Walk this way, say slimming couple who've lost 11st 7lbs*
Mark and Amanda Gibbon, from Chepstow in Monmouthshire, embarked on their weight loss journey after they were both left red-faced from a couple of unpleasant experiences. Now the pair have overhauled their eating habits to lose a whopping 11½ stone* between them and have been named Slimming World’s Couple of the Year 2017.
Mark says: “It was beyond embarrassing having to ask for a seatbelt extension; you just know all eyes are on you and can almost hear people whispering, ‘look, he needs a seatbelt extension’. And the worst thing? I knew I’d have to ask for one on the way back too.
“My wife Amanda and I have always struggled with our weight. We’ve tried endless diets – low-carb plans, calorie counting and juicing to a name a few. If it’s out there, we’ve tried it!
“It was never supposed to be my weight-loss journey, I was going to follow the plan at home to support Amanda and that was it. I thought a Slimming World group would be a roomful of ladies and didn’t think that would suit me, but little did I know how inspirational those ladies would be!
“I remember stepping on the scales, and being horrified by the number; 20st 10½lbs. Over a total of eight months, I lost 7st 11½lbs and I eat more now than I did before! My favourite meals included big portions of lamb with stir fried veg, paella and poached eggs on toast. I couldn’t believe the variety I could have.
Amanda says: “I hated clothes shopping. On one specific occasion I ended up fleeing from the changing room in floods of tears because I couldn’t find anything to fit and hated seeing myself from every angle in the mirror. After this point, I realised something had to change. I told Mark I needed him to come to group with me for support.
“I was shocked to find out how much I weighed; 13st 8½lbs. I went straight home and studied the books back to back. It’s the best thing I ever did - I’ve lost a total of 3st 10lbs. Since walking through the doors of the Chepstow group, we’ve both completely transformed our diets. We still love food – we sit together and eat filling portions of pasta, rice, veg, meat and fish. We also plan our meals every week which keeps us on track.”
We swapped bountiful cereals for overnight oats, petrol station pork pies for soup or salad and processed ready meals for homemade paella, curries or burgers. And, we still have pudding and chocolate!
“As well as changing our eating habits, we’ve started a walking group with some of the members from the Slimming World group. A few were reluctant as the idea of exercise can seem daunting, but after starting off slowly, we now have lots of members and we have great fun together.
“Life is amazing now. We’re healthier and so much fitter. Mark’s blood pressure has reduced dramatically and his doctor says he’s added 20 years to his life, which is incredible news for everyone. We love running around after our grandchildren instead of being ‘Nan and Bamp’, who just sit in the chair or puff and pant after just five minutes of playing. It isn’t just a diet for us – it’s a way of life.”
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.
*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.