‘I was always a slim teenager. I met Carl, who’s now my husband, when I was 19. I’d skip breakfast and sometimes lunch, too, then eat chips at 4pm when I felt really hungry. In the evening, we’d eat out, order a takeaway or grab a microwavable ready meal.
I was busy running my own beauty salon and didn’t notice the weight creeping on. I joined Slimming World for the first time in 2007, when a friend asked me to go along with her. Slimming World helped me take responsibility for my weight, without making me feel judged or under pressure. I’d lost 1½st when I found out I was pregnant with Theo a year later. Despite doing so well, I decided to stop going to group.
There’s a lot of pressure when you’re a new mum. I was coping with a little one and also comparing myself to other women. I felt self-conscious and lacking in confidence. I fell pregnant again with my second son Ethan in May 2009. Although I ate quite a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner, I felt nauseous throughout my pregnancy and the only things that seemed to help were fizzy cola-bottle sweets and ice-cream milkshakes – I couldn’t get enough of them!
After Ethan was born I experienced a couple of embarrassing incidents where people thought I was still pregnant! I rejoined Slimming World because it was so easy to cook for the whole family. My favourite dish is lamb kebabs with lemon and coriander couscous and a spicy passata sauce. I love chicken curry, too, and Carl loves my crispy roast potatoes!
I’ve also learnt how to stay on track at special occasions. If I’m away on holiday, for example, I’ll eat foods such as fruit, veg, wholegrains, low-fat dairy and lean meat and poultry during the day so I can treat my myself to a drink in the evening. It works for me – while on a cruise in the Mediterranean last October, I even wore a bikini!
Getting more active has been a really big help with my weight loss. After I had Ethan, I signed up to a gym with a crèche, so I could work out without worrying about who would look after the boys. Instead of sitting on the sidelines when I take the boys to a soft-play centre, I’m always in the thick of the action with them. I was recently called a “yummy mummy” by a friend who hadn’t recognised me in the street, which made me feel brilliant.’
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.