It was a beautiful day for a christening, surrounded by family and friends Preston mum, Jo Stringfellow, should have been proud to appear in pictures with her newly christened daughter.
But at over 16 stone Jo lacked the confidence to join in the fun and instead shied away from family pictures.
Jo knew that she'd put on weight while pregnant, but had struggled to take control.
The sadness she felt at the christening served as a painful reminder that she needed tackle the problem head-on and shed some pounds.
Jo says: "I knew I’d put on weight whilst pregnant, but the scales kept going up and up with no end in sight.
"I made up my mind that day to return to Slimming World."
For the next seven months the 5ft 8ins mum stuck to her plan and lost a whopping four stone.
Jo says: "As the numbers on the scales went down my confidence soared. I was losing the big baggy clothes and reclaiming my figure. By November, in just 7 months, I had reached my target of a 4 stone loss."
"I’d proved to myself that I could set a goal and achieve it. The difference in me was unbelievable, friends and family noticed how confident and happy I was - my mojo was coming back!
"I’d wanted to learn to drive for years but didn’t have the confidence or belief that I could ever pass my test after failing when I was 17. My new found confidence persuaded me to take lessons and I passed my test in July this year. The freedom and independence it’s given myself and my girls is fantastic."
"Once I’d passed my test, it was time to tick off the next goal on my list. To be a Slimming World Consultant. If I can help anyone to achieve some of the happiness, freedom and confidence that I have gained, I’ll be chuffed to bits."
The latest government figures reveal that around one in four adults are obese and it is estimated that, by 2034, this will increase to one in three. 23% of Preston’s population is now overweight or obese, and Jo says her new role has never been more important.
Jo adds: “Like a lot of people trying to lose weight, I had tried to lose weight so many times before by following numerous diets but they were never sustainable because I’d always get tired of restricting what I ate. I thought I was destined to struggle with my weight for the rest of my life, but when I came to Slimming World I never felt like I was on a diet."
Libby Brindle who runs Slimming World’s Preston West group and manages Jo as a Team Developer, says: “Slimming World Consultants are chosen for their positive outlook and because they genuinely care about the health and happiness of others. With Jo’s experience of being a successful Slimming World member and her kind and warm personality and great sense of humour I just know that she’ll be an amazing support to members, cheering them all the way to their target weight.”
Jo’s Slimming World group will be held at Plungington Community Centre every Wednesday at 7pm from 4 January 2017. For more information or to join Jo’s group either pop along on the 4 January 2017 or call her on 07763647892.
Jo's typical meals before her weight loss
Breakfast - Two slices of white toast
Lunch - Cheese mayonnaise sandwich
Snacks - Cakes and biscuits
Dinner - An Indian takeaway
Jo's typical meals after her weight loss
Healthy fruit pancakes or porridge
Lunch - Home made soup
Snacks - fruit
Dinner - home made curry packed with vegetables served with rice and a side of garlic spinach