LAST New Yearâs Eve, Alannah Watkins made the same vow she had made for the last 17 years.
But this time, she promised herself, it would happen.
Weighing close to 15st and only fitting into baggy size-20 joggers and hoodies, the 5ft 3in mum-of-three had grown used to gorging on chocolate biscuits and crisps for a quick breakfast.
âI just felt stuck in terrible habits, and needed to reboot my brain,â she tells The Sun.
âI was eating so much sugar it was a miracle I didnât have diabetes, and just felt like my life was over.â
Fast forward nearly a year, and Alannah, 37, has shed an incredible 6st – weighing less than she even did leaving primary school.
Her postman and old school pals now don’t recognise her, and her son was so proud that she even got a hug for the “first time in his life” when they looked back at old photos.
However, the dramatic transformation sadly turned out to be a disaster for her marriage to husband Antony as they came to terms with her “upgrade”.
For years, Alannah had constant pains in her feet due to her weight, but struggled to change her gigantic diet.
Breakfasts regularly consisted of half a packet of chocolate digestives washed down with tea with three sugars, followed by countless packets of crisps, chocolate bars, and energy drinks.
Sheâd always cook a healthy meal for the kids – Lyla, now 14, Niall, now 12, and Roman, now 10 – but would finish all the leftovers.
“Iâd virtually stopped going out because I hated how I looked â I was simply fat and miserable,” she says.
âIâd promise myself that next year would be the one when I changed, but Iâd wake up on New Yearâs Day hungover and fat, and in my misery, Iâd eat and drink even more.â
Since primary school, Alannah’s battle with comfort eating led to a constant cycle of short-lived diets and relapses.
âI was the âfat friendâ, and remember clearly in a lesson at primary school when we all weighed ourselves.” she says. “I was 10.5st, about 3st more than anyone else, and I wanted the world to swallow me up.â
Her weight slowly crept up, and despite meeting her first boyfriend after college, her confidence remained at rock-bottom.
âI was out drinking most nights, pretty much living off takeaways, basically burying my head in the sand about my weight,â she says.
Rock bottom to cloud nine
Soon after she split from her boyfriend, Alannah met Antony, a factory worker, and the couple tied the knot in 2010.
âIt was a magical day, and even though I was in a size 16 dress, I felt beautiful, showered in compliments,â she says.
But for over a decade, she continued to pile on the pounds, and during the pandemic, the stress of home-schooling their three kids took its toll.
Alannah reached breaking point last New Year following the loss of the family dog, Daisy, who she describes as her “soul mate”.
âIâd become a recluse, never looked in the mirror, and basically wasnât the mum my kids deserved,” she says. “I had to do something.”
Googling the âeasiest and quickest way to lose weightâ, Alannah came across the meal-replacement diet LighterLife.
She began the plan after her 37th birthday, cutting out all her sweet treats and double portions for four meal packs a day â totalling just 600-800 calories.
âIn the first week I lost 6.5lbs, and by end of the first month, Iâd lost over a stone! I just felt like I had so much energy for the first time in years, that the old me was coming back,” she says.
Now suffering no foot pain and able to wear heels for the first time ever, the stunning mum is transformed after halving her dress size in five months.
âMy middle son, Niall, saw a Facebook memory photo of me from a year ago, and couldnât believe how much Iâd changed â for the first time in his life he gave me a hug, telling me how proud he was of me!” she says.
âOld friends I havenât seen for a year or more blank me in the street when I say hello now, because they simply donât recognise me.
“Our regular postman even refused to hand me a package a few weeks ago, because he didnât think I was the same person!â
Having given a rescue Westie called Hank a home in May, Alannah started taking long daily walks again, bumping into old friends who didnât recognise her.
Sadly, she says she and Antony separated in August, when Alannah realised she wasnât the same person anymore.
âWeâd simply grown apart, and after I lost all the weight, I felt empowered again â I became the person I was when we met all those years ago,” she says.
“I was happier, more confident, and recognised what I needed. It was sad, but weâd grown apart, and I felt my upgrade meant we simply werenât compatible anymore.â
âOne of the hardest things is believing it when people say Iâm unrecognisable â in my head part of me still thinks Iâm fat, but when I have to return a size 8 thatâs too loose, Iâm reminded that this is real, Iâm half the woman I was â and twice the mum!
âWith support from the LighterLife support group and fully committed, I somehow knew this would work.”
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