Voted 'Woman of the Year' by my local group, that is! It's not a national award. Even so, I'm bursting with appreciation.
It happened yesterday evening. This annual award is meant to recognise an inspirational slimming performance from a local female group member. Well, I'd lost two stones and a bit since last November, and was making slow progress towards my current weight goal, still eleven and a half pounds ahead.
There were, however, several women who had made faster and more consistent progress. So you could have knocked me down with a feather when Liz, our consultant and group organiser, announced that most votes had gone to me. There was immediately great applause. This was clearly seen as the right and proper result of the last two weeks' voting.
'But what for?' I cried. I knew I had taken the whole thing seriously, but why was I regarded as particularly inspirational?
Apparently it was because I had shown so much focus and commitment. It was for planning my personal weight-loss regime so well, and striving to keep to it. It was for using spreadsheets of my own devising so effectively. It was for photographing my meals. It was for sharing my enthusiasm, and being honest about my lapses and setbacks. It was for bouncing back from occasional weight gains with such great determination. It was for attending Slimming World group meetings when on holiday, all over the country, never missing a single week, and thereby keeping up the pressure on myself. It was for being so excited and delighted when each weight loss milestone was reached and passed.
Perhaps it was just for being me - for I had after all done my bit to support and applaud everyone else's attempts to succeed, and had been both a good listener and good contributor in group meetings. Nevertheless, I really hadn't been exceptional as a group member.
It could have been because I often washed up the tea and coffee mugs at the end. Yes, that must be it! Such things do get noticed. That said, I never actually made the tea or coffee, and I wasn't the only person to help clear up.
Anyway, I stepped forward and - still hardly believing I really deserved it - accepted a sash, a framed certificate, a sticker for the book in which my weight was recorded week by week, and a handsome chrome trophy. And here they are, shot next day in good light:
And all this began when my dear friend Angie in Gloucestershire showed me how fabulous she looked after a few months with Slimming World. And all the certificates she had one by one gained. Angie had inspired me to do the same. To get control of my heftiness, to feel so much better about myself, and lay the foundation for a healthy old age.
My friend and neighbour Jackie was also instrumental in getting me to this point. Inspiration often needs a nudge, to turn a wish into a real thing. Jackie gave it. She got me through the door where the local Slimming World group met. She was there last night, and witnessed it all. Jackie has known me for years. She knew me when times were not so good for me, when life was difficult. 'How far you've come, Lucy!' she said. I saw what she meant. To have come from a friendless situation in which I lacked confidence and credibility to this, with respect and popularity (and attractive slimness) now mine, was indeed travelling a long way.