I joined Slimming World after having my fourth child. I’d been diagnosed with gestational diabetes due to my weight, and had a high-risk pregnancy and birth. I was already a mum of three, so I felt doubly guilty that I’d put both my unborn daughter and myself at risk. Luckily, my delivery was fine and Ariel was born perfect, but I knew I needed to make some changes. As soon as she was six weeks old, I joined my local Slimming World group.
Learning about the Food Optimising plan, I was surprised to discover that it was all normal food, food that I liked to eat – just cooked in a healthier way. I’d come to believe that carbs were the enemy if you want to lose weight, so when I heard that potatoes are an unlimited Free Food I was thrilled! Chips are my favourite food in the world – although mine were always deep-fried and smothered in cheese and mayonnaise. Instead, I tried Slimming World chips, cooked in the oven, and they hit the spot without needing all the full-fat added extras.
That first week, I made sure I filled up on Free Food, with potatoes aplenty. I was blown away when I stepped on the scales and had lost 8½lbs – especially as I’d enjoyed a Curly Wurly every evening as a treat. That was when I really started to believe I’d found a way to lose weight that worked.
I loved that there was no faffing about with the Food Optimising plan. With three children under three, including a six-week-old baby, I didn’t have time for lots of preparation – I just wanted food that I could grab and fill up on. You don’t have to weigh Free Foods and there are hundreds of them to choose from – lean meat, pasta, fruit and veg and, of course, potatoes – so there’s never any need to feel hungry.
I also loved that my kids could eat the same meals as me – and they’ve grown up enjoying delicious family dinners and lots of different fruit and vegetables. I never want them to go through the same struggles with weight that I did, and I feel confident that I’ve given them a great foundation of balanced healthy eating.
Slimming World members can find more family recipes – plus snack ideas and tips for picky eaters – on our member-exclusive website.
During my weight loss journey, I never felt like I was missing out or depriving myself of anything. I could still have my favourite comfort foods, like chips, cheese and gravy, mac and cheese, and roast dinners. There are nearly 2,000 recipes on the website, including hearty classics like lasagne and curries. Whatever you fancy, there’s a slimming-friendly version to try.
Of course, I had my own challenges along the way, and my Slimming World group always helped me to find a solution. Being so busy, I realised that meal-planning was key for me – that, and making sure that the fruit bowl was kept full. I also chose to change the way that I socialised with friends. Initially, I swapped my favourite lagers and ciders for gin, but then I realised that I didn’t need the alcohol to enjoy myself. Now I only drink at weddings, and I don’t miss it at all. That’s not to say you can’t drink on the Slimming World plan – you can, it just wasn’t something that was important to me. I’d rather have my chips and cheese and a Curly Wurly!
Try Clare’s comfort food faves
The plan worked so well for me that when the opportunity came up to become a Slimming World Consultant, I decided to go for it. I was working in customer services at the time and was fed up with missing school plays and sports days. I wanted a truly flexible career, and a self-employed role with Slimming World offered exactly that. Now I run my own group, which I find really fulfilling, and my earnings mean that I can make dreams come true for my family. Last year I bought a holiday home at Butlins – a place to make memories with the kids for years to come (and I’ll be the first one in the pool!).
Losing 4st with Slimming World has changed my life beyond measure – especially how I am as a mum. I can chase my kids, play football with them and run around after them at the park. I take them swimming regularly, which I’d never have done before, as I didn’t want to wear a swimsuit in public. And now not only do I never have to miss a sports day, I’m fit and confident enough to join in the fun!
To anyone who might be thinking of joining Slimming World but has that little bit of doubt or nervousness, I’d say just do it! I’d tried some awful fad diets before – the cabbage soup diet and one where I ate just cottage cheese and crackers. To discover something that offers a range of unlimited foods, with no hassle and no restriction, was a revelation. Just try it for a week and you won’t look back!
Curious about becoming a Consultant?
You’ll find a world of support waiting at your local Slimming World group or in our vibrant online Community. We’d love to welcome you!