‘At my biggest I refused to go to any social occasions and even stopped taking my three children on family days out. When I was pregnant with my youngest daughter, Annalise, I spent even more time at home indoors. I developed a pregnancy-related condition where the pelvic joints move out of alignment. The pain became so severe I needed crutches and the only way I could get upstairs was on my hands and knees.
I’d put on more weight than I’d wanted to during my pregnancy and felt really unhealthy. I had so much on my plate, I told myself it wasn’t an ideal time to go to back to Slimming World (I'd previously been a member). Yet I knew I wasn’t being the mum I wanted to be to my children. I also longed to feel attractive again and to get back to the happy me. So, the week before I was due to have Annalise, and with my midwife’s support, I went to group.
As I hobbled into the Cardiff Bay group heavily pregnant and on my crutches, my Consultant, Sue, must have sensed how much I was hurting and gave me a big hug. Suddenly, I felt better.
“Don’t worry,” Sue said, “I’ll phone you when you get home and we can go through it when you’re more comfortable.” True to her word, she called me later that evening and made sure I had everything I needed to get back on plan. “I know you can do it,” she told me.
I waited until Annalise was born, which was just a week later, then got straight into Food Optimising. I started my days with a filling breakfast of porridge topped with chopped fruit. Lunch would be a big mixed salad with skinless cooked chicken or hard-boiled eggs, then in the evening I’d make a meal we could enjoy as a family, such as a Slimming World curry or Diet cola chicken with plenty of veg.
My fiancé, Steve, wanted to support me any way he could, so he joined group and started following the plan with me. I’d been back at group for a month and losing weight steadily when we decided to set a date for our wedding: July 2016, exactly a year away. At that point I was a size 24 and I went shopping for my wedding dress with my eldest daughter, Isabella. I found just what I’d been looking for: a stunning, ivory satin, strapless gown in a beautiful fitted shape with a drop waist. I asked to order it there and then… in a size 10.
In group, I was staying to IMAGE Therapy each week, picking up tips and recipes, and making sure I didn’t lose motivation.
As the weeks went by, the number on the scales went down – and it did for Steve, too. Most importantly, my happy, cheerful personality started to resurface. I began taking the children to the park and on day trips, feeling less and less self-conscious in public.
By April this year I’d lost 6st – and it felt great! To celebrate, Steve booked a babysitter and arranged for us to go for a posh meal. It was our first night out together as a couple in two years. Part way through dinner, Steve nipped to the toilet. When he got back to the table, he went down on one knee. “Will you marry me?” he asked. I cried tears of happiness as Steve held out a new diamond ring, with a much smaller band than my original engagement ring.
A couple of weeks later, I tried on my wedding dress and it was too big! All of my work had paid off. The staff at the shop announced they had never seen such an amazing transformation in a bride-to-be. And to top it off, at my next fitting, the dress needed taking in again and I was told if I lost any more weight I might need to find a new dress!
As I walked down the aisle on my wedding day, in my figure-hugging gown, I felt amazing. Nothing could match saying “I do” to Steve, though. And while the cameras clicked away, instead of shying away from them, I posed, smiling constantly.
There’s no doubt in my mind that going back to Slimming World was the best thing I ever did. As well as being fitter and healthier, enabling me to run around and play with my kids without getting out of breath, I’m much happier. I no longer hide myself away in the house. In fact, I’m much more confident in social situations. I’ve even recently trained to be a Slimming World Consultant, so I can help others realise that their dreams are within their grasp, too. Next on the list, now that I’m comfortable in front of the cameras, is to arrange Annalise’s christening!
Recently, something happened to bring tears of joy to my eyes. Jude said: “At last I can hug my mummy – I can put my arms around you.” And it goes deeper than that... Before, I was hurting so much inside that I missed out on countless happy times with my family. Now I won’t miss another moment.’
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.