"I’ve found my old self again"*

When Sara Stewart had her two children, she gained the perfect family—and 31lbs*. After slimming her way back to a stunning size 6, Sara shares her story of weight loss after pregnancy. 

“I was a size 8 before I had my kids Ava J, three, and Ashton, one. I went crazy for sweets while I was pregnant, and when Ava J was weaning, I’d give her a jar of chocolate-flavored baby food, then eat one myself. My eating had always been erratic. Pre-pregnancy, I’d often skip meals, and then eat loads the next day.

“Once I had children, I’d snack on their leftovers as well as eating my own meals, and in the evening I’d share a big dinner and a big bag of candy with Anthony. I’d match him piece for piece! It’s no wonder my weight ballooned.

“It was a picture posted on Facebook that gave me the courage to join Slimming World. I couldn’t believe how wide I looked in the photo, or how unhappy. Although joining was a big step, I knew I couldn’t go on the way I was.

“I asked a friend to help me do my first Food Optimizing shopping trip, because I didn’t know which foods to put in my cart. She had been a member for a while, and her weight loss really inspired me. As we went around the store I copied what she picked up, and when I came to the checkout, I couldn’t believe how different my cart looked! Before, I bought mango slices and bananas for Ava J yet never thought about filling my own fruit bowl, and I’d grab a token bag of salad to go with frozen meals rather than lots of fresh vegetables. I don’t spend any more on food now, either—I’ve picked up lots of little tips to help save money.

“I enjoy cooking, so I love that I can easily turn my old recipes made with butter and olive oil into healthy, on-plan meals. The kids love Slimming World’s recipe for ham and pea risotto. A typical day for me is oatmeal with fresh fruit for breakfast, a baked potato with tuna and a salad for lunch, and a favorite family dinner is chicken stir-fry with rice. I also like to treat myself to fruit dipped in a little melted chocolate.

"I set myself the goal of starting to exercise when I lost my first 10lbs. I joined Zumba first, then began a dance class. Now I also do a Bokwa dance fitness class. It adds up to four or five hours of activity a week—not bad for someone who hadn’t done any exercise since school!

I really enjoy my group—we always have a good laugh and exchange tons of ideas. It gives me a boost and helps me stay focused, so I’m less likely to go off track. It’s how I learned about ‘mindful eating’—rather than nibbling while I make the kids’ dinner, I sit down at the table for a proper meal. I feel fuller and more satisfied when I really think about what I’m eating, and I enjoy my food more. 

“A month after joining Slimming World I was shocked to find out I had skin cancer. A mole on my leg had been irritating me and it turned out to be a malignant melanoma. I had it removed and was left with a seven-inch scar; the doctor is confident the cancer is gone, but I’ll need annual check-ups to be sure.

“It was an awful time and devastating to think I might not see my kids grow up. I never thought about leaving Slimming World, even though. My Slimming Group was something to look forward to each week, and it also helped me focus on being well for my future and my family. If the cancer ever returns, I’ll know I’ve been eating healthily and exercising—everything the doctors tell you to do to boost your well-being. The thing is, I truly enjoy it. Slimming World has become a way of life for me now.

“Even when I’m at home, I love to dress up in skinny jeans and a cute top. When I was bigger, I was ashamed of the way I looked. I knew I’d found my ideal weight on the day of Ashton’s christening. Anthony took a photo of me and said, ‘You look beautiful.’ I’m now a size 6, and I’m happy with that. In fact, I’m so much more relaxed and happy overall. I found my old self —and discovered a positive outlook on life in the process.”

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