"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 thoughts on...
"Breakfast for me is the best way to start the day and people are always surprised to hear that I still have two slices of toast, with spread and marmalade, most mornings – plus a bowl of cereal.
"Absolutely nothing is off limits. You quickly learn how to spread your points throughout the day to make the plan work for you."
"The plan fits into busy family life really well. I have two kids and work full-time, so I rely on simple, fast recipes, batch cooking and freezing, and slow cooking. I plan a weekly menu in advance and stick it to a notice board. My New Year’s resolution back in 2010 was to be less wasteful with food, and it’s probably the only resolution I’ve never broken!
"Before lockdown we had family over for dinner every Sunday and I always cooked WW recipes and deserts, often without anyone realising."
- 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."
- Library of recipes: "I love cooking and get a lot of inspiration from the recipes online."
- 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.