A High Wycombe mother has shared her 'eye-opening' weight loss journey after losing 6.5 stone to help keep up with her kids. 

Shay Al-Ajami May realised four years ago something had to fundamentally change with her relationship with food.

At the time, she weighed 16 stone 0.5 lbs and she was struggling to keep up with her foster children and to get pregnant.

The 31-year-old Slimming World consultant said: “It was the realisation with the weight I was I couldn’t look after my kids. Whether it was running after them, there were always limitations.”

Asian Image: Shay before and after joining Slimming World. Shay before and after joining Slimming World. (Image: Shay Al-Ajami May)

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Sadly Shay experienced two miscarriages when her and her husband tried to get pregnant at her heaviest weight.

She didn’t want to try again “until I get healthy”. When she dropped five stones, she became pregnant, which was “an eye opener”.

“Had I been 16 stone I would have had the same pregnancy. I’m asthmatic. I used to blame my asthma and I realised it was my weight,” she said.

To date, she has lost 6.5 stone in total. 

One of the biggest changes since losing weight was “just walking.”

“If I went to Asda and I couldn’t park near the door I would leave and come back later. I couldn’t tie my laces.”

During walks in the outdoors, she focused on catching her breath instead of enjoying the “stunning” Chilterns.

Shay, whose parents are from Oman and Yemen and has lived in Saudi Arabia, said her “dad is diabetic and my mum is pre-diabetic, and people die young because there’s lack of education” in her culture.

“I had a very unhealthy relationship with food, I didn’t want my kids to,” she explained.

She said she used to think she was quite confident in the past, until realising “how untrue that is and a lot of the things I was hiding behind the humour.”

“I feel a lot more content. I’m truly happier so I don’t need to be the loudest in the room.”

Since losing weight, she has particularly enjoyed going into a shop and finding clothes that fit.

“I’d feel that people would stare at you in your heavier weight. We grew up in an area where people felt the right to comment on my weight,” she said.

Joining Slimming World was also a game changer for Shay as its approach is “completely different” from short-term dieting.

Many “Jojo” diets she tried took Shay away from the colourful and lovely foods she grew up eating “to the beige stuff.”

“The Slimming World approach is it doesn’t have shakes because it teaches you to eat non-processed food. Majority of the foods I eat are from back home.

“I actually eat the food I grew up eating, the problem is not the ingredients,” she added. 

In the new year, Shay plans to take her consultancy work with Slimming World further.