Joy finally finds a way to lose weight that works for her
When Joy Parry, 61, from Rushcliffe, South Nottinghamshire, joined her local Slimming World group she was relying on a mobility scooter as she would get very out of breath walking just a few steps. Two years later, Joy has lost 8st, enjoys walking and has learned to ride a bike.
During the Covid-19 lockdowns, Joy and her family would have takeaways every day as they were quick and easy, and Joy’s learning difficulties made reading and following a recipe challenging. Regular takeaways paired with a lack of activity due to mobility and health difficulties, meant Joy gained weight and was diagnosed with pre-diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
In March 2021, Joy attended her first Slimming World group thanks to the recommendation from Leanne Hennessey, a social prescribing link worker for Nottinghamshire. Leanne, who has supported Joy throughout her weight loss journey, said: “When I met Joy over the phone in lockdown, she had already tried all of the local resources available, and nothing was clicking. I did some research and found out about Slimming World’s resources to help people with learning difficulties, so I connected her with Vanessa, a local Slimming World Consultant, and we took the first steps towards the start of her incredible journey.”
Slimming World Consultant Vanessa Chatwin welcomed Joy and helped her to feel at ease from the start. Due to Joy’s difficulties with reading and writing, she used an Easy Read guide to Slimming World’s flexible healthy eating plan Food Optimising. The Easy Read guide was developed specifically for members who have learning difficulties, in a style that uses larger text, shorter sentences, plenty of pictures and a simple layout.
“I was nervous going to group for the first time as I didn’t know anybody there, but everyone made me feel welcome and I had a feeling that this was a step in the right direction. When my Consultant guided me through the eating plan, and showed me the Easy Read guide it made me feel like Food Optimising would be manageable, and I would be able to follow it at home.”
With the support of Vanessa, her family and her new friends from group, Joy embraced Food Optimising and as a result, she started seeing results as her weight began to drop. Her daily lockdown takeaways were soon forgotten as she learnt new recipes, and now Joy’s go to meal is braised steak with mashed potatoes, made with lean meat and without butter and cream.
Joy also started to gradually increase her activity levels as part of Slimming World’s physical activity support programme, Body Magic. By increasing her daily movement little by little, at her own pace, Joy built up her stamina to take on more challenging activities like using an exercise bike and going for longer walks.
Before joining Slimming World, Joy could only walk a few short steps before she was out of breath and needed an inhaler. She would rely on her mobility scooter to get around. Now, Joy enjoys going to the gym, cycles to the places she needs to be and walks without needing her inhaler.
She continues: “Thanks to the help of Vanessa, Leanne, my friends from group and my family, I can now easily do things that were a struggle when I was at my heaviest. I am much more confident and happier in myself and am very determined to reach my target weight and continue living a healthier life.”
Vanessa, who has been a Slimming World Consultant since 2021, runs three groups in Long Eaton and West Bridgford. She said: “It’s amazing to be part of Joy’s journey and help her understand and embrace Slimming World’s plan.
It’s wonderful to see her now so happy and motivated, a complete change from that very first group. She is an inspiration to us all and I can’t wait to see her hit her target weight.”
Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell OBE in Derbyshire in 1969 and has become the UK and Ireland’s leading weight loss organisation with more people choosing to attend a Slimming World group each week than any other weight loss programme. We support hundreds of thousands of people, both in our groups and online, to lose weight and to adopt new habits to stay slim for life.
Over the years our founding principles haven’t changed:
· Our unique programme is based on a powerfully motivating support system called IMAGE (Individual Motivation and Group Experience) Therapy. Underpinned by a deep understanding of the psychology of overweight people, and incorporating the most effective sustainable behaviour change techniques, IMAGE Therapy is designed to inspire and motivate slimmers to make positive changes and to develop new, healthier habits around food and activity.
· Food Optimising is our healthy eating plan, based on the liberating concept of Free Food. We encourage our members to fill up on those foods that are naturally lower in energy density (calories per gram) and also highly satisfying while limiting foods that are highest in fat and sugar and are less satisfying, so they lose weight without ever feeling hungry or deprived and without having to weigh, measure or count everything they eat.
· Our activity support programme, Body Magic helps members to overcome any barriers around activity. Members choose when to start and they set the pace, finding activities they genuinely enjoy, until regular physical activity becomes an intrinsic part of their daily routine.
At the heart of everything we do lies our passion for treating every member with genuine care, empathy and respect.
We’re proud to work with the NHS, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), The Royal College of Midwives and others to help shape the future of weight management in the UK and Ireland.
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