Slimming World - Life begins at 40 after 6.5 stone weight loss

By Hayden Moore

When Lisa O’Neill weighed in the day before her 40th birthday, she had reached her goal of losing six-and-a-half stone in just 15 months but her journey of leading a healthier lifestyle is something she’s still only at the beginning of.

In September 2018, Lisa weighed her heaviest at 14 stone nine pounds and at that point she made the first step towards becoming more active by joining her local Slimming World, in Tymon North.

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Lisa O’Neill

Aislinn, then a consultant with the Tymon North branch, has witnessed many come and go but believes the first thing that can be done is to just go to a local group and take that initial step.

“Just come to a local group. Basically, the new person comes in and sits down, they talk with the other members and see what it’s all about,” she said.

“They get to find out what it is before they sign-up or pay anything, that’s just what Lisa did.

“Before Lisa joined, I don’t think she would have been able to run to catch a bus if she needed to. Now she is swimming, doing weights, boxing, the whole lot – she’s an avid gymgoer.”

It started with the first step, losing a few pounds here and there until it made up a bigger picture, but it was the food plan that caught her by surprise.

The word ‘diet’ carries negative connotations of a regimented strict plan that brings images to mind of people pushing peas around their plate claiming it’s a full meal – but with the group, there is no food that is off limits.

“When members come in and see the plan, they’ll realise it’s not a diet because there is unlimited food on it and they can eat things like pasta, potatoes and rice,” says Lisa’s consultant Aislinn, who herself has shed four stone on the plan.

“It’s all bog-standard food, it just teaches you how to use food properly. It’s back to basics and it would remind you of years ago when people would cook their standard traditional meals at home.

“They don’t have to have a state-of-the-art kitchen facility or be a masterclass chef, and they don’t have to be making their meals separate from the family – it’s normal food, everybody can eat it.

“It’s more to do with changing eating habits and patterns.”

Lisa joined ‘image therapy’, a group-meet that sees each member weigh-in at the start before sitting down to chat about how they got on throughout the week – whether it be good or bad.

The ‘food optimising’ plan has members of Slimming World focus on getting the most of ordinary food and is the reasoning behind Lisa “eating the weight off herself”.

“It was just chipping away every week, she’d lose two pounds one week, three the next, one the week after. Probably after two months you started to notice and then it just went on and on,” says the consultant.

“She turned 40 the day after she reached her target, what a birthday present for yourself.

“One thing about Lisa is that she has only missed one night since she started, she’s a brilliant member and very encouraging of others. She deserves to be so proud of herself.

“The thing about Slimming World is that you set your own targets. So, Lisa set herself a couple of targets and when she would reach them, she would see how she felt and then set a new one.”

Lisa turned 40 on December 21 after weighing in at eight stone, one-and-a-half pound and is still continuing to pursue a healthy life.

But it’s not all done through the plan and hitting the gym for everybody.

According to the Healthy Ireland Survey 2017, 69 per cent of people with an ‘obese’ Body Mass Index are trying to lose weight whether it be through traditional forms of exercise or by just walking regularly, cleaning the car or even doing some gardening work.

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