'I feel like a different person, and I look like one too!'
"I’ve found that once you’re in the WW routine, it’s easy to follow. I feel like a different person, and I look like one too! "
"I needed to do something positive for myself"
When I became pregnant with my daughter Daisy, I piled on weight. I lost it four years later, with the help of WW. Then in 2015, my beloved father was diagnosed with cancer and I started comfort eating to cope with the stress.
When he passed away, I was heartbroken. Three weeks later I gave birth to my son Oliver. I was terrified I’d develop postnatal depression because I was grieving and realised I needed to do something positive for myself. Dad’s death reaffirmed to me how precious life was.
In January 2016, I joined WW for a second time, determined to get in shape, and regain my confidence. I not only owed it to myself, but to my family.
"Now, my favourite picture is of me in a bikini"
I lost 7lb in the first two weeks, but I knew I needed all the motivation I could get, so we booked a family holiday to Majorca.
I used to dread summer holidays, even as a teenager. Although I wasn’t fat, I felt lumpy next to those around me. By the time I became an adult, I fluctuated between a size 12 to 14 and got stuck in a cycle of crash diets and weight gain.
I set myself mini deadlines – such as Oliver’s christening, followed by my birthday – and it really helped when my WW Coach, Pam, suggested we pack a ‘virtual’ suitcase with the type of clothes we wanted to take on holiday. It helped me focus on how I wanted to feel as I sat in the airport waiting to leave.
My favourite snap from that holiday is me in a bikini holding Oliver. It was a special moment because it was the first time my little boy had been on holiday, but also the first time I’d let myself be photographed in swimwear.
Helen's lockdown diary...
Throughout the lockdown, I've found cooking new recipes and making more of an event of our family meal times really therapeutic. We've enjoyed Spanish, Italian and Mexican-themed evenings and made an effort to dress the table nicely so we appreciate the food a little more too.
I've managed to stockpile four years of WW magazines over the years and with extra time on my hands, I've been flicking through them, finding new recipes and re-discovering old ones to try all over again.
Given that we've been blessed with such glorious weather, the barbecue has also been used regularly, with lots of lean protein and chargrilled vegetables to help me keep on plan.
Like all families, we've experienced a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the lockdown, however the good days have far outweighed the bad. We've really enjoyed our daily walks, bike rides and Tik-Tok dances, things which we would never have found the time to do mid-week under normal circumstances. We've been much more active as a family unit, something we're going to ensure we keep up after the lockdown.
The children have been trying new foods as I've ensured we're all eating the same meals each day, rather than cooking different things to appease everyone.
We've cancelled our summer holidays, like all other families, but we've enjoyed lots of mini garden parties and quiz nights together, and it's been lovely to see just how much everyone has enjoyed those little events to break up the time. I'll definitely remember the extra time with my husband and kids fondly!
The WW programme
I've been maintaining my weight loss for over four years now, and the programme has really helped me to look at the bigger picture. WW is not just about weight loss, but overall wellbeing. I'm healthier and happier overall as a result of being more mindful of what I'm eating, without restricting myself or beating myself up when I have a day off-plan.
During lockdown, I've definitely been eating (and drinking!) more than usual, which is a drastic change to my usual routine. However, I've been so much more active, which has counteracted it a little bit. I've learnt to love running after completing the Couch to 5K challenge - it really helps to clear my mind each day and enable me to focus on the positive things I'm doing to navigate this incredibly strange time we're all living through. The WW social community is such a supportive forum and together we're each other's biggest cheerleaders, which I'm hugely appreciative of. We're very much all in this together!
- App: "I use the app every day for tracking, barcode scanning and searching for recipes. It’s convenient, as I always have my phone with me, but not always a pen and paper. It complements busy mum life perfectly."
- Barcode scanner: "I love zapping foods at the supermarket and checking them when I’m on the go. It helps to not have to calculate if you’re rushing around."
- WW magazine: "I get so excited when I see a shiny new cover on the stands. I love reading the success stories and recipes. I keep all the magazines and often look back on them."
You can follow Helen on Instagram @ww_helsbels.
Helen lost 4st 2lbs in 226 weeks. Results may vary from person to person. Helen lost weight on a prior WW programme and continued on myWW.