My weight loss journey really began when my son was born. I’d lost 3½st with Slimming World Online in 2016, then I found out I was having a baby and I put my slimming on hold. Shortly after my 12-week scan, I was rushed to hospital with a threatened miscarriage and had to be closely monitored for the rest of my pregnancy. I was terrified. Food became an afterthought, as I grabbed anything that I could make quickly to keep me going.

Thankfully, I got through the pregnancy without any further complications and, in April 2020, we welcomed our beautiful boy, Teddy, into the world. Looking after a newborn was a full-time job and I hadn’t realised just how exhausting the sleepless nights would be, so I came to rely on convenience foods and takeaways to get me through the day. 

I knew I wanted to get back to Slimming World as soon as I felt ready, though, and I restarted my membership when Teddy was six weeks old.

Food Optimising, the second time around

I have to admit, I was worried I’d struggle to get back into the routine of slimming – especially now I had a baby to look after. I found lots of helpful advice on the website about how to Food Optimise as a returning member, which suggested I treat it as a fresh start.

That week, I read through all the food lists in the Food Optimising essentials part of the website to reintroduce myself to the plan. As I familiarised myself with all the Free Foods, Healthy Extras and Syns again, I started to feel excited about getting back on it!

I scrolled through the recipe section, bookmarking all the new dishes I wanted to try, like sticky chicken, bacon and pea risotto and cottage pie… I must have had over 50 recipes saved by the time I’d finished! Then I sat down and made a plan of when I was going to try them. For the next week, I stuck to Food Optimising 100%, weighing and measuring my Healthy Extras and counting my Syns in the Planner, and the benefits kicked in immediately – I lost 4lbs in my first week.

Getting back on track after baby

As soon as I rejoined Slimming World, I was keen to get advice on how to fit Food Optimising around my family life. I chatted to lots of busy mums and dads in the Community, who had some great ideas to help me get back into the habit of cooking from scratch. One tip that really worked for me was batch-cooking meals while Teddy was napping, so that they were ready to reheat whenever I felt hungry and had time to eat.

I found loads of freezer-friendly recipes in Slimming World Magazine and on the app, including beef bolognese, Tex Mex chilli and – my absolute favourite – Slimming World soups. Theyʼre just so quick and simple to throw together!  Even now I’m back working as an information officer on an NHS critical-care ward, I always freeze an extra portion of my meals, so I know I’ve got a healthy dinner on standby when I’m too busy to cook.

Lucy’s three favourite batch-cook recipes

I’d been in denial about my weight for years, hiding my figure under baggy tops and stretchy leggings. As I got bigger, I became more and more self-conscious. I started to avoid looking in mirrors and even untagged myself from photos on social media.

While I knew Food Optimising was a positive step and I was losing weight, it took a while for my mind to catch up with the results I was seeing on the scales. Friends and family kept telling me that I looked fantastic – deep down, though, I still felt really insecure about my body.

That began to change when I started sharing my successes in the Community. I’d post about how much weight I’d lost, a new Body Magic award I’d earned or about how I’d dropped another dress size. Every time, I was showered with support and compliments from the other members. Surrounding myself with positive people encouraged me to recognise my own achievements and, soon, the changes I was seeing truly sank in and I began to enjoy my new shape.

After a few weeks of losing weight steadily, I noticed that lots of other members in the Community were enjoying Body Magic. I’d never exercised before, but they were talking about spending half an hour cleaning the house, going for a walk and dancing… things that sounded much more manageable than spending hours in the gym. It really got me thinking.

At the time, England was still under a tight lockdown, and I was looking for ways to get out of the house with Teddy. Going for a walk seemed like the perfect answer. The next day, I strapped Teddy into his stroller and set off on a walk around a nearby woodland. I managed two miles and, although it was hard work, I was proud of myself for getting out there.

To keep myself motivated, I wrote a list of 30 places around Nottinghamshire that I wanted to visit and set about crossing them off.

Each time, I challenged myself to go a little further or walk a bit faster. I set about achieving my bronze Body Magic award, then my silver, then gold... I also started setting myself smaller goals, like beating the previous day’s step count, to keep things interesting.

My life now

I’m only 4lbs away from my target weight of 12st 6lbs and I have much more confidence in myself. Now, instead of feeling like I want to hide away, I’m an active part of my family’s life. We recently celebrated Teddy’s first birthday by visiting Yorkshire Wildlife Park. I was buzzing with excitement all day, as Teddy and I explored together and I chased him around the play area – and I didn’t think twice about being in the photos. Losing weight has given me the freedom to make memories with my loved ones, and that means the world to me.

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