Couple shed 13 stone between them after 'not recognising themselves in family photos'

A couple before and after losing weight
-Credit: (Image: SWNS)


A couple who shed an impressive 13 stone between them are now set to tie the knot. Sam Wilmot and his fiancée Sophie Bailey, both 27, embarked on their weight loss journey with Slimming World, inspired by family members who had successfully slimmed down using the programme.

Following their victory in a Slimming World competition, Sam proposed to Sophie amidst the celebrations. Sam, who has lost a whopping eight stone since January 2023, said: "We have more confidence and we're fitter and healthier than ever.

"Getting married might have been something we'd have thought twice about before because we'd have shied away from the attention now we can't wait to celebrate on our big day."

Bristol-based Sam started his journey at 21 stone and four-and-a-half pounds in January 2023 - and is now a much healthier 13 stone four-and-a-half pounds. Sophie began at 16 stone, 12 pounds - and she now weighs in at 11 stone, 12 pounds.

Sophie, who has lost five stone in total, says: "I've always been quite athletic and sporty, though my eating habits weren't the best. I love playing football, but when I hurt my back, it meant I couldn't play.

"That, coupled with a sedentary office job, meant I soon gained weight and I suspect that is what was making my back worse. Being in a new relationship with Sam also meant we were eating out all the time too. It got to a stage where we were both unhappy with our weight."

Sam, who has been overweight for the majority of his life, shared how his weight caused his shin bones to curve. He revealed that it was their mutual 'love of sport' that initially brought them together - but his weight prevented him from participating, making him 'much more of a spectator'.

However, the couple decided to drastically alter their unhealthy lifestyle habits during Christmas 2022 - as they were shocked by how different they looked in family photos. Sam said: "The final straw came at Christmas.

"As with all family occasions the camera soon came out only this time we were really shocked by the photographs of us. We hardly recognised ourselves. My mum and dad had recently joined a Slimming World group thanks to the encouragement of my auntie Julia and were raving about how good the food was and how friendly the other members were, so that January we decided to take the plunge and join ourselves."

Before joining Slimming World, Sophie's typical daily diet consisted of: three slices of toast with butter, plus a pastry or sausage roll mid-morning for breakfast. A shop-bought meal deal with crisps, chocolate and a sugary energy drink for lunch, a takeaway chicken burger and chips for dinner and snacks would include a pack of bourbon biscuits and toast with butter.

Sophie's new diet consists of 40g of cereal hoops with semi-skimmed milk or beans on toast for breakfast, and a chicken and feta salad with lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber and high-protein yogurt for lunch. For dinner, she opts for tandoori chicken with rice and broccoli or beef stir fry with noodles, and snacks on low-fat cheese, apples, bananas, peaches and nectarines.

Previously, Sam would start his day with sugary cereal, two slices of toast with peanut butter and banana, and black coffee. Lunch was typically a triple sandwich, crisps, a full-sugar cola and a brownie, followed by a curry made with a shop-bought jar, rice, naan bread, onion bhajis and samosas for dinner.

His snacks included a cereal bar, chocolate bar, tea and biscuits and toast with butter. However, since joining Slimming World, Sam's diet has improved significantly. He now enjoys a bowl of fat-free natural yogurt, berries, banana and muesli for breakfast, and a chicken and feta salad with lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber and high-protein yogurt for lunch.

For dinner, he prepares homemade tandoori chicken with rice and broccoli or beef stir fry with noodles and snacks on low-fat cheese, apples, bananas and hard-boiled eggs. The competition that Sam and Sophie won, 'Two Together', celebrates the UK and Ireland's most inspirational duo: whether they're a couple, two friends, family members or any two members who attend the same group and have embarked on their weight loss journey together.

In due course, Sam and Sophie rekindled their love for sports with the aid of Slimming World's physical activity support programme. This initiative encourages members to incorporate exercise into their lifestyle at a pace that suits them.

Sophie credits the camaraderie at the Yate Slimming World group in Bristol, led by Consultant Bonny Mills, for helping her and Sam rediscover their passion for physical activity.

She shared: "As I began to feel fitter and healthier I started playing for a local team again, United Bristol Women FC, which I love. Sam has also got back into football by becoming a level 4 referee.

"I'm so proud of everything he has achieved. Thankfully though he's only refereed one of my games - it didn't end well, he tried to send me off!"

Now that they've both hit their weight loss targets, Sam and Sophie are focused on maintaining their new figures. Sam said: "We still go to our group every week to check in and stay motivated. Eating healthily is natural for us now.

"We're confident we can continue our new lifestyle, with a bit more flexibility now we're not losing weight, thanks to Slimming World's Slim for Life maintenance plan."

The couple are currently planning their wedding and are thankful for each other's support. Sam added: "For now, we're busy planning our wedding and feel excited about our future together.

"We have always made each other happy but now it's like we have a whole new take on life. There's no way I could have achieved this without Sophie's support. We make a great team I can't wait to call her my wife one day!"