I never really struggled with my weight before I became a mum. Even immediately after having my son, Tiernan, I lost my baby weight quite quickly. Before I knew it, I was back in my pre-pregnancy clothes and feeling great. My struggles with weight came a little later.

As Tiernan grew and his sleeping patterns changed, I found that I was out walking with his pram much less. Instead, while he napped, I’d sit in front of the television and eat convenience foods like pizza and oven chips, plus crisps and chocolate. I could feel my clothes getting tighter and I’d avoid wearing anything I thought might not fit any more. I’d always been quite active, yet I found I was getting out of breath just taking the dog for a walk.

Deep down, I was really upset that the weight was creeping on, but I avoided thinking about it because I didn’t want to deal with it.

While we never talked about my weight, my husband, Christopher, knew I was unhappy. So, in an attempt to cheer me up, he treated us to tickets to a charity ball. I’d always loved a reason to get dressed up and, feeling excited, I ordered a new dress online – in a bigger size than usual to make sure it would fit. But when it arrived, I was devastated: as hard as I tried, I couldn’t get the zip up. That was the moment I decided to join Slimming World. The minute I made that decision I felt happier, just knowing that I was taking back control. I was determined that I’d be wearing that dress to the ball, just six weeks away.

Cooking ‘convenience foods’ the Slimming World way

I found a Slimming World group near me and joined with a friend later that week. The group was lovely, and I knew immediately that I was going to get the help and support I needed. I was nervous about standing on the scales, but when I explained to my Consultant, Kirsty, about the dress I wanted to wear in six weeks, she reassured me that I’d come to the right place.

After learning all about Food Optimising, I felt more motivated than I had for ages. As a busy mum with a toddler, I didn’t want to be spending ages in the kitchen every day – and it was clear that I didn’t need to. I could still enjoy my favourite ‘convenience foods’, too. Things like pizza and chips were on the menu; I just needed to cook them the Slimming World way.

There are loads of quick and easy Slimming World recipes that are just as convenient as throwing something ready made into the oven. I felt really excited about all the changes I was going to make!

I stocked our fridge with healthy fresh foods and started cooking delicious, filling meals from scratch. Very soon, the weight started to fall off. The support I got in group each week really spurred me on, and I was genuinely loving my new way of eating. Nothing is banned with Slimming World, so, because I could still have crisps or chocolate if I wanted them, I didn’t feel like I was depriving myself of anything.

You shall go to the ball!

Just six weeks later, I went to the ball wearing my gorgeous new dress (it fit perfectly, with a little room to spare). I was thrilled to have achieved my initial goal, and the plan was working so well that I decided to carry on. I was determined to be a ‘new me’ for the new year, so I set myself a new target weight, carried on going to group and lost weight every week through to Christmas.

While I really enjoyed my magical Cinderella moment, the best thing about my transformation has been the effect it’s had on my life as a mum. Tiernan is now a very active two-year-old and I can easily keep up with him when he’s tearing around the soft play centre. I’ve also started swimming a few times a week, which is brilliant Body Magic and something Tiernan can enjoy too. It’s lovely to know that we’re helping him to build healthy eating habits from a young age, and I’m now the healthy role model I want him to have!

Healthy, quick and easy convenience foods

Convenience foods are often a busy parent’s best friend – but you don’t have to reach for Syn-packed ready meals or freezer favourites. The Slimming World recipe collection has loads of healthy family-friendly dishes that can be on the table in 30 minutes or less:

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