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I’d battled with my weight for most of my adult life, but it was when I got divorced that it really started to spiral out of control. Being a single mum with a full-time job, time-saving convenience food became the norm, as did the glass of wine and bar of chocolate I’d enjoy every night as a reward for getting through the day.

Although I tried to keep active by walking and cycling regularly, as more weight crept on, I started to get pain in my back and joints. Eventually, I stopped cycling altogether and instead spent my spare time at the weekends snuggled up on the sofa with cups of tea and a packet of biscuits.

In May 2018, I went to Krakow with some friends to celebrate my 50th birthday and had a great time. When I saw the photos posted on social media afterwards, though, my heart sank. I looked so much bigger than I’d imagined.

Then, that September, I went to Spain with my mum and son. I’d packed my usual holiday clothes, but when I pulled them out of the suitcase and tried them on, none of them fitted. That was when the penny dropped. A couple of weeks after I got home, I joined my local Slimming World group.

Straight away, I loved the camaraderie of the other members in group. Everyone was so friendly and they really helped to keep me motivated. At home, I started making healthier versions of my favourite meals from scratch. I quickly learnt which chocolates had the lowest Syn values and could fit into my daily Syns allowance. Being able to enjoy a treat at the end of each day helped me feel more in control, without missing out.

Within a couple of months, I’d lost a stone and could already feel less pain in my joints and back. I started going out for walks again and was surprised by how much further I could go. That spurred me on to add more activities into my week. I started getting out into the garden more, and when my niece got a puppy, I offered to walk it for her.

Find out more about Slimming World’s Body Magic physical activity programme

As I got closer to my target weight, I decided to take on an even bigger challenge. I’d been volunteering as a welfare officer at my local football club, and decided that I wanted to learn more about the training side of things, so I signed up to do a coaching qualification.

At first I was nervous about being the only woman on the course, but everyone was really encouraging. Part of the course involved taking part in training drills, and I had no problems keeping up with the other trainers – something that would’ve been a challenge when I weighed 16½st. While my work as a welfare officer will always take priority, I enjoy pulling my boots on and getting involved in training whenever the other coaches need support.

My life has been unrecognisable since losing 4st. I’m pain free, full of energy and my confidence keeps growing. Earlier this year I took a long-haul flight to Minneapolis and New York – and I loved it. I’m already planning my next trip, to New Orleans and Chicago. I feel like life is full of adventure, and I intend to make the most of it.

More on the blog: 30 activity ideas for beginners – how many will you tick off?

The Slimming World get-fit tool kit 

Slimming World members are supported to get active, at their own pace, through our unique Body Magic activity programme. Find out more here.

When you join, you’ll also get access to our get-fit tool kit, which includes: 

  • more than 90 on-demand activity videos, with workouts for every ability 
  • easy-to-follow exercise guides and activity ideas 
  • an online activity tracker to chart your progress towards your next Body Magic award 
  • the FIT log tool to help identify any Body Magic barriers and put strategies in place  
  • member exclusive podcast episodes 
  • get-active support and strategies in group, with a cheerleading community to spur you on!

If you’re planning to start a new exercise programme, we recommend you check with your GP first – especially if you have an existing health condition, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. If you’re pregnant, check the suitability of the exercise with your midwife.

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