A slimmer who transformed her life by losing four stone is using her success to shape a whole new career helping other people change their lives for the better too.

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Jo Chappell, 37, of Windmill Close, Poringland, joined her local Slimming World group in Beccles three years ago and dropped from 14st 11lb to 10st 11lb.

She trained, has been running the Long Stratton Slimming World group for 20 months and has now opened a second group at the Oasis Sports and Leisure Club in Norwich.

The Long Stratton group supports more than 65 members, who combined, have lost 380 stone.

In England, around a quarter of the population (26pc of women and 24pc of men) have a BMI that places them in the ‘obese’ category.

Since 1993, the percentage of men who are overweight or obese increased from 58pc to 65pc, while the percentage of women increased from 49pc to 58pc.

Mrs Chappell said her role had never been more important.

She said: “Obesity is becoming such a huge issue across the UK. When I first joined Slimming World as a member, I never dreamed that I would end up helping other people to lose weight, but now I just love every minute of it. It’s a privilege for me to be able to pass on the experience, insight and understanding that helped me, so that I can give my members the support they need to get to their target.

“Like a lot of slimmers, I had tried to lose weight so many times before by following numerous diets, but they were never sustainable because I’d always get tired of restricting what I ate.

“I thought I was destined to struggle with my weight for the rest of my life, but when I came to Slimming World it was different.

“I never felt like I was on a diet. The eating plan encourages you to eat lots of filling foods like pasta, rice, potatoes and lean meat and fish. You are never hungry and no foods are banned, so there’s no deprivation. I couldn’t believe I’d found a way to lose weight without starving myself.”

Mrs Chappell said Slimming World was not just about changing what you eat, but getting the support to choose a healthier lifestyle by finding ways to become more active even if you’re not very mobile or don’t like exercise.

“My weight loss has completely changed my life. My health has improved no end. I no longer need to have asthma check-ups or use my inhalers; my eczema has settled; I no longer need steroid creams and I have enough energy to play with my children. The simple things in life, like climbing stairs and walking, are so much easier now.”

Mrs Chappell said she was also pleased to have a new career, which was well-paid and enabled her to fit her work life around her family, as well as being able to do something she was passionate about.

The Slimming World group is held in the Mirage Suite, Oasis Sports and Leisure Club, Norwich, every Wednesday at 10am.

For more information, or to join the group, either pop along on a Wednesday. or call Mrs Chappell on 01508 493688.

For more on Slimming World, visit www.slimmingworld.com or call 0844 897 8000.

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