However, that same horrifying moment when she was a size 20 not only spurred her on to drop two dress sizes before her wedding day but to also launch her own weight loss group in Noak Bridge.
“I wanted to look beautiful on my wedding day, but the thought of looking huge in my dress scared the life out of me,” says Hayley, from Wickford. “But when I went into that wedding shop, it was like a scene from Pretty Woman. The assistant said ‘there will be no dresses that will fit you here’. I felt isolated and was so ashamed that I had let myself get like this.”
Leaving the shop, Hayley realised that things needed to change, not just for herself but for her daughter.
“I didn’t want my daughter to have a ‘chubby mummy’,” she says. “I wanted to be a yummy mummy! I wanted to be able to run around the park with her and not be embarrassed to go to local baby groups and socialise.”
A self confessed ‘yo-yo dieter’, Hayley had tried to lose weight before, however nothing seemed to work – until she discovered Slimming World.
“I love food and enjoy meals out with my husband, so learning how to still enjoy doing this with Food Optimising was fantastic. This was nothing like I experienced before.”
With all of the knowledge and understanding of food, Hayley shed three stone before her big day and even had to have her wedding dress taken in two sizes.
“I couldn’t believe it, it was too easy,” she says. “I nearly went back to that wedding dress shop where I was told nothing would fit. I wanted my Pretty Woman moment. They had made a big mistake…huge!”
Now, having lost five stone since Christmas 2012 and a comfortable size 14, Hayley has been nominated by her local group for Slimming World’s Woman of the Year 2013.
“I feel 10ft tall!” she says. “I can’t believe I’m inspiring others to lose weight.”
Spurred on by her own weight loss, Hayley still attends her local Slimming World group and is planning to launch her own night on 21 October.
“It’s my night out,” she says. “I love going and I have made a great group of friends there. We are all in the same boat, no matter how much weight we want to lose. I never once felt alone or humiliated.
“Everyone was friendly and the best thing of all…they loved food too! We share stories, help each other through a tough patch and swap recipe ideas. It’s more of a social event than a weight loss group.”
Opening her own group on Monday evenings at 7.30pm in Noak Bridge Village Hall, Hayley is encouraging others to come along and give slimming a try.
“One of the benefits of group is that you can pick your own personal weight target,” she says. “There is no one there telling you what you ‘should’ weigh. Your weight is confidential and if you have a little gain, the group is there for support every step of the way.”
For more details about Food Optimising or Hayley’s slimming evenings, call 07792 357492.