March woman shining example of how weight loss can transform more than your looks
New research has proven that losing weight is proven to improve your mental toughness – and local woman Pauline Smith is a shining example of how losing weight can transform so much more than your looks.
Pauline, from March, has transformed her life and looks after losing 6 stone 5lbs with Slimming World. As a result of her weight loss, not only has she dramatically changed in appearance and her health, she has returned to education in her 60s and become a student again.
Pauline lost her weight and gained a new lease of life back in 2015. She’s remained at target ever since, and is such an inspiration to so many others locally.
She said: “I no longer have to take medication for my high blood pressure, I have energy I never realised I had … or forgotten I had and I have been told I look years younger which is a plus.
"I’m more alert and engaged in everything due to my energy. It’s given me a self-belief I never realised I had before."
With Pauline’s confidence at an all-time high – she had the courage to return to education and has retrained for a new profession and is now hoping to set up her own practice later this year to support others as a counsellor.
Pauline said: “I would never of had the confidence without Slimming World coming in to my life”
New research into weight control and mental toughness revealed that revealed that members of Slimming World groups didn’t just lose weight more successfully than a comparison group - they also significantly improved their mental toughness.
The findings of the study come at a time when the UK population faces a spiralling obesity crisis and increased mental health challenges. Government figures suggest more than 40per cent of adults in England gained weight during the pandemic , with the average gain being half a stone (just over 4.1kg), while more than half of adults (60per cent) and over two thirds of young people (68per cent) said their mental health got worse during lockdown two.
The study, ‘Longitudinal Investigation into Mental Toughness, Weight Loss, and Eating Behaviours’, conducted by Dr Elizabeth Stamp, now a lecturer at Loughborough University, found that members of a Slimming World group participating in the research lost on average over 2st more than a comparison group (participants wanting to lose weight without the support of a weight-loss programme).
During the six months the study was undertaken, the mental toughness of Slimming World group members rose 10per cent, from a low to an average score, whereas the comparison group had no statistically significant change to their mental toughness.
Pauline says, “the most important thing is the confidence, without it I’d never have believed in my ability to return to education. I also believe I’m less anxious because I no longer have to worry unnecessarily about my health as I did before my weight loss."
She credits her local group for her success. Pauline said: “Honestly, I love the sense of community and support for each other. Always cheering each other on and celebrating everyone’s successes and encouraging each other, I love how we share ideas too! Helen is always there for us creating a warm welcoming atmosphere. There is never any judgment just encouragement. And I can eat all my favourite meals, curries , roasts even desserts and occasional treats!
Dr Jacquie Lavin, head of research and scientific affairs, says: “This research shows the depth of understanding about the psychology of weight loss we have at Slimming World. It’s been at the heart of our method for more than five decades. In our groups we share techniques to empower and enable members to make their own behaviour changes through a variety of methods, including setting goals, making new decisions, developing skills to overcome barriers by facing, and seeking out challenges and taking back control, which are all linked to the principles of improving mental toughness. By encouraging our members to try new foods, transform old, unhealthy habits and change their perception of food and activity, we create an environment for our members to challenge themselves on their own timescales.
“The mental toughness findings are supported by member data from Slimming World groups which reveals that as members progress on their weight loss journey, they feel more sociable, happier, calmer and more peaceful, and feel they have more energy. They are less likely to say they feel downhearted, stressed, or anxious compared to non-members from the general population. Members’ emotional wellbeing improved over their time at Slimming World and even remained higher during the COVID lockdown, when Slimming World introduced their virtual groups for members, than when they first joined. They also had higher emotional wellbeing scores than non-members.”
Slimming World runs groups across the Fenand area on most days of the week. For support with your weight loss, find your nearest group by calling 0344 892 0434 or visiting www.slimmingworld.co.uk