Woman lost 6st by following a diet plan where ‘nothing’s off limit’
Joanne Reeve would “avoid going to theme parks for fear of not fitting in the seat” and she got to a point in her life where both she and her children were “missing out” on living a full life because of her weight.
In a bid to get slim, Joanne joined WeightWatchers and found the “simple points limit” and food plan where “nothing is off limits” a success as she shed 6st 13lb taking her from 23st 12lb to 16st 13lb, and UK dress size 28 to 18.
She spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about her weight loss journey and the advice she would give to others who find themselves in a similar situation.
Joanne explained she had “been trying to lose weight for quite a while”, but “never really had much success”.
“I went through cycles of losing some weight then would put it back on again,” she added. “I had explored different ways of losing weight, but I was struggling to get into the right mindset.
“The turning point for me was coming across the quote ‘You would die for your children, but do you live for them’ – this really put things into perspective for me.”
Before signing up for WeightWatchers, Joanne admitted she “wasn’t prepared to put the effort in”, but she “learnt that unless I was going to put the effort in, I wasn’t going to lose weight”.
Speaking about why WeightWatchers was the right diet for her, she said: “I could still enjoy the foods I love. It worked so well for me because I felt no restriction – if I wanted to have a chocolate bar, I could have a chocolate bar.
“It’s the flexibility of WW which has helped me lose my weight – I don’t feel like I’m on a diet, it’s more of a lifestyle change.
“When dieting in the past, I have typically restricted myself, but I’ve now learnt that I can still eat my favourite foods but it’s just about keeping to your plan and making sure that the foods you eat stay within your daily points.
“In the past, I’ve thought I was eating healthy, but it then transpired that this is not the case, so through WW, I’ve been able to better my knowledge of what is healthy which has helped me to change my mindset and stick to my weight loss goals.
“Smart swaps can go a long way, so for example, if I can still enjoy Nando’s but I can opt for rice instead of chips and still keep on track with my goals.
“The WW app is super helpful as it offers points for all popular restaurants, so I’ve been able still to go out for meals and stay within my daily point allowance,” she added.
Before WeightWatchers, Joanne would eat “a lot of takeaways and a lot of chocolate or ice cream”. She admitted: “I’m a pudding person and my favourite thing is ice cream and I’m also partial to a cheesecake.
“Prior to my WW journey, I would have a lot of takeaways such as KFC, McDonalds, and curry. My portion sizes were double what they should be, and I feel so much better for cutting back.”
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As for what foods she ate to lose weight, she said: “I try to stick to my three daily mails and not snack in-between but if I do snack, I snack smarter. Instead of chocolate buttons or mousses, I now would snack on fruit, sugar-free jelly or low-fat yoghurt.”
A typical three meals a day now looks like this:
Breakfast – Weetabix with fruit or scrambled eggs on toast
Lunch – Bagel thins with ham, smoked salmon or beef
Dinner – Lean mince beef cottage pie, chicken roast dinner, lean mince spag bowl
Snacks – Fruit or hula hoop puffs.
As for what exercises Joanne did to aid weight loss, she revealed: “The great thing about WW is that physical activity is rewarding in more ways than one! For every point added from an activity, one point will be automatically added to your weekly points budget.
“Exercise really kickstarted my journey! Walking, running, skipping and dancing have all helped me keep on track.
“I initially set myself a target of walking 10,000 steps a day come rain or shine – I was so determined to do it! I also completed the couch to 5k and do dance classes both online and in person – these have really helped boost my confidence.
“Finding something you love will make you stick to it. I love being outside so exercising in the outdoors really helped me! My dance coach is so positive and body confident and she really inspires me to keep going back to the classes each week.”
Apart from physical appearance and weight, Joanne revealed another change she noticed in herself since losing weight: “I have a new lease of confidence! Losing weight has made me much more outgoing.
“My taste in clothes has changed – I now love bright colours and dresses! Before I would have always worn black leggings and now, I’d only wear them to work out in.
“I’ve had a real shift in my attitude, and I want to challenge myself and live life and not miss out on new adventures.
“When you are larger you want to hide away but since losing weight, I have a whole new lease of life. It wasn’t just me missing out, it was my son and I’m now so determined to not miss out and live life to the max!”
As for what advice she has for anyone else in a similar situation, Joanne said: “The hardest thing is not giving up. We all have ups and downs in life and sometimes you will be out for dinner, or at a party and eat more than you should – but this isn’t failure! One day doesn’t have to determine the week or month. You don’t have to start that diet Monday; you can do it today.”
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