It was shortly after having her third child and before she got married that Alexi Willoughby wanted to join her local Slimming World group and transform her life.
After shedding just shy of six stone since she first stepped into her local group back in 2016, she’s now helping others along their inspiring journey.
Alexi, 38, from Hemel Hempstead is a mum to Cammie, nine, Cory, seven and five-year-old Charley.
It was after the birth of her youngest that Alexi, now married to husband Carl, 44, wanted to get herself in better shape and enjoy a more healthy, balanced lifestyle.
She’d been to Slimming World groups on and off in the past, but it was this particular time that seemed to return the best results.
“After I had my third child I went back [to Slimming World],” she said.
“I was like, ‘Right, now it’s time to get rid of all the baby weight, get back on track and also get married’ because I’ve had three children and we just hadn’t got around to doing that.
“I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t overweight in my pictures, and that was back in 2016.”
It took Alexi two years of hard work and graft to reach her target, and now she’s become a Slimming World consultant to help those making the first step on their weight-loss journey.
It’s only now, having lost nearly six stone, that Alexi has fully taken stock of the benefits it’s brought her.
Being a role model for her three young kids was also a key driving force.
“It’s made a huge impact,” she added.
“I wanted to make sure that I lost my weight before the kids got old enough to realise I kind of struggled with my weight, and I wanted to project that healthy lifestyle.
“That’s definitely something that Slimming World does. All my children eat Slimming World family foods, they always have done from a young age, and my kids are actually huge vegetable eaters. They love it.
“It was setting those healthy habits for my kids as well which was something that was really important to me.
“It was also about being fit enough to run around after the kids as well, and feeling confident when I’ve taken them to play groups and stuff and not being embarrassed by the way I looked or anything.”
Subscribe to our free daily HertsLive newsletter below to get the latest news straight to your inbox.
Sign up to the HertsLive newsletter
If you’re looking for a way to stay up to date with the latest breaking news from around Hertfordshire, the HertsLive newsletter is a good place to start.
The twice-daily update will deliver the top news and features straight to your inbox.
We choose the most important stories of the day to include in the newsletter, including crime, court news, long reads, traffic and travel, food and drink articles and more.
Signing up to the newsletter is simple. All you have to do is to click here and type in your email address.
It’s one of the many ways that you can read the news that matters to you from HertsLive.
Alexi admitted she used to be an active person and was an avid dancer during her youth and at university. But she said that over the years while at university the weight crept on.
Then she stopped dancing and began to work in an office which led to her becoming less active and enjoying a treat or two at work.
While she still moved about and enjoyed a bit of exercise, she realised she wasn’t moving enough and was eating the wrong foods, with crisps a particular sticking point.
“From being such an active young person,” she continued, “I probably could afford to eat more food than a lot of people during those days because I was burning it off.
“But then I stopped burning all that energy off, I wasn’t moving around as much and the weight started to creep up on me.”
Her husband Carl has also joined her on the Slimming World journey and has lost six stone himself, and Alexi says it goes to show the power of community spirit and everyone having each other’s backs.
“I think it’s crucial,” she added.
“If you don’t have that support then it’s so tough. We live in such a tricky environment where there’s so much offered to us on a plate, all these fast foods and all that stuff.
“There’s so much for us that we can easily fall off track, and without having the fantastic support act that you do have in groups you’ll struggle, and I think that’s why it’s such a huge part of it.”
Alexi is also keen on making sure her children try a variety of foods, and she never cooks them separate meals.
It means they’re all eating healthy, balanced meals – and if they do fall off while enjoying their holiday, they just draw a line under it and get back on track.
And after going on her own weight-loss journey and seeing the benefits first-hand, Alexi is now a Slimming World consultant and works in groups across the county.
She says it’s opened up a whole new career for her and also fits perfectly around her parental duties.
For anyone wondering whether to take the plunge and join their local group, her advice is simple.
“I’d absolutely say go visit a group, even if you feel like you’re not quite ready for it,” she said.
“Come take a seat, get the feel of how the group is, speak to the consultants and the members are so welcoming.
“When a new person comes in, I’m sure there will be someone there straightaway asking if they’d like a cup of tea or coffee, and to make sure they feel comfortable.”
She added: “The hardest part is walking through those doors. Some people might not have even stepped on the scales in years and are absolutely petrified of seeing that number.
“But what I always say to the people who come in is, ‘You don’t have to see that number ever again, you’ve made the decision to walk through this door, now we’re going to change these old habits and start seeing some lovely new ones, and see those pounds drop off’.”
To find out more information about your local Slimming World group, press here.
Want the latest Herts news direct to your inbox? Sign up here.