11st weight loss secret
Jane Bratton, 36, used her Valentine’s Day present to help shift the pounds
As I looked out of the kitchen window, I saw my husband John playing football with our sons Bailey, then six, and Brody, two. It was summer 2014 and darting around the garden with the ball, they all looked like they were having so much fun. Spotting me, Bailey waved and, forcing a smile, I grinned back, but inside all I felt was jealousy.
I was desperate to run after them and wrestle them to the floor with tickles, but they’d only ever known me as the mum who watched from the sidelines. For as long as I can remember, my weight had been a battle. Crisps were my weakness and throughout my teens I weighed 16st and wore a size 18. I’d lose a few pounds only to pile it all back on, plus a bit more. In August 2003, when I’d slimmed down from a size 18 to a size 14, I met John in a club. I couldn’t believe it when he asked me out. And, in the months that followed, happy in a new relationship, I let my diet slip. We treated ourselves to Chinese takeaways at the weekends, as well as kebabs and burgers and chips. It wasn’t long before I piled back on the weight that I’d lost and I crept back up to 24st and a size 22. John gained weight too, but his warehouse job was very physical, so he could work it off easily. ‘Look at me, I’m fat and ugly,’
I’d moan, grabbing my belly.
‘No you’re not, I love you for you,’ John insisted.
Falling in love
He never had an issue with my weight, and said I should only lose it for me. But as John worked nights, I’d find myself sitting on the sofa alone, watching TV and raiding the cupboards out of boredom.
I could easily eat a family-size bar of chocolate, five bags of crisps, and a whole packet of digestives in a few hours.
I lost count of the times John found me asleep on the sofa, surrounded by empty wrappers and my mouth smeared with chocolate. Of course I felt ashamed but I just laughed it off. Only, when I undressed each night before bed and looked in the mirror, I couldn’t laugh off how awful I felt. With my belly bulging over the waistline of my knickers and rolls of fat spilling out under my bra strap, I felt hideous. Too self-conscious to undress in front of John, I’d insist on turning the lights off. I’d cover up under baggy
T-shirts and trousers, desperate to disguise how big I was. Over the next few years I tried diet after diet, but I just didn’t have the willpower. Then in 2008, I fell pregnant.
Eating for two
‘I’m eating for two now,’ I told John, helping myself to second portions. I told myself I’d lose weight after the baby was born but when Bailey arrived in December 2008, I still found myself making excuses. ‘I don’t have time to cook healthily,’ I’d reason. Then in 2013, Brody was born and I made the same excuses again. By now I weighed 24st and as a size 24, it was playing havoc on my health. Just walking up the stairs at home left me gasping. When I pushed Brody in his pushchair to the local shops, I was sweating profusely. My knees ached from carrying so much weight and my thighs were sore with chafing. It wasn’t until the boys got older that I started to worry more. ‘Come on, Mummy!’ Bailey would call to me at the park. ‘I’ll just watch,’ I panted back. While other parents could push their kids on swings, I could only watch from the bench. ‘I’m missing out,’ I sighed to John one evening after we’d put the boys to bed. ‘And the kids are too.’
I knew something had to change, so in February 2015, as I did the weekly shop, instead of filling the trolley with chips and pizza, I bought fruit and vegetables. And as I passed the DVD aisle, I saw Charlotte Crosby’s workout
DVD. The reality
TV star had lost a lot of weight and looked great.
Her 3 Minute Belly Blitz workout offered 12 highintensity routines lasting three minutes each that promised to burn belly fat. Later that night, I mentioned it to John. ‘I’ll buy it for you for Valentine’s Day,’ he offered, seriously. Granted, an exercise DVD wasn’t the most romantic gift, but chocolates and wine were no good to me when I wanted to lose weight!
As soon as I was given the DVD I couldn’t wait to get started. After dropping Bailey off at school, I pressed play on the DVD player, while Brody sat in the room with me, playing. After the first three-minute routine, my cheeks were red and I was already sweating. Another three minutes in, I was so out of breath I had to stop.
Turning a corner
I was determined though. I started doing the workout five or six times a week and each time I’d get a little further into the workout before collapsing with exhaustion. I began eating healthier too, ditching the takeaways and choosing salads or homemade chicken stir-fries.
After two months, I finally made it through the whole DVD in one go, and I felt so proud of myself. After a month I’d lost 10lb and my clothes were looser.
‘When you reach your target I’ll get you a new wardrobe!’ John promised. I certainly wasn’t going to turn down an offer like that, so I kept going. Giving up my favourite snacks was hard, but after the first few weeks it became easy, as if I’d flipped a switch.
By Valentine’s Day 2016, I was a different person, having lost an incredible 11st in just a year, and slipping into a size 10-12. Keeping his promise, John took me shopping and for the first time I bought fitted dresses and blouses – something I never thought I’d be able to wear. But more importantly, losing weight meant I could do more with the boys.
I love taking Bailey, now nine, and Brody, six, swimming and cycling. But I don’t ever take the small things – like being able to pick them up for a proper cuddle – for granted.
At just under 11st, I might be half the woman I used to be, but now, thanks to the DVD, I’m twice the mum, too.
‘I’m half the woman – but twice the mum!’
The mum felt too big to play with her two sons
At 24 stone, Jane hated how she looked
These days, Jane looks great and can run around after her boys