Losing weight the happy, healthy and supported way in the South Hams

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Losing weight the happy, healthy and supported way in the South Hams

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Having tried, tested and sworn by the Slimming World method herself, Sharon, who lost four stone on the programme (and has kept it off), is now a Slimming World Consultant. Working with a small team of other consultants from Kingsbridge, Totnes and Dartmouth, she now helps others to achieve their wellbeing and weightless goals through a supportive Slimming World community. Here, she explains…

How did you become a Slimming World consultant?

To be a Slimming World consultant you have to be a Slimming World member, and you have to have been through the programme successfully first. I lost four stone, which I’ve kept off for five years now, and the Slimming World community has been vital for that. I had always struggled with my weight since childhood, and I always felt very low about it. It took me months from seeing the Slimming World adverts to sign up, but since then I’ve never looked back. I’ve now been a consultant for just over three years, and I love helping other people discover that success and support.

Do you work with other people?

There are four of us in the South Hams area including Kingsbridge, Dartmouth and Totnes, and we have all followed the Slimming World plan to lose weight. We all believe in the plan and we know what it feels like to even just get through the door. We all joined for various reasons. Some of us were unhappy with our weight, some wanted to run around with their kids more easily, and for some it’s for health reasons. Heather has been a consultant for seven years in Kingsbridge, Nat for four years in Totnes and Kingsbridge, and Louisa for three in both Paignton and Kingsbridge.

We work together, so even though it’s all our own business we promote together, cover each other’s groups while we’re on holiday and we follow the same practice. People very often see us out doing community events together.

What exactly do you do to help people?

When you first walk through the door we go through the plan (its not a “diet”) and explain it all. We give you a pack and talk you through what it means, what you can eat and still loose weight - in short, nothing’s banned. It’s all about eating a healthy, balanced diet.

We then have main group, called Image Therapy, where we all meet, and that’s really central to the whole thing, because that’s where you get the support from like-minded people. There will always be someone who’s faced the same challenges as you and can offer empathy or ideas and solutions to support you.

Often people will want to know how to handle having dinner guests at the weekend without going off plan, for example.

We then support people outside the group as well. We all have Facebook groups, which are just for our individual groups and are private; we’re all data protection registered. We also contact people through the week by text or phone, just for that extra layer of support. All of our members know if they need anything we are all just a call away.

Slimming World also provides a lot of information. Slimming World also has an app, so if you’re shopping and want to know where an item fits into your plan, it’s easy.

When you get to your dream weight you then become a free lifetime member of Slimming World and you can continue to come to the group to maintain it. At that point it’s a whole different journey, and for me continuing to come to the group has been so important for maintaining that goal weight.

Where do you work?

I’m in Dartmouth, where I have two groups - one on a Wednesday night and one on Friday morning. I support around 100 people. In Kingsbridge we have a Tuesday morning group, a Wednesday evening, Thursday morning and Thursday evening supporting 300 members. In Totnes we have a Tuesday evening and a Wednesday morning supporting a further 200 people.

It’s estimated that 60% of the population is now overweight and there are a lot of people who are very unhappy about their weight and you may think that with that many people already coming to groups that we would not have room for anymore. That’s certainly not the case - we will always offer support to everyone who walks through our doors each week, whether that be an 11 year old who wants to learn to eat in a healthier way as part of our Free to Go scheme for 11 to 15 year olds, a brand new member or someone returning to us. We are here for everyone!.

Is there anything people don’t realise about you and your work?

Yes! And I speak from personal experience. When I joined I immediately thought that being on a diet meant that certain foods would be ruled out. I was amazed when I was told I could eat things I had been told I couldn’t eat before on other diets. People are always surprised by how much they can eat. I have people come to me all the time and say they’re eating more than ever before and still losing weight.

The other thing that surprises people is there’s no one telling them what to do or how much they should weigh. It’s up to them. It’s about taking control for yourself and giving you the tools to achieve your goals. I think for me that was key because if someone tells you what to do you don’t like to do it as a rule.

What are you looking forward to at the moment?

At the moment the big plan is helping people in the run up to Christmas. It’s a really difficult time for slimmers and the mince pies arrived in the shops weeks ago! Now is about helping people plan for the festive season and to think about how they want to start 2020.

We have an offer starting now where we’re launching a free journal when you purchase 12 weeks of support, you only pay for 10 in that time as well. It’s called ‘Eat, Plan and be Merry l’, and it’s full of Christmas recipes that keep you on plan as well as support, strategies that will get you through to 2020 and help you get to where you want to be.

There are also some changes to the groups coming up. Dartmouth groups will be changing from 30th November so instead of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as there is currently, there will be two groups on a Wednesday evening and one on a Friday morning. At the end of November we also have a new consultant taking over the Wednesday group in Kingsbridge. Her name is Agnes, and she recently got to her dream weight having lost over five stone.

Also, as this is Slimming World’s 50th year there are loads of celebrations going on including us giving awards to people who have lost 50% their original body weight, which is an incredible achievement.

CONTACT SHARON

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