Fastening her seatbelt on a plane was moment of pure joy for Burnley mum who has shed an amazing seven stone
The moment she was able to fasten the seatbelt on a plane without struggling was a moment of elation for Burnley's Toni Stowe.
"I always dreaded that moment and felt like everyone was looking at me as I struggled with the seatbelt, so the first time I could fasten it easily was just fantastic," said Toni who has lost seven stone.The seatbelt moment came in October, 2019, for Toni who dropped from 17st nine-and-a-half-pounds to 10 stone nine and half pounds in 18 mo
Although she never felt comfortable with her weight, Toni compensated for that by telling people she was always going on a diet.
She said: "No--one ever commented on my weight, but I always felt out of place on nights out as I could never find clothes that looked nice.
"It's your own perception of yourself that makes all the difference but I did feel that people judged me on my weight."
It was seeing a photo of herself that she hated when Toni decided she wanted to something to lose weight so she told her family she was joining Slimming World.
Toni said: "I mentioned this to my mum and she asked what time the classes started as she wanted to come along.
"So that meant we were going!"
And Toni has to admit that walking through the doors to the class at St Catherine's Church in Burnley changed, not just her eating habits, but her whole way of life.
Always an outdoor person, if someone had asked Toni to walk up a hill before she lost weight she would have looked at them as though they were mad!
Now, she is up at 6-30am most mornings to get a daily walk or run in before she starts her job as a cashier for a firm of solicitors. It's a long way from the first time Toni climbed Pendle Hill and admits she hated it as she felt sick and got drenched! But now she loves it.
"I did a lot of walking before because I love being outdoors and active," said Toni.
And the secret to success for Toni is meal planning. Now at her target weight for eight months, she writes a menu every Friday for the week ahead, draws up a list of what she needs and goes shopping on Saturday. And her husband Warren has also lost four stone.
Toni said: "The diet works, I lost seven stone but now it is about a whole new way of life.
"It was hard during lockdown, especially last summer when it was so hot, but I managed."
Toni, who has a daughter Katie (28) admits that while cooking may take longer she no longer snacks or nibbles while she is preparing a meal.
She said: "There was a time when I would be tucking into cheese and crackers while I waa cooking tea and I hardly ever came out of the kitchen without a slice of toast in my hand."
Being slimmer, and choosing clothes in a size 12 rather than a 24, is a real bonus for Toni along with being fitter and healthier.
She said: "I have learned so many different things, such as making my own powders for fajitas which are so much healthier. I sometimes look at my plate and think it is packed with so much goodness.
"Of course I have had setbacks and tantrums but it has been worth it to get where I am now."