'I couldn't go back to work looking nine months pregnant!'

Published Thursday, Jan 30 2014, 19:20 GMT  |  By  |  Add comment
As Cyndi Powell's maternity leave ended, she looked like she was still expecting. Since then, the 28-year-old mum has lost over four stone with the help of Slimming World.

"Losing weight has completely changed my life – and it's not just the way I look. I feel like a completely different woman.

When I was at my biggest, I hated how I looked. I was so embarrassed by my size, I even lied about why I couldn't see my friends. I just couldn't bear to let anyone see me.

Cyndi Powell, I couldn't go back to work looking nine months pregnant

© Slimming World Magazine / Paul Buller

Cyndi's busy schedule meant she put on weight

But now, I am confident, bubbly, happy. I'm even planning on getting married to my boyfriend, Gary, next year where I'll be centre stage and I'm not daunted in the slightest.

I hadn't always been overweight. In my early twenties I was 10st and, at 5ft 5in, a perfectly average size 12.

But two children later – Ella, five, and Brooke, 21 months – I put on three-and-a-half stone and had outgrown my size 16 clothes. My routine had gone haywire having two little girls to look after.

I'd stopped eating breakfast and instead snacked on crisps, chocolate and biscuits over lunchtime. Unable to find the time to cook, I usually ended up ordering in a takeaway for tea for Gary, 30, and me. Chinese was my favourite and I'd indulge in prawn crackers and deep-fried sweet and sour chicken.

As I gradually outgrew everything in my wardrobe, I started to hate the way I looked. I avoided my friends the same way I avoided the bathroom scales.

I texted or called them, rather than meeting up for a coffee. And when they asked me out, I rarely went, making excuses that I couldn't afford it or even pretending one of my girls was ill. The real reason? So they couldn't see how big I'd got.

If I couldn't get out of it, I'd always put on a black baggy dress, praying I'd fade into the background and no one would notice me.

Yet, no matter how unhappy I was, I couldn't bring myself to stop eating. It was only thing that cheered me up. After every late night binge, I'd swear I'd start my diet tomorrow.

But in August 2012, as my maternity leave for Brooke started to come to end, I began to panic. 'They'll think I'm still nine months pregnant if I go back looking like this,' I thought, horrified. There was no excuse to get me out of going back to my job as a PA and facing my colleagues. It was time to act.

Cyndi Powell, I couldn't go back to work looking nine months pregnant

© Slimming World Magazine / Paul Buller

Cyndi has lost over four stone

My mum had recently joined Slimming World so I borrowed her books. I'd tried other diets before but this one seemed easy to follow – and to stick to.

Even so, I still didn't tell anyone when I started it – not even Gary. Instead, I took a deep breath and stepped onto the scales to face my fear. I was 13st 5lb. Feeling disgusted, I told myself this was the first day on the path to a new me.

Immediately I started to make healthier changes to my diet, having yogurt and fruit for breakfast, a wholemeal bread sandwich for lunch and spaghetti Bolognese for dinner.

I'd even have enough 'syns' left over at the end of the day for dessert – a meringue nest with chopped strawberries and bananas.

Gradually the weight dropped off and when I went back to work in January 2013, I was 11st and size 12.

I felt so much better about myself. By now, I couldn't hide my secret slimming and everyone was commenting on how well I looked.

The only thing was I still had two stone to lose and for weeks, I hadn't managed to shift a single pound.

So in April 2013, I joined my mum at her Slimming World class. The consultant was so helpful and advised me to keep a food diary. Writing down what I'd eaten worked – in my first week, I lost five pounds!

Now, I've hit my target of 9st and I'm size 10. Of course, it hasn't been easy. Gary and I went on holiday to Rome last June and, tucking into pizza and Prosecco, I managed to put on eight pounds in just five days. But as soon as I got home, I picked up my food diary and got back on track.

I feel so much more confident now – so much so, I've agreed to marry Gary at the end of next year. I've already bought my wedding dress. It's a size 10 and fitted at the waist to show off my new figure.

I know all eyes will be on me – and, for once, I can't wait."

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