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Tubby teen to trolley dolly: Junk food addict branded "fat friend" on girls' holiday sheds 6st and lands job as air stewardess

Mirror logo Mirror 16/03/2017 Fiona Parker

Credits: Slimming World © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Slimming World A tubby teenager who ballooned after gorging on junk food shed six stone and landed a high-flying job as an air stewardess after she was branded the "fat friend" on a girls' holiday.

Now, after dropping five dress sizes, Jodie Rigby-Mee has even posed for a photoshoot - as a bikini model.

Jodie used to snack on bags of crisps, chocolate bars. At meal times, she'd gorge on sugary cereals, sausage rolls, burgers and chips.

At 17-years-old and 5ft 6in, she weighed a whopping 16st 7lbs, but a nasty comment she overheard on a girls' holiday motivated her to change.

Credits: Slimming World

Credits: Slimming World
© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc
Jodie, of Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, was on her first holiday with her friends when she heard a group of boys she and a pal had been chatting to refer to her as the "fat friend".

She said: "It took my breath away and I ended up back in the hotel room in tears.

"I truly felt at my lowest."

The determined teen joined her local Swimming World group.

Credits: Slimming World © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Slimming World And, after switching cheese baguettes with homemade butternut squash and crisps and chocolate with fresh fruit and fat-free yoghurts, she lost an incredible 6st in just two years.

Now, 11 years on, the 32-year-old mum has kept the bulge at bay ever since.

And since her weigh loss, Jodie has married her husband Nigel in a Size 10 wedding dress and given birth to her son Jenson, who is now three.

Looking back on her teens, Jodie remembers always being two or three dress sizes above her friends.

She was humiliated after starting a new job at Gap and having to choose her uniform from the menswear section because none of the women's clothes would fit her Size 20 frame.

And her heavy frame meant she suffered with asthma, migraines and painful knees.

Jodie said: "Everyone always said I had 'puppy fat', but I never grew out of it and when I went to college my weight became more out of control.

"By that time I had my own money though so I could just buy clothes in the next dress size up and I avoided talking to anyone, including my parents, about my weight."

Her godmother, Marion, suggested they join Slimming World together in May 2002.

She said: "If I'm honest, I spent all day trying to think of excuses not to go with her.

"I thought everyone would really judge me for being so big at such a young age.

"My fears were completely unfounded though and the truth is that you walk into a room full of people who all feel exactly the same way as you do and who totally understand what you're going through."

Credits: Slimming World/Paul Buller.

Credits: Slimming World/Paul Buller.
© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc
Jodie began swapping her pre-packed sandwiches and jarred sauces for tasty, homemade options.

She said: "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.

"This was completely different and I still eat the same way today. It's great because Nigel and Jenson can eat the same meals and it's easy to make healthy choices when I eat out too."

Jodie is now a gym member and loves to go for a run.

She said: "Running around after Jenson is also a good workout and my parents are keen walkers so we like going out together and it's made us closer too."

She reached her target weight in December 2005 and believes being more active has been a big factor in helping her to stay there.

Jodie said: "I loved receiving awards for every half stone I lost and for being active.

Credits: Slimming World/Paul Buller. © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Slimming World/Paul Buller. "It's amazing how motivating it can be to have something to work towards."

"Losing weight when I did completely changed my life. 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 married my husband in a Size 10 wedding dress, took part in a bikini photo shoot for a magazine and had a happy, healthy pregnancy with my little boy."

After nine years at her target weight, Jodie decided to leave behind her career working for airlines to open her own Slimming World groups.

She had moved back to England from Dubai in 2014 when she took the plunge.

Jodie has now been named Top Target Consultant 2017.

Credits: Slimming World © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Slimming World She said: "It's the most rewarding job I could ask for - I love seeing people reach a goal because I know exactly what that feels like.

"I'm really honest with my members and they know I'm still a Slimming World member too - I attend a group every week to get support to stay on track, even after all these years.

"I want them to know I'm human too and show them that Food Optimising isn't a diet to go on and go off, it's a plan for life."


Age : 32

Height : 5ft 6in

Starting weight: 16st 7lbs/231lbs/105kg

Current weight : 10st 7lbs/147lbs/67kg

Weight loss : 6st/84lbs/38kg

Starting dress size : 20

Current dress size : 10

Date joined Slimming World : May 2002

Date reached target weight : December 2005

Length of time maintained : 11 years 2 months

Date became a Consultant : June 2014


Breakfast : Big bowl of sugary cereal with full-fat milk or sausage roll

Lunch : Burger and chips or ham and cheese baguette with a bag of crisps and a chocolate bar

Dinner : Chicken in a jarred sauce with deep-fried chips

Snacks : Crisps, chocolate


Breakfast : Fruit with Quark or grilled lean bacon, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms and baked beans

Lunch : Homemade butternut squash soup with wholemeal bread or a jacket potato topped with tuna and salad

Dinner : Homemade spaghetti Bolognese or stir-fry with Slimming World's Chinese 5-Spice Sauce, available from Iceland.

Snacks : Fresh fruit, fat-free yogurts, high-fibre cereal bars, low-calorie hot chocolate topped with light whipped cream and mini marshmallows.


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