Chocoholic Jennifer, 37, overhauled her eating habits to go from a size 18 down to a 9st 4lb size 10
'Because I’d always thought of myself as slim, I didn’t notice my weight creeping up until it was too late. By the time I realised, I was getting bigger but I just couldn't stop eating and craved chocolate every afternoon.
Think before you eat
'Without realising it, a 3pm Mars bar had become my go-to pick-me-up to get me through the rest of the day. To make matters worse, I wasn’t doing a scrap of exercise. Deep down, I was embarrassed about my weight – I hadn’t always been big, but over the years I put on three stone. I just didn’t know how to get myself out of that trap.
My light bulb moment
‘It was a school reunion 18 months ago that made me realise I had to take action. I’d always been slim at school and when I bumped into an old friend, I saw the shock on his face. He was polite and told me I ‘looked well’ but I knew he was lying and I just felt so embarrassed. That night, I got home and told my husband, Paul, that I’d had enough of looking and feeling so big. He promised he’d support me whatever I decided to do.
How I changed my body – and my life
‘The biggest challenge was ditching my 3pm chocolate habit – but I knew it was crucial if I wanted to lose weight. I couldn’t face going completely cold turkey, so I eased myself in gently by swapping the Mars bars for two squares of dark chocolate, so I still had that sweet fix to get me through the afternoon. Those two squares stacked up to just 50 calories, compared to the 294 in a Mars bar!
'After a couple of months, I was ready to ditch the 3pm chocolate habit altogether. It wasn’t easy – I had headaches every day for 10 days. But I knew those cravings would pass, and in the long run it would be worth it.
‘I slowly began to feel so much better – I had a lot more energy and felt more in control of what I was eating. I started swapping buttery toast for healthy cereals, and calorific ready-meals for simple homemade dinners packed with veg. It gave me the confidence to think about exercise again, so I joined an aqua-fit class and went once a week. After a few weeks, I plucked up enough courage to join a gym, where I did a mix of cardio and weights three times a week.
10 ways to lose weight - and keep it off
‘The weight came off slowly and it took about six months – after I’d lost a stone – before anyone really noticed. By the time I’d ditched another 7lb, friends and family started telling me how great I looked and suddenly all my hard work felt worth it. The positive comments motivated me to stick to my plan and by last Christmas I’d dropped three stone and felt fantastic.’
My lighter life
‘I used to feel fat, slouchy and old. Now I feel my age and like my body shape – I never hide it under baggy clothes anymore. Losing that extra weight has given me so much energy that I can do things I’d never have done before – long weekend walks, mid-week nights out. I don’t miss my old life at all, but because I changed my diet and body slowly, the weight has stayed off. Even better, I still get to treat myself to a bar of chocolate once a week!’
How Jennifer makes it work
Jennifer in figures:
Start size: 18
Size now: 10
Start weight: 12st
Weight now: 9st 4lb
'I dropped three sizes with carb control'
'30-min circuits helped me lose 2 stone'
Like us on facebook
Follow us on twitter
Other Hearst Magazines UK sites