A Scot has celebrated her 30th birthday the slimmest she has ever been thanks to swapping takeaways for a healthy lifestyle.
Sara Ranstead was miserable through her teens and twenties because of her size.
But now for the first time in her adult life she has reached a healthy BMI weight after going from a size 18-20 to a size 8-10 in 15 months.
Sara, who turned 30 on Sunday, has battled with her weight her entire life and has lost a lot of weight before.
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When she married her husband Stephen, 31, in November 2017 she shed three and a half stones but while she looked great, she was still overweight and within a year she had piled it all back on again.
In January 2020 with her milestone birthday just over a year away she decided it was time to make changes in her life.
Sara, from Kilmarnock, said: “I had spent my teens and my twenties being overweight and hating how I looked. I didn’t want to spend my thirties like that.
“There was no actual trigger for it I just knew how much better I looked when I lost weight before and didn’t want to be in my thirties hating the way I looked.”
She returned to WeightWatchers, (WW) and when she stood on the scales she weighed in at 14 stones 7lb, a considerable weight for her petite 5’ 1” frame.
But last week she had her final weigh in at just 8 stones 13lb.
She said: “My goal was nine stones but what mattered most to me was getting a healthy BMI. For my height 9 stone 6lb was a healthy BMI. I had never had that before. When I got there I decided to lose a bit more and aimed for nine stones.”
Before she would wear baggy jumpers to hide her weight, fitted clothes or anything which showed off her stomach were strict no-nos.
But because the shops have been shut because of lockdown she hasn’t been able to go on a shopping spree to look for an entirely new wardrobe.
Sara, a collection systems manager, said: “We are going shopping next week and I am really looking forward to it. When you are bigger there are only ever one or two choices of big sizes. I’m just hoping it’s not the same now at the other end.”
In addition to sticking to her WW points every day she discovered a love of exercise.
She said: “I feel much fitter and I can walk for miles.
“When I did my first five mile walk in June 2020 I burned 517 calories. To burn the same amount of calories now I need to walk seven miles.”
Four days a week she walks between four and seven miles, she has a personal trainer once a week and does Joe Wickes workouts twice a week.
And exercise was her saviour at the height of the pandemic when she worried Stephen, a nursing home manager, would get Covid.
Stephen and his team managed to prevent any outbreaks but it didn’t stop Sara worrying about him.
But instead of sitting at home watching TV and eating while worrying if he would come home at night Sara would take herself out a walk to distract herself.
Her one fear is with pubs and restaurants re-opening more temptation will be in her way.
She continued: “I haven’t had to worry about that for a year but after doing so long in this mindset I hopefully should be able to maintain it.”
When she got to goal last weekend she treated herself to a piece of rocky road cake.
But she explained: “That was the only thing I had. I listen to my body now and if I am not hungry I don’t feel the need to eat.
“Before I would have eaten the rocky road and then been looking around for what was next.
“I used to start each day with good intentions but it went out the window by lunchtime.”
But she credits care home manager Stephen’s cooking skills for helping her weight loss by introducing ‘fakeaways’ instead of takeaways.
She admitted: “I can’t cook. Stephen does all the cooking. I tell him what I want and what portion size and weight and he cooks it.”
Breakfast – cereal
Lunch – something from Greggs, Subway or McDonald’s
Dinner – a takeaway Chinese or pizza or a frozen ready meal
Snacks – a family sized bar of chocolate, multi-pack of crisps
Breakfast – cereal but a healthy ‘fry-up’ on a Sunday with skinny sausages, eggs, potato scones and vegetarian bacon
Lunch – soup or a bagel and fruit
Dinner – a ‘fakeaway’ low calorie home made pizza, chow mein, stir fry, spaghetti bolognese and air fried chips
Snacks – popcorn, pretzels, WW bars or fruit