With tempting festive treats all around, it is the time of year when everyone starts putting on the pounds.
But the only thing Liz Hepburn will be putting on this Christmas is the party outfit of her dreams – having lost eight-and-a half stone in a year.
Liz, 41, from Gorgie, slimmed from 19.5 stone to 11 in just over a year, losing almost half her body weight.
The IT manager decided to take action after a planned trip to Italy by the Beavers Scouts group where she is a leader brought back bad memories which she did not want to relive.
“We’d been on a trip before six years ago, and I couldn’t do anything while I was there – we all went for a walk but I couldn’t go,” she said.
“That was definitely a big part of the my motivation to start shedding pounds.
“It was thanks to that I decided that I really needed to lose the weight. Enough is enough.”
Having plucked up the determination to get in shape, Liz signed up to meetings of Weight Watchers to start getting some advice on what to do.
Once they helped her discover an unexpected passion for the gym she never looked back.
As the weight fell off, she was able to put her nightmares to rest and fully participate in the activity holiday in Italy.
Liz said: “The more I could move, the easier I found it to lose weight as I got my mobility back.
“I’d never been to a weight loss class before and this one really worked.
“Before, I would eat takeaways and prepared meals. It didn’t help that I live on my own so a lot of the time I couldn’t be bothered cooking and would eat unhealthy food.
“Now, the biggest portion on my plate is always vegetables.” Having slimmed down, Liz even feels confident enough to shed her uniform of black trousers and jeans and go for a more exciting look this Christmas.
“I’ve rediscovered dresses and skirts. The reaction I’ve had from friends and family has been absolutely fantastic.”
Rachel Mather Wilson, the award-winning leader who runs Liz’s Weight Watchers meetings at South Charlotte Street, said: “I’m so proud of Liz.
“She has been such a huge inspiration to myself and the other members.”
And Liz is confident she can resist the temptation of hot mince pies, brandy butter and pudding this festive season.
“Around Christmas, it is difficult because there’s so many treats on offer,” she said.
“But I try to treat Christmas Day as just one day and not eat unhealthily for the whole holiday.”
Liz, who will continue going to Weight Watchers to maintain her weight, said: “What makes the difference is the motivation and good advice I get from Rachel and the encouragement we all give each other in the meeting.”
SMART BUT SIMPLE TIPS FOR GUILTY PLEASURES
Weight Watchers leader Rachel Mather Wilson explains how to enjoy festive guilty pleasures without piling on the pounds.
• Drink dilemmas: Alcohol can lower your resolve and provide you with extra calories. Festive wines and beers can also lead you to eat and drink more than you had planned.
Solution: By making smarter choices, you can still enjoy a tipple without tipping the scales. Try swapping a 175ml glass of wine for a 25ml vodka and soda. Or swap a pint of Guinness for half a pint of lager.
• Snack attack: The abundance of savoury and sweet snacks around at this time of year can make you feel driven to distraction.
Solution: If you snack, track. Be aware of how many calories or ProPoints are in food and portion sizes of the foods you like.
• Chocolate overload: Hard to resist.
Solution: Plan for it in your calorie or ProPoints budget so you can enjoy a treat without worry.