A North Staffordshire youth worker has said how much ‘happier’ she feels after losing weight.
Melanie Sheldon, from Stoke, combined healthy eating with regular exercise to shed the pounds.
The 29-year-old joined her local Slimming World group and dropped 3st in weight, going from 13st to 10st.
Whilst furloughed from her job as a youth worker at YMCA, Melanie dedicated her time to getting healthier.
“After Christmas last year I’d piled on the pounds and was really unhappy and unfit,” said Melanie.
“I knew that I needed to do something, and my mum and aunty had joined my group the week before me, so I thought I’d give it a go.”
But Melanie only managed one in person session with her group before the country was plunged into the first national lockdown – and Slimming World had to go online.
“We started the Zoom sessions when lockdown hit, and a lot of people didn’t get involved with them, but I carried on online.
“They were great because we could talk about recipes and get tips, just like in a physical group, but then we just weighed in at home each week.
“The support of other members was really good and really helps you with your journey.
“I was on furlough, so I dedicated my time to losing weight and getting healthier. I have asthma so I was at risk, so I wanted to make sure I was as healthy as possible.”
Thanks to switching up her diet and introducing exercise into her routine, Melanie was able to steadily shed the pounds.
“I’m cooking more now and enjoying a variety of different meals,” she continued.
“I’ve been studying for my PGCE alongside my job for two years, so I can be quite busy. I like meal planning and prepping and that’s become part of my routine now.
“I really enjoy eggs because they are so versatile and you can make all sorts with them – I love making crustless quiches which are really nice.
“I really cut down on alcohol too. I used to drink a lot, but now I prefer a nice coffee which I’ll spend my syns on – or if I do want a treat, I can have a little glass of Baileys in the evening at this time of year.
“I also use my syns for little snacks and chocolate. It’s good to have your syns because you always feel full, and you don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything.
“I tried to combine a healthy diet with regular exercise, which Slimming World calls ‘body magic’.
“I started Couch to 5k, which is an app that gradually gets you running 5km. I started walking every day and then just built on that and the app trains your body.”
In less than 12 months, Melanie reached her goal and is now reaping the benefits of a happier and healthier lifestyle.
“When I hit my target in November I was so shocked – I couldn’t believe it! I set myself a goal of getting to where I wanted to be before Christmas, so I hit my goal early.
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“It’s a slow and steady process and you need to just chip away. Even losing half a pound a week is really good in the long run.
“I’m so much happier now, and I can do things that I couldn’t before, like running up and down the stairs.
“I’ve also dropped a few dress sizes, so now I feel more confident in my clothes and everything just looks nicer.
“I need to say a big thank you to my consultant, Rachel, because she is amazing and I’d recommend her to anyone. If someone asked me for a tip, I’d say ‘just do it’. You won’t look back and you’ll be so happy that you started.”