Devastated and feeling at rock bottom, Jean, who had been struggling with her weight, knew she needed help.
Spending most of her adult life focusing on those around her and not giving much thought to herself, Jean's own health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally, had suffered.
Jean, who lives in Colne and works in the NHS, said: “I’d never really struggled with my weight when I was younger but, over the years, as life has got busier and busier, my weight slowly increased and the effects of that sneaked up on me.
"I began to feel tired and out of breath very easily – not ideal when working on your feet and having children to run around after.
" I would find myself avoiding having my photograph taken and my confidence in social situations was non existent.”
The turning point for Jean came during a routine weight check with her doctor. She added: “I couldn’t believe my eyes!
"I knew that I had been gaining weight in recent years but seeing the actual numbers on the scales hit me like
lightening. I was so upset.”
Desperate to lose weight Jean tried many different diets but found it impossible to stick to the severe restrictions of them. All her favourite foods, like pasta and potatoes, were banned and she just couldn’t keep motivated when she wasn’t enjoying what she was eating.
Luckily for Jean, she shared a lunch break at work with a friend who turned out to be a member of a local Slimming World group. She was shocked and delighted to discover that the potatoes and pasta she’d been told to avoid were not only part of Slimming World’s Extra Easy Eating plan but actually unlimited Free Foods meaning she could enjoy them to her heart’s content.
Jean said: "“I couldn’t believe the difference in our lunch boxes that day. My meagre, plain salad looked so unappetising next to her home-made salmon and potato salad! I knew instantly that this would be the plan for me."
That night, Jean walked into her local Slimming World group in Clayton Le Moors, where she lived at the time, feeling nervous and apprehensive.
She said: “I was so desperate to lose weight, the thought of failing again was crippling. Could I really do it this time?”
Jean’s fears quickly disappeared as she was greeted by a room full of warm, friendly faces and her Slimming World Consultant, Louise Woodcock.
Over the next year, Jean lost 4.5st, making simple changes to the way she shopped and cooked, adapting all her favourite pasta recipes to make them tasty and healthy too.
Jean said: “Simple swaps from high fat ingredients and ready-made sauces to cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients made a huge difference. Not only was the weight dropping off me, but my meals tasted so much better than before too."
Throughout her weight loss journey, Jean found that the support of her Slimming World Consultant and fellow members invaluable.
She said: " “Being surrounded by a group of people who always know exactly how you feel is amazing. I never
felt alone, and everyone understood my struggles. The help, support and recipe ideas shared each week were vital, I always left group feeling motivated and ready for the week ahead.”
After losing weight, Jean is simply loving life. She enjoys a huge variety of meals and is now much more active than before. She loves nothing more than spending time in the great outdoors – walking her two dogs or enjoying a spot of cycling. She has also found a renewed confidence and is more than happy to be front and centre on photographs with family and friends.
Jean’s favourite meals now are pasta in a home-made tomato sauce with salmon or tuna and a Sunday chicken dinner with roast potatoes and vegetables. And her top tips include joining a group for mutual support and also never to beat yourself up or feel guilty if things get you down.
Jean’s outlook on life has changed so much that she is now embarking on a brand-new journey – into the role of a Slimming World Consultant herself. Jean will be running her group at St Joseph’s Catholic Centre,
Bolland Street, Barnoldswick on Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm.
For more details you can contact Jean on 07791 939069 or visit slimmingworld.co.uk