Summer Slim-speration: Mistaken for mum – so I lost 9 stone

Summer Slim-speration: Mistaken for mum – so I lost 9 stone

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Helen O'Brien headshot


Mother daughter weight loss story

Like mother like daughter!

Lauren, 28, had always been a bigger girl. But a case of mistaken identity proved to be the final push she needed to lose the weight…

By Helen O’Brien Google


Smoothing over my black, oversized top, I sighed. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a bigger girl.

My parents owned a bakery and I would always plead with Mum for doughnuts, pastries and cream cakes.

More often than not, she’d give in, and I’d happily walk home clutching a cake in my hand.

Unfortunately, the more cakes I ate, the bigger I got.

Lauren before weight loss
BEFORE: Lauren was a tubby teen.

I was easily the fattest girl in my year group.

When I walked down the school halls, cruel bullies would taunt me, dubbing me ‘Mandy Dingle’.

“Here comes the beach ball!” the boys in my class would sneer at me.

I would always find a quiet place to cry, but instead of dieting, I simply turned to the only thing that made me feel better – food.

I knew I was fat but I found myself not really caring about my size.

I wasn’t into fashion – nothing looked good on me anyway.

And when doctors warned me of the danger I was doing to my body, I didn’t listen. I loved my food too much to care.

I worked as a carer and one day while bending over to help a client, I felt a searing pain in my back.

I went to my doctor who visibly looked me up and down.

“I have to be honest with you Lauren, you’re very overweight,” he said. “No wonder you hurt your back – you need to lose all the extra weight you’re carrying.”

But even that wasn’t enough to spur me into action – I was in complete denial.

When I had my daughter, Rhiannon, in 2010, my weight crept even higher.

And by the time I was 26, I weighed 20 stone and wore a huge size 26

I had been in a relationship with my ex-partner Iuan, for four years, and I knew he loved me the way I was. I simply didn’t have the motivation to change.

Lauren was mistaken for her mum
BEFORE: The photo mistaken for her mum

Then one day, at the beginning of 2012, I uploaded a picture of myself onto Facebook.

Bev, one of my colleagues at the supermarket where I worked,  immediately commented.

“Oh my God! Is that your mum? You look like twins!” she typed.

I was mortified. How did I look so old?

I knew I’d gained a few extra pounds, but how had I piled on 20-odd years?

I kept staring at the picture, and suddenly, it all made sense.

I needed to shift the weight. How did I get like this?

I deleted the comment – which I knew was meant in a friendly manner – and burst into tears.

It was a harsh wake-up call, but it was the kick-start I needed to finally do something about my weight.

The very next day, I started the Cambridge Diet – and I’ve never looked back.

I found the diet surprisingly easy to stick to, and as the weight began to fall off I joined the gym to shift the pounds even faster.

Eventually, the more I did, the more I enjoyed it. I started to feel happier than I had felt in years.

As I started to shrink, I noticed a change in the way people treated me.

Suddenly, I was receiving compliments right, left and centre.

And I attracted attention for men in the street – this time, for all the right reasons. I certainly wasn’t used to that!

Shopping was no longer a nightmare and instead of hiding away, I found myself organising shopping trips with my friends to celebrate my new figure.

Iuan and I split up in August 2012, and instead of shying away as I would have done in the past, I went out with my friends and enjoyed myself.

I felt like a brand new person, and I wasn’t afraid to talk to people on a night out. I oozed confidence.

I kept at it, and lost a massive 9 stone! Now I’m a slinky size 12.

People often comment that they don’t recognise me when I walk past, which shows just how far I’ve come.

Lauren after weight loss
AFTER: Lauren 7 stone lighter, with Bev

Bev and I are now best friends, and we laugh about that Facebook comment now.

Even my mum, Brenda, calls me an inspiration, and has lost some weight herself after seeing what I have achieved.

Now, I’m glad I got mistaken for my mum – it was the push I needed to lose nine stone… and 20 years!

Bev Reynolds-Ibell, 24, who works at Morrisons with Lauren, said: “When I first saw the picture on Facebook and commented, I honestly thought it was a picture of Lauren’s mum. When she corrected me, I was mortified! However I’m glad I said that, as Lauren says it’s what spurred her into action and she looks fantastic now!”

Brenda Thomas, 66, Lauren’s mum said: “I always thought Lauren was beautiful even when she was bigger, she’s always been the most beautiful girl in the world to me. But now she has lost so much weight she looks even more amazing. Whatever it took to get her to lose the weight, it’s brilliant that everyone can now see the lovely girl underneath, who was there all along. I am prouder of her than I have ever been before.”

Before and after 100lb weight loss
BEFORE AND AFTER: Lauren lost nine stone on the Cambridge Diet

If you’veSummer slimsperation logo got your own Summer Slim-speration story, have a look at our How It Works page to find out how you too could sell your story to a magazine. And if you still need a bit of slimming inspiration, make sure you check out the rest of the Summer Slim-speration series. Yesterday’s post was about Amy’s weight loss transformation.