She looks and feels amazing, has bags of new-found confidence and tons of energy for her two young children... 29-year-old Georgia Devereux from Mitcham, London has lost 5st 1lb* and gained so much more!
‘I’d been chasing my four-year-old up and down the climbing frames all morning – it felt so good to be buzzing with energy. It wasn’t so long ago that I’d have been sitting to one side having a coffee, feeling frazzled and self-conscious.
‘I grew up with two brothers and four sisters, and I was always a slim child. My weight problems started when I moved to London from the Isle of Sheppey at 18. By the time I met my husband, Keith, when I was 19, I’d already gone up two dress sizes. We both loved our food and quickly settled into a life that revolved around eating together.
‘I started having tummy cramps, dry and sensitive skin, and my hair stopped growing so I started paying for expensive hair extensions. When the doctor told me I had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), I thought, ‘Ah, that explains why I’ve been getting so much bigger. It’s my hormones.’ It didn’t occur to me that my eating habits could be behind my weight gain.
‘I was 21 when my son, Jake, was born. When he was nine months old, my mum, Rosemary, died suddenly aged 59, after suffering a stroke. Two months later, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and in just eight weeks, we lost him, too. My brothers, sisters and I felt incredibly numb as we tried to come to terms with losing both our parents in such a short time.
‘I still wasn’t eating healthily and knew that could eventually have a serious effect on my health. What if Jake lost me as early as I’d lost Mum and Dad…or even earlier?
A new beginning
‘My sister-in-law, Jade, had been going to a Slimming World group on the Isle of Sheppey. When I saw her, 2st lighter, I had to find out exactly how she’d done it. She told me she’d never once felt hungry and – one thing that stuck with me the most – that no food was banned, including crisps!
‘In winter 2010, I joined my local group. My Consultant and the other members were so friendly and reassuring.
‘After years of having crisps for breakfast, I started my days eating wheat biscuits topped with fruit and fat-free natural yogurt. Homemade soup soon became a lunchtime favourite, and Keith and I couldn’t get enough of Food Optimising curries.
‘I started planning ahead – filling the fridge with ready-chopped fruit and vegetables for snacking, and always having a stock of Popchips (3½ Syns for a 17g bag) and Walkers Quavers (4½ Syns for a 16g bag) for times when I craved crisps.
‘By the time Keith proposed, 10 months after I joined group, I’d already reached my target of 9st 7lbs and was a size 10. Being petite, I wanted to lose a little more before walking down the aisle and I thought toning up might give me more confidence, too. I started going to spinning, Bodypump and HIIT (high intensity interval training) classes every week – it didn’t take long for me to get the fitness bug!
When the wedding came around, I was a size 8. My sister, Jo, had also lost 4st to fit into a size 12 bridesmaid dress.
'Eight months later, on Christmas Eve, I discovered I was pregnant again. This time I was determined to stay on track. I spoke to my Consultant, who explained how Slimming World had developed their pregnancy policy with the Royal College of Midwives to support mums and mums-to-be. She also gave me a leaflet all about how to adapt Food Optimising to help provide me with all the nutrients I needed during pregnancy. When I gave birth to Rose, I was only 7lbs heavier than before I’d got pregnant.
Support and success
‘With two little ones to care for, I started slipping back into old habits. By Rose’s first birthday I’d gained a further stone and the biscuit tin had become my ‘go to’ for a hit of energy. I hadn’t been to group for a few months, so in October 2015 I decided to rejoin. It wasn’t long before I got back to my 8st 7lb target. I’ve maintained my weight for over a year now.
I no longer dread changing-room mirrors – I love going shopping!
‘Last September, I threw a family birthday party and wore a fitted little black dress. This time when I saw a photo of myself, I felt so proud of how far I’d come. I have hardly any PCOS symptoms, my hair is growing again and I’m always full of energy.
‘The ultimate reward, though, is being able to chase the kids around the park without feeling worn out. I no longer just exist – I live... and I’m loving every minute of it!’
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose
You'll find more delicious recipe and menu ideas at your local group, along with all the help you need to get started and reach your target weight.