A CAFE owner who has lost four-and-a half-stones after going on a diet is passing on her weight loss tips to her customers – by offering a special menu.
Julie Ratcliffe, who runs Coffee at Julie’s in Derby Street, Leek, has recently been named the region’s Slimming World Woman of the Year after cutting her weight from 21 stones to 16.
Julie joined the weekly diet club a year ago with her husband Alan, who has since lost six-and-a half-stones himself.
Julie said: “I have tried to diet before, but nothing with discipline like this.
“Losing weight has improved my asthma.
“I have a lot more energy. I can also now go into real clothes shops to buy clothes.” Now Julie is passing on her tips of tasty diet meals to customers who may also be watching their weight.
She said: “When I started this diet I realised that when we went out for a meal it was a struggle to know exactly what you were eating.
“I then also realised how many people do actually watch what they eat.
“This is what gave me the idea to have a separate diet menu at the cafe.
“I will measure each meal for the customer and count their ‘sins’ for them.
“We will also tell them about drinks too.
“The menu has been running for a few months now and the reception to it has been good.
“We do a special diet breakfast which is cooked a lot healthier than a normal full English breakfast. It includes two poached eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans and a rasher of bacon – none of which is cooked in oil.” Other lower fat culinary delights which Julie is currently offering as part of her diet menu include a three-egg omelette and salad; baked potatoes, beans and salad; ham salad and a chicken salad.
She said: “With Slimming World you can eat normal everyday food so you don’t really feel like you are dieting.
“You attend meetings every week which is good to hear about everyone else’s recipes.” Julie said of winning the award: "It is a boost for me to keep going in losing weight. I was really shocked that other members voted for me.
“I think it is because they can see a change in my appearance.”