Thursday 24 January 2019

'I haven’t had a pastry in 18 months' - husband and wife lose 12 stone between them after seeing unfit holiday snaps

Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

A husband and wife have lost 12 stone over the past year by completely overhauling their diet.

When Rob and Yvonne Cullen returned home from a wedding in Nerja in August 2016, they decided to go on a diet, having had the holiday of a lifetime.

They cut out wine, butter, breads and potatoes, and increased their vegetable intake.

“It was August 2016, we’d just come back from a wedding in Nerja and we looked back at some of the photos and the videos,” Rob told

“I was nearly 20 stone. I tried to do the couch-to-5km and I was kind of getting there but not really.”

“I support St Patrick’s Athletic in Inchicore and I noticed one of the lads at the terrace, and he had lost about five stone and I thought to myself, if he can do it, I should be able to do it. A good friend of mine John joined Slimming World with his wife as well.”

Rob and Yvonne, from Lucan, Dublin considered themselves healthy eaters before they started their diet with Slimming World, since they chose home cooking over takeaways. But they knew they still needed a lifestyle change.

“We never would have considered ourselves as really bad eaters. We would have had wine and cheese in the evenings. But the both of us are good at cooking.”

“We might have had a takeaway once a month. We were never really big drinkers, we’d have some wine over the weekend or a little during the week, but not much.”

“The big difference for me was in work. At a lot of the events, it’s sandwiches, pastries, brownies, all those things, and they’re quite hard to avoid.”

“I present at events and MC at events and people would have always thought I was happy and Mr Confident.”

“You go into a morning event, and there are mini pastries so you could have four or five of them without realising it.”

“You think you’ve been surviving on coffee but actually you’ve been having pastries all day.”

“We’re great in work for coming in with boxes of biscuits and chocolates and sausage rolls, but the lads just know to bypass my desk now because they know I’ll say ‘no’.”

Yvonne, before and after her weight loss.
Yvonne, before and after her weight loss.

He added: “Now at events there are fruit skewers, with a different variety of fruits, melons, watermelons, and pineapples, I would just go straight for them, I’d eat as much of them as I’d like. I’d spend my day snacking on fruit and vegetables which they call the speed foods in Slimming World.”

Rob and Yvonne set themselves the goal of losing two pounds a week.

“I know it sounds like a cliché, but it really is about lifestyle, not about diet. You have to be disciplined. We had a target every week of having to lose two pounds a week. You have to be disciplined to do that.”

“I remember opening the press at home thinking there are bars and crisps, do you want the five stone weight loss or do you want the packet of biscuits?”

“I haven’t had a pastry in 18 months. We gave up wine, and we gave up takeaways. We gave up pizza. We gave up bread, and butter as well. And instead of using olive oil, we’d use the spray oil.”

Rob before and after his weight loss.
Rob before and after his weight loss.

But he added: “We never deprived ourselves. We just wouldn’t go over what we were allowed.”

“Our fruit bowl and the vegetable section of the fridge is filled up every two days now. We work our weekly shopping and recipes around what’s on offer in the shops. If there are onions and mushrooms on offer, we’ll fill stir frys with those and other vegetables as well.”

Yvonne and Rob have become healthy cooks, devising their own recipes for cous cous and salads and stirfrys, and their two boys Liam and Tommy have also embraced the diet.

“You get used to all these things and now it’s the norm. I remember at the start of our journey, going to a wedding, or a communion, and I found myself just asking for extra vegetables.”

He added: “I have a new found love now for green beans. No matter what I’m having I add green beans.”

“You actually start craving vegetables. You want to make sure you have your onions or mushrooms or vegetables.”

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