After: Jo Street after losing 8st 5lb where she is now enjoying her love of musical theatre
Jo Street, 53, a customer services manager from Acrefair, Wrexham, lives with her husband Carl. At 5ft 6in, she now weighs 10st 11lb after losing 8st 5lb. She says:
Amateur musical theatre is something I love, but — self-conscious in my size-22 clothes — I’d always shied away from being on stage, preferring to help sew costumes for the cast or support my daughter Catrin from backstage.
She looked as if she was having so much fun and I longed to be out there with her, but I thought if I took to the stage, everyone would laugh at me.
I don’t remember ever really being happy with my size. I was always one of the biggest girls at school and, by the time I turned 21, I was a size 18. Then I began a cycle of yo-yo dieting.
I lost weight when I first met Carl before putting it all back on plus more when I became pregnant with Catrin.
As a busy mum, I’d tell myself I didn’t have time to worry about eating healthily. I’d skip breakfast, and for lunch I’d have a chocolate bar and crisps. In the evenings, I’d eat pasta in a creamy sauce with a garlic baguette, cheese and biscuits and a glass of wine.
Before: Jo said she was self-conscious as a size 22. She said: ‘I’d tell myself I didn’t have time to worry about eating healthily’
I started to worry about the effect my weight was having on my health: I already relied on indigestion tablets, and my ankles would swell up when I was on my feet for any length of time.
Each year we flew to Lanzarote — and each year the seat belt became tighter. I’d panic beforehand, terrified that this would be the time I’d finally need a seat-belt extender. In July 2015, that day came. Except I didn’t ask for an extender. Instead, I desperately pushed back into the seat and sucked in my tummy for the whole journey.
My 50th was just around the corner when a Slimming World leaflet dropped through my door. As I walked into the group, my Slimming World Consultant Mo instantly put me at ease. ‘Don’t worry, you can do this,’ she said.
I hoped she was right — at 19st 2lb, I had a task ahead of me. Mo explained that planning ahead was key, so I started making a shopping list of meals for the week. For the first time in years I had breakfast, eating soft-boiled eggs and a bowl of fruit. There were so many tasty lunches and dinners to choose from — from roast vegetable pasta to butternut squash chilli. After a few months, my swollen ankles improved, and I no longer relied on indigestion tablets. Almost a year after I joined Slimming World, I was 8st lighter and ready to step out of my comfort zone.
I joined an adult musical theatre group and, shortly after, I was dancing out onto the stage with my daughter by my side. This time, though, I had no qualms about showing off my legs in a cute, size-10 cowgirl outfit! I’m happier in my 50s than I ever imagined.