Weight loss tips: Woman dubbed the 'fat friend' shed SIX STONE thanks to Slimming World

Distraught, she came home and vowed to lose weight.

She shed a staggering six stone, transforming her look and has managed to keep the weight off for 12 years – all thanks to Slimming World.

Today, the mum-of-two from Royal Leamington Spa is training to run the London Marathon and says she even followed the diet's food optimising plan through her two pregnancies.

“Losing weight when I did completely changed my life," Jodie, 32, says. "It gave me so much more confidence in every respect.

"I was able to pursue a career as cabin crew, including moving to Dubai for five years and becoming a safety trainer teaching people how to put out fires, jump down slides and float on life-rafts, which I’d never have been able to do at my heaviest.

“I’d tried other diets in the past but none of them taught me anything about food – I’d ‘spend’ all my allowances on unhealthy foods or end up starving hungry on shakes and pills. With Slimming World it was completely different and I still eat the same way today.

"It’s great because my husband and sons can eat the same meals, which wouldn’t have been possible with other diets – I’d obviously never put my sons on a low-carb plan!"

Jodie says that she's able to stay on the plan for her marathon training precisely because it doesn't involve restricting healthy carbs – something long-distance runners need.

"I’m currently training to run the London Marathon this April and Food Optimising allows me to fuel up properly before a long run.

"Plus, it’s easy to make healthy choices when I eat out too – nothing’s off the menu, because Food Optimising isn’t a diet to go on and go off, it’s a plan for life.”

Jodie's story comes as Slimming World publishes the findings of their Big Carb Survey, which has found that dieters find low-carb plans notoriously hard to follow.

Nutritionists say encouraging dieters to shun spuds, bread and pasta is “irresponsible” and can even lead to weight gain.

37 per cent of slimmers have tried low-carb diets, such as Atkins, popularised by Gwyneth Paltrow and Kim Kardashian.

But many find them difficult to follow, with 46 per cent often left feeling hungry and 30 per cent describing them as “boring”.

Government guidelines and evidence from the World Health Organisation show carbohydrates should be part of a healthy diet.

But 66 per cent of 2,103 people polled by Slimming World have wrongly heard low-carb diets are better for weight loss.

And 35 per cent have wrongly heard it is impossible to lose weight without cutting them from their meals and snacks.

Dr Jacquie Lavin, from Slimming World, said: “There is a deep-seated misconception that people should avoid carbs when they’re trying to lose weight.

“Yet the truth is carbs play an important role both in a healthy diet and in sustainable weight loss – and the current carb confusion is fuelling the UK’s obesity problem.

“If you want to lose weight this New Year, and keep it off, avoid low-carb diets.

“Advising overweight people to follow low-carb diets, which we know are unsustainable, is irresponsible.

“It sets people up to fail and is likely to leave them struggling with feelings of guilt and low self-esteem as well as potentially regaining the weight they lost.

“Obesity not only has an impact on our own personal health but puts a massive strain on our NHS, which has to deal with a number of obesity-related conditions.”

Some 28 per cent of adults in the UK are obese, which increases their risk of cancer, type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

The NHS is estimated to spend over £6 billion a year treating illnesses linked to being overweight and obese.

Dr Shaobo Zhou, from the University of Bedfordshire, said: “Though followers may experience short-term weight-loss, fad diets are not sustainable in terms of weight and lifestyle.

“Prolonged adherence slows the metabolism to such a degree that the body may not be able to burn enough calories to maintain its body weight.

“This may lead to severe hunger, which, ironically, causes people to start over-eating and gain more weight.”

Public Health England says around a third of an adults diet should consist of potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy carbs.

A study published in the medical journal Lancet Public Health last year found a low-carb diet could shorten life expectancy by four years.

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