Val Hicklin joined Slimming World last June and in just over a year she has managed to lose over seven stones, going from a size 18/20 to a size ten.
During the pandemic, Val found herself developing many bad habits.
She worked from home and hid herself away from the world, unhappy in herself and she hated the way she looked. She felt tired and lazy.
But it wasn’t until a friend snapped a photo the day she met their new baby that she knew she had to take action.
The 46-year-old said: “Close friends of ours had a baby in lockdown and we hadn’t seen him.
“Last May we got to see him for the first time and my friend took a picture of me with him.
“When I saw this photo I thought ‘this is awful’, enough is enough, I have to do something about it.
“It was the day my decision was made.
“I was in the position of living in the same outfits – leggings and a top – because I couldn’t fit into anything else and they were comfortable.
“None of my clothes fit properly and I hated the way I looked.
“I hated having to buy new clothes and I hated how awful I looked in them.”
After seeing the photo, Val signed up for Slimming World, taking classes at The Scotts in Grangemouth.
She recently passed the seven stone mark and feels much better after losing weight.
She said: “My daughter Nieve has had her bike for a while but after removing the stabilizers she could never start.
“However, this summer she learned to ride without them.
“If I hadn’t done something about my weight, I wouldn’t have been able to follow her.
“Having lost weight, I was able to run alongside her and move her forward. She ended up learning in a day.
“I couldn’t have done that last year. There are so many things I couldn’t have done before.
“I had problems with my knees and ankles, with the extra weight they became very weak.
“I can now walk up and down stairs with ease and do activities with my little girl – something I’ve always done but before there was a lack of energy to do it.
“I’m also adapting now to things that are much nicer and not just leggings and a top.
“I had a wardrobe overhaul when I got to the five stone bar, but now even those clothes are too big.”
Val, who is IT category manager, said she decided to give Slimming World a try after a friend recommended it: “I’ve tried different things in the past – you name it, I love it. have tried over the years.
“I saw how successful my friend had been with Slimming World in a fairly short period of time and I was in the right frame of mind, so I thought I’d give it a try.
“I love being able to adapt a high-calorie meal by making a few small changes to create a version that I can eat freely.”
Val’s friends and family, including her husband Chris, are all very proud of what she has been able to accomplish.
Slimming World Consultant Jenni Lapsley said: “Val is an absolute inspiration.
“She is in a group every week and brings her daughter with her to have fun.
“She is so supportive of her colleagues and constantly gives us her best tips and recipes.
“She is famous for her spicy Cajun chicken recipe and always inspires us by posting her fabulous meals on our closed Facebook page.
“She was so focused and worked so hard, we’re all so proud of her.
“We’ve seen her shrink in front of us and she looks absolutely fantastic.”