Couple from Milton Keynes shed a combined 16 stones

Rob and Helen Whalley
Rob and Helen Whalley

A super-slimming couple from Milton Keynes have lost 16st 2.5lbs between them to reach the finals of a national weight-loss competition.

Rob and Helen Whalley, of Heelands, got in shape with the help of their local Slimming World group and were one of just 21 couples from across the UK and Ireland to reach the finals of the organisation’s Couple of the Year 2014 contest.

The pair say the secret of their success was getting support from each other at home as well as from the other members at their Slimming World group in New Bradwell, which helped them to stay committed to their weight-loss goals.

Helen, 36, who lost 9st 4.5lbs going from 18st 5lbs to 9st 0.5lbs, said: “I think losing weight together made a big difference because we were able to spur each other on every week and we were eating the same meals. We eat so much healthier now, we make everything ourselves instead of relying on convenience foods and it tastes so much nicer.

“The great thing about Slimming World is that you can eat so many foods without having to weigh or measure them – they’re called ‘Free Foods’ – like fruit and veg, pasta, rice, potatoes, lean meat and more, so you can still have all your favourite meals you just have to change the way that you make them and you don’t ever feel hungry. One of our favourite things to have now is homemade burgers with Slimming World-style chips. We’re both more active nowadays too and regularly enjoy going for bike rides together.

“As well as doing it together, the support of our group was really important. Every week we get so much great help and advice and pick up new recipes to try, which is part of the reason we’ve never been bored with what we’re eating. If we ever go off track our friends at group are there to help us get back on it and remind us why we wanted to lose weight in the first place. The other members have been such an inspiration to us and I’m proud to say that people tell us we’ve inspired them as well.”

It was Helen and Rob’s fellow members at the group who voted for them to become Heelands’s Slimming World Couple of the Year 2014. Following their selection they were invited to represent Heelands at the national finals at Slimming World’s head office in Derbyshire on Sunday, March 9.

Rob, 36, who started out at 18st and has lost 6st 12lbs to reach 11st 2lbs, added: “We were delighted to be part of the finals but, if we’re honest, we already feel like we’ve won the biggest prize we could ever have wished for because losing weight has completely changed our lives.

“Like most people, our weight gain was quite gradual. Before we knew it our clothes were tight and our weight was getting us both down. Helen joined Slimming World in January 2012, by January 2013 she’d lost 6st which inspired me to start following the plan and sign up too. It was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made, not just for us but for our whole family and we’ve got a healthier future together with our children to look forward to as a result.

“It’s easy to be apprehensive about joining a slimming club but it doesn’t take long before you feel at home at Slimming World. You soon realise that everyone is there for the same reason and facing the same challenges, whoever they are. I think it can be a little more daunting for men to walk through the doors of a Slimming World group, but what’s great is that more and more men are taking that brave step as they become aware of their health and realise that Slimming World works for everyone. When a guy walks into our group you can always see that they’re thinking ‘phew, it’s not just a roomful of women’.”

Lynsey Hall, who runs the New Bradwell Slimming World group, said: “I’m so proud of Helen and Rob. So many people are desperate to lose weight and improve their health so they can do more with their families and be around for them, and I hope that their story inspires lots of other couples in Heelands to make a change. Anyone who has been inspired by them and wants to lose weight and become happier and healthier too is more than welcome to come along to the New Bradwell Slimming World group every Thursday at 5.30pm or 7.30pm at New Bradwell Sports Association Recreation Ground (New Bradwell Cricket and Football Club) or call me on 07793 362529.”

The overall winners of the Slimming World Couple of the Year 2014 were Graeme and Lisa Wharton, from Sunderland, who lost 10st 4lbs between them.