2016 was a brilliantly busy year. I welcomed my beautiful little girl, Kaycie, to the world in May, then married the love of my life, Andy, in July. I should’ve felt on top of the world on my wedding day – the only thing bringing me down was my weight. Even in my lovely wedding dress I felt so uncomfortable with how I looked that I refused to let the photographer take any bride and groom photos. In fact, I very nearly didn’t book a photographer at all.

I left it until the last minute to book someone to take group photos of family and friends, still adamant that I didn’t want any solo shots.

That’s not how any bride wants to feel on their wedding day, but the fact was that I’d struggled with my weight for years. I sadly suffered two miscarriages before having our daughter, and I’d turned to food for comfort. The number on the scales just kept going up and up, until it reached 16st 5½Ibs at my heaviest.

Post-wedding weight loss

Although nothing could dampen my joy when, a year later, I found out that I was pregnant again, my weight continued to cause issues. I’d been diagnosed with gestational diabetes during my pregnancy with Kaycie, which meant following a strict diet and taking medication. This time, my health was even worse, and I had to inject insulin daily. When Archie arrived in March 2018, I was told that I had an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, although I could reduce this risk greatly by eating healthily and exercising more.

That was a real wake-up call for me. As a busy mum of two, I needed to be healthy. I was also finding that my weight was getting in the way of things we wanted to do as a family – I felt too self-conscious in a swimsuit to take the kids swimming, for example. I was so thrilled to finally be a mum, but I wasn’t able to be the mum that I wanted to be. It was time to make a change for me and the family that I’d wanted for so long – time to join Slimming World!

Throwing out the fad diets

In the past, I’d tried every diet under the sun – from soups and special shakes, to juice diets and even trying to survive on just eggs and grapefruit. It’s hardly surprising that none of these fad diets worked! Slimming World is completely different. The Food Optimising plan is all about healthy, filling, everyday foods, and you can eat so much that there’s no need to go hungry. When I first joined I was still breastfeeding Archie, and my Consultant talked me through the best way to Food Optimise to make sure that I got all the nutrients and calcium I needed.

The fantastic support you get at group really is something special and has helped me to stick to my new healthy ways.

I also loved the fact that Food Optimising fitted in with family life perfectly – the kids, Andy and I could all eat the same delicious Slimming World meals. Andy even chooses my home-made Slimming World pizza over ordering a takeaway pizza!

Happy me, happy kids!

As the number on the scales started to come down, I began to think about increasing the amount of exercise I did. Before losing weight, I didn’t think I had time for exercise. The truth was that I just wasn’t very good at making myself a priority.

I think mums can sometimes feel a bit guilty about taking time for themselves. But actually, my taking an hour to exercise or go to group benefits my entire family.

Now I’m always on the go, running around with the kids and walking our new puppy. When I carry Archie in his baby carrier, it’s amazing to think that I’ve lost about four times his body weight! I feel so full of life and love making fun memories with my family – including splashing around in the local pool! I feel like I’m the mum I was meant to be.

I also take some ‘me time’ to exercise. Last September I took part in Sweatember, which encouraged me to try loads of different activities, from badminton and running to cycling and swimming. As well as raising money for Cancer Research, this made me realise that I actually enjoy being active, and my next goal is to compete in a mini triathlon.

Miss Slinky 2019

Having now lost 6st 5½Ibs, I’m thrilled to be crowned Miss Slinky for Slimming World’s special gold anniversary year. I still have one personal goal that I hope to fulfil, however. I’d really love to renew our wedding vows. With my wedding weight loss, I feel like I’m the best version of me and I definitely won’t be shying away from the camera next time!

Watch Hayley’s story here

 

Hayley’s day on a plate

Before

Breakfast: Nothing.

Mid-morning: A cup of tea and biscuits.

Lunch: A baguette or sausage roll with crisps and a chocolate bar.

Mid-afternoon: A cup of tea and a slice of cake.

Dinner: A takeaway or creamy macaroni cheese.

Evening: A few bars of chocolate.

After

Breakfast: Chopped fruit with fat-free natural yogurt or a cooked breakfast with grilled low-fat sausages, lean bacon, baked beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and poached eggs.

Mid-morning: Fruit.

Lunch: Omelette, ham and egg salad or baked beans on wholemeal toast.

Mid-afternoon: Fat-free natural yogurt and fruit.

Dinner: Slimming World burger or steak with home-made oven chips, or Slimming World pizza.

 

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