When it comes to losing weight, it can be incredibly difficult for dieters to stick to their fitness plan, especially when doing it alone. Often it helps to have a weight loss buddy to keep you motivated. One couple who benefited from this are Katie and Tony Viney, who recently lost an incredible 14st 4lbs together. The couple – who are from Bicester – decided to lose weight, after worrying that their size wouldn’t allow them to see their grandchildren grow up.“As a busy mum of four I’d put my own health to the bottom of the pile for years. I’d always been big but with every pregnancy I just became bigger and bigger. Each of my pregnancies was deemed high-risk because of my weight – so much so that I needed a big luminous sticker on all of my notes,” Katie revealed.
Their lightbulb moment came when their eldest daughter turned 18 and they began to think about their long-term future.
“Our eldest daughter Rhiannon was about to turn 18 and it hit me that suddenly my children were becoming adults themselves – and that one day I might have grandchildren. At the rate I was going, I knew that I wouldn’t be around to see them. My fitness was terrible and even a short walk would tire me out. I didn’t even like walking up the stairs unless I absolutely had to. Something had to change,” Katie continued.
The pair decided to turn their life around and embark on the Slimming World diet, which involves dieters choosing from a list of low-fat foods known as ‘free foods’ and being allowed to eat a certain amount of ‘syn’ foods.
As a result, Katie, 45, managed to drop an incredible 9st 1.5lbs and Tony shed 5st 2.5lbs.
They have now been named Slimming World’s 2019 Couple of the Year.
How did they do it?
Tony, 52, decided to support his wife on her weight loss journey, after she asked for an unusual present one Christmas.
He said: “Like every year, in December 2017 I asked Katie what she would like for Christmas. She became a bit emotional and asked me if she could have a Slimming World membership. I could see how much she wanted to make a change, so I decided to bite the bullet and go along with her.
“I’d always been overweight myself – I grew up in a fish and chip shop so there was always fried food on the menu. In fact, I used to get bored of eating fish and chips so developed a liking for deep fried pies.
“When Katie told me she didn’t think she’d be alive to see any of our grandchildren grow up, it really shocked me into action. We joined our local Slimming World group that January and honestly we haven’t looked back since.”
The pair subsequently joined a Slimming World group in Oxfordshire in January last year.
At first, Katie and Tony were nervous to sign up, with Katie saying: “Even with Tony by my side, the nerves really kicked in. We were greeted with a big smile from our Consultant though and she made us feel at ease straight away. Everyone in the group was so friendly, and there was a big sense of us all being in it together. Tony was especially pleased when he heard about the eating plan, too!”
What did they eat?
As a professional chef, Tom worried they’d have to give up all their “favourite foods” and live on a diet of lettuce.
However, the couple couldn’t have been more wrong, with Tom explaining: “I soon realised that I could adapt many of our favourite family meals to make them the Slimming World way – just by making simple swaps like switching from oil to low-calorie cooking spray and using lean cuts of meat. One of our favourites is a beef stroganoff, it’s absolutely delicious.”
Before, teaching assistant Katie – who slimmed down from just over 21st to 9st, going from a dress size 24 to a 10 – survived on a diet of pastries for breakfast, sandwiches and crisps for lunch, takeaway for dinner, and more biscuits and crisps for snacks.
She swapped her previously poor diet for a much healthier plan of porridge and berries for breakfast, salads for lunch, beef stroganoff for dinner, with lots of fruits to snack on or Slimming World hi fibre bars.
The benefits were endless, and not only impacted on Katie’s appearance, but her physical health, too.
“I [had] developed lymphedema in my legs after getting cellulitis a few years ago, and as a result had to wear surgical stockings all of the time. Since losing weight though, my circulation has improved so much that one of my legs is completely back to normal now,” Katie explained.
“If I’m honest I never truly realised how much our weight was having an impact on our lives before – we have such a zest for life now and we’re ready to take on anything.”
Like Katie, Tony’s diet was unbalanced before Slimming World, with the chef eating small bowls of cereal for breakfast, processed meat for lunch, takeaway for dinner and lots of unhealthy snacks of crisps and biscuits.
Now, at 11st 4.5lbs, he enjoys a more varied diet, adding fruit and yoghurt to Weetabix biscuits for breakfast, and eating salads for lunch, beef stroganoff for dinner, and lots of fruit and vegetables.
“Before we lost the weight, we were barely active at all. On our family holidays we’d drive up to a beach, open the car doors and watch the kids play from the comfort of the car. Then we’d pack them all up again, drive a bit further up the coast and do the same again,” he said.
“I realise now that we weren’t enjoying the time with our children to the fullest. These days we run four to five miles a day with our two dogs and we’re full of energy – so active family days out are the norm for us now and we hope to be this fit and active for many more years to come.”
Some dieters may choose to lose weight by following a structured plan like the keto diet.
One woman recently lost 2st by cutting one food item from her diet.