Gripping my husband Paul’s hand, we waited for the specialist to deliver his news. ‘You’re a match!’ he announced, ‘You’re a compatible kidney donor for Paul.’ It was the news that we’d been longing to hear, but my ecstatic smile quickly fell as he added, ‘But you’ll need to lose 2st before you can have the operation.’

I was desperate to help my husband have a better quality of life. Since being diagnosed with a rare kidney disease, he’d become incredibly weak. By August 2017, he could barely walk upstairs, let alone play with our four children. A kidney transplant was the best option but, while I was over the moon about being a match, I hadn’t realised that I needed to be under a certain weight. As Paul and I drove home, panic set in. ‘What if I can’t lose the weight in time?’ I asked. ‘I know that you can,’ he reassured me, ‘Look how far you’ve come already.’

A really important reason

He was right. I’d already lost 3st with Slimming World and now I had a really important reason to carry on. With so much at stake, I was more determined than ever to get down to the 13st 10lbs weight required to help my biggest supporter – the man who’d been by my side through our toughest times. 

My Slimming World journey had started on the scales at my own doctor’s surgery. At a size 24, I hadn’t dared weigh myself at home, but when the scales showed 18st 10lbs, I knew what was coming. ‘You’re morbidly obese,’ said the doctor, ‘I’d recommend exercising and eating less.’ In my mind, the word ‘obese’ had turned into ‘beast’ and I sobbed all the way home.

Despite my devastation, I knew that I needed to take action, and I booked an appointment with the nurse. She suggested Slimming World so, as soon as I got home, I searched for my nearest group and phoned the Consultant, Verity. Before I could talk myself out of it, I was learning all about Food Optimising, surrounded by chatting, smiling members. Verity seemed sure that I could achieve my weight loss goals and, slowly, I started to believe that maybe she was right.  

Giving easy fish recipes a go

I hadn’t always been overweight, but after having my first child, and then my second, the pounds had crept on. As a busy mum, I spent my time making sure that my children ate well, while I snacked on whole packets of biscuits or crumpets spread thickly with peanut butter. Then once the kids were in bed, I’d have a takeaway doner kebab for dinner. 

Slimming World turned my eating habits around completely, and I started making proper meals for myself. I love easy fish recipes such as hearty tuna salads for lunch and salmon with loads of veg for dinner – I felt like my taste buds had come alive! As I was spending a lot of time at the hospital with Paul, I made sure I had some clementines in my bag to curb the temptation of high-Syn vending machine snacks.

The weight had steadily dropped off week by week, but our good news meant that I now had an urgent deadline to aim for. Verity was a huge help – reminding me to fill at least a third of my plate with Speed Foods (lots of lovely vegetables!) to help boost my weight loss. 

The moment of truth

In March 2018, we were given a date for the surgery – it was scheduled for later that month. Stepping onto the scales, tears of joy streamed down my face. I’d lost even more that the required 2st, and got the go ahead to donate one of my kidneys to Paul.

Just three weeks later we were both admitted to hospital. ‘I love you,’ I whispered, just before I was due to be wheeled to theatre. ‘You too,’ he replied, ‘I can’t thank you enough.’ The next thing I remember is opening my eyes to a nurse telling me that everything went well. As soon as I was able, I walked to the men’s ward to see Paul. ‘We did it,’ he whispered. I gripped his hand – finally we could look towards a healthier future, for both of us!

A year on, my energetic husband is back – and he’s not the only one enjoying a new lease of life. I’m now at my target weight of 12st 2lbs and love having fun with the kids, whether it’s bouncing around at the trampoline park or splashing around in my new size-12 swimming costume. Being together as a family, with Paul in good health, is everything I’d hoped for when I started my Slimming World journey – and we’re all enjoying every moment.

Five easy fish recipes to try

Fancy a fishy Friday? Or a simple midweek supper? Easy fish recipes are a fantastic choice. At Slimming World, you’ll find an ocean-full of easy fish recipes, including: