women

“I was saved by cake!”

With a weight problem tied up with an unhappy marriage, Lucy Stacey, 34, felt trapped and isolated. Getting healthy was the first step to slimming down and having a happier life.

Description: ‘I’m at my happiest baking cakes with my girls’

‘I’m at my happiest baking cakes with my girls’

You might assume my weight problem was due to my love of baking – but, in fact, it was when I had my children that the pounds piled on. I suffered from a condition in my pelvis that meant walking was absolute agony, and around the same time, my marriage started to break down. I’d also given up work, so I felt like I’d lost my identity. My self-esteem was at an all-time low.

In June 2009, I was looking at some beautiful summer dresses in a magazine, and I realized that, as a size 22, I wouldn’t be able to fit into any of them. It shocked me and I knew I had to get back to the woman and mother I knew I could be. I started by eating a more balanced diet, with smaller portions. I cut out rubbish like takeaways, and only ate things that are close to their natural state, like salads, fish and meat. As my dress size dropped to a size 12, my self-esteem started to rebuilt. Altogether I lost six stone, and that gave me the confidence and the courage to move on from my unhappy marriage. It was a huge step and I was terrified, but I knew that whatever happened I’d make sure my girls, Eva and Lola, would be okay.

Description: In June 2009, I started by eating a more balanced diet, with smaller portions.

In June 2009, I started by eating a more balanced diet, with smaller portions.

Years before, I’d thought about starting a cake-making business, but at the time I hadn’t had the confidence to take the idea seriously. But now I told myself that if I could lose six stone, I could do anything. I looked after the girls all day, and worked while they slept, from seven until four in the morning. I’d done an MBA when I was in my 20s, so I went back to my notes and learnt about tax accounting and marketing, and soon I had a business plan. I decided to call it Lucy’s Cakes, and I even taught myself how to create a website, lucyscakes.co.uk, selling handmade, bespoke, high-end cakes for weddings and birthdays.

After a year and a half, I can finally say the business is a success – I’ve started giving cake-decoration classes, too. For over two years now I’ve been a size 10, and I’ve developed an exercise routine I can do at home on my own. I don’t find it difficult being around the cakes at all; I’ll have a treat every now and then but I’m still careful about what I eat. I’m really happy and grateful that I’ve got two beautiful children, a job I love, and my health – I feel very, very lucky.

‘My four-legged fitness plan’

Anne Hunt, 42, couldn’t find the answer to long-term weight loss – until she realized she had the perfect exercise buddy already

Description: ‘This time I decided to focus on getting fit rather than losing weight’

‘This time I decided to focus on getting fit rather than losing weight’

Walking my Boxer, Bella, was always my chance to have a bit of me-time. We’d go for a slow stroll in the morning, and I’d grab the chance to call my family, knowing that the rest of the day would be spent rushing around, cramming in all my responsibilities working from home for a charity, and caring for my two young boys, as well as fitting in the housework and food shopping. At size 18, I lived in jeans and jumpers, and didn’t even have time to get my hair cut, never mind keep fit.

It was during a skiing holiday in February last year that I realized just how out of shape I’d become. I’d been skiing before, but this time I felt so embarrassed wobbling about, red-faced and out of breath. I started to panic – I was due to start my new job in nursing the next month, and I knew that if I was to work 12-hour shifts, rushing around the ward, I needed to up my fitness. I’d never managed to stick to a diet for more than a few days, so this time I decided to focus on getting fit rather than losing weight, and I gave myself one year to do it.

When I got back from holiday, I happened to see an advert for a competition called Get Fit With Fido, organized by The Kennel Club, which looks after the health and welfare of dogs. It was for dog-owners who wanted to shape up, and it seemed like a great idea. I already had the tools – a pair of trainers and a dog – so I signed up. Instead of strolling along with Bella, I started going faster, and worked up a sweat for 45 minutes a day. I felt better very quickly – I had more confidence, stopped feeling out of breath, and the weight fell off. Soon I had the bug and wanted to do more, so I began cycling to work, and I started exercise classes, too. I watched what I ate and after three months, I’d lost two and a half stone. Not only did I win the competition, but I was finally bouncing around as much as Bella – and I have been for over a year.

It was a bit of a shock to my kids, but they’ve got used to it now, and they love the fact that I’ve got more energy to play basketball with them, and my husband’s been really supportive, too. For my birthday last year I walked into Marks & Spencer to buy a dress, and fitted into all the size 10s! I’m not dieting any more, just making healthy choices and not overdoing the treats. I still go for a fast walk with the dog as often as I can – now it’s a way of life, and I’m determined to stick to it. Bella’s the best get-fit and keep-fit partner I could have hoped for.

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