Super glamourous Patsy Nolan used to hide in the background. Now since losing over 5 stone, she is more confident than ever and is standing tall and leading the troops at her own Unislim class in Limerick.
Growing up, I would have always been a bit overweight. I started comfort eating after being bullied at age 13 and had to change schools. Thankfully, I found great friends in my new school, but would still reach for crisps, chocolate and junk food, a habit that would continue into my forties.
I moved out when I was 24 and started cooking for myself, but this was short lived. I soon met my husband, we both worked shift hours, so picking up the phone to order take outs or going out to eat seemed like a much more convenient option than cooking. How wrong was I!
I lost some weight before our wedding, but once the honeymoon was over, I went back to my old ways and after the birth of each of two sons, the weight just kept topping up.
It wasn’t until I saw a picture of myself on Facebook that my weight gain really hit home. I’d been at a 40th birthday party and I spotted a photo of me with two friends and I got such a shock, I started crying. I hadn’t realised I’d let myself go as bad as I had.
In October 2014, I asked my sister if she’d join a slimming group and she said she would. However, life kept getting in the way and it wasn’t until April 2015 that I actually walked into my first Unislim class in Newcastle West.
It was nervous but I decided there and then that I needed to make this work. My leader, Ann Hynes was brilliant. She said ‘We’re going to tackle this one pound at a time’ and that’s exactly what I did.
I couldn’t believe it when I lost 6 pounds in my first week!
People were asking me what was I doing differently and my answer was “I am eating more food than ever”. I learned that you have to eat to get your metabolism moving and that’s something I wasn’t doing before. That’s what I love about Unislim, it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. They teach you about food, they teach you about eating healthy delicious food.
The person you see now and the person I was in 2014 are two different people. I wouldn’t have put myself forward for anything, I wouldn’t have been able to stand up in public and speak. I was too embarrassed to be seen out walking before, as I was so big. When I joined Unislim I started some exercise classes but always stayed at the back of the class. Now, I’ve become a Unislim leader and have the confidence to stand up and give a class talk every week.
And It has had a ripple effect – my two sisters and two nieces have also joined Unislim and are loving it. I have a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old son and my new attitude on life has had a knock-on effect on them. They’re starting to say ‘I can do this’ and ‘I’ll try that’ when they see me trying things. My weight held me back in so many ways. I now believe ‘I can do’ whatever I set my mind to and nothing’s going to stop me. I have a fear of water but I’m about to learn to swim and I know I will do it. It’s just a confidence thing.
I’m enjoying my life and I am really excited for the future.