Expert explains why enjoying exercise is important

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Sarah Jackson used to suffer with severe back pain that left her unable to barely walk. Now, after she’s an advanced ballroom and Latin dancer, having lost a whopping six and a half stone and shrinking down to a size 10.

The 50-year-old tipped the scales at 16st 7lb, with doctors suggesting hey weight might be aggravating her scoliosis condition that was causing her discomfort.

“I could barely stand up and was willing to try anything,” said Sarah.

“My husband Ian and our daughter both told me I was perfect and didn’t need to lose weight, but I was desperate to be able to move without pain.

“My wider family had become worried about the amount of weight I’d put on and I started to realise it wasn’t doing me any good.”

Sarah admitted she’d “tried everything” but losing weight was a last resort.

A comfort eater with an addiction to chocolate, she was sceptical when she joined WW, explaining: “I didn’t think WW would work at first, but I lost a stone in a month and was suddenly able to walk for a good hour without my back hurting.

“I’d been on so many diets and my weight had yo yo’d. Previously, I lost weight because I was going for fertility treatment, but once that was over, I put it all back on.”

She continued: “At WW, my coach Tracey Taylor made me see that it wasn’t a diet, it was a lifestyle change and it would only work if I was 100 percent committed to the plan.

“I’m lucky, because my husband Ian is a chef and he cooked all our meals from scratch and made sure that I was eating the correct portions.”

Now, Sarah decides against her sweet treats, having curbed the craving for her beloved chocolate.

“My weakness is chocolate,” she admitted.

“I used to eat a bar on the way back from the supermarket to our house. Now, I have a banana instead.

“I can have chocolate on the WW programme, but I tend to avoid it because I am not the sort of person who can eat one square, I want to eat the whole bar.”

While Sarah’s diet was under control, she swore against exercise because she “hated the idea”.

So instead, she and her husband tried out Latin dancing, and to their surprise they both loved it.

She said: “When I joined WW, I told my coach that I would never exercise. I hated the idea.

“I had always wanted to dance and don’t really see it as exercise, because I enjoy it so much. So does Ian. We are always down at the dance centre.

“I am obsessed with it and I love wearing nice dresses to dance in too – I used to hate having my photo taken, because I would always be in baggy clothes or pyjama bottoms at home.

“Now, I have a wardrobe full of lovely frocks and I am first in front of the camera. My family always loved me for who I was, but are delighted by the new me. I am too – I am so much happier.”

She added: “I have changed my attitude to exercise too. I’ve even started running and was shocked when I ran 5K on my first ever jog.”

Sarah reached her goal of 10st and becoming a size 10, but she still continues to attend WW workshops.

She still has a sweet tooth and will occasionally treat herself to a small slice of cake and enjoys an Indian takeaway once a month: “I also get Ian to make me WW fakeaways, which taste just as good as the real thing,” she said.

“WW is part of my life now and it always will be. The programme really works and the community is really special.

“Before, I would rarely go out. I wanted to hide. Now, I love dressing up and socialising. It’s hard to comprehend how much I have changed.

“It took a long time for me to recognise the person staring back at me in the mirror after I’d reached my goal weight.”

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