Susan now, after the Slimming World programme
A slimmer from Abbeyleix, who was inactive and would avoid exercise at all costs, has lost 7st 9lbs with Slimming World and has done something she would never have dreamed of before losing weight – run the 26.2 mile London Marathon.
At her heaviest, Susan Brophy, 35, felt constantly tired and self-conscious, and had little confidence. She joined the Abbeyleix Slimming World group in 2014 after a family holiday in Portugal was ruined due to her feeling self-conscious about her weight.
In April she represented Slimming World with their national team of 11 slimmers from across the UK and Republic of Ireland in the London marathon. The team ran to raise money for the Irish Cancer Society and Cancer Research UK, and to increase awareness of how keeping a healthy weight reduces the risk of developing cancer. Susan was the only Irish member of the team.
She completed the London marathon in a time of 5 hours, 34 minutes and 17 seconds. She ran in the 18 to 39 category and her eventual placement was 33,662.
Before Slimming World, Susan was unhappy with her size, and ate to try to make herself feel better, This caused her to gain more weight and created a vicious cycle.
In September 2014, Susan joined her local Slimming World group, run by Consultant Carmel Minogue. She began following Slimming World’s Food Optimising healthy eating plan and discovered a love of cooking, swapping her diet of takeaways, crisps, sweets and fizzy drinks for cooking healthy, wholesome meals from scratch including her favourite dish of sweet and sour chicken with egg fried rice and lots of fresh vegetables.
Susan says: "I was so nervous before joining Slimming World but I soon realised I needn’t have been. "I got a fantastic warm welcome from the group and when Carmel, my Consultant, explained the eating plan, I couldn’t quite believe it!
"Losing weight without going hungry, while still enjoying all my favourite meals, just by making changes to the way I prepared and cooked them, has been amazing. I’ve never eaten so well in my life!"
As the weight dropped off, Susan gained the confidence to start getting more active, with the support of the other members of her group. She started following Slimming World’s Body Magic activity programme, which helps slimmers to take small steps towards a more active lifestyle, based around things they enjoy.
She began going for longer walks and then started jogging, too. She now also loves hiking and often goes with other members of her Slimming World group, all with backpacks full of Slimming-World-friendly food.
"There’s no way I’d have lost more than 7st or be running a marathon without the support of my Slimming World group and Consultant. My group inspired me to take my first steps to getting more active and have been there to congratulate me whenever I reach a new weight loss or activity milestone. They keep me on-track and inspire me with their achievements on their own weight loss journeys!"
Susan has now completed 5k, 10k and half marathon races, and her first marathon for the Irish Cancer Society as part of the Slimming World team. "I can’t believe how far I’ve come in the past few years and all the incredible changes I’ve made. I’m happier and healthier and, by losing weight, I’ve reduced my chances of developing a range of health problems, including some types of cancer. I’ve really found a love for running!
"I can’t wait for the atmosphere on race day and to cross that finish line. Achieving this lifelong ambition would never have been possible before losing weight. I‘m excited to give something back and raise money for the Irish Cancer Society. "
Slimming World Consultant, Carmel Minogue, runs Susan’s weekly group sessions. She says: "Susan is a real inspiration to us all and we are so proud of her. When she first came through the door she just wanted to lose weight – she had no idea what a huge transformation she was about to begin and certainly no idea that she would one day be running the London Marathon, it’s incredible!
"She proves that with a little determination and the right kind of support, anyone’s weight loss and activity dreams can be achieved. We welcome anyone looking to lose weight here at Slimming World, whatever their health and weight-loss goals might be.
"We help people to lose weight by adopting new healthy habits by enjoying normal healthy meals that the whole family will enjoy, building activity into their day-to-day lives and getting plenty of fantastic support along the way."
If Susan’s story has inspired you to lose weight, everyone is welcome at the Abbeyleix Slimming World group which is held at Abbeyleix Manor Hotel, Cork Road, every Wednesday at 0930am, 11.30am, 17.30 and 19.30.
For more information or to find your nearest group visit www.slimmingworld.co.uk, or call 0344 897 8000.
Anyone who would like to sponsor the Slimming World Marathon team can do so by visiting:https://www.justgiving.com/ SWMarathonTeam2017. Money raised will go towards the Irish Cancer Society and Cancer Research UK’s life-saving research to help bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
Each year, the slimming club’s fundraising arm SMILES supports a charity partner, and this is the first year of supporting the Irish Cancer Society, and the fourth year that Slimming World’s members and Consultants have supported Cancer Research UK.