26-year-old Jennifer Ginley, from England, hasn't always struggled with her weight, but by the time she headed off to university, years of bad eating caught up with her. And now, she's celebrating her fairytale ending.
"I'd been a fairly averaged-size child but I was a size 18 by the time I went to university in Manchester," she said to The Daily Mail.
'I was a serial failed-dieter and could never understand how I could achieve so much in other areas of my life, yet I couldn't control what I ate, "Jennifer explained.
At 5'5, she weighed in at nearly 280 pounds and required a seatbelt extender while traveling. Her diet consisted of greasy chips, Chinese takeout and a lot of soda -- but not any more.
When she realized her longtime boyfriend was thinking of proposing, she refused. "My boyfriend Luke and I have been together for more than 11 years and I always used to discourage him from proposing because I couldn't imagine myself as a bride being the size I was," she said.
Jennifer's poor her health was didn't come to fruition until she was leaving for vacation a year ago. Something inside her snapped. "When I found myself buying size-26 clothes for the holiday I'd been looking forward to for so long, I knew something had to change," she said.
She looked back at pictures from her holiday and decided to make a change. "I saw myself in a whole new light, I looked so unhealthy that I cried, wondering how and why I had done that to myself," she continued.
With the help of her family, she attended the UK weight loss program "Slimming World" and was able to lose almost 130 pounds.
Scroll through to see more of Jennifer's transformation:
Kate Middleton look alike loses half her body weight
Kate Middleton look alike loses half her body weight
My summer holidays exactly one year apart. ☀️
In the left picture I had already been on SW one month, I had lost 1 stone and felt great! I started at a size 24/26 and was excited on that holiday as I was more 22/24. The picture on the right is me 1 month after hitting target! I had lost 9 stone 1.5 lb in one year and felt amazing!! I went on holiday with a case full of size 8 and 10 clothes and wore a bikini for the first time in years!! 😄
I've been proud of myself every single step of the way. I can't tell you how important I feel that aspect is. The whole world sees the effects of your weight loss and your nearest and dearest will be proud of you. Only YOU although will know the real change and feel the affects of it everyday as it's all in the mind. Become a stronger person everyday, a person you can be proud of. I've achieved many things in my life but without doubt this weight loss makes me more proud than all of that put together. When food is your thing, you weakness, your emotional crutch, whatever, it is hard to find a way out as everyone has to eat. At my lowest points I thought the only way to change was rule out food. I would calorie count to barely nothing, do slimfast, lighterlife and cambridge weight plan. As a student I spend so much money on horrid meal replacement plans. 😔
SW gave me back my life, it made my trust myself with real food and it made me know that I am truly capable of anything I put my mind too. It's not easy. I lost this weight naturally with only diet, no exercise. The old me told myself that weren't possible, the old me doubted these types of transformation pictures. Simply because it was another affirmation that I was still too weak, I was still unable to achieve the same. I joined SW four times, I've failed countless times, NEVER GIVE UP ON YOU! I never fully enjoyed anything before, my weight was always an issue holding me back. The happiness I live now is indescribable and it's all because I fight that old me everyday. It's not easy but it is possible. I always remember two things - it's only food, it's not magical AND willpower is like a muscle the more you use it, the stronger it gets. You CAN do it ❤
The left 'before' picture came up on Facebook memories yesterday, that was me exactly 2 years ago. Just under 4 months before I joined @slimmingworld for the final time. I was in a Chinese restaurant with my sister and friends. I was really shocked when I seen it. I have lotssss of before pictures because my weight never made me shy away from the camera but I would hide my torso when I could. A side picture really shows my size. As you can see my belly is literally touching the table, it used to touch my steering wheel when driving too. I carried probably 4 stone plus around my torso I'd say. When I look back I remember those moments, that little internal moment of dread in my mind. I would literally dread seeing the photo. 😔
I truly didn't like how I was living, I weren't happy overweight at all. Food controlled me and I thought I was so in love with it, I could never change. And what happened?! My love for food remained and I got to target. You see I used to think food to love was the worst type only. That night I would have ordered a couple of starters, a meal with chips, fried rice, soft noodles and I would have had a dessert. I've eaten at that same resteraunt a few times since and food optimised my way through, enjoying myself MORE as I didn't leave feeling sick from too much food or regretful from my choices, I left feeling full and proud. I have changed my attitude. No matter what change we try to achieve in life, if we are negative we're our own worst enemy. You cannot look at your salad, vegetables and fruit etc. and think 'diet' food and other negative stuff. Get your mind in a better place and you'll truly enjoy every day. Now I look at my food and feel so proud of how nutritious it is and how much goodness I'm giving my body. That's when the weight falls off, it is minimal effort with a positive mindset. The most amazing thing with @slimmingworld is that I lost all that weight whilst eating out, having indulgences and living life to the max. I became a more social and positive person ever day. Food no longer controls me! I live in true contentment 🌈
WILLPOWER IS LIKE A MUSCLE, THE MORE YOU USE IT THE STRONGER IT GETS 💪
On the left is me one month into my final SW journey (June 2015), I had already lost 1 stone there! I had a full week off plan, gained 5.5 lb, got straight back on plan when I got home and lost 5.5 lb the following week! 👌
Right is me NYE just gone, wearing my size 6 top from @riverisland and a size 8 skirt. It was the first year since I was 13/14 years old that I weren't going into the new year with the dreaded 'lose weight' task hanging over me! 😆
In all honestly I sometimes wondered if this would ever be my life, if I'd ever be capable to get slim and stay slim. I owe my whole life to @slimmingworld as it truly made me trust myself with food, it allowed me to conquer my food issues. Do not for a second think any of the target members had a straightforward run, that we had bucket loads of speed free food and amazing losses each week. I'd lost 1 stone in 4 weeks at that point in my before picture, I had never lost that much before, yet I still plated up 2/3 plates of beige food and 2 plates of desserts that week on holiday. Your food addiction, issues, whatever you want to call them don't disappear overnight. You have to be consistent and calm. I say calm as one week you may not get the weight loss you deserve and you might want to turn to your old friend, mega syn food for comfort, don't, I guarantee you, you will feel worse. You know what I literally used to say out loud to myself when faced with temptation?! For example - *sees pizza* 'oh my god, look at that, I love pizza but you know what I love more?! Losing weight'. I'd think of stepping on the scales and pizza became less attractive. It worked a treat, I had to remind my dramatic food loving self that it is only food! Pizza isn't going anywhere, I'll eat it again in the future but I had to learn every single time I seen or felt like pizza I couldn't have it. Developing a new mentality and strength is hard, it takes time but you are seriously doing the best thing ever. I was a notorious failure; normality, happiness, health and ultimately your weight loss dreams are possible with @slimmingworld 🌈
Remember willpower is like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets 🦋
On the left is a few days before I joined Slimming World, I was fed up, always exhausted and completely ruled by food. I remember taking that picture as sort of 'before', just to remember those days when I decided to rejoin. I felt embarrassed going back and rejoining heavier than ever but aren't I glad I did?! I was so fed up of wasting my life overweight. Well done to you January joiners, I didn't join until May, I failed a few more diets, tried SW from home and comfort ate for another four months after New Year! We all have those moments where we have to go THAT IS ENOUGH. If you have reached that point, never forget it because it will fuel you on when you have difficult days. I do it even now!! When I'm tempted by something that will take me off plan for no good reason I say to myself 'Jennifer don't you think you've had enough of *insert bad food* in your time?!'. I need that type of mental reasoning. It's not depriving myself, it's knowing when indulging is worth it for my own mentality. I NEVER want to feel out of control ever again and I simply won't let food ruin me the way it used too, I always have that little voice inside my head that reminds me 'it's only food Jen'. 👊😊
One thing I really hate (and I hate that word) is when assumptions are made that you're not enjoying yourself if you're not indulging in food. For example eating out and food optimising your way through it. OF COURSE you are enjoying yourself, you're with friends/family and fulfilling your hungers needs with delicious food. Do you need that 45 syn dessert to go home and know you've enjoyed yourself?! NO! Don't let anyone place their 'enjoying yourself' models onto you! Especially a naturally slim person who has never had food issues. Maybe they can go into a restaurant and order a 3 course mega syn meal and come out physically and mentally unscathed. I can without doubt do that now at at target (or in weight loss mode on special occasions) BUT it is difficult mentally to do that in weight loss mode without doing any damage. YOU CAN ENJOY your life whilst gaining control and health, and achieving you dreams with SW 💫💓
Well done to anyone beginning their weight loss journey now, it will be the most worthwhile and incredible thing you'll ever do. After that picture on the left was taken in January 2015 it took me four more months of comfort eating and trying to 'diet' before walking through the doors of my @slimmingworld class. If you scroll down my page I've wrote about different parts of my journey under each transformation picture. 💙
My journey in a nutshell - I'm 5 foot 5 ", without exercise I lost 9 stone 1.5 lb in one year, I went on to lose a little more in the following couple of months and my overall loss is currently 9 stone 11 lb. I went from a size 24/26 to and 8/10 in one year purely with food optimising 💫
I want to give you all a little warning that I wish I'd of had - do NOT compare yourself to anyone. Especially if you are following SW instagrams for guidance and inspiration, even more so if you're new to SW. Do NOT compare your food intake to target members who have changed their relationship with food, and are smaller so have different nutritional needs! I posted EVERY single thing I ate from joining for 18 months (May 15 - Nov 16). If you scroll back you'll see that after weigh in I'd have a high syn treat for the first couple of months and I ate lots more food. Your needs change and your intake adapts. When you start don't look at extra easy SP, don't reduce your intake when you remain hungry, if you want a huge bowl of pasta, a huge jacket potato or 15 syns a day have them!! Don't worry that others aren't eating the same way. TRUST the plan and adapt it to your own needs. Food optimising is bloody brilliant, the free food, unlimited concept is revolutionary for us food lovers. Just do as it asks and fill yourself up of speed free foods first. With a big bowl or pasta have lots of veggies/salad; same with any other meal. @slimmingworld turned me (a notorious weight loss failure) into a person who trusted themselves with food and it gave me a new healthy relationship with food. Take it one day at a time and remember WILLPOWER IS LIKE A MUSCLE, THE MORE YOU USE IT THE STRONGER IT GETS 💫💪
I know you can do it!! 😏❤
SORRY for another none food related post. I still haven't got access to my personal Instagram where this would be posted. I'm just sooooooooo in love with this man. P.S. I still cannot stand up fully straight and the three course meal didn't help! 😂😍👫💙💍🎉
My fiancée and a piña colada, could I beeeeeeee any happier?! 💑🍹 #chandlerbingvoice #onlyifbeyoncewashere
My two favourite film series merged providing with me with the ultimate Christmas jumper! 🙌
MERRY CHRISTMAS YA FILTHY MUGGLE ⚡️🎅🏻🎄
I needed it in Gryffindor colours (obviously) but adult sizes had sold out, age 12 - 13 was therefore purchased! Thankfully it fits haha!! 😍
Food picture to follow but @deliciouslyella pancakes are ridiculously good!! SO tasty and not stodgy at all. 😍🥞🥜🍓🍌
@wbtourlondon later and I'm SO excited!!!! I wearing my HP necklace, ring and earrings from @lovelayyanah 💫⚡️
I made it!! We're on our way to London and I'm so excited!! I'm so proud I feel well enough to enjoy our planned trip! ❣
Today we are going to be relaxing. We had planned to do winter wonderland as we're staying by Hyde Park but I'll see how I feel once there. The main reason for our trip is Hogwarts in the snow and that's tomorrow @wbtourlondon 😆🚂💫🦉👓⚡️. I want to savour all my energy for that! For my Christmas shellac I went for Gryffindor deep burgundy and I have my HP jewellery from @lovelayyanah ⚡️. I'm such a geek! Pottermore offially confirmed I'm in Gryffindor by the way 🦁💁
We are eating at the @the_mae_deli today and I'm SO excited. I've been only once before and the food was truly incredible. I'll be posting pictures of my trip of my other social media if you'd like to follow that, I'll be posting my food choices on here of course 😊
Personal Instagram - @jenniferginley 📷
Snapchat - jenniferginley 👻
Thanks to the world's best sister coming at 7am to take us to the train station, I love you SO much @cginner_x 💖
Thank you all so much for your gorgeous well wishes, kind comments and messages to see how I was, and encouraging me to rest. As always blown away by how lovely you all are!! I'm looking forward to catching up with you all 😊. Going to have a lovely little Insta stalking session whilst on the train now. ❤
I hope you all have a lovely day 🦋
Left - January 2015 feeling so uncomfortable and unhappy. A few pounds away from my heaviest weight, four months before joining @slimmingworld 😞
Right - August 2016 feeling so comfortable and happy in my own skin, confident ahead of walking down the aisle as my best friend's bridesmaid 👸
The physical change feels crazy, I sometimes double take at my own reflection, my mind still hasn't caught up! BUT the biggest change is my MIND! I now actually believe myself when I say 'I will.....'. I've never been so proud of myself, I could literally write a book on my weight loss attempts. I got to the point where food had to be ruled out, in my mind that was the only logic, I had no control!! What do you think I done after Cambridge weight plan, lighterlife and celebrity slim? Binged and gained more weight! THAT is not normality and it was reinforcing my belief that I had NO control. Forget DIETS, join SW and food optimise your way to a strong mind and health boy! 💫
SW is a revelation and it made me trust myself with food. There were times I genuinely thought I'd never be capable, I hated my false promises of starting a diet every Monday, much more than I hated how I looked. 😥
Plus I spent one year socialising all whilst gaining this new me! I didn't become happy once I reached target, I became happier with every single day of my journey. It doesn't happen overnight, it takes time to go from self destruction mode to WILLPOWER of steel but you CAN DO IT! Seriously if you knew the old me you'd believe me when I told you if I can anyone can. I'm 5 foot 5, I was 19 stone 4 lb, I'm now HALF that (9 stone 9 lb!) and got here without exercising. Find me a better food plan that food optimising?! I think you'll find yourself unable. HAPPY TUESDAY BEAUTIFUL HUMANS! Have a GREAT day on plan, flex that will power and go to bed proud of yourself ❣️
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
Over the holidays, Jennifer was finally in a place to say yes to Luke.
"It was such an incredible feeling to be able to say 'Yes!' without even a second thought about my weight, and I can't wait to go dress shopping," she said to The Daily Mail.
Readers are even calling her a Princess Kate look alike, according to The Daily Mail.
"I feel like I'm a butterfly, emerging from my cocoon," said Jennifer.