- Zoe Jones, 27, from Pontypridd, tipped the scales at 15 stone at university
- Said she felt ashamed of her size and made excuses to stay home
- She lost almost 6st in just over a year and has been named Miss Slinky
A woman who spent years avoiding nights out because she felt frumpy next to her friends has lost nearly 6st to be named ‘Miss Slinky 2015’.
At her heaviest Zoe Jones, 27, from Pontypridd, Wales, dreaded getting dressed up and would make excuses to stay home instead of socialising.
Now she’s dropped four dress sizes, going from a size 18 to a ten, and has been awarded the national title by weight-loss organisation Slimming World.
Zoe Jones reached a 15st while at university in Cardiff but after now she’s a svelte 9st and a slender size 10
She had always been a little bigger than her friends but piled on more weight both during her time at Cardiff University and afterwards when she left home for good.
Zoe says that when it came to catering for herself she would often resort to convenient but unhealthy options.
‘When I moved out of my mum and dad’s house into my own place, I found cooking for one tricky and would usually end up eating something made from a ready-made sauce that was enough for at least two people.’
‘Then boredom would set in and I’d spend my evenings lounging in front of the TV grazing on crisps and sweets. I was stuck in a rut.’
She soon became insecure with the way she looked and began to avoid social situations.
‘I used to come up with every excuse in the book not to join my friends on nights out because, while I loved spending time with them, I hated how I looked and felt.’
Zoe made it her New Year’s resolution to fit into a size 10 so she ditched cakes and biscuits to reach her goal
Zoe became so embarrassed about her appearance that she chose to avoid nights out with friends
In July 2013, after confiding in her father how unhappy she was about her size, Zoe became determined to make a change.
‘My poor mum and dad bore the brunt of my bad moods. I was really insecure about my appearance, I’d get upset easily and my confidence was at an all-time low.
‘Talking to my dad that day made me realise that the only thing standing in my way when it came to doing something about my weight was me.’
Just days later Zoe joined her mum Helen at their local Slimming World group in Church Village in Mid Glamorgan run by consultant Jo Green.
Although Zoe had tried losing weight through the organisation before, she was determined that this time she would make a permanent change.
‘I’d been to several Slimming World groups in the past and lost around a stone each time, but I never made a long-term commitment to it.
‘This time was different. I wasn’t just going to go to the group to get weighed, I knew I needed the help and support of Jo and the other members to reach my target.
Zoe now loves going shopping for new outfits, joining her friends on nights out and is now a keen runner
‘There are so many characters in our group and I found I loved getting to know everyone, even now that I’m at my target weight I still go each week. I always leave with a different recipe or piece of advice from someone in the group.’
Zoe, who works as a contracts coordinator for her family’s business, began following the club’s Food Optimising healthy eating plan, and replaced store-bought dinners with home-cooked meals made from scratch including chilli con carne and Thai curries.
She’s now expanded her cooking skills and regularly tries new recipes.
‘I’ve always liked cooking but I used to make cakes and biscuits. Nowadays I enjoy experimenting with savoury recipes and I love that with Slimming World you can always find a healthy alternative for whatever you fancy.
‘I cook for my friends and family a lot – they always ask for the recipes afterwards.’
Zoe says that despite her change of diet she is still able to enjoy the odd indulgence from time to time.
Zoe is 2015’s Miss Slinky, a prize given to the female slimmer who’s had the most inspirational transformation
‘I think it’s been important for me that I can still have treats too, whether it’s a glass of wine with the girls or some chocolate at Christmas, so I never feel like I can’t live my life or like I’m missing out.’
As well as changing her eating habits, Zoe took up running and started attending Pilates classes.
‘Before I lost weight it never occurred to me to do any real sort of activity. To be honest even the gentlest of exercise would probably have been a struggle.
‘I feel like a different person now. I have bucket loads more energy and I love putting on my fluorescents and going for a run on an evening. Me and my best friend Emma completed the Cardiff half marathon in October – I couldn’t stop smiling after I crossed the finish line.’
Since first joining Slimming World Zoe’s lost a total of 5st 12lbs, dropping from 15st 7½lb to 9st 9½lb.
Now she’s been named the club’s Miss Slinky 2015, an award for the female slimmer who’s had the most inspirational transformation, both inside and out.
Zoe says that she is thrilled with her new slender figure and now enjoys hunting for new outfits and regulary goes out with her friends.
ZOE’S DIET BEFORE
Mid-morning: Chocolate bar or biscuits
Lunch: Shop-bought sandwich with mayonnaise, packet of crisps and chocolate bar or chocolate muffin
Mid-afternoon: Biscuits or whatever treats were brought into the office, such as cakes from the local bakery
Dinner: Ready-meal with bread and butter, following by a dessert such as ice cream with sauce and toppings
Evening: Crisps, chocolate, biscuits
ZOE’S DIET NOW
Breakfast: 35g porridge oats with fat-free natural or flavoured yogurt topped with fresh fruit
Mid-morning: Piece of fruit
Lunch: Crustless quiche and plenty of vegetables and herbs, or jacket potato
Mid-afternoon: Fat-free yogurt or cereal bar
Dinner: Homemade chilli con carne, Slimming World-style chips and mixed salad. Followed with sugar-free strawberry jelly.
Evening: Small chocolate bar such as a Cadbury’s Freddo and a small glass of wine
‘If someone had told me a year ago that I’d be where I am today I’d have thought they were mad. I still can’t believe it when I go shopping and gorgeous crop tops, skinny jeans and slinky dresses fit me.
‘Now I love dressing up and the girls know they can rely on me to be first on the dance floor. I finally feel like a normal 27-year-old and I’m loving it, in fact I joke I’m reliving my teenage years!’
She added that she is still in shock at the difference she has been able to make both to her body and her confidence.
‘The Christmas before I joined Slimming World I wrote down some dream goals, like New Year’s resolutions, one of which was to fit into a size 10.’
‘It’s amazing to think this January I’ve achieved that. I used to feel invisible and want to hide away but not any more, after winning this award I want to show people that if I can do it they can too.
‘I’m so proud of myself and best of all my family and friends are proud of me too.’