Mum-of-two loses 17st with Slimming World – with first results in just a week

New research from Slimming World has shown that the more weight you lose in your first week, the more likely you are to do well on your weight-loss journey as time goes on.

The research, into one million slimmers, revealed that people who lost 5lbs or more in their first week of attending a Slimming World group were four times more likely to lose 10 per cent of their body weight within three months.

Men are twice as likely to see weight drop off in their first week, and the findings also found those aged 55 and over were the most successful at losing weight over a longer period, with just over half (52 per cent) losing at least five per cent of their body weight in three months.

Dr Sarah-Elizabeth Bennett, Slimming World’s senior research associate, says: “Significant weight losses are often associated with ‘quick fix’ diets or restrictive, faddy plans, however we can see from our research that it is possible to see big results on the scales by following a healthy, balanced eating plan.

“At Slimming World we know many new members are astonished by the results on the scales in week one as they can’t believe they‘ve been able to lose so much weight by making simple, easy changes to how they shop, cook and eat, while still enjoying a satisfying, healthy and varied diet.”

Don’t miss your FREE Slimming World magazines starting inside this Saturday’s Daily Mirror

Emma holds up a photo of her former self

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Emma’s story

I joined Slimming World in March 2018 weighing 29st 13lbs. My mum had recently joined and I’d seen incredible success stories on Instagram.

Going along to the group, I was frightened and embarrassed. I felt so vulnerable walking through the doors. I sat at the back and listened and thought I’ll give it a go, but it won’t work. How wrong I was – I lost 7lbs in my first week.

I felt so pleased, and yet couldn’t believe it. I was still eating potatoes and pasta – just by making simple healthy changes I’d seen results.

That first week made me think differently. I had a big change in my mindset from that day forward. Just two years after joining Slimming World, I’d completely turned my life around, lost 17st 3lbs and dropped 11 dress sizes.

My whole life I’ve struggled with my weight. Even as a child I was always the big kid and the last to be picked for sports. It got worse when I got divorced and developed unhealthy habits, using food as an emotional crutch.

The mum-of-two joined Slimming World in March 2018 weighing 29st 13lbs

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After my divorce, I met Ryan through online dating and we had our children who were born a year apart. At my check-ups, every doctor I saw said I should lose weight.

I’d tried every single diet you can think of, but with no support nothing worked, and I thought I was destined to be overweight all my life. I was in constant pain, even getting out of bed hurt. My joints and feet would swell up and my asthma was awful.

As a learner support assistant for children with special educational needs, I was also finding it hard to keep up physically, leaving me with no other option when I had children of my own than to quit my job.

In 2016, I was diagnosed with sleep apnoea, a serious sleep disorder where my breathing would repeatedly stop and start. For six years prior to the diagnosis, I’d wake up at least five times each night.

Emma thought she was destined to be overweight all her life

I was so tired all the time and would reach for pain relief tablets just to get through the day. After the diagnosis, I had to connect to a machine each night, which meant wearing a rubber mask with a pipe that blows air on you every time you stop breathing.

The final straw came in March 2018 when, in one week, I had three awful experiences which made me realise something needed to change.

First, I got the photos back from my son’s baptism. It was a wonderful day, I was so happy surrounded by my nearest and dearest and the pictures were really beautiful, apart from me.

I felt I looked hideous and ruined them.

In the same week, I needed to buy a new car to cope with my growing family and I found with many models I either didn’t fit in the driver’s seat or the seatbelt wasn’t long enough to go around me.

Then later that week, I was at a soft play with my children. My daughter got stuck right at the top and I was physically too big to get to her. I had to ask a nine-year-old boy to help and I was mortified.

I cried all the way home and I decided I would never put myself or my child in that situation again. My children deserved a mum that could do things with them and I wanted to be that mum.

There have been hurdles along the way of course but every time I’ve gone to my Slimming World group, just talking to someone and seeing a friendly face has helped so much. I’ve never once been to the group and left feeling deflated or defeated.

She’s totally unrecognisable after losing 17st

I started cooking everything from scratch, especially my favourite roast dinner, and instead of rewarding myself with crisps, chocolate or takeaways, I’d treat myself to a beauty or hair treatment.

I try new things now instead of saying no. Pre-lockdown, I said yes to rock climbing, abseiling and going on the rollercoaster at Legoland. I’m making amazing memories with my children and I no longer feel like a spectator in my own life.

After losing 10st, I reapplied to work with children, and now I work in a lovely primary school. I would never have had the confidence or energy to do this before losing weight.

By March 2020, I’d lost 17st and got a brand-new wardrobe after going from a size 34 to a 12. I’d gone from a 60-inch waist and 75-inch hips to a 37-inch waist and 40-inch hips. I’m also sleeping well and in June this year, I was told I didn’t need to use the sleep apnoea machine anymore.

Everywhere I go people ask me how I’ve lost weight and they find it hard to believe you can eat all this fantastic food and still lose it. Mum has lost 4st too and reduced her blood pressure.

Emma is now happier and healthier in her new body

Although we go to different groups as mum lives in Norfolk, we help each other stay on track by sharing ideas and recipes. We’re both so proud to be able to support other members and encourage them by showing them what we’ve managed to achieve.

Before losing weight I barely walked to the shops and now I swim, cycle and go to the gym – staying active helps to keep my mind positive. My main goal at the minute is to train for a marathon.

Losing weight has given me a huge boost of confidence. Life is so much easier, and I know seeing results that first week gave me the self-belief I needed and the motivation to think I can do this – and I did.

Emma’s fact file

Height : 5ft 7in

Weight before : 29st 13lbs

Weight after : 12st 10lbs

Dress size before : 34

Dress size after : 12

Emma’s diet before

Breakfast : Four slices of white bread toast with butter and peanut butter

Snack : Milky sweet tea with chocolate biscuits and a packet of crisps

Lunch : Two tuna sweetcorn mayo and butter sandwiches, chocolate bar, yogurt, apple, packet of crisps and mini cheeses

Dinner : Spaghetti bolognese with 20 per cent fat beef mince and sauce from a jar with cheese on top and
garlic bread

Pudding : Apple pie and ice cream or cream, or both

Snack : Sweet tea, biscuits and crisps

Her diet now

Breakfast : Porridge and chopped fresh fruit

Snack : Fruit and/or fat-free yogurt

Lunch : Homemade veggie soup, followed by fruit and/or yogurt

Dinner : Homemade spaghetti bolognese made with lean 5 per cent fat mince or Quorn mince and lots of vegetables

Pudding : Small meringue nest topped with fat-free yogurt and strawberries

Snack : Tea, fruit and high-fibre cereal bar

Top tips for a fresh start

Psychologist, Author and Broadcaster Dr Linda Papadopoulos shares her top tips for making a fresh start this new year:

Gaining a sense of control

There is no doubt 2020 blind-sided us all. None of us saw it coming and that feeling of uncertainty is, sadly, still with us.

Many of us are as eager to get a sense of control as we are a sense of normality and embracing change and thinking ‘what can I take responsibility for?’, ‘how can I adapt and change?’ allows you to re-establish your own safety and security.

Set realistic goals

The key to health-changing weight loss is to form new habits that you can stick to. It can be challenging to change hard-wired habits, often developed over a lifetime.

By following a diet that is healthy, balanced and sustainable over the long term alongside receiving

guidance and support to get into a new lifestyle groove and form a new mindset around healthier behaviours, losing weight and remaining slim for life is achievable.

Getting support

When other people see the changes you are making and your achievements, it can feel more real. As human beings we’re social creatures and the simple act of speaking to others and being able to feel other people know what you’re going through and hearing they’ve experienced the same challenges can also be so uplifting.

Don’t miss your FREE Slimming World magazines starting inside this Saturday’s Daily Mirror

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