The office was alive with chatter about the upcoming Christmas do. Who would wear what? Was there time to squeeze in a blow-dry after work? Meanwhile, I sat at my desk feeling awful. I’d always been the life and soul of past Christmas parties, first on the dance floor and chatting to everyone. This year, though, I just couldn’t face it.

The weight started going on when I went back to work after having my daughter, Aaliya. At the time I was a size 12 – then juggling the demands of a full-time job and being a mum meant I turned to ready-made food whenever I could. Working in a buzzing, sociable office as a sales analyst also meant lots of lunches out, cakes with colleagues and drinks parties – it all added up.

I decided I’d had enough – there was no balance in my life. I wanted to spend more time with Aaliya and everything felt out of kilter. The opportunity came up to take redundancy, so I grabbed it and decided to spend the next few years at home.

Family time – and more weight gain

My new lifestyle meant spending more time with my family – and more opportunities to indulge my love of baking. Thanks to my butter- and sugar-rich culinary creations, my weight carried on going up and, before long, I was approaching a size 16.

Walking home one day, I saw a poster for a Slimming World group near where I lived and I decided to join. The moment I got there, I felt such an electric atmosphere that, before I knew it, I was chatting away and stayed right until the end.

Slimming World for me was about balance, discovering how to enjoy delicious food and keeping the numbers on the scales going down.

I loved playing around with recipes and often made low-Syn waffles or pancakes for breakfast. Another favourite was a Slimming World burger – and instead of a bun, I’d have mine between two Portobello mushrooms. Body Magic helped to boost my weight loss, too, and I became passionate about exercise. Now, if I can’t get to the gym, I’m climbing the walls!

After a couple of months, a stone had gone and gradually I started socialising again – using my Syns for lighter versions of my favourite cocktails.

It felt great – the me who didn’t make excuses and loved having fun was coming back.

When I reached my initial target weight of 9½st, I felt I could lose more, so I lowered it a couple of times, with a final target of 8st. When I looked at my size 8 figure in the mirror, I felt such a sense of achievement.

Feeling newly confident, I decided it was time for a challenge and applied to become a Slimming World Consultant. It’s fantastic being back out there, and running my group suits my family life so well.

My husband, Baris, loves his ‘new wife’ and our relationship has improved in every way possible now that I’m happier and more body confident.

While I love my new look, losing weight is about so much more – it’s about my attitude to life.

From little things like spending two hours fixing the vacuum cleaner (before, I would have just called Baris to do it), to finally learning to drive – I really feel like ‘this woman can’!

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