A north-east woman is hoping to inspire others after shedding 13 stone in three years.
Since joining Slimming World in 2016, Jill Onemli has exceeded her weight-loss goals and turned her life around.
Jill, 41, from Cove, says the group has changed her whole outlook on life, but admits her lack of confidence almost stopped her from walking through its doors.
The childcare worker pledged to drop the pounds when she realised she was missing out on key family moments. She said: “It was getting to the stage where I wouldn’t go out for dinner if the chairs had armrests. I couldn’t go swimming or down the flumes.
“I tried every diet under the sun and it got to the stage where I thought ‘enough is enough’.”
She took the plunge in January 2016 and called a weight-loss consultant at the Aberdeen-based group.
Jill said: “I think I only lost three pounds in the first week. I didn’t want this to be another fad diet and I couldn’t afford it to be.”
In her first year alone, Jill lost a whopping six stone and five pounds. Despite exceeding her weight-loss targets, she admits to sometimes shopping for larger clothes and says she still can’t believe her transformation.
Wearing a sleek wedding dress for her Istanbul wedding in 2018 showed her just how far she has come. She said: “It was a fitted dress and I was sweating at the thought of trying it on. I was so out of my comfort zone.
“It’s not just about weight loss. It’s called a non-skill victory. I wore that wedding dress that I never expected to wear.”
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Slimming World emphasises that weight loss is a journey, not a race, and there are no food restrictions. Healthy portions are critical to success and Jill regularly shares healthy recipes online. She said: “We’ve all had the festive period and indulged more and it’s about getting back on plan.
“If you’re eating regularly, then you’re less likely to reach for the wrong things. It was about completely changing my mindset and regularly eating the right thing.”
Jill lives with her husband Enes and daughter Rhea, and says she is determined to help her create a healthy attitude towards food. She said: “I remember I started my first diet when I was 16 and my daughter is getting to that stage where it’s either body confidence or body complexes. We don’t want her to be overweight or unhealthy but she needs to learn that every body is different and what works for one might not work for another.”
Attending the group continues to be a weekly routine for Jill and she continues to support her fellow members: “I’ll never go back to that. People don’t even realise it’s me. It’s a reminder of how much of a transformation I’ve made.
“My life has completely changed for the better, I am now living life instead of just existing.”
Aiding her on her weight-loss journey is consultant Mandy Elphinstone. The ex-Slimming World member now dedicates her time to helping others achieve their own weight-loss goals.
Mandy, 45, from the West End, joined the group back in 2012 and now runs three separate sessions of 130 people. The two met at the beginning of Jill’s slimming journey. Mandy said: “It was giving her the confidence to come through the doors. She called up before she came and I had to reassure her that the scales would hold her.
“The biggest shift in her confidence was when she went away on her summer holidays two years ago.
“It was her first holiday abroad in a long time and her confidence was amazing.
“Slimming World is a lifestyle change but there’s a lot of food you can enjoy and the support lets other members know they are not alone.”
To join a Slimming World group near you visit https://bit.ly/37PSjE7.