“Losing weight has brought our spark back”
Mark and Amanda Gibbon have lost 150lbs between them. Here, they both reflect on how it’s transformed their health, their fitness, and their relationship.*
I can still remember the day I knew things had to change. I’d gone clothes shopping at the mall with Amanda and was waiting outside the fitting room when she came storming out, looking upset. It turned out she hadn’t been able to fit into a pair of size-14 pants, when she’d gone in thinking she was a size 12.
In the eight years since we’d first met through work, I’d never seen her so upset. I blamed myself. I thought that because I was big, with an appetite to match, my unhealthy habits had rubbed off on her. We’d been making the most of married bliss with lots of cozy nights in, snacking on cheese, cookies and cake. We told ourselves we were healthy, but the clues were there. We didn’t have any full-length mirrors and the only photos we took were selfie head shots.
Looking back, although we loved being together, we weren’t making the most of our lives. Everything had become about what we couldn’t do. From things we had to miss out on vacation—the theme-park rides we couldn’t go on, the tourist sites we couldn’t walk to—to more everyday things. It got to the point when we stopped going out for romantic meals because we were too worried that people would judge us for what we were eating.
Despite everything, it took that moment outside the fitting room for us to do something about it. It was a wake-up call—proof we weren’t as happy as we kept telling ourselves. And seeing Amanda so upset made me want to make things better. My daughter was a Slimming World member and every time we saw her she looked slimmer, so we knew it could work. Like a lot of men, though, I thought weight loss groups were more of a women’s thing, and it took Amanda a while to persuade me that it was a good idea for me to join with her.
Thank goodness I did! I loved the fact that I never felt hungry, like I had on other diets I’d tried, and over the next six months, the weight steadily came off. We still didn’t go out for romantic meals, but now it was for a different reason: nothing would taste as good as the meals we were cooking and eating at home.
Amanda and I hit our target weights just a few weeks apart, and we’re both happier and much more energised. It’s brought us closer, too. Since the moment we joined Slimming World, we’ve never looked back and we’ve supported each other every step of the way. I couldn’t be more excited about the rest of our lives together—whatever the future brings.
While I was a size 8 when Mark and I met, my weight gain wasn’t his fault. When it came to unhealthy eating, I needed no encouragement! Mark always put on a game face, but I knew that, deep down, we were both unhappy with our size. Even so, it was a shock when we weighed in with Slimming World to find that my weight had crept up to 190lbs and Mark was more than 290lbs.
We were so motivated, though. After reading all about Food Optimizing, we went straight to the grocery store and stocked up on fresh fruit and vegetables, then went home and threw out anything unhealthy. I even discovered a love of cooking! Before, Mark had done most of the meal prep. Suddenly, I was making dinners from scratch and we’d sit in the kitchen with our Slimming World recipe books and plan our meals for the week. Even simple things like vegetable paella tasted far more delicious than what we were used to. It was like having taste buds for the first time.
We started getting more active with the Body Magic program, too. At first, we went on short walks together on Sundays—we discovered parts of our town we never knew existed! Gradually, we began challenging ourselves to walk a little further each week, and then we wondered if we could actually run. Mark used to joke that he couldn’t run a bath, let alone down the street, but when we gave it a go, we loved it. And that was it—we were hooked. Now, Mark often goes for a run after work, and he’s even completed a marathon.
Since losing weight, we’re seeing each other in a new light and our relationship couldn’t be better. In fact, we’re going to renew our wedding vows. We’re going back to Sri Lanka, where we got married. And I’m going to treat myself to a new size-6 dress. We love Food Optimizing so much, there’s no danger of us slipping back into our old habits. This slim and happy couple is here to stay.
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* Your weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and the amount you have to lose.