I’m me again!
How 51-year-old Gaynor Haywood from Wakefield, West Yorkshire beat cancer, bounced back and went on to lose more than 3½st*. Gaynor is 5ft 7ins tall and weighs 10st 12½lbs.
"I was 44 when the shocking diagnosis came: breast cancer; two little words that changed my whole life.
"In the whirlwind of medical interventions that followed, I went through surgery (twice), five months of chemotherapy, a month of radiotherapy and five years of hormone therapy. During that time, my entire life revolved around fighting the illness, while I was left feeling out of control and lost – a shell of the woman I used to be. I sought comfort in food, eating lots of bread and butter, deep-fried snacks and sugary treats, which I’d tell myself I deserved. Losing my hair was devastating – it made me feel unfeminine – and with my weight creeping up, too, I barely recognised myself in the mirror.
"As the treatment drew to an end, my joy at being back to health was marred by the way I felt about my reflection. My husband, Mark, is a football referee for The FA. I went to Wembley to watch him officiate and when I saw photos taken of us on the day, I cried. I realised I’d been putting on a smiley front, when deep down I was miserable. I was nearly 50 and my birthday wish was just to feel like myself again. I was sure losing weight would help, so I psyched myself up to join Slimming World.
From the moment I walked through that door in March 2015, I knew I was putting myself back in charge of my life.
"My funny, friendly, inspirational group kept me on track and, by November, I’d reached my target of 10st 13lbs. To top it all off, my BMI is now in a range I’ve been told may help prevent the cancer from returning.
"I feel like I’ve been given a second chance at life, and my positivity and self-respect have increased tenfold. Now my (genuine!) smiles are bigger and wider than ever. Why? Because I know I’m the one back in control!"
With a little help from...
Gaynor shares the tricks that made a difference to her slimming journey, and the treats (and people) that spurred her to success
- Lager is my favourite tipple (6 Syns for half a pint). Before a night out, I prepare a Free or low- Syn meal for when I get home, so I’m not tempted by a takeaway.
- Finding out the Syns in some bought curry sauces was a bit of a shock! Now I make my own Free ones, using fresh ingredients and spices.
- Being slim has given me a new lease of life and I couldn’t have done it without my amazing husband. I’d have given up on myself long ago if it weren’t for him.
- I was in the midst of chemotherapy when I first took part in Race for Life. I didn’t think I was going to make it to the finish... my fab friends got me there!
- I celebrated my 50th by getting a tattoo, and felt able to show off my belly button piercing for the first time in years!
*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.