An overweight woman shocked by holiday snaps of herself at Dinsneyworld with the Little Mermaid has shed nearly ten stone to get a fairytale ending as she marries her childhood sweetheart.
Jennifer Ginley, 26, who stood at 5’5″, weighed a whopping 19st 4lbs and had to wear a seatbelt extender when travelling by plane.
Her diet consisted of crisps, chocolates, greasy cafe food, chip shop meals, Chinese takeaways and fizzy drinks.
The self-confessed “serial failed-dieter” had even discouraged her boyfriend of 11 years from proposing, because she didn’t want to be a fat bride.
After losing over half her body weight, she has now been named Slimming World’s Miss Slinky 2017 and has gained 75,000 Instagram followers in the process.
Jennifer, who lives with her mum Janet in Liverpool, said: “I’d been a fairly averaged-size child but I was a size 18 by the time I went to university in Manchester.
“Living away from home saw me gain even more weight and I was around five stone heavier when I graduated.”
But back in 2015, she was forced to confront her weight problem, when she had to buy size-26 clothes for a once-in-a-lifetime holiday to Florida with her family.
Jennifer said: “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.”
Once the holiday began, Jennifer became more and more convinced she had to change her ways, especially once she saw the holiday snaps.
Jennifer said: “I had to ask for a seatbelt extender on the plane, I spent our time there having to ride on the adjusted seats for larger people and I was horrified when I saw the photos.
“One picture of me with the Little Mermaid, my favourite Disney character, actually made me gasp.
“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.”
In May 2015, Jennifer went to a Slimming World meeting in Kirby, Liverpool, with her mum and sister Christine.
Jennifer said: “We got such a warm welcome from everyone and I can honestly say that walking into that Slimming World group was without doubt the best thing I have ever done in my life.”
Jennifer, a Citizens Advice caseworker, started swapping takeaways for fresh, wholesome and healthy food.
She said: “Before Slimming World I wouldn’t eat any breakfast or prepare any lunch or snacks for work, so I always found myself eating whatever I could lay my hands on, shop-bought sandwiches, packet noodles, chip shop meals.
“My sister and I used to bond over eating really unhealthily, we would go out for indulgent meals, have takeaways together and eat junk food almost as a hobby.
“Now we cook and enjoy Slimming World feasts together and instead of having takeaways up to four times a week, we’ll make a lovely chicken stir-fry or homemade bolognese.”
But Jennifer believes the biggest change since her 9st 9lbs weight loss has been to her positive mindset.
Jennifer said: “Before I lost weight I had a massive lack of belief in myself and I feel like I wasted so many years with fake smiles that hid how unhappy I was.
“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.
“Finally taking control of my weight was such a huge turning point for me, both physically and mentally.”
Jennifer has even spread her positive vibes through social media.
She said: “A really key part of my journey was keeping an online food diary so that I could chart my progress. From day one I posted my meals on my Instagram account and it really helped me to stay on track.
“Now I have over 75,000 followers!”
At just 9st 9lbs Jennifer now wears a svelte size 8/10 and she is now set to drop her spinster status.
Jennifer said: “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.
“I reached my target weight just over a year after joining Slimming World and just before Christmas Luke asked me to marry him!
“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.”
Now the happy bride-to-be is set to be a cover star of March/April 2017 edition of Slimming World Magazine.
Reflecting on her success, Jennifer said: “During my weight-loss journey, I’d visualise myself at target and on the cover of the magazine, inspiring other slimmers with my success.
“I feel like I’m a butterfly, emerging from my cocoon.”
Name: Jennifer Ginley
Starting weight: 19st 4lbs/270lbs/122kg
Current weight: 9st 9lbs/135lbs/61kg
Weight loss: 9st 9lbs/135lbs/61kg
Starting dress size: 24/26
Current dress size: 8/10
Date joined Slimming World: May 5th 2015
Group: Jennifer attends the Kirkby group run by Jackie Whewell
Mid-morning: Crisps and chocolate
Lunch: Shop-bought sandwiches, greasy café food, chip shop meals or packet noodles
Mid-afternoon: Fresh cream cakes and biscuits
Dinner: Chinese takeaway or frozen pizzas and oven chips, fizzy drinks
Evening: More crisps, white toast with butter
Breakfast: Porridge with lots of fresh fruit, baked oats with fruit or a Slimming World ‘fry’-up
Lunch: Homemade Slimming World-style crust-less quiche, homemade vegetable soup or a tuna sandwich in wholemeal bread
Mid-afternoon: Small bag of Cheetos crisps
Dinner: Chicken stir-fry, spaghetti bolognese, Diet cola chicken, Scouse (beef stew) or Pizza omelette with salad
Evening: Fresh fruit topped with quark, small chocolate bar