When it comes to the festive season, many women would love to look slimmer in their party outfits – but few of us have the willpower of Shayda Malaki.
The 24-year-old graduate has lost seven stone since March 2011, dropping from a size 24 to a size 12 just in time for the party season.
Shayda, who lives in Edgbaston, Birmingham, said: ‘This year was the first Christmas party season I looked forward to and I’m also going to my first New Year’s Eve party too.
Shayda Malaki has dropped from a size 24 to a size 12 in just a year and a half
‘For Christmas parties in the past, I would put on whatever fitted me and tried to hide in the background because I was self-conscious about my size.
‘This year it was so nice to have options and I tried loads on.’
Shayda, who has a masters degree in applied biomedical science from Aston University, dropped from 18st 11lbs to 12st 3lbs after signing up to her local WeightWatchers group in March 2011.
She said: ‘I thought I would be the biggest one there but I’m so glad I went as it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
LEFT: Shayda weighed nearly 19 stone before joining WeightWatchers in March 2011. Now, RIGHT, she says: she gets ‘so many compliments’. ‘Losing weight has given me a new life,’ she adds
‘Before that, the first thing I would do when I got home was open the fridge and eat until I was so full I couldn’t move.
‘I didn’t do anything, I never went out and was always making excuses. I cried all the time.
‘I would have huge portions. I didn’t realise exactly how much I was eating until I joined WeightWatchers and discovered what a normal portion should be.’
Festive fun: Shayda lost weight just in time to fit into her LBD
On a typical day, Shayda, who works at her family’s cafe in Selly Oak, would consume a large bowl of cereal, crisps, chocolate bars, a sandwich, fizzy drinks, and a ‘mountain’ of dinner.
Now, she weighs everything to control her portion sizes, and opts for lean meat, salads, fruit and yoghurt, and combines this with exercise.
She said: ‘I get so many compliments and lots of people don’t recognise me.
‘Losing weight has given me a new life.’