Hayley Cook was so down about her weight that she refused to be pictured with her husband on her own wedding day, but is now feeling on top of the world after losing an incredible six stone and dropping eight dress sizes.
Mum-of-two Hayley Cook been crowned Slimming World’s Miss Slinky 2019 following her dramatic transformation.
The 30-year-old struggled with her weight for a number of years, and was so unhappy about the way she looked that on her own wedding day she had to be convinced to book a photographer at the last minute – even then not allowing any photographs to be taken of her and her husband Andy together on the special day.
Hayley started to gain weight as she turned to comfort eating following two miscarriages.
‘Shortly after meeting Andy I feel pregnant,’ she explains.
‘While it all happened very quickly, we were over the moon to be starting a family together. Sadly though, I went on to have a miscarriage. We then had another miscarriage the following year and I was in such a low place that I turned to food for comfort’
Hayley then added that this caused her weight to just go ‘up and up.’
Hayley and Andy were overjoyed when they eventually learnt Hayley was expecting a baby girl, with the due date just a few months before their wedding.
Giving birth so soon before her big day however, left Hayley feeling self-conscious as she was still carrying some extra baby weight.
‘I enjoyed my wedding day, but I hate the few pictures I have,’ she revealed.
‘I just felt so uncomfortable with my body. I’d struggled with my weight for years and I just couldn’t face the thought of posing for professional photographs. With a new baby and a lovely new husband I should have felt on top of the world, but my weight was always a big insecurity for me.’
Hayley, who was a size 18 when she joined Slimming World in April last year, decided that enough was enough when she was told she was at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes following her second pregnancy:
‘It was a bit of a wake-up call for me and at that moment I knew I had to start looking after myself properly. My weight was threatening my health and beginning to impact on my day-to-day life and that wasn’t the type of mum I wanted to be.’
‘We’d tried so hard to have a family and I wanted to make the most of every moment without worrying about my weight.’
Hayley was pleasantly surprised at how simple she found the Slimming World eating plan, and at how much she could still eat while simultaneously shedding the pounds:
‘I’d tried Slimming World before so I knew it worked, although this time my mindset was totally different and I was determined to make healthier changes not just for myself, but for my whole family. I was still surprised by how much I could actually eat though!’
She also shared her past experiences with restrictive diets and how the Slimming World eating plan, which allowed her to drop 8 dress sizes, fairs in comparison:
‘In the past I’ve tried every diet under the sun – from soups and shakes to juices and even surviving on just eggs and grapefruit! The brilliant thing about Slimming World was that the eating plan focussed on healthy, filling, everyday foods that the whole family can enjoy – like our version of a healthy pizza – so I never feel like I’m missing out and the support you get at group is second-to-none.’
As soon as Hayley started seeing the results, she quickly realised how active she actually is and how much she enjoys exercising:
‘Before losing weight I used to think that I didn’t have time for exercise, but the truth was I just wasn’t very good at making myself a priority. These days I’m more active than I have ever been in my adult life.’
‘I realised that being active made me feel good, and in turn that made me a better version of myself.’
‘My next goal is to compete in a mini triathlon, which is something I thought I’d never say. We’ve just welcomed a new puppy into the household too, so she keeps us busy and needs plenty of long walks’
Hayley says her weight-loss has given her a new lease of life, and reflected on the hugely positive impact that the Slimming World plan has had on her own confidence and happiness:
‘I just feel full of life now and can’t wait to enjoy making more fun memories with my family’
‘I feel like such a different person now that I’d love to renew our wedding vows and get some photographs that I can look back on with happiness. I finally feel like the person I was always supposed to be and that’s an amazing feeling.’
Hayley’s diet before and after:
Mid-morning: A cup of tea and biscuits
Lunch: A baguette or sausage roll with crisps and a chocolate barMid-afternoon: A cup of tea and a slice of cake
Dinner: A takeaway or creamy macaroni cheese
Evening: A few bars of chocolate
Breakfast: Chopped fruit with fat-free yogurt or a cooked breakfast at the weekend with grilled low-fat sausages, lean bacon, baked beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and poached eggs
Lunch: A homemade omelette, ham and egg salad or baked beans on wholemeal toast
Mid-morning: Fat-free yogurt and a piece of fruit
Dinner: Slimming World burgers and homemade oven chips made with low-calorie cooking spray, homemade pizza or steak and chips
Evening: Hi-fibre cereal bar