Weight-Loss Photos

I lose, I gain, I keep trying and I NEVER give up!

At each attempt to lose weight I have found eating in a ration book style, to be the most successful for me. Below you will see the results of previous attempts to lose weight and keep it off. Once I stop eating ration book style I just have too many choices and temptation is my downfall….

The 1940s Experiment in 2017
It’s a never ending struggle. I sometimes feel such a failure as I lose and gain, but I NEVER give up! I do have a food addiction. I have a constant need to feel full.

I started off this year at 296 lbs. I got a place in the London Marathon as a charity runner for the Royal British Legion. I trained really hard nearly every single day , lose around 47 lbs to get down to 249 lbs, and was able to finish the London Marathon well within the cut off point and get the medal I had always dreamed of. The experience was AMAZING.

Since then I’ve gone off the rails, with a house move and life stresses my weight has gone back up to 284 lbs but am determined to rectify this BLIP and end the year below 250 lbs.

I do worry as last year I was diagnosed with two complications following the double pneumonia. Firstly my heart had enlarged and this was firstly noticed in a follow up chest x-ray. I had to go in for an ultrasound to check the walls of my heart and it’s chambers. LUCKILY I just have a big heart as there was no indication of any physiological problems, no thinning of the walls. However the doctor called me and said I had a hole in my heart which I had since I was born. This means de-oxygenated blood passes into my left atrium and is re-pumped around my body with the cleaned up oxygenated blood. As the blood hasn’t been filtered by the lungs some debris passes through too. I’m lucky in that I don’t really have any symptoms unless I’m very ill (like with the double pneumonia) and my blood oxygen levels can drop causing hypoxia as the hole in my heart is forced open wider and therefore pumping more de-oxygenated blood around my body.

BUT the marathon tells me my body is working well, I’m not worried but I do have to try and seriously lose a lot of weight. I WILL succeed… I WILL!!!


The 1940s Experiment in 2016

After the marathon, because of injury, I stopped exercising, let things slide and by New Year 2015/2016 my weight was back up to 296 lbs ( 21 st 2 lbs). I was feeling tired and worn out and my crushing back pain had started to return. Then during a holiday to the USA in January 2016 I caught double pneumonia and was admitted as an emergency to hospital with hypoxia. I was released just before my 50th birthday.

It’s made me think about my life. Various stresses and worries and stretching myself too thin AND being morbidly obese had really given me a BIG REALITY CHECK when I ended up in hospital and now, getting healthy and losing weight in 2016 HAS TO BE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN MY LIFE. I’m determined to lose 100 lbs in 2016.

I’m once again using wartime rationing as a guideline. I know I WILL SUCCEED!

HW – 345 lbs, SW2016 – 296 lbs, CW – 274 lbs, Total weight loss in 2016 = 22 lbs

At my current weight taken in February 2016 – I carry a lot of weight on my tummy- it depresses me
I was about 340 lbs in this photo. I was doing publicity for the Mahone Bay Wooden Boat Festival and was doing a segment on Breakfast TV in Canada where Cyril Lunney interviewed me and a colleague about the festival. When I saw this photo I kept it hidden away I hated it so much….


The 1940s Experiment in 2015

In May 2015 my weight was back up to 310 lbs I started once again, trying to eat on a daily basis, using weekly rationing to form a base for my weekly allowance. It’s been tough, some good days, some bad days and some days where I’ll eat something ‘off-ration’ but always truthful days.

It’s now September 2015 and at my last weigh in I was back down to about 275 lbs. My main goal is to get below 200 lbs. I’ve started walking a lot and going to the gym and I’m working very hard at it.

In October 2015 my eldest daughter Jess and I will be walking our very first Marathon for Cancer Research UK.



The 1940s Experiment in 2014

March 2014: I aim to lose 100lbs during the next 12 months following a typical 1940’s wartime ration diet. Weighed in at 20st 10lbs (290lbs) and my goal is about 13st (182lbs). In 2012 I lost 80lbs following a wartime ration diet so I know I can do it but I have to learn to maintain and not return to eating habits that put weight back on again.

I’ve taken some unflattering photos in a vintage style dress (size 18) that is wayyyyy to small for me, it should be a perfect fit at the end of the 12 months when I’ve lost 100lbs. I tend to live in t-shirts and leggings because I’m embarrassed about my weight but I do so want to wear a dress again..


Check back here regularly for progress photos as the weight drops off…

The 1940s Experiment in 2012

I did a year long social experiment in 2012 to see if living 100% on a wartime ration diet (authentic recipes and rations!) would help me lose weight and become healthier. Yes it did! I lost 80lbs! My crippling back pain, high blood pressure and general depression rectified itself, I started walking and even jogging a little! The best thing was just being able to walk without pain and to go out on a long hike. Just being outside walking makes you feel so good!

Showing 80 lb weight-loss in 2012 after living for 1 year on wartime rations

Showing 80 lb weight-loss in 2012 after living for 1 year on wartime rations


67 thoughts on “Weight-Loss Photos

  1. Good luck to you. My DH and I just went on a diet too. We are on low calorie but I am thinking about borrowing some of these recipes. We are on a fixed income so I may be able to save some money with these recipes. Thank you and I will check in and cheer you along. : )

  2. Hey Eve- thanks for your comment. That’s one thing I have noticed….am spending far less money not eating junk!!!

    I am not sure how well these recipes would work for weight-loss occasionally by themselves but certainly, living 100% by wartime rationing seems to be regulating the junk I was consuming before and that in turn is helping me lose weight.

    Will look forward to hear how you are getting on with your diet!!

    C xx

  3. hi there, I didn’t know where to contact you but your layout design looked messed up on opera and internet explorer. Anyways, i just suscribd to your rss.

  4. Just wanted you to know I am still with you. You are looking good. The Holidays coming up are going to be difficult for me but I am nearing my regular weight, so I am allowing myself a couple of treats. Someone gave us some nice persimmons, and I think I have a recipe from the forties for a pudding which they say has more the texture of a bread pudding than a creamy type of pudding. I think the recipe may be English. I have a feeling it was on the menu on Thanksgiving along with Pumpkin Pie.
    The odd thing is when you cut to basics in cooking, you do seem to eat less. Maybe it is having to cook from scratch, you tend to enjoy it more and eat less.
    In looking at your recipes, I am amazed at the meals they could get on the table even with such limited resources.

  5. Extra fat photo added…. daughter found top photo the other day on the computer. Not sure what weight I was except I know it was taken a few years ago and I was over 340 lbs…

    Prior to starting the 1940s experiment in August 2009 I had already dropped over 30 lbs from my heaviest weight taken around the time the top photo was taken.

    Eeeekkk. Seeing that photo brings back memories just how physically painful it was to stand up for long periods of time…am still out of shape of course but not nearly as much as I was then!

    If ever there was an incentive to keep going …

    C xx

  6. You have got to be proud of your accomplishment. Although you are quite pretty at the heavier weight, you are looking even better as you lose.

    My diet has gone rather well. I am almost normal weight but my husband got off his and has probably gained even more than he was. He is or was going on diet the first of this year but got a horrible cold, so I think it best to wait this cold out, before he starts again and he does too. He is strong willed though, so if he can give up smoking, he can do this. Keeping in touch with you. Hang in there till you get where you want to be. I think Billy has about 75 to lose and I hope to lose another ten maybe.

  7. Yes, and you should try many different foods in small quantities. It used to be bored. Any kind of food, you should find your self to a different treatment or favorite food from your diet it will be easier and your free time to meet the weight remains. They are so much better, and another thing you should do is try to go it on sheets feel good about themselves.

  8. thank you for all of the wonderful recipes that you have posted. i too like you are trying to lose weight. i was over 24 stone and i am now about 22 stone. i am unsure what that is in pounds.

    you are an inspiration. keep up the great work. i love the website.

  9. well done i too am trying to loose weight. i have managed to loose 41/2 stone in the last 4 months and i still like to loose another 5. im gonna have ago at your recipies hopefully the whole family will enjoy them too. well done on the weight loss keep going your looking great!

    • WOW and double WOW!!! That is a fantastic thing to achieve… losing weight is so damn hard because it takes such a lot of effort and persistence and determination! How do you feel? I bet you are feeling really good in yourself? I can’t wait to lose that much!! Hope you manage to achieve your ultimate goal but well done for losing so much already!!! xxxxxx

  10. Wow! What a wonderful job you’re doing. I so admire your focus and your tenacity. And what a creative way to approach it. I’m gonna follow to cheer you on! Good on ya girl!

  11. You have inspired me to try again sweetheart, oddly enough my 84 year old Auntie has just loaned me 3 books of Mrs Patterns wartime food recipes, so I have no excuse. I have to have surgery next year on both my knees….watch this space!

    Jantoo x

    • Aww thanks Jantoo! I LOVE Marguerite Pattens books!!!! Losing weight does help with joint pains- mine has already mostly disappeared. Hope everything goes well with your surgery C xxxxx

  12. What an awesome blog….I’ve only just begun to check it out and I am inspired! What a great job so far…it’s a process, but it looks as though you have many people cheering you on and I am too! Best of luck!

  13. Miss Carolyn, I am so impressed with this diet. (or rather life change) I think what empresses me most is your face in the four pictures.. your smile speaks very loudly to me… Thanks so much for allowing me to follow your journey. Your friend from Missouri USA.

  14. Hi Carolyn,
    I was just looking through your recent blogs and I realised that I have lost track a bit on just about how much you’ve lost now? Would love to see an updated photo if you have one?

    J. xxx

    • Hi Julie and sorry to have lost track with us too xxx Life is very, very busy for me..

      I’ve lost 2 lb last week and 2 lbs the week before and if my calculations are correct that means I have now lost 66 lbs and am down to 233lbs..

      Next photo will be when I am down 25 lbs since the last one so as long as I keep on losing should reach that in a couple of weeks 🙂

      Hope all is well

      C xxxx

  15. WOW, I have just started Slimming World, and have just watched Wartime Farm on BBC 2, in the UK. (Available on BBC iPlayer). I was looking for a recipe for Murkey (Mock Turkey) and I stumbled upon this site, as wartime recipes. I LOVE IT.
    The recipes in the war, although they did cook with “real” fats, the people eating it were burning it of, walking, working in the fields or working in general. People were much more active compared to today’s lifestyles. Modern conveniences have taken out most of the laborious tasks women had to do around the home. So a “Housewife’s” work was much harder.

    I commend you for doing this. It’s inspirational. Most of the recipes can be adapted to work with my Slimming World diet and I am eager to try your recipes. As is my husband.

    Thank you for having this amazing blog. You are fantastic! Good luck on your quest honey. xxxx

  16. Hello there. I’ve been visiting your website for a few months, both because I’m passionate about weight loss and I also am interested in world war 2 rationing. I’ve done research and it’s fascinating how much the British had to sacrifice every day of the war but it made them so strong and healthy. I live in the USA and the obesity epidemic scares me. Its rampant. Several years ago I lost 80 pounds and the sacrifices have been well worth it. This year we had a biggest loser contest at work and I chose to take part, which resulted in me losing about another 20 pounds. Shortly after it started the others fizzled out but I kept going. I’m now in the best shape of my life
    If I can do it you can!

  17. Thank you so much for this blog! I suffer from depression mostly due to how I weigh so much and how big I feel, but this has lit my flame once again! Not only am I fascinated by the diet itself and want to try, I adore history and am a history buff at heart. Thank you so much, this will surely make dieting easy on my now. I tried commercial diets, starvation diets, but this one is the only one my heart leaps for. Money is tight in my family with one income and 8 people in the house. We already spend half the amount of money the average family of 4 spends a month on food, but this will take a lot off my mother’s mind and help her save up money.

    • Dear Lan- I soooooo know where you are coming from. I was so depressed when I was around the 300lbs mark and above because of not only the pain one goes through just moving around but also because of feeling so bad about oneself… its really difficult to break that vicious circle… hell I couldn’t even exercise.(After I’d lost a bit of weight I decided to try walking at the track and I would cry inside with pain after just half a lap)… Like you money is extremely tight with us too and due to circumstances outside our control have lived the last 6 months below the poverty line- it REALLY concentrates the mind and using rationing as a guideline sure helped me save a ton of money as well as keep healthy on a small amount of money

      It takes a lot of prep cooking things from scratch but if you stick strictly to rations and never skimp on lots of fresh veg and things like beans/split peas/lentils, and drink lots of water, you’ll really find your body responding positively…

      I’ve been slacking off since Christmas (and put weight on over Christmas) but am focused on losing the last bunch of weight to get to 199 lbs by the summer

      Please pop back and tell us how you are getting on and I’m sending you hugs and much love….xxxxxxx

  18. Hiya Just had to comment on all this ..its so great and i love reading your blog, I love rationing and the homefront etc and have loads of recipes and old wartime cookery books, if you need any more recipes just ask lol…i had a shock the other day as i weighed myself at my local gp surgery, and oh my goodness the need for a diet is now lol…so thought hey i,m gonna have a go at this.. i love cooking anyway and to eat healthily . so thanks so much for this 🙂 and will let you know how i get on take care and thanks again Joy xxx

  19. I too have to lose 3 stones as my knees are painful and I have arthritis in my back due to facet joint disease so I will be following your excellent example

  20. Congratulations! You’re a testament to hard work and sel-discipline! Your highly admired. Thank you for all the tips

  21. Wow you look great! i am on a low calorie diet and lost 4 stones but am now getting bored ofthe foods i have being eating and so remembered that the war time rationed menu was said to have been a very low fat/healthy one and came across your blog. Will try it .

  22. Carolyn,
    I love your blog I stumble upon it by accident and all the information you have is wonderful. I asked for my anniversary for the “the Ration Book Diet” and have been cooking with it for about a week and half. No weight loss yet but feels great to be back in the kitchen. Sometimes life just gets you in a rut of “I don’t want to cook lets just go out”. I now feel inspired to get cooking again. My husband is from the UK really enjoys the nostalgia of the whole process. Just one quick question I was checking other websites and I a little confused by the amount of meat (like beef, mince, chicken and turkey) you can have per a person per a week some sources say 1/2 lb to 1 1/4 lb. Thanks so much !

    • It was all dependent on cost and that is why the amount of meat varies. Per person per week was allowed 1 shilling and sixpence per week of meat from the butcher they were registered with. Depending on what meat was available depended on what you got really and you could decide whether to spend your money on better cuts or more economical cuts..

      In addition to this each person was allowed 4 oz of bacon or ham per week, per person. and you could also buy sausagemeat (if you could get hold of it) by using your points allocation.

      C xxx

  23. Thankyou for all your work on this blog, its quite fascinating, and congratulations on your continuing weight loss.
    I do wonder if the improved health of the population may have been due to increased activity. From my reading, everyone had an extra job, whether it was tending an allotment, fire watching or helping family and friends.
    It may be that another kind of improvement came from the psychological effects of being pushed outside your comfort zone – making do with less and putting up with things you wouldn’t choose. To test my theory, I would have to sleep in a tube station for a year. Not going to do that. So, it will just stay a theory.

  24. hi, having just turned 60 and needing to loose 3 stone, i remembered some of the things my mum told me about wartime cooking, going to give it a try. i got into the bad habit of buying rubbish, but decided to get back to real cooking! mum knew what she was talking about.

  25. Hallo Carolyn – I live in Canada now, having moved from the UK eight years ago. I just found your website by accident and am completely blown away. Quite a few of the recipes I can relate to, as my grandmother who brought me up (in the 1950’s) made them. I am definitely going to use your site for inspiration, especially the vegetarian recipes, as it all makes perfect sense, healthy food and saving a ton of money too, not to mention losing weight. I really, really applaud what you have done, and love the 1040’s photo of you too, very chic.

  26. You look fabulous! I think it was the shortage of animal products that helped everyone lose weight during the wartime. Less butter, diary and meats. There is an old lady on Youtube, since passed, but she was 93 years old at the time named Clara, and she does Depression Era cooking from America in the 1920’s and 30’s. They also used rations, so it might be of interest to you. Clara is a lovely lady and tells many stories of growing up during that time and how they cooked and lived.

  27. I have just stumbled across this, and have been reading through your blogs and site, and would just like to say a massive well done and what an inspiration you are. I have always been big, all through school and general life, and now have a 5 year old son, I feel I need to get to a reasonable weight but have tried so many “yo yo” diets, I think I fail most of the time because I am the only one in my house on a diet, but this seems to be something that I could use for the whole family and they wouldn’t even know it. Thank you for taking the time to do this and post your progress.

  28. I have just stumbled upon your website whilst bel p ing my son look for a ww2 recipe to make for school and I must say I feel inspired. I need to lose weight and you h ave given me renewed motivation. You are a very beautiful lady and I can see from your pics that you are doing extremely well. Keep it up. X

  29. ….I read in a Swiss newspaper about your succesful weight-loss. You look great and can be so proud on yourself. I wish you all the best. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Kind regards Jeanne

  30. So inspiring! I’m committing to starting this same plan. Currently approx. 325 lbs, and really struggle with avoiding processed foods. But I am newly divorced and moving to my own place, where I will have full control over the foods in the house. I’ll be working from home, so will have plenty of opportunity to cook well for myself, but I’m worried that I’ll be tempted to have lots of snack foods on hand. How do you manage snack cravings? Do you just consider it anachronistic deprivation, or do you keep healthy snacks on hand which may not have been available during rationing?

  31. Carolyn, you are really a great inspiration! You’re doing great so far in 2016. This is such a unique idea… I’m doing a project on the 1940s for my American history class, and I’m definitely going to bring in one of these recipes for my peers to try! Keep up your determination; I’m sending good thoughts your way! xo

  32. I’ve been following your blog for quite some time and a couple of these recipes have become some of my family’s favorites. Lots of luck to you and your weight loss! As a fellow history buff, I can’t think of any better way to lose weight and save money.

  33. I love this site, and I think you have done marvellous up till now. The recipes look lovely, and I believe you will achieve your 100lbs weight loss and more
    Best wishes to you

  34. Just wondering how much meat you estimated for your weekly ration besides the sausage and bacon amount. example chicken, fish beef ?? any advice would help. thanks

  35. I am rooting for you!
    I was heavy from childhood to my mid thirty’s.. I was also a yo-yo, my heaviest was pushing 300.. so I know what it is to feel like the outcast.. My weight loss was was achieved by walking.. I stopped taking the bus and walked to the stores.. I cut my plate in half.. and when I was done eating dinner, I would take a short walk around the block.. Hormones and emotions play a big part in weight loss.. if you have hormonal imbalance, or high levels of cortisol you will be pear shaped.. and carry most of your weight around the middle.. If your thyroid isn’t functioning well, you have a harder time loosing the weight.. Some people are emotional eaters, like I was.. I would often get discouraged because I just wanted to be the stereotyped ” thin”
    You are beautiful.. and no matter what you weigh.. behind the shell remains your inner soul that holds immense value.. All the hurtful words aimed at us for not being like everyone else.. can do harm to our self worth.. We can not believe the lies of the enemy..
    You have set your goal, and I am believing you will achieve it!
    Sorry for rambling 🙂 I stumbled on your blog looking for war time mock turkey.. and found so much more!

  36. Hello from USA!
    I understand you and feel your frustration. You are not alone in this. I too have suffered with the yo-yo weight loss and gain & I am taking permanent control of it now with a ketogenic diet.
    The following YouTube links are valuable, free, educational tools that can change you life. Dr. Berg is very good at explaining the reasons why. Dr. Berry gives it to you without any fluff. Finally, the last video of Dot is inspirational look at a successful life change. It’s well worth you time.

  37. You are so beautiful and you always are beautiful because you have a kind heart! Your passion and motivation is wonderful and it inspires me to see such a powerful womxn. I hope you feel as beautiful as you are ☺️

  38. How to be healthy and fit by doing sport

    1.Building Muscles

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    After a week or two, you won’t feel pain because your organs will be supplied by a lot of nerves that augment the ability of your body to carry more heavyweight.

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    If you build your muscles to burn fat you’ll notice that your overall shape will change to thin but the weight stays the same because you burn fat and build muscles this is one of the best benefits of sports. You will build a thin strong body and, tuned.

    In your body, you have a gland called the hippocampus which responsible for controlling stress when you do sport this gland will grow and increase in size to release more hormones to control your stress. Sport is important to factor to control your stress.
    Improvement of Sleep

    When you go to the gym after your exercise you release a neurotransmitter called GABA which relaxes the muscles and makes you sleep.

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    The hormone responsible for happiness and mental status is dopamine, serotonin, and, noradrenaline which called hormones of happiness.

    These hormones will be released during exercise after the exercise you will feel happiness and relaxation.

    Sport increases the responsiveness of cells to insulin and, then treatment of diabetes type 2.

    Sport increases testosterone in male and estrogen in female and then decreases stress.

    Also, increases the growth hormone this is the hormone responsible for the growth of your cells and organs if you do sport constantly your cells will grow constantly.

    Affect of sport on the brain
    Sport increases the release of a substance called DNF which enhances your brain growth and improves your memory in thinking and memorizing.

    Now let’s talk about

    Hormones of Thyroid Gland
    The thyroid gland releases thyroid hormones T3 and T4

    The thyroid hormone responsible for metabolism it determines whether your body burns fat or not, Your body healthy or not.

    Any changes in thyroid hormone will result in a negative effect.

    The thyroid hormone may increase or decrease.

    If your thyroid hormone decreased you’ll be calm, feeling tiredness, low blood pressure, sleeping too much, and will result in obesity because there is no fat burning.

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