WW - formerly known as Weight Watchers - has been helping people shed the pounds for years thanks to its easy points-based system and weekly workshops.
Two women who have first-hand experience of the popular diet are Natasha Summar Allen and Louise Eccleston, who have shed an impressive 7st between them.
‘I used to eat three cheeseburgers before I went to bed!’
NATASHA Summar Allen, 33, is a stay-at-home mum and vlogger, and lives in Stalybridge with husband Andrew, 44, an administrator, and children Harrison, 10, and Layla, seven.
Natasha says: “Looking at myself in the mirror, I was close to tears. The size-16 top I was wearing was too small and had ridden up over my tummy like a crop top.
I hated what I saw, but I was so used to food being my comfort that changing my ways was terrifying.
Growing up in Manchester, I was always a size 6-8, at 5ft 7in, despite regularly tucking into my mum’s big portions of Middle Eastern kebabs, casseroles and biryanis.
I met my husband Andrew in June 2006 when I was 19 and studying law at Staffordshire University.
I was a size 8-10 when we met, but over the course of the next year I began to slowly put on weight as we shared takeaways together on the sofa.
I always hated the gym, so was very inactive, and my weight crept up to a size 14 by October 2007. I never felt full, and sometimes after dinner we’d go to a McDonald’s Drive-Thru where I’d polish off three double cheeseburgers.
I knew I was putting on weight, as I started having to buy size-18 clothes, but Andrew reassured me that I looked great.
I had our son Harrison in February 2010, followed by daughter Layla in January 2013, and actually lost weight during both my pregnancies, going down to a size 12, as I suffered with hyperemesis gravidarum (severe vomiting) and was hospitalised as I couldn’t keep food down.
But after both babies, I comfort ate as I felt constantly tired, ballooning to a size 16. With two young kids, I was so busy that I didn’t have time to cook for the whole family, so I began to rely on ready meals and freezer food.
It was when I finally weighed myself in June 2018 that I knew something had to change. I was 12st 2lb and a size 16-18, and when I looked in the mirror I felt unattractive and frumpy.
Although I knew Andrew loved me and was attracted to me, I’d often complain to him that I hated how I looked, and it really affected my confidence.
My sister Zeinah, 35, had lost 8st on WW, going from a size 28 to a 14, so I decided to try it out for myself. I signed up online, and started using the recipe builder to make meals from scratch.
Breakfast: Full English with bacon, sausages and toast
Lunch: Big bowl of pasta with sauce and garlic bread
Dinner: Curry with rice and naan
Snacks: Sandwich, McDonald’s, toast, sweets and cake
Breakfast: Fruit and yoghurt or porridge
Lunch: Warm chicken salad or butternut squash soup with home-made bread
Dinner: Home-made burger or curry
I’d not cooked much in the past, but I loved making burgers, soups, or chicken and rice. Snacks would be fruit or home-made cake. I didn’t drink much alcohol anyway, but I cut it out completely.
The changes felt small, but they soon stacked up, and in the first week, I lost 4lb. Over the next year, I steadily lost between 2-3lb per week.
I didn’t exercise, but as a mum of two, I definitely burned off extra calories running around after the kids. When I hit my goal weight of 10st 5lb in June 2019, I was over the moon.
At a dress size 10, I could buy whatever I wanted from Topshop, and Andrew noticed a huge change in my confidence. I felt so much sexier and more attractive around him, plus I had more energy to play with the kids.
The changes felt small, but they soon stacked up, and in the first week, I lost 4lb.
I found losing weight on the plan so easy that I changed my target, and now I’m a dress size 6-8 and 8st 2lb – a total loss of 4st.
These days I still follow a lot of WW recipes. I’ve also been posting videos on my YouTube channel of my WW meals, and they’re really taking off – my food is even being featured in a new Asda advert!”
‘I cried when airline staff asked if I was pregnant’
LOUISE Eccleston, 30, is an events performance manager for a hotel group and lives in Richmond with fiancé Michael, 32, a kitchen designer.
Louise says: “Standing at check-in, I burst into tears of embarrassment. A member of airline staff had just asked if I was pregnant.
I wasn’t, I’d just put on weight. It was the final straw – it was time for me to get back in shape.
As a teenager, I kept my weight down with regular dance classes, and was always around a size 10 and 9st.
When you’re younger, you eat what you want without thinking about it, but looking back my diet wasn’t very healthy – I always loved fast food and big roast dinners.
I met my fiancé Michael on a dating app in April 2014 when I was 24 and working as an events manager. Straight away we got into the habit of eating a lot together.
Working in the hotel industry, I stay overnight at our hotels several times a month, and would always try out the restaurants, ordering steak and chips washed down with wine and a big chocolate dessert.
I never weighed myself, but over the next four years I gradually got bigger.
By the time we went on an all-inclusive holiday to Turkey in April 2018, at 5ft 7in I was a size 14 and felt self-conscious by the pool, constantly wearing a sarong.
When you’re younger, you eat what you want without thinking about it, but looking back my diet wasn’t very healthy.
But it didn’t stop me demolishing pizza and chips and drinking sugary cocktails at night. It was when we flew home that one of the airline staff asked if I was pregnant.
I’d had an amazing holiday, but it was suddenly ruined. When I got home, I stepped on to the scales and was shocked to see I weighed 12st 11lb.
I’d heard of WW, and signed up with the goal of losing 3st. I did some meal planning, and shopped using the app’s barcode scanner to see how many points were in food.
Breakfast: Bowl of cereal
Lunch: Ham and cheese baguette, crisps
Dinner: Beef burger with sweet potato fries
Snacks: Chocolate bar
Breakfast: Wholegrain toast, avocado and poached egg
Lunch: Tuna with green salad and grains
Dinner: Paprika chicken with lentils, couscous and green beans
Snacks: WW wafer biscuit and grapes
Breakfast became poached eggs and wholegrain toast, and lunch was salad. I began cooking dishes such as paprika chicken, which came in at zero points, and lasagne made with butternut squash pasta, which is lower in carbs than regular pasta.
I’m not a fan of the gym, but I walked more, which made a huge difference.
The weekly WW workshops were a bit scary at first, but everyone was so friendly. I lost 1st in the first six weeks and was able to fit into a size 12, which spurred me on to lose more.
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By December 2018, I’d lost 3st and was back to a size 10. Michael said I looked great but, that best of all, I seemed happy again.
We went back to Turkey in April 2019, staying in a hotel with healthy meal options, and I felt confident in my bikini.
I’m maintaining my weight as a gold member and still cook WW recipes, as they couldn’t be easier and they taste delicious.”
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