I wanted to feel my fairy-tale best
Leanne Kisby, 32, has lost a phenomenal 3st 5lbs with Slimming World to wear her dream wedding dress. She lives in Leeds with her husband, Christian, her daughter, Stella, nine, and their son, Jaxson, two. Leanne is 5ft 2ins tall and weighs 9st 11lbs.
"Until I had children, I was always around a size 10-12 and I never bothered weighing myself. During my first pregnancy, though, I felt permanently tired and hungry, and by the time Stella was born, I’d put on 3st. I’d expected to lose weight running around as a new mum – by her second birthday, I’d actually gained another 2st. It was so upsetting. I was exhausted, I hated the way I looked and I couldn’t find nice clothes to fit. I felt incredibly low.
"A blood test showed I had an underactive thyroid that was probably contributing to my tiredness. My GP explained that with regular medication I should start to feel more energetic, and find it easier to lose weight through healthy eating.
"I decided to see if my doctor was right about the weight loss. I joined my local Slimming World group, met lots of lovely new people, and ate loads of satisfying foods like pasta, potatoes, curries and stews. I got back down to a size 10 – and stayed there. And that’s probably where my weight-loss story would have ended, if I hadn’t got together with my fiancé, Christian...
"We met at a wedding back in 2012. We knew straight away that we were right for each other, and within a year we’d moved in together and were expecting our son, Jaxson. Life was great.
"There was just one little problem. Now that I was pregnant again, I found my weight going up faster than I’d expected. My thyroid problem could well have played a part – I needed regular checks while pregnant and my medication had to be altered. Even so, my cravings for fried chicken, high-sugar fizzy drinks and chocolate (all of which I gave in to on a regular basis!) also had something to do with it. And I’d moved house – and stopped attending group.
"History repeated itself and I was left with 3st to lose when Jaxson was born in April 2014. Then, on the day of Jaxson’s christening, Christian grabbed a microphone, thanked all our family and friends for coming... and went down on one knee to ask me to marry him! It was the biggest surprise of my life and by far the most romantic.
Yes to the dress
"With the date set for April 2015, my thoughts turned to photographs and dresses. I really wanted to feel happy with the way I looked. I found details of my nearest Slimming World group, went along the following week and within two months my first stone was gone. After that I lost a steady 1-2lbs a week, and by Christmas I was around 10st 7lbs.
"I was so determined to look my best before shopping for a dress, I didn’t try anything on until a month or so before the wedding! By then I’d got to my target weight of 10st, and I chose a gorgeous fitted dress, which showed off my newly slim waist and shapely hips. I nearly cried with joy when I saw myself in the mirror.
The day itself was perfect. We’d chosen a lovely venue on its own little island, surrounded by stunning parkland. Stella was a beautiful flower girl and Jaxson, not quite walking yet, was our adorable pageboy.
"This time around, I decided I loved being slim too much to take any chances, so I carried on going to group as a target member. Then, last September, I became a Slimming World Consultant. I’ve found it fits in really well with family life and my day job as a childminder. I now look after two groups (one has 80 members) and I love it. Sometimes I meet new slimmers who think that they won’t be able to lose weight because they have thyroid problems – they’re always surprised and delighted when they discover I’m living proof that they can!"
*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.