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“I’m half my size but twice the person”*
At her heaviest, 26-year-old Jennifer Ginley couldn’t fit into rollercoaster seats at Disney World. She lost an incredible 135lbs* in just over a year with weight loss motivation and now feels confident, healthy—and can’t wait to go dress shopping for her wedding.
"I was a fairly averaged-size child but I was a size 14 by the time I went to off to college. Living away from home saw me gain even more weight. I tried so many diets in the past, but all of them seemed to make food the enemy, so I never addressed my relationship with overeating and nothing seemed to work for me.
"When I found myself buying size-22 clothes for a vacation to Florida—a vacation I’d been looking forward to for so long—I knew something had to change. I had to ask for a seat belt extender on the plane, I spent our time there having to ride on the adjusted seats for larger people and I was horrified when I saw the photos. I looked so unhealthy that I cried, wondering how and why I had done that to myself.
I joined Slimming World with my mom and sister. I just didn’t want to waste any more of my life being overweight and disliking myself for it.
"Before Slimming World I wouldn’t eat any breakfast or prepare any lunch or snacks for work, so I always found myself eating whatever I could lay my hands on—mainly store-bought sandwiches or fast food meals. Now I prepare in advance so I’m ready for the day ahead – enjoying oatmeal and fruit for breakfast and taking tasty salads or homemade soup to work with me. In the evening I’ll have a stir-fry or homemade spaghetti and meat sauce. My weight loss motivation was at an all time high.
"Before I lost weight I had a complete lack of belief in myself and I feel like I wasted so many years with fake smiles that hid how unhappy I was. I was a serial failed-dieter and could never understand how I could achieve so much in other areas of my life, yet I couldn’t control what I ate.
Finally taking control of my weight was such a huge turning point for me, both physically and mentally.
"My boyfriend Luke and I have been together for more than 11 years and I always used to discourage him from proposing because I couldn’t imagine myself as a bride being the size I was. He proposed just before Christmas and I said 'Yes!' without even a second thought about my weight, and I can’t wait to go dress shopping.
"A key part of my journey was posting my meals on Instagram—it helped me stay on track. Now I have over 150,000 followers! I still have to pinch myself when people call me an inspiration, or say that they’re going to start slimming because of me. My mom and sister have lost over 98lbs between them, too.
"About five years ago I used to dance regularly, but as I got bigger my joints would hurt and I’d get out of breath after just a short walk, so I gave it up. After I lost about 98lbs I felt brave enough to go back to my dance class, and I love it now. I also joined a gym - it taught me how to get in shape.
"I feel like I'm a butterfly, emerging from my cocoon. Best of all, I finally believe myself when I say 'I am going to...' across all aspects of my life. I might be half the size but I feel like I’m twice the person now. I know I have the strength and the willpower to achieve anything I put my mind to, and that’s a really powerful feeling."
*Your weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and how much you have to lose.