I’ve finally learned to put my needs first

For Emma Davey, food has always been bound up in rituals of comfort and escapism. After 40 years of negative eating habits, she’s tackling the future with a new approach.

“Every Friday night when I was little, my dad would get home early from work. We would cuddle up on the sofa, watching Doctor Who and sharing a big bottle of fizzy pop, multipack of crisps and I’d have a big bag of sweets to munch through. Our weekly ritual made me feel safe and happy.

Years later, my husband and I bonded over our mutual love of food and drink. He would whisk me off to fancy restaurants and after we got married, Friday nights became ‘Cuddly Nights In’. The fizzy pop, crisps and sweets of my childhood were replaced with takeaways, bottles of wine and chocolate. Of course, I couldn’t just have one square or one glass, I had to sample it all.

Despite my terrible eating habits, I’d always been slim, but when I fell pregnant with my first child, I really started to put on weight. I gave myself permission to indulge. I lost weight after the birth, but even before I fell pregnant with my second, I had starting eating to excess again. I believed carbs were the solution to my tiredness and put on an extra stone every year. 

I knew what I needed to do: a weight loss programme that combined a very low calorie diet with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to tackle my negative attitudes to food. My counsellor explained that I had 40-odd years of behaviour to unpick and I realised this is something I really had to work on.

I’ve always gone out of my way to do the best for my children. Recently I’ve discovered I have to do it for my own benefit too. I’ve lost more than four stone so far, as well as learning about portion control, cooking quality food from scratch and how to develop lifelong positive eating habits.

I’ve spent most of my life with my smile painted on, but now, this is really me.”

Read more about Emma’s story.