IN 2011 Killanena woman Anna Moroney grabbed the bull by the horns and joined Weight Watchers to try to and do something about her weight.
The 24-year-old teacher was then 21 and weighed 26 stone 25 pounds. Her decision to lose weight was arrived upon following an incident on a night out.
“I was working at the time in New Look in Galway and I was out, enjoying myself and having a ball. My friends were chatting with a few guys and one of the guys pulled me aside and said to me ‘what are you doing to yourself?’
“I would have got comments before about being overweight and being a whale, hideous comments, some really horrific ones but they would always have bounced off and wouldn’t have any impact. But this guy, he was a total stranger, just got me in the gut and got me thinking, what am I doing with myself? He said ‘you seem lovely, you seem really nice’ but he just said what are you doing to yourself and he said it again. It’s funny, I can still hear the way he said it,” Anna said.
She went home that night and, naturally, she was quite upset by it. But it seemed to resonate with her in a way that it hadn’t ever done before.
“I guess at the time I knew I was heavy. I was in size 26 to 28 clothes but I didn’t really realise how big I was, or how much it impacted my life. It is only now when I say ‘I can do that now’ that I realise I couldn’t have done that before. I was 26 stone 25 pounds around that time and I was 21. It was a massive wake-up call,” she said.
Anna went to a Weight Watchers meeting in 2010 and didn’t like what she saw. She didn’t go back until 2011.
“I went back to what I always used to do, emotion eating. I was just thinking this can’t be true and I was being a bit more mindful but I wasn’t really doing anything about it. It wasn’t until about three or four months later, what he said had kept ringing in my ears, there is a reason for this. It took about three months for it sink in,” she said.
The support she has got from friends and people she has met who are in similar situations has kept her going. She is now two stone away from her target weight.
“To date, I’ve lost 11 stone and eight pounds. I feel amazing; it’s mad, it’s really weird, you kind of pinch yourself. It’s really nice I can actually walk now and I don’t get out of breath. I can go into any clothes shop now and that of course has spurred on a shopping problem now.
“My family and friends have been amazing. People have said to me how come your family or your friends never said it to you. My friends wouldn’t have but my family would have but it’s just I never heard them. They have been so supportive. It took that stranger I guess to drive it home,” she said.
Anna, who teaches part-time in Scariff Community College, said initially it was about controlling what she ate but she didn’t factor in exercise at the start. However, as the weight has dropped off, she has become more active.
“I’ve started going back to camogie now and also to zumba. For me it was always the food, exercise came into it because you get a craving for healthy living,” she said.
She attends Weight Watchers in Tulla and has also attended the group in Gort. She says the groups and, in particular, her leader has been a tremendous support to her.
Anna said encouragement is key and she said anyone who is looking to do this for themselves should “just stick with it”.
“Don’t give up. Believe in yourself, you will get there eventually. I’m still not at my goal and I still struggle but give yourself a bit of credit and a pat on the back for every pound you lose. It’s another one off to keep going.
“I have another two stone to go. I’m still working at it. For me, it will always be something I have to watch. I feel so much better now and I see the positive side of it,” she concluded.
Anna has been a real inspiration to others and was featured in the RTÉ Guide recently for her weight loss achievement.