For me, 2013 was a truly horrible year. First, I had an accident on my motorbike, which left me with serious injuries. Then, while I was still recovering, my marriage fell apart. I’d only got married the year before, and it made a really tough time even more difficult. To get through, I started using food as a coping mechanism – eating both for comfort and to relieve my boredom.
What followed were the worst four years of my life, and somewhere along the way I just stopped caring for myself. I wasn’t exercising, and even walking short distances became a struggle. I was eating so many crisps, chocolate bars and sweets that my skin frequently broke out in spots and I was regularly suffering crippling migraines. My confidence was on the floor and, as my size crept up to a 24/26, I started to keep myself covered up in baggy black jogging bottoms and loose tops.
By 2017, I’d gained 10st and had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. My doctor’s warning was stark – if I didn’t change my lifestyle, I’d have to go on insulin and it was likely that I’d die young. As a mum-of-three, that shocked me to my core. I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving my children a moment sooner than I had to. It was the push I needed to tackle my weight, and I joined a Slimming World group the very next day.
Because I weighed more than 21st, I was worried I’d be judged when I walked through the door – but the Consultant was just full of reassurance. I remember her telling me that this was a new beginning, and she was so right!
I was stuck in a rut of buying meal deals for lunch every day – usually a cheese sandwich with crisps and a chocolate bar – and then having a takeaway for dinner, so I knew I needed to make some changes. Thankfully, Slimming World made it so easy to follow a healthy, balanced diet. I began having a bowl of berries with fat-free natural yogurt and seeds or chopped nuts for breakfast, followed by a big, tasty chicken salad for lunch. For dinner, I’d enjoy Food Optimising versions of old favourites like spaghetti bolognese, or experiment with new recipes like teriyaki salmon and marinated Quorn with rice and lots of veg. I started to see food as something that nourished me, not as something to punish myself with or to use in a destructive way.
Kelayne’s day on a plate
I’d usually skip breakfast.
Fresh fruit with fat-free natural Greek yogurt.
A shop-bought sandwich, with crisps, chocolate and a sugary drink.
A big mixed salad with boiled eggs, lean ham (visible fat removed) and fat-free natural cottage cheese, washed down with water or a cup of tea.
Something high-fat and high-sugar, like an Indian takeaway or creamy pasta carbonara with lots of cheese.
Baked salmon with roasted vegetables and brown or wild rice.
Sweets, crisps and chocolate.
Free fresh fruit, mixed nuts and dried fruit (using my Healthy Extra ‘b’ allowance) and low-fat yogurts or sugar-free jellies, using my Syns.
Within three weeks, I’d lost half a stone, and that gave me the motivation to carry on. I started walking my dogs every morning, too, gradually increasing from 10 minutes at a time to an hour. A year later, I’d lost more than 5st and I felt so much better. My skin glowed and my migraines disappeared.
Going to group really helped to keep me focused on my end goal, and if I had a week when I struggled, I knew that was when I needed the support more than ever. I became firm friends with the other members, and we’d go out for meals together. After spending so long hiding away, it was such a joy to be out socialising, and those outings were the first steps to me learning to live again.
Slimming World also encourages you to get active through their Body Magic activity programme, so when I saw a local jive class advertised, I thought, ‘why not?’. Soon, I was clocking up awards as I gradually went from one class a week to five, adding swing and Lindy Hop lessons into my routine, too.
My new-found confidence meant I could fully embrace the glamour of the dance world, and I started to replace my dark cover-ups with bright dresses. Recently, I zipped up my dream 1950s pencil dress – in a size 10! – and it was a magic moment that I’ll never forget.
In October 2021, I reached my target weight, having lost more than 11st! I was physically less than half the woman I was before, but my life was so much fuller. This year, I completed my transformation with a breast lift and implants, and a tummy tuck to remove my excess skin. I never imagined that I’d feel at my most confident in my 50s, but here I am, enjoying every moment!
While I absolutely love my glam new look, my new friends and my fun, active lifestyle, the fact is, Slimming World hasn’t just changed my life... it saved it. My diabetes is now in remission and I’m no longer looking at the possibility of dying young. In fact, my future looks brighter than ever!
Watch Kelayne tell her story here
Kelayne’s Consultant, Bev Dodgson, says: ‘Kelayne is such an inspiration, especially to anyone with type 2 diabetes. She’s living proof that it’s possible to make healthy lifestyle changes and lose weight with Slimming World. She was able to personalise our healthy eating plan, taking on board the advice of her healthcare team, and you can see how she’s turned her life around. We’re all so proud of her.’
Could you be a Consultant, and help members like Kelayne to transform their health and rediscover their inner confidence? You can find out more about this life-changing role here.
Kelayneʼs just one of many Slimming World members who have improved their diabetes management by making healthy lifestyle changes and losing weight through Food Optimising. Click to read more about our research into the benefits of weight loss for people with diabetes.
If you’re concerned about diabetes and want to slim down, we’ll support you all the way to your dream weight. You can find out more about joining Slimming World here.
Weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.