'I've watched people find confidence they never knew they could have'
Leader of the Year Verette tells us why she is so passionate about helping people realise their goals
I never had a weight problem until after I had my second daughter. I had been working shifts for years and somehow the hours naturally lent themselves to staying slim. However, when my daughter was still young I decided to leave work and stay at home full-time. While I was at home I began to experiment with cooking and baking, the only problem being that I was my own best customer! The weight just piled on and over two years I went from being 10 stone to 14 stone 7 pounds.
I tried all of the usual things like walking and cutting back on food, but never in a structured way. The most I managed to lose was seven pounds. Then I realised that I couldn't do it on my own. I had been a healthy weight for such a long time that joining a slimming group never even entered my head, but then I saw a sign for Weight Watchers and I decided to give it a go.
From the very first class, I loved it. It took me 51 weeks to get to my goal and during that time I only missed one meeting. I really hated being the size that I was so the prospect of being disciplined and changing things really hooked me in. My love of cooking never abated - it just changed from being full fat everything to learning how to cook tasty, healthy food.
I never had any intention of going back to work, but it was suggested to me a few times that I'd make a good leader, so eventually I decided to see what it was about. I thought being in Weight Watchers was just going to be a little part-time job to keep me going - how wrong I was!
As I began to watch people transform in front of my eyes and witness the difference that I could help them to make in their lives, it became so much more than a job. I've watched people find confidence they never knew they could have. It is a privilege.
I love getting into people's psyche and really working with them to keep them motivated. In turn they become a constant source of inspiration to me.
When I think back to the day I first walked into my Weight Watchers meeting and how my life has changed since then, it's been incredible.
I was absolutely delighted and shocked to win Leader of the Year. My reward comes every day through working with people in the meeting room, so I really didn't expect to receive any other reward, but it was a lovely surprise.
Some people who have never been before think of us as a 'fat club'. I hate that term and it's nowhere near the truth. This is a place where you go to learn how to cook, how to plan and how to lead a healthy lifestyle. It's not a quick fix, it's a gateway to changing your life.
Feeling inspired to become a Weight Watchers leader after reading Verette's story? We're currently looking for leaders for the Wicklow, Kildare, Mayo, Sligo and Kerry areas. For more details see weightwatchers.ie, call (01) 8703900 or email customerservice@ weightwatchers.ie.
My tips for success . . .
• Don't just come and 'get the books' then leave - that's not going to work. You can buy a million books on weight loss and if they worked alone then we would all be slim. You have to stay for the meeting and commit to the plan. If you do, you will see results.
• So many people have pre-conceived notions about what Weight Watchers is and what they might have to do when they get here. Leave all that behind, give it a go and I promise you'll be amazed at what you will find.
Learn more about Verette's passion for good food and healthy living at www.abetterme.ie
NAME: Verette O'Sullivan
WAS:14st 7lbs / 92kg
NOW: 10st 3lbs / 65kg
LOST: 4st 4lbs / 27kg
HEIGHT: 5ft 4