Byline: KAREN WILSON
AT 5ft 2ins and weighing just 8st 6lbs, Sarah Haviland-Moir had always been petite ... but almost doubled in size during her first pregnancy. The 36-year-old mum of two from Throckley, Newcastle, had been trying for a baby for many years when she conceived naturally in 2002 just as she reached the top of the IVF waiting list.
"As soon as I got pregnant it was like a red flag to just eat what I wanted," says Sarah of her first pregnancy with Josh, now nine.
"It didn't even cross my mind that I would put loads of weight on. I was so excited about being pregnant and I'd never had a weight issue so I thought I'd always be a size six to eight."
With a penchant for takeaways, chocolate and smoked salmon with creme fraiche, Sarah soon piled on far more weight than was healthy.
"Fruit and veg just never passed my lips," she says. "I would have Coco Pops with full-fat milk for breakfast and Chinese or fish and chips two or three times a week. I convinced myself I was being good - like getting a Starbucks latte and muffin with less than 5% fat - but I wasn't, as it still had lots of calories.
"I remember going into the garage and getting seven or eight bars of chocolate and eating them one after the other. I'd convinced myself it was a sugar low so I needed them."
Exercise was the last thing on Sarah's mind too. "I had joined the gym but the only time I went there was to renew it!" she recalls. Towards the end of her pregnancy, she had gained a whopping seven stones three pounds, tipping the scales at just over 15-and-a-half stones.
For her height and the weight, she should've put on around two stones four pounds but she'd piled on more than three times that.
"I'd lived in tracksuits throughout the pregnancy so I only went up two sizes in tracksuits and didn't realise how big I'd got," she says. "In reality I'd gone up about four or five dress sizes."
Before her pregnancy Sarah would wear hotpants or denim skirts, often opting for bright pink and diamantes but all that changed.
"I remember my sister saying all I ever see you in is brown, black or grey. I was in such a horrible place, probably the worst I've ever felt."
The turning point came when Sarah went on holiday with a friend who'd always been curvier than her. "She'd lost a few stones at Slimming World and looked amazing," says Sarah, who used to work in a call centre and as a bar manager.
"Her body shape had changed entirely." Continued With advice from her friend, Sarah easily lost her first stone and a half by herself before joining a group in London, where she was living at the time. It helped her shed six stones to become a healthy size 12. "I was about 10 stones but I didn't think I'd ever get back to how I was," remembers Sarah, who's married to Stuart, 34, a designer of prototype sports cars in Germany. When she fell pregnant with her second child, Sienna, now three, Sarah put on four and a half stones. This time it was twice as much as the recommended amount for her height. Sarah puts this down to her lack of commitment at Slimming World. "I just went in, got the books, got weighed but didn't stay for the image therapy and group support, which is essential," she says. "I wish I'd known this 10 years ago when I first lost the weight as I'd never have put it back on." After giving birth to Sienna, Sarah lived in Portugal for six months but rejoined a class in Chapel Park when she returned to the UK and has hardly missed a session since then. She says it's helped her discover how to satiate her hearty appetite without putting on weight. "I'm a greedy person," she admits. "I have a big appetite - I always have. I like to eat a proper meal at every mealtime. When I did Slimming World before it was always just meat and veg. "Now I can make the same meals but with fat-free products, things like syn-free cupcakes and roulades. …