A 20-year-old from Bognor Regis who lost 6st 4.5lbs has reached the finals of a national slimming competition.
Robert Loake was delighted to make the final 30 in Slimming World’s Young Slimmer of the Year 2016 competition out of all of the 16 to 21-year-olds who attend Slimming World’s 14,000 groups across the UK and Ireland.
And he even got to meet Olympic silver medallist and British 400m record holder Iwan Thomas at the semi-finals.
Robert joined the Bognor Regis Slimming World group in July 2015. He says: “When I was bigger I always felt as though I didn’t fit in and that was really hard.
“It seemed like all of my friends were slim, happy and loving life, while I just spent all my time worrying about my weight.
“At first I was nervous at the idea of joining Slimming World because I thought that my friends or family might tease me or that the people at the group would judge me for being overweight at such a young age.
“I shouldn’t have worried though because everyone was really lovely and my friends and family are very proud of my weight loss.
“It made me think about how active I am too, so I’ve taken up swimming as well and I really enjoy it.”
The Slimming World competition recognises the enormous achievements of young people in making long-term lifestyle changes to become fitter, healthier and happier.
One in three young people are said to be overweight or obese, with many suffering from serious conditions like Type 2 diabetes as a result.
Since that first visit, Robert has lost 6st 4.5lbs, going from 19st 12.5lbs to 13st 8lbs.
His fellow members in the Bognor Regis group voted for him to represent them in the Young Slimmer of the Year 2016 competition and he was one of 30 young people invited to the semi-finals, which were held at Slimming World’s head office in Alfreton in Derbyshire.
It was there he met Iwan Thomas, who came along to Slimming World to make the day extra special for the youngsters taking part.
Iwan said: “It was a real honour to meet all of the young slimmers who made it to the semi-finals of the competition; they’ve achieved so much and should be really proud.
“Obviously health, fitness and nutrition have formed a huge part of my life and my career, so it’s a pleasure to see that so many young people have turned their lives around by eating healthily and taking up exercise.”
Jacquie Donlevy, who runs the Bognor Regis Slimming World group, added: “I’m so proud of Robert. What he’s achieved is so much more than just losing weight.
“The changes Robert has made now have given him the knowledge and skills to make healthy choices and develop new active habits that will stand him in good stead for the rest of his life.
“Most of all it’s given him the self-belief to achieve his dreams.”
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