Weight loss wonders

Debbie and Brendan Byrne

Debbie and Brendan Byrne lost more than 60kg together by binning takeaways in favour of a healthy diet.

Debbie Byrne Age: 45
Height: 5ft 5½ins
Before: 103.4kg (16st 4lbs)
Dress size: 20
Now: 64.4kg (10st 2lbs)
Dress size: 10
LOST: 39kg (6st 2lbs)

Brendan Byrne
Age: 41
Height: 5ft 6in
Before: 103.4kg (16st 4lbs)
Now: 80.7kg (12st 10lbs)
LOST: 22.7kg (3st 8lbs) 

Rewind a few years and the Byrne family diet consisted of Chinese takeaways, kebabs and pizzas. Debbie Byrne, 45, who lives in Essex with her husband Brendan, 41, and their four children, knew this wasn't ideal. She explains:

"When you both work full-time, it's hard to find time to cook. Brendan and I had struggled with our weight for years. I could see that three of the children were gaining weight, too."

By early 2006, Debbie and Brendan, who are both police officers, each weighed 104kg (16st 4lbs). On a visit to his GP, Brendan was told that his blood pressure was too high. (Learn more in High blood pressure.)

Meanwhile, Debbie's self-esteem was at an all-time low because of her weight and she was taking medication for depression.

"When we heard about Brendan's blood pressure, we knew we really had to act," she says. "Our eldest child, Rhiannon, is 21. She was 79kg (12st 5lbs) and around 9.5kg (1st 7lbs) overweight."

Their son Liam and youngest child Ciaran, 13, could also have benefitted from losing few pounds, says Debbie. "I didn't want the children to grow up to face the same health problems as us."

When a friend recommended local slimming classes, Debbie booked a slot for herself and Brendan immediately.

"It was quite daunting at first," says Debbie. "But we soon both found the classes an enormous support."

At weekly meetings, a consultant provided advice on diet and exercise, while group members were encouraged to share their experiences.

Healthier cooking

'Life is so much better at a healthy weight. You feel great and people see you differently. I only wish I'd done this years ago' Debbie Byrne

"At home, I started cooking with less fat," says Debbie. "I changed from white bread to wholemeal and we started eating lots more fruit."

A food system devised by the club consisted of a diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish and lean meat. Dieters are also allowed "sins", or small indulgences for which you plan ahead.

By August, Debbie had lost 19kg (3st), and Brendan had lost 25kg (4st).

"There's flexibility in the diet, and that was important for the children," says Debbie. "But they could see the good it was doing us."

Soon, Rhiannon, Liam and Ciaran had also started to lose weight. Along with weight loss came an energy boost. The family started running together, and Debbie joined a gym.

By May 2007, Debbie had reached her target weight of 64.4kg (10st 2lbs) and dropped from a dress size 20 to a 10. Brendan had dropped to his target of 80.7kg (12st 10lbs). Daughter Rhiannon had lost 9.5kg (1st 7lbs) to achieve a weight of 70kg (11st), while the other children also lost weight.

"It's so good to know that the children's weight is under control," says Debbie. "Weight loss has done wonders for my self-esteem and I'm no longer reliant on antidepressants. Brendan's blood pressure has dropped to a normal level, too.

"Life is so much better at a healthy weight. You feel great and people see you differently. I only wish I'd done this years ago."

More information

Begin your weight loss journey with the 12-week weight loss plan.

Learn more about a healthy diet in Eight tips for healthy eating.

There's lots more information and advice in Lose weight.

Page last reviewed: 22/08/2013

Next review due: 22/08/2015

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The 3 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Anonymous said on 07 August 2008

hi ,you both look so good ,again as the previous person asked how did you do this and what is your website address .my hubby and i are very overweight we have a lot of family problems, not with us but our family seem to want us to run around after them all the time even though we live 200 odd miles away i wish we could both get back to how we were when we first meet as we love each other so much, we want to have some life for us as we are afraid we could die young, we were trying to find a holiday away from home so we could learn to cook low fat and get us into exersize routine.can anyone help.

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HKilleen said on 28 July 2008

why dont you just look on their website, its all there

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Anonymous said on 07 June 2008

Hi
Is this diet you did was it slimming world where you can eat unlimited fruit and veg
You both did well if you dont mind have you any tips about the diet .
Have you got a sample daily menu plan

Thanks

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Losing weight - Getting started

Develop healthier eating habits, be more active and get on track to start losing weight with our 12-week weight loss guide.

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Lose weight

Weight loss resources to help you lose weight healthily, including the NHS 12-week diet and exercise plan

Health and fitness

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Losing weight: how your GP can help

A GP talks about visiting your doctor to get help with losing weight. He describes how you'll be assessed and given an individually tailored weight loss plan. Elinor, who had health problems caused by her weight, explains why she asked her GP for help instead of choosing to follow a commercial diet.

Media last reviewed: 30/04/2013

Next review due: 30/04/2015

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