CELEBRATING her birthday last week, a Chepstow woman said she is well on her way to being a “fab rather than fat 40,” after losing more than seven stone in the past year.

Jen James, 39, was appalled by Facebook photos of herself on holiday in Malta and decided to battle the bulge.

The Avon cosmetics recruitment rep weighed in at 19st 8lb thanks to a diet with many pork pies, dishes with cheese sauces and croissants.

Describing one of the holiday photos, the mum-of-four said: “I was bigger than my two friends put together.

That was a horrific reality check. I thought I can untag myself or draw a line in the sand and use it to motivate me and have pictures in the future I can be proud of.”

Two days after she stepped off the plane in June 2012, Mrs James went to her first Slimming World class at Chepstow’s Palmer Centre.

She learned how to make healthier food choices and change her way of cooking.

Soon the pounds were dropping off.

She said: “I didn’t get to over 19 stone eating like a sparrow. I can still eat like a horse but in a much more sensible way.”

After losing 7st 7lbs, Mrs James, who was a clothes size 26, is finding shopping a much more pleasant experience: “Shopping trips used to end in tears. I remember going to buy a new black pair of trousers and I said to my husband I just wanted to go home. I just felt so awful. I put on a size 12 dress now and you literally have to stop me doing a lap of honour around the shop. Little things like that mean the absolute world to me.”

As well as her healthy new look, Mrs James no longer suffers from sciatica in her lower back, which left her housebound.

To help others, the soon-to-be grandma is setting up her own Slimming World group in Caerwent.

Seven people have contacted her through Facebook to say they will be attending on July 30, at 7.30pm at the David Broome Event Centre.

For further information, Mrs James can be contacted on 07739 530109.

How she did it


● Breakfast – crumpets, croissants
● Lunch – pork pies/can of soup with bread and an inch of butter/food on the go
● Dinner – takeaways/ home-cooked food with thick cheese sauces
● Snacks – ice cream.


● Breakfast – cereal/ yoghurt/fresh fruit
● Lunch – chicken salad/ Slimming World quiche/ homemade soups
● Dinner – home-cooked chilli/curry
● Snacks – fresh fruit/ small bar of chocolate.