World’s their oyster after Nicola and Chris lose more than 17st

  • Nicola and Chris decided to lose weight after their marriage got stuck in a rut and their size meant they couldn’t play with their children
  • They stopped going out together as a couple, choosing to stay at home with a takeaway, and would watch their children play rather than join in
  • Since joining Slimming World they’ve lost an incredible 17st 9.5lbs and have been named Slimming World’s Couple of the Year 2021

A couple who admits their marriage got stuck in a rut as they were uncomfortable with their size have lost an incredible 17st 9.5lbs between them to be named Slimming World’s Couple of the Year 2021.

Nicola and Chris Guilfoyle, from Tipperary, Ireland, used to watch their three children play, unable to join in with them and riddled with guilt as they knew their young children craved parental attention.

The couple’s weight problems began early in their relationship. Nicola, 36, who has now lost more than 12st, says: “I’ve battled with my weight all my life really, at lease since my teens. When the kids were younger it was so easy for us to forget about our own health and reach for takeaway menus once they had gone to bed. Our youngest daughter was diagnosed with autism when she was 2½ years old, she’s doing fabulously now, but it was difficult to begin with, and Chris and I used food as comfort.

“I remember taking my daughter to Drayton Manor and being asked to get off a ride as the safety bar wouldn’t fit over my stomach. I laughed it off at the time, but on the inside, I was distraught that my young child had to ride alone, and that I was missing these precious moments with her. I was at the heaviest I’ve ever been when I joined Slimming World, and I used to find even minor things that people take for granted difficult, such as tying my own shoelaces, so I’d wear sliders as my feet were so painful and swollen.”

Chris, also 36, who has lost 5st 1.5lbs, agreed to join Slimming World with Nicola to improve his own health. He says: “Nicola told me she wanted to join, and I needed to lose weight, so I agreed to go with her. We joined Slimming World in January 2020 and I thought I might lose a few pounds but didn’t realise how much I’d be able to eat with Slimming World and still lose weight. I was quite cynical when I first heard about Food Optimising and the list of Free Food that you could eat without restriction. Then we went back to group after a week for our first weigh-in and I’d lost 7.5lbs and Nicola had lost 8lbs. Since then we’ve never looked back.”

The couple admits feeling nervous walking through the doors of their Slimming World group for the first time, but immediately felt welcome. Nicola says: “Chris has never been bothered by my size and walking through those doors I felt like we were united. All the other members were so friendly, and our Consultant made us relax instantly. The motivation we get from our Slimming World group is unbelievable and we wouldn’t have gotten this far without the continued support. When we first joined, I felt exercising very uncomfortable, I got breathless very quickly and was afraid of doing myself an injury, so I just didn’t do any. Through the support of my family and Consultant we gradually introduced little walks into our day. We gradually increased the distance we walked and now you can’t stop us. We go on long walks with the children and we’ve even joined a gym!”

Chris, who is a retail manager, says: “I’m surrounded by food at work and used to visit the deli daily to grab my lunch – by joining Slimming World I was worried I’d have to give up all of my favourite food, but I’m eating more than ever. I prepare my breakfast the night before, which my youngest daughter loves to help with, and I’m really enjoying the homecooked dinners Nicola adapts to make them the Slimming World way, like swapping fatty meats for leaner cuts of meat. Our favourites are the diet cola chicken and lamb biriyani.”

Nicola, a stay-at-home mum, is loving being able to be active with the children since losing weight. She says: “We’ve been doing so much together as a family, including hiking and cooking. Losing weight has also reignited our marriage – it has changed our lives. We still enjoy a good takeaway on occasion, but we make healthy choices now that we’ve learnt since joining Slimming World, like having boiled rice instead of egg fried rice when we have a Chinese. I used to suffer from constant heartburn and acid reflux to the point where I would vomit when I lay down, but that has gone away since I lost weight. Due to lockdown people hadn’t seen me for months, but once restrictions started to ease, the other parents in the school yard didn’t recognise me at first as I’ve lost so much weight. I feel a lot more confident in myself now.”

Since losing weight the couple are looking forward to going on holiday together. He says: “When we were overweight Nicola and I couldn’t even sit next to each other on an airplane we were so big. Now we’re looking forward to planning holidays together as a family and enjoying doing things we were never able to do before, creating memories with our children that will last a lifetime.”


Nicola Guilfoyle

Age: 36

Height: 5ft 9in

Starting weight: 22st 8lbs/143kg

Current weight: 10st/65kg

Weight loss: 12st 8lbs/78kg

Starting dress size: 28

Current dress size: 10

Date joined Slimming World: January 2020

Chris Guilfoyle

Age: 36

Height: 5ft 10ins

Starting weight: 18st 2.5lbs/115kg

Current weight: 13st 1lb/83kg

Weight loss: 5st 1.5lbs/32kg

Starting waist measurement: 44in

Current waist measurement: 32-34in

Date joined Slimming World: January 2020

Group: Nicola and Chris attend Clonmel Slimming World group in County Tipperary, run by Siobhan O'Dwyer.

Nicola’s before menu:

Breakfast: Four slices of buttery toast with egg and sausages fried in oil

Lunch: Egg mayonnaise with ham and stuffing in a white bread roll with crisps

Dinner: Burger and cheesy fries all cooked in oil with full fat mayonnaise, or a takeaway 4-5 nights a week

Snacks: Chocolate and sweets

Evening: A few cans of cider and Doritos and dips

Nicola’s after menu:

Breakfast: Egg muffins

Mid-morning: Fruit or low syn bars and plenty of water

Lunch: Slimming World Speedy Soup, 2 Slimming World Hi-Fi bars and seasoned skinned chicken thighs with salad

Dinner: Lamb biriyani with rice and lots of veg

Evening: Big fruit salad and flavoured quark

Chris’s before menu:

Breakfast: Sausage rolls and wedges from his work Deli, full fat coke

Lunch: Pre-packed sandwiches with a cup of tea and a full packet of biscuits

Dinner: Burger with full fat mayonnaise and chips cooked in oil

Snacks: Crisps, chocolate and ice cream

Evening: Beers a few nights a week, followed by a takeaway kebab

Chris’s after menu:

Breakfast: Baked oats

Mid-morning: Fruit and yogurt

Lunch: Egg wrap stuffed with cheese, chicken rashers or chicken sausages, mushrooms and tomatoes with low syn relish

Dinner: Diet cola chicken served with vegetables

Evening: Slimming World Hi-Fi bar, or a meringue nest filled with yogurt and fruit

Notes to editors

For further information please contact the Slimming World press office on 07940 582 491 or email lysette.mazur@slimmingworld.co.uk

  • This story is NOT for syndication to any magazines without the consent of Nicola and Chris Guilfoyle and the Slimming World press office (details above).
  • Slimming World and Nicola and Chris Guilfoyle retain copyright of all images attached to this press release.
  • The Couple of the Year 2020 competition celebrates the success of couples who attend Slimming World together.

About Slimming World

Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell OBE in Derbyshire in 1969 and has become the UK and Ireland’s leading weight loss organisation with more people choosing to attend a Slimming World group each week than any other weight loss programme. We support hundreds of thousands of people, both in our groups and online, to lose weight and to adopt new habits to stay slim for life.

Over the years our founding principles haven’t changed:

  • Our unique programme is based on a powerfully motivating support system called IMAGE (Individual Motivation and Group Experience) Therapy. Underpinned by a deep understanding of the psychology of overweight people, and incorporating the most effective sustainable behaviour change techniques, IMAGE Therapy is designed to inspire and motivate slimmers to make positive changes and to develop new, healthier habits around food and activity.
  • Food Optimising is our healthy eating plan, based on the liberating concept of Free Food. We encourage our members to fill up on those foods that are naturally lower in energy density (calories per gram) and also highly satisfying while limiting foods that are highest in fat and sugar and are less satisfying, so they lose weight without ever feeling hungry or deprived and without having to weigh, measure or count everything they eat.
  • Our activity programme, Body Magic, encourages members to become more active, more often in ways that they enjoy, until regular physical activity becomes an intrinsic part of daily routine.
  • Above all, at the heart of everything we do, lies our passion for treating every member with genuine care, empathy and respect.

We’re proud to work with the NHS, Public Health England, The Royal College of Midwives and others to help shape the future of weight management in the UK.

For further information please contact the Slimming World press office on email public.relations@slimmingworld.co.uk