5:00am Tuesday 21st January 2014
By Tara Russell
IT was the moment Becky Hill wanted the ground to swallow her up.
For 15 mortifying minutes the mum-of-one was wedged in a children's slide and unable to move.
Tipping the scales at 15-and-a-half stone for her 5ft 3inch frame and wearing size 20 clothes, Becky had to dive up onto the apparatus at the Chandler’s Ford children’s soft play park after her baby Genevieve ventured off.
But once up, there was only one way down.
“I had to lie flat on my back to get through a tiny gap, wedge myself into the top of the slide and then I got completely stuck.
“I was proper wedged and children were queuing behind me. The play centre was packed with all these mums staring at this fat woman stuck on the soft play slide.
“It was the most mortifying experience of my life.
“I quickly left.
“I was absolutely devastated. I thought ‘my God, I’m a fat mum. If I can’t even run around and get down the slide at soft play, how can I look after my own daughter?’”
Becky before with her daughter Genevieve
Humiliated and unable to return to the soft play group, Becky went in search of another toddler group at the end of January last year.
But the 34-year-old accidentally stumbled across a Slimming World group mistaking it for a mums group and joined – completely by accident.
“I walked in there, saw all these kids running around, saw people queuing up and there was a big table of food. I thought ‘this is a good group teaching you about food’, then the form said Slimming World on the top. I thought I can’t leave because I’d already embarrassed myself at soft play so I thought I’d better stay.
“I was heartbroken when I got on the scales.
“I remember I phoned my mum and said I have just joined Slimming World but I didn’t mean to!”
But her mistake paid off because just one year later Becky has lost nearly six stone and is now a slinky size 10 weighing a svelte 9st 9lbs.
“I lost half a stone in the first two weeks and 3.5 stone in 17 weeks - not bad considering it was the best blonde moment I’ve ever had.
“It must have been fate me getting stuck down that slide because I was so desperate to find another group I just stumbled on it. Who knows how big I’d be now if I hadn’t have joined by accident?
“Now, it’s the best thing to ever happen to me.”
Becky was overweight from childhood and bullied in the playground.
Aged 12 sheweighed 12 stone and put on a stone each year.
“At school they used to say ‘you can move any mountain but you can’t move Becky Hill’, I was Miss Piggy because I used to collect little pigs and they’d say ‘don’t bend over because you’ll cause a solar eclipse.’ “My dad used to call me ‘half a loaf’ because I used to come home from school and eat half a loaf of bread.”
Becky said she resorted to all the fad diets - eating cabbage soup, a Diet Coke diet, a tomato diet and even admits she took pills and abused laxatives as a teenager.
“I never knew what it was like to be slim. I could never wear a bikini. It was just awful, I was always a fat person. I tried every diet under the sun but nothing worked.”
Becky says she became her lightest at 11st 2lbs after meeting her fiance Andy Folkard when she ate vegetables for dinner and spent hours a week at the gym.
But when the public access officer for Thames Valley Police fell pregnant, the vegetarian ate more than ever swapping evening meals for tubs of icecream and gorging on biscuits, chocolate, peanut butter sandwiches and meals laden with cheese and oil.
“I got really fat”, she says.
“I ate what I wanted and I didn’t move.
“My feet were so swollen I could only wear flip flops and I wore them through until Christmas.
“I had pelvic girdle pain, it was awful. I had to get an elderly neighbour to help me back up the stairs after I went down to see if the postman had been.”
But since she swapped the high calorie food for fresh, hearty homemade meals including her favourite dish vegetarian chilli with a big portion of vegetables, she has never felt happier.
Becky, who loves being able to fit in a size 10, says: “Hitting my target weight was the best Christmas present I’ve ever had.
“I have to do a double take when I catch a reflection of myself in a shop window. I think ‘who’s that?’ and for the first time in my life, I like myself. I can’t believe how happy and healthy I am.
“I can go to soft play now and not be the fat mum who gets stuck in the slide.”
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