‘When I found out I was expecting, I was pretty slim. I used my pregnancy as a chance to enjoy all the indulgent foods, like cake, pizza and chocolate, that I’d denied myself during years of yo-yo dieting. I thought the weight I gained would come off as soon as the baby arrived. Instead, takeaways, a sedentary lifestyle and a love of delicious (and, sadly, oily) Egyptian food meant I just kept getting bigger, until my trousers were too tight to fasten.
I was often miserable and felt like a failure as a mum – running around after Omar was exhausting. I knew I had to do something, especially as my beloved dad had been overweight and had suffered from heart disease and diabetes.
I’d tried many diets over the years without success, so I never imagined Slimming World might work for me. But when I joined Lezley-Anne’s group in September 2012 I was inspired, and the next day I took myself off to the supermarket to buy supplies of fresh vegetables, meat and fish.
In my first week I lost 4lbs – it was the proof I needed to dedicate myself 100 per cent to changing my lifestyle.
It was time to stop relying on fast food and to learn how to make lower-fat versions of Egyptian dishes like stuffed vine leaves, vegetable dips and stews. I don’t think it would have worked if I’d had to faff about doing lots of weighing and measuring, or if I hadn’t been allowed to have my favourite indulgences when I fancied them.
I reached my target weight in exactly one year, then decided I’d like to lose a little more. I’m now an energetic wife and mother who can fit into size-8 skinny jeans! I never had the energy to exercise before I slimmed down – now I love going swimming with Omar, playing ball or just running around being silly with him. I think we have a better relationship simply because I wake up each day feeling happy and proud of myself, instead of frumpy and self-critical. Children are definitely aware of these things – and Omar loves having a happy, active, fun mum.’
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.