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My life was flipped upside down back in 2016. At just 34 years old, my husband, Gary, was diagnosed with a tumour on his spinal cord. Suddenly, I was dashing from work to the hospital every day, and eating well slid way down my list of priorities. 

I’d start my day at the drive-through for breakfast, then I’d eat lunch in the hospital canteen and grab a takeaway for my tea on the way home. Unsurprisingly, I started to put on weight, and it gradually became difficult to do even little things, like walk to the shops or bend down to tie my laces. I realised that if I was going to be able to look after Gary, I needed to start looking after myself. 

I knew that Slimming World worked because Gary and I had both been members before. In 2010, we’d joined to lose weight for our wedding – and I’d maintained my 4st weight loss ever since. Now, I realised I needed help to get back on track. 

There had never been any judgement in my Slimming World group, so I wasn’t worried about admitting I’d regained the weight. I just wanted to pick back up where I’d left off and be part of a group of people who were all on the same journey again. 

Around this time, I decided to leave my job to care for Gary, which meant money was a lot tighter. I couldn’t just go to the shop, buy whatever I liked and not think about the price any more. I quickly discovered ‘yellow sticker’ items – foods that were reduced, usually because they were close to their best-before date. At first, I felt ashamed putting them in my basket. Then I realised that, as well as lowering my food bill, I was preventing good food from going to waste – two brilliant reasons to make a beeline for those stickers!  

It was easy to follow the Slimming World plan on a budget because there’s nothing that you can’t have. Before, I’d enjoyed making healthier versions of my favourite meals – things like chippy teas, spicy curries and roast dinners – and I could still do that while using my yellow-sticker bargains. I could even whip up a Food Optimising Sunday lunch for eight people – including meat, roast potatoes and loads of veg – for less than £10 in total. 

I loved sharing my recipes in group and I learnt so much from the other members in return. If I’d picked up a reduced item and didn’t know what to do with it, I could count on them for plenty of slimming-friendly suggestions. 

More on the blog: Discover more money-saving tips from our members here

As well as heading to the reduced sections in supermarkets, I discovered the Liverpool Zero Waste initiative and the Too Good to Go app. They both aim to stop unsold food in shops and restaurants from ending up in the bin, and they’re a great way to save yourself money, too. I started posting my low-cost creations on Instagram, and I realised that there were lots of people looking for help with shopping and cooking on a budget. 

Sadly, Gary passed away in June this year. I was devastated, but the support of my group has helped so much. In fact, I always say Slimming World saved my life. Not just because I’ve lost 4st and improved my health, but because of the other members. Talking to people and being part of that group helped me rediscover my self-worth and stopped me feeling so alone. Now, I want to pay that forward, so I’m training to be a Slimming World Consultant. I can’t wait to share my ideas for shopping and cooking on a budget and support others on their weight loss journeys. I know Gary would be so proud of me. 

Dean’s menu 


Breakfast: A fast-food breakfast meal from the drive-through. 
Lunch: Ready-made beetroot and goat’s cheese ciabatta.  
Dinner: A Chinese or Indian takeaway. 
Snacks: Two packets of crisps, a chocolate bar and a cupcake. 


Breakfast: Free fry-up of scrambled eggs (cooked without butter or fat), grilled mushrooms and tomatoes, lean bacon (visible fat removed), Slimming World Sausage Patties (from Iceland), baked beans and wholemeal toast, using my Healthy Extra ‘b’ choice. 

Lunch: Big chicken salad made with a shredded skinless chicken breast, chopped lettuce, tomato, cucumber, pepper, red onion and beetroot and some Healthy Extra ‘a’ reduced-fat cheese. 

Dinner: Spaghetti bolognese with a couple of garlic bread slices using my Syns. 

Snacks: Fat-free cottage cheese with chopped apple, low-Syn black-eyed peas popped snacks and fresh fruit.   

Save and slim with Slimming World 

We’re here to help you shop, cook and eat in a way that suits your lifestyle, and that includes working within your weekly budget. For more money-saving tips and our best low-cost recipes, head to your local Slimming World group or join our Community at Slimming World Online. 

Discover our latest special offers here 

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