A size 22 woman who once ate takeaways five nights a week has shed 6 stone – after being mortified when her Indian takeaway sent her a Christmas card.
At her heaviest, mother-of-two Natalie Moxey, 31, from Evesham, Worcestershire, weighed more than 18 stone and spent a staggering £80-£100 a week on the convenient dinners.
But in December 2015, when her local Indian sent Natalie and husband Tom a Christmas card, the frequency of their visits hit home – and Natalie vowed to lose weight for good.
Weeks later, the account manager signed up to a slimming club and has now shed 6 stone 4.5 lbs, wearing a size 12.
Tom and I laughed about the card at the time, but it gave me that nudge I needed,’ Natalie said.
‘Losing the weight has been absolutely life-changing. I was caught up in so much guilt over what my body was doing, but now I’ve taken back control.’
Natalie explained how her issues with her size stretched back as far as she can remember, with her weight fluctuating a lot in her teens and early twenties.
But things spiralled after she married Tom, an assistant manager at a building company who she met at school, in 2011.
The newlyweds were desperate to start a family, but had trouble conceiving. After tests, doctors diagnosed Natalie with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormone-related condition caused by small cysts or follicles on the ovaries.
Despite warnings that conception may be difficult, she fell pregnant that same year – but miscarried just weeks later.
Following her miscarriage, Natalie discovered she was expecting again. Though their son David, now three, arrived safely, her pregnancy had been rife with difficulties, including severe pelvic pain, which made it difficult to walk.
Natalie’s mobility problems, in turn, affected her weight, which crept up further.
Six months after David was born in December 2013, she fell pregnant again with Jack, now two.
This time, her pelvic pain was so bad, she ended up wheelchair-bound, causing her to pile on even more weight.
Her second child also arrived happy and healthy, but Natalie was still haunted by the demons of her miscarriage
‘I was still depressed over everything I’d been through trying to conceive,’ she explained. ‘I was eating my feelings, with no care or concern for myself.’
‘To me, food was an instant high – but really, it was just compounding my depression. I couldn’t keep up with the boys, couldn’t climb stairs without getting out of breath. I just felt terrible.’
At 18 stone 9.5 lbs, Natalie would either skip breakfast or eat sugary cereal and have a sandwich, crisps and chocolate for lunch, followed by huge portions of ready-meal style food for dinner.
She also bought Chinese or Indian takeaways up to five times a week: ‘During the day, I wasn’t that bad, but at night, I’d come home and just sit and eat,’ she said.
‘It was never just a takeaway either – it’d be followed by ice cream, or chocolate, or popcorn. I’d snack constantly and blame it on being tired.
She was also forced to buy her clothes from plus-size online retailers. But in December 2015, Natalie’s thoughts turned to getting fit and healthy – and the Christmas card she received from the Indian takeaway gave her the nudge she needed.
Weeks later, she signed up to a Slimming World class and, since January 2016, she has managed to shed more than 6 stone.
Natalie’s husband Tom has been supporting her every step of the way, and even managed to lose two stone himself with the couple swapping greasy takeaways for fresh, home-cooked meals.
She has even begun working as a Slimming World consultant and will be starting her own group in August.
‘Since that first class, I’ve never looked back. I can run around with the boys now, not having to worry about being unable to keep up, or getting stuck in slides,’ said Natalie.
‘Where I used to cry in the changing rooms, I can now go shopping and pluck a size 12 off the shelf without even trying it on.
‘It’s made me better at work, too. I used to hide in the shadows as I was so uncomfortable, but now I push myself more.
‘It’s been a long road, but I had to wait until I was mentally ready before I decided to lose weight. It’s far more about why you’re eating that what, but now I have confidence I’d never have dreamed of.’