Sophie Higginbottom had hidden from the camera for most of her life while struggling with her weight, but after taking up running in lockdown she’s ready to wow her guests in her dress
A bride to be has shed 9st ready for her wedding after avoiding cameras for so long that she barely recognised herself.
Sophie Higginbottom, 30, tipped the scales at 18st and wore a size 20 before she lost half her body weight dieting with Slimming World and taking up running.
Now Sophie of Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, can’t wait to become a ‘beautiful bride’ after getting engaged and dropping to a svelte size eight.
Sophie, who lives with fiancé, Alex, and their two greyhounds, now weighs a healthy 9st.
She said: “I feel like this is the version of me that I was always supposed to be.
“I had struggled with my weight since I was a teenager and couldn’t seem to get it under control.
“I would always avoid cameras and just hated having my photo taken…it was getting to the point where I barely recognised myself.
“Planning a wedding is actually something I’m excited about, I definitely think it would have been something I dreaded before I lost weight.
“I’ve been trying on some wedding dresses, and it was such a lovely experience. I felt beautiful and really comfortable having my photograph taken, which is a world away from the way I felt when I was almost 9st heavier.
“I’m so much more confident and full of life. Nothing feels out of reach any more, and that’s an amazing feeling.”
Sophie joined Slimming World in January 2020 after a charity fun run with her family to raise money for Alder Hey Hospital made her realise how unfit she was.
After finding her local group, she quickly got to grips with her new diet and was amazed when she lost five pounds in her first week of the plan.
Following her incredible success, she has been named Slimming World’s ‘Woman of the Year’.
Trainee psychologist Sophie said: “I’d tried lots of diets in the past, but nothing ever stuck because I felt so restricted. With Slimming World, I could still enjoy lots of hearty and delicious food.
“At first, I thought my fiancé was dreading the food he would have to eat with me – but I soon changed his mind!
“Slimming World has changed my relationship with food for the better. I was scared of food before, now it’s my best friend.
“I forward plan exciting and filling meals for the week ahead and I take it as a bit of a challenge to make Slimming World-friendly versions of all our favourite foods.
“I’ve done an American feast of burgers and mac ‘n’ cheese, a big family Greek night and we still enjoy a cooked breakfast. It really has slotted into our lives so well and neither of us feel like we’re on a ‘diet’.”
Discovering a love for running during the lockdowns last year and overhauling her diet has seen Sophie shed a total of 8st 11 and 1/2lbs.
Sophie said: “Life was lacking joy previously – there was no excitement, no happiness. I would hide away, and would never put myself forward for things.
“I was much more negative about myself. I didn’t look in the mirror before – it was better to avoid mirrors, to be honest. I would cut the labels out of clothes. I was so embarrassed about being overweight and the size that I was.
“I don’t think I would have planned a wedding before. I wouldn’t have been happy getting married at that point – I wasn’t happy myself.
“The thought of trying on a wedding dress filled me with fear, but when I went to the shop with my mum, it was the most amazing experience. I feel like it’s made me the person I was always meant to be and now I’m just excited to be that person and live my life.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.