Teresa Gillespie is a busy mammy and granny who has successfully lost five stone!

After beginning her weight loss journey in June 2015, she reached her goal an unbelievable eight months later!

Teresa has been married to hubby Tony for forty years, and has seven children. A big family, she also has six grandchildren.

Although she struggled with her weight for most of her adult life, once she joined Slimming World she felt things began looking up.

“I work in the community as a home help, which I love doing. My day can be very long with a lot of travelling involved. The day begins around 7am and sometimes it can be 10.30pm when I get home for the night.

“The type of job means that I’m in and out all day which can make it difficult to eat regular meals but because I was able to adapt the Slimming World plan, it means I could make it work for me, so it will work for anyone!

“My weight was gained gradually, especially after the birth of each of my 7 children. I often went on diets and would lose some weight for a short amount of time. Having a busy lifestyle and not making time for proper meals was my downfall. Grazing and eating on the go was normal for me.

Teresa said that clothes shopping was a stressful and expensive chore before losing the weight.

“Being overweight really affected how I shopped for clothes. I attend a lot of weddings and other outings so getting fashionable clothes was difficult and really expensive.

“I love swimming but I had stopped going to the pool when I’d put on so much weight. Now I’m so happy to be able to take my grandchildren to the pool and enjoy doing the things that I missed.

“I’m really lucky in that I’ve always been blessed with good health but being overweight was definitely affecting me. My knees and ankles would have been very sore after a busy day. Now I have no aches or pains, I’ve more energy and I feel much fitter too.

Teresa explained that there wasn’t really a definitive final straw, but the encouragement from a friend already enrolled in the group that got her started on her weight loss journey.

“My friend had joined Slimming World and was finding it great and that encouraged me to go. She explained a lot about how it worked and how much she enjoyed the food she was able to have on it. My daughter was getting married so it was the perfect time for me to join.

“All my family was really encouraging right from the start, especially my eldest daughter who lives in the Netherlands. She comes home about 3 times a year and she would challenge me to have a certain amount off by her next visit. She was so delighted when I reached my target!

For the first time in years, Teresa can wear a size 12 pair of jeans!

“I can climb stairs without getting breathless. I buy clothes that I like instead of buying them because they fit. I have the confidence to go swimming with my grandchildren, which I love. And I’m also able to encourage others to join Slimming World and lose weight because people see how well I’ve done and they ask me how I did it, I’m only too happy to tell them.

The biggest thing to happen to Teresa as a result of her weight loss is realising how supportive her network of family and friends are.

“From everyone in my Slimming World group to the people I work with and also people I meet in everyday life, I was always given great support and encouragement.

“People would just come up to me and tell me how well I was looking and ask me what the secret was. I have to say that feeling of goodwill was one of the things that encouraged me to keep going; just knowing that everyone was behind me.

She also stresses the importance of eating proper meals when trying to lose weight.

“The biggest change I made to help me lose weight was taking time to eat proper meals. When I tell people that I eat much more now and I’ve still lost 5 stone I don’t think they fully believe me, but it’s a fact!

Teresa says that anyone embarking on their weight loss journey should not be afraid to eat quality meals and that the Slimming World plan is flexibile enough that you can stay on plan even while on holidays!

“Don’t be afraid to eat good meals. The support you get from your Slimming World consultant and all the people in group is wonderful. Everyone supports each other through the good weeks and the difficult times too.

“You can go anywhere, holidays, weekend breaks, social events and still stay on the eating plan.

“If like me you have a lot of weight to lose the first stone can be the most difficult. It was only into my second stone that people started to notice I was losing weight and I was able to see it in my clothes, once that happened it was really encouraging.

“Take it one day and one meal at a time and just try to make the right food choices. Believe that you can do this and then don’t stress about it, there will always be ups and downs, if I can lose weight anyone can.

“I am so happy to have found Slimming World. The support of my consultant Donna and everyone in the group is great.

“I’ve always had a great appreciation for the gift of life and I feel that losing weight and feeling healthy is the right thing to do for myself and my family.

“I want to be with my family and friends for as long as I can so please God my new lifestyle will help me to achieve this.

For information on where your nearest Slimming World group meets, diet tips, and delicious recipes visit www.slimmingworld.ie