I love my slim and stylish 60s
When 61-year-old Glynis Blackburn from Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex found herself cutting the size-18 label from her jeans, she knew it was time to tackle her weight. Now she’s lost 3st 3lbs* and reinvented herself in retirement.
My old life
"Being overweight makes you seem so much older. When I look back at photographs of myself at my heaviest, I can’t believe how unhappy I looked.
"I’d first gained weight when I was pregnant with each of my two daughters, and then fallen into the pattern of a classic yo-yo dieter. I’d lose the pounds, feel very pleased with myself, then promptly pile them all back on (and a bit more besides) within six months. I’d sink into denial and put off doing anything about my weight until eventually I couldn’t ignore it any longer, and then I’d go through the cycle all over again. It was so demoralising.
The lightbulb moment
"I knew the time had come to tackle my weight the day I found myself cutting the size-18 label out of my new jeans so that no one would see what size I really was. I felt so ashamed, and when even my size 18s started getting tight, I thought, ‘That’s it, I’ve really got to do something about it this time.’
"Even at my heaviest I felt like I was really a slim person on the inside. I hated the fact that I got out of breath so easily, couldn’t do up my trousers and felt uncomfortable whenever I sat down.
"Once I’d decided to tackle my weight once and for all, I was so determined that I trudged through the snow to make it to my first Slimming World group, in December 2009. Luckily, the welcome I got when I went in was much, much warmer!
A new way of eating
"Going to group changed the way I thought about food; it helped me recognise that what I needed was to change my lifestyle, not just follow another fad. In fact, my whole mentality changed once I got to grips with Food Optimising, because for the first time in years I stopped feeling like I was on a diet.
"I enjoy cooking, so I love poring over Slimming World magazines and articles online, hunting for recipe ideas and inspiration. It’s turned into a new hobby for me, and I really look forward to trying out my discoveries. I’m very fond of the Southern-style breaded chicken recipe served with Slimming World chips and baked beans, and I also have oven baked fish with roasted vegetables or home-made burgers with salad and Slimming World coleslaw.
"The thing I really love about the plan is that there’s no counting calories or avoiding certain foods. My elder daughter moved back home in 2012 and, even though she isn’t a Slimming World member, she has lost two stones simply by eating the same meals as I do. I don’t feel guilty or worry about what I’m eating any more and so I really enjoy my food; I think I single-handedly kept the strawberry fields going last summer!
Treats and tips
"In the past my problem with food was that I didn’t have an ‘off switch’. I couldn’t have just one square of chocolate or a single slice of cake; I had to have three or four slices, and eat the whole bar of chocolate. These days I can look at a bar of chocolate and think, ‘No, I don’t want that’. I don’t ever feel deprived, as I tend to use all my Syns each day – I love knowing I can have a glass of wine if I fancy it, or maybe two when I’ve got a friend coming over for the evening.
"Eating out, these days I’m a bit like Meg Ryan’s character in the film When Harry Met Sally – no, not in the way that you’re probably thinking! I mean in the way I order my food. I look at the menu and say, ‘I’d like this dish, though could you cook it this way, please, and instead of this sauce can I have some low-fat dressing on the side, and I’ll have the boiled potatoes instead of the chips please.’ It’s great knowing there are always healthier options I can order without undoing my good work.
Friendship and support
"I reached target in February 2013 and my journey there was fine; I found the weight just came off steadily as long as I stuck to plan. Staying at target was more difficult to start with, though, until I stopped worrying about maintaining and just relaxed. My Consultant, Stefan, has been incredibly supportive from the word go, and he’s become a dear friend. He’s fun, funny and is only a text or phone call away whenever I feel in need of some inspiration or motivation – I can’t thank him enough for spurring me on throughout my slimming journey.
"I still go to group every single week, as much for the social aspect as for keeping me on the straight and narrow! We meet on Saturday mornings, have coffee, laugh, catch up and share stories, as well as discussing any worries we might have and celebrating each other’s achievements. It’s not just a weight-loss group; we’re a gathering of genuine friends and we can tell each other anything. If someone has a gain, then we’ll rally together to encourage them to get back on track for the following week. I honestly don’t think I’d be where I am today without their help. Food Optimising is second nature to me now and I’m eating the kind of food I like most, as opposed to following a plan I don’t really enjoy just to shift some pounds. I’m now a Diamond member, which means I’ve maintained my target weight for over a year – trust me, it’s a fabulous feeling.
My new outlook
"I’m certainly more confident about fashion now and, because I feel younger, I dress younger, too – for instance, these days I might wear jeggings with ankle boots, which is quite a different look for me. I’m thrilled that I can borrow clothes from my elder daughter – though I’m not sure how thrilled she is about it! I’ll try on pretty much anything these days; it’s brilliant to think, ‘I’ll just see what this looks like…’ without worrying that I won’t be able to squeeze into it. Clothes aside, since I’ve lost weight I’ve been more willing to give new things a go in all areas of my life, as I’m less afraid of what other people might think. I feel like myself again."
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose
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