Dean, 46, quit his job as recruitment manager at the NHS to look after her husband, who died earlier this year. He then found his talent for shopping and slimming down on a budget and decided to follow a very healthy diet made up of “yellow sticker” products from the supermarket.
At the heaviest, the thinnest weighed 18 stone but has managed to maintain his new weight at 13 stone since joining Slimming World.
He explained: “We had to switch to benefits and money was much tighter than it had ever been. I couldn’t just go to the store, buy anything and forget about the price.
“At first I was ashamed to put the food with yellow stickers in my basket, but then I realized someone was going to buy it and it was better that all of that was wasted.”
Dean, who had always liked to be creative in the kitchen, started following the Slimming World food optimization diet plan, where he only used marked-down foods from the supermarket.
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He explained: “I’ve always loved my food and always had this thing about dissecting dishes and seeing how they’re made and how I could make them myself.
“When I joined Slimming World, I turned it into a challenge of how I could make Slimming World versions of meals I enjoyed – like fried teas, curries and roasts. amazed there was nothing you couldn’t have and many times we had dinner parties and no one had a clue they were eating a slimming world friendly dinner.
“I would take a piece of pork for £5 from the yellow tag section, freeze it, then every Sunday I would do a roast for eight of us with meat, roast potatoes and loads of vegetables and it would cost less than £10 in total.”
Dean joined Slimming World in 2010 with her late husband Gary to lose weight before their wedding.
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He lost four stone at the time and managed to maintain it, but Gary fell ill a few years later. Speaking of when her husband was diagnosed with a tumour, Dean recalls, “I didn’t sleep or take care of myself at all.
“I would have a fast food breakfast while driving, lunch would be something from the hospital canteen and I would have takeaway for my tea on the way home from the hospital.
“It’s no surprise that my weight went back up and I ended up taking antidepressants too. I knew I had to start taking care of myself or I’d never be able to take care of Gary.”
Dean said of his experience in Slimming World, “I had never experienced anything like the feeling I got in that parish hall when I first joined Slimming World, we were like one family, so I knew I didn’t need to be ashamed to go back and admit that I had gained weight. I needed to pick up where I left off and be part of a group of people again on the same journey.
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“I always say Slimming World saved my life. Not just because of the weight loss – I’ve lost four stone now and would love to lose another stone – but because of the other members and the support. “
Dean continued, “By talking to people and being part of the group, I started to re-realize my own worth and I didn’t feel so alone anymore. I realized that other people all go through their own issues and we were in it together.
“I learn so much from the other members too. Everyone has different experiences and backgrounds and it all comes together, so for example, if you don’t know what to do with a particular food, you can be sure someone will.
Dean admitted he felt completely different now that he had lost so much weight: “I didn’t realize how much my weight affected me – just little things like bending over to tie my shoelaces and walking around. to the store are so much easier now.
“I look forward to helping other people in the same way and I know Gary would be very proud if I did something for me. Before I thought it was selfish to do something for me, now I know I can I’m not helping anyone else if I’m not well.
Front Dean’s Menu:
Breakfast: Double sausage and egg sandwich and hash browns with orange juice
Lunch: Ciabatta with beets and goat cheese
Dinner: Chinese or Indian takeaway
Snacks: Two packets of crisps, a chocolate bar and a cupcake.
Dean’s menu after:
Breakfast: cooked breakfast consisting of scrambled eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, lean bacon, Slimming World sausage patties (from the Slimming World line of foods in Iceland), beans and wholemeal toast
Lunch: Chicken salad with chicken, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, beets, and low-fat cheese
Dinner: spaghetti Bolognese with a few slices of garlic bread
Snacks: Fat Free Apple Cottage Cheese, Bepps Black Eyed Peas puffed snacks, fresh fruit.