My takeaway addiction was out of control. But my £10k habit wasn’t just affecting my bank balance, it was taking its toll on my health too.
By Julie Martin, 45, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne
A grandmother who spent more than £10,000 a year on takeaways and junk food is preparing to take her family on holiday with the money she has saved now she has ditched her habit, shedding a whopping SIX stone in the process.
Julie Martin, 45, splurged £200 a week on Chinese takeaways, kebab meals and sausage rolls, causing her to swell to 16st 8lbs, forcing her to wear size 24 outfits.
But now having abandoned her out-of-control spending, Mrs Martin, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, has shrunk down to a healthy 10st 4lbs, allowing her to fit into dream size eight outfits.
She said: “The problems began after I got my first office job and started earning my own salary.
“Up until then I ate relatively healthily, but from my late teens, the novelty of being able to buy takeaways myself was just too much to resist.”
By the time her daughter Claire, now 25, and her son Dean, 17, were grown, Mrs Martin was too overweight to enjoy spending time taking them to the park.
But it was the break-up of her marriage in 2003 which led to a distressing cycle of depression and eating.
She said: “I had started on Burger King and McDonalds for the occasional lunch and moved onto having daily Chinese takeaways and kebabs.
“The eating made me feel better momentarily, but as my weight increased I only became more ashamed of myself, which just made me more withdrawn and depressed.”
At her worst, Mrs Martin was eating as many as 15 takeaways a week, which she supplemented with savoury snacks, meaning her weekly snack food bill soared to as much as £200.
By 2011, her weight had reached a peak of 16st 8lb. As her physical health started to fade, her depression and anxiety over her image reached the point where she could not face the outside world.
She said: “By that time I was so self-conscious that I really didn’t enjoy leaving the house. I shut my curtains and blinds, and even put up some net curtains so that I was even more shut away.
“It was easy just to order takeaways in. That way I didn’t have see or speak to anyone. It was a very unhealthy way of living.”
It took a surprise announcement from her daughter to finally shake her loose of her deteriorating situation.
She said: “Claire told me that she was pregnant, and then I felt something in me change for good.
“I decided that I wanted to be able to fit enough to get to know my grandson or granddaughter. I’d been too overweight to run around in the park or be active with Claire and Dean when they were children. I was determined not to repeat the situation with my grandchild.”
Inspired by a watching a friend’s weightloss journey on Facebook, Mrs Martin decided to investigate a local slimming club, where she received advice on how to give up her deadly takeaway habit.
She completely redesigned her diet, and made the startling discovery that she was wasting so much money on the very thing which was making her so desperately unhappy.
Before beginning her weightloss, Mrs Martin typically ate three slices of cheese on toast, or a full English fry-up for breakfast, followed by a Chinese chow mein for lunch, and a lamb kebab from her local chippy for her evening meal. She would instinctively munch on rich savoury treats, like hot dogs or mini pasties throughout the day.
After committing to her weightloss programme, she began typically eating fruit-topped Weetabix for breakfast, jacket potato with beans and salad for lunch, and a healthy home-made chicken curry with boiled rice and salad for her evening meal.
By the time her grandson Lee, now three, was born, she had already begun to see the weight fall away and had noticed the extra money in her bank account.
She said: “I was stunned when I realised I had been spending as much as £200 a week on takeaways and snacks. I started dreaming of all the things I could do with the extra money.
“The weight fell away slowly, but steadily. Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t lose all the weight quickly. If it had been a flash in the pan, I know I would have just put all the weight back on again.”
Today, Mrs Martin weighs 10st 4lb and enjoy running around with Lee during visits to the park.
She is also planning a very special use for the money she has saved.
She said: “This August I’m going to take the whole family away on a lovely beach holiday to Turkey. I’m only able to do that because I’m not wasting so much money.
“It’s a wonderful way to celebrate what I’ve achieved.”