I had struggled with my weight from being in my very early teens and all the way through school I was teased for it.
I was terrible at sports and always struggled to keep up with the rest of my school friends. I had a tough home life and found comfort eating was a way to cope. By age 20 I was pushing a size UK 18 - 20.
I'd dieted (well, gone through periods of starving myself) to get slim but when I did manage to loose weight it soon crept back on.
At 28 I was admitted to hospital unexpectedly and diagnosed with a rare genetic heart condition. Left ventricular non-compaction cardiomyopathy. Early heart disease. I was informed that it was something that I had been born with and had got increasingly worse over time. The reason why I was so bad at sports in school was because my heart simply didn't have the power behind it to cope with vigorous exercise but we never knew.
Anyway, after a few months in hospital, a bit of a scare and a pacemaker fitted I decided to have a lifestyle change. I started eating healthier, cut down on alcohol and started to appreciate life a bit more.
After almost 20 years of having body image issues I have finally now learnt to accept who I am and just be happy that I am still here.
The plus side of this is that now I can get out there and do all the things I never had the courage to do before like swimming which has helped tone up my body also.
I am now a healthy size 14 with curves. I feel confident wearing dresses again and can finally look in the mirror and think I look good. Sure, I still have my off days and wish I was slimmer still, but who doesn't. I'm still 'overweight' but I feel I am now at a weight I can maintain and be comfortable with.