I'm Jen, a thirty-something vegetarian, full time mum and average kind of woman! I lost over ten stone in 16 months by healthy eating and no exercise! I live in Kirkby in Ashfield in Nottinghamshire and cook for myself and my family on a budget and love experimenting with different foods and flavours in the kitchen! I have depression and I am also open about having been in abusive relationships in the past because I feel these are nothing to be ashamed of. I started running almost a year after losing my weight and to my surprise realised I quite enjoy it. Blogging about life, food and me!
I have a YouTube video here
I live with my partner Stuart who is likely to also feature in my blog. We met through Slimming World and he lost a whopping 22 stone by also following a healthy eating plan. My son Ben is 11 and he has some disabilities which can make life a challenge at times but he is amazing too. Ben is likely to feature in my blog also as I aim to feed him as healthy food whilst still allowing him to be a typical child and have treats. Ben enjoys cooking with me and I will be likely to share some of his favourite foods with you too. Neither Stuart or Ben are vegetarian and I cook meat daily for them so can often offer both vegetarian and meat recipes however as a vegetarian I will always let you know how well I managed to adapt a recipe to make it suitable for vegetarians.
The aims of my blog
I started my blog as a way of sharing my weight loss success and inspiring others to change their lives like I have. I share recipes, reviews and products which I find helpful and hope they help others also. I am always as open and honest as I can in sharing the difficulties I have encountered as well as the successes I have because I am just an average woman with an average life. I cook on a budget so aim to always use ingredients that are relatively easy and cheap to get hold of and meals which can be cooked around being a mum. Life gets in the way sometimes of healthy eating and I will share these challenges also because we are all only human and these challenges are normal. My blog will also cover other lifestyle and household topics I feel would also be relevant and interesting to my readers.
Some previous blog posts that will tell you a little more about me can be found below. By clicking on the post title you can open the full post.
A Bit more about me
A week in the food of Jen
So you asked me... your questions answered
A Letter to my 12 Year old self
A letter to my size 30 self (nb. this was a guest post of mine on another website)
Healthy Kids....Ben joins Slimming World
Ben Following Slimming World 3 weeks on
Ben's Slimming World Journey and half stone award video
My Weight Loss Story
I first remember thinking I was fat when I was 7 years old. Someone at school had called me fat and from then I always felt overweight. Now of course I look back at photos and I was never a particularly overweight child, however there were a number of girls in my class that did ballet and were all really slight so against them I was taller and chubbier. When I was in the first year of secondary school aged 12 I can remember clearly a science lesson which really cemented in my mind the view that I was overweight. We were learning about gravity and the earths pull and all had to stand on the scales. I was heavier than everyone else in my class, I was also taller than most of them but at 12, a young impressionable pre-teen I did not see this, I just saw that this meant that I was fat. In my teenage years, a paper round and then a part time job meant that I spent money on sweets and crisps, along with magazines which led to me gaining some weight and also seeing myself as so fat compared to the pop stars and celebrities in the magazines.
Aged 18 I started university, wearing size 18 clothes and was a stereo-typical student. I drank too much, studied too little and ate the cheapest foods I could get between drinking and take away on the way back from the pub so it is not surprising my weight increased! Then into my early twenties, I was creeping into the size 20 clothes. I was in an abusive relationship and encouraged to often wear jogging bottoms and other plain clothes, I never had a reason to dress up and if I even considered wearing a slinky dress I was accused of looking for someone else so I fell into the cycle of elasticated trousers and baggy t shirts and the weight crept on easily with comfort eating when I was depressed. I was 19 stone when I became pregnant with my son, rather unwell during pregnancy I lost over 4 stone and then after Bens birth that weight soon went back on.
I went from that abusive relationship soon into another, which at the time I didn't believe was abusive but in time I realised it was, just in a different way. I again was encouraged to dress down and again was unhappy so emotionally eating and not really noticing weight gain due to wearing men's size 4XL elasticated jogging bottoms, t shirts and hoodies. Before I knew it I was looking for a wedding dress and having to try on size 30 dresses. I felt hideous and I know many people thought I looked hideous, I often got comments in the street from strangers, my husband made fun of my weight and I was severely depressed. One highly humiliating experience was being turned away from a ride at Alton Towers because the safety bar wouldn't go down due to my size.
A few years passed, then I went to stay with a friend for a few days who did Slimming World, she cooked some lovely food and I couldn't believe that I could eat food like that and loose weight! I admit I was dubious about doing Slimming world as a vegetarian and wondered if there was enough variety I could eat but Catherine put my mind at rest and I saw this as a possible way to get my weight under control. I however still lacked confidence and support at home and still didn't join despite there being a group across the road from my house. A few trips to the doctors and trying tablets to help me lose weight were unsuccessful and my weight was recorded as being 22st 12lb at the heaviest by the G.P. I also had fibromyalgia which I was told could be improved with weight loss.
A year later however on 29th January 2014 I joined my local Slimming World group weighing 22 stone 4lb, my confidence was still low but I was determined that 2014 was going to be the year that I lost weight and escaped my unhappy marriage. Stepping foot through those doors was so nerve wracking, I had tried Weight Watchers in the past but never tried Slimming World. As my son goes to a special school that isn't near where I live I didn't recognise any faces from the school gates and everyone seemed to know each other but I did it I sat and had a new members talk and joined. In my first week on plan I lost 10lb, my weight loss continued well and I was getting awards after awards as the weight was coming off. My confidence improved and I realised that actually following the food optimising plan I could actually become average, not fat just average, that's all I ever wanted to be was just average (hence the name of my blog!). I soon decided I would be happier single and ended my marriage, my confidence was still quite low but for the first time in a long time I was starting to feel comfortable with myself and my life.
As I continued to lose weight my confidence started to improve, I spent more time with friends and began a new relationship. With my boyfriend Stuart I feel like an equal, I feel that I can be myself and I feel more in control of my life. After 37 weeks following Slimming World I had lost 8 Stone, the weight loss slowed down a bit from then but I carried on and 16 months after walking through the doors and joining Slimming World I reached my target weight of 12 Stone with a total weight loss of 10 Stone 4lb loss. I maintained my target well for the first 11 weeks and since then have bounced around a bit with gains and losses and have periods where I am depressed and emotionally eat. I know that with my depression food will always feel like an easy comfort, but I feel supported now to talk through issues not eat through them where possible! However, despite my depression, I will never be the 22 stone woman I was again I know that because I will continue to be cook my meals from scratch in a healthy way to stay happy, healthy and what I always wanted, just kind of average!!
After being at my weight loss target for 10 months I Started running, to read more about my exercise story click on the weight loss andexercise tab on the homepage.
My weight loss statistics!
Weight at Heaviest 22st 12lb
Weight at target 12st
Waist measurement at start 130cm
Waist measurement at target 72cm
Thigh measurement at start 80cm
Thigh measurement at target 53cm
Bust measurement at start 130cm
Bust measurement at target 90cm
Largest Clothes Size Mens 4XL or womens size 30
Size at Target weight womens size 6-8
Weeks on Slimming world to reach target - 73
Unfortunately I don't have many photos at my biggest as like most obese people I avoided the camera! As you can see in the following photos the difference in my clothes size is huge!
If you want to know a bit more about me then I have written a post with some random facts you didn't know about me, ones you may or may not find interesting but random facts all the same! Do if you want to know a little more about the person behind the blog then click here