Simone’s wedding – with a little 5:2 help

"It's made me re-examine my relationship with food – and take control of my body."

December 2005

April 2013

Name: Simone Baker

Age: 50

Occupation: I worked as a secretary and then helped to set up a national charity, but I haven't worked since 2002 following a serious road accident.

Where do you live? Reading

Diet history: I have always been overweight, since the age of nine. My mother took the drug Thalidomide during pregnancy, which affected the development of my arms and legs, so they are shortened and I have fingers and a thumb missing from both hands. My weight continued to increase once I got married and had my daughter, Lois. Then I was involved in a really bad car crash in 2002 and sustained a serious injury that further reduced my already very limited mobility and my weight increased further. I'd had many other (failed) attempts at losing weight by attending diet classes, but I'd get fed up or bored and would put all the weight back on and some more!

5:2 history: I’m getting married in August 2013 – I’d started losing weight in February 2012. At the age of 50 it was time to take control of my body and what I was unintentionally doing to it. I didn't fancy having high blood pressure, diabetes or any other weight-induced illnesses on top of my existing physical problems. I calorie-counted and lost weight but I was struggling to stay on track and the weight loss stalled. Then I heard about and started using 5:2 and it seemed to work.

Weight loss: I started at 14 stone (exactly) and I am now 11st 3lb (as of last weeks weigh in), so very almost 3 stone loss in total. I’m aiming to eventually get down to 9st 7lb, but I'll see how I feel and look when I get there, and may try to lose a little more. I can now fit into the dress I've bought for the wedding, which is a size 16!!! I used to be a size 24!

Positive health changes: I've changed from doing absolutely no exercise, to over an hour a day, including walking for 25 minutes on a treadmill. Whilst I will always need a wheelchair for distances, I am now much more mobile. I also used to get occasional asthma, and I no longer do. The ankle that I injured in the accident was constantly swollen and painful and has been like that for ten years, but the exercise has reduced the pain and it isn’t swollen at all now. My physio has been incredulous at the difference!

Fast Day Routine? I either save all my calories for one meal at the end of the day, at around 5 p.m., or I have a very low-calorie meal at midday (usually homemade soup or a salad for around 150–200 calories) and the remainder of my calories for my evening meal. I try to avoid teas and coffees and stick to fruit tea and water. I exercise on Fast Days and actually enjoy my exercise more than on non-Fast Days!

How do you deal with the hunger pangs on a Fast Day – and how often do you fast?

If I feel hungry (which is really rare) I will have a drink. That's usually enough! To start with I got hunger pangs all the time, but now I don't get them at all, although I sometimes get a bit of a tummy rumble going on! I fast two days a week, and just recently have been doing my two days fast back to back. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do this, but I'm finding it easier than splitting the fast days away from one another.

What’s the treat you enjoy on Feast Days?  I love all foods. I am lucky because I love vegetables and it really isn't any effort to make sure I have my five a day! I love a roast dinner, but tend not to have much meat but around five or six vegetables (and it has to include roast parsnips!).

The best thing about 5:2?

I actually enjoy a day off from thinking about food!. It's made me re-examine my relationship with food and come to terms with the fact that I can skip meals and feel OK.!

I love that I can let the reins out over a weekend or at social events, but fasting before or after keeps me on track.

You can read more about Simone’s story – and other successes – alongside delicious calorie counted recipes and 5:2 tips, in The Ultimate 5:2 Recipe Book.

Simone supports the Show Your Hand Campaign for Thalidomide survivors – read more about it here.