Super-slimmer gran: ‘I lost 4st and dumped my partner for a toyboy’

Losing weight made Joanna Turner reassess her life and her relationship – and helped her find true love with a man 16 years her junior

Joanna Turner

by Alexandra Meyer |
Updated on

When Joanna Turner lost 4st, it wasn’t just her body that changed. The grandma of three felt like a new person – and set about starting a completely new life.

Joanna, then 49, dumped her partner of ten years for a 35-year-old railway ticket officer and, despite her children almost disowning her, she says she’s never been happier.

Joanna, who is now 51, and lives in Surrey, says, “When I lost weight, I felt like I was starting my life again.

“I’d been miserable for years, but after I’d got in shape, I found someone who loved and appreciated me. You only live once, so why not be happy?”

Joanna’s life changed after she lost an impressive 4st 5lb, going from 14st 5lb and a size 18, to 9st 13lb and a size 10.

Joanna Turner in 2016 before she lost weight
Joanna in 2016 before she lost weight ©HotSpot media

Joanna, who is a hairdresser, says, “I’d tried lots of diets over the years, but bad eating habits – like snacking on a whole tube of Pringles every evening – meant I was the heaviest I’d ever been and, at only 5ft 2, it showed.

“I struggled to play with my grandchildren or tie my laces, so when I spotted photos on Facebook of a friend who lost weight through Juice Plus, I was intrigued.

“I didn’t want to be nearing 50 and so unhealthy. My daughters, Sarah_, 26, and Sophie_, 23, and my partner, Matthew*, who was the girls’ stepdad, were so supportive, so I decided to give it a go.”

In March 2016, Joanna started on her juicing diet, substituting her regular breakfast and lunch for shakes and juices, with a healthy evening meal, always cooked from scratch, such as salmon and broccoli or a chicken salad. And in nine months she lost four dress sizes.

Joanna Turner
Joanna, snapped recently ©HotSpot media

Joanna says, “The weight dropped off. I felt incredible and my partner would tell me I looked ten years younger.

“My whole personality and style changed as I grew more confident. I wore tighter and brighter clothes and I had more energy to go out and have fun.

“Once I reached my goal I went back to eating three, healthy meals a day but became a Juice Plus promoter on social media, sharing my transformation photos to inspire others.”

In December 2017, Christopher commented on Joanna’s photos on Facebook.

She says, “He wrote that I looked stunning. I clicked on his profile and noticed he was young and handsome.

“It sounds awful, but after being with my partner for ten years, it was thrilling that someone else found me attractive.”

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Three months later, Christopher contacted Joanna over Facebook again, as he was interested in trying the diet.

Weeks later, the pair met up at a café in Surrey.

Joanna says, “I signed Christopher up, and then we got chatting. He was very flirtatious but I was surprised when he told me he was 33 – 16 years my junior.

“I was so flattered that a much younger man was paying me attention.

“I told him my daughters were closer to his age than me and I was also a grandmother.

“But Christopher wasn’t fazed. He said that I didn’t look my age. Afterwards, I just couldn’t get him out of my head.”

At the time, Joanna lived with her partner, but she says, “I’d fallen out of love with Matthew and we lived more like roommates than lovers. But I’d never had the confidence to leave. I didn’t think I’d be able to start over again.”

Four months later, Joanna and Christopher met again at a Juice Plus colleague’s party.

Joanna says, “After some drinks, Christopher and I ended up dancing and kissing. It didn’t go any further, but I was shocked. I’d never been unfaithful before, but my attraction to Christopher was strong. Despite worrying what people would say, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. Afterwards we messaged online. I felt so guilty – Matthew had never done anything to hurt me – but Christopher was always on my mind.

“After trying to deny my feelings for months, I came clean to Matthew and ended our relationship.

“I knew he still had feelings for me and that the children would be devastated, because Matthew had been like a father figure to them.

“But I tried not to think too much about other people’s feelings – I had to focus on myself and what made me happy.

“He was upset and moved out, but it was the right thing to do. We both deserved better.”

Soon afterwards, Christopher and Joanna started dating.

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Joanna says, “We had romantic dinners and Christopher whisked me away to fancy hotels.

“We became intimate and, for the first time in years, I had passion in my life.”

Months later, Joanna introduced Christopher to her daughters.

Joanna says, “They asked Christopher why he couldn’t find someone his age and why he was with an older woman. I was mortified but Christopher calmly explained we loved each other.

“The girls couldn’t accept it and we had a massive row. Afterwards, they said I was having a midlife crisis.”

While Christopher’s mum was supportive, Joanna’s mother agreed with her grandchildren, and accused her of being menopausal.

And with Joanna and her daughters fighting constantly, she wasn’t able to see her own grandchildren.

Distraught, she decided to keep her ongoing relationship with Christopher secret.

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She says, “I was at my wits’ end, so I lied to the girls, saying that we had broken up. They were delighted.

“Although I felt guilty, I enjoyed going to stay at Christopher’s house in Croydon, where no one knew me.

“I told the girls I was at a friend’s house whenever they rang.”

After a year of secrecy, Joanna and Christopher came clean, when her daughters grew suspicious and rang the friend she claimed to stay with.

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Joanna says, “I invited the girls over and told them firmly they had to accept that Christopher and I were in love.

“It was tough for them, but after some time apart, I think they realised that I wasn’t doing anything to hurt them – and I loved them dearly.

“Although Sarah and Sophie still don’t spend time with Christopher, they’ve accepted our relationship and I love seeing my grandchildren again.”

And her romance with a younger man has spurred Joanna on to maintain her weight loss and continue with her healthy eating lifestyle.

The couple have now been dating for two years. Joanna says, “I lost 4st and bagged a toyboy! I feel so lucky. Around Christopher, I feel like a teenager, head over heels in love. We even go clubbing together.

“When I lost weight, I didn’t expect my life to change so dramatically, but I have no regrets.”

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