Last year, mum-of-two Nikki Bailey weight 20 stone and felt helpless after suffering from arthritis, general mobility and obesity. Unable to work as a hairdresser because she couldn’t stand up for longer periods, Nikki’s mental health declined, so she looked to lose weight. She embarked on the exante meal replacement diet and lost a total of 7.7st – taking her to 12st 7lb. Nikki spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about her weight loss journey.
Nikki explained: “I was bullied from primary school onwards for my weight because it’s always been an issue. I remember always feeling different to everyone else, which really affected my mental health.
“I lost weight several times over the years and basically tried every diet going, they worked for a short time but the minute I stopped it piled back on, until now.
“My weight put my last pregnancy at risk. I was put on blood-thinning injections for the last three months of it and two months after giving birth, because my BMI meant I could have developed blood clots.
“I’ve had arthritis in my hips for years and had really bad flare ups at times, especially when I was trying to be more active and lose weight.
“It came to a head after I had my son in December 2021, I tried to go back to the gym and lose some weight but the pain was so severe my mobility really suffered,” she revealed.
“That affected my mental health even more and I ended up putting on another two stone. Even changing my son’s nappy would end with me in tears because of the pain.”
For the first three months of her diet, Nikki consumed around 800 calories a day with a mix of three of exante’s nutritionally-complete meal replacement shakes, meals and other products, alongside a low-calorie healthy meal.
Speaking about the diet, she said the “first month was hard, but after that it became just what I did”.
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“The pain in my hips started to ease so I kept going, I started walking more and dancing.
“I upped my calorie intake slightly to 1,200 after three months and started having a healthy meal alongside four meal replacement products, usually chicken with vegetables or salad.
“I carried on with this hard work, eventually losing a total of seven-and-a-half stone.
“For the first time in my life I’ve managed to maintain my weight and I still use the products to control my calories when I need to – especially on days when I’m not able to make the best meal choices,” Nikki added.
“Losing weight this time has changed just about everything in my life, I’m not sad anymore, I’m not in pain every day and I don’t need medication.”
In terms of her career, Nikki has “picked hairdressing back up” and has new “confidence in myself”.
“I work part-time supporting children with behavioural and mental health issues and it’s so physically demanding, I couldn’t have done that before,” she continued.
“This time I was truly ready, I had to make losing weight my whole focus.
“As a mum and partner we sometimes feel selfish for doing something for ourselves – but we need to look after ourselves in order to look after everyone else.
“My relationship with my partner has changed for the better and I can be more physically involved in my children’s lives.”
As for how her approach to food is now, Nikki said she has “learnt what my body does and doesn’t need” and I know “about proper portion control” which she said she has “never had that before”.
Anyone embarking on a low-calorie diet plan or who has a medical condition and is looking to change their diet, should seek medical advice from their GP or a healthcare professional first.
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