Clacton carer who had 'no confidence' loses 17 stone and is ready for love
- Credit: Slimming World/Paul Buller
A 46-year-old carer from Clacton whose weight piled on after her marriage fell apart has managed to lose more than 17 stone in just over two years - going from a size 34 to a size 10.
Jenny Irons has been named Slimming World's 'Woman of the Year' after hitting her 17 stone weight loss target - managing to lose 31lbs while the country was in lockdown.
The 46-year-old, whose weight had yo-yoed for decades following her divorce, has dropped 12 dress sizes, going from 27st 5lbs to 10st 5lbs - and now she is ready for love.
Jenny began her transformation back in September 2018 when she went to her local Slimming World group solely to provide moral support to her sister, Jackie, but months later she realised her sister had actually joined to help her all along.
Before joining Slimming World, Jenny said she turned to food for comfort and her health began to suffer.
She also suffered embarrassing incidents including once being unable to fit in a pub chair because of its arms. She had tried a range of diets, from meal-replacement shakes to slimming clubs, in an effort to slim down, but nothing worked for her.
"Things really got on top of me," said Jenny.
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"The depression kicked in and I was in a really bad place – the only thing that made me feel better was food. I had absolutely no confidence.
"I would go to the supermarket at 10pm at night or 5am in the morning so that no one would see me, I wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone and I hid my body in baggy clothes. It was a very lonely place.”
So, when Jenny went along to her local Slimming World group to supposedly support her sister, she had no faith that it would make a difference to her size.
However, as she started to follow the organisation’s food optimising eating plan, she slowly began to change her mindset.
"What I love about food optimising is you can still enjoy all your favourite meals like spaghetti bolognese or curry, just cooked in a different way and you don’t feel like you’re on a diet at all."
As the weeks went by and Jenny’s weight went down, she began to get excited about what she could achieve with Slimming World’s expert support.
Jenny said there have been difficult weeks, where she has felt like giving up, but the group have been there to encourage her and support her through.
After losing around six stone, Jenny decided to become more active and made it a regular part of her routine. Before, she only ever walked from her car to work, but now she can go for miles and says she gets "itchy feet" if she doesn't go out.
During the first lockdown Jenny’s group sessions were held virtually, as they are again now. Jenny embraced the change continuing to sign in to weekly Zoom sessions with her consultant Carole and fellow members.
She lost 31lbs in the first lockdown and reached her target weight of 10st 5lbs. Her BMI has gone from 54 down to 22, she's swapped her size 34 clothes for trendy size 10s and says she "can't stop smiling".
"I'm much more confident now, I don’t hide behind big baggy clothes anymore and I’d love to start dating after Covid," said Jenny.
Her ambition is to travel the world and her only regret is that she didn't do it sooner.