Mortar-Fied by My Graduation Snap! Echo2 Diet Diary
Byline: By LYDIA WHITFIELD
CHRISTINE Hawkins was thoroughly looking forward to the day she graduated asamature student.
The 47-year-old was a full-time civil servant and had been working hard covering colleagues' duties as well as researching for her dissertation.
But when she saw the photo of herself complete with graduation gown and mortar board, Christine, who has two grown-up children, was distraught.
What should have been one of her proudest moments was marred by her feelings of horror at how big she had become.
Christine, from Canton, Cardiff, vowed to lose weight, shedding a staggering six and a half stone in six months. She said: "I burst into tears. I thought I would have this photo and be proud of it but I just burst into tears when I saw it. I couldn't believe the size I had become, without realising it.
"The photo was taken in 2001, when I had just turned 40."
It was starting a new diet with LighterLife, a meal replacement programme, that gave Christine renewed hope. She weighed 17st 7lbs at her heaviest and was 16st 7lbs when she joined the programme.
"I started with Lighter Life in March 2004," she says. "I was wearing clothes in size 22-24 and had tried all sorts of diets, from Slimming World and Weight Watchers, Weight Watchers online and all sorts of things you just rub on and the weight apparently just falls off. I would lose with them and then put it back on again, sometimes with a little bit more weight. I thought when I got to 40, that was it and I would never lose weight again.
"But I bumped into a woman I had worked with, who was 10 years older than me, and had lost loads of weight with LighterLife. She looked so different and it made me realise if she could do it then I shouldn't be giving up either.
"I was living and working in Bristol and joined a group there. The plan includes soups, shakes and bars four times a day and you can mix and match what you choose to have and when. …