Single mum who spent £400 a month on pizza and KFC loses 12st with ‘fakeaways’
When her weight eventually hit 22st, Donna Griffiths knew she had to take action.
If she wanted to be fit enough to run around after her kids, the mum of three needed to ditch the junk food and radically overhaul her diet.
But even she was amazed when she swapped takeaways for low-calorie “fakeaways” and shed a staggering 12st in just six months, taking her from a Size 26 to a svelte Size 8.
Donna’s weight rocketed when she started tucking in to regular takeaways – but instead of giving up her favourite foods to slim down, she decided to create her own range of healthy “fakeaway” meals instead.
The 37-year-old said: “I’d tried countless diets where I felt deprived, so decided to embrace my love of takeaways rather than reject it.”
Donna, who was spending around £400 a month on takeaways, decided it was high time she swapped her regular KFC, kebabs and burgers for tasty homemade versions.
So the single mum started researching healthy eating tips and combined them with elements of different diets and weight-loss plans that she had tried before.
Before long, Donna – who also took up hula-hooping for an hour a day – had come up with her first mouth-watering low-fat recipe.
She decided to document her weight-loss journey on Instagram, where her simple dishes – using slimmers’ staples such as Weight Watchers wraps and Frylight cooking oil spray – soon gained her an army of fans.
And after being buoyed by countless messages of support from people all over the world, Donna reckons she has finally found her “calling”.
“I’ve always loved food to the point of obsession,” she said.
“I just loved all the foods we all know we shouldn’t eat, and had no ‘off’ switch.
“I’d have massive fried breakfasts, five sugars in my coffee, endless bars of chocolate… but my real Achilles’ heel was greasy takeaways.
“Rather than fight against that, I figured I didn’t have to feel like a martyr if I was clever.”
Donna told how she would often order a large doner kebab and a family-sized pizza just for her, or a Chinese takeaway with a large portion of chips on top.
It wasn’t unusual for her to go to bed feeling physically sick because she had eaten so much. But it was only after the birth of her third child two years ago that she knew something had to give.
“I caught sight of myself in the mirror and simply hated what I’d become,” she said.
“I knew I was on a fast-track to orphan my kids, and I was broke.”
Inspired by her mum Sharon, who had recently lost 3st, Donna signed up to join her at weekly classes.
But she said: “I realised I’d done so many diets, I could take the best bits of all them and make a diet that worked for me.
“Creating my fakeaways became an absolute obsession of mine, along with showing off my rapidly shrinking body as proof of what they could achieve.
“I couldn’t afford a gym or spend too much time away from my kids, so I bought a £10 hula hoop on eBay.
“I basically wanted to show that losing weight can be cheap and easy. Soon, I weighed less than I did when I was 10 – and it had been ridiculously fun.”
Donna, who is mum to Jayden, nine, Jessie, seven, and two-year-old Jack, said the physical and mental toll of being pregnant and then raising her children alone fuelled her junk food addiction.
“As a teenager, I was a bit chubby,” she said. “But the moment I left home and started to ‘eat for two’, along with the often crushing boredom of breastfeeding and looking after toddlers, I started to self-destruct.”
Donna recalled how one midwife warned her that her weight was risking the health of her unborn child.
She was advised to snack on strawberries rather than her usual family-size bar of Galaxy chocolate, but Donna admits she replied: “Only if I can have them in a bowl of sugar!”
The mum regularly visited the hospital during her pregnancies because there were concerns about her high blood pressure – but Donna admits she “dodged a bullet” when all three of her children were born healthy.
The newly slimline mum, who also keeps the weight off by enjoying regular long walks near her home in Cardigan, Ceredigion, has no regrets at all about deciding to slim down.
She said: “Every single aspect of my life has been transformed in the last two years. I’m the mum my kids deserve, and the woman I should’ve always been.”
Donna’s fakeaway meals: Nacho Mountain
Fry light cooking oils pray 2tsp onion granules
Salt and pepper
For the salsa:
4 tomatoes peeled and chopped
Half a finely diced red onion
1 grated clove of garlic
Small bunch of coriander chopped
Splash of white wine vinegar
Squeeze of lime juice
50g low-fat cheddar grated
Old El Paso guacamole
Extra light cheese triangle
● Cut the wraps into eight pieces, spray with Fry light, sprinkle on onion granules and paprika then cook in the oven for a few minutes until crisp.
● To make the homemade salsa, whizz the tomatoes, onion, garlic, coriander, white wine vinegar and lime juice together in a blender, then load up with low-fat cheddar cheese, jalapenos, and 1 tbsp Old El Paso guacamole.
● Finally, make your chilli cheese sauce by melting the cheese triangle in the microwave for 30seconds with a splash of water, and add chilli powder to taste.
Donna’s Kebab Night
5 chicken thighs halved
1tsp each of paprika
onion and garlic granules
oregano, chilli powder and cumin
Squeeze of lemon juice
Half a red cabbage, thinly sliced
One small red onion, thinly sliced
1tbsp white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 onion, peeled and bottom cut off
Pepper, chopped into 3 pieces
Wholemeal pitta bread
● Marinate the chicken in the spices, lemon juice and salt and pepper for 30 minutes.
● Make pickled cabbage by mixing it with the sliced onion, white wine vinegar, squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper, and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.
● Next, stick three skewers into an onion and thread the marinated chicken thighs on to the skewers, then top with the peppers. Wrap foil around to keep the juices in. Pop in the oven on220C for 30 minutes
● Once out of the oven, slice the chicken up, slice the onion and peppers and serve in a wholemeal pitta with pickled red cabbage.
1 large chicken breast
30g Doritos Heatwave crisps
One potato, grated
1tsp onion granules
Frylight cooking oil
Corn on the cob
● Cut the chicken breast in half to form two roughly circular pieces. Tenderise with a rolling pin.
● Dip in egg, then in the crushed Doritos, then cook in the oven at 200C for 25 minutes.
● For the hash brown, par-boil your grated potato, add to the remaining egg along with 1tsp of onion granules.
Spray on a squirt of Frylight, form into a patty and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden.
● Boil your corn on the cob for 10 minutes.
● Pop your burger in a wholemeal bun, add lettuce and 1sp mayo. Add a cheese slice and Mayflower Southern Style Gravy.