I feel fab in my 50s
Finally free from yo-yo dieting, 54-year-old Gill Marnell’s smiles are for real after losing 3st 10lbs*. She lives in Runcorn, Cheshire, with her husband, Stephen, and has two children, James, 26, and Katie, 21. Gill is 5ft 3ins tall and 9st 7lbs.
"I slipped the pink strappy dress over my head and, as I looked at my reflection, my heart sank. ‘Oh well, it’ll have to do,’ I thought, covering my shoulders with a matching wrap. Stephen and I left for his cousin’s wedding and I put on a happy face, just as I did every single day. To the outside world, I was bubbly, smiley Gill – getting in the jokes about my size before anybody else could. Nobody, not even my husband, knew how wretched I felt inside.
"I’d been yo-yo dieting since my teens, always worried people would be comparing me, a size 18, to my size-10 twin sister, Cheryl. Each time I tried to slim I’d start a calorie-counted plan, feel really hungry, pack it all in and regain any weight I’d lost.
"As my daughter, Katie, approached her 20s, she decided she’d like to lose a little weight herself. ‘Why don’t we join Slimming World, Mum?’ she asked me one day. ‘I don’t need to go to a club, I can do it myself!’ I replied. For six months she kept on asking me and my response was always the same.
"Then, last year, I went to my sister’s house for afternoon tea with two friends. When the photo of us sitting together appeared on Facebook, I was mortified – I was the biggest by far! Shortly afterwards, Katie and I went to group for the first time.
"Inspired by our Consultant, Christa, we headed home raring to get started. I was surprised how easy it was to incorporate the eating plan into my life, and found I loved spending time with my new friends at group. And it was working! The weight kept coming off steadily, week by week.
"I’ve been at my 9st 7lbs target since April and I couldn’t be more pleased with my size 12-14 figure. Katie often tells me how proud she is of what I’ve achieved; she’s been such a great support to me, along with the rest of my wonderful family. Now when I see myself smiling broadly in a photo, I know it’s a true reflection of how I’m feeling – confident, positive and happy to be me!"
With a little help from...
Gill shares the tricks that made a difference to her slimming journey, and the treats (and people) that spurred her to success.
- Thank goodness my lovely daughter, Katie, kept on asking me to go to group with her. Slimming together was a real boost – we’d text each other during the day, which helped us stay on track.
- About 18 months ago, I couldn’t keep up when Stephen and I walked our labradoodle, Louie, in the steep woods by our house. Now, it’s not a problem – and I’ll even stride up the stairs at home two by two, just because I can!
- I love Lotus Biscoff caramelised biscuits,; they’re a real treat at 3 Syns for two. And as they’re wrapped in pairs you don’t get carried away.
- When I’m out, I’ll order a 35ml shot of gin (4 Syns) with diet tonic – or if I’m driving, it’ll be a Syn-free soda water with ice and slices of lime.
- I can’t wait to celebrate my silver wedding anniversary at the Savoy in a beautiful size-12 dress. Bring on the cameras!
- With extra confidence in the way I look, I’m playing around more with my make-up. I love standing out from the crowd in a bold, bright lipstick.
- Now my smiles match the genuine joy I feel inside! Feeling good about myself has made socialising much more fun, too – I love getting glammed up and going out to party!
*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.