The big fat apple!

This snap on a dream trip to New York was to change my life

Published by: Laura Hinton
Published on: 5 January 2012

As we shuffled on to the plane, I couldn't have been happier. Me and my daughter Amber, 20, were about to fly to New York for the New Year.
Only, plonking down in my seat, I soon realised there was a bit of a problem. ‘Oh dear,' I tutted to Amber. ‘I'm going to need an extension for my seatbelt!'
‘How embarrassing!' she said.
I must have put on a couple of pounds over Christmas. Who could resist festive grub - and those pigs in blankets! I'd eaten 10 alongside my roast turkey and the trimmings.
Luckily, the air hostess had noticed my problem and was on her way over. Finally, I could squish back in my seat and relax. Well, as much as I could having my 21st bulk wedged into the seat!
But while I was all smiles on the outside, inside I was dying of shame. Tears pinched my eyes when I remembered the svelte size 14 I'd been before I'd given birth to Amber's brother Adam, now 23. When he'd been born though, it'd been a particularly stressful time because, when he was nine months old my hubby John, 53, had been diagnosed
with testicular cancer.
He'd needed chemo for six months, and I'd turned to takeaways and ready meals for comfort.
Even when he was given the all-clear, I'd continued to over-eat.
I was just in the habit by then, I'd convinced myself I needed the food. I'd make huge portions and cover everything with heaps of cheese - sometimes I'd get through five blocks in a week!
Every New Year, my resolution would be to lose weight. But after a few days of dieting I'd get so bored I'd end up convincing myself I didn't need to.
Still, I hadn't come away to feel sorry for myself. And landing in the Big Apple, as New York is known, I soon got into the American way of things - especially their giant portion sizes.
‘This is delicious,' I mumbled, as we tucked into enormous hot dogs and fries that night.
Next day, we visited the Empire State Building. In the lobby was a giant Christmas tree. ‘Smile!' Amber called out, snapping a picture of me posing beside it. ‘Where next?'
‘I think I need a rest, love,' I said, already feeling the strain on my knees. I had to use a walking stick to get around because of my size anyway, but now I was really in pain.
‘No worries,' she smiled.
After a sit-down, I managed to gather my energy for Macy's. There were so many trendy, gorgeous clothes on sale. But what on earth would fit me - I was a size 34!
‘Black, black and more black,' I said, looking at my long black coat.
‘How great is this place,' Amber chuckled. I gave a grim smile as we moved on to Central Park.
Wheezing, I trudged behind my daughter but, after a few minutes, I was exhausted. ‘Got... to...slow... down,' I panted.
My knees were burning, felt like they'd snap. I collapsed on to a bench, just as a man cycled past on a rickshaw.
‘You look like you could do with a ride,' he shouted.
‘Oh no, we're fine,' I said. There was no way he'd be able to pull my bulk around!
He was having none of it. ‘Come on!' he grinned. So we got in. Moments later though, it seemed the poor guy had realised his mistake. He was puffing and straining as we inched around the park. ‘I feel terrible,' I cringed.
‘Don't be silly,' Amber smiled, but I knew she was only trying to make me feel better. By the time we reached the end of the park, his face was bright red. He looked like he was about to pass out!
‘Thanks,' I grinned, slapping a hefty tip in his hand before scuttling off. I managed to put the episode to the back of my mind though, and the rest of the trip was wonderful when we celebrated New Year's Eve in the hotel.
Back home, I eagerly got our holiday snaps developed... Oh my God! I knew I was fat, yes. But these photos hammered home just how fat. New York was all about glamour and sophistication... the exact opposite of me!
Then I came across the snap of me in the Empire State Building. That huge Christmas tree would have overshadowed anyone else - not me!
Devastated, I decided to go to the doctors for help. ‘Your blood pressure is dangerously high,' he warned me. ‘You definitely need to lose weight.'
‘I can't believe it,' I said later. ‘I'm heading for an early grave.'
‘Surely it can't be that bad,' John frowned. I shook my head.
‘Come on, you know my weight's out of control,' I sighed. ‘What about that time you found me cutting up my uniform?'
I worked as a hotel receptionist. When I'd discovered the uniform didn't go up to my size, John had caught me cutting up the sides of my work shirt.
‘It won't stretch any further,' I'd groaned. ‘No-one will notice it under my jacket.'
We'd constantly laughed these things off. ‘We can't any more,' I sighed now.
‘Come here,' he said, cuddling me. ‘We'll think of something.'
A few days later, I was looking for inspiration online when I came across the Slimming World website.
Well, I'd nothing to lose so I gave it a go. I started making fresh chicken salads and soups, rather than rely on grabbing a kebab.
Still, I was in for a shock when I stepped on the scales and realised I'd lost 10lb in my first week! ‘I can eat the big portions, it's just with the healthier choices of food!' I grinned to John.
And as the year whizzed by, so did the dial on the scales - but the right way this time! I managed to lose 10st!
Now a size 12, I weigh 11st 7lb and I'm happier than ever. The walking stick is in the cupboard. I even go swimming twice a week! I've got a new lease of life - I just need to go back to New York to stock up on a stylish, slimline wardrobe.
One thing's for sure, this New Year's Eve, my resolution won't be to lose weight!

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Kim Crawford, 53, Poplar, London