Half the size, double the person
At her heaviest, 26-year-old Jennifer Ginley from Liverpool couldn’t fit into rollercoaster seats at Disneyland. She’s lost an incredible 9st 9lbs* in just over a year to be crowned Slimming World’s Miss Slinky 2017 and will feature on the front cover of Slimming World magazine.
“I’d been a fairly averaged-size child but I was a size 18 by the time I went to university in Manchester. Living away from home saw me gain even more weight. I’d tried so many diets in the past, but all of them seemed to make food the enemy, so I never addressed my relationship with over-eating and nothing seemed to work for me.
“When I found myself buying size-26 clothes for the holiday to Florida I’d been looking forward to for so long, I knew something had to change. I had to ask for a seatbelt extender on the plane, I spent our time there having to ride on the adjusted seats for larger people and I was horrified when I saw the photos – I looked so unhealthy that I cried, wondering how and why I had done that to myself.
I joined my local Slimming World group with my mum and sister – we got such a warm welcome. I’d been a Slimming World member before but this time it just clicked, I think because I just didn’t want to waste any more of my life being overweight and disliking myself for it.
“Before Slimming World I wouldn’t eat any breakfast or prepare any lunch or snacks for work, so I always found myself eating whatever I could lay my hands on – mainly shop-bought sandwiches or chip shop meals. Now I prepare in advance so I’m ready for the day ahead – enjoying porridge and fruit for breakfast and taking tasty salads or homemade soup to work with me. In the evening I’ll enjoy a stir-fry or homemade Bolognese.
“Before I lost weight I had a massive lack of belief in myself and I feel like I wasted so many years with fake smiles that hid how unhappy I was. I was a serial failed-dieter and could never understand how I could achieve so much in other areas of my life, yet I couldn’t control what I ate.
Finally taking control of my weight was such a huge turning point for me, both physically and mentally.
“My boyfriend Luke and I have been together for more than 11 years and I always used to discourage him from proposing because I couldn’t imagine myself as a bride being the size I was. He proposed just before Christmas and I said ‘Yes!’ without even a second thought about my weight, and I can’t wait to go dress shopping.
“A really key part of my journey was posting my meals on my Instagram account (@slimming_world_jsg) – it really helped me to stay on track. Now I have over 75,000 followers! I still have to pinch myself when people call me an inspiration, or say that they’re going to start slimming because of me. My mum and sister have lost over 7st between them, too
“About five years ago I used to dance regularly, but as I got bigger my joints would hurt and I’d get out of breath after just a short walk, so I gave it up. After I’d lost about 7st I felt brave enough to go back to my dance class and I absolutely love it now. I’ve also joined a gym.
On top of hitting my weight-loss target, getting engaged and being named Miss Slinky 2017, I've also ticked another ambition off my wish list – being on the cover of Slimming World magazine.
“During my weight-loss journey, I’d visualise myself at target and on the cover of Slimming World magazine, inspiring other slimmers with my success. I even superimposed a photo of my face onto a magazine cover and stuck it on my bedroom wall! Recently, I’ve also had surgery to remove some loose skin on my tummy, which has given me an extra boost of confidence.
“I feel like I’m a butterfly, emerging from my cocoon. Best of all, I finally believe myself when I say ‘I am going to…’ across all aspects of my life. I might be half the size but I feel like I’m double the person now. I know I have the strength and the willpower to achieve anything I put my mind to, and that’s a really powerful feeling.”
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose
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