‘Couldn’t do my favourite hobby’ Woman loses three stone

Jessica’s weight loss journey is not over, having begun just a few months ago, in April, but she has already lost almost three stone. The junior doctor from Wolverhampton spoke to Express.co.uk about how she did it.

At university in Manchester, studying medicine, Jessica’s life was busy and stressful, which she coped with by having “far too many unhealthy meals and takeaways”.

She said: “My choices were always the extravagant options; the super cheesy and greasy meals, followed by a big chocolatey dessert. I thought of food as a treat, allowing myself to have high calorie meals as a reward.”

As a result, the 26-year-old gained weight, and continued to do so after graduating and starting to work as a junior doctor.

“Although I love my job, working long hours and having busy shifts took all of my energy,” she explained. “I’d get home and order takeaways or whip up something quick.

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“I continued to gain weight and it made it very difficult to take part in my favourite hobby – netball. I had always played netball in school and at university, competing in leagues across Manchester.

“The extra weight made me feel slow, and I noticed I wasn’t playing as well as I had done before. I felt like I wasn’t good enough, and I left my team.”

Jessica’s weight hadn’t only impacted her physical health, but her mental health too. She continued: “I started to feel really down about my weight. Both eating an unhealthy diet and not exercising was definitely impacting my mood. Add in to that the lack of confidence and self-esteem, and I started to feel really low.

“I found I was tired a lot of the time, and doing the simplest things like grocery shopping was an effort. When I had social events coming up, I’d spend ages going from shop to shop trying to find clothes that would fit me and make me feel good.

“I remember being upset in a changing room once as the size 18 clothes I had selected were too tight and the shop didn’t have any bigger sizes. I became quite short tempered with those close to me. I wasn’t the bubbly happy Jess I used to be.”

However, while on placement at a GP practice, Jessica met “a few receptionists who were doing slimming world”.

“They told me all about it,” she recalled. “But it wasn’t until a few months later, after finding out my BMI was in the obese category and my blood pressure was high, that I finally got the courage to walk into group.”

Jessica joined the other “friendly and welcoming” slimmers at Slimming World in April this year, and has attended a weekly session ever since.

She told Express.co.uk what these sessions entail, saying: “Slimming World revolves around ‘food optimising’. It essentially teaches you how to eat a balanced and healthy diet. After trying a few diets before, I was very pleased to see that with Slimming World, you can eat as much foods like vegetables, fruits, lean meats, pasta, rice as you want, without having to weigh them.

“You do have to watch the amount of bread, oils, snacks like chocolate, biscuits or crisps that you eat, but you get a total number of ‘sins’ a day to spend on these items. This means that you can still eat what you want, but you measure these items incorporate them into your plan.

“Slimming World also encourages you to take part in exercise, known in group as ‘body magic’. Once you reach your target weight, Slimming World helps you learn how to maintain that weight going forward.”

Jessica’s target weight is 10 stone, but having weighed 13 stone 6.5lbs at the beginning of her journey, she is almost there – the 26-year-old has so far lost two stone and eight pounds.

She explained: “I’m well on my way to my target – less than a stone to go! I feel so confident, and I’ve dropped from barely fitting into size 18 clothes, to a comfortable size 12. I’m picking up tighter fitting clothes off the rails in shops and avoiding the baggy floral dresses I’ve been wearing for years.”

Jessica went on to give more details about her Slimming World sessions, saying: “Everybody helps you overcome your difficulties, suggesting ideas to help with your journey. Slimming World has many recipe books in group too which help with meal inspiration.

“I’ve made great friends through the group, and love getting there early for a good catch up before group starts. Some people in my group have lost over five stone. Others have taken up new sports, and one member of our group recently ran the London Marathon. After being surrounded by inspiring people, you always leave group feeling motivated about the week ahead.”

Thanks to Slimming World, Jessica now eats a healthy and balanced diet, without starving herself. She has shared her daily meal plan with Express.co.uk below.

As for exercise, the junior doctor has joined a new netball team and plays in a local league every Tuesday.

“I love being back on the court again,” Jessica said. “I’ve taken up a new sport too – aero bungee. This is a workout or dance class in a bungee harness and it’s so much fun. I will also often choose to walk places now, instead of driving. I’m hoping to find an exercise class for the weekends too.”

Due to the increased exercise, Jessica’s mental health is now “much better”. She revealed: “I feel positive and full of energy, and most importantly, I have my self-love back. I’m enjoying wearing some of the outfits I’ve had in the back of my wardrobe for over six years. I’m hoping that by sharing my weight loss story, others will start their own.”

Jessica’s typical week in meals

Breakfasts: Weetabix minis fruit and nut/porridge and fruit/poached eggs with bacon, mushrooms, tinned tomatoes and a slice of toasted brown bread.

Lunches: Mozzarella salad/leek, potato and lentil soups/leftovers from meals made the night before such as chicken stirfry or pasta bake.

Dinners: Spaghetti bolognese with salad/spicy chicken and roast garlic potatoes with salad/chicken noodle soups filled with veg.

Snacks: Fruit (especially watermelon and strawberries), high protein low fat yoghurts/quark, high fibre snack bars.

Alcoholic choices: Always a spirit and a diet mixer, currently rhubarb gin and slimline tonic.

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