When my granddad delivered some startling home truths, I vowed to change…
By Wendy Gransbury, 27, from Chippenham
WHEN Wendy Gransbury slips into a size 8 party dress this Christmas, her grandad won’t be far from her mind.
It was thanks to him that Wendy, from Lyneham in Wiltshire, got the push she needed to slim down from an obese size 24, at 17st 10lbs.
For years civil servant Wendy, 27, was in denial about her growing waistline. But, when her beloved grandad, Jim Gransbury, delivered some stark home truths she realised it was time to face facts.
Sadly, Jim died in March 2014 following a stroke before he could see the stunning full results of Wendy’s nine stone weight loss. However, she knows he would be proud.
Wendy, who is in a relationship with Dave Lazenby, 27, who works in finance, said: ‘We were at a family get-together and my grandad took me to one side for a chat. He said that he noticed I’d gained a hell of a lot of weight, and he said he was worried about me.
‘It wasn’t what I expected to hear, but I knew it was what I needed to hear. I’d gone from being slim and healthy throughout my teens, to steadily getting fatter and fatter.
‘I felt awful, like I’d let my grandad down by giving up on myself. He’s always been my inspiration and his words have inspired me ever since.’
Wendy hadn’t always been overweight. But, taking strong steroids and painkillers to treat a painful condition in the nerves in her shins lead the scales to start creeping up and up.
She said: ‘I’ve suffered from complex regional pain syndrome in my legs for years, but the medication didn’t seem to be helping.
‘For five years I was on and off crutches, and through a combination of medication side effects and comfort eating, I ended up gaining a lot of weight in quite a short period of time.
‘Instead of going out and having fun with my friends, like I should have been doing in my 20s, I turned to bars of chocolate at home on the sofa.
‘The bigger I got, the less mobile I was, so the more I’d comfort eat. I was trapped in a self-destructive cycle, and between 2009 and 2013 I gained around eight stone.’
Eventually, for a whole year Wendy found herself completely reliant on crutches to walk. Unable to stand in the kitchen to cook, she’d eat unhealthy convenience food like chicken nuggets, kievs and chips.
‘I was completely fed up of things being the way they were, but I didn’t know how to change,’ Wendy said.
‘Friends and family could see how miserable I was. They didn’t want to bring me down any further, which is why no-one said anything about my weight.
‘My grandad was the first person to bring it up. I wasn’t upset that he’d said it, I was upset because I felt like I’d let him down.
‘I’ve always been really close to him and he’s always pushed me to make the best of my life. That was the moment I knew I had to do something. It opened my eyes.’
Wendy went back to her GP to beg for help, and was referred for a free 12 week trial at Slimming World.
Then, she wasted no time in going along to her first meeting in Royal Wootton Bassett determined to make a change.
She started at 17st 10lbs, but found that week after week the pounds started dropping with the help of her new healthy eating plan. She ditched oily convenience food and started introducing more nutritious vegetables to her meals.
She said: ‘Over the next year I lost three and a half stone. I loved being able to share my progress with my grandad, and I knew he was really proud of me.
‘I started to feel proud of myself too.’
But then, Wendy’s beloved grandfather had a stroke. Just after Christmas 2013 he became bedbound, then in March 2014 he died, aged 83.
Devastated, Wendy’s weight loss plans went on the backburner while she grieved, and also helped to care for her granny, Margaret, who has Alzheimer’s.
She said: ‘When my grandad passed away it knocked me. I tried to stick to my new healthy eating habits when I could, but I had so much else on my mind.
‘I ended up gaining eight of the pounds I’d worked so hard to lose.’
It wasn’t until June 2015 that Wendy’s dieting motivation returned, inspired once again by her grandfather.
‘I was looking through some old family photo albums and I was smiling at all the photos of my grandad,’ she said.
‘Seeing all those photos brought back that conversation I’d had with my grandad that first pushed me to join Slimming World.
‘I knew that he wouldn’t have wanted me to give up and go back to how things were before.
‘He was so proud of me, and I wanted to carry on making him proud. So, I got my head back in the game.’
Soon Wendy had returned to the weekly Slimming World meetings, and was following her food plan to the letter.
Over the next year and a half the scales went down and down, until now Wendy has lost a total of nine stone to reach a slinky 8st 10lbs.
She said: ‘I always hoped that losing weight would make a big difference to my life, but the change has been even more dramatic than I could have hoped.
‘Everything is better – my confidence and my health too, not just the way I look.
‘Before, I used to hate clothes shopping because nothing would fit me. In the summer I’d even wear men’s XXXL t-shirts to try to feel cool and comfortable, I didn’t care about choosing a nice outfit.
‘Now, I love getting dressed up for work functions, and browsing the shops.
‘But the best thing is the difference losing weight has made for the pain in my legs. I never need crutches anymore and I’m completely off all the medication now too. It’s amazing.
‘I can even wear high heels again, and I’ve taken up jogging.’
Now, instead of hiding away at home with a bar of chocolate, Wendy loves going the cinema or on dates with her boyfriend to the pub.
Wendy said: ‘Before, I wouldn’t even go to the cinema because I was too scared I’d get stuck in the seat.
‘Nights out with friends were out of the question as well. I didn’t want people to stare at me, thinking that I was the ‘fat friend.’
‘If I ever did go out, I’d make sure I drank so much that I didn’t notice people looking at me.
‘I missed out on so much, but that doesn’t happen anymore.’
Wendy has been so inspired by her life change that she too is a Slimming World consultant. In August this year she launched her own meetings in Lyneham to help other people who are struggling with their weight.
‘I wanted to support people the way I’d been helped,’ she said.
‘It’s such a positive experience to encourage people along with their own weight loss journeys.
‘I even made a video about my weight loss and put it on my Slimming World Facebook page. It’s had nearly 2,500 views.
‘But, nothing makes me prouder than knowing how pleased my grandad would have been for me.
‘He was my hero and my biggest supporter. He might not be here to see how far I’ve come, but I’ve got him to thank for it.’
For information about Slimming World and to find your nearest meeting visit www.slimmingworld.co.uk.
WENDY’S DIET BEFORE:
Breakfast – White toast with lots of butter
Lunch – A chicken sandwich with crisps, chocolate and a fizzy drink
Dinner – Chicken kiev and chips
Snacks – Penguin bars, biscuits or chocolate
WENDY’S DIET AFTER:
Breakfast – Ham omelette
Lunch – A chicken salad
Dinner – Slimming World approved recipes for spaghetti bolognese or chicken with lots of vegetables
Snacks – Carrot sticks or a small portion of Jaffa Cakes