School administrator Hayley Bradley tells how losing weight has helped her to relieve her asthma symptoms

Hayley, 37, who lives in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, with husband Mark and children Heidi, 16, Sebastian, 14, and Gabriel, 12, lost 9st 6lb at Donna Hawley-Fletcher’s Slimming World group in Northallerton, now run by Sarah Norman.

DIAGNOSED with asthma as a child, I’ve needed at least two different inhalers to prevent and relieve breathlessness and wheezing for as long as I can remember.

My symptoms were triggered by exercise, so I avoided activity, while thoroughly enjoying large quantities of home-cooked food. By the time I got married to Mark, aged 19, I was probably about a size 26.

Having three children didn’t help my weight problems and I was convinced I’d never be able to stick to an eating plan long enough to lose weight – I liked my takeaways too much!

In March 2008, I began to worry seriously about my health. An overweight friend had just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and I was concerned I might develop it, too.

I also realised I was more dependent than ever on my inhalers, needing a puff of my reliever (which is supposed to be for emergency use) at the slightest exertion.

I joined Slimming World that month and decided to change the way we ate at home, making curries and pasta sauces from fresh ingredients. I was 20st 6½lb when I joined, but within three months I had lost more than 2st and needed new clothes.

By July 2010, I was amazed to find myself a slim 10st 13lb, which is roughly where I’ve stayed ever since.

The difference in my breathing happened gradually. Once I’d lost a few stones, I realised I’d almost forgotten about my reliever inhaler, as everyday activity didn’t make me feel wheezy any more. By 2010, I was leaving it at home even when I went to Zumba.

In fact, I can’t really say I get breathless from exercise at all now, and the only time I’ve needed my reliever in the past 12 months was when I had a chest infection. I never realised that losing weight would have the added benefit of reducing my asthma symptoms, but I’m certainly not complaining.”

  • (As told to Rosalind Grainger, Slimming World magazine)
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