Summer Slim-speration: Lost 7 stone thanks to Facebook!

Summer Slim-speration: Lost 7 stone thanks to Facebook!

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Helen featured image



Once slim Gillian loved her husband’s delicious home cooking so much she ballooned to a size 24. But encouragement from an unlikely source would soon help her shed the pounds…

By Helen O’Brien Google


When I met my husband Steven in 1992, he loved my slim size 10 body – and I loved his delicious dinners.

We hadn’t been together for long before he moved into the family home and, as trained chef, was cooking huge platefuls every night for my mum, Barbara, sister, Val, and me.

I loved tucking into his gorgeous lasagne and fried chips followed by some of his homemade biscuits and cakes, which I’d always wash down with a big glass of coke.

In 1994, we married and got a place of our own but Steven continued to cook for four – even though there were only two plates to fill.

By the time I fell pregnant with our daughter Chloe in 2000, I was a size 18.

As well as Steven’s dinners, I’d often put away a full cooked breakfast in the morning followed by a Big Mac meal from McDonald’s at lunch, while scoffing chocolate and crisps at my desk at the bank where I worked as an analyst.

Gillian before weight loss photo
BEFORE: The photo that inspired Gillian to diet

I knew I was getting larger, but I convinced myself I was fine with it because Steven always told me I looked lovely – until, in August 2011, I saw a picture of myself standing at the bar on a family holiday in Wales.

Tears filled my eyes as I realised how big I’d got. I was squeezing into size 24 jeans, but I’d buried my head in the sand.

I knew I had act if I didn’t want to put my health at risk and I joined a Scottish Slimmers club, vowing that I’d get back into my size 10 clothes.

I was so nervous that I took my sister along to the first meeting. I was horrified when I stepped on the scales and the class leader told me I was 17st 10lbs.

I was almost eight stone heavier than I should be, but it made me all the more determined to make a change.

As I came home armed with advice about healthy eating, I couldn’t help but think how much I’d miss Steven’s cooking.

“Why don’t I cook you healthy meals instead?” he suggested.

I was sceptical, but his first creation – a plate of low calorie chilli prawns – was so delicious I couldn’t resist taking a photo of it and posting it on my Facebook page, explaining to my 200 friends how I planned to slim down.

I was so touched when messages of encouragement began flooding it.

“You can do it, Gillian,” one friend wrote.

Spurred on by their support, I started posting pictures of Steven’s healthy creations on my page every night.

DURING: Gillian's healthy meals
DURING: Gillian’s selection of healthy dinners, uploaded to Facebook

From feta and onion tart to chicken and apricot meatloaf, I had no idea things so tasty could be healthy, too.

By the end of the first week, I’d lost 4lbs and I couldn’t wait to share the news with my Facebook friends.

Now, there were so many people rooting for me that every time I craved a burger, I knew I couldn’t give up.

The weight began falling off and in just four months, I had lost three stone.

Now I wasn’t just posting pictures of my healthy meals, I was also showing off my shrinking body on the social networking site.

Steven was so proud he bought me a professional photoshoot so I could model my new figure in style and I was thrilled when I managed to fit into a sexy black dress in a size 16.

The best thing was seeing the look on Steven’s face – there’s no better feeling than hearing your husband tell you you’re a knockout.

By this point, word of my online diet diary was spreading and I started to receive friend requests from people I’d never met, desperate for tips on healthy eating.

 Gillian  3 and a half stone weight loss
DURING: Gillian showing off her 3 stone weight loss

I was happy to accept them as friends because I wanted them to see just how tasty healthy food could be. After all, I didn’t know where I would be without the kind words from my own Facebook friends.

But as I got closer to my target, the pounds got harder and harder to shift.

I’d gone from regularly posting that I’d lost a stone or half stone to writing that I’d shed just a few pounds a week. I assumed people would lose interest, but they were amazing.

They’d been with me all the way and they reassured me that I was nearly there, reminding me that the weight was still coming off, slowly but surely.

By December 2012, my size 12 clothes were starting to feel a bit big on me.

I went shopping with my daughter and on a whim, I decided to try on a pair of size 10 jeans. We were both jumping up and down in the changing room when they fitted perfectly.

A few nights later, I went to my Scottish Slimmers meeting and tears rolled down my face as the class leader told me I’d reached my target weight of 10st 5lbs.

When I eventually calmed down, I logged onto Facebook to share the news with all of the people who’d shared my journey.

It was really quite emotional as so many people left lovely comments.

I still log onto Facebook regularly as many of my online friends use it to ask me for diet tips – I tell them if I can do it, so can they.

I’ve also turned into a bit of a shopaholic and friends and family are always taking pictures of me modelling my new wardrobe.

I was determined to post a picture of myself back in size 10 jeans. Now, I can’t stop!

Gillian Gray, 41

Dunfermline, Fife

Before and after 7 stone
BEFORE AND AFTER: Gillian’s 7stone weight loss

Did you see yesterday’s Summer Slim-speration? You can find out how best friends Jackie and Leanne got their bikini bodies with a fantastic 7 stone weight loss. Don’t forget to share the tips with your mates too!