Look at me now! Slimline Derbyshire mum shares weight-loss journey

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A Derbyshire mum who was so insecure about her appearance that she wouldn’t put on make-up or style her hair is now confident about looking in the mirror after losing more than three stone.

Teaching assistant Gemma Aldridge, 41, has battled with her weight for most of her life. She said: “I cut out chocolate when I was 19 and haven’t eaten any since! Although I lost two stone, I lost motivation to continue and the weight gradually crept back on. Over the years, I’ve tried fasting, juicing, cutting back, monitoring what I was eating etc. They all worked, but I would feel deprived, fed up, and the weight would creep back on. My confidence was often low; I would spend as little time in front of the mirror as possible.”

Shortly after her 40th birthday Gemma realised that she would soon have an NHS Health Check when she would be weighed, questioned about food intake and have her blood pressure and cholesterol levels taken. She said: “Although being overweight didn’t affect my health, I knew I could be healthier. I also knew that I would feel mortified when they asked me at my health check to step on the scales. This was my motivation to lose weight, become healthier and feel good about myself.”

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In January this year, the Heanor mum of two signed up to Jane Plan, which delivers nutritionally balanced, portion-controlled meals and offers support and guidance from nutritionists and psychologists.

Gemma Aldridge is pictured before and after her weight loss.Gemma Aldridge is pictured before and after her weight loss.
Gemma Aldridge is pictured before and after her weight loss.

Tipping the scales at 13st 4lbs, Gemma set off on her journey. She posted her weigh-ins on the Jane Plan Trailblazers page on Facebook and actively sought to support other people in a similar position. Gemma said: “Communicating with other people in a social media group, in the same situation is a real motivation, as were my weekly weigh-ins. I would post these in the group without fail on a Monday morning. I would also read posts of people struggling and comment to support them.”

Within six months, Gemma shed three and a half stone to reach her target of 9st 10lbs. From an initial BMI (Body Mass Index) of 32.5 she has dropped to 23.6 which, for the first time, puts her in the ‘healthy’ green range.

Gemma celebrated reaching her weight target for the first time by going shopping for new clothes. She said: “I was after a pair of dark blue jeans. I took a size 12 to try on, and they were too big. I was amazed, I came out of the changing room and called to my husband to get me a size 10. I have never had a size 10 in anything before!

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"I feel so much more confident – I can stand in front of the mirror for ages admiring my new figure, and often look at my reflection in shop windows as I walk past. I now take time to style my hair and put on make-up. I have even adjusted my target weight and am looking forward to being even healthier in time for my NHS check!”

Jane Michell, founder and CEO of Jane Plan, said: “Gemma has done amazingly well and we are proud to have her as an active member of our Trailblazers community - her support for others has been extremely valuable.”