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The rugby Six Nations tournament kicks off this weekend, the perfect chance for us to share why team sports are a powerful way to build active habits. Alongside the wonderful benefits moving more brings for your health, playing alongside others comes with its own special set of rewards, including:

  • improved mental health
  • greater self-confidence
  • a wider support network
  • stronger friendships
  • it’s way more fun than exercising alone!

Here, four inspirational slimmers share how harnessing the power of teamwork gave them the support and motivation they needed to build an active lifestyle they love.

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“My rugby kit is four sizes smaller”

Nick Todd before and after photo playing rugby

When Nicholas Todd switched from playing to coaching rugby, he noticed his weight creeping on faster than ever. Now 8st 7lbs lighter, he’s ready to tackle sport – and life – head on.

“While being a ‘big lad’ definitely had its benefits on the rugby pitch, things started to get out of hand when I stopped playing regularly. As a coach, I had to have my kit made to order because none of the standard sizes were big enough, and I found it harder and harder to keep up with the other players on the field.

I joined Slimming World with my partner, Jess, and gradually the weight came off. I loved the flexibility of the Food Optimising eating plan – I could still enjoy going out for a meal or a special occasion without letting it derail my entire weight loss journey.

When our kit drop next came around, I discovered that I’d dropped four sizes! Then, at my work’s annual conference, I had to reintroduce myself to most of my colleagues because they didn’t recognise me any more.

While I don’t play as often as I used to, I find it much easier to get around the pitch when I do – in fact, I’ve had to relearn my position because I’m so much quicker than I used to be.”

“I kicked my takeaway habit and scored a 4st 5lbs weight loss”

Kelly Roberts before and after wearing red football kit

When Kelly Roberts realised her weight was affecting her footballing form, she knew it was time to make a change. Now she’s fitter than ever and ready to take on any challenge…

“With Slimming World’s support, the pounds started falling away and as my confidence grew, so did my abilities on the pitch. When the new season started, my teammates were amazed by how much weight I’d lost – and they were even more impressed when they saw me flying up and down the wings without needing to take a breather.

It’s hard to put into words how much losing 4st 5lbs has changed my life. I’ve got a new job that I love, I’ve dropped four dress sizes and last year, I finally had the confidence to wear a bikini on holiday. Best of all, I feel fitter and healthier than ever, and it’s reignited my passion for football. I used to think that my playing days were coming to an end. Now I know I’ve got a few more seasons left in me (at least!) and I can’t wait to see what adventures they bring.”

Read Kelly’s full story

Find out more about joining Slimming World

“I’m 5st lighter – and now I can play in my dream position”

Ross Hebden holiday photo before weight loss and after photo wearing white American football strip.

Tired of playing as an offensive lineman, American football player Ross Hebden knew he needed to slim down and boost his fitness if he was going to run with the ball. Now he loves being in the thick of the action.

“Weighing 22st, I was one of the largest of the Cornish Sharks offensive linemen, and my size meant that was the only position available to me in the game I loved so much. I just wasn’t fit enough to run around with the ball.

As the weight came off, though, my ability on the field improved and when I switched teams to the Worcestershire Black Knights, based much closer to home, I successfully tried out as a running back. I couldn’t wait to test how fit I’d really become since losing weight.

In the same week I hit my target weight of 13st 7lbs, I played the biggest fixture of my American football season – the match against my old team, the Cornish Sharks. It was a good time to have my best game of the season, gaining more yards than in any other match I’d played – and we won by our record score of 50-6.

After the game, my old coach came jogging over and said: ‘You played really well and you deserve your place in that position. Maybe you could come back to us next season?’ I smiled – those words of praise felt incredible.”

Read Ross’s full story

“I’m bowled over by my success”

Dave Winchester before weight loss wearing black hoody and shorts. Photo after weight loss playing cricket.

At 27st, Dave Winchester relied on extra-strong painkillers to function, which put a dampener on his dreams of returning to the cricket field. After losing half his body weight, he found the energy to step back up to the crease – and he’s never been happier.

“I was quite sporty as a child, and my weight issues didn’t start until I left home and was making my own choices around food. Takeaways and convenience food became the norm, as did nightly cans of cider. 

When I learnt about Slimming World’s Body Magic physical activity support programme in group, it made me think about how I could get back to the more active lifestyle I’d enjoyed when I was younger. That spurred me on to rejoin a cricket team – it’s a fun way to get fitter and I really enjoy the social side, too.

By following the Body Magic programme, I built up how much activity I was doing at my own pace, and in time I got rid of our second car because I found it simpler to walk or cycle to wherever I needed to be. It’s crazy to think I once avoided driving because my stomach got in the way of the steering wheel, and now I avoid it because I’d rather be on my bike!”

Read Dave’s full story

Unlock your Body Magic tool kit

When you join Slimming World, you’ll get access to everything you need to increase your activity levels your way, including:

  • the Slimming World app and website – home to our activity tracker, exercise guides and podcasts
  • more than 90 activity videos (including seated workouts) to suit all abilities, with workouts lasting from five to 30 minutes 
  • strategies to help you get started and make activity part of your daily routine
  • our unique FIT log, which is great for identifying and overcoming any personal barriers to fitness
  • motivating Body Magic awards to inspire you throughout your activity journey

Find out more about Slimming World’s Body Magic programme

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