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Slipping into my size 10 graduation dress, I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. Just nine months earlier, I’d been a size 18 and Lycra legging were my new best friend. No one could accuse me of not throwing myself into uni life wholeheartedly and beer and curry had become the cornerstones of my diet. Then I’d spotted a Slimming World banner and something clicked.

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Slimming for students

At my first group I discovered that I could still eat all those easy, cheap student staples – like pasta, rice and jacket potatoes. And I didn’t have to give up alcohol, either – instead, my Consultant showed me smart swaps and social strategies that meant I could fully enjoy my final year and lose weight. That’s when I first fell in love with Food Optimising – it was a revelation! I wanted to feel amazing at my graduation, and thanks to Slimming World (and that dream Topshop dress!), I did!

MORE ON THE BLOG: Slimming World recipes for students

My slimming story hasn’t always been plain sailing, though. Going from uni to the world of work, I lost my way and became a serial slimmer, stuck in a cycle of joining and leaving slimming groups while I continued to get bigger. It’s obvious now that I wasn’t ready to make the changes needed to lose the weight and, crucially, keep it off. Then, in 2009, my life changed overnight…

Spinal surgery

I had an accident on a trampoline and damaged my spine, spending a full year bedbound while creeping up to a size 22. I needed spinal reconstruction, but my doctor refused to operate because of my size. It was the push I needed to rejoin group, and my brilliant, full of energy Consultant gave me the confidence to finally commit to change. Once I started Food Optimising 100%, the weight quickly came off – reducing my BMI from 42 to 23, with a loss of 3st 9lbs – and I could have the surgery.

Although thankfully the surgery was successful, my old office job was out of the question. Long hours sitting at a desk became impossible, and I was medically retired at the age of 30. All the dreams I’d had for the career I’d worked so hard for disappeared, and I felt adrift. What was I going to do with my life now?

Becoming a Consultant

The perfect solution was right in front of me. Slimming World had become a real positive in my life, and I wanted to pass that on to other people. I realised that I wanted to help people make those changes, like I had, that could genuinely be life-transforming – or even life-saving. And I also wanted to share the Slimming World way of turning that tricky weight loss journey into something uplifting and full of fun!

Once I started looking into becoming a Slimming World Consultant, things happened quite quickly. I already understood the Food Optimising plan and knew it worked, yet the training went so much deeper than that. I learnt about science, psychology and nutrition, and why Food Optimising guarantees weight loss without hunger. I started to really understand the psychology of slimming, uncovering the 52 years of expertise behind the Slimming World plan, and learnt how to deliver IMAGE Therapy (the powerful motivation and support in group that sets Slimming World apart). I also studied the challenges many slimmers face, learning how to use the Slimming World Motivational Toolkit to its full potential – and how to help a member use the right tools to overcome any obstacle.

I wasn’t surprised to discover that members who attend group regularly lose more weight. I already knew how important that unique strand of support is, yet seeing all of the deep thinking that went into IMAGE Therapy really confirmed that it holds the key to unlocking weight loss success.

Building a community

The community that’s created in Slimming World groups is absolutely magical. Having that place where there’s no judgement and no humiliation, where you can really get to the root of any weight loss issues, and feel truly uplifted by people who understand – through the good times and the more difficult times – makes such a difference to how slimmers feel about themselves and their weight loss journey.

Of course, as much as I genuinely love helping other people, my new role had to work for me and the life I wanted to lead. I knew I couldn’t be tied to a desk all day, and having so much flexibility around where, when and how much I wanted to work was so freeing. I had the power to set my own work/life balance, and to influence my own earning power, too.

Highs and lows

I’m now celebrating my 10th year as a Slimming World Consultant, and so much has changed. The high points include getting married and having our lovely daughter, Daisy. I’ve also had some personal lows, including an ongoing bowel condition, periods of depression and the loss of my dad after a long illness. Yet the flexibility of my job has meant I’ve been able to take a step back when I’ve needed to, and, through it all, I’ve still got a strong career – and I’ve continued to Food Optimise to keep myself as healthy as possible.

I’ve seen lots of life changes in my members, too. I’ve had members who’ve had babies, after previously having difficulty conceiving. I’ve had lots of members who’ve experienced fantastic improvements in their health, and many who’ve had the thumbs-up from their doctor to come off medications as a result. I’ve seen confidence skyrocket, and that sense of community has just grown and grown.

Could it be the career for you

To anyone thinking of becoming a Slimming World Consultant, I’d say go for it! You don’t need any formal qualifications, and it’s a role that can work with many different personality types, too. You don’t have to be a hugely outgoing person – I’ve met some amazing Consultants with a calm, quiet manner – and you’ll get all the training you need to carry out your role with confidence. What you do need is a strong desire to help people, as well as a personal understanding of the slimming journey (which is why every Consultant is, or has been, a Slimming World member).

My own Slimming World journey started in my student days and has been part of every life milestone since. It sounds like a strange thing to say, but I’m so thankful for my accident, as it forced me to rethink my life and led to a fantastic, flexible career where I get to help people every day.

Anna is co-host of the Slimming World podcast. You can press play on the full list of episodes here.

How to become a Slimming World Consultant

If you have the energy, drive and enthusiasm for an exciting new challenge, and enjoy the satisfaction of learning new skills, then this rewarding role could be for you. You can find out more about this special role here.

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