USUALLY someone might be offended to be called a loser – but Sophie Higginbottom is delighted.
The proud 26-year-old has shared that she lost a whopping six stone since joining her local Slimming World group last January and has continued her weight loss journey through all three lockdowns.
The super slimmer, who is a member of Lynsey Blackshaw’s St. Saviour’s Slimming World group, says her weight loss has changed her life.
She said: “I feel like a new woman since losing weight – in fact, I look so different that people who I haven’t seen for a while due to lockdown often can’t believe I’m the same person. But for me it’s the change on the inside that’s been the biggest – I’m happier, healthier and lots more confident now.”
Sophie explained how, before losing weight, she would always try to “shrink into the background” and “avoid drawing attention”.
She said: “I’d pretend it didn’t bother me that I was bigger than other people, but that was far from the truth. I hated shopping for clothes and found just doing normal everyday tasks would leave me tired and out of breath.”
Sophie Higginbottom is much happier after dropping six stone.
Sophie’s weight was also putting a huge strain on her health.
People who are severely overweight, with a BMI* above 30, are more likely to suffer from health problems like coronary heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and cancer, and obesity is linked to a reduction in life expectancy of between seven and nine years.
In Ellesmere Port around 60 per cent of people are so severely overweight that their health is already at risk.
After seeing a post on Facebook, Sophie decided to join her local Slimming World group at St. Saviour’s Social Club.
She described walking into the group as one of the hardest things she’d ever done.
She said: “I was embarrassed about my size and scared that I might be the biggest person there. I needn’t have worried though, everyone there was so friendly – especially my consultant Lynsey.
“I was so relieved when I found out that my weight was confidential between me and her – I’d had visions of having to tell everyone how much I weighed! Since then I’ve made so many friends at the group and I honestly don’t think I could have done it without their support each week.”
When the first national lockdown came along in March, Sophie admitted she was worried it would put a stop to her weight loss.
However, she said, that groups continued to run virtually and she continued to slim down from the comfort of home.
She said: “At first it seemed daunting and impossible that I’d be able to lose 10lbs never mind 6st! The members of the group helped me with recipes and tips over Zoom as well.
“If I was ever struggling they were always there to remind me why I’d wanted to lose weight in the first place and how far I’d come since first stepping through the doors.”
Sophie followed the club’s Food Optimising eating plan and swapped her usual takeaways for fakeaways amongst other healthy swaps which have seen the pounds drop!
She says: “People think slimming means going hungry, eating nothing but salad, obsessively counting every calorie you eat and weighing or measuring everything on your plate, but it’s not like that at all at Slimming World.
“I love food and it’s never once felt like I was on ‘a diet’. I still enjoy all my favourite meals like curry and roast dinners but I’ve learned how to make small changes like using lean meat or cooking with low calorie spray instead of oil or butter.”
Now, six stone lighter, Sophie’s more active than ever and regularly goes running after completing a couch to 5k programme.
Praising her success, Lynsey Blackshaw – who runs the St. Saviour’s Slimming World group – said: “The changes we’ve seen in Sophie are incredible – as is she. I hope her success will inspire other people in Ellesmere Port who’d like to lose weight by forming new lifestyle habits and become happier and healthier to take action.
“There’s a warm welcome waiting at Slimming World and, just think, if you start today you could be a completely new person in 2021.”
The St. Saviour’s group is currently running online on Monday and Tuesday evenings. For more information contact Lynsey Blackshaw on 07710 198021 or firstname.lastname@example.org.