'It was a jaw-dropping moment' - Mum-of-three tells how wedding photo shocked her into losing a whopping six stone
A mother-of-three says seeing a photograph of herself at a friend’s wedding shocked her into losing a whopping six stone.
Penny Roche (47) from Greystones, Co Wicklow had struggled with her weight at university but it was a photo taken at a July 2014 wedding of herself with the bride that motivated her to tackle it.
“My husband had taken the photo of the two of us and I remember I saw it after the wedding when we got back to the hotel. You go out thinking you look gorgeous, putting in all the time and effort to get ready, and then seeing the photo and going ‘oh God do I look like that?’”
“The girl in question, the bride, she’s very petite, she’s five foot nothing and I’m five foot eight so I tower over her anyway but I also looked twice as wide as her. It was a shock.”
“It’s not until something visual is put in front of you that you think ‘this is the reality’. It was a bit of a jaw-dropping moment. Needless to say that photo didn’t get put up anywhere in the house,” Penny laughed.
Within a month, Penny had signed up for a weekly weight loss class. In her first week, she lost six pounds.
“I always have been very tall for my age, I was bigger in terms of build for my age. I probably would have been bigger than a lot of my friends than in school but it wasn’t an issue. It was really when, after school finished, heading into college, it became more of an issue.”
“In college I was cooking for myself, and there was plenty of drinking going on and all that kind of stuff. Just the high sugary treats and biscuits and snacks and toast at any time of day.”
She added: “I’d done various diets, cabbage soup diets and all the mad ones.
“I’d lost weight before I got married, and then it starts to creep up on you again. In the back of my mind, I always knew there was the diabetes risk because I’d had the gesticular diabetes with the three pregnancies.”
“I have three young girls and I thought if I don’t do something about it now I could send out the wrong message to them.”
“They’re now aware that it’s something worth celebrating and that it’s important to eat healthily.”
Penny says this time, she found a sustainable way of losing her weight and keeping it off. She lost it by joining Slimming World, and learning the art of healthy cooking. She also cut out treats and desserts during the week.
“On weekdays, there are no treats or desserts after dinner. Like a lot of people, once [a treat is] there and if I know it’s there, I’ll keep picking at it.
“The thing about the Slimming World plan is that you can still eat all of your favourites, your burgers and chips, curry and rice, chilli con carne. It was just about learning new ways to cook it to make it healthier. I cook with spices and passatas and all of that.”
“And then, once you saw that it worked, it was easier to stick with [the plan]. I went back the first week thinking there’s no way I could have lost weight because I was eating more than I did before, but I lost six pounds. I was eating more foods but they were the right kinds of foods.”
“If you’re full all the time on the plan with potatoes, chips, pasta and rice, you’re not thinking about the quick convenient foods that aren’t healthy because you’re full.”
“Once you see how effective the plan is, it’s more than enough to keep you going.”
Penny still enjoys some treats but knows how to balance those with healthy foods, she explained.
“I love to sit down in the evenings when the kids are in bed with a cup of coffee and a nice kind of chocolate treat. That’s my treat, that’s my allocation.”
“If I really feel like a bar of chocolate, I’ll have one, I’ll save up my syns (Slimming World's points system) and have it.”
She added: “The girls would be so much more conscious and they understand when I say we’re overloading on the treats and we need to pull back. They don’t always agree, but they do get it.”
“There’s nothing holding me back now. It’s such a life change. I’ve made such a big impact on my life and I have more energy even just to sit and chat and read books with the girls and play jigsaws with them, it doesn’t necessarily have to be high energy stuff.”