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ARMY veteran Rachel started her own Slimming World group in Milford Haven after her own positive experiences.

“I changed lives in the military and I hope to continue to change lives for the people of Milford Haven.”

Rachel was born and raised in Milford Haven. As a child, she was “active and busy” and a real tomboy alongside her brothers.

In 1998, she joined the army at age 16 as a combat medic. Following her training, Rachel served in Germany, throughout the UK, overseas in Cyprus, and was deployed to Oman, Kosovo, Bosnia and Poland before retiring in May 2021.

Her role as a combat medic meant she often had to tend to wounded soldiers in war zones. Rachel described dealing with the range of injuries as “life-changing”.

Rachel’s job wasn’t just to help soldiers recover physically; she also helped them with their mental well-being.

She said she: “has always emphasized the positives that lie ahead for their lives and their families.

“The satisfaction I would get from seeing them recover and their family whole again is so gratifying that I cannot put it into words.”

She has always been a strong and physically fit person. She had an active lifestyle and felt like she “could always eat whatever she wanted”.

In 2017, she was posted to Harrogate. Rachel was 36 and had just given birth to her third child, a daughter, after already having two sons aged 13 and 5.

She says she was nearly two stones overweight even before her pregnancy.

Rachel said, “So I was with four stones to spare. I had lost all confidence and was lost.

“I was in a doctor’s surgery when I saw a poster for Slimming World. I was there for my daughter’s first vaccinations and that’s when I decided to join my local group Harrogate Slimming World.

Rachel said she was welcomed into the group with open arms. She described the members as adorable, offering to make her a hot drink after she was weighed or to hold her baby while she settled into the group.

It was in this group that Rachel found her love for Diet Optimization, which is Slimming World’s unique plan to lose weight and get healthy.

She traded takeout for “fakeaways” using recipes she learned from her group.

After just a week, Rachel had lost 4 pounds and knew this new plan was one she could follow.

Over the next 10 months, she enjoyed curries, chillies, chips loaded with a variety of toppings and cheeses in her daily allowance, and she could still enjoy treats from time to time.

By June 2018, she had hit her target and lost all four stones. She said she “felt amazing!”

Unfortunately, during the confinement, she became a single mother and was at a “historic low”. She returned to Pembrokeshire in December 2021 and quickly swapped healthy meals for quick and easy high fat processed meals.

Rachel said: “Being stuck in the house with three kids during lockdown was tough.

“As I was working from home with nowhere to go, I found myself mindlessly eating as I was only eating out of boredom.

“I almost put two stones back and I was devastated.”

In January 2022, she decides to get back in shape. She joined the local group Slimming World in Johnston.

Rachel said she had two stones to lose and was determined to get back to her target weight.

She says she was blown away by Consultant Kelly’s knowledge of the plan and her motivation.

“She walked me through the new member discussion, reintroduced my love of Slimming World, and made me fall in love with the plan all over again!” Rachel added.

“The warm atmosphere and the gentle reminder that the plan can be used for the whole family reignited my passion.

“Since January 10, 2022, I’ve lost one stone and five pounds. I’m only two pounds away from my personal goal.

After talking about Slimming World and the freedom it affords Rachel, she joined Slimming World and trained to become a consultant.

Thanks to her time in the military, helping those with their physical and mental health, Rachel thinks she would be in a good position to help them achieve their goals.

She commented: “The training is thorough and covers not only the plan but also the psychology of wanting to lose weight.

“It has totally changed my outlook on how I shop, cook and eat, and I hope my drive and motivation will help others do the same.”

To join Rachel’s Slimming World group, call Rachel on 07391 634033 or meet at Milford United Football Club, Marble Hall Road, every Thursday at 5.30pm.

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