Size 24 mom says her colleagues no longer recognise her after eight stone weight loss

Size 24 mom says her colleagues no longer recognise her after eight stone weight loss

A mother has told of how her astonishing eight stone weight loss lead to her colleagues no longer recognising her.

50-year-old Jenefer Gillam revealed in a recent interview with the Press Association that the pressures of juggling motherhood with a demanding job in the NHS lead her to choose quick, high calorie food options in place of healthier choices.

This all culminated in Jenefer weighing 21 stone 3lbs, which in turn lead to breathlessness, aching joints and indigestion.

The mom identifies her turning point as one particular day back in 2015, when she caught sight of herself in a mirrored lift, and was left dismayed.

Jenefer with her son Ethan before her weight loss Credit: Press Association

“I just thought – ‘Jenefer, you’re enormous,'” she recalls. This became a catalyst for change for the 50-year-old NHS worker, however, and she's now dropped all the way down to 13 stone 6lbs, after joining WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) in 2016.

Her dramatic weight loss has, she reveals, lead colleagues and acquaintances to double take when they see her now;

“Since losing the weight, I’ve bumped into colleagues from different offices, or friends that I don’t see regularly, and they haven’t even recognised me. I’ll get a blank look when I say hello, before they realise who I am.”

Jenefer says that her weight really started to creep up in 2014, when she began studying for her masters degree. The toll of studying, working and being a mom meant that healthy eating took a back seat, as she explains;

“The weight crept on as I’d be sitting there in the evenings studying and grabbing quick fixes.”

Jenefer before her weight loss Credit: Press Association

“I did also eat fruit and vegetables and wasn’t one for takeaways or anything like that, but it was more the portion sizes that were the problem. My portions would be huge.”

Jenefer says she'd start most days with peanut butter on toast, before having a cake or bacon sandwich with coffee once she got to college.

“I had a terrible crisp habit, too,” she recalls, “I could easily get through a family bag, then fib about it, saying the kids had eaten it.”

One morning in late 2015, though, this all changed. Jenefer says she decided to take the lift at work in order to avoid the stairs. She says seeing herself in the lift's mirror brought her to a stark realisation;

“I thought to myself, ‘You’re fat, you’re getting out of breath easily – you have to do something.’ I’d been getting all sorts of health problems like aching knees and ankles, terrible indigestion and high cholesterol.

Jenefer after her weight loss Credit: Press Association

“I knew I had to change for the sake of my kids. It was never about confidence. Even at my biggest, I always tried to make the best of myself with makeup and having my hair done – but I didn’t want anything to happen to me. I had to think of Ethan and Eva.”

Since joining WW, Jenefer has lot a remarkable eight stone, and she'd also been working out in the gym since 2017;

“It does take courage to walk in there when you aren’t a skinny Minnie, as you worry what people will say.

“I started out with quite gentle exercise, but now I go five times a week and do more high intensity classes like spinning. I never thought I’d be able to do that.”

Jenefer on her 50th birthday, after her weight loss Credit: Press Association

And the best thing about her new physique?

“The best thing about it is being able to keep up with the kids more. I can go swimming with them, or bike rides at the weekend.

“We can even go to theme parks now, when, on two occasions in the past, I was too heavy for the rides and had to get off. It was the most mortifying thing – one of those moments where everybody is staring, and you just want the ground to swallow you up.

“Now, I don’t even have to think about it.”

Hats off to Jenefer - weight loss requires hard work and dedication, two things she's clearly got in spades.