When the kids were younger, it was so easy for Chris and me to forget about our own health and reach for the takeaway menus once they’d gone to bed. Our youngest daughter was diagnosed with autism when she was just 2½ years old, which was difficult to begin with, and we used food to comfort ourselves.
My weight crept up and up. Once, I remember taking my daughter to a theme park and being asked to get off a ride because the safety bar wouldn’t fit over my stomach. While I laughed it off, on the inside I was distraught that she had to ride alone – and that I was missing precious moments with her. I was the heaviest I’d ever been, and I had to wear sliders all the time because my feet were so painful and swollen and I couldn’t reach down to tie my shoelaces.
I’d tried losing weight in the past by restricting certain foods. It was never sustainable, though, and I liked the sound of Slimming World’s generous eating plan.
I was glad when Chris offered to join a group with me. And as we walked through those doors, it helped that I felt we were united.
I love the variety you get with Food Optimising – it’s so adaptable and it fits in easily with our family life. We still enjoy a takeaway occasionally, we just make healthier choices now, things like having boiled rice instead of egg fried rice.
I used to get constant heartburn and acid reflux, to the point where I’d sometimes vomit when I laid down, but all that’s stopped since I’ve lost weight.
Body Magic has become part of our life. I exercise every day now, and we love taking the kids out for hikes and exploring the outdoors – the sort of thing we’d never been able to do before.
We’ve been doing so much together as a family, and losing weight has also reignited the spark in our marriage. It’s changed our lives.
At times, I don’t believe it’s me when I look in the mirror. I’ve lost over 12st, which is a whole person! Due to the lockdown, some people hadn’t seen me since the start of my slimming journey – and when the restrictions started to ease, the parents at the school gates didn’t recognise me! I just feel so much more confident in myself now.
Nicola’s day on a plate
Four slices of buttery toast with fried eggs and sausages.
An egg mayonnaise, ham and stuffing roll, with crisps.
Burger and cheesy chips with full-fat mayonnaise early evening, then a takeaway later on, four or five nights a week, with a few cans of cider.
A Food Optimised lamb biryani with plain boiled rice and lots of Speed veg.
Chocolate, sweets, tortilla chips and dips.
Fruit salad or low-Syn cereal bars.
My job as a retail manager means I’m always surrounded by food, and I used to visit the deli counter every day for potato wedges, sausage rolls and other pastry snacks. I knew I needed to lose a bit of weight, so when Nicola told me she wanted to join Slimming World, I decided to go with her.
I was a bit nervous walking into group that first time. All the other members were so friendly, though, and our Consultant, Siobhan, instantly made us feel relaxed.
I hadn’t realised how much you were able to eat with the Food Optimising plan, and I was quite cynical about how much weight I’d lose.
How could I possibly slim down while eating all that food?
So when we went back for our first weigh-in, I was surprised to discover I’d lost 7½lbs and Nicola had lost 8lbs. Since then, we’ve never looked back.
These days, I prepare my breakfast the night before, which my youngest daughter loves to help me with. And I’m really enjoying the home-cooked dinners Nicola makes, adapting them so they’re slimming-friendly by doing things like swapping fatty meats for leaner cuts.
I used to find exercising really uncomfortable because of my size, and I got breathless very quickly. I was afraid of doing myself an injury, so I just didn’t do anything. With the support of Siobhan and our fellow group members, we gradually introduced little walks into our day, and now you can’t stop us – we’ve even joined a gym!
The support we get from our Slimming World group is unbelievable. I’m not sure we’d have got this far without it.
Now that we’ve lost weight, we’re looking forward to going on holiday as a family. Nicola and I were too big to sit next to each other on a plane before – now we can! We can’t wait to make some amazing memories with our children.
Chris’s day on a plate
Sausage rolls and potato wedges, plus a can of full-fat cola.
Shop-bought sandwiches, a cup of tea and a whole packet of biscuits.
An omelette wrap stuffed with Healthy Extra ‘a’ cheese, grilled low-fat chicken sausages, mushrooms and tomatoes.
Burger with chips and full-fat mayonnaise early evening, then a takeaway kebab and beers later on a few nights a week.
Diet cola chicken with lots of Speed veg.
Crisps, chocolate, ice cream.
Hi-fi bars, or a meringue nest filled with fresh fruit and fat-free natural yogurt.
Watch Nicola and Chris tell their story here
*Weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.