Applying a final touch of blush to the model’s cheeks, I stepped back to admire my handiwork.
As I did, I caught sight of my reflection in one of the studio’s mirrors. A make-up artist to the stars, I was surrounded by them.
'How did you let yourself get like this?' I thought, feeling mortified.
At 175cms, I weighed 131 kilos and wore a size 22. Growing up, I’d always struggled with my weight. After my partner Terence and I had our daughter Lilli, now 11, it got even worse. Juggling family life with my busy job, I’d eat late at night and make unhealthy choices. At the photo shoots, there would be huge tubs of chocolate bars and chips and then they’d order in burgers and pizzas.
Over the years I had attempted different fad diets, but after losing a couple of kilos, more piled on.
‘You should really try and do something about it,’ Terence would say, gently, as I struggled to reach down and tie my shoelaces.
I became an expert at avoiding the mirrors, preferring to focus my gaze on my clients.
Working with celebs every day was a constant reminder of what I was doing to myself though.
So was playing with Lilli. Puffing around the park, I could feel my fat wobbling. ‘Why don’t you look like the other mums?’ she asked me one day.
‘Everyone is different,’ I told her. But the turning point came when I went to the doctor in 2015.
‘You’re morbidly obese,’ she told me. I had high blood pressure, a fatty liver and I was on the verge of becoming a diabetic.
I need to be here to see my daughter grow up.
This time, I wanted to find a solution that would keep the weight off forever.
I’ve got access to people with incredible bodies, I thought. Why don’t I grill them about their fitness routines and food intake?
The next day, I was doing one model’s make-up when she started munching on some raw nuts.
‘Why nuts?’ I quizzed.
‘They’re so good for you and easy to keep in my bag,’ she explained.
Stealing the idea, I started bringing snacks to stop me picking at the chips.
Some of the models had studied nutrition at university, so they told me what had the highest nutritional value.
‘You should eat whole foods, nothing processed,’ they told me. So I quit sugar.
I listened when they ordered off the menu, too. Dannii Minogue asked for half sizes or small versions.
Portion control! I realised.
And Michelle Bridges ate the sandwich filling but not the white bread.
Copying the celebrities and doing extra research using medical reports, my weight began to melt away.
‘I don’t even get hungry,’ I told Terence.
On January 1, 2016, I weighed 128.8 kilos. Upping my game after that, I made sure I walked 10,000 steps every day. And instead of tucking into takeaways, I prepared boiled eggs and vegies to have with hummus.
While others devoured brownies at the end of the shoot, I treated myself to a couple of squares of delicious dark chocolate.
‘I feel better than ever,’ I beamed to Terence.
Keeping it up, I’d soon lost 30 kilos.
‘Wow! That’s 30 kilos in 30 weeks!’ I realised, proudly.
Dropping Lilli off at school, the other mums wanted to know how.
Digging in my handbag for some sticky notes, I wrote down my top tips:
Only drink coffee first thing. Steer clear of sugar and processed foods.
Then I got emails too!
As I typed out everything I’d learned from the models, I had an idea.
I could put this into a book! I thought.
So I compiled everything and self published it.
Then JK Rowling’s agent signed me. Now it’s been published in 21 countries!
Using my method, I’ve lost 35 kilos. I’m a size 14 and weigh 93.8 kilos.
My brain is much quicker, I’m more creative and my mood has improved.
I want everyone to know that they’re capable of achieving great things no matter what age they are.
I feel like I’m in the prime of my life and I’ve never been happier!