I'm 5 sizes smaller
When her kids had to push her up a hill, 46-year-old Evelyn Reynolds knew a change was due. Now almost 8st* lighter, she’s feeling on top of the world.
"The weather was glorious and Matthew and I were enjoying a day out with the kids at a local beauty spot. Trying to keep up as they climbed a steep hill, I was dripping with sweat and out of breath. In the end, Lottie and John got behind me and pushed me all the way up the slope. Pausing at the top to catch my breath, my face flushed with embarrassment, I realised something. I’d had enough of struggling to do the things I used to enjoy. I was in my early 40s, my back and neck twinged with arthritis pains, and I felt old before my time. Something had to change.
"It was after Lottie was born, at just 23 weeks, that I began to turn to food for comfort. I spent four nerve-wracking months in hospital as my baby battled through. Then my father passed away and I lost my 20-year-old little brother two years later. As I used food to numb my grief, takeaways and ready meals became a habit.
"Over the years, I tried to lose weight, but nothing seemed to work. When I reached 18st 4½lbs in 2015, I decided enough was enough and joined Slimming World. I didn’t tell anyone, though, in case it turned out to be just another ‘failed diet’.
"From my first night at group, I knew Slimming World would be different – everyone was so encouraging and friendly. After years of relying on ready meals, I started cooking hearty, healthy dinners from scratch, and now I can’t imagine eating any other way.
"Planning and prepping meals in advance has been an important part of my slimming success. I’ll get ahead for busy days by cooking up batches of our favourite dishes to freeze. My go-to recipe is beef and bean hotpot bake.
As I got slimmer, I felt lighter and more energetic, and my arthritis became far less painful. I feel 20 years younger!
"Before Slimming World I used to hate clothes shopping – now I can shop anywhere and I absolutely love it. I'm currently looking into renewing my wedding vows with my amazing husband. I was so unhappy with how I looked on my wedding day. This time I'll wear a dress that will make me look a million dollars.
"Recently, I went back to that hill and ran all the way to the top – without getting very out of breath. I love being an active mum and I feel happier and healthier than I’ve ever been. I’ve got my life back!"
With a little help from...
Evelyn shares the tricks that made a difference to her slimming journey, and the treats (and people) that spurred her to success.
- My greatest supporter: my husband, Matthew, who lost a stone just by eating Food Optimised dinners! He was amazing, always telling me how proud he was of me, which really helped to keep me going.
- I didn’t want my kids to lose a parent as young as I had and that thought kept me motivated. I was also determined I was going to be an active mum to Honey.
- If I fancy a takeaway, I’ll order a grilled chicken kebab and salad and eat it with my Healthy Extra wholemeal roll.
- At 1½-2 Syns, Options hot chocolate sachets make a lovely drink – I also mix them into quark to make low-Syn chocolate mousse.
- The outdoor exercise bike in our local park is great for a bit of free Body Magic. My family are amazed at how much energy I have these days. I hardly sit still!
- As my self-esteem grew, I began to pamper myself more. I love giving myself manicures and pedicures with pretty polishes.
- I adore Holly Willoughby’s pencil skirts and blouses on This Morning. Now that I feel confident about my figure, I’m planning to steal her style!
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose
You'll find more delicious recipe and menu ideas at your local group, along with all the help you need to get started and reach your target weight.