‘What?!’ I said, squeezing my husband Liam’s hand. The ultrasound technician repeated: ‘You’re having twins!’ We had three children already and would soon be a family of seven. ‘We’ll need to refer you to a specialist midwife. Your BMI is high and you’re developing gestational diabetes.’
Later, the specialist midwife got straight to the point. ‘You risk going on to develop type 2 diabetes and heart problems,’ she said. ‘Unless you make changes, there’s a chance you won’t get to see your children grow up.’
I felt a lump in my throat as my thoughts went to my mum, Brenda, who’d been 42 when I’d lost her to cancer in my teens. Grief-stricken, I’d started to suffer from anxiety and depression, and would turn to crisps, sweets and fizzy drinks for comfort. Now my weight was fast approaching 23st.
I couldn’t bear the thought of my children losing their mum as young as I had. As I left the hospital in tears, I decided I’d do everything in my power to stay healthy for my kids.
So in October 2014, not long after my twins, Kayla and Katie, were born, I joined Slimming World. It was great to meet other mums in group and find out how they fitted their weight loss plans around caring for their children. I’d never cooked before and was always relying on convenience food – it wasn’t a problem, though.
It was easier than I’d expected to make Food Optimising versions of our favourite dishes, from cottage pie to burgers.
I also suggested the family go walking together instead of sitting in front of the TV – it was so much fun and we started doing it as often as we could.
When I’d got down to my initial target of 10st 6½lbs, I felt like I could do anything. At the age of 16, I’d been a children’s entertainer and loved it. Although I’d always dreamt of working with kids again, I’d never had the energy or the self-belief.
Now, filled with confidence, I applied for a job at a nursery near my home – and got it! After being out of the workforce for nine years, it was a real dream come true.
I feel truly happy for the first time in my life. Liam looks after the children while I spend my days running around after other people’s kids, then return to my own lively brood – full of energy and with a huge smile on my face. I know how proud Mum would be if she could see the woman I am now.
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.