A LOCAL woman is set to relaunch a Wellington weight loss club after losing two-and-a-half stones with the ‘food optimisation’ programme.

Cheryl Mirto, 55, from Bishops Lydeard, said she was left “walking with confidence” and “loves having her photo taken” after shedding her excess weight with the help of Slimming World.

Cheryl is now set to relaunch the town’s branch after becoming a trained consultant with the company.

Commenting on her weight loss journey, Cheryl said: “Looking at the photos from the family holiday made me realise how overweight I had become, covering up the issue with baggy tops and stretchy leggings. I desperately tried all the diets that were sold in the supermarkets, and I would lose some weight, but quickly put it back on when I returned to eating normally.

“When I joined Slimming World the members were so welcoming, I felt my nerves disappear fast. The consultant, Lauren, quickly put me at ease and explained how ‘food optimising’ with Slimming World would get me the weight loss I so desperately wanted and then maintain that weight! I was astounded, was this magic? No, she replied, that’s food optimising.

“Sceptically, I took the Slimming world books back home and explained it all to my husband. He knew how depressed I had become over my weight. He embraced and supported the simple lifestyle changes needed. 

“My first week I lost 5lb. I was amazed. I was still eating ‘proper’ meals, in fact it felt like I was eating more than I ever had before. My husband remarked on how my packed lunch for school looked more like a picnic and not a salad in sight.

“Small changes were all that was needed, and I was still able to treat myself to a digestive or two and I was even able to have my usual gin as a wind down in the evenings, swapping the lemonade for diet tonic.

“The support from the other members in the group was empowering. I no longer felt alone with the struggle of losing weight. To be able to openly talk about my struggles with food was a relief. There was never any judgement, always a feeling of being part of a family, all supporting each other, with our consultant praising us at every point along our journeys. 

“Now I am two and a half stone lighter and feel incredible. I have the confidence to walk tall and feel proud of my new look. I love having my photo taken now and the baggy T-shirts have been taken to the local charity shop.

“With the help of Slimming world’s activity programme, ‘Body Magic’, I also gained the confidence to train for and run 5k for Race for Life, finishing with an amazing time of below 40mins - just! Next year I am aiming for 35mins! 

“I have never felt better, physically, and mentally and it is all thanks to Slimming World, really a life saver.”

The group is set to meet at Beech Grove School every Wednesday from April 17.