'I was a size 18 when I was a child. And I got bigger again' – Dublin woman 'ecstatic' after losing four stone

Dubliner Vanessa Veldman joined Weight Watchers at a starting weight of 14st 3lbs and is now 10st 3lbs. Here, she reveals how she lost four stone.

Overall, I am ecstatic with my progress, mentally and physically. I feel so much healthier and happier, I really can’t take the smile of my face.

I can run around the playground with my kids now. I can run up the hills. That is not something that I realised I wasn’t doing until I started doing it, if that makes sense. Loads of stuff I have done over the last few months, I realised I couldn’t do it before.

From a young age, I battled with my weight, and I’d have described myself as an ’emotional eater’. But recently I managed to change my habits and lose four stone. I have battled with weight since I was a very young child. I used to attend dietitians and was in and out of Temple Street Hospital as a teenager. I’m sure if I was to look at notes now, I would have been in the obese category. I remember making my confirmation, and being a size 18. And I got bigger again.

It has been a massive journey for me mentally to ask, why are you eating like this? Why are you turning to food? I had events last year that shook me and I stopped and made myself assess and address the reasons why I was overeating. Any event in my life, from a child onwards, I would turn to food like a comfort. I had been 20 years in and out of Weight Watchers, now WW, and I wouldn’t get near my goal, because I never addressed my emotional issues. I needed to wait until I was mentally ready to give it my all.

In January of 2016, there were two sudden deaths in my family. The underlying issue with both of them was an unhealthy lifestyle. Having two young children myself – a daughter aged 5 and a son aged 3, I want to be around as long as I can be. I don’t want to be irresponsible in that way.

The following month, I joined WW with my pal and next door neighbour Kelly-Ann. I couldn’t have done it without her. We spurred each other on. Prior to losing the weight, I had been taking anti-inflammatory treatments for my back, a problem that they never associated with my weight. It was only when I went back for my six-month review that they couldn’t believe the movement. They thought I had a condition which affected the lower part of my spine. Now they have said I don’t have that condition and have more or less signed me off. It was a major health and wellness victory.

My now-husband gave me the best Christmas present ever when he proposed on Christmas Eve, it was just magical. After losing four stone in 2017 it was the first Christmas ever that I felt comfortable and happy in myself and then to get engaged was the icing on the cake. I booked our venue at the start of February and quickly moved on to finding my dream dress given the six month timeline I had to order it. I was nervous going to Bridal by Nikki as mentally I still thought, what if I’m not the size I think I am? I know it sounds funny but having been overweight all my life it has taken some time to mentally see me, for who I am now. I was terrified the dresses wouldn’t close. To my delight all the dresses zipped up.

Nikki was absolutely amazing, she gave me all styles and colours, we must have tried 20 dresses! I can honestly say there was not one that I didn’t like, I just wasn’t getting the butterflies! Then we spotted the Nicole Spose dress in a blush colour; never in a million years did I think I’d go for that, but wow! When I tried it on, I cried. My stomach did somersaults and I just knew there and then, this is the one. I wanted to dance in it straight away. My mam, my gran and my daughter were with me and I will cherish that special memory of having the four generations together, forever. On the day, I just couldn’t wait to be ready and step into my dress. I was never so excited in my life.

When I finally got to put it on, I felt like a million dollars. The day was everything I dreamed of and more, the smile on my face never left. Joining WW for me wasn’t about fitting into a dress – I wasn’t even engaged. I wanted to be healthy and that was my goal. But to be at my weight goal when looking for my dress and on my wedding day was something I never imagined.

I will be eternally grateful to my amazing Wellness Coach Allison Moore, my friend Kelly Ann and all the wonderful people who supported me on my journey. To find your nearest WW Studio visit ww.ie or call (01) 870 3900. Join by January 26 and get eight weeks free WW Digital.

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