Finding the inspiration or motivation to lose weight can take time. Laura, 30, a lead worker for child and family services from Llanelli in South Wales, has had an incredible lifestyle transformation to lose over five stone in just a year. After noticing she was putting on more and more weight working from home during lockdown in September 2020, Laura started her weight loss journey when she found a love for running. Combined with a non-restrictive diet, she transformed her body.
After struggling with her weight for years, it took lockdown for Laura to finally start becoming more active and healthier not only for herself but for her three-year-old daughter too.
She said: “For me personally, I have always been on the larger side.
“When I was over-weight, I wouldn’t say that I was fully ‘unhappy’, it was more that I was uncomfortable in my clothing and didn’t feel confident in my appearance, which was more of the mental effect that it had.
“I wouldn’t enjoy going out as much as I felt uncomfortable in my own skin, and I knew if there was a social event, I’d go but wouldn’t enjoy it as much in my mind because of low self-esteem and worried people would notice how much weight I had gained.
“I finally told myself – ‘right, if I don’t change my ways or do something now then I will be like this forever! I have no excuses.’”
Before her lifestyle change, Laura’s diet and relationship with food was extremely poor.
She recalls having no idea of the number of calories she was consuming daily but knew she was overeating due to her continuous weight gain.
Describing her typical breakfast, lunch and dinner, Laura said: “A typical breakfast would be two slices of toast, a good helping of butter on each, accompanied by a heavy helping of sliced cheese.
“Lunchtime would easily be something fast food or bakery based, again no recollection of calories I was consuming, and the evening meals would be home-cooked but with no track of calories, so a big pile of carbs would be on there.
“When it came to snacks, I would easily eat two to three chocolate bars a day and then even snack on crisps or sweet treats late night after dinner.”
Alongside running, Laura reduced her calorie intake and found products from The Skinny Food Co that helped her still get her sweet fix in moderation.
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She explained: “For me, the game-changer for my food was becoming knowledgeable about calories and a calorie deficit which has made me who I am today.
“With my weight loss, I didn’t ever restrict what I ate but the amount I ate and still eat.
“I now know I was overweight because I was not knowledgeable about calories and being in a calorie deficit.
“By doing my research opened me up to finding lower-calorie alternatives such as Skinny Food Co’s products, which helped massively on my journey.
“I believe there is no such thing as having to stick to a miserable diet to lose weight and that you shouldn’t feel restricted.
“For example, I still love toast, crumpets and toasted bagels but a smaller quantity with a healthier topping keeps me just as satisfied as before.
“Without a doubt, I love the Skinny Food Jams and Chocolate Spreads.
“When it comes to my coffees, I now always use the syrups or drops as my sugar alternatives, French Vanilla and Cookie Dough have to be up there with favourites.”
As well as adapting her diet, Laura has built up her fitness to complete her first half-marathon in April 2021, describing this as one of her proudest achievements to date: “Never in my life did I ever think I’d be able to do one considering I couldn’t run to the first lamppost on my street without stopping or losing my breath, but I stuck to it.
“This is when I noticed as I headed out my front door more and more, the longer I was able to run for.
“I started setting myself running goals and when I completed my first 5k without stopping I cried, and the rest is history.
“Since I started running, I haven’t stopped.
“When people say ‘you’ve caught the running bug’ you really do. It’s part of my life now and it’s a great way to keep fit and great for the mind.
“I will run at least 10-15k a week to help stay on top of my fitness.”
As for how she feels now she is five stone lighter, Laura revealed: “Since losing the weight, I do feel much happier within myself and my love for clothes and feeling comfortable has definitely improved.
“I wear clothes now that I would never have dreamed of wearing when I was overweight. But that’s down to me personally feeling uncomfortable.
“I look forward to social events now more than ever as I feel good.
“You don’t realise how much more of a happier person you become when you’re feeling healthier and fitter, even when you thought you were happy beforehand.”
The Skinny Food Co range features over 260 great tasting, healthier alternative products. From sauces and syrups, to high protein, low sugar snacks, cooking sprays, flavoured coffees, Fakeaway sauces, meals and more, visit www.theskinnyfoodco.com to find out more.