Lisa says: When I look at Alice, our healthy, confident 21-year-old daughter, I wonder how different her life would have been if my husband, Graeme, and I hadn’t made the decision to join Slimming World.
We’d been together for over 23 years and neither of us had been happy about our weight for a long time. When we got married in 1994, I remember feeling incredibly self-conscious in my size-18 wedding dress – and I don’t think Graeme felt any more comfortable in his 48in-waist suit. When our son, Jack, now 24, and Alice came along, we quickly settled into family life and initially felt so content that we didn’t think about how big we were or the health implications of our weight.
I lost 4½st with Slimming World in 2006. Then my work commitments changed and I stopped attending group, confident I could go it alone. I found it difficult to keep up the healthy eating, though, and the weight gradually started creeping back on.
Over the years, Graeme and I got bigger and bigger, and both of us secretly worried about the example we were setting for Jack and Alice. They were teenagers by then, and I often thought about how upsetting it would be if Alice ended up having the same issues with her weight. We knew we weren’t the healthy role models we wanted to be for our kids, so in 2013, I decided to rejoin the Sunderland Slimming World group, run by Wendy, to get regular support. And, this time, Graeme came along, too.
Graham Wharton, 48
Graeme adds: The turning point for me came on Christmas Day 2012. We got dressed up for dinner in our gladrags, as you do, but I felt so uncomfortable in my smart trousers and shirt because they were tight. I felt like I was spilling out over my waistband! I ended up going home to put my joggers on, and that’s when I knew I needed to do something. Lisa had always raved about Wendy and the group, and I thought it might help me to go along as well, so I suggested we start going together.
Wendy couldn’t have been more welcoming. Straight away we knew we’d come to the right place and, for the first time in a long time, we began to get excited about our future! We swapped ready meals for filling and healthy home-cooked meals such as meatballs and pasta, pulled pork with salad and potato wedges, and even curry and rice.
Our new healthy eating habits gave us so much more energy and confidence that we decided to start adding Body Magic activity, too. We both took up walking, then running, and Lisa joined a local boot-camp class. I couldn't even run a bath before joining Slimming World! It’s amazing to think that, within a year, we’d gone from complete couch potatoes to owning Lycra!
Even better, the kids saw us making healthier choices and were inspired to make similar changes to their lifestyles, too.
By the time Jack went to uni, he was cooking chicken and rice while all his mates were warming up pizzas, and Alice often took a pasta salad to work in a lunch box.
Through losing weight, we also discovered a love of exercising as a family. Jack started coming running with me and Alice went to boot camp with her mum, so we all caught the fitness bug! We did the Great North Run in September 2013 and, to cap it all off, we ran the London Marathon the following year.
Even though we’ve both been at target for more than six years, we still go to group each week without fail. And we’re still amazed by how much fitter and healthier we feel! Food Optimising is second nature to us now, and something that we know will be a part of our lives forever.
But by far the most rewarding part is knowing that our kids have grown up with more knowledge and awareness about healthy eating than we did. Jack’s pursuing his dream with the Navy and we’ve just done the Great North Run again as a family. Our children are leading healthy, active lives because of the changes we’ve made – and that’s the most amazing feeling.
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.