‘My first son, Josh, was conceived naturally; getting pregnant a second time was much more stressful. Nobody said anything, but I’m sure my two to three stones of excess weight coupled with a high-fat, high-calorie diet weren’t helping. I was prescribed fertility drugs, then suffered two miscarriages – one of which was with twins. I was eventually diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
It wasn’t until after our second child Dylan’s birth that I realised how much being overweight was affecting me in other ways, too. I was puffed out at the slightest exertion and found it hard to join in with walks and games. When we came back from holidays and I saw the unflattering snaps in which I still looked pregnant, I knew I wanted to change. I was really pleased to discover that Slimming World welcomed breastfeeding mums and that as well as being able to enjoy plenty of foods like pasta, veg and lean meat, I could have additional portions of milk and cheese to keep my calcium and energy levels up.
I joined in October 2009, and lost a steady 1-2lbs a week until, after a year or so, I seemed to get stuck. Then I found out there was a good reason why I wasn’t losing – I was pregnant! I had conceived naturally and without consciously trying. My doctor reckoned my PCOS had improved because I was no longer overweight.
With my midwife’s consent I was able to keep attending group until just before Sophia’s birth, and when I returned to group afterwards I was still lighter than I’d been two years earlier! I set my target at 10st, and was thrilled to reach it in December 2012.
Running a business and having three children is fun but exhausting! I don’t think I’d have succeeded if my husband, Jeremy, hadn’t also been keen to get healthy and lose a bit of weight. We used to encourage each other’s unhealthy eating habits during our working day; now we buy fruit and cereal bars and have home-made curries and pasta sauce instead of takeaways.
I’d never done very much exercise before. Two years after joining, though, I decided to start running, as it was something that was fairly easy to fit into my busy lifestyle. At first I could barely jog for two minutes without stopping to catch my breath. I kept at it, and this year I'll be doing the Brighton Marathon!
I used to think slimming was something you did to fit into a pretty dress on a special occasion. It's so much more than that, though – it's about acquiring a healthy lifestyle that enables you to enjoy family life to the max.’
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.