By Daniel Bird
A Chinese takeaway addict who piled on nearly eight stone during her pregnancy has lost eight dress sizes in a year.
At her heaviest, single mum Ayesha Murray-Higgins weighed 15st 9lbs and spent £1,560 a year on scoffing her favourite sweet chilli shredded beef with egg fried rice three times a week.
The 23-year-old mum-of-one, from Northwich, Cheshire, ballooned eight dress sizes from a 12 to a 20 during her pregnancy with daughter Olivia, now three.
But after nearly losing Olivia when her weight led to preeclampsia and an emergency c-section, the social media analyst became determined to fight the flab and is now a svelte size six to eight, weighing just 8st 12lbs.
Ayesha said: “During the first 16 weeks of pregnant, I actually lost quite a bit of weight as I was suffering from really bad morning sickness.
“From then on, I just let myself go with food because I was in the mindset I was going to gain weight anyway.
“I used to eat anything – I’d eat my favourite Chinese takeaways all the time and as soon as I heard a colleague rustling a crisp packet while I was at work, I’d jump up to get a snack.
“Everybody in work always said to me ‘you’re always eating.’
“After Olivia was born I was ashamed of how I looked.
“I couldn’t even look in the mirror, I wouldn’t let anybody take pictures of me and I would get upset at the thought of taking Olivia out.”
Ayesha’s extreme pregnancy weight gain caused her to begin suffering from preeclampsia – meaning she was forced to give birth to Olivia by emergency caesarean section
And her size left her suffering from postnatal depression as a new mum when she found it hard to drop the pounds after her daughter’s birth.
Ayesha said: “After Olivia was born, we didn’t see one another for two days because we were both in intensive care.
“The doctor said my weight may have caused preeclampsia because you’re more at risk when you’re overweight.”
Ayesha decided enough was enough one year after Olivia was born, joining Slimming World with a work colleague and using a calorie counting app whenever she ate.
The slender mum also began skipping breakfast, to make sure her body was burning fat – often going 16 hours without food.
Along with a new-found love for exercise, within 12 months, determined Ayesha had shed more than seven stone and could fit into slinky size six clothes.
She said: “Before, I was too embarrassed to think about taking Olivia to the park or ball pit.
“But I wanted to be a mum who could play with their child at the park or in the ball pool.
“I started by swapping normal things like using oil for spray, semi-skimmed milk for skimmed and chocolate for healthier snacks
“I read that if you skip a meal, your body decides to burn body fat instead of food, so I’d go 16 hours without a meal and in turn, I enjoyed the food a lot more
“I lost one stone in just a month and I was made up with that.
“Once other people started noticing and complimenting me – I knew I had the power to continue the journey.
“I still eat takeaways now, maybe once a month as a treat – but I know how much I can eat to maintain a healthy diet.
“People always ask what I eat and it’s just the same as before – I just know my limitations now.”
AYESHA’S DAILY DIET: BEFORE
Breakfast: Subway breakfast, two Scotch eggs
Morning snacks: Crisps, chocolate bars and biscuits
Lunch: Subway meal deal
Afternoon snacks: Large bag of crisps and biscuits
Dinner: Large portion of Chinese takeaway, Indian or pizza
AYESHA’S DAILY DIET: NOW
Breakfast: Cinnamon oats
Morning snacks: Fruit, handful of nuts and raisins
Afternoon snacks: None usually but sometimes baked crisps or small bar of chocolate
Dinner: Chicken, veg and potato
Pudding: Fruit and fat free ginger yogurt