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I didn’t want to be fat and 30

Katherine Lawrinson always put her weight down to her ‘big boned’ body shape: “It was comforting to have a reason for my size rather than look closer at my relationship with food.”

Now at a slender size eight and a committed marathon runner, Katherine is a prime example of how ‘big boned’ or ‘it’s because of my genes’ can be a hugely unhelpful block to weight loss.

Katherine says: “I put my weight gain down to having a naturally big appetite and tendency to put on weight easily. Now I realise that I was using food to cope with stress and as a way of rewarding and comforting myself after a long day at work. It was easier to put my food problem down to a slow metabolism than to tackle it, which seemed overwhelming.

“I was always self conscious. I was the girl with the nice shoes and handbags, I didn’t focus on clothes. I wouldn’t shop for dresses or trousers in the same stores as my friends, because I was scared of how the store assistants would treat me. Communal changing rooms were best avoided, too!

“My confidence was fragile and I felt lethargic and unfit. As my 30th birthday approached I realised that I couldn’t bear to go through another decade feeling the way I felt. I was more than 5st overweight and something had to change.

“I wanted my thirties to be a healthy and happy time. I wanted to be free of fat. I signed up to a weight-loss programme that combined a very low calorie diet with counselling to help me address why I overate.

“It empowered me and helped me learn so much about myself. The group support was amazing. The programme gave me the tools I needed and I lost 5st 5lbs. Now, two years on, my life is a million miles away from where I started. I have encountered jealousy from people along the way, but it’s only made me stronger.

“My advice to anyone struggling with weight loss is remember why you started. Think about the joy of achieving your goal and stay strong.

“Change your thinking. The changes soon become good habits. Change your habits and your life changes. Changing your life to how you want it to be is the best thing you will ever do.”