Wow - what a year!
For Jessica, 2015 wasn’t just the year she lost more than 2st* – she also got fit, started a business and discovered her confident self…
"Meeting my lovely boyfriend Lee two years ago is one of the best things that ever happened to me. For my weight, though, it proved to be one of the worst! It got to the point where I was so unhappy, I knew I had to change my body – and the way I felt about it.
"I’d tried slimming shakes and pills before and had come to realise that an extreme approach like that was never going to help me long-term. Then a friend told me about Slimming World – she said you could eat your favourite things and still lose weight! So, in April 2015, I decided to give it a go with my best friend, Victoria.
"I was terrified about stepping on the scales. I never weighed myself, so didn’t have a clue what to expect. I just knew I was unhappy with my size 16/18 clothes. I set myself a target of 10st and committed myself to following the plan to the letter.
The first week I lost 4lbs, and then I carried on losing about 1-2lbs a week. Soon, I actually looked forward to being weighed – it gave me a proper measure of my progress.
"I went from being a rubbish cook to making fantastic meals in a matter of weeks! I’ll look in the magazine or on the website, or go onto my group’s Facebook page for inspiration.
My home-made chicken tikka is very popular in our house and it tastes so much better than the takeaways we used to buy. We also love barbecue pulled pork with Slimming World chips, and fish pie with lots of Speed veg.
"I’ve stopped nannying and I’m now a cake decorator. I was a bit worried that being surrounded by the smell of baking would be difficult – and sometimes it is. Regularly reminding myself how much better I feel now I’m slimmer helps to keep me focused.
"I take a different lunch into work each day so I’ve always got something healthy to eat – tuna pasta and wild rice salad are favourites. Breakfast tends to be overnight oats or Weetabix with fruit, or at weekends when I have more time, I’ll cook lean bacon with mushrooms and tomatoes. I snack on fruit, eggs and two Hi-fi Light bars (from group) during the day, then Lee and I sit down to something like a home-made lasagne for dinner.
"On days when I struggle, the support of Victoria, Nikki and my group is priceless. There have been weeks when other members have had big losses and I’ve lost half a pound or maintained. It’s easy to feel frustrated and annoyed when that happens – so I tell myself that everyone’s body is different, and I have to trust the plan and stick to it.
"Things were going so well that when I had a small gain one week, I was really upset. I nearly didn’t stay to group because I felt embarrassed. I’m so glad I did, though – listening to the other members share their stories was a big help. A few weeks later, about three months after joining, I reached my first target of 10st. I felt positive that I could happily lose another half stone, so I set a new target of 9st 7lbs straight away.
Now, I’m enjoying exercising. I’m training to do my first 10K and I do a Metafit class at my gym three times a week. It’s a 30-minute, high-intensity workout that combines aerobic exercises with body-weight moves, such as lunges and press-ups. I love it!
"I reached my new target of 9st 7lbs in September and have just bought my first size-8 top. When I went out with Lee recently, his friends didn’t recognise me. While it’s wonderful to feel good about myself, there’s more to it than that – losing weight has had an unexpected impact on other aspects of my life, too.
"Victoria and I have launched our own business, making handcrafted paper pictures. We’re already selling at shows and through local shops, and we feel this is just the start. My goal is for this to be a full-time career, not just a hobby. Slimming World has given me the self-esteem to be able to go up to people to talk about our products without feeling self-conscious. Almost a year on, I know this isn’t a diet – it’s my new, active, healthy life, and that’s a real game changer for me."
*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.