AFTER spending £156,000 on takeaway pizzas and ballooning to 31st, Lindsey Cummins feared she would not be around to see her young son grow up.
Lindsey and husband Terry, 41, who works for a building society, began ordering pizza four times a week to enjoy cosy nights in after they began dating in 2006. The pair married in 2010.
But after initially struggling to conceive, Lindsey turned to food for comfort, too.
For more than 15 years, the couple forked out more than £200 a week on junk food, including large 13.5in Domino’s pepperoni pizzas with cheese-stuffed crusts.
Lindsey says: “After struggling for so long to have a baby, I was severely depressed and filled with constant anxiety. I just ate and ate to try to suppress these feelings.
“It was the only way I knew how to deal with things.
“I ate all the wrong things and was slowly killing myself with food,
“Not only was I suffering but, later, it was affecting my little boy. I couldn’t leave the house with him because my fitness meant I couldn’t even make it around the block.
“I reached a place of real darkness and knew I needed to do something about it.”
Most read in Fabulous
After baby Harry's arrival in November 2019, Lindsey decided for the sake of her son to take action, quitting her unhealthy takeaway habit last year — and has now lost more than 15st.
She said: “I feel incredible. It’s like being a new person.”
‘I needed to be alive for Harry’
Lindsey has always been overweight, ever since she was a child. Always referred to as “the big girl”, the insult stuck with her and she ate to numb the feelings of shame.
In 2013, Lindsey suffered a miscarriage after unexpectedly falling pregnant.
It made her realise she wanted to start a family but she struggled to conceive again.
She said: “Getting pregnant again just wasn’t happening for us and it was really traumatic.
“So in 2018, after years of trying again, we decided to go to the doctor to try to find out why.
“We were eventually told that we didn’t meet the criteria for any support with fertility because my BMI was too high.”
But despite weighing 27st 2lb, Lindsey did finally become pregnant in February 2019.
My goal was to lose 50 per cent of my weight and to wear a size 14. The first time I was able to buy a 14 was mind-blowing. I could hardly recognise myself in a mirror
She said: “I never imagined that I would fall pregnant while weighing so much, so I was terrified the whole way through and had a horrendous experience.
“I had high blood pressure and trouble feeling him during the pregnancy due to my weight.
“I had to have constant growth scans and I was full of worry and stress because I was scared of losing him the entire way through.
“A C-section also wasn’t an option because of my weight. I had no choice but to deliver naturally.
“I felt like I was treated differently during my pregnancy because I was bigger.
“But I am just thankful I managed to welcome my son safely into the world after desperately wanting him.” After Harry was born, she piled on more weight because caring for a baby meant she struggled to find time to cook.
Lindsey, from Raunds, Northants, said: “I would order Domino’s with my husband up to four times a week.
“Our order would consist of a large pizza each and I would usually opt for a stuffed crust.
“We’d have a box of sides each, but if they were on offer then I’d order more sides.
“We’d then finish off with a tub of ice cream each.
“I’d also have a share bag of Maltesers and a bag of sweets after Terry went up to bed. During the week I’d regularly order lunch from McDonald’s if I had friends over for playdates with our kids because I refused to leave the house as I was so ashamed of how I looked.
‘I was missing out on everything’
“I was easily spending around £200 a week on fast food, and it’s been the same the whole time I’ve been with Terry since 2006.”
After Harry, two, started walking, Lindsey was devastated that she was unable to keep up with him.
She said: “I couldn’t do anything with Harry.
“I wasn’t fit enough to walk to the park and play with him or even get down on the floor to play. I couldn’t walk from my lounge to the kitchen without getting breathless, so going out with my son just wasn’t an option.
“I’d waited six years to have a baby, and when he arrived I wasn’t able to enjoy life with him.
“My husband had to go on all the days out with Harry alone.
“I was missing out on everything, and I knew this would only get worse as he got older.
“I was terrified that I was going to have to explain to him that his mummy couldn’t go on nature walks or help him ride his bike because she’s too big.
“Or worse, I might not even be there to see it.
“It was totally devastating and I was overcome with guilt. But I’d put myself in this position.” Lindsey became plagued with the thought that she would not be able to chase after Harry if he ran out in front of a car.
She said: “Enough was enough. I needed to be healthy and I needed to be alive for Harry.
“I went to the doctor in January 2021 and asked for help. I wanted to be referred for weight-loss surgery.
“However, because I was suffering from long Covid at the time, I was refused.
“My heart broke. It felt like my final lifeline had been ripped away and I thought I was done for.
“I couldn’t see another way out of the rut that I was stuck in.”
But a few weeks later, she came across The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan on social media and signed up in March last year. After beginning her weight-loss journey and seeing the pounds begin to drop off, it motivated her to keep going.
She said: “I remember the first time I took a selfie because I used to get angry and upset when people took pictures of me.
“It was all the little firsts that were special. The first time I walked round the block, the first time I felt comfortable going down a slide with Harry . . .
“My goal was to lose 50 per cent of my weight and to wear a size 14, so the first time I was able to buy a 14 was incredible.
“It was mind-blowing and I could hardly recognise myself in a mirror.
“It’s amazing to now walk into a High Street shop and know that the clothes will fit. Losing all the feelings of fear and shame was liberating.” Last month, Lindsey was crowned Woman Of The Year at the 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan’s Slimmer Of The Year awards.
She is now a consultant for the company and said: “When I heard my name called out at the awards show and I realised I was Woman Of The Year, it was totally overwhelming and emotional.
‘Terry even offered to eat in the garage’
“It was something I could never have prepared myself for.
“I must have tried about 50 dresses, and when I put the dress on that I wore on the evening, I knew it was the one. I felt amazing in it.
“It was the best feeling ever to try on so many beautiful outfits and feel comfortable in so many of them.” She says she could not have done it without the support of husband Terry.
Lindsey said: “He was there for me the whole way through my journey — even though he is one of the lucky ones that can eat what they want and never gain weight.
“He’s even offered to eat in the garage away from me. It means the world.
“Now, instead of eating a whole packet of sweets and chocolate when he goes to bed, I’ll sit with a biscuit, instead of the entire packet, and a cup of tea. My life has been completely turned around.”
As a size 14, she says she is happy and comfortable with her new figure, but would maybe like to lose another half a stone.
Lindsey said: “It takes your head a while to catch up. I still feel anxious before I go to the theatre to see a show.
“I think, ‘Am I not going to fit into the seats? — even though I know fine well I will.
“Life before was mortifying but living life like that was harder than any weight-loss journey will be.”
She added: “Harry still knows it’s Mummy in the pictures when I was at my biggest.
“It makes me emotional just thinking about all of the things I can do as a mum now. It’s everything I have ever wished for and it feels like I’ve fulfilled a dream.”
“I’m fully involved in mine and my family’s life and I can do everything I want to.”
LYNDSEY'S BEFORE AND AFTER MENUS
BREAKFAST: Two chocolate twist pastries and creamy frappe coffee.
LUNCH: Greggs baguette with two sausage rolls, cake and crisps.
DINNER: Large Domino’s pizza, Chicken Kickers sides and tub of ice cream.
SNACKS: Biscuits, chocolate, family-size share bag of Maltesers, jelly tots, fruit pastilles and popcorn.
BREAKFAST: Porridge or a product from The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan – blueberry bites or cookies and cream bar.
LUNCH: Prawn salad.
DINNER: Calorie-controlled meal preparation box such as mushroom gnocchi or prawn curries.
SNACKS: Spicy cooked chicken breast slices, mini pack of biscuits.