Jill’s life changed when she saw that photograph

A photograph taken at work has changed Jill Harmer’s life – and now she’s started her own Slimming World group to help others too.

By Kevin McRoberts
Thursday, 6th January 2022, 6:15 am
Before and after … the picture that inspired Jill Harmer to join Slimming World, and the new-look, happier Jill, having reached her target weight.
Before and after … the picture that inspired Jill Harmer to join Slimming World, and the new-look, happier Jill, having reached her target weight.

Jill (64), from New Deer, was due to host her new group in Fraserburgh for the first time yesterday (Wednesday, January 5).

It's quite a turn-around for Jill, who had previously joined different weight loss groups over the years, but felt immense pressure whenever she gained even a pound.

This heavy cloud followed her throughout her adult life – but it changed when ‘that’ picture was taken.

Jill described the feeling when she joined her local Slimming World group as though she entered on a wet, damp and miserable day and walked into the sunshine. She shared the feelings of judgement and failure that had stopped her joining a weight loss group in the past, and her experiences of various, and ultimately unsuccessful, diets she’d tried at home.

And then there was that picture.

“After having a photograph taken at work and seeing the reality of how I looked, I can now thank my colleague for encouraging me to have this picture taken as it was ‘that’ picture which has changed my life,” said Jill. “I was the heaviest I had ever been and it was the sign I desperately needed to do something about it. I spoke to a friend and we both decided we would give our local Slimming World group a try together.

“We were blown away by Slimming World’s Food Optimising plan. We were encouraged to fill up on ‘Free Foods’, and I could still enjoy my old favourites like Chickpea and Cauliflower Dahl, just made in a healthier way. I can still enjoy my chocolate and the brilliant thing is I can enjoy it without feeling guilty.”

Jill added: “It’s what you’re eating that is much more important than how much. Swapping high calorie, unsatisfying foods – think chocolate, alcohol, pastries – for foods which are lower in calories and bulkier – filling you up for longer – really is the key to losing weight in a way that’s easy to live with.”

Consultant Lindsay, from Turriff, who supported Jill on her weight-loss journey, said the principles of losing weight were simple – yet if it was that easy, we’d all be doing it.

Studies show that embarking on a weight loss journey alongside other slimmers brings more success than going it alone, with encouragement through the ups and down, having cheerleaders on your side and sharing advice and tips along the way.

Lindsay said: “People who are supported to lose weight develop more control, embrace challenges and grow in confidence more than those who choose to lose weight on their own, and they go on to lose more weight than those who don’t have the support of a Slimming World group.”

Jill has endorsed the the support of the group, as well as Slimming World’s personalised appraoch – aptly named Image Therapy.

“Everyone in group gets it,” she said. “We respect and support one another, with no judgement. We always feel motivated and it really is the quickest 40 minutes of the week! The group has helped me lose 3st 6 lbs and get to my target weight.

“I’ve not just lost weight, I have gained friends, confidence, a fabulous new wardrobe and I can walk my dog for much longer than I could before... it’s win-win all round.”

Jill’s new group in Fraserburgh meets at St Andrews Hall, Mid Street, on Wednesdays at 7pm. To find out more, call her on 07903 330214.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​