Lose weight without giving up the food you love

PUBLISHED: 14:06 02 March 2006 | UPDATED: 11:33 04 May 2010

HAPPY: Julie Elsey who has lost five-and-a-half stone.

HAPPY: Julie Elsey who has lost five-and-a-half stone.

WITH two thirds of the population overweight and obesity figures increasing by 400 per cent in the last 25 years, the heat is on to shed the pounds. But counting the calories is not always as easy as it sounds and good intentions often end in misery. At L

CONFIDENT: Emma Lely who lost almost five stone.

WITH two thirds of the population overweight and obesity figures increasing by 400 per cent in the last 25 years, the heat is on to shed the pounds.

But counting the calories is not always as easy as it sounds and good intentions often end in misery.

At Littleport's Weight Watchers group, however, slimmers are discovering they don't have to cut out their favourite foods to fight the flab.

Some of them have already achieved their target weights in a relatively short time simply by following a plan which allows everything in moderation.

Julie Elsey remembers, as a chubby child, standing alone in the playground and always being the last to be picked for the sports' teams.

But she finally got the push she needed to lose the weight when she broke her ankle and realised she may be forced to use a walking frame in her old age.

"I knew my ankle would always be susceptible to problems," said Julie, 47, of Mulberry Way, Ely. "I didn't want to be hobbling around overweight. I knew that would just make it 10 times worse."

Julie gained the club's gold award after shedding a fantastic five-and-a-half stone, bringing her weight down from 18-and-a half stone to just 12-and-a-half stone.

"I feel so much more confident now," she said. "I am a different person. People don't recognise me. I have dropped two or three dress sizes and can wear trousers and feel great."

Gold award holder, Emma Lely, 20, found the stress of exams led to her heading for the cupboard for comfort food.

She would crave strawberry cheesecake ice-cream and, at just five feet four inches tall, her weight soared to 15 stone four- and-a-half pounds while she coped with A-Level exams.

Emma, of Camel Road in Littleport didn't want to go to university overweight so her mum persuaded her to join Weight Watchers.

In 18 months she saw her weight drop by just under five stone and claims she feels more confident.

"I used to walk to the local shop and get a stitch in my side," she said. "I knew this wasn't how it should be."

Now Emma is at college studying holistic therapies and looking forward to a new start.

Doctor's orders gave 20-year-old Chris Davis the push he needed to join the group when he weighed in at 20 stone.

He joined his girlfriend, Rachel, in a bid to fight the flab, and has lost a stone in just six weeks.

Now Chris is hoping to bring his weight down to 15 stone and believes he can hit his target by just taking smaller portions of food.

"It hasn't been difficult," said Chris, a mechanic, from Elmside, Littleport. "The weight comes off slowly and you don't really have to change what you are eating. The group is quite relaxed and everyone is there for you."

INFO: To contact the group call 01354 653768.

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