Penicuik woman takes a walk on the slimmer side

Slimmer Sam Currie pulled on her hiking boots and walked her way thin – shedding a whopping four stone and clocking up more miles in a year than a John O’Groats to Land’s End round trip.

Monday, 3rd February 2020, 7:24 am
Sam Currie from Penicuik, pictured after she lost four stone (left) and before (right). Before photo by Polina Schapova.

Mum of one Sam (48), a civil servant from Penicuik, combined healthy eating with an increased exercise regime after hitting 16st and joining Slimming World in January 2018.

She wasn’t happy in her size 18 clothes, but reckons she was kidding herself she was still fit and healthy because she was a regular gym goer.

It’s only now, after shedding the extra pounds and dropping down to 12st and a size 12-14, that she sees how unhealthy her old lifestyle had really been.

It’s in stark contrast to her routine now, which sees her easily walk an average of 40 miles a week – 2000 miles in total in 2019.

She said: “I thought that because I was going to the gym four times a week that I could eat and drink what I liked, but I was very wrong.

“I ate lots of takeaways, and I enjoyed beer and wine whenever I wanted. And in between those gym visits, I didn’t do much else to be active.

“I only joined Slimming World because my sister-in-law was a newly-qualified consultant and I wanted to give her moral support.

“When I stepped on the scales though, I got such a shock. I had no idea I was that heavy and burst into tears.

“The tables had been turned. I’d showed up to give my sister-in-law my support in her new job, but it was me who needed her support to get my weight under control once and for all.”

Sam began to gain weight in her late teens. She was around 12st in 2001, aged 29, when she married husband Scott, now 47, a specialist plasterer.

While pregnant with son Lochlan, now 18, Sam’s weight soared to 15st 8lbs. She managed to lose around 4st with Slimming World, but she stopped attending her group and her weight rose as she yo-yo dieted on her own through her 30s and 40s.

Slimming World’s recent Mind Your Language report looked at how using critical language around weight and body image can have a negative impact on self-esteem and can hinder attempts at weight loss, something Sam says she can relate to.

The report found that 60 per cent of British adults have struggled with their weight or body image and, of those, 74 per cent have used self-critical language when referring to their body image.

Sam said: “I’d convinced myself I was comfortable in my own skin before losing weight. I wasn’t.

“I’d still refer to myself as chubby and talk about being ‘bad’ if I’d eaten something I shouldn’t.

“It wasn’t until I got closer to my target weight that I realised I hadn’t been comfortable in my own skin at all and that I’d been so self-critical, so self-deprecating.

“I had to change my mindset and Slimming World really helped me to do that.

“My sister-in-law Caroline, also my consultant, pointed out the language I was using about myself and said that if I wouldn’t dream of talking that way about someone else then I shouldn’t talk about myself like that either.”

Massive lifestyle changes also helped with Sam’s weight loss during her journey to losing four stone, with walking making the most difference.

Walking is her exercise of choice these days and as a trustee of the Tartan Army Children’s Charity she completed four 26-mile Kiltwalks for the fund last year.

After deciding to get rid of her car, she now walks at least 45 minutes per day and at least once a week she makes the nine-mile journey home from work on foot instead of taking the bus.

Sam added: “I can now walk up Arthur’s Seat and hold a conversation at the same time and that’s a massive achievement for me.

“I wasn’t looking for a quick fix and I realised early on that you can’t compare your weight loss journey to the person sitting next to you. I’m 48 and menopausal – I’m not going to lose weight at the same rate as I did when I was in my 20s. But that’s no reason to give up – you can still do it. I feel 10 years younger and my energy levels are through the roof. If that’s not a reason to smile then I don’t know what is.”

Sam also says menopausal symptoms including night sweats and hot flushes have greatly improved now she’s leading a healthier lifestyle.

She said: “I love that I can still enjoy foods like pasta and rice without having to weigh or measure it. Greatly reducing the amount of oil I cook with has been a revelation for me – I only use low-calorie cooking spray now.

“Most of all I love that the whole family eats what I do and they really enjoy it.”

Slimming World’s Mind Your Language report found that nearly three quarters of their members said their group made them feel as though they were not alone – a sentiment that strikes a chord with Sam Currie.

She added: “Attending my group every week is what keeps me going and motivates me to maintain this new healthy lifestyle.

“It’s like a second family. We all support each other and that support has been key in me achieving my goal.”

Sam, who’s 5ft 8ins, has completely transformed her eating habits.

Her days used to start with a bacon roll for breakfast, a cheese-laden baguette for lunch, and a calorific takeaway of a pizza or kebab washed down with a few beers for dinner along with crisps and sweets as snacks in between.

These days she prefers a breakfast of overnight oats with fresh fruit, a healthy lunch of leftover low-fat homemade spaghetti bolognaise, and a delicious dinner of home-made chicken and lentil curry to satisfy her love of Indian food.

Midweek drinking has been knocked on the head and Sam instead likes to have a few spirits with diet mixers at the weekend instead of beers.

It took 17 months for Sam to hit her target weight of 12st in June last year. Losing four stone through simple adjustments to her daily life in that time.

Medication she had taken for a decade for reflux was no longer needed after just one month following her new eating plan and her persistent insomnia faded too.

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