Holly Snoxell is a Slimmng World consultant who lost 6st 2lbs
After our wedding, Steve and I spent most of the honeymoon discussing another big step – trying for a baby.
I knew I had so much love to offer a child and that Steve would make a brilliant dad.
But when the honeymoon was over and our wedding album came back I was in for a shock. My heart sank, I couldn’t believe how big I’d become.
I’d struggled with my weight since school and tried various diets to shift the pounds. Then I met Steve, who loved me as I was and I stopped trying to lose weight and gradually got bigger. Yet despite my disappointment at the way I looked in my wedding pictures, I reminded myself there was something more important to focus on now: becoming a mum.
But falling pregnant wasn’t as straightforward as I’d imagined. After a year, I worried it wasn’t going to happen for us and turned to food for comfort. I’d start the day with buttery white toast, have bacon sandwiches and crisps for lunch, then toad-in-the-hole for dinner and biscuits in between.
I put on more weight and still wasn’t pregnant. My doctor referred us for tests and while we waited for the results, we jetted off to Egypt. Sitting by the pool, I was embarrassed in my size-18 swimming costume. It was my light-bulb moment. I decided there and then that I was going to lose weight. I said to Steve: “I’m going to join Slimming World.” He wrapped his arms around me and said: “I’ll support you 100 per cent.” As I walked in to the group I was nervous but finding out I weighed 16st 8.5lb made me even more determined.
That evening I prepared overnight oats for the next day’s breakfast, starting as I meant to go on. I ate healthy lunches such as salmon pasta salad and filling dinners including feta-stuffed chicken. After just one week I’d lost half a stone.
‘As I walked in to the group I was nervous but finding out I weighed 16st 8.5lb’
A couple of months later we got the news I’d been dreading, we were going to need IVF. I knew my body mass index (BMI) had to be 30 or below to qualify for treatment on the NHS and although I’d already got it down from 37.5 to 34.1 since joining Slimming World, I still had a way to go.
I was so big I hated leaving the house
But I couldn’t have had a better incentive to lose weight. If reaching a healthy BMI might mean a baby, then I had to do it.
Now instead of giving myself a “night off” for a friend’s birthday, I’d plan ahead – checking out the restaurant menu beforehand to work out the healthiest option.
Two months later and more than 3st lighter we had an appointment at the fertility clinic. When we were told my BMI was 30, I almost leapt out of my seat. At times the IVF was gruelling and I felt sick and exhausted but eating healthily helped. Planning meals gave me something to focus on.
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In December 2013 I sneaked downstairs while Steve was asleep and did a test. Then I ran up to the bedroom and said the words I’d been longing to say for two years: “I’m pregnant.” Wanting to have a healthy pregnancy I carried on with Slimming World, planning hearty meals packed with vegetables. By the time I reached full term I’d put on just a stone. As I held Taylor in my arms for the first time I had to pinch myself that he was mine. I was determined to be a healthy, energetic mum so started jogging and swimming a couple of times a week.
My aim was to get to my target weight of 10st 7lb for his christening at eight months old. As I’d been so disappointed with my wedding pictures, I wanted to feel extra special.
I reached my target and on the morning of Taylor’s christening my size-10 dress fitted like a glove. As I stood in church I felt so proud of myself and my gorgeous family.
I’ve maintained my target weight for two years now. I have bags of energy, I’m more confident and most importantly I can run around with Taylor. I can’t believe how amazing it feels finally to be a mum.
Jane weighed 20st 6.5lb when she decided to make a change
JANE HAMMONDS, 47, is a contract delivery manager and a Slimming World consultant. She lives in Milton Keynes
It was my birthday and I was celebrating in the usual way: on my own, watching TV.
Suddenly my phone buzzed and I picked it up, wondering if a friend was wishing me well. But the happy birthday text was from my local Chinese takeaway and I realised how isolated I’d become.
Aged 45, I weighed more than 20st and was so unhappy in my own skin that I barely left the house. I sat alone watching soaps and reality shows, anything to stop me from thinking about my weight.
Whenever my mum phoned, she’d ask if I fancied giving Slimming World a go with her. I insisted it wouldn’t work for me so she got tired of waiting and joined her local group. A few weeks later mum phoned to tell me how she was getting on. “I’d love your support,” she said. “Will you come with me?” Knowing mum really wanted me there I agreed.
CONFIDENCE BOOST: Jane lost more than 10st
I felt so welcome at the group and once I got home, I went from living off energy drinks and takeaways to cooking my own healthy meals from scratch. I found them surprisingly easy to make and they were tastier too. My group cheered me on and I made so many fantastic new friends. We started having our own get-together once a month to share favourite recipes.
The biggest change was my confidence. At my heaviest, I stopped shopping on the high street because I could never find anything in a size 24/26 that I liked or felt comfortable in.
I’ll never forget the first time I walked into a shop, knowing anything I picked up would look good on me. I ditched nights in alone watching TV in favour of strutting my stuff with the girls in one of my size-10 dresses.
As my self-esteem grew, I found the courage to train to become a Slimming World consultant. Now I stand in front of my group every week and help my members transform their lives, just like I have.
● Stories taken from Slimming World Magazine, on sale now on the newsstand and at Slimming World groups. To find your nearest group call 0344 897 8000 or visit slimmingworld.co.uk