I feel like me again
Chloe Walker knew she had to be honest with herself if she was ever going to change
Moving to an idyllic Caribbean island with my fiancé, Russell, was the adventure of a lifetime… and a disaster for my figure. Both working full time – Russell as an IT support engineer and me as a hairdresser – we spent our days off in holiday mode. we’d sunbathe on the beach and indulge in the delicacies such as deep-fried chicken with a sweet barbecue sauce.
I barely noticed the weight creeping on and when my size 10-12 bikinis became too tight, I simply bought bigger ones. The heat made it harder to exercise. Some paid for gym memberships but we were saving up for our wedding. After a year in Grand Cayman, I’d gone from 10st 7lb to 11st 7lb.
In January 2012, with just six months until our wedding and a size 10 dress to fit into, I panicked! I went on a self-designed crash diet, existing on sushi and green tea. It was a pretty miserable way to live. But by the time we returned to the UK for our wedding in June 2012, I’d lost 1st and squeezed into my dress. We had a fantastic day and then honeymooned at an all-inclusive resort.
Back on the Caymans, Russell and I fell into our happy routine again and in time we were ready for a new adventure – parenthood. We were
‘i lost steadily each week’
thrilled when we discovered I was expecting. And my pregnancy became the perfect excuse for me to indulge in all of my favourite foods. I gained a few pounds every week. We’d always planned to return home to bring up our children, so as my due date neared, Russell and I flew back to the UK. Back home, I reacquainted myself with all the home comforts I’d missed, including fish and chips and sugary tea. By the time I was full term, I was 15st 7lb.
Our daughter, Bonnie, arrived safely in August 2014, weighing 6lb 15oz. Although I loved every moment with Bonnie, I’d always pictured myself being an active young mum. Instead of zipping around with her in the buggy, though, I felt breathless and sluggish.
I only realised how bad things had got when I was invited on my first girls’ night out after having Bonnie. I immediately raided my wardrobe and was left with a sea of clothes on the bed that didn’t fit. During a stressful shopping trip, I managed to find a top that covered my arms and tummy. When I wore it out, though, I felt dreadfully self-conscious.
Though I’d often pass our local church hall and see a Slimming World banner, I couldn’t muster the courage to go along. Then Russell and I had a conversation that brought things into focus for me. We wanted to give Bonnie a brother or sister Suddenly, everything was clear. ‘I’d like to be healthy this time,’ I told Russell. ‘I’m going to lose weight first.’
So in May 2015, when Bonnie was nine months old, I finally took the plunge. On my first night at group, the Consultant, Hannah, gave me such a warm welcome that I wondered why I’d been worried about joining. Although I was a bit shocked to learn I’d reached 13st 7½lb, I went home full of determination. I started with simple changes such as swapping fatty sausages for Slimming World ones and replacing olive oil with lowcalorie cooking spray.
After a month at group, I was delighted to find I’d lost 5½lb. Then something unexpected happened – I was pregnant again. I was thrilled, but I didn’t want to go through another pregnancy with my weight spiralling out of control, risking complications.
Yet I felt sure that when I told Hannah I was expecting, she’d advise me to stop going to my group. To my relief, she explained Slimming World is the only weight-management organisation to work with the Royal College of Midwives. So members who are pregnant or breastfeeding can safely attend.
At six months, I went out and bought some size 14 maternity jeans and pretty tops. For the first time as a mum, I felt stylish rather than frumpy.
In March 2016, three days after our second daughter, Tallulah, was born weighing 6lb 14oz, I returned to group and took her with me.
I lost steadily each week, and by the time we jetted off on our first family holiday to Spain in July 2016, I’d reached 9st 7lb. I felt so at ease in my size 10 bikini. But it wasn’t just about being slim; I felt like myself again.
When I first had Bonnie, I only walked small distances. Now, I regularly walk four miles a few times a week and aim for 10,000 steps a day. I now attend group as a target member. There’s no chance I’m letting go of my new habits – the slim, happy, healthy Chloe is here to stay. ✱ Slimming World Magazine is on sale now. To find your nearest group, visit slimmingworld.co.uk or call them on: 0344 897 8000.
Chloe wanted to get healthy for the birth of her second child
Chloe’s new slim and stylish look is as much about confidence as health