With new research finding that nearly two in three UK adults are finding it more difficult to manage their weight during the coronavirus pandemic, Jayne Marston, a Target Slimming World member is bucking that trend.

"Making the decision to walk through the door was scary,” said Jayne.

“But it’s definitely the best decision I’ve ever made. I joined because I wanted to lose two and a half stone before my son’s wedding and coming from a family with step parents on each side, I didn’t want to embarrass my son by being the ‘fat mum’ on his big day.”

“My old routine was sausage on toast for breakfast followed by chips and beans at lunch, then sweet and sour chicken takeaway for dinner – you know the one that’s covered in batter with a really sticky sauce – and I’d eat a whole portion of chips as well!”

Jayne found the friendship and support waiting in her local Slimming World group was the key to changing her relationship with food.

“Our group is like a family,” she said. “No one judges you and everyone understands the journey you’re on. If I had a tough week, my group were there with me every step of the way, ready to pick me up, dust me off, and help me get back on the right track.”

Wirral Globe: Jayne Marston before she joined Slimming WorldJayne Marston before she joined Slimming World

Not only did Jayne reach her goal for the wedding, she reached her target weight exactly a year after she joined, losing a fabulous three and a half stone.

“Slimming World has helped me change my relationship with food. I start the day with fruit and yoghurt and lunch is a healthy jacket potato and salad or budget busting leftovers from the night before. And if I feel like a takeaway? Nothing is off the menu – it’s all about moderation.”

“I never thought after 12 months I’d weigh less than I did on my wedding day 11 years ago. I feel and look better than I have in years. Compliments from colleagues, friends and family have boosted my confidence and enabled me to take on a new role in work which involves speaking to large groups – that’s something I would NEVER have done before.”

With one in five people eating more fatty foods during the pandemic and 75% of the UK population now overweight, Jayne has stayed at target throughout and has some welcome words of reassurance: “Lockdown was difficult and, like many people, I struggled with it initially, even panic buying the wrong types of food just to make sure there was something to eat. This didn’t last long as I didn’t want old habits to return.

“I’ve been making more fakeaways and with the online ideas from the Slimming World members’ website my old style deep fried sweet and sour chicken has been replaced by a healthier version using a can of diet orange and oven baked Slimming World chips!”

“I attended our virtual meetings weekly, submitting my weight. Being a Key Worker means my hours are different, but I even joined in the meetings from the car park at work! “It was important even as a Target member to keep in touch with my group and with Lynne, our consultant, who has continued to encourage and support us in our virtual meetings just like she does face to face. We have a Facebook group where we share our meals and ideas and sometimes a funny little quote to keep us all going.”

Jayne’s consultant Lynne said, “In these testing times, it really is normal to feel stressed and anxious and for usual healthy habits like eating well and keeping active to slip a little.

“I know I’ve had my days when it’s felt really difficult to stay motivated... and that’s completely ok, we’re all only human! Whether our groups are running virtually or in real life, we are giving members a chance to focus on their goals, to regain control, and to feel a sense of togetherness with the rest of our group.

“We laugh AND cry together… usually we cry with laughter! One thing we DO know is that if we can get through this together we can get through anything!”

If you’d like to know more about Slimming World groups in your area go to slimmingworld.co.uk to check out the group nearest to you.