Andrea’s Weight Loss Success Story

Andrea from Anlaby near Hull has made massive improvements to her health, appearance and confidence – all from changing her food and exercise habits. Here is her weight loss success story so far, and the pictures from start, 5 weeks, and 15 weeks and 27 weeks. More pictures will be added as Andrea continues to keep making amazing progress. Keep up the fantastic work!

Being overweight

I’ve been overweight for most of my life. As a child I could be described at ‘chubby’ or ‘well-built’ at that point not particularly ‘fat’. I took comfort when I was told my puppy fat would just go as I grew taller and although I grew to 5ft 8 inches my weight was going in one direction and that was upwards.

Things slimmer people take for granted were a struggle for me, like being unsure as to whether I could get through turnstiles at a rugby match, dodging being photographed at family get-togethers, being uncomfortable in hot weather and preferring to keep covered up to avoid exposing my excess poundage. I daren’t get into a swimming pool on holiday as I felt like a beached whale in my huge swimsuit and people were bound to stare I thought.

My weight hit 17 stone 6 lbs just after my second child. I had been eating for two for sure believing that once I had my son, I would be much slimmer. But no, then juggling full time work and a new baby resulted in me eating the wrong things at the wrong time. I got to a point where I felt so big that just one more take away per week and a biscuit with a cup of coffee couldn’t really make the situation any worse – wrong, I now got over the 18 stone mark and decided not to get weighed any more as it was so depressing. I didn’t want to hear about people going to the gym as I felt that I was now so big I might be a health and safety issue and would probably need a medical to be allowed to join one – not that I could see myself on a treadmill – never, not in a million years.

Around my son’s 8th birthday I wondered how he felt about having the largest mum in the school. I was approaching my mid forties, smoked 20 cigarettes per day and knew that I was increasingly becoming a heart attack risk. I was puffing and panting to even climb stairs and knew something had to be done – I was at a loss at where to start I felt that I had a mountain to climb.

My eldest sister was a regular gym attender, she considered it part of her life and enjoys it (strange but true!) I asked what her gym was like and she said that if ever I wanted to have a look around she would come with me and if I wanted to ‘have a go’ she would be happy of be my gym partner, if I didn’t fancy it, that was fine too. I went to have a look around and decided to go for it.

I approached a Personal Trainer and joined a gym

I didn’t know how to put together a gym routine, but also knew it was important to me to build in variety to a workout. I know people who gave up because they became bored. I asked around for details of some Personal Trainers, I needed someone who had patience (lots of it) and also someone who I did not feel intimidated by (which is easy to feel when you’re 8 stone overweight!) I decided to approach John Cammish who I’d heard good reports about.

He has the knowledge and experience to help with nutrition and fitness training. He was described as a nice guy but no push over – sounded like just who I needed – wonder if he was ready for a challenge?

My first session with my Personal Trainer

I booked 10 lessons with John Cammish who I see on a weekly basis. I stopped smoking (after 20 years) at the same time – I must be mad!

I looked at the scales in horror and wondered if I was kidding myself.

On my first session on 19th June 2008 I weighed in at 19 stone 2 lbs. I was totally embarrassed to be so heavy and wondered if I was kidding myself to think I could really get rid of it all. John didn’t gasp, he said that the good thing about being so heavy was that I might see some dramatic weight loss in the first couple of weeks (clearly his glass is half full!) Included in my first routine was the dreaded treadmill, just for 8 minutes (which seemed like hours). My feet were burning and it went through my mind how embarrassing it would be to have to be carried out on a stretcher, my heart was beating so hard I was sure everyone could see it pounding outside my body.

As I left the gym after my first session I felt surprisingly fantastic, I was exhausted and sweating but the sense of achievement was enormous – I had taken the first steps towards a new, healthier way of life.

Week 2 and 3

For years I have had swollen ankles (even more swollen than the rest of me) but I have noticed that since I have been going to the gym the swelling has gone. Also the tingling sensation in my legs, which did concern me, has gone. So many benefits in such a short period of time, on top of a weight loss of 10 lbs in 2 weeks left me feeling on top of the world.

Week 4

I followed John’s advice regarding when I could and when I should and shouldn’t eat carbohydrates, fats and proteins. I completed my daily sheets religiously which John checked for me until he was confident that I knew what I was doing. I knew I had not cheated, not once, and looked forward to another big weight loss. I was so disappointed when suddenly, I hadn’t lost anything, not even an ounce! John looked at my sheet and informed me that I hadn’t eaten enough (never thought I’d hear that) and therefore my body had gone into starvation mode and was hanging onto my fat!

On thinking about it I had skipped the odd meal believing that I was helping myself. John told me to concentrate on the mirror and not so much on the scales, and not missing important meals.

John asked me if I liked chocolate, which I thought was a very naughty question in the circumstances – not sure I can remember but no way was I missing it. He introduced me to a chocolate protein shake. It’s a powder that I add water to and shake for 30 seconds. It’s full of protein (good all of the time) with no carbs (naughty a lot of the time) with vitamins. These are ideal as I have always got something to drink for a snack or if I feel a bout of hunger. I wonder if there is a strawberry one!

Week 5

Lost 4 pounds and found that my body needed smaller portions so I felt fuller quicker (not kidding myself though, I still had a very large tummy!) The treadmill was by now one of my chosen pieces of equipment in my routines (not that I got to choose) as I was able to do interval training on there, increasing the gradient to 6.5% plus at a pace of 6 for a minute with a one minute recovery.

Lost 3 lbs this week that’s the good news !

Oh no…..My new routine included a rowing machine, for more intervals, in between using the weights. I purchased some gloves as I found that I had small blisters on my hands (my husband was very impressed!) This really got my heart pounding, it wasn’t easy, but I called this my new challenge.

I’m really getting to know John, my trainer, I know how he works. He looks at my work sheet and if he notices that I’m managing to complete all the sets of weights, he makes it harder for me by increasing my weights or increasing my reps… very naughty! Still I do like the challenge. Actually, it must be awful for him seeing me at 7am on a morning with no make up on!

Week 7

Lost 4 lbs this week, everyone is really noticing and giving me encouragement to keep up the good work. I used to think that gyms would be full of size 8 – 10 females and big people like me would be out of place. How wrong was I, the gym is full of all shapes and sizes. There are slim people who are working hard at keeping themselves in good shape, good for them. There are bigger people too, who have decided that enough is enough and they want to make a change to their life. I hope they keep it up as I know many give up – I know it won’t be me!

Week 8

Weighed in at 17 stone 2lbs; So in 7 weeks, I have lost two stone and not had one cigarette. Plus I have reduced my body fat percentage. My clothes have dropped off me and so I’ve thrown them all away. I’ve bought just a couple of outfits as I know that in a couple of months I’ll be trotting (can’t jog yet) off to the charity shop with them.

I’ve set myself a target to lose another 5 stone. I’ll get there and then I’ll stay there. I understand that eating sensibly is a way of life and not something to do on diets in between over indulging. I feel that I don’t need to eat much to put weight on, probably a lot of women feel the same – I accept this and will adapt my eating pattern accordingly.

Week 9 and 10

I’ve lost another 4 ½ pounds in the past two weeks. So in the 10 weeks since I’ve had my weekly sessions with my personal fitness trainer, I’ve lost 3 stone and 4 lbs . In that time I have never felt really hungry and if I have I have snacked on healthy options. I think the advice I received about when and when not to consume carbs has been more useful than I ever imagined.

Week 11 and 12

This fortnight I’ve stepped up my gym sessions, I still see John, my trainer, once a week and then do my routine another 3 – 4 times in between. Amazing that for years I had convinced myself that I didn’t have time for gym attendance in my busy life, what with working full time on shifts and a 9 year old son. I’ve lost another 6 lbs and have thrown away another set of clothes away. My wardrobe spanned 4 dress sizes but this time, as I’ve lost the weight, I’ve thrown the big clothes away – no going back to the bad old days! I do feel good when people tell me how much better I look, even people who saw me only a month ago seem amazed. Makes me wonder why I didn’t make the commitment to get myself sorted years ago!

Week 13 and 14

Only lost a pound per week for the last two weeks. I did expect that the big weekly losses would slow down and that this might not be a bad thing, it’s just that I had hoped that I could lose another stone or so before I got to that stage. John said we could try bringing in more ‘spikes’ to the sessions – always up for a challenge I went for it. Seems a bit like interval training where for instance I’d go for a minute at a gradient of 10 on the treadmill and then have a quick recovery before repeating this a few times. I found this hard going and was puffing and panting. They say ‘no pain no gain’ I hope it pays off.

Week 15

Had new photos taken this week:

Lost 4 stone

Stepping up the difficulty level in my programme has worked, I’ve lost 5lb this week and am elated! John reminded me that so far I’d lost 57 lbs (over 4 stone!). Major milestone now that I’m 14 stone something (okay 14 st 13lbs) but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for me. I heard a couple of ladies in the changing room at the gym talking about joining slimming classes, if I see them again I might tell them that I’ve been there and done that, I lost a few stone at Slimming World before, some 10 years ago but gradually it all the weight came back, and more. Having done it all ways I would 100% recommend that the best way to lose weight is to eat the right foods at the right time and to go to the gym regularly. Diets just haven’t worked for me, I’m adapting to, a change in lifestyle, I think this is the only way to do it for me. Only another 3 stone to go – then I’ll have a really good look at myself!

Week 18
I’ve lost another half stone over the last 3 weeks which I’m pleased with. I thought that my weight would begin to slow by now and I would really have to battle, but so far so good.

Week 21
Just returned from a 2 week Carribean cruise. Top quality food was available 24 hours per day. I’d heard all the stories about people putting on a stone on a cruise and I knew this was not going to be me. For sure I ate more than I normally would, fresh fruit with yoghurt, poached eggs on toast for breakfast , salads for lunch, a three course meal on an evening (including the third course!). I opted for healthy option most of the time, dodged the bread basket and tried to stick to ice cream or sorbets on alternate evenings for dessert. I probably had 3 alcoholic drinks per day and treated myself to latte coffees. But there is a price to pay and so I went in the gym at 6.30 am each morning (well, missed a couple) with my programme which John had prepared for me, and really worked hard. I walked around the deck a couple of times after lunch each day and walked around the islands we visited and I enjoyed all of it. Jogging on a treadmill looking out over blue open sea was fantastic. Power walking through golden, fine, warm sand was heavenly! How different it all would have been for me if I was carrying another 4 1/2 stones which I was only 21 weeks ago!

Upon my return from holiday I had put on 3 lbs which was slightly disappointing but not surprising but what did surprise me was that just by going back to my normal eating and exercise programme, I lost those 3 lbs within 6 days. I didn’t crash diet (don’t do that any more!) I was so impressed I’ve booked my next cruise!

Week 24
Christmas has been and gone and guess what – I lost weight and am now under 14 stone. I did watch what I ate but did have a few treats – mixed nuts and raisins, sweets in moderation only, the odd Yorkshire pudding, etc. I still went to the gym 4 times per week as this is what I need to do to achieve what I want to achieve. Exercise has made the difference and yet I have only ever been to two classes since I started, for me the gym program has done the trick. Friends think the gym can be boring and I can see why they think that. Having John alter my gym routine every couple of weeks really works and now I really look forward to seeing what my next programme will consist of – bit worrying that isn’t it!

Week 27
I put 2 lbs on this week which was not unexpected. For some reason I thought I would just test myself to see how much I could get away with eating without putting weight on, well two meals out and eating late just confirmed what John told me ‘if you put more fuel into your body than you use you will store fat’. He also told me not to beat myself up about it and just to look to next week and it would all sort itself out. I’m annoyed with myself though so I’m really going to get back on track.

More pictures taken:

Week 30
Feeling good and have lost another 8 lbs in the last 3 weeks! I have officially now lost over 5 stone! The weight continues to come off . Looking back on my training programmes I’m amazed at how much heavier weights I can manage now and how much longer I can go at full pace on the rower. I remember that in my first session with John I told him that I couldn’t co-ordinate myself on the stepper and my feet hurt on the treadmill and I would never do a press up on my toes in a million years. Today I did a total of 20 press ups on my toes (I’m not saying it was easy) and the cross trainer would be my preferred cardio equipment – not that I get to choose! What a difference the last 30 weeks has made to my life.

Week 34

Another month and another stone off so I’m just under 13 stone. Someone I hadn’t seen for a few months congratulated me on how I looked today but then said ‘It’s okay for you, I just can’t lose weight, you’re lucky’ Thankfully I’m not an aggressive person but luck had nothing to do with what I’ve achieved so far (not finished yet!) I’ve been asked ‘is it hard going?’ Yes it was tough, particularly for the first couple of months as I was changing a lifetimes bad habit of eating more than my body needed and piling on weight. I’m disciplined and know what I can and can’t eat. If I eat more than I should then I have to work it off – simple as that. Yes, it’s easier now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Week 38

I have less than a stone to go now to meet my target weight . I have a lot of work to do on toning up and the most recent programmes reflect that this is what John is helping me with now. I’m actually working on my ‘abs’ and it’s great to be getting into focusing on fine-tuning like normal people now that I’ve dealt with the offloading of 7 stone of ugly fat. I feel like a new woman – my husband thinks he’s got one!

Week 43
Had some new Pictures done this week:



I’m really happy with how my clothes fit…..and I’m not that bothered about the scale weight.  I recommend that anyone who really wants to lose weight and change their body shape give John Cammish a call because it could change your life!







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