APPROACHING a milestone birthday often makes us stop to think about what we have achieved and what is still to come.
But for Nicole May, there was only one thing on her mind as her 30th birthday loomed — her weight.
At the age of 28, the Tesco sales assistant weighed 27st 7lb and was a size 28. Miserable and unable to think about reaching her fourth decade looking and feeling that way, Nicole made a pact with herself that would change her life forever — lose 10st before her birthday.
With friends and family unaware of her goal, Nicole overhauled her diet overnight, throwing away all the junk food in the house. Incredibly, Nicole reached her target and celebrated her 30th birthday in February 2019, just over 10st lighter.
Not only that, but she went on to lose another 3st this year, making her total weight loss 13st, leaving her 14st and a size 12.
Nicole, of Whitstable, Kent, says: “I’d always been conscious of my weight, but when my friends started turning 30, and I knew my big day was only 18 months away, something just clicked.
“I didn’t want to be hiding in the corner at my own birthday and knew if I didn’t act now I’d be miserable for my milestone. For some reason, having that goal to work towards kicked me into action. At 30 I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.
“I’m comfortable in myself in a way that I’ve never been before. And dressing up in a nice dress on my birthday was the ultimate feeling that just made me want to keep going. Now I’m starting my thirties more confident than ever.”
Nicole had struggled with her weight from a young age, but lacked the motivation to get healthy. She says: “I’ve always been bigger, and was bullied at secondary school.
“I used to spend my pocket money on sweets and chocolate and hoard them in my room to eat. It made me feel better. I was a size 22 when I was 16, and way bigger than any of my friends. I just loved junk food and after I started working I would buy KFC banquet meals on my way home from shifts at the supermarket.
“I tried a few times to lose weight. I joined a gym when I was 18, but was too self-conscious to go. I tried a weight- loss programme from my GP, but always fell back to bad habits.”
Nicole’s weight gain continued, but her lack of energy and low self-esteem was taking its toll. She says: “Every morning I woke up aching and tired, with no energy to face the day. I was 28 but felt 60. I’d stopped going on nights out with friends and just stayed at home.
"It was when I avoided a friend’s 30th birthday that I decided to change. I woke up and decided I wanted to feel good when I turned 30. I knew losing 10st was an ambitious goal, but I had to get serious if I was going to change.
“I was still living with my parents, so I sorted my room and the kitchen and threw out all unhealthy food. Within days I had headaches and felt sick from sugar withdrawal but I kept thinking of that goal.
“I stopped the takeaways and lunchtime crisps and stuck to veg, salad and white meat or tuna. On Saturdays I’d weigh myself and updated a chalkboard in my bedroom. In six months I lost 5st 7lb.
“It gave me the confidence to get a personal trainer and I couldn’t believe how much I loved the exercise. I lifted weights and felt confident and strong after every session. By October I’d reached my 10st goal, four months ahead of schedule, so I decided to keep going.”
Around that time Nicole’s life changed in another way. She says: “A message popped up on my Instagram from Larry. We’d met briefly at the gym and he wanted to know if I wanted to meet up. I couldn’t believe it. It was such a confidence boost, and after our first date in November 2018 we’ve never looked back.
“By my birthday in February I was down to 16st 12lb and a size 16 and couldn’t wait to dress up to go out. I had the best time, and everyone couldn’t stop telling me how proud they were. It was the best feeling.
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“It gave me the motivation to keep it up. I looked forward to my gym sessions and loved cooking my own meals. Today I can bench press 70kg and deadlift 170kg — I feel like a superwoman! I now weigh 14st and wear a size 12.
“What I’ve achieved has only hit me recently. I’m not pretending to be happy, like I used to do — I really am happy. I wish I could give my younger self a kick and convince her to do all this sooner.
“I’m so glad I’m fit at 30 and I really feel this is the best version of me — happy and healthy, for life.”
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