Nurse Jackie breaks the un­healthy cy­cle for a brighter fu­ture

Bray People - - NEWS -

SUC­CESS­FULLY los­ing weight has brought one Wick­low woman to tears. Thank­fully, these were tears of joy as she saw her wed­ding ring slip back onto her fin­ger for the first time in five years.

Af­ter 30 years of nurs­ing, Jackie O’Toole from Kil­coole was well versed on the im­pact and dan­gers of be­ing over­weight and lead­ing an un­healthy, seden­tary life­style. De­spite this, the 58-year-old had watched the pounds steadily pile on. From the out­side she ap­peared to be a happy and con­fi­dent in­di­vid­ual, inside she was em­bar­rassed and ashamed.

A few years ago, Jackie had suf­fered a slipped disc in her lower back and, on her doc­tor’s ad­vice, joined Slim­ming World to try lose weight as part of her re­cov­ery. Just four weeks later, she had lost a whole stone.

‘But once my back prob­lems stopped be­ing an is­sue, I lost my mo­ti­va­tion and stopped at­tend­ing or fol­low­ing the Slim­ming World plan,’ said Jackie. ‘Very soon that stone of weight was right back on my waist­line!’

In the end, it was the sud­den death of Jackie’s sis­ter – just six weeks af­ter an ini­tial di­ag­no­sis – that prompted her to change her life. By the end of sum­mer 2016, while still griev­ing her ter­ri­ble loss, Jackie was four stone over­weight.

‘I knew I wanted to go back to Slim­ming World, but it took me four weeks to de­cide to go for it be­cause I was so em­bar­rassed about go­ing back,’ she said.

She needn’t have been wor­ried; Jackie was wel­comed by her con­sul­tant and given the sup­port that helped her to lose 3.5lbs in her first week and a 4lbs in her sec­ond – was more than half a stone in two weeks. From there, she has gone on to lose three stone in 37 weeks.

‘I have changed my out­look on life as well as mak­ing in­cred­i­ble friends along the way,’ said an un­der­stand­ably de­lighted Jackie. ‘ The turn­ing point for me was in week 16. Af­ter los­ing two stone I was able to wear my own wed­ding ring again af­ter five years of it not fit­ting my fin­ger. There were a few tears that day!’

Slim­ming World’s Food Op­ti­mis­ing pro­gramme al­lowed Jackie the free­dom to eat the foods she loved (in­clud­ing pota­toes, pasta and rice), and en­joy a plate full of healthy food, en­sur­ing she never felt hun­gry. A lover of Mediter­ranean style food, Jackie was able to make de­li­cious Ital­ian and Greek dishes the Slim­ming World way, which the whole fam­ily loved.

Af­ter ten years of sit­ting in the shed, Jackie has also be­gun to take to the roads on her ‘new’ bike. Her son adapted the bike to become an elec­tric bike (al­though she only uses the ‘ turbo’ boost on the steep­est hills) and now Jackie en­joys a daily cy­cles and feels the im­prove­ment in her over­all fit­ness.

‘Cy­cling is great and the engine gives me the con­fi­dence that if I get tired it will as­sist me to get home – I am never daunted now by the prospect of a long cy­cle ride,’ she said.

In con­trast with the many fad di­ets she tried over the years, Jackie feels the Slim­ming World ex­pe­ri­ence re­ally has changed her life: she in­stinc­tively makes healthy choices, she doesn’t feel re­stricted with her food choices and she’s got a new-found con­fi­dence that al­lows her to ex­pe­ri­ence more of what life has to of­fer.

‘As a health pro­fes­sional head­ing into her later years, I know I should have lis­tened to my GP three years ago,’ Jackie said. ‘ The new slim­mer, health­ier me has given my fu­ture self the best pos­si­ble chance to lessen sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to ill­nesses such di­a­betes, car­diac com­pli­ca­tions, de­men­tia and stroke.’

Jackie will be hop­ing to help oth­ers to ditch the pounds at her Slim­ming World group in Kil­coole Pri­mary School and a new Satur­day morn­ing group, which be­gins at 9.30 a.m. next Satur­day, July 22.

Jackie O’Toole be­fore los­ing the weight and (right) a slim­mer Jackie heads out for a cy­cle.

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