A couple who weighed almost 40st between them look unrecognisable after seeing an incredible 17st (108kg) weight loss between them, almost half their body weight.
Jo Beveridge, 50, an accounts executive and John Durkin, 52, a warehouse manager from Burnley, Lancashire saw the pounds creep on during lockdown after treating themselves to takeaways as they became "all they had to look forward to".
But indulging in the fatty food had an impact on their size, with Durkin seeing his weight top 21st 8lbs (136kg) while Beveridge reached 17st 6lbs (110kg).
Unhappy with how they looked, the couple decided to ditch the junk food and daily meal deals for healthy home-cooked, low-calorie options, with some pretty impressive results.
Beveridge lost an incredible 6st 6lbs (41kg) and dropped five dress sizes, while partner Durkin lost 10st 11lbs (68kg).
“I’d been unhappy with my weight ever since our first son, Alex, was born," Beveridge explains. “When Liam arrived a few years later, it became even more difficult to find time to eat healthily.
“I’d try to lose weight before a big event or holiday, but it would be a quick fix and I always ended up back where I started as soon as I started eating ‘normally’ again."
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Beveridge says the couple sought comfort in food during lockdown while away from their family and friends.
"Sometimes having a takeaway or indulgent meal was all we had to look forward to," she explains.
“It meant we developed some quite unhealthy habits which were then hard to shake even when we came out of lockdown."
The couple joined Slimming World in September 2021 and completely overhauled their diet, swapping supermarket meal deals and high calorie beer and wine with a takeaway for freshly prepared salads and low calorie meals made from scratch.
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When they drink, they now have spirits with a low-calorie mixer and alternate alcohol with zero calorie soft drinks.
"Pre-lockdown our weekends would often involve a trip to the pub with a takeaway after, so we were a bit worried that we wouldn’t be able to enjoy that aspect of our lives anymore," Beveridge explains.
“However with a few simple swaps we realised we didn’t have to miss out."
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The pair also kickstarted a new fitness routine, which includes regular running, and Durkin managed to complete a marathon earlier this year.
"I properly caught the running bug once the weight started coming off," the grandad explains. "It felt so much easier, and my recovery time was much faster.
"The eating plan is no nonsense, common-sense eating – a world away from the crash diets we’ve done in the past
"It’s changed the way we think about food. We plan our meals now and eat three balanced meals a day which helps us to stay on track."
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The couple say batch cooking has also contributed to their healthy regime.
“We often batch cook too, so if we don’t fancy cooking or don’t have time, there’s usually something in the freezer," Durkin adds.
Unsurprisingly, after shedding almost half their body weight between them, they have now been crowned "couple of the year" by Slimming World.
“I was a bit nervous at the thought of joining and wasn’t really sure what to expect," Durkin says of the moment they joined.
“I worried I might be the only man there or that I’d be judged for being the biggest in the room. It wasn’t like that at all though.
“After a few weeks, we really started to understand who we were as slimmers. Once we’d nailed that, everything fell into place."
The couple's diet before:
Breakfast: Toast/fast food breakfast or no breakfast at all
Lunch: Supermarket meal deal such as a sandwich, crisps and a drink
Dinner: Jar of ready-made sauce with chicken or crusty bread sandwiches with crisps and a chocolate bar
Snacks: Crisps, chocolate, biscuits or a cake
Breakfast: Cereal and skimmed milk or a cereal bar
Mid-morning: Fresh fruit
Lunch: Tuna and rice salad or jacket potato and baked beans
Dinner: A meal from one of Slimming World’s recipe books eg chicken tikka masala with home-made onion bhajis
Evening: A Slimming World Hi-Fi bar or a flavoured fat-free yogurt
Additional reporting SWNS.