Mum who broke her back giving birth to daughter undergoes fitness transformation

Slimming World Consultant Kelly, 42, lives in Huthwaite, Nottinghamshire, with her daughters Regan, 14 and Franki, 10.

When I think back to how I used to feel before I found Slimming World, it makes me feel quite emotional. I’d wake up in the morning and the day would start the same way it always did – with agonising pain in my back and a handful of tablets just to get me through the next few hours.

Living in pain was exhausting – not to mention I already had my hands full with my baby daughter, Regan. The truth was, I hadn’t felt myself since Regan was born, and the old me that I knew before just seemed to be slipping further and further away.

I’d wash some painkillers down with a big mug of coffee and go about my day as best I could, trying to put on a brave face as I played with Regan and attempting to lift her in and out of her pushchair without straining my back too much.

Of course, that meant that by 10am I was absolutely ravenous and would grab whatever was easiest or closest, usually biscuits and chocolate bars.

Kelly, pictured with baby Regan, was living in pain due to an undiagnosed fracture to her spine



It soon became clear that my low moods were becoming more regular, and after visiting my doctor, I was diagnosed with postnatal depression. In a way it felt good to acknowledge how I was feeling, but with the pain in my lower back still raging, and often shooting up and down my leg too, it was hard for me to make any progress.

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I felt like nobody understood just how much pain I was in – this couldn’t just be a side effect of childbirth, could it?

The pain meant I wasn’t able to work or drive, which put a further strain on my mental health. I just didn’t recognise the person I had become and slipped further and further into depression.

My doctor prescribed me with antidepressants but while I was still in pain, nothing made me feel better. After lots of appointments it was thought that maybe I had strained my back during birth and had a slipped disc, so they put me on a traction machine. It was agony and seemed to make things worse rather than better.

Finally, two years after Regan was born, I was referred to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham where I had an MRI scan. I left and before I’d made it to the car park, my phone started to ring. “We need you to come back right away,” they said.

Nothing could have prepared me for what would happen next.

The MRI scan showed that I had broken my lumbar spine, which was the cause of all the pain. I was referred for an operation and six months later I had a painful procedure to have my spine fused together and pinned with titanium screws. The doctors were so shocked that I had sustained this kind of damage from childbirth – they said it was the kind of injury that rugby players get, or people who have been in car accidents.

Slimming World Consultant Kelly is now fighting fit and ready to take on the world



After I recovered from my operation, I got pregnant with my second ­daughter, Franki. I gained weight really quickly during pregnancy and snacked on chocolate and biscuits throughout the day. I was even diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which was linked to all the sugary treats I’d been eating.

And in the evening, exhausted from the pregnancy and looking after a toddler, I’d just collapse on the sofa with a takeaway. By the time Franki was born I was 2st 7lb heavier than before, and even though my back pain was now much more manageable, I was still thoroughly miserable with my weight.

Feeling so unwell for so long made me realise I needed to look after myself – and being diagnosed and treated almost felt like a second chance.

I had the chance to be the bright, buzzy, happy Kelly I was before, and I wanted to take that opportunity with open arms. I’d tried fad diets in the past, but I knew they wouldn’t work around my family. I needed something that would work for us all. I’d heard Slimming World was based on healthy home cooking, so it seemed the perfect solution.

In 2011, when Franki was about five months old, I strapped her into the pram and walked to my local group. I knew I’d made the right decision as soon as I heard about the plan. There was no starving yourself by only eating rice and broccoli – as a family we could still enjoy favourites like spaghetti bolognese, roast dinners and delicious curries and stews.

I soon got to grips with the Food Optimising plan and lost weight steadily week after week.

The group support was amazing and knowing everyone was rooting for me really kept me motivated. Within a year I’d reached my target weight of 9st and I felt incredible.

As I lost the weight, activity became more and more important to me. When I was living in pain I moved as little as possible, so it was a bit daunting to start to move more.

I never thought I’d be the kind of person to love the gym, but I liked the idea of trying something new and having a bit of “me time”, so I signed up.

Kelly felt trapped in a cycle of comfort eating and depression



After a few weeks I was hooked and now I love classes and weight training.

Slimming World encourages members to build up their activity levels gradually which I think is really important. It’s now just a part of my day – it comes as naturally to me as brushing my teeth.

Once I’d reached my target weight, my Consultant pulled me aside one day and asked if I’d ever considered being a Consultant myself. I hadn’t had a job since before Regan was born – my back pain and two small children meant I just couldn’t make it work. Becoming a Consultant seemed so flexible though, and I did love Slimming World. Could I really do it?

The answer was yes. I used to think that losing weight was the best feeling ever – but now I know that helping members to achieve their goals is even better. When Franki was three years old, my husband and I separated ­which meant my work became more important to our household than ever.

I’m really proud of the fact that as a live-alone mum, my Slimming World groups have allowed me to support my family – and to top it all we even have our own house now, which is amazing.

I’ve now been at target for 10 years, which is such an incredible feeling, and I’ve been a Slimming World Consultant for seven years.

It’s my dream job and I feel so lucky. I used to need 25 tablets a day just to function, now I start the day with a spring in my step. Slimming World really did change my life – and now I’m proud to say that it’s a life I love.

Kelly’s fact file

Height: 5ft 2in

Weight before: 11st 7lb

Weight after: 9st

Total weight loss: 2st 7lb

Kelly’s menu before

Breakfast: Coffee

Mid-morning: Chocolate and biscuits

Lunch: Toast with butter, crisps and more chocolate bars

Dinner: A takeaway or cheesy pasta ready meal with garlic bread

Menu after

Breakfast: Overnight oats with strawberries and fat-free yogurt

Mid-morning: Fruit and a Slimming World Hi-Fi bar

Lunch: Jacket potato with tuna and salad or omelette with baked beans, cheese and salad

Dinner: Fakeaway curry or chicken and chorizo paella

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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