I've got my smile back
31-year-old Samantha Pearson from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, is facing the future more than 8st* lighter – cheered on by her new circle of mum friends.
"Becoming a mum changes your life in so many ways. While I couldn’t believe how much love I felt for baby Hugo, I also wasn’t prepared for quite how lonely I’d feel on maternity leave. I didn’t know any other mums and, at nearly 19st and unhappy with my size, I also didn’t have the confidence to go out to mother-and-baby groups and make friends.
"I was worried about my health, too – because I’d had gestational diabetes during my pregnancy, I’d been advised to slim down after the birth to lower my risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Although I had good intentions, I couldn’t see how I could make time to eat healthily when Hugo kept me so busy.
"At the start of December 2014, my mum became very poorly. She’d fought breast cancer in 2011 and it had returned. Seeing her so unwell in hospital was terribly upsetting, and it made me realise how important it was that Hugo grew up with a fit, healthy mum. Whereas Mum’s illness couldn’t have been avoided, I could take steps to cut my own risk and protect my health. I became determined to tackle my weight.
"I joined my local Slimming World group on New Year’s Eve and started 2015 already on plan. My Consultant, Penny, was amazing. I felt inspired by other members’ successes, too, and soon found myself making friends with the mums there – I was starting to have a social life again! My mum would ask me for weekly updates on my weight loss and tell me how proud she was of me – especially when I reached my first target of 11st.
"When she passed away a year after her second diagnosis, I was devastated. It was an incredibly difficult time, but instead of falling into a comfort-eating habit to cope with my bereavement, I continued to Food Optimise and even went on to lose a little more – helped along by the support of my husband, James, and my new friends at group.
"These days, I’m much more active: walking rather than using the car, running and taking part in fitness classes. I now have my fabulous mum friends, too, and we’re there for one another through thick and thin. My size-24 jeans are long gone – now I can slip into size 10s. I’m just a few pounds away from my new target and James has lost 2st just by enjoying the same meals as me. I’m a happy, healthy mum, and I couldn’t have done it on my own."
With a little help from...
Samantha shares the tricks that made a difference to her slimming journey, and the treats (and people) that spurred her to success.
- With my sweet tooth, chocolate is non-negotiable! I’ll enjoy a couple of squares of Lindt Excellence 90% Cocoa for 6 Syns.
- Keeping up with Hugo requires a lot of energy and I think I’d have struggled at my biggest – when he was a baby I used to find even short walks tiring. Now I’m full of beans and the two of us are always out and about. I’m living my dream of being a fit and healthy mum.
- My lovely husband, James. He’s been so supportive; encouraging me on tough days and acting as a guinea pig for all my new recipes.
- I used to be so unfit and I’ve slowly built myself up with walking. I wanted to feel more motivated at the gym, so I invested in this fitness tracker – I also use it when I go running.
- As I lost weight, I’d buy myself little presents like a bag or a necklace. When I got to my first target I bought a whole new wardrobe!
- I like to blog and share my foodie pics – follow me on Instagram @theslimmingmama
*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.