London: Cuddling her young son, Tracey Yale is not only relieved but hugely grateful she’s been given the chance to have a family. Because it’s not been an easy journey. For the 33-year-old has now managed to lose a staggering 16 stone first, she shed six stone in order to get pregnant, then after piling the weight back on, another 10 in her bid to be a good mum.
At 22st 3lb and a size 24, the self-confessed foodie feared she wouldn’t be able to conceive because of her size and a health condition that affected her fertility. And she successfully lost an incredible six stone. But then her sweet tooth returned when she got pregnant and by the time she gave birth to baby Joey, she was obese again.
Determined to get back on track, Tracey restarted her diet and today she can proudly show off her slinky size 12/14, 12st 8lb frame. She says: “I look back at old pictures and can’t believe how big I was. I’ve lost the equivalent of two average people!”
Tracey, from Derby, who admits to being big all her life, recalls: “Even as a small child I was always overweight. At school, I was always the largest and would continually get called fat. “Fortunately, my personality matched my size. I’d always put on a front and pretend it didn’t bother me but inside I was upset and would comfort eat.
“Mum made healthy meals but I loved all the wrong foods pastries, chips, chocolate, and big Sunday lunches. I never exercised.” By the time she left school at 16, she was just fitting into a dress size 18. And she refused to weigh herself.
“And that’s how I carried on,” recalls the 5ft 7in administrator At 25, she met her now-husband, Matt, a machine setter, and her love of food just got bigger.
She explains: “Matt isn’t overweight but we both love good food. So anything we ate was indulgent. If we bought a Tesco finest meal it would be a creamy beef stroganoff or lasagne – calorie-loaded and full of fat. Then we’d have chocolate puddings for dessert.
“And we’d easily get through a bottle of wine and eat chocolate watching TV. “I knew I was getting bigger and bigger but just ignored it. I told myself I was in a loving relationship with a man who adored me for who I was, not what I looked like, so there was no reason to slim down.
“I was very much in a content stage of my life. Even when Matt proposed and we were planning our wedding for October 2013, I didn’t think about going on a diet. And I shrugged off hen night pictures where I looked big.
“Even on the day itself when my bridesmaids struggled to fasten the laces on my size 22-24 corset dress I just laughed it off. “I convinced myself I was just feeling a bit hot and sticky. None of my pals had the heart to actually say I was just too fat.
Tracey shed 6st to get pregnant:
“Afterwards, when we got the pictures back, I smiled at them, but deep down I knew I wasn’t a healthy size. Matt and I had often discussed cutting out a few treats but I’d never had the incentive.” The turning point only came when Tracey and Matt made the decision to start a family.
She recalls: “In 2008, I had been diagnosed with polycystic ovaries where cysts on your ovaries can affect weight, skin, and fertility. I used it as an excuse, not only for my size but for the fact I could struggle to conceive.”
“But deep down, I knew if I went to see the GP, the first thing he would say is I would have to lose weight if I stood any chance trying for a baby or getting IVF. “It was only then I accepted I had to take control of my weight.” read more