Name: Myriam Rickenbach
Height: 5ft 8in (172cm)
Weight before: 18 stone (114kg)
Weight now: 10st 7lbs (67kg)
Clothes size before: 28
Clothes size now: 8/10
Total weight loss: 7st 7lb (47kg)
For Myriam Rickenbach, her weight loss means one thing.“Total freedom!” she laughs. “Life is so good now. I love it. It’s freedom!”
Over 17 months, from April 2019 to September 2020, Myriam lost an amazing 7st 7lb. “I was very skinny as a child and a normal weight as a teenager and into early adulthood,” she remembers. “My weight gain started around my mid-20s. I loved to eat, go out with friends to the pub, or for dinner and drinks. I also ate non-stop at home.” Myriam’s weight slowly began to pile up, and as she got bigger she began to eat out of depression, not just from a love of food and socialising. “I felt bad because of my size, so I ate more. It was a vicious circle,” she explains.
“I saw the photos and I knew I had to do something.”
The turning point came for Myriam when she was invited to a friend’s wedding in Chicago. It was nine months away, so she was determined to lose three stone for the big day. “I’d always wanted to lose this weight,” she says. “I would start, lose one-and-a-half stone, then put it all back on. I’d try again, lose three stone, then put it all and more on.” Unfortunately, Myriam again ended up gaining weight, so was far bigger than she wanted to before her friend’s wedding. “It was disastrous! I had to go to the U.S. and find something to wear there. My legs swelled up so badly on the flight that I couldn’t fit into my shoes and I had to wear trainers to the wedding!”
When she saw photos of herself at the wedding, Myriam was horrified. “I was so shocked,” she recalls. “I had looked so hard to find a dress that wasn’t black or ugly. I finally found one I liked and thought I looked slim – I felt confident in it. When you’ve been overweight for a long time you get used to it; you think it’s OK and you’re not so big. People tell you that too and it’s easy to believe. But I saw the photos and I knew I had to do something.”
As well as unhappiness, Myriam’s weight was also causing her health problems. Painful joints, swollen legs and bad knees were now part of everyday life for her. She felt ashamed of her size too. “I tried to cover myself up with scarves when I went out, at work or amongst people.”
“The GetSlim programme is so good”
When Myriam returned from her friend’s wedding, she decided to take action. She reactivated her GetSlim membership, which she had previously joined but never used properly. “I started the programme and was absolutely determined not to get any bigger. I was determined to lose weight every week – even if it was just 100g!” She followed the Amazing Inch LossPlan, although she did occasionally switch to other programmes too. “The great thing is all the diet plans work equally well and you can lose weight with all of them,” she enthuses.
“The GetSlim programme is so good. It’s not difficult to follow at all. You can still eat nice things. There’s no deprivation. Of course, I was hungry to start with. But I looked at it like this: if I’m hungry, I’m losing weight. The next meal is not far off – it’s not as if I’m going to starve. You have to think positive: that you are losing weight.”
Myriam immersed herself in GetSlim and spent lots of time on the website. “It is really excellent. You can find all sorts of recipes to cook, and articles to read. If I was ever bored or hungry, I’d read through them and choose a recipe to make next. There are so many options to choose from– there’s something to keep everyone going.”
Initially, Myriam found the afternoons tough, a time she would often spend munching on biscuits or cake. Instead, she made GetSlim’s oat, banana and cinnamon breakfast cookies. “I had one in the afternoon with a cup of Horlicks Light and that kept me going,” she explains. “The evenings were also a bad time for me when it came to food. So after dinner, I started to have a cup of cinnamon or chai tea, and that stopped me wanting something sweet.”
Myriam’s hard work and determination quickly began to payoff. “I lost about 1kg every week and that was a really big motivation to keep going. I wanted to see my next weight loss at every weigh in.”
“I may not enjoy working out, but I love the results”
Myriam admits that exercise was not a big part of her life before joining GetSlim. She attended a Zumba class once a week, but beyond that, her activity levels were low. As well as transforming her eating habits, she also began going to the gym five or six times a week. “I worked out, went to Legs, Bums and Tums classes, and did Pilates once a week.” As with her eating, Myriam committed herself to this new lifestyle. “I went religiously! If the weather was bad, I went. If I my joints were sore or I had a headache, I went. If I was busy, I made time to go.” As she admits, she didn’t particular enjoy exercising. “I approached it like going to work or brushing my teeth,”she explains. “You don’t think about whether you are going to do it, you just get on and do it. If you start to think about it, there are always reasons not to go. I may not enjoy working out, but I love the results.”
At first, Myriam found going to the gym intimidating.“Everyone was slim, and people stared at me. They looked at me in disgust.Also, I couldn’t do a lot of the exercises to start with because of my bad knees or because my belly was too big. It was upsetting but I told myself it would be better the next time and kept going. I said that every time I went, I was getting slimmer.”
As she got slimmer, Myriam did find exercising easier. She remembers the moment when she could finally hold the plank position: “It was a revelation! I was so happy! I couldn’t do it for months because I was too heavy. It felt really great. I would say to anyone, if you’re struggling, keep going. It will get better each time you go back.” She also found that her fellow gym-goers changed towards her as she slimmed down. “I would always say hello, but now they talked to me and commented on my weight loss.”
“It was a total lifestyle change”
Myriam enjoyed the support of those closest to her on her journey. “My partner is very supportive and enjoys the GetSlim recipes, which makes it easier. We make one, I take my serving with a Portion Pot and he eats the rest!” She liked reading the GetSlim online chats, although she didn’t join in with the conversation herself. “I don’t really chat online, but I read some of the discussions, and people were very nice and supportive. The coaches were really encouraging too – they congratulated me every week, which was more motivation. They also follow up on how you’re doing and are very responsive, so you never feel like you’re on your own.”
Since reaching her weight of 10st 7lb, everyday life has changed hugely for Myriam. “Literally a huge weight fell off me!” she laughs.“It meant total freedom in everything. On public transport, people sat near me again. I can go into any clothes shop now and staff greet me. When you’re overweight, staff ignore you. I always fused to go into shops to see what was there, and I was ignored.
“I was always so afraid of flying. It was hard to fasten the safety belt, then very uncomfortable. I was too ashamed to ask for an extension. I couldn’t put the table down properly because it rested on my belly. It was so horrible. I could have screamed with happiness when I got on a plane and there was a gap between the table and my body!
“People treat me differently, and speak to me differently. I really noticed that when I changed jobs part of the way through my weight loss.It means freedom in every aspect of life.” She recalls times when her weight caused her problems, and how liberating it is not to have to worry about that now. “I had a job interview in the summer of 2019. It was very hot, my clothes were black and too tight, so I felt very uncomfortable. I had to walk quickly with the recruiter to another building and I couldn’t keep up with her. We had to go up some stairs, and I couldn’t maintain a conversation with her.
“When I sat down for the interview I was pouring with sweat.I felt horrible and couldn’t concentrate. Unsurprisingly I didn’t get the job –I wouldn’t have employed me either!” Myriam contrasts this experience with how she lives now, free from worrying about her size. “I can do anything now. We rented kayaks on holiday last year and I was quite happy to get in one in front of lots of people. I was able to hop in and out and have lots of fun; I didn’t have to think about it. I wouldn’t have been able to do that before.”
Myriam admits that losing so much weight was hard work. “ButI had my goal in front of me and just wanted to get there. I didn’t want to live the rest of my life in this body shape and full of shame. It was a total lifestyle change. This is how I will live my life from now on, and it’s not difficult. There are so many little things that I can enjoy every day now.Everything is possible!”
Myriam’s Top Tips
· Stick to the programme – no excuses, no exceptions! It is so easy to come off track and tell yourself that you’ll start again next Monday.
· Swap dinner dates for coffee dates. Instead of meeting friends for a meal out and drinks, I arranged to meet them for a coffee instead. It worked very well for me.
· Keep some meals in the freezer. There will always be a time when you haven’t organised a meal for the evening or don’t have time to cook. Instead of getting a take away, you can have something from the freezer. I freeze soups and spare portions of the GetSlim recipes.
· If you’re craving chocolate or biscuits, have something else. I would have a banana, and while eating it, ask myself if I wanted to risk all this weight loss just for some chocolate. The answer was always no!
· Read labels. If the calorie or fat level is too high, I just put it back and don’t buy it.
· Keep a food journal. I wrote mine in a notebook but there is a great online version on GetSlim.
· Work out! Be as active as you can be – any thing is better than nothing. You burn so many more calories, it helps you lose weight faster, reduces the amount of loose skin you have, and gives you a feel-good boost.
· Keep going. Following an eating programme may be hard at the beginning but that soon stops. You find you don’t have the desire to eat as you once did. Inch by inch, you feel better and better, and you won’t want to go back to your old ways.
Words: Tori Perrot
*Weight-loss results may vary