Stockport Express

No-one recognised us back at the office

Lockdown slimmers show off their new figure


LOCKDOWN was the spur for workmates Jo Barber and Diane Massey to lose almost nine stone in weight - and now they’re back at their office for the first time in a year colleagues are stunned.

The friends and superslimm­ers both work at The Seashell Trust charity in Cheadle Hulme, a school that supports children with complex learning needs.

Now, with lockdown restrictio­ns easing, the women have been returning to the office and seeing some colleagues for the first time in a year who are now applauding their healthy transforma­tions.

Diane, 59, from Hazel Grove, has lost almost 5 stone, while Jo, 46, from Pendlebury, has lost 4 stone exactly.

Both ladies lost weight through diet, exercise and willpower - using free fitness Apps on their mobile phones to track their daily calories and exercise.

Diane, a mum of two, said: “When I came into the office and saw people who hadn’t been in for six months, one lady said she didn’t even know who I was! That sort of thing it just gives you a little boost.

“Jo and I had always been the ones who would shrink away from photos at the charity events we have, we would always hide away.

“Every year in January we’d say ‘this time we’re going to lose weight for our summer ball’ and finally, it’s taken lockdown, but we’ve done it.”

Jo, also a mum of two, added: “It’s funny because I’ve not really seen anybody because of lockdown, and now people have gone from seeing me the size I was then, to seeing me now.

“Every time I bump into someone they’re like ‘oh my god’ but it’s nice, it’s a really big confidence boost.”

Now the ladies are back at work at the Seashell Trust to organise the charity’s next big fundraisin­g event - an online dress auction featuring a range of celebrity clothes and designer pieces where the public can make bids from April 23rd.

Being diagnosed with gallstones during the first lockdown in April 2020 was the wake-up call for Diane Massey that her diet had to change.

Administra­tor Diane says: “I was suffering terrible stomach ache and an MRI scan confirmed it was gallstones.

“I’m still waiting for surgery but my GP told me what I should and shouldn’t be eating to lessen the pain.

“Basically it meant stripping fatty foods out of my diet.

“It made me really start to look at what I was eating - and now when I’m in the supermarke­t I use the traffic light system on packaging to see which foods are red for high fat and avoid anything like that - that’s a really good tip if you’re trying to lose weight.”

Diane, who has two daughters and three grandchild­ren, also bought a fitbit fitness tracker and downloaded the accompanyi­ng app so that she could track all of her calories and exercise every day.

She said: “I got the app and added my details

Lockdown gave me the chance to find myself again Diane Massey

which gives you a daily calorie allowance. I add everything on my phone every night - it’s become a habit and it keeps track so that if you do more exercise you can eat a bit more. It has really helped.”

Regular walks during lockdown also helped boost Diane’s weightloss, and she loved finding new routes and footpaths near where she lives in Hazel Grove to take her 9-yearold grandson Ethan.

And now Diane is at her lowest weight since her wedding day to husband Paul, 61, back in 1983.

Diane says: “I’ve had to buy a whole new wardrobe and Paul says I look great. I’ve not been 9 stone since I got married over 35 years ago!

“I feel tonnes better I have so much more energy and the aches and pains you start to get as you get older have gradually been getting better.”

“Lockdown gave me the time to find myself again”

The first lockdown in March 2020 was a chance for event fundraiser Jo Barber, 46, to find more balance in her life.

The mum-of-two from Pendlebury says: “With no commute and no school drop off I felt like I had more me time.

“My 13-year-old son is a runner but all of his sessions stopped in lockdown.

“I thought if I could learn to run, he could run with me. So I gave the Couch to 5k a go - I downloaded the app and away I went.

“When I started to realise I was losing weight as well I thought this was the time to really go for it. I downloaded another app, My Fitness Pal - which ties in exercise and diet and tells you how many calories you’re burning for your height and weight.

“I’d been wanting to lose weight for years, every year we hold our big fundraisin­g Strictly Seashell ball, and every year you’d see everyone coming in looking gorgeous and I’d be feeling like a big fat frump carrying the boxes around.

“Every year I’d say next year I’m not going to be this fat.

“But when you’re on the hamster wheel of commuting and kid stuff you never find time for yourself. I was fed up with the way I looked and the way clothes fit.

“I started in earnest in May and by October I’d lost four stone, and then I plateaued over the winter.

“Now that the weather is nicer I’ve got a push to lose another stone.”

Jo says getting fit has been a huge positive for her from lockdown - and now she can run 5k in under 30 minutes.

“I really thought I couldn’t do the running I honestly thought I was going to die, I was so unfit.

“But running has been brilliant for me and the sense of achievemen­t of doing a 5k in 29 minutes was great.”

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 ??  ?? ●●Charity co-workers Jo Barber and Diane Massey are lockdown superslimm­ers pictured above as they look now and inset before their weight loss
●●Charity co-workers Jo Barber and Diane Massey are lockdown superslimm­ers pictured above as they look now and inset before their weight loss

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