DS: When did you realise you were overweight and what affect did that have on your physical health and mental well-being?
Jessica: “I was always an overweight child, but I started to become aware and self-conscious when I was around 10-years-old. I was diagnosed with Asthma. It became normal that I could not take part in physical activity. As I entered adulthood and left home, I realised that I could not cook and had no idea about nutrition and what calories were. I was an emotional eater and all I knew was that food made me happy.”
DS: What made you decide to join Slimming World?
Jessica: “As my weight continued to increase, I would dread going to see the asthma nurse, as I knew I would get a telling off about my weight and that made me angry. At my appointment, the nurse congratulated me on my engaged and then broached the subject of having children. She commented that I may struggle to conceive being overweight, her words really struck home. I wanted to have a baby. I decided to shred the weight for my wedding and increase my chances of having a baby. I tried Slim-fast and Juice-Plus, but I soon figured out for myself they were not sustainable. In 2015, a friend took me along to her local Slimming World group, and to my surprise it was not filled with old people! My journey started there, and I lost 5 stone in the process. I learnt how to cook, about calories and the different types of food groups. I never looked back.
In 2019, after 2-years of trying, I fell pregnant with our first child. I was elated, but I knew I did not want to fall back into bad eating habits. I needed and wanted to stay healthy. I had wonderful support from my Slimming World group, so I was able to do so. I fell pregnant again soon after with my second child. Now living with a 20-month-old and 7-month-old, my life is chaos, but I have managed to keep the weight off.”
DS: Tell us about your exercise regime when you first started out? What type of training are you able to do now?
Jessica: “I plucked up the courage and joined the Pure Gym in Poole and booked a couple of PT sessions with my friend. Our trainer showed us how to use the equipment and the type of training I should be doing. After gaining some confidence in the gym I took part in the Park Run each Saturday morning. I used to hate running as I had bad knees, but losing the weight meant that the pain subsided, and I got better at running. I decided to enter the London Marathon and to my shock I got a place. The distance of the Park Runs is 5K, now I had to train for 26.2 miles (42K). It was not easy training as the 2018 Beast from the East arrived, bringing snowstorms and gale force winds. On the day of the London Marathon the sun decided to shine, and it was recorded as the hottest marathon on record at 24.1C (75.3F). I completed the London Marathon in 5 hours and 30 mins. I was overwhelmed by my achievement. I could not believe how far I had come and what I had achieved.”
DS: Tell me about how you became a slimming world consultant and what your group can do for others?
Jessica: “When the opportunity came for me to run my own group I jumped at the chance. I am so enthusiastic about my role as a consultant. It is the best job in the world. I use my journey to empower others and in turn help them to succeed. There was a huge demand for my group, so I am running an additional session to accommodate this. I have found that people have really struggled with their mental health and physical well-being throughout the pandemic. New statistics for the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch areas show that 61% of adults are overweight. I am glad that a group like mine can help reduce this alarming statistic.”
Jessica runs two Slimming World groups every Saturday, starting at 8:30am and 10:30am, at the Talbot View Community Centre, 3 Alder Park, Alder Road, Poole, Dorset BH12 4AY. For more details please contact Jessica on 07501 747174 or email firstname.lastname@example.org