I feel like 'me' again

This week, 16 weeks after re-joining Slimming World, I reached my target and lost the final one and a half stone of baby weight.

It's been the hardest to lose, and at times has felt really slow. My first week I lost 5.5lbs and I thought I'd be at target in a matter of weeks. However, from there, it was slow going; losing a pound or half a pound each week. I had a few gains along the way - Peyton's birthday and our friends' wedding - but these were only small, thank goodness.

I wouldn't say I felt any pressure, other than from myself, to lose the 'baby weight'. Society does trick us a bit into thinking all these celebs and Insta influencers 'snap back' within days; but they've probably got armies of chefs and personal trainers helping them throughout their pregnancies. If my confidence hadn't taken such a knock, I probably wouldn't have felt any rush to try and slim back down. But I was really feeling it, so back to group I went.

When I did Slimming World the first time, I joined in November 2015.

This was the 'before and after' I used to use, from round one...

For those who didn't read my blogs back then, I'll give you a bit of background.

I had been toying with joining for months after feeling really, really unhappy while on holiday in Rhodes in the August. I could never pluck up the courage to go, though. I tried every 'quick fix' out there. From teas that make you shit through the eye of a needle, to tablets that 'suppress your appetite'. Yeah, they all gave me short-term results, but it wasn't the answer.

One week, a lovely lady named Beth contacted me at work to do a story about her weight loss journey ahead of her new Slimming World group opening in Selby.

She sounded lovely and I got this sudden burst of confidence and fired off an email asking for more information because I wanted to join. I'd committed then, and knew I had to turn up that Wednesday.

I went along and was shocked at how much I weighed when I stood on the scales for the first time. I knew my clothes were tight, and I wasn't particularly happy with how I looked, but didn't realise the number would be quite so high. My BMI put me in the "overweight", almost "obses", category; and I was not too pleased.

The weight absolutely dropped off me and by Christmas, just six weeks later, I was already a stone and a half lighter. By the start of March I'd lost two and a half stone and was at target.

I managed to maintain that until we got married in the following May, and for my best friend's wedding in the August. We went on honeymoon September 2017 and, soon after, I discovered I was pregnant.

I had all good intentions of following Slimming World (to a degree) while pregnant. However, that plan went out the window when I was hit with terrible sickness in the early days. I went completely off fruit and veg and literally only wanted to eat dry, plain, carb-y things (and chocolate).

I absolutely ballooned whilst I was pregnant. In one of the first blogs I wrote, shortly after announcing I was expecting, I remember saying that I could see I was going to be like Kim Kardashian when she was pregnant with North; and I wasn't far off the mark.

I put on over five stone from going away on honeymoon to Peyton being born. It actually turns my stomach a bit thinking about it. Basically, I put on about half my current body weight.

I have always struggled with body image and body confidence. When I got to target initially, my body confidence was probably the best it's ever been. I felt comfortable in absolutely anything and didn't bat an eyelid.

When I was pregnant, it absolutely nose-dived. It was made worse by everyone thinking it was ok to say how "massive" I was, and forever question if I was sure there was only one in there. There's nothing worse when you feel rubbish about yourself for everyone to constantly comment on that one thing.

If someone had a complex about their nose, you wouldn't go up to them everytime you saw them and say "wow your nose looks huge today mate!"

After Peyton was born, I was in a really bad place when it came to my body and body image. I was absolutely covered in stretch marks, in places I never even expected. Some of them are really, really deep, too.

I couldn't ever see a way where I would be back in my size 10 skinny jeans, and I was so unhappy.

The weight fell off quite quickly to begin with; as it often does when you've a lot to lose. By Christmas, I'd lost about half of the weight and was roughly back to my original starting weight when I joined Slimming World in 2015.

I told myself that when I went back to work, and was back in a routine, I'd go back to group to shift the last lot. While I do find it easy to follow Slimming World on my own, nothing beats the support you get from everyone else to give you that extra boost along the way.

When I rejoined, the first week of May, I had 1.5 stone to go.

Back in January we'd booked our holiday and the thought of wearing any kind of swimwear filled me with absolute dread. I have said previously that my body confidence was at such a low I didn't think I'd ever wear a bikini again.

Even when I started back at Slimming World, I wasn't convinced I'd feel the same when I got to target as I did last time.

But, let me tell you, it feels even better.

The last few weeks I have seen such a change in my body; and myself.

I fit back in all my pre-pregnancy clothes now (apart from a few things which my boobs just won't play ball with; I'm actually amazed I've managed to lose weight but they've still stayed!) and have bought bikinis to wear on holiday! This is a major win for me.

I now love my body again; even my stretch marks - and that's not something I ever thought I'd say.

Tom calls them my "stripes", which is cute. I know that they should be celebrated because I got them growing Peyton, and I know that some women would kill to have stretch marks from carrying a child, but you just can't help how you feel about them. Everyone has their own demons, and of course there is always someone worse off than you, but you can't always think like that.

I was determined to one day love my post-baby body, and now I do. It's such an amazing feeling having my confidence back and feeling happy within myself once again.

I honestly love Slimming World, it has transformed me twice now. It hasn't just helped me lose weight but it's given me new-found confidence and new friends. Every week, group is filled with so many inspiring people; all losing weight for their own reasons, all fighting their own battles.

I haven't ever had to deprive myself of anything, either. In the last 16 weeks I've eaten a lot of cake (we've had two 1st birthdays, two christenings and a wedding), we've eaten out regularly, I've had a lot of ice-cream (I had two over the Bank Holiday weekend and still lost 2lbs this week!), and I've continued to have a social life (found a new love for Aperol Spritz, too!)

It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle change. And it's honestly changed my life.


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