Irish Amy loses seven stone after she was inspired by her husband's cancer battle
When her husband fell ill, Amy O'Riordan found herself comfort-eating and gaining weight. However, since returning to Weight Watchers she found the motivation to shed over 100 pounds
In 2011 - my first year of blissful marriage - my handsome, healthy, witty, strong husband became very ill.
My rock, my love, my best friend. He was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma which was at a borderline Stage 4.
My world could have crumbled, but together, we muddled our way through a blur of scans, biopsies, chemotherapy, surgery, drips, morphine and lots of other medical words that still make my skin crawl.
I watched my amazing husband make it onto the dreaded critical list in November 2011 and then slowly regain his strength in the months that followed. After a testing, tear-filled few months, my warrior reached complete remission and was told he was cancer-free. Since then he has gone from strength to strength and is now the picture of health - health being the key word.
Everything that happened to my beloved made me realise our life really is so precious. We don't know what is right around the corner or what battles we might face. So why waste time with excuses like "I'll do something proactive about my weight tomorrow, I don't feel like it today." Or "I'll go for that walk tomorrow, I'm too tired today."
In the year of caring for my love I gained a LOT of weight. I reached my original goal in 2008, losing three stone to get there, but due to lack of attending regular classes, bad habits sneaking back in and then with Andrew becoming ill, I lost the complete run of myself. During Andrew's stay in hospital my diet consisted of Coke, chocolate and muffins from the little shop on his ward, as I rarely left his side. He was my priority and my weight escalated.
A new start
I beat myself up for months, but did nothing about it, other than continue to comfort eat. And then it clicked. Please God, one day we will have a family. I want to be here to watch them grow up. I want to be able to go for walks and not get out of breath. I want to feel like I am living each day with my miracle husband to the fullest and not look back with regrets.
In June 2012 I decided to start trying to be healthier. Little changes here and there. I slowly started to feel I was regaining control of my eating, and as the pounds began to come off, I started to realise I CAN do this. On the 30th of May 2013 I rejoined Weight Watchers after losing 26 pounds following WW at home. I realised I needed the support and motivation a class could offer me.
Walking through the doors for the first time I was embarrassed, mortified, ashamed. You name it, I felt it. Then I was reminded that every Weight Watchers leader was once a member standing in my shoes. I stepped off those scales, let go of the past and focused on the future.
Since my rejoin, I have lost a further 77 pounds bringing my weight loss to 103 pounds in total. I set myself small, achievable goals and focused on 'non-scale victories' just as much as the numbers on the scales.
I also discovered that I love experimenting with food! Since reaching my goal I have set up a Facebook page to share my enthusiasm for healthy cooking. (www.facebook.com/growingintherightdirection)
Another huge victory for me was standing on the top of Carrauntoohil with my husband in August of last year. It was a personal goal of Andrew's since he had been ill, and for me it was like climbing my own personal Everest. A few years previously I had huffed and puffed my way up a small mountain in Kerry but was ashamed at how unfit I was. I was desperate to enjoy life with my husband but struggled to keep up with his new lease of life.
Standing on top of the tallest mountain in Ireland with Andrew by my side made all the ups and downs of my journey so worthwhile. Life is for treasuring, and I will treasure every single mountain we can now climb together.
In April of this year I was delighted to begin training to become a Weight Watchers leader. I am so excited to encourage other people along their unique weight loss journeys.
I want to offer others the support and motivation I found so helpful. I can't think of a better way to help people achieve their goals.
My before foods would have included a sugary cereal for breakfast followed by two slices of toast with butter and jam or peanut butter.
Lunch would have been something like a cheese and ham sandwich on white bread or more toast.
Dinner would have been anything from frozen pizza to creamy pasta with cheese.
I could easily have had chocolate, crisps or jellies throughout the day too. When Andrew was sick I would have eaten on the go – frozen pizzas, takeaways, anything fast.
My food now would typically start with a breakfast of porridge with skimmed milk and lots of fresh fruit.
At 11am I usually have 0% fat Greek yoghurt and fruit.
My lunch ranges from homemade soup with porridge bread to an omelette or a pizza wrap.
My dinner can be anything from a spicy chicken curry with wholegrain rice to a roast dinner with oven roasted veggies and potatoes.
My snacks are now things like rice cakes, Weight Watchers bars and of course lots of yummy fruit.