I lost 4st after I couldn’t fit into fancy dress costume
Lisa Lockwood’s fancy-dress New Year’s Eve parties were legendary and as the hostess, she always made sure she had on one of the best costumes. And last New Year was no exception – she was going as Cinderella.
“I found the perfect dress for £30 on eBay. It said it was a size 18 so I was pretty sure it would fit. It was just the right blue and covered in netting and gorgeous sparkly bits at the top,” Lisa recalls.
“I was going to do my hair in a bouffant and wear long white gloves. I was really looking forward to it as Cinderella is my favourite Disney film and I’d told everyone that I was going to dress as her.”
But two days before she almost didn’t get to the ball.
As usual, the mum-of-three had put on eight or nine pounds over the festive period and as she tried to zip up the dress, it wouldn’t budge and she was left with a big section of tummy sticking out.
“It was like something out of a comedy except I didn’t find it funny at all. My husband Dave had his knee up on my back pulling the sides of the dress together, desperately trying to zip it up while I was sucking my tummy in,” she says.
But in the end, it was no good and poor Lisa was reduced to tears, howling in her bedroom as Dave and her daughter Ruby tried to comfort her with hugs.
Pulling herself together, she decided to wear a 50s-style polka-dot dress with a stretchy back that she knew would go over the Christmas excess.
“At the party, everyone was asking why I wasn’t there as Cinderella and I just told them ‘I’m too fat for my dress’. They were all so sweet about it but I’d already decided that this was the final straw and I knew I had to lose weight,” she says.
The fancy-dress costume drama gave her the nudge she needed to lose weight and now four stone lighter she’s slim and full of energy.
“I was so upset that day when I couldn’t get the dress on. I felt terrible and a huge failure. But in a way, I’m grateful because it force me into losing weight and I feel like I’ve been reborn,” says Lisa, 43.
Slim as a teenager, it was only when she had her first child Kyle, now 19, that she noticed the weight begin to creep on.
Although she didn’t eat huge portions, Lisa would happily have a sausage roll for lunch, a piece of cake as a snack and a dinner of pasta and sauce from a jar in the evening.
After her second baby Ruby, now 14, was born, she weighed more than 12st and the pounds didn’t seem to shift.
Soon after her third child Alex, now 10, was born, she was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid, which slowed down her metabolism.
“Before my thyroid condition was diagnosed, I was exhausted and falling asleep all the time. I ended up eating stodgy food to give me energy, making me put on more weight.” says the part-time home hairdresser.
“After the diagnosis, I tried slimming clubs but I would lose a few pounds before putting it on again.”
Desperate to hide her flab, Lisa, from Lowestoft, Suffolk, found herself relying on a uniform of leggings and tunic dresses.
Image: black bridesmaid dresses
“I stuck to stretchy clothes in a size 16 as much as I could even though I really needed an 18 and even wore some of my late mother-in-law’s size 20 dresses,” says Lisa, who is 5ft 4in.
But the one time of year that Lisa would let her hair down and shed this uniform was at New Year for her annual party.
Lisa and husband Dave, a 42-year-old project manager for the water board, have been throwing New Year parties since 1999.
And according to Lisa, their friends and family love to dress up coming as all sorts from Oompa-Loompas to Captain America.
But as the years passed and her weight went up to 14st, dressing up wasn’t fun.
“In 2013, I dressed up as Marilyn Monroe. But I realised I looked like a barrel. Marilyn was curvy. I looked huge and felt so miserable that I ended up drowning my sorrows,” she says.
Then came the Cinderella incident and just five days into 2015, Lisa joined slimming club Kick Start Fat Loss.
“I really hoped this diet would work for me because it was a low-GI plan that I’d been told should be compatible with my underactive thyroid and also a hormone deficiency I have. I was so nervous but everyone welcomed me and I realised they were there to help.
“Weighing in at 14st 7lb was upsetting but I knew I was on the right path. I prayed I could do it.”
After the first week of the month’s detox where all caffeine, sugar, alcohol and refined carbs are removed, Lisa had lost six pounds and knew she would never go back to her old ways.
Swapping her old breakfast of porridge or a banana for egg and vegetable frittatas and eating three unprocessed meals a day, she dropped a stone in three weeks.
“Once I got into it, I found the plan easy to follow and have re-educated myself on eating. I stick to ‘clean’ food now and make almost everything from scratch,” says Lisa.
“Sometimes I have to be more inventive – like making my own BBQ sauce from passata and paprika – but seeing the weight come off means I never mind having to work a bit harder.”
As the months passed, Lisa carried on and is now 10st 7lb. Her wardrobe has been through a few changes too as she has been forced to get rid of three bags of clothes that were too big.
But her proudest moment came just last month when she went to a charity ball to raise funds for a children’s epilepsy charity, The Daisy Garland Trust.
Wearing a size-14 black ball dress with a white panel and sparkly shoes, Lisa treated herself to professional hair and make-up to reward herself.
“It was such a great evening and I finally felt like the princess I should have been at Christmas. There were lots of people there I hadn’t seen for a while and everyone noticed my weight loss.
“Afterwards, I posted a photo on Facebook and got so many lovely comments. The whole thing was really magical,” smiles Lisa.
And now, the Cinderella costume that didn’t fit is huge on Lisa.
“I was so upset at the time but now I’m so pleased as it gave me the final push I needed,” she says.
“I never thought I could be this slim and I do a double-take when I realise I’m so much smaller.
“So much of my life was spent dreaming of looking like a princess but now I know I’ve lost weight forever and nothing’s stopping me from going to the ball!”