We're in this together
WOMAN'S OWN|September 28, 2020
We're in this together
Steph Aburrow, 32, learnt that a little help from a friend can go a long way

Opening another bottle of wine and grabbing the box of chocolates from the fridge, I headed back to the living room. ‘We really shouldn’t have any more,’ protested my best friend Debra, then 27, spying the treats in my hand. I rolled my eyes and tutted at her. ‘Come on, we’re celebrating! It’s not every year you get married!’ With that, we polished off the lot – but, as always, the guilt soon set in when talk turned to Debra’s wedding in just seven months’ time.

‘I don’t want to feel fat on my wedding day,’ Debra sighed. I knew how she felt because I was dreading squeezing into my royal-blue maid-of-honour dress, too. But I’d tried to lose weight before and had failed miserably after I piled it all back on again shortly after. Willpower was not my strong point.

Growing up, I was always one of the bigger girls in my friendship circle. As a teenager, my friends were all size 8s and, next to them, I felt huge in my size 12-14 jeans. I always tried to eat healthily but I was never happy with my size. Then, shortly after turning 18, I fell pregnant with my daughter Lillie – and it was during one of my antenatal classes that I met Debra, then 17.

Like me, she didn’t want to be seen as a stereotypical teenage mum – we both wanted to continue studying at university, get good jobs and give our children the best lives possible – and we soon became inseparable. We even gave birth just five days apart. But even with a great friend like her by my side, my confidence when it came to my body was low.

I signed up to WW and stuck to the diet plan for the best part of a year, and by the time Lillie turned one in September 2007 I’d hit my target weight of 8st 7lb . At 5ft 1in, I felt fantastic and had absolutely no intention of ever putting weight back on, so I left the group thinking I was finally in control. But it’s never that simple.

In the years that followed, my willpower and motivation wavered. ‘I deserve a little treat,’ I’d reason to myself, gorging a tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream most nights after work as an account manager for a wine merchant.


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September 28, 2020