“I’m finally free from yo-yo diets”*

For years, 34-year-old India Faulkner-Wiley’s weight reflected her life’s ups and downs. Now 44½lbs* lighter, she’s put emotional eating behind her and found a long-term healthy lifestyle she loves.

"The first time I remember my weight bothering me was when I was accepted to a performing arts school at age 16. There was no pressure from anyone else to lose weight—that didn’t stop me putting heaps of pressure on myself, though. 

"After graduating from college, I went into teaching and settled into a comfortable routine based around regular takeout, frozen meals and bottles of wine. Every now and then, I’d try the latest fad diet in a bid to get back into shape—you name it, I tried it! 

"I got married at 23 and was thrilled, a year later, to find out I was having a baby. By the time Jazmine was born I must have put on at least 50lbs. I told myself it was normal and that it would come off eventually. To be honest, I was too busy being a new mom to let it worry me.

"I’m definitely an emotional eater. Between my wedding day and the end of my marriage, I went up four dress sizes, and after the divorce came the heartbreak diet.

"Then I met Grahame, who’s absolutely amazing, and being in a happy, secure relationship meant that, as well as falling in love with him, I fell back in love with food. So it was hardly surprising that, when I became pregnant again, history repeated itself and the weight piled on.

Breaking away from baby weight

"My second daughter, Saffron, came into the world in a dramatic way: she was six weeks early and born at home at 2 a.m. without any warning at all. It was a couple of months later that Jazmine pointed at my tummy and in a puzzled voice asked me if I was going to have another baby. That was the moment I looked in the mirror and knew something had to change—for me, for my family and for my health. 

An old friend of mine lost 70lbs in a year with Slimming World. She’d been posting photos of her meals on Facebook—I couldn’t believe she could eat all that food and lose so much weight! Still, she persuaded me to join a group, and my mom came along, too.

"I lost 4½lbs in the first week and never looked back. Mom and I both adjusted our targets as we progressed over the next few months and we’ve now lost nearly 98lbs between us. Mom can’t believe that, at 68, she’s wearing size 6-8!

Finding my perfect fit

"Food Optimizing has turned out to be ideal for me; it fits in so well with my busy life. Until recently, I travelled 80 miles a day for my job as a special needs teacher, but I still managed to eat well and never felt hungry. I batch cook curry and soup over the weekend to take to work. And there’s no way you can get bored with the plan when there are endless amazing recipes to try. 

I was apprehensive about using my Syns at first—then I realized they’re one of the reasons why Food Optimizing works. You don’t need to deprive yourself; you just have to find a healthy balance. I tend to use mine for sauces and dressings, plus a glass of wine or two on the weekend and the occasional restaurant meal—I still love eating out.

"I’ve gradually introduced Body Magic into my life, too. Rather than going to the gym, I’ve tried to build more exercise into my day. I walk instead of driving whenever I can and I use an activity tracker to count my steps, which helps keep me motivated. It fits in much better with family life. 

"I also enjoy clothes shopping much more. I used to just buy lots of cover-ups—I didn’t feel comfortable showing off my figure and was dressing a lot older than I actually was. Now I’ve dropped four dress sizes, and I love the fact that I can choose the fashionable clothes I want straight off the rack. I’m very proud of the shape I’m in.”

*Your weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and how much you have to lose.