Holly followed Slimming World’s Free2Go eating plan, designed specifically for young people, which encourages 11-15 year olds to fill up on fruit, vegetables and other low energy dense, satisfying foods such as lean meats, poultry, fish, pasta, potatoes and rice, while gradually reducing intake of more energy dense, fatty and sugary foods. The emphasis is on healthy eating and increased physical activity, rather than weight loss.
Holly, who lives with her parents and two brothers, found the plan easy to follow. She says: “I always associated losing weight with not eating anything, so it came as a bit of a surprise when I realised I could still eat quite a lot while losing weight! My whole family were really supportive and enjoyed the same meals as me and Mum – family favourites like spaghetti Bolognese or homemade curry were still on the menu so it made it easy for everyone to get on board. It helped me to learn about food and cooking too – I’m quite the chef now!”
Over a period of nearly six years, Holly steadily slimmed from 18st 5½lbs to 10st and now feels healthier than ever. She says: “I remember being so down on myself because of my size and it’s like I’ve been freed of that now. Simple things like going clothes shopping used to be awful and I’d end up buying whatever I could in a size 24. Now I can experiment with different styles and swap clothes with my friends. I have clothes in a size 8 which still blows my mind a bit!”
As well as a new-found confidence, Holly has also unearthed a passion for exercise. She says: “Before I lost weight I never used to do any physical activity because I was so unfit that I’d get out of breath after just a few minutes. I started going to the gym which is such a big thing for me – even having the confidence to walk into a gym is something I never could have done when I weighed 18st. I really enjoy the feeling of challenging myself and feeling positive about my body and what it can achieve.
“I was a bit apprehensive about joining Slimming World, too – I thought I would be judged for being overweight at such a young age and that nobody would take me seriously. I couldn’t have been more wrong though – I was made to feel so welcome and have made friends for life at my Slimming World group. The support I get from people of all ages is just amazing, they’re like a second family to me. Every week my Consultant and group helped me make changes, and identify my own triggers and danger zones, then make plans to overcome them. It was all so positive and encouraging – nothing like I’d ever tried before.”
Since Holly won Young Slimmer of the Year 2020, Slimming World has temporarily suspended its groups in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. However, Holly still attends her weekly group virtually and is loving the support she continues to receive from her fellow members each week.
She says: “Although we can’t be together in person, I love seeing my Consultant and fellow members at my virtual group – it really helps to keep me motivated and on track. It’s a difficult time for everyone but as long as we’ve got the support of each other we’ll be OK. With so much going on in the world it’s easy to lose sight of your goals, or to have your routine disrupted, and being in group helps you focus on what you want to achieve.
“I was due to sit my A-level exams next month but sadly that won’t happen now. I’m not going to let that hold me back though – I have big dreams and I can’t wait to fulfil them. Losing 8st has made me feel like I can achieve anything. I proved my doubters wrong and for the first time I feel like I have a bright future ahead of me – that’s an amazing feeling.”
Name: Holly Bolton
Starting weight: 18st 5½lbs/257½lbs/116kg
Current weight: 10st/140lbs/64kg
Weight loss: 8st 5½lbs/117½lbs/52kg
Starting dress size: 24
Current dress size: 8
Date joined Slimming World: June 2014
Group: Holly attends the Doddinghurst Slimming World group which is now run virtually by Consultant Karen Barker.
Breakfast: White bread with butter and chocolate spread
Lunch: Sausage roll, crisps
Mid-afternoon: A pastry
Dinner: Pizza or burger
Evening: Crisps and sweets
Breakfast: Overnight oats with frozen berries and sliced banana
Lunch: Large homemade chicken salad or a ham and pepper omelette
Dinner: Hunter’s chicken, Cajun chicken pasta bake or sausage and mash
Evening: A Slimming World Hi-Fi bar or small chocolate bar
 (NHS Digital Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet 2019).
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