Local resident Dawn Marinopoulos has lost an astonishing 6 stone 9.5lbs as a Slimming World member and now wants to help even more people lose weight and gain their life and health back.
As a nurse, Dawn joined the weight loss organization because she felt she couldn’t give out health advice when she clearly wasn’t following her own. She knew that if she didn’t do something about her weight, she was going to die before she got the chance to see her children grow up.
She has since launched her Slimming World Group at the Cypriot Community Centre, Earlham Grove N22 5HJ with sessions taking place every Monday at 7:30pm.
Slimming World can help more people like Dawn who don’t know where to turn. Residents of Wood Green now have somewhere they can go to get support in losing weight.
Obesity costs the NHS an estimated £6.1 billion per year through medical costs including treatments for obesity related conditions, hospitalisations, drugs and long term care.
One in four adults has an ‘obese’ BMI of 30 or more, which could put their health at risk. As well as physical health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and sleep apnoea, obesity can impact on people’s mental health through a range of behavioural, biological, psychological and social factors. It has been linked to depression, low self esteem and poor body image. People who are overweight can also suffer weight discrimination as a result of social stigma.
If you would like to join Dawn at the Cypriot Community Centre, please call 07305 635 983.
Here is Dawn’s story:
After two high risk pregnancies and on medications throughout both, I realised I needed to change my lifestyle. I was worried that I would not see my children grow up. During my pregnancies I was closely monitored for gestational diabetes as having a high BMI increases the chances of developing this. My first son was born premature and being a new mum, I found it hard to prepare healthy meals while dealing with the demands of a newborn. I survived on a diet of packets of biscuits, sausage rolls and shop bought sandwiches. My weight continued to increase and I felt so miserable. I had been overweight since I was about 21 but after my first pregnancy, I weighed the most I ever had.
About nine months after my first pregnancy, I experienced a miscarriage which hit me hard. I turned to food to cope with the feelings. Then in despair of how my weight was going, I tried to undertake a meal replacement shake diet. I lost some weight on this but soon put it back on when my eating habits returned to normal as had happened the many other times in the past that I had tried to diet.
I became pregnant with my second child in March 2016 and was keen to lead a healthier lifestyle. I tried to eat healthy during my pregnancy but working long hours and with a toddler, it was hard to fit everything in. The final straw came when I was 25 weeks pregnant and a close colleague died suddenly in a tragic accident. It made me realise how short life is and I was determined to get back to a healthy weight.
A friend had lost 5 stone with Slimming World and posted on Facebook about how great he felt. Seeing how fantastic he looked, I decided to give Slimming World a go. Six weeks after the birth of my son, I attended my GP for a routine post natal check-up. I discussed with my GP that I wanted to start Slimming World and had read that it was supported and approved by the Royal College of Midwifes as suitable for pregnant and breastfeeding mums. With a BMI of 36.8, my GP agreed it would be good to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
I attended my first meeting that night, taking my mum along for support as I was too scared to go alone. I had to go wearing my maternity jeans and top as nothing fit me; I felt so uncomfortable. My idea of slimming groups was very much like the clip from Little Britain. I feared the clapping and talking about weight, it was not something I felt comfortable with. However from the moment I walked in to the group I was welcomed and put at ease.
I listened in disbelief as the consultant explained I could eat potatoes, pasta and rice while still losing weight. Nothing was off limits and I could eat as much as I liked. I was sure after many failed attempts it would not work. One week later I stepped on the scales in group and was delighted to see a 6lb loss. The whole week I had enjoyed food and not felt hungry once. This spurred me on and nine months later, I reached my target weight, losing over 6 stone. Along my journey I won the titles of Miss Slinky and Greatest Loser in my Group.
I love food optimising and the fact that nothing is off limits. My favourite slimming world meal is Chicken Tikka Masala or Spaghetti Bolognese. My family enjoyed eating these new meals including my now two-year-old.
When I returned to work after nine months maternity, leave nobody recognised me. It was so funny watching people realise it was me.
As a nurse, I always felt uncomfortable talking to people about healthy eating and lifestyle while I was clearly overweight. I now have a new confidence and use my experience to show people that lifestyle change is possible. Using the example of Club 10 and the health benefits of 10% weight loss has really helped start discussions in my place of work.
My consultant told me she thought I would make a good consultant but I laughed her off thinking I would never have the confidence to do the role. However when the opportunity arose, I decided to take a chance. I remember how it feels to walk in on your first night and how glad I was when I found something that worked for me.