Having a large amount of weight to lose can feel overwhelming. Our member Jules shares her before-and-after menu, her five favourite recipes and her top tips for target members...
In summer 2020, I realised that I was going to sleep – and then waking up – worrying about my weight. It was absolutely exhausting and I knew I needed to do something about it.
It had reached the point where there was no part of my life that was unaffected. My confidence was shattered and I hated how I looked. I’d have happily become a total recluse. My body hurt and I struggled to keep up with my two young daughters, Amy and Jessica, so I was missing out on family life.
As an emotional eater, I consoled myself with food. I ate when I was sad or anxious. I’ve experienced quite a lot of trauma through my life, including six miscarriages and sadly losing my son at 23 weeks pregnant. I used food to cope with my difficulties, and I’d eat when I was happy, too. Unsurprisingly, my weight kept going up.
I lived to eat, and my love for food was focused on high-fat ‘treats’ like takeaways, cake, crisps and chocolate. Then I’d feel guilty, which would make me want to eat even more. I’d become stuck in that vicious cycle.
Watch Jules tell her story here
When I reached nearly 23st, the switch finally flicked. In January 2021, I decided to try Slimming World Online – and once I started exploring the website, I realised there was so much more to it than simply recording my weight every week. As well as taking me through Slimming World’s Food Optimising plan in a really easy to understand way, I discovered an online community of slimmers I could instantly relate to. I was encouraged by other members posting their ideas and tips, and helping each other through challenging times. I’d found my own slimming support network, which was always there.
I also really found the Slimming World Online live events that are held on Zoom really useful – they give you the opportunity to ask questions, get advice and receive a bit of extra support.
As well as lots of help around menu planning and cooking in a healthier way, Slimming World offers support with getting active, and the psychological side of slimming – something especially useful to me as I had such a strong link between food and my emotions.
Once I joined Slimming World, I was hooked. I achieved a 10lb weight loss in week one – and I’ve never looked back. I was amazed at the variety of foods on the Free Foods list (so you can eat as much of them as you like), and I quickly realised that I could still enjoy eating well while losing weight. There are more than 1,800 recipes online, and my menu is so much more varied now.
Jules’s 5 favourite recipes
Looking back at the 23st Jules, activity just wasn’t on my radar. It was enough of a challenge to get through each day! As I started to lose weight, though, I felt able to do more and more, and now I’ve worked my way through the Slimming World Body Magic awards! Around six months into my journey, we got two puppies, and at first I found their daily walks really challenging (especially as it’s quite hilly where I live). Now I don’t even get out of breath. The Slimming World website is packed with tools to help you get more active, including a set of workout videos that you can do at home, at your own pace.
In just over a year, I’d lost 11st 7lbs – more than half my body weight! And it’s even more incredible to think that I hadn’t once felt hungry or like I was missing out. Six months later, I’ve lost a total of 13st. Food Optimising and being active are both intrinsic behaviours now, which helps me maintain my target weight of 9st 11lbs. I never feel deprived or like I’m missing out on anything. I enjoy delicious food and love walking. I’m really enjoying my new lifestyle!
Now I’m full of energy and no longer in pain. I sleep better and I have so much more confidence. Instead of hiding away at home, I’m enjoying life and all the opportunities that come my way. One real highlight has been taking our girls to Lapland last Christmas. I had so much fun doing everything – husky sledding, snowmobiling, ice karting – and I didn’t think about my weight once. Rewind a year and I’d have been worrying before I even got there about whether the snowsuit would fit, and there’s no way I’d have been physically able to get in and out of a small plastic sledge. It was a magical family memory that just wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t found Slimming World – and I can’t wait to make lots more!
Jules’s tips for target members
Don’t panic if you don’t see the same number on the scales every week. It’s normal to fluctuate a few pounds either side of your target. It’s all about getting used to a new normal and carrying on Food Optimising in a way that works for you.
I'm still an active Slimming World Online member and I find the live events really helpful for getting new ideas and recipes. I watch two or three a week – I often have one on while I’m relaxing in the evening or eating my dinner. The topics are around food, tricky times and the psychology of slimming, and they definitely help me stay on track.
The support of the Slimming World Online Community is invaluable to me, and I love to have a browse of the posts every day. I’ll always share my own experiences and help other members, if I can.
Every target member gets a Slim for Life book. It helped me decide the right route for me when it came to continuing with Food Optimising, and it guided me perfectly through that transition from slimming to maintaining.
The Body Magic plan helped me to become more active and I’m so much fitter now. I do 10,000 steps every day, which I know is helping me maintain my weight loss – I think my two dogs appreciate the walks, too!
Jules’s daily menu
A large bowl of high-sugar granola or three slices of cheese on toast (using thick bread).
Porridge or fat-free natural Greek yogurt with fresh fruit (strawberries and blueberries are my favourite combo).
A pasty or sausage roll with chips and beans, or a jacket potato with tuna mayonnaise and cheese (with six sachets of extra mayo or salad cream).
Either a curry or a bolognese made with a jar sauce, plus all the extras (naan and mango chutney with the curry, and loads of cheese and a whole garlic baguette with the spag bol).
Again, my menu is very varied now. It could be any Food Optimised combination of meat or fish with salad or veg – so steak with chips and salad, or a chilli or curry with boiled rice and vegetables.
Sweets, crisps, chocolate, biscuits, cake – whatever I could lay my hands on, to be honest!
Hi-fi bars, fruit and yogurt.
Weight loss will vary according to individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.