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, I sought comfort in food, eating lots of bread and butter, deep-fried snacks and sugary treats, which I’d tell myself I deserved.

Confidence crisis

As the treatment came 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 Football Association. I went to Wembley to watch him officiate and when I saw photos taken of us on the day, I cried. I knew I had to lose weight.

From the moment I joined Slimming World, I knew I was putting myself back in charge of my life.

My funny, friendly, inspirational group kept me on track and I’d soon reached my target of 10st 13lbs. To top it 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 spurred her on to succeed:​

  • 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 sauces 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 Cancer Research UK's 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.