A mum has shed 4.5 stone and dropped five dress sizes after she was given a Christmas present that left her in tears.
Rachel Cartwright was given a size 18 shirt as a festive gift but she couldn’t fit in it.
The finance assistant, from Heaton in Newcastle upon Tyne, said she had always felt comfortable with her body and didn’t think she was that big.
But she was 20 at the time and as she watched the buttons gape on the shirt, she felt embarrassed to be wearing a size 20 at her age and knew she had to make a change.
Now 28, Rachel said : “At the time I didn’t think I was that big.
“It’s not until I look back on photos or put on that same shirt which was too small for me all those years ago [that I realise] I was shy and really lacked confidence in myself.”
After seeing her daughter’s upsetting reaction, Rachel’s mum suggested that they join Slimming World together.
Rachel has now lost 4.5 stone and is and is “loving life” with her new size 10 figure, after slimming from 14st 1lb to 9st 7lb.
The mum-of-two said: “I feel amazing, my confidence is high and simply loving life – how couldn’t you knowing you’re healthier?”
Rachel has now “fallen in love” with cooking home after ditching regular and convenient takeaways for home cooked meals.
“Now I’ve fallen in love with cooking. My breakfast is always packed full of fruit and my main meals are mainly protein and veg,” she said.
“I still enjoy a chicken curry, except I make it at home now and I’ve swapped out the chips and rice for some low carb cauliflower egg fried rice, keeping calories low but food satisfaction high.”
Recalling her former calorific habits, she said: “My friends and I would often walk to the shop and binge on all sorts. I wasn’t really fussy what it was, as long as it was sweet.
“On top of that I probably had a takeaway three or four times a week.
“At one point, I even recall a local takeaway employee mutter to another “she’s back again” and that truly devastated me.”
Rachel found that her eight years as a member of Slimming World has helped her to cope with challenges in her life including her son Nathan’s cancer diagnosis.
In September last, the family received the devastating news that the four-year-old had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL).
Rachel, who also has a two-year-old daughter called Ellie, said: “Slimming World has supported me through university, office jobs with it’s tempting treats, my wedding, two healthy pregnancies and stressful house moves.
“Most recently it has got me through lockdown and the recent cancer diagnosis of my eldest who’s four.”
She added: “Without sounding cheesy, I’m a firm believer that Slimming World is a journey, not a destination.
“I’ve been part of this group for more than eight years now, during that time I’ve never had to “press pause” on my life and say I can’t do something because I’m on Slimming World.
“I still went out drinking, I still had takeaways – although not quite as many – and I still give in to my sweet temptations.”