With her 50th birthday two years away, Jill Ross looked wistfully at pictures of her dream dress.
At almost 20 stone and a size 24 she knew she must make changes if she was to wear it for her celebrations.
Self-confessed carb queen Jill feared she’d never slim down as every weight-loss plan she tried restricted her beloved pasta, rice and potatoes…until she found Slimming World.
Now she’s lost 7st and eats carbs every day!
And she’s not the only one who spent years trying and failing to cut out carbs unnecessarily.
New research from Slimming World and YouGov found more than a third of people who tried to lose weight have attempted to follow low-carbohydrate diets.
However people said they were difficult to follow, left them feeling hungry, bored and restricted in what they could eat.
Just like Jill who, as a self-confessed carbohydrate queen, feared she had no hope of losing weight because every diet she had tried restricted the amount of carbs she could eat, making her miserable.
But now Jill has lost seven stone – giving her a whole new lease of life.
“I don’t know what the final straw was,” Jill says.
“I’ve been big all my life. Looking back at pictures I was a chunky child. But I got to the point where I thought I am kidding myself that I am happy like this.”
By following a Slimming World Food Optimising plan, where unrefined carbs such as rice, pasta and potatoes are ‘Free Food’ (these can be eaten to satisfy your appetite, without being weighed, counted or measured), Jill is now a trim size 12-14.
“I remember shopping for holiday clothes just before I joined Slimming World and there was nothing that fitted and anything I did get just looked like a sack,” she recalls.
“I was 48 and I thought I am not going to be like this when I am 50.
"I’d seen a dress on a website before I started losing weight that I loved, and I thought if I ever got to a size 14 I would get it. So now I’ve got one – it’s a 1950s style, fitted with a fur collar, and I love it.”
For years Jill had been pretending that she was happy despite her size – even when the scales tipped 19st 10lb.
But when she finally decided to make a change she struggled to find a diet plan that would fit in with her love of carbohydrates.
She explains: “I am a carb queen, every meal I have has carbs in it. I suppose it was the way I was brought up – you have carbs on your plate and everything else goes round them.
“If someone said I had to cut them out I just couldn’t do it. It makes me miserable. I had tried losing weight with other plans and it was all weighing, measuring, counting.
“Everything had a value, and I just found I had to restrict my carbs too much and I couldn’t do it.
“I got obsessed with counting, weighing everything where it got to the point it was all I could think about all day long. I used to think if I eat that now, then I can’t eat later in the day.
“I realised it just wasn’t healthy so I gave up – until I found Slimming World.”
The plan was Jill’s dream because she could still enjoy her favourite foods and lose weight too.
She says: “At Slimming World, carbs are unlimited. The plan is put together where you fill a third of your plate with fruits and veg or salad, then the rest of your plate is made up of Free Food which have no limit on them, and then your ‘Syns’ so you have a set number of Syns each day which are things you would expect, like fats and sugar.
“But carbs are free foods – bread is restricted but you can have rice, pasta and potatoes. So that’s why it works for me because I can still eat my carbs.”
Jill swapped her usual sugary cereals and blueberry muffin breakfasts for high-fibre cereals, fruit and yoghurt – and sometimes even a healthy version of a full English.
She explains: “You can have a big cooked breakfast with no guilt at
all – lean bacon, poached egg and baked beans.”
Instead of having a big sandwich and a packet of crisps at lunch, she now has a jacket potato topped with tuna or beans.
And for dinner she still has her favourite rice and pasta dishes, but she has ditched high fat, creamy sauces for low-fat versions.
Instead of eating chocolate and crisps for snacks at work, train planner Jill now finds that she doesn’t really get peckish between meals.
The mum of one from Leeds, says: “Your taste buds really do change. I’m finding with the meals I’m eating now I feel fuller for longer so I don’t really snack as much, but if I do it tends to be raw veg, or Slimming World high-fibre cereal bars.”
Whereas before she used to hate shopping and wore baggy clothes to hide her figure, now she loves nothing more than hitting the high street and shopping for clothes she once never dreamed she could wear.
The 50-year-old says: “I couldn’t believe it the first time I pulled on a size 14 dress. For a long time I just carried on wearing the same baggy clothes I had always worn because I just couldn’t see the difference in myself.
“When you lose that amount of weight a big psychological switch has to flick at some point for you to realise what you have done.
"For a long time when I looked in the mirror I didn’t see a difference at all – even when I had lost six stone.
"went on a shopping trip with a friend I had made at Slimming World and I tried on things I had never tried before – it was just an amazing feeling to be able to try on a size 14 dress.
“Since then I’ve got into size 12s as well. I feel fantastic, I can walk into a shop and I can buy clothes that I like the look of.
“I don’t just buy stuff because it fits, I buy stuff because I like it.
“I had a photoshoot done in November which I would never have done before and I love the pictures.
“It has given me a new confidence. I go running two or three times a week and I did a 10k in November, so losing weight has completely transformed my life. I feel like a different person.”
And it’s not just Jill who is reaping the benefits – husband Andy, 57, is a fan of his wife’s slimmed-down look.
“My husband is loving it.
"He works away a lot but when he is at home he eats the same as me.
"He’s happy, if I’m happy. I feel amazing.”
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