A MAN from Hampshire has changed his life after he lost seven stone through a weight loss group in Winchester.

James Shardlow, 41, joined the Slimming World group in February 2020 and is now experiencing the benefits of his weight loss.

The HR professional said: “Like a lot of people, I found lockdown challenging. I decided to continue my weight loss journey with SW virtual groups which helped keep my motivation going.

“With so much in the news about weight and associated health risks including Covid-19, I wanted to make a healthy new start and take my health into my own hands. When my local group (Suzi's Winchester group) reopened I was looking forward to seeing people again and I haven’t looked back since.

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“I know it can be nerve-wracking to walk into a Slimming World group for the first time, especially at the moment, but I can assure anyone who’s worrying about their weight that there’s no judgment at Slimming World, just respect and care – and it’s absolutely safe.

“Every single person in the room has been there themselves, everyone understands exactly how it feels and everyone’s welcome at our group.

“I know that I was previously taking comfort in food and alcohol. As well as being able to share how we’re feeling, being able to share ideas about how to enjoy delicious food and feel fitter and healthier has made a real difference not just to my weight, it’s helped me have a much more positive outlook too.

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“If anyone’s worrying about going hungry – before I joined I definitely thought losing weight meant I’d be starving – don’t. Slimming World’s plan is about eating everyday foods and all your favourite meals, you just find out how to make small changes to how you cook them that make a big difference to your weight.”

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James, who lives in Havant, explained that he decided to join the Slimming World group in Winchester as it was near his work and because his shirt size had reached XXXL.

He said: “My biggest struggle at first was I’ve never been a big vegetable eater, however since joining I have added different foods to enable my weight loss and have regretted not adding these sooner into my meals.

“My life has changed, I am more confident in myself since loosing the weight. I started off walking, gardening and overtime running and other activities.

“I believe that SW is about little changes over time. These changes will show, along with these going to groups It really motivated me to keep going even when at times I’ve struggled as I’ve always felt supported by the group members.”

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Kimberley Barber