittering ceremony held at the London Marriott County Hall Hotel.
Leaving home to train as a nurse in her late teens led to a lifetime of overeating for Charmaine, who had previously tried every diet going.
She said: “I seemed to eat all day long, and was a real grazer. I was training to be a nurse and went for food that was cheap and filling, and while I tried loads of different diets, whenever I lost any weight the pounds piled back on again.”
Years of being an emotional eater, when Charmaine turned to food in every situation from stress and boredom to unhappiness, took their toll on her figure and after having her three children, she put on a couple of stone without ever being able to shift the weight.
“My portion sizes were huge and I never thought about the fat content of what I was eating,” she said.
“I had IBS, which was painful, my joints were starting to ache, I had a bad back and my blood pressure was going up.”
As a health professional, Charmaine’s weight-related health problems were becoming increasingly embarrassing for her. “I felt self-conscious giving advice to my patients when I clearly wasn’t following a healthy lifestyle myself. I wasn’t exactly a good role model,” says Charmaine.
When she turned 50 in September 2010, Charmaine’s mother died.
“Losing a parent makes you stop and think of your own mortality, and as 50 is a real milestone I knew I had to change the way I lived,” she said.
But it wasn’t until the following January, when her son announced he was getting married in June that year, that Charmaine had the kick-start she needed.
“It gave me the focus I needed to lose weight as I didn’t want to look fat and frumpy in the wedding photos,” she said.
Charmaine chose Rosemary Conley Diet & Fitness Clubs to help her and when her son’s wedding arrived, Charmaine had shed four and a half stone to wear a dress size 18-20.
She said: “I felt fantastic on the wedding day, and although I knew I had more weigh to lose, I felt happy, relaxed and enjoyed the positive comments I received.”
Charmaine upped her exercise to two classes a week and started swimming and walking to work every day. In 18 months, she shed a total of eight and a half stone and healthy eating and exercising have now become a way of life for her.
“I love the way I am now,” she said. “I have no more painful joints or IBS. Now I’m in control of my eating, I feel in control of all aspects of my life.”