My calm and sweet daughter started screaming, accusing me of not loving her – she saved my life

SITTING on her bed surrounded by empty Red Bull cans and candy bar wrappers, Rachel Davies was completely engrossed in a video game.

Playing up to 15 hours a day, the 37-year-old mother had fallen into a state of despair and self-pity, swelling to more than 27 stone.


Rachel Davies was 27 and constantly playingCredit: Rachel Davies
Daughter Amber came home from school upset, thinking Rachel didn't love her


Daughter Amber came home from school upset, thinking Rachel didn’t love herCredit: Rachel Davies
Rachel found herself ridiculed for her height when she raced to school


Rachel found herself ridiculed for her height when she raced to schoolCredit: Rachel Davies
Amber's surgery was the boost her mom needed to lose weight


Amber’s surgery was the boost her mom needed to lose weightCredit: Rachel Davies

It took a very candid conversation with her 9-year-old daughter to change her life.

“Amber came over from school and said she had something important to tell me, but I just wasn’t listening – I was too focused on my game,” said Rachel, from Swansea.

“Amber was usually so calm and sweet, but she completely lost her mind screaming at me, ‘If you didn’t want me, you shouldn’t have had me! You do not love me !”

Rachel sent her daughter out of the room to calm down, then looked in the mirror for the first time in years and realized Amber was right – she was killing herself and being the worst mom possible for her stepdaughter.

Is your diet to blame for period pain – and what foods can ease it?
Britons have been warned to avoid diet meals and drinks that could make them fatter

“I turned off my PlayStation, called Amber back and we chatted for hours, the first real conversation we’ve had in years,” Rachel said.

“She asked why we never do anything together like the other families, how much it upset her to see me like this.

“For the first time she told me how scared she was. Wiping the tears from her cheeks, I then realized that I was not only ruining my life, I was ruining hers too, and I promised her that I would change.

Taking a picture of herself, Rachel went online and found a local diet consultant who inspired her to finally change.

“I had tried countless other diets before, but I knew this was it – I would die and leave Amber without a mom if I didn’t make it work,” she said.

In the first week, she lost an entire stone, then lost 12 stones in 12 months.

Now adapting to trim size 12 clothing, down from her baggy tops and tent-like size 32 joggers, Rachel and Amber enjoy rock climbing together, scaling peaks in the local Brecon Beacons, play on the trampoline and cook healthy meals.

Rachel says: “I just feel like I’ve been reborn – I’ve pretty much stopped playing, I have so much energy and I’m healthy for the first time since I was little. And it all depends on Amber, my lifeline!

Rachel says it was when she hit puberty that her weight became a real problem.

Weighing in at 16, his mother Jenny became his rock, taking him to various doctors and dietitians to help him find an answer.

“I tried Weight Watchers, Slimming World, almost every diet, but nothing worked long term,” she said.

Diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), Rachel was told she would have to lose weight to manage the condition – but Rachel says it only put more pressure on her to lose weight, as she felt powerless to do so.

“I knew my PCOS was contributing to my weight, and also meant that my chances of being a mom were now almost nil – not that I had a chance of finding a partner,” she said.


After sixth grade, Rachel got a place to study to become a veterinary nurse in college, but quickly dropped out thinking she wasn’t fit enough to care for animals.

With her self-esteem at rock bottom, she found work at a local bar, quickly opting to wash glasses in the kitchen so she wouldn’t have to interact with the public.

But it was while working at the bar that she met a security guard who became her first ever boyfriend – then in 2011 she found out she was pregnant.

“I was just thrilled to hear that my PCOS didn’t stop me from conceiving,” she said.

“I thought becoming a mom would be the answer to my problems – I would have a new social group and a positive orientation, a reason to live.”

But when Amber was born in July 2012 – Rachel weighing around 24 – her confidence plummeted further.

“I felt like every other new mum I met was judging me, thinking I was fat and lazy and that I would be a bad mum as my daughter grew to be as tall as me,” he said. she declared.

That’s when Rachel says her diet went from “bad to horrible”.

“Once I’d put Amber down at night, I’d polished whole tubes of Pringles, 12 packs of Penguins, pretty much anything I could, without a switch,” she said.

Her weight crawling and stuck at home, Rachel then discovered a game called ARK: Survival Evolved on the PlayStation.

“I had no idea how this game would suck me in – it became my only social life, interacting with other gamers online,” she said.

“It was more addictive than any drug, and soon I was consuming gallons of energy drinks day and night to stay awake so I could keep playing.”

And then, just when she thought things couldn’t get any worse, in February 2016 Rachel’s mother died aged just 60 after a short and unexpected battle with cancer.

“I felt like the only rock in my life was gone, my best friend and my crutch,” she said.


Soon Rachel was gambling up to 15 hours a day and living on junk – ordering from McDonald’s for her and Amber to share in the evenings.

“I constantly had a 2 liter bottle of Coke by my bed and drank six cans of Red Bull a day – with endless sugar from sweets and chocolate, all I cared about was staying awake for to be able to continue playing.

“I completely lost sight of my own health and, more importantly, my amazing daughter.”

Regularly setting her alarm clock to wake her up at key times of the night so she could keep playing, Rachel walked Amber the 50 yards to school, then went straight back to bed to keep playing – and eating. .

Rachel’s diet transformation


Breakfast: coffee, then four slices of Nutella toast

Back in bed gaming: Multipack of Walkers crisps, packs of Haribo, Pringles, energy drinks

Lunch: Four ham and cheese sandwiches, more chips, Coke and Red Bull

Afternoon: family bag of Mars bars and Twix, pack of 12 penguins

Dinner: Two McDonald’s cheeseburgers, milkshake, fries, then more chocolate, Red Bull and crisps


Breakfast: coffee, mixed berry porridge

Lunch: 1:1 macaroni and cheese with a salad

Evening: Homemade Thai green chicken curry or tuna steak with vegetables and rice

Snacks: Grapes or bananas

“I almost never cooked for Amber because I didn’t want to get away from the PlayStation – on occasion I would try to cook something like chicken nuggets and fries, I would burn it because my mind was on the game.”

Rachel admits that she was often openly ridiculed by the other kids at school – without thinking about the effect it would have on Amber.

At over 27, and his PCOS as bad as ever, it was that fateful evening last April that changed everything.

“Amber just snapped – she had always stood up for me when people called me fat or lazy, saying how beautiful I was, but when I couldn’t be a mum anymore, she had no choice but to tell the truth. It saved my life.

She adds: “I vividly remember sitting on the edge of the bed, looking at myself in the mirror, thinking how ashamed my mother would be of me if she were still alive.

“I also owed him, everyone, to change.”


The day after their one-on-one, Rachel made Amber the first healthy breakfast the 4th grader had had in months, then started Googling diets.

“The Cambridge 1:1 plan, with meal replacements, sounded perfect to me – I needed to eat something, but didn’t want to have to make any choices,” she said.

A few days later, she had a video consultation with her mentor, Emma Steel, then started the 800 calorie a day diet – four tasty shakes, bars and meal replacements a day, plus a pint of milk skimmed for use in coffee.

“I knew I couldn’t completely quit my game overnight, so I cut it down to four hours a day, then two, and finally just the occasional hour every few days – it just felt like in control for the first time in years.

“Amber commented on how much happier I seemed, how she couldn’t believe I was actually doing it!”

Losing a stone in her first week was all Rachel needed to keep going.

Within two weeks, any hunger pangs were replaced with energy.

“I remember after a few months the same kids on the way to school who had made horrible comments were actually complimenting me!” she says.

“They told me I should ditch the huge, dull jacket I always wore and show off my new figure!”

“I’m down to 14 pounds and fit into size 12 clothes, which is literally amazing,” she continues.

“I can’t recognize the woman in these old photos, but more importantly, my relationship with Amber is now rock solid.

“Cooking healthy meals together – no junk food or takeout – means she’s also lost weight.

“We love having water fights in the garden, climbing mountains, making up for lost time.

“If my mother could see me now, I know how proud she would be!”

For more information on the Cambridge Weight Plan 1:1 diet, visit

Rachel has now slimmed down to a svelte size 12


Rachel has now slimmed down to a svelte size 12Credit: Rachel Davies
Rachel and Amber can now do things together as a family


Rachel and Amber can now do things together as a familyCredit: Rachel Davies
Rachel and Amber even go rock climbing together - something Rachel never could have done before


Rachel and Amber even go rock climbing together – something Rachel never could have done beforeCredit: Rachel Davies

About Chris Stevenson

Check Also

Gemma Collins insists ‘even the GC’ is worried about the cost of living

Gemma Collins worries about the cost of living (Photo: Joe Maher/WireImage) Gemma Collins is using …