A woman lost eight stone and dropped six dress sizes over eighteen months while grieving for her dead mum and living through lockdown.
Meselle Tilley, from Tredegar in south Wales, got engaged two years ago in January 2019 and knew she had to do something about her weight.
“I had my engagement party in the July and looking back at the photos I hated the way I looked,” the 23-year-old told Wales Online.
“My health was not the best, I struggled to walk up the stairs without being out of breath. I have always suffered with my weight, I did try Slimming World twice before but I never had the motivation there.
“But this time, my mother being so unwell and having the wedding brought forward for her, that was my motivation.”
Just a few months before her engagement, Meselle’s mum Jackie Tilley had been diagnosed with cancer, and just a month after, she was given the news that her illness was terminal.
“She was at my engagement party and two days later her hair started to fall out from the chemo. I wanted to bring my wedding forward so my mum could be there,” she added.
Meselle and fiance Jonny Robinson brought their wedding forward to May 2021, however Jackie sadly passed away in April last year, during the peak of the pandemic.
She said: “It was so hard because we could not see her. We could only see her the day before she passed away and I begged to see her. At a time like that you are supposed to be all together with all your family. It was really, really hard.
“I just feel like my mother was so strong and an inspiring woman. I feel like since she passed away that has passed on to me.
“Around the time my mother passed away I put half a stone on in one week because it was so hard. But I realised no-one was going to do it for me, I had to do it for myself.”
Jackie was a huge support to Meselle throughout her weight loss journey, and attended Slimming World classes so she didn’t have to be alone and had someone there to support her.
“She would sit there with me until she started to get unwell. She was my motivation,” said Meselle.
As Slimming World classes had to physically stop during the pandemic, Meselle continued to attend virtual Zoom classes while weighing at home, something she said she really struggled with at first.
She is now hoping to lose another two stone, taking her overall weight loss to 10 stone, but said she would continue to lose weight until she felt happy and confident.
“I am still not confident, I am extremely insecure.”
Before she joined Slimming World, Meselle mostly skipped breakfast and said her main issue with food was buying takeaway meals.
“I would spend about £5, sometimes £10 a night on takeaways. Some weeks I would have one every night. It was a bad habit and an expensive one as well,” she added.
The support worker also struggled with her lunch meals and would buy food from a supermarket each day like pasta salad pots and packets of snack food.
Now, for breakfast Meselle eats a bowl of cereal, weighing it out first according to her fibre and dairy daily allowance on Slimming World.
“I try and drink a lot of water as that helps with not eating for the sake of it. Then for dinner I have something like lasagne or KFC style chicken.
“I feel so much healthy, my confidence and stuff is still really bad. I have got such a bad self image and I want to try and improve on that.
“Only recently have I started to realise what I have achieved.”
While she expects her wedding will have to be delayed until next year, she is confident the dress she has will still fit and can have it taken in by two dress sizes if need be.
Meselle’s Slimming World consultant, Carly, said: “I could not be prouder of what Meselle has achieved, she is an inspiration.
“I cannot thank her enough for letting me be a part of her weight loss and Slimming World for finding another way to ensure I could be there for members and keep my own business going.”