Cringe flight experience helped me shed 13 stone

lost 13st stone

by take-a-break |
Updated on

Setting off on holiday, I was in for a public humiliation. But I vowed to have the last laugh. By Beckie Roberjot, 49

too fat to holiday

I tugged and pulled and I yanked and heaved but it was no good.

No matter how hard I tried, the seat belt wouldn’t stretch over my belly.

I turned to the air stewardess on the plane and quietly asked: ‘Could I have a seat-belt extension please?’

I could feel my cheeks starting to redden, but that was nothing compared with what came next.

When the stewardess came striding back down the aisle, she shouted: ‘Who wanted the seat-belt extender?’

She waved it in the air and everyone turned to look at me.

I blinked back tears as I clipped the belt into place.

I felt so mortified, I didn’t leave my seat for the entire seven-hour flight, not even to go to the loo.

Aged 39, I weighed 28 stone and wore a size 36, but I’d been big all my life.

My mum Lesley and my dad Roy were large too.

I wasn’t happy about it, but I made the best of things and developed a fun-loving personality, earning me the nickname Beckie Bubble.

But it was just a mask.

so fat I banned holidays

Deep down, I wanted to change, but I didn’t know where to start.

I worked as a nurse and I was on my feet for 13 hours a day.

As a result, when I got home I was too tired to cook and instead I relied on takeaway dinners.

One evening, feeling exhausted after a long shift, I ordered two huge pizzas and a double portion of garlic bread.

When the delivery man arrived, I yelled: ‘I’ll get it!’ even though I lived alone. I didn’t want him to think they were both for me.

But it wasn’t until Dad died aged just 60, and Mum passed away three years later from weight-related problems, that I finally did something about my weight.

I joined Slimming World with a group of pals and I was amazed when I lost almost eight stone in just over 12 months.

But as soon as I left, I found myself reverting to my old, unhealthy habits, and the weight piled back on.

I began to believe I’d just always be big.

But then my sister Suzi’s partner popped the question and she said: ‘I’d like you to walk me down the aisle.’

I was touched, but also worried.

I can’t do it looking the way I do, I thought.

But I couldn’t let her down either.

I thought about the embarrassing moment I’d had to ask for the seat-belt extender, and I made a vow.

That will never happen to me again.

So, a couple of weeks later, I found myself outside the door of my local Slimming World group in Bournemouth, eight years on from my first session.

It took me three attempts to pluck up the courage to open it.

But once I was inside, I listened to the consultant Charlotte saying I could eat chicken, potatoes and pasta and still lose weight.

And I knew, this time around, I could do it and stick to it.

When it was my turn to step on to the scales, I burst into tears when the dial showed 26st 9lb.

But Charlotte hugged me and said: ‘I totally believe in you — you can do this!’

And I believed I could.

At the same time, I was starting a new relationship with a man called Shane who I’d met on a dating website.

He was so kind and supportive, and that spurred me on.

I went to the group every week and overhauled my lifestyle.

There were still 350 foods I could eat, but the message was really about filling up on the everyday foods I loved and keeping it varied.

Shane loved the meals I was cooking, and together we both started slimming down.

We couldn’t believe how much we were changing.

‘I find myself craving veg now!’ I said to him.

After dropping a stone in just three weeks, the pounds kept falling off.

By the time Suzi’s hen do in Greece rolled around, a year on, I’d lost more than seven stone.

And I didn’t need any seat-belt extenders!

A week later, the big day arrived.

‘You look amazing,’ I said to Suzi.

‘So do you!’ she replied.

Instead of worrying about all eyes being on me for the wrong reasons, I felt so proud.

A year later, I’d lost a total of 13 stone and I was able to take my pick of size 14 clothes.

I was literally half the woman I’d been!

Since then, I’ve enjoyed holidays in Cape Verde and Turkey, and Shane and I have got married.

I’ve also become a Slimming World consultant myself, inspiring around 250 members a week.

Even though my in-flight experience was awful, it helped change my life. And now, I’m flying!

Beckie’s Top Tip

Every little positive change adds up to the end result — a happy, healthy life

Diet before

Breakfast: nothing

Lunch: sandwiches on the go

Dinner: takeaway pizzas

Snacks: cakes

Diet now

Breakfast: poached eggs, bacon with fat removed and grilled veg

Lunch: homemade soup

Dinner: spaghetti Bolognese

Height 5ft 9in

Before 26st 9lb Size 36

After 13st 9lb Size 14

Total loss


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