A Louth woman has opened up about how she managed to lose almost 4 ½ stone in just over a year through making some healthy lifestyle changes.
Joyce Drumgoole had been slim all through her teens and 20s, but when she hit 30 she was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid.
This began to affect her weight, and after having two kids the pounds continued to pile on.
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She told RSVP Live: “After I got diagnosed with the underactive thyroid, I felt very sluggish and not fit for much because of the medication.
“My weight went up but I didn’t mind so much at the time, I’d gotten married that year and we were trying to have babies and the doctor said my weight going up a bit wouldn’t do any harm.
“I had my son Shay in 2013 then I had my daughter Aoibhin in 2017 and I got gestational diabetes both times.
“I was kind of on a diet during my pregnancies. Then when I had my kids, the diabetes went away and I ate rings around myself. I wasn’t exercising, I was eating takeaways – my lifestyle wasn’t great. I was emotional eating. I would have suffered a bit with my mental health.”
Joyce’s unhealthy lifestyle continued until one day she saw a photo of herself that gave her a nasty shock.
“During Covid 2020, I was at my nephew’s confirmation and I saw a picture of myself and I was just disgusted.
“It was the heaviest I’d ever weighed, I was 13 st 2 ½ lbs and the day after that I said I had to do something.”
In June that year, the mum of two and busy nursing manager decided to join her local Slimming World in Ardee along with her sister, who was also struggling with her weight.
“My sister had the same issues as me with her thyroid, her weight increased as well so we joined together.
“Our Slimming World consultant Lynn is just amazing, she’s a working mum as well and she understands how hard it can be.
“She was a great support and right from the start I was losing weight. I only had one week where I gained weight.”
Joyce followed the plan, cutting down on sweets and takeaways and taking up going for long walks, and in June 2021 she reached her goal weight of 8st 11lbs.
Joyce, who is originally from the village of Annagassan, still follows a maintenance diet, but allows herself treats and days off plan.
“You have to live, you have to have treats and something to look forward to. My weight doesn’t always stay the same.
“I was at Ed Sheeran last week and I put on about two pounds but I weighed myself this week and I’ve lost them.
“It’s just about making the right choices. I had a Chinese on Saturday night and I got the Slimming World option.
“My husband and I make ‘fakeaways’ like chicken curry at home, we use the air fryer and Frylite so it’s healthier.
“The butchers in Ardee do Slimming World meals. I work 13 hour shifts as a nurse, so they are brilliant for the days when I am working.”
The gym is not for her, but she walks up to 10 or 15km on her days off.
“There are lovely walks in my area in Louth. I don’t even listen to music, I just go out with the dog. My job can be stressful and it’s great for clearing my head.”
She says she feels so much happier and more confident now than she was before her weight loss, and urges other women to join Slimming World if they are unhappy with their weight.
“ Slimming World is fantastic, I would definitely recommend it,” she says.
“I have two small kids, I work full-time – it’s hard, but you can find the time to do it.
“Before my weight loss I had no energy. It was a vicious cycle of comfort eating and feeling bad about myself.
“Now I’m the healthiest I’ve been in about 25 years.”
Visit the Slimming World website here to find your local club
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