‘I’ve been cabin crew for 16 years and looking glamorous is part of the job. When the waistband on my uniform began to feel tight or the button over the bust popped open, I knew I’d put on a few pounds. I’d go on an extreme diet or live on meal-replacement shakes for a few days until I felt (temporarily!) more comfortable.
Healthy eating just wasn’t on my agenda when I was flying long haul for up to five nights at a time. The job is tiring and means working at odd hours, so I relied on ready meals at home and room service when I was away. I’d always go for a few drinks with the flight crew on our stopovers, too, and would snack on chocolate to help me cope with jet lag.
After I became pregnant with my first son, Grayson, I wore a maternity uniform and never once weighed myself… I didn’t realise I’d put on 5st until it was too late.
My friend, Nikki, had tried to get me to go with her to Slimming World before, but I’d resisted, assuming that joining would mean being told what I could and couldn’t eat. Now, Nikki explained more about Food Optimising and how lovely everyone was, and it suddenly seemed more appealing.
It was a sweltering day when I first went to group, and I remember feeling so self-conscious and sticky. From the start, though, I was welcomed and put at ease. I soon realised that however different we were, we all had common ground.
The number on the scales was irrelevant and no one judged; we were just there because we wanted to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way.
Despite my reliance on ready meals, I’ve always enjoyed spending time in the kitchen, so it was exciting to discover I could still make my favourite recipes – it was just a question of adapting them slightly. I’ve found it works best to have a bank of dishes that both my partner, Cameron, and I love, and cook them on rotation. Slimming World spaghetti Bolognese, chilli con carne, fish and chips, Nacho-style feast and roast dinner are all favourites.
I was just a stone away from my 11st target when I found out I was pregnant again. I’d stopped going to group, though, and found myself making unhealthy choices more than I’d have liked – and I gained 3st. It seemed like I’d been pregnant and living in leggings and baggy jumpers forever, and I felt terrible. So, two weeks after Arlo’s birth in September 2015, with my midwife’s consent, I was back at Slimming World.
It wasn’t that I felt pressured to get back into shape; this was something I was doing for me – l lost 10lbs in my first week! From then on, the weight came off steadily.
I reached my 11st target this January, four months after having Arlo. I was so pleased, I relaxed a bit and promptly put 2½lbs back on. I didn’t let it bother me too much, as I knew I only had to stick to plan to lose it again – and I did the next week. I’ve now lowered my target to 10st 7lbs.
That’s why Slimming World has been so brilliant. I eat huge portions of delicious food and I’ve got energy to spare.
Now I feel wonderful and full of confidence. I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved: not just my new figure, but also producing two beautiful, healthy boys. My maternity leave finishes soon and I can’t wait to be back at work for the first time in three years, wearing a smaller uniform than I did pre-pregnancy!’
Frequent-flyer Lauren’s tips for staying on track while you travel (and when you get there).
Pack a carry-on bag with healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, celery and cucumber sticks, plus sweeteners for hot drinks and a few small treats. If you’re spending the time between check-in and boarding in the airport coffee shop, get an early-start caffeine fix with a tall white Americano instead of a whole-milk mocha.
Grab a bite
Many hotels have brilliant buffets with loads of healthy foods. Choose poached or boiled eggs with lean grilled bacon, or fresh fruit with portions of high-fibre cereal and milk from the breakfast bar. In the evening, go for chicken or fish dishes with salad and vegetables.
Take your gym kit
Make the most of the hotel facilities while you’re away and head for the gym – or the swimming pool, if that’s more your thing.
Raise a glass
If you fancy a tipple, spritzers made with soda last longer and are more refreshing than wine – as are low-calorie mixers with spirits, such as a gin and diet tonic. Or skip the alcohol altogether and enjoy a sugar-free soft drink such as Fanta Zero.
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.