Stunning Jennifer Ginley has already attracted more than 75,000 fans on social media with her remarkable transformation, which has seen her halve her body weight in just over a year. Now she’s hoping to inspire even more people after winning a national award for her weight loss and becoming the cover star of a top magazine.
The 26-year-old, whose Instagram followers have watched her lose 135lbs and drop nine dress sizes, has been named Slimming World’s Miss Slinky 2017 in the UK and will grace the cover of the March/April 2017 issue of UK publication Slimming World magazine.
Her weight-loss journey began after Jennifer was forced to buy size-24 clothes for a once-in-a-lifetime holiday to Florida with her family and was left devastated by the photos from the trip.
Jennifer, who lives with her mum Janet in Liverpool, UK, says: “I’d been a fairly averaged-size child but I was a size 16 by the time I went to university in Manchester. Living away from home saw me gain even more weight and I was around 70lbs heavier when I graduated. I’d tried so many diets in the past, but all of them seemed to make food the enemy, so I never addressed my relationship with over-eating and nothing seemed to work for me.
“When I found myself buying size-24 clothes for the holiday I’d been looking forward to for so long, I knew something had to change. I had to ask for a seatbelt extender on the plane, I spent our time there having to ride on the adjusted seats for larger people and I was horrified when I saw the photos. One picture of me with the Little Mermaid – my favourite Disney character – actually made me gasp. I saw myself in a whole new light – I looked so unhealthy that I cried, wondering how and why I had done that to myself.”
Jennifer joined the Kirkby Slimming World group in May 2015 along with mum Janet and her sister Christine, and together they began following the Food Optimising healthy eating plan. She says: “We got such a warm welcome from everyone and I can honestly say that walking into that Slimming World group was without doubt the best thing I have ever done in my life. I’d been a Slimming World member before but this time it just clicked, I think because I just didn’t want to waste any more of my life being overweight and disliking myself for it.”
In fact, Jennifer, a Citizens Advice caseworker, says that the biggest change since her 135lbs weight loss has been to her positive mentality: “Before I lost weight I had a massive lack of belief in myself and I feel like I wasted so many years with fake smiles that hid how unhappy I was. I was a serial failed-dieter and could never understand how I could achieve so much in other areas of my life, yet I couldn’t control what I ate. Finally taking control of my weight was such a huge turning point for me, both physically and mentally.
“My boyfriend Luke and I have been together for more than 11 years and I always used to discourage him from proposing because I couldn’t imagine myself as a bride being the size I was. I reached my target weight just over a year after joining Slimming World and just before Christmas Luke asked me to marry him! It was such an incredible feeling to be able to say ‘Yes!’ without even a second thought about my weight, and I can’t wait to go dress shopping.”
And it’s not just Jennifer who has benefitted from her amazing transformation, she’s already inspired lots of other people to embark on their own weight-loss journeys, too: “A really key part of my journey was keeping an online food diary so that I could chart my progress. From day one I posted my meals on my Instagram account and it really helped me to stay on track. Now I have over 75,000 followers! I still have to pinch myself when people call me an inspiration, or say that they’re going to start slimming because of me. My mum and sister have lost over 84lbs between them, so we’re always swapping ideas and cooking lovely Food Optimised meals for each other. The support of my friends and family and my Slimming World group, as well as the Instagram community, has been incredible.”