Juggling work and family life while keeping her weight loss firing has finally clicked for Dominique Withers.
The 32-year-old lives in Redditch, Worcestershire, with her husband, Joe, and their two children, Wilfred, five, and Gwyneth, two.
Her weight increased to almost 13st after the birth of her first child. But she has now transformed her diet after joining Slimming World.
She’s now a target member of Kerry Ward’s Slimming World group in Webheath, Worcestershire, and even runs her own groups in Redditch.
Here she explains her remarkable story…
“I started gaining weight when I was 16 after getting a job in a shoe shop; it was great for my bank balance, but as I spent my wages on sweets, my waistline got bigger, too. Most nights, I’d sit in front of the TV with my boyfriend, Joe, eating pick ’n’ mix sweets and chocolate bars.
I joined Slimming World when I was 19 – and it wasn’t long before I saw the scales starting to move. When I’d lost 1st 7lbs, I stopped going to the group, telling myself: ‘I’ve done it. I can eat what I want now’.
At 22, I moved in with Joe. I filled our new kitchen cupboards with biscuits, cooked nothing but shop-bought margherita pizza, chicken nuggets, chips, and pasta with garlic bread, and saw the scales creeping back to where I’d started. Five months on, I realised the plateful of food in front of me was completely beige!
I went back to Slimming World and my meals turned colourful and varied again. And this time, I ensured they were filling, too. I started planning in advance, buying fresh ingredients and cooking satisfying dinners from scratch, and I also embraced exercise.
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I reached my first target weight of 9st in time for our wedding in 2013. After our honeymoon, I didn’t go back to the group – I told myself that I knew what I was doing and didn’t need help any more.
And when we started trying for a baby soon after, I convinced myself that pregnancy would mean a big weight gain anyway. Gradually, my weight rose and once I was expecting, I started eating for two. By the time Wilfred was born in 2015, I was nearly 13st.
Not long after, I became pregnant again and though I constantly craved sugary snacks, I gained less weight this time round. After Gwyneth was born in September 2017, with my bathroom scales showing 11st 7lbs, I went back to eating mostly Slimming World meals, but I didn’t feel ready to rejoin the group.
By the time Wilfred was two I’d lost about a stone, and I felt a surge of determination to be back at my target weight in time for Joe’s 30th in eight months’ time. So I switched to a new group with a time that suited me better now that Wilfred was at nursery. Everyone made a fuss of Gwyneth and I felt relaxed enough to focus on my weight loss. Suddenly I realised how much I needed the group.
There was no more thinking: ‘It doesn’t matter if I miss one week at the group’. Because it did matter – to me. Just a few weeks after Joe’s 30th, I was back at my target weight. And this time, I was confident I would stay there.
I’d always had the tools to lose weight and keep it off, and now my commitment had really clicked, too. With my new mindset, nothing seemed impossible. I set myself a new target of 8st 7lbs, which I reached in August 2018 and have stayed at ever since, and decided to train as a Slimming World Consultant.
I loved my weekly groups and hearing people share their weight-loss experiences, because I knew how invaluable that was to me, too. I also kept up my exercise – I even ran the 2019 Birmingham Half Marathon!
My soaring confidence helped me cope with anything life could throw at me. So when Wilfred was diagnosed with autism, shortly before he started reception, I took the news calmly. The diagnosis confirmed what Joe and I had suspected for a while and it came as a relief.
When we’re all sitting at the table, enjoying a Food Optimising roast chicken dinner, I’m happy I’m setting my children up with healthy eating habits for life. Laughing and talking together over our full plates, it’s important to me that they grow up enjoying food that’s good for them, and see me doing the same.”