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When bubbly Chloe went to see a film with friends, she was looking forward to a night out and a large box of popcorn. The last thing she expected was to see a version of her own life on the big screen staring right back at her. The film was ‘The DUFF’, an acronym for ‘Designated Ugly Fat Friend’ and she realised immediately that the film was about her.
At 19 stone Chloe, 23, knew she stood out among her friends for all the wrong reasons. It was time to cast herself in a new role. Chloe says: “I saw that film and it almost made me laugh it was so bad. But when I realised it was about me I was horrified.
“I knew then that I didn’t want to be the DUFF anymore, I wanted to be one of the thin ones that boys wanted to talk to, not just the boring best friend. It really made me question why anyone would ever look at me and think I was attractive?”
Amazingly, a year later Chloe is a healthy 11 stone, having dropped almost half her body weight through patience, diet and exercise. She says: “I was perceived as being big from quite a young age, I was skinny up until 12-13. I think it was when I started getting pocket money that I began to gain weight.
“I had the freedom to get sweets from the shop and when I started working it got even worse. When I left home and started work I’d be in TGI Friday’s at lunch times gorging on fatty deep fried food. The thought of it makes me feel quite sick now.
“All the takeaways at night and lack of home cooked meals didn’t help. Before I moved out my mum would always make sure I had veg.”
It didn’t help that Chloe’s boyfriend at the time was a wind surfer with a huge appetite and would often eat two dinners. She explains: “Sometimes after dinner he’d then suggest we have a pizza. Then I’d usually want something for pudding, apple pie or ice cream.
“I would often see how big I could make things, one time I made the biggest burger I could. It had egg, sausage, lots of bacon. Now I know about the calories in it, I can’t believe I did it. I’ll still have a burger now but it’s a one off.
“I don’t believe in totally depriving myself but if I eat out with friends on the weekend now I’d probably go for chicken at Nando’s and choose a healthier option.
Chloe was always self-conscious about her weight and would make sure any pictures posted on social media were selfies, all taken from flattering angles. She says: “I got a huge shock when I saw a picture I hadn’t posed for taken at my grandma’s 80th birthday party.
“It was very off guard and when I saw it I couldn’t believe how wide my bum was. That was one of the moments I remember thinking ‘Chloe you need to lose weight now’.
“But deep down I couldn’t picture myself thin, or even find the motivation to try.
“I’d tried so many things before; patches, freezing the fat off, raspberry ketones, weight loss pills… I tried everything apart from actually just losing weight! And it cost me so much money. My slender tone belt cost over £100! But it turns out that the cheapest option is the best and easiest way.”
The collections manager from Poole, Dorset, discovered an app that helped her count calories.
Chloe explains: “It worked out that if I ate 1500 calories a day I could lose 2lbs in a week so I thought ‘let’s try that, just do one week’.
“When I lost 2lbs after the first week I was so shocked that it had worked. I decided to do it for another week and if it worked again then it couldn’t have been a fluke.
“When I lost the next two pounds it was a lightbulb moment for me. I said to myself, ‘this actually works!’”
Her weight loss methods have now been honed over time although she admits that she does still have work to do. She says: “I do have a bit of belly fat to lose but I can’t help thinking that if I had started ages ago it would be so much easier than it is now.
“My attitude to life is totally different since I lost the weight. My confidence has soared. It used to be at rock bottom. Growing up Chloe always stood out among her friends.
She played the role of the bubbly, happy girl on nights out, but was constantly left watching from the side lines as her slimmer friends got endlessly chatted up.
“At school I had a lot of male friends but none that fancied me, I felt more comfortable around the boys because they were less concerned about looks and shopping. All the girls would go clothes shopping every weekend and whenever I went a long I just felt really embarrassed. If I went shopping I’d never try anything on because I was too shy.
“I didn’t even like shopping with my mum. She’d shout things across the shop like, ‘they’ve got this in a size 18 Chloe’. It was mortifying. And all the shops I wanted to buy clothes from, like Topshop and New Look, usually didn’t have my size anyway, as an 18-year-old having to shop in M&S is a bit depressing!
But now Chloe’s dropped eight stone she says shopping is like being a kid in a sweet shop. She says: “I’m still getting my head around fashion and all the choices, I used to always just wear leggings and a T shirt, but now mum will say “no, you must try this on” like she did with a really beautiful flowery dress I bought recently.
“I would never have picked it out on my own, it’s so hard for me trying new things I don’t want to feel deflated.”
Fashion is a much bigger part of Chloe’s life now, especially as she has to keep buying new things every time she shrinks. She says: “All the clothes from last summer don’t fit anymore.
“All my friends get jealous that I’m always buying new clothes but it’s actually really expensive buying a whole new wardrobe! I really can’t wait to have a full wardrobe of stuff that actually fits me. I’ve only kept on to one old thing to remind me of how far I’ve come, a huge pair of men’s XXL golf shorts.”
With the help of a supportive new engineer boyfriend Sam, 25, she turned her life around one day at a time. “Sam is really amazing. When I met him I was still a little but big, around 15 stone. I was quite happy with that but he pushed me to do even better. I’d really like to be able to help others lose weight. I know how it feels to be big, and I know how the mind works in that situation.
“I’m training to become a personal trainer now. My whole life has changed for the better, I feel healthier, happier and I’m not scared to do things anymore. If someone said to me this time last year I would be doing all this and have lost all the weight, I’d never have believed them. I feel like I have saved years off my life and I know if I can do it, anyone can do it.”
The former self confessed DUFF has come a long way since she saw the film which changed her life, and her body, forever.
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