I’d struggled with my weight since childhood and was overweight from the age of nine. My mum worked nights, so Dad was in charge of dinnertime – and while he tried his best, that usually meant ready meals or takeaways.
After I left school, I began working as a civil servant and met my husband, Craig. I’d start a new diet every few months and, although I would lose some weight, I could never keep it off for very long.
Becoming a mum to my two sons, James (now 18) and Liam (now 15), left my confidence at an all-time low. My weight was a constant worry and I didn’t feel that I was a good role model for the boys. I wanted to be an active mum and be able to keep up with them.
In September 2007, weighing more than 15st, I decided to join Slimming World. The idea of joining a group was daunting at first, but I soon came to realise that I was in a room full of like-minded people – they were all there for the same reason. The feeling in my group was like nothing I’d ever experienced before... for the first time, I didn’t feel alone with my weight worries. The other members quickly became friends who rooted for me each week.
I started following Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan and swapped my usual ready meals and takeaways for home-made dishes. I’d never cooked from scratch before, and here I was making healthier versions of the foods I loved. And the weight just kept coming off! It felt good to be cooking for my family, especially knowing I was serving up healthy food. Now, it’s second nature. Craig and I look at the Slimming World app in the morning to decide what we’re going to have that night, and then spend time together cooking.
A sweet omelette served with fat-free natural yogurt and fresh fruit.
A large chocolate bar.
Fresh fruit, such as an apple, banana, melon or grapes.
A microwave lasagne ready meal.
Home-made pasta salad, or a Slimming World lunch bowl from Iceland.
A bag of crisps.
A fat-free, no-added-sugar flavoured yogurt.
An Indian or Chinese takeaway.
Two Slimming World Hi-fi bars.
People ask me what the ‘secret’ is to keeping the weight off, but there’s no secret really. It doesn’t seem like hard work because this is just my way of life. When I first started losing weight, I had two small children. It felt as though there was never enough time, especially for me, and I hear that a lot from my members, too. By the time I had my daughter, Emily (now eight), I’d realised that it’s far from selfish to prioritise yourself – if you feel more in control and happier, you’re better able to be there for your family and friends. I still make time for my Slimming World group, and it really helps me to stay on track if I’m ever struggling.
In just over a year, I lost 4st 9½lbs and hit my target weight of 10st 7lbs. I was bursting with confidence and felt like I could do anything. I was even inspired to give activity a go – despite finding the idea of exercise overwhelming in the past. Slimming World’s Body Magic activity programme helped me to break it down into small steps – and I was surprised to find myself actually enjoying being more active. I joined a gym and went to a few classes to build my confidence with the equipment. Then, when we went into lockdown and the gym closed, I started using the Couch to 5K app. Within two years, I was running the London Marathon as part of Slimming World’s team for Cancer Research UK!
Joining Slimming World was life-changing because it allowed me to be the healthy, happy parent I wanted to be. And when I saw an opportunity to become a Consultant, it suddenly struck me that it could also change my life in other ways. I wanted to help people just as Slimming World had helped me – so I went along to a Head Office opportunity event, and I’ve never looked back!
In time, I left my job in the civil service to become a full-time Consultant. Being a Consultant gives me the flexibility to be around more for my children, as I can tailor my hours around the school run. Not working 9 to 5 means I have more time for myself, too.
As a self-employed franchisee, I’ve had the chance to build my own successful groups – I now have 400 members every week – and I've been supported through training by the fantastic team of fellow Consultants in my area. It’s been such a positive experience that Craig, who’s lost 5st himself, has recently trained to be a Consultant. We’re the local Mr and Mrs Slimming World!
Winning the title of Slimming World’s Top Target Consultant 2023 really is the best recognition I could ever ask for. I do this job because I love what I do. My members are amazing, and they keep me as motivated as I do them. It’s an incredibly rewarding role. When I look back to almost 15 years ago, it’s hard to recognise myself. I’m so much more active, more confident, and I’m living life to the full now. The best thing of all, though, is that I’ve been a positive role model for my children as they’ve grown – and that will keep on being my motivation never to go back.
Watch Rachel tell her story
If, like Rachel, you’re feeling inspired to make a difference, Slimming World has opportunities for past and current members or former Consultants who are keen to open a local Slimming World group. Find out more or sign up to attend an opportunity event here.