Becoming a mum changes your life in so many ways. While I couldn’t believe how much love I felt for baby Hugo, I also wasn’t prepared for quite how lonely I’d feel on maternity leave. At nearly 19st and unhappy with my size, I didn’t have the confidence to go out to mother-and-baby groups and make friends.

I was worried about my health, too – because I’d had gestational diabetes during my pregnancy, I’d been advised to slim down after the birth to lower my risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Although I had good intentions, I couldn’t see how I could make time to eat healthily when baby Hugo kept me so busy.

Then my mum became very poorly. She’d fought breast cancer and it had returned. Seeing her so unwell was terribly upsetting, and it made me realise how important it was that Hugo grew up with a fit, healthy mum. Whereas Mum’s illness couldn’t have been avoided, I could take steps to cut my own risk and protect my health. I became determined to tackle my weight.

I joined my local Slimming World group on New Year’s Eve and started the new year already on plan. My Consultant, Penny, was amazing. I felt inspired by other members’ successes, too, and soon found myself making friends with the mums there – I was starting to have a social life again!

Making Mum proud

My mum would ask me for weekly updates on my weight loss and tell me how proud she was of me – especially when I reached my first target of 11st.

When she passed away a year after her second diagnosis, I was devastated. It was an incredibly difficult time, but instead of falling into a comfort-eating habit to cope with my bereavement, I continued with Food Optimising and even went on to lose a little more – helped along by the support of my husband, James, and my new friends at group.

These days, I’m much more active: walking rather than using the car, running and taking part in fitness classes. I now have my fabulous mum friends, too, and we’re there for one another through thick and thin.

My size-24 jeans are long gone – now I can slip into size 10s.

I’m just a few pounds away from my new target and James has lost 2st just by enjoying the same meals as me. I’m a happy, healthy mum, and I couldn’t have done it on my own.

With a little help from...

Samantha shares the tricks, treats and people that spurred her to success:

  • With my sweet tooth, chocolate is non-negotiable! I’ll enjoy a couple of squares of Lindt Excellence 90% Cocoa for 6 Syns.

  • Keeping up with Hugo requires a lot of energy and I think I’d have struggled at my biggest – when he was a baby I used to find even short walks tiring. Now I’m full of beans and the two of us are always out and about.

  • My lovely husband, James, has been so supportive – encouraging me on tough days and acting as a guinea pig for all my new recipes.

  • I used to be so unfit, and I’ve slowly built myself up with walking. I wanted to feel more motivated at the gym, so I invested in a fitness tracker – I also use it when I go running.

  • As I lost weight, I’d buy myself little presents like a bag or a necklace. When I got to my first target I bought a whole new wardrobe!

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