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How these inspirational slimmers shed more than 20 stone between them... as we reveal the perfect picnic recipes to help you lose a STONE by the summer

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 14/05/2019 Daily Mail Reporter
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It's tempting to imagine that life will be plain sailing once you've lost weight — but keeping the pounds at bay can be another challenge.

If you've set yourself the goal of losing a stone before the summer holidays you'll probably be motivated by the numbers on your bathroom scales getting smaller every week and getting compliments from friends.

When you reach your goal you will be proud of a real achievement.

a group of people sitting at a picnic table: This summer you can enjoy big family celebrations and picnics without piling on the pounds thanks to WW © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited This summer you can enjoy big family celebrations and picnics without piling on the pounds thanks to WW

But what then?

Julia Westgarth, head of programme at WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers, advises: 'It's important to see your new healthy eating and exercise programme as the way you live your life now, and focus on the positive changes you are enjoying —whether it's wearing the skimpy summer clothes you've always dreamed of, or taking part in charity fun runs.

How WW freestyle works

The WW Freestyle programme is based on three elements – healthy eating, fitness and mindset, which help you make long-term positive changes to your lifestyle.

On WW Freestyle all food and drink has a SmartPoints value, one number calculated according to three key elements:

As a guide, don't exceed 23 SmartPoints a day, and you will lose weight (a healthy rate of weight loss is ½-2lb a week).

When you join WW Freestyle, you get a personalised SmartPoints Budget, calculated according to your age, height, weight and gender to ensure optimum health and steady weight loss.

Freestyle encourages you to add exercise to your weight-loss programme, too. 

It won't just help you to lose weight but you will also find it boosts your mood and outlook on life. You can increase your SmartPoints Budget by earning FitPoints for any activity in which you take part.

'Take time to appreciate all the good things your weight loss has brought; better sleep, more energy, rediscovering your old wardrobe or buying a whole new one, enjoying new foods, or the fact you actually like exercise, or that you can happily play with your children or grandchildren — the list goes on.'

Enjoy celebrations

Because the pioneering WW Freestyle programme is so flexible, it is easy to fit it into your life without feeling you are depriving yourself.

All food and drink is on the menu — it's up to you to decide how to use your SmartPoints Budget (see page 2 of this pull out).

Freestyle's rollovers are invaluable for this — they allow you to automatically carry forward up to four unused SmartPoints from your daily Budget to another day that week.

This allows you to enjoy celebrations, evenings out with friends and barbecues — so it encourages you to adopt Freestyle as a way of life rather than seeing it as a short-term 'diet'.

Another big bonus is the ZeroPoints foods list of more than 200 items that you can eat freely without them counting towards your daily SmartPoints budget.

Most fruit and vegetables, pulses, all fish and seafood, chicken and zero-fat yoghurt are on the ZeroPoints food list — meaning you can still make the most of some of summer's most delicious foods.

Today, in the final part of our exclusive series, we've brought you more mouth-watering ideas for delicious, fuss-free dishes that will help you enjoy the summer months all the more, knowing you're also staying on track with your weight-loss programme.

And once you've achieved your goals, you should find you're loving your new life so much you'll never want to give it up.

KEEPING YOURSELF MOTIVATED

This is where the Mindset element of the Freestyle programme comes in — using tried-and-tested techniques from the science of behaviour change to help you keep motivated to stay slim, active and healthy.

Here, WW experts share some of their best tips to keep unwanted weight from creeping back.

Hearing about other people's weight loss success can be inspiring and motivating. It makes you believe that you could also achieve what they did — and just imagine how that would transform your life!

Below, we bring you the incredible stories of three readers and how they lost nearly 17 stone between them and completely changed their health and happiness with WW Freestyle.

Filo sausage rolls 

Makes 12 

3 SmartPoints per roll

a close up of food on a table: These scrummy sausage rolls look unhealthy but only use three SmartPoints per roll thanks to the reduced-fat sausage meat © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited These scrummy sausage rolls look unhealthy but only use three SmartPoints per roll thanks to the reduced-fat sausage meat

Preheat the oven to 200c/fan 180c/gas 6 and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Mist a frying pan with cooking spray and fry the shallots over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes until softened.

Remove the skin from the sausages and mix the meat with the cooked shallots in a bowl. Melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat.

Lay one of the filo pastry sheets on a board and dot with some of the melted butter. Lay a second sheet of filo on top of the first, dot with more melted butter then repeat with the third sheet. Trim the edges, then cut in half to make two rectangular strips.

Put half the sausage mixture down the centre of each pastry strip, then brush the edges of the pastry with the remaining melted butter. Roll up the pastry to enclose the sausage meat and slice into 4cm pieces.

Put the sausage rolls on the baking sheet, brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle over the fennel seeds, then bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden and cooked through.

 

Fresh mint lemonade 

Serves 6 

a close up of a beverage in a glass: This fresh mint lemonade is perfect for the summer months © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited This fresh mint lemonade is perfect for the summer months

2 SmartPoints per serving

Put the lemon rind, mint leaves, agave nectar and 300ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until the sweetener dissolves. 

Simmer for 5 minutes, then take off the heat and leave to cool. 

Strain into a jug, flask or bottle, add the lemon juice and 1.2 litres water. 

Chill until ready to use. Serve with lemon slices and mint sprigs, if you prefer.

 

Pizza loaf 

Serves 12 

4 SmartPoints per slice

a plate of food with a knife: This delicious pizza loaf recipe serves 12 portions and is a great way to eat tasty food while slimming down © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited This delicious pizza loaf recipe serves 12 portions and is a great way to eat tasty food while slimming down

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt, sugar and yeast. 

Make a well in the centre, then pour in 120ml warm water and the oil, and mix with a wooden spoon to form a soft dough. 

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 7-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. 

Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. 

Combine the olives, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and some ground black pepper. Put the dough onto a lightly floured surface. 

Knock out the air by punching the dough and stretching it for a few minutes. Roll into a 36cm x 22cm rectangle. 

Spread over the tomato and olive mixture and dot with mozzarella. Starting from the longest edge, roll the dough tightly into a sausage shape. 

Cut in half lengthways, leaving 3cm uncut at one end so the halves are still attached. Twist the halves together like a rope. 

Put the dough on a large baking sheet lined with baking paper. Cover with lightly oiled clingfilm and set aside in a warm place to prove for 35 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 220c/fan 200c/gas 7. Brush the loaf with beaten egg and bake for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through. 

If the loaf is catching, cover loosely with foil. Cool for 5 minutes, then slice.

Courgette, pea and pesto frittata

Serves 4 

3 SmartPoints per serving

Mist a griddle pan with cooking spray and place over a high heat. Working in batches, griddle the courgette ribbons for 1-2 minutes on each side until tender and charred. Set aside.

In a large jug or bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, goat's cheese and pesto. Season well. Stir in the peas.

a bowl of food on a table: The courgette, pea and pesto frittata is a perfect picnic recipe for all occasions © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The courgette, pea and pesto frittata is a perfect picnic recipe for all occasions

Lightly mist a non-stick, ovenproof frying pan with cooking spray. Add the shallots and cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened, then add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Lay half the courgette ribbons over the shallots, then pour over the egg and pea mixture. 

Top with the remaining courgette then cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the frittata is starting to set. Meanwhile, preheat the grill to medium-high. 

Transfer the pan to the grill for 3-4 minutes, until the frittata is golden. 

Allow to cool slightly, then garnish with the dill. Cut into quarters and serve with the salad leaves.

 

Chicken quesadillas

a sandwich sitting on top of a table: Chicken quesadillas, at 8 SmartPoints per serving, will go down a treat at summer parties © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Chicken quesadillas, at 8 SmartPoints per serving, will go down a treat at summer parties

Serves 4 

8 SmartPoints per serving

Spread ½ tbsp of the pesto over each wrap. 

Shred the chicken breast and divide between 2 of the wraps, then scatter the mozzarella, tomatoes and basil leaves over the chicken. 

Top with the 2 remaining tortillas, pesto-side down, pressing down lightly.

Mist a large frying pan with the cooking spray and place over a medium-high heat. 

Add the quesadillas one at a time and cook for 3-4 minutes. 

Mist the top with more cooking spray, then flip over and cook for 3-4 minutes on the other side until golden. 

Quarter and serve.

 

Sesame chicken salad

Serves 4 

11 SmartPoints per serving

For the dressing

a bowl of food on a plate: This sesame chicken salad will be the ideal lunch for a hot summer's day and combines a number of fresh and green ingredients © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited This sesame chicken salad will be the ideal lunch for a hot summer's day and combines a number of fresh and green ingredients

Preheat the oven to 200c/fan 180c/gas 6. 

Put the chicken in a roasting tin and mist with cooking spray. 

Roast for 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. 

Shred using forks while still hot. Set aside to cool. 

For the salad dressing, toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Leave to cool slightly. 

Whisk together the soy, sesame oil, honey, ginger, lime juice and sesame seeds in a bowl. Set aside. 

Prepare the rice noodles to pack instructions. 

Now, use a spiraliser, julienne or vegetable peeler to make cucumber 'noodles'. 

Drain the rice noodles then refresh under cold water. Shake off excess water and place in a bowl with the chicken, cucumber, chilli and most of the coriander. 

Add the dressing, toss and serve topped with coriander.

 

How I learned a healthy body is just PRICELESS 

Julie Redmond, a 45-year-old computer programmer at a printing firm, lost 4st 71b, dropping from 14st 7st to 10st. Julie, who is married to Jimmy, lives near Edinburgh.

Julie says: We were on holiday in Turkey in June 2016 when one of our friends took a group photo in front of a stunning view of the bay — I was absolutely horrified at how big I was.

I thought: 'If that's what I look like in nice clothes with my make-up on, what on earth do I look like on the beach in my cozzie?' I was a size 18-20 and I'm only 5ft 4in tall.

The minute we got home I signed up with Weight Watchers, as WW was then called.

a person standing next to a body of water posing for the camera: Holiday shock: When she was on holiday in Turkey in 2016, she was horrified at how big she was in this photo © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Holiday shock: When she was on holiday in Turkey in 2016, she was horrified at how big she was in this photo

I'd lost weight in the past but after reaching my goal weight stopped going to be weighed.

At first I didn't notice a few pounds creeping back and then I stopped seeing what I really looked like in the mirror. 

But after that awful photo, I knew I couldn't hide any longer. I lost six pounds in the first week and started going to the gym — and never looked back.

a person in a dress: Two years later, Julie is massively proud of the weight she has lost and her healthy body © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Two years later, Julie is massively proud of the weight she has lost and her healthy body

This time I took it seriously. My main problem was portion control — if I made pasta I would have an enormous mound.

And I loved snacking . . . chocolates, biscuits, sweets, you name it.

So I carefully planned my weekly meals, making a batch of food on a Sunday night and taking lunch into work — a salad in summer or vegetable soup in winter.

I never missed WW Workshops and bought only the food that I needed for that week's recipes, so there were no snacks around to tempt me.

Losing weight encouraged me to take up exercise. I started running and was soon up to five miles a time, four days a week.

I didn't always want to go out but I found that if I'd had a hard day at work it cleared my head. It felt good to be outside in the fresh air. Within a year I was down to 10st — and a size 8!

This was the slimmest and the fittest I had ever been and I felt so good. My body was changing shape, too — thanks to all the running.

It was wonderful when the sales came — there are so many lovely bargains in size 8 that I'd never even noticed before when I was rummaging around looking for clothes in size 18-20.

I even wore a bikini for the first time ever on holiday in Spain with Jimmy in October 2017.

But then, in May 2018, my life changed.

Jimmy and I had been to Blackpool for the weekend to celebrate our wedding anniversary but when we got home I started to feel ill. At first I was tired, then I developed a sore throat. The next day I was shivery with cold hands and feet.

By Wednesday I couldn't get out of bed and phoned the NHS helpline: the concerned operator sent an ambulance. In hospital I was diagnosed with meningococcal septicaemia — a potentially fatal complication of meningitis. 

I ended up losing the tips of two toes on my left foot and I spent 16 days in hospital. I was off work for six months. I'm still coming to terms with how close I came to dying.

But I believe that being so aware of health and fitness — thanks to WW — made me realise when something serious was wrong, and helped save my life.

Now I'm back to weekly WW Workshops and running again — but I'm taking it gently.

My weight crept back up to 11st and I'm losing it again, more slowly this time. But my attitude has changed. For me, WW is a health plan for life.

I am massively proud of the weight loss that I've achieved — but it's also given me a healthy body and that is literally priceless.

 

I did have a thin person inside!

Nurse Heather Campbell, 51, lost 6st 7lb, and now weighs 9st 9lb. The mother of three is divorced and lives in Ayr, Scotland.

Heather says: My job in a busy hospital A&E department meant I’d grab meals when I could — chips in the dining room, chocolate from the vending machine or sweets from patients.

At my heaviest I took size 20-22 bottoms and size 16-18 tops — and I’m only 5ft 3in tall. I couldn’t find any decent clothes and I felt frumpy all the time.

Then in January 2015 a man asked for help lifting his disabled wife who’d fallen in a minibus outside.

a person standing posing for the camera: At her heaviest Heather took size 20-22 bottoms and size 16-18 tops © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited At her heaviest Heather took size 20-22 bottoms and size 16-18 tops a green dress: By her 50th birthday in February 2018, she hit her 10st 10lb goal weight © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited By her 50th birthday in February 2018, she hit her 10st 10lb goal weight

I ended up getting wedged between the bus seats — I was totally humiliated.

I promptly joined Weight Watchers, as WW was then called, and lost 2st in a year.

However, I then slipped back into my old ways and by October 2016, I’d put on a stone.

So I went back to WW, but persevered. By my 50th birthday in February 2018, I’d hit my 10st 10lb goal weight — and felt amazing.

I’ve since lost another stone, and I’m now a size 6-8. Having always been overweight I never thought there was a thin body inside!

I wish I’d lost it and kept it off years ago, but I am so glad I’ve done it now.

 

Heart scare put me on track 

Ty Gould, 48, lost 5st 7lb and now weighs 12st 9lb. The operations manager lives in Basingstoke, Hants, with his wife Margaret, 50, an NHS worker.

TY says: At my heaviest I weighed 19st 7lb, then in 2014 I was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, which means my heart muscles don’t work properly. 

I cut back on drink and took up cycling. I lost 2st but still ate huge portions.

Then in October 2016 Margaret and I were on the sofa and I got up — the next thing I knew I was in hospital.

Margaret called 999 and gave me CPR until the ambulance arrived. She saved my life.

a man wearing a suit and tie: At his heaviest, Ty weighed 19st 7lb © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited At his heaviest, Ty weighed 19st 7lb a person standing next to a person: In nine months of WW, Ty hit his goal weight © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited In nine months of WW, Ty hit his goal weight

I had heart surgery, was fitted with a CRT-D device that corrects heart rhythm and given drugs. Doctors attributed my cardiac arrest to faulty electrical signals in the heart. But there was no denying I was overweight and unfit.

In January 2017, I joined WW. I loved that no food was off limits, I just had to watch portion size. In nine months I hit my goal weight.

Margaret joined WW, too, and we plan a week’s meals and use the WW app to track SmartPoints. I cycle more — around 100 miles a week now. I’ve never felt so good.

Margaret’s lost nearly three stone, and looks amazing! I still go out for a drink – only now it’s a no-alcohol beer.

MSN UK are Empowering Happiness for mental health awareness month. Find out more about our campaign and the charities working to stop people falling into crisis here.

Gallery: 40 Ways to Get Back in Shape! [Eat This, Not That!]


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