Top Target Consultant 2019, Kathryn Cooke before and after
Top Target Consultant 2019, Kathryn Cooke, before and after

Watching my super-fit husband Joe run around the football pitch for Bradford City, I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable. The stereotype of the glamorous footballer’s wife was often true, and I remember feeling insecure as I cheered Joe on from the stands, surrounded by the other wives and girlfriends.

I’d always been overweight, even going back to my childhood. But by the time I married Joe in 1977, I’d discovered Slimming World and felt fantastic as a slim, happy and confident young bride. Our two daughters, Geraldine and Yvette, followed soon after, and that’s when I started to lose control of my weight again. Joe had been transferred to another football club, leaving me at home with the babies. Being a footballer’s wife can be lonely at times, and I loved traditional comfort foods like stew and dumplings, followed by sponge pudding and custard. It wasn’t a surprise that my weight crept up to 11st 7Ibs.

Luckily, I made friends at a local mum and baby group, and I went along with some of them to a Slimming World group nearby. Even going back to the 80s, the core values of Slimming World were the same – delicious food, lots of support and absolutely no guilt or shame. This time, as well as wanting to feel confident while watching Joe play, I had the extra motivation of setting a good example to my girls.

I wasn’t joining Slimming World for a quick fix – I wanted to be slim for life!

I really embraced Food Optimising and all the fantastic Free Food that you can have on the Slimming World plan. Lean meat, fish, pasta, rice, potatoes, fruit and veg can be eaten in unlimited amounts, and cooking tasty, filling meals from scratch definitely helped me to reach my target weight. I could still enjoy my favourite comforting casseroles – I just made them to a Slimming World recipe. Home-made chicken tikka masala and spaghetti Bolognese were other favourites.

Falling in love with Body Magic

Body Magic has been another big part of my Slimming World success. As I started to build activity into my day, I discovered a passion for fitness that I never thought I’d have. Despite being married to a fit footballer, I’d always disliked exercise. At school I’d dreaded PE and would do anything to get out it. Slimming World inspired me to try lots of different exercise classes to boost my Body Magic, and I enjoyed them so much that I decided to train to become a fitness instructor myself.

Standing in front of my first exercise class, I realised that I’d changed my whole lifestyle for the better!

That was 36 years ago and I still teach exercise classes every week. This keeps me fit and toned, and has helped me to stay at my target weight of 8st 4Ibs all this time. I also find that being organised works best for me and, twice a week, every week, I sit down with my Slimming World recipe books and plan what I’m going to eat for the next few days. Even when I had my surprise third baby, Gabrielle, at the age of 37, I managed to get back to my target weight quickly by just continuing with my usual healthy habits.

The next step on my Slimming World journey was to become a Consultant. Having managed to maintain my weight for so long, I felt passionately that I could help other people to do the same. Weight maintenance can be a difficult thing to master, but it’s so much easier when you have supportive and encouraging people around you.

I’m really proud of the target members that I have in my group, and I’m sure that they’ll now stay slim for life, like I plan to.

I love seeing my members blossom into the confident, happy people they were always meant to be, and I’m thrilled to have been voted Slimming World’s Top Target Consultant 2019. As well as running my own Slimming World group, I’m now a grandma to four gorgeous grandchildren. Keeping myself fit and healthy means that I have no problem running around after them – if anything, they struggle to keep up with me!

I can honestly say that I’m happier with how I look and feel now, at 63, than I was in my 20s. That insecure footballer’s wife watching from the sidelines feels like a completely different person to the slim and fit woman that I am in 2019!

Kathryn’s day on a plate

Before

Breakfast: Bowl of cereal with full-fat milk, followed by toast and butter.

Mid-morning snack: Milky coffee and a couple of biscuits.

Lunch: Egg mayonnaise sandwich, with a biscuit.

Dinner: Stew and dumplings, followed by sponge pudding and custard.

Evening snack: Buttered scone, peanuts.

After

Breakfast: Large bowl of fresh fruit such as mango, strawberries, nectarine and blueberries, with fat-free natural Greek yogurt.

Mid-morning snack: A banana.

Lunch: Salmon fillet with sweet chilli sauce, stir-fry vegetables and Slimming World chips.

Dinner: Home-made chicken tikka masala, boiled rice, broccoli, carrots and baby sweetcorn.

Evening snack: Crispbreads with extra-light cheese spread, cheese, small glass of white wine.

 

*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.