Afraid not to be able to play her favorite sport because of breathing difficulties, a 70-year old Joan Wilkinson from Tanfield, County Durham scored a hole-in-one by losing 2st 1lb.
“As I struggled up the hill on the 12th hole, gasping for breath, I had to stop. Wheezing, I took a puff of my inhaler and waited for my lungs to feel normal again. I felt like I was completing a marathon rather than a leisurely game of golf. My twice-weekly sessions had been getting more and more tiring, and my asthma seemed to be worsening. Would I have to give up my hobby?”, she lamented.
When she retired from her work as a local administrant at the National Coal Board, that’s when she started gaining weight. More time meant indulgence with her passion for baking.
“I noticed my clothes getting tighter – first going from a 12-14, then eventually finding size-16s wouldn’t zip up. From time to time I’d go on a quick-fix diet to lose a little weight, but it never stayed off for long.
40 years ago she joined South Moor Golf and instantly loved it. It’s where she met her husband, Barry. She felt sad with the thought of giving up her leisure activity because of asthma and her continuously aching joint. She thought that if only she’s lighter things for sure will be different.
“I’m not sure how long it would have taken me to actually get around to it if Barry and I hadn’t gone out for dinner close to Christmas 2014 and posed for what should have been a lovely photo of us together. When I saw the picture, I was horrified: who was the big woman sitting beside my husband?
She found out about Slimming World when during a party she attended she heard a guest talk about her daughter that has achieve success with the program and became a consultant herself. She thought it lucky that there was a group nearby her place and took it as a sign to join Slimming World.
Soon enough she was welcomed warmly in the group and started to learn cooking the healthy way.
“Before, I’d always used glugs of olive oil, so it was a shock when I found out just how high in Syns it was. I soon discovered how to make a tasty oil-free risotto or casserole by being clever with tinned tomatoes or stock.”
“I planned a month’s worth of lunch and dinner ideas, then batch-cooked and froze portions of Food Optimising-friendly macaroni cheese, Chinese-style chicken or vegetable quiche. I decided that I didn’t want to use all of my Syns on my favourite cakes – and it was worth it to see the numbers on the scales go down each week. In fact, the only time I didn’t have a loss was when we were away on a cruise!”, Joan shared.
By April 2014, she was rewarded with Club 10 and after a couple of months, she reached her target weight at 11st 2lbs. Her clothes fitted her again just right. She learned to adapt her baking recipes to Slimming World friendly ones.
“Even before I’d reached my target, I realised I was moving much more easily, including up and down stairs, which used to make my knees hurt and leave me breathless. I found I was using my inhaler less and less, and at my annual check-up the specialist asthma nurse told me that, unusually for someone my age, my lung function levels have stayed stable.
Her lungs have functioned better making her feel there’s more room to breathe.
“These days, I stride up the hilly parts of the golf course without getting out of puff and zoom across the fairway faster than some ladies 20 years my junior. Golf is about so much more than hitting balls: you’re out in the countryside, enjoying the fresh air and catching occasional sightings of deer and birdlife. I can hardly imagine that just a few years ago I thought I would have to give it up forever. Being slim has let me hold on to a real joy in my life, and that’s why I’m determined to stay this size for keeps.”