Goodbye frumpy, hello slinky
27-year-old Zoë Jones from Pontypridd in Wales spent years avoiding nights out because she felt frumpy next to her slim friends. Now she’s lost nearly 6st*, dropped four dress sizes and has been crowned our gorgeous Miss Slinky 2015.
"I used to come up with every excuse in the book not to join my friends on nights out because, while I loved spending time with them, I hated how I looked and felt. Now I love dressing up and the girls know they can rely on me to be first on the dance floor. I finally feel like a normal 27-year-old and I'm loving it, in fact I joke I'm reliving my teenage years!
“I’d always been a little bigger than my friends but piled on more weight both during my time at Cardiff University and afterwards when I left home for good. When I moved out of my mum and dad's house into my own place, I found cooking for one tricky and would usually end up eating something made from a ready-made sauce that was enough for at least two people. Then boredom would set in and I'd spend my evenings lounging in front of the TV grazing on crisps and sweets. I was stuck in a rut.
“My poor mum and dad bore the brunt of my bad moods. I was really insecure about my appearance, I’d get upset easily and my confidence was at an all-time low. One day I had a chat with my dad and he made me realise that the only thing standing in my way when it came to doing something about my weight was me.
“A few days later I joined Slimming World. I'd been to several Slimming World groups in the past and lost around a stone each time, but I never made a long-term commitment to it. This time was different.
“For breakfast I enjoy a bowl of porridge topped with fat-free yogurt and lots of fruit. Lunch is usually a jacket potato with beans or a homemade quiche and salad. I've always liked cooking but I used to make cakes and biscuits, nowadays I enjoy experimenting with savoury recipes like Thai curries and chilli con carne. I love that with Slimming World you can always find a healthy alternative for whatever you fancy. I cook for my friends and family a lot – they always ask for the recipes afterwards.
I think it's been important for me that I can still have treats too, whether it's a glass of wine with the girls or some chocolate at Christmas, so I never feel like I can’t live my life or like I’m missing out.
"Before I lost weight it never occurred to me to do any real sort of activity, to be honest even the gentlest of exercise would probably have been a struggle. I feel like a different person now. I have bucket loads more energy and I love putting on my fluorescents and going for a run on an evening. Me and my best friend Emma completed the Cardiff half marathon in October – I couldn't stop smiling after I crossed the finish line.
"If someone had told me a year ago that I'd be where I am today I'd have thought they were mad. I still can't believe it when I go shopping and gorgeous crop tops, skinny jeans and slinky dresses fit me.
“The Christmas before I joined Slimming World I wrote down some dream goals, like New Year's resolutions, one of which was to fit into a size 10. It’s amazing to think this January I’ve achieved that. I used to feel invisible and want to hide away but not anymore, after winning this award I want to show people that if I can do it they can too. I'm so proud of myself and best of all my family and friends are proud of me too, I couldn’t have done it without them – and Slimming World of course."
*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.