Hazel Hampson gained weight after a family illness resulted in her becoming a stress eater. Now she has lost weight by changing her diet and using the Nutracheck app to keep her portion sizes in check.

I got a wedding invitation from a family friend early in 2016 – and the prospect filled me with no joy at all because I felt very overweight. This was the kick start I needed.

I’ve tried all the well-known plans and fads, but always found that as soon as I stopped, the weight piled straight back on. I used to feel that I was being ‘punished’ whenever I tried a new diet: being constantly told what not to eat isn’t very inspiring.

When the wedding invitation arrived, I vowed to lose weight. That invitation was the trigger: I decided I needed to lose 4 stone and I had 6 months to do it, which, I assumed, meant embarking on yet another diet.

A quick search for ‘calorie counting’ brought up an App called Nutracheck. After some further research, I was convinced that this could work for me. It wasn’t a diet, it was more about helping me understand the value of food and what I could sensibly eat to lose weight steadily.

I suffer from arthritis in my knees so there was no prospect of me joining a gym, so looking at my diet and food intake was the only option. I also have a very sedentary job: I’m a driving instructor so I’m sitting for a large part of the day. However, I do have seven dogs, so good old-fashioned walking, morning and night, is part of my everyday life.

Learning to adjust my portion size was probably the most challenging thing – and this was where my own personal mantra came in: ‘weigh my food, not my fat backside!’ I also had to remember to make the sensible choices – those chips looked good, but there was always a better choice on offer.

My portion sizes were a big problem and when I changed my diet and reduced my portion sizes, the weight came off really quickly. I was losing about half a stone a month.

Hazel afterWhen the wedding day came in August 2016, I had managed to hit my  stone target the day before! I felt brilliant. For the first time in a long while, I wasn’t the fattest person in the room. The compliments made me feel even better, and the weight was still coming off easily.

The dress I wore was my own wedding dress, shortened and dyed. I remarried 10 years ago so I didn’t have a traditional ‘meringue’ and I decided to make good use of it. I had it dyed blue and shortened – and I loved it.

I had quite a lot of weight to lose and it didn’t take long for friends to notice the difference – that was such a boost and made me more determined to stick it out. It took me six months in total to lose the weight.

I definitely feel more energised now, I’m much happier about the prospect of going clothes shopping and feel that I am in control of what I weigh for the first time in my life. It’s been very empowering.

I started this journey as a size 22, and I’ve finished it as a 12, all done without stepping foot in a gym – just normal dog walking and counting my calories. Not bad in six months, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.