OK, THINK of a Slimming World group session and that tired stereotype come to many people’s minds.
But they are about much more than tape measures, cursing cakes and swearing off sugar. They can help turn lives around.
Cheryl Ward is one such success story after deciding to take action and join the group that runs at Hyde United Social Club on Thursday at 5.30pm, Friday at 9.30am and Saturday at 8am and 9.30am.
And the 40-year-old, who, lives in the town, believes her attendance has not only seen seven stone in weight drop off, but her confidence and energy levels rise.
She said: “I’ve had friends say, ‘I’m going to do it on my own.’ The first words out of my mouth are, ‘You won’t do it on your own.’
“I’ve tried it on my own and it may sound pathetic but I say, ‘That support you get in group, and the shiny certificates and all the clapping, definitely does something.’
“I’m a lot more confident and have a lot more energy. I work at before and after school clubs at a primary school, where I’m the assistant cook – that’s what made me come back.
“You’ve got to try them, haven’t you? But my weight was slowly going back up and I was like, ‘I’ve got to go back to sort that out.’
“I was just knackered all the time, I was really sluggish. Whereas now, I’ve got more energy and confidence. I’m wearing different clothes too.
“I’d definitely say come along. It’s nerve wracking at first if you’re on your own with no friends coming with you but you’ll always be welcomed and feel welcome.”
Cheryl, whose weight loss journey is being overseen by consultant Debbie, detailed the struggles she has had controlling her weight around giving birth to her four children.
But thanks to Slimming World, she also has new friends for life on top of that confidence in herself and energy.
She added: “I’ve got four children so it’s always been I’ve lost some, had a child, lost some more, had another one and after having had my third in 2011, I joined Slimming World and lost five stone.
“Then I got married and had another child. I put it all back on but I stayed at the group while I was pregnant. I watched it all go back on then really struggles. It didn’t come off.
“Even during pregnancy, Slimming World is really easy to follow. I just carried on. I’m known to put a lot of weight on during all my pregnancies but after having my fourth one, I struggle to get it back off.
“Because Covid-19 shut everything down, I said to Debbie, ‘I’m going to leave it for now and I’ll be back when I’m back.’ That took me until last January.
“This time around, I got my seven stone award on December 17, it took me 48 weeks to get that. Then over Christmas I had a little gain. I’ve lost a bit of it but I’ve reset my target, so I’m currently at six stone 12lbs lost.
“It’s really easy to do and I’ve made loads of friends during my Slimming World journey. Debbie’s become a good friend, we’ve had babies together, we’ve got children the same age.”