When Helen Turner was 15 she weighed nearly 15 stone.
She wore a size 14 and 16 dress size and although she was teased about her weight, she says she was in denial and so didn’t do anything about it.
Now she has shed nearly four stone and is helping others lead healthier lifestyles after becoming one of the region’s youngest weight loss consultants.
“I’d always been bigger than the other children – I was taller and broader than them – but it wasn’t until I went to secondary school and started going out into town at lunch time and eating chips and all the wrong things that I started to really pile on the pounds,” says Helen, now 21, from Wortley.
Living next door to the family off-licence didn’t help.
“I have always been surrounded by chocolate, crisps and sweets at home because of living joined to an off-licence which is not easy, however, it was the freedom of eating unhealthily at high school lunch times that I really started piling on the pounds.”
By the age of 15 Helen weighed 14st 10lbs. Eventually her mum persuaded her to join her at a local slimming club.
Because she was under 16 Helen started on the young member (for ages 11-16) scheme that didn’t encourage weight loss but introduced healthy swaps, such as taking a lunchbox to school instead of buying chips, to help her start a healthier lifestyle. Although she lost weight she left the class only to return when her weight balooned.
She said: “I turned 18-years-old and was starting to fit into size 18 to 20 clothes. My confidence was next to none, I weighed more than I had ever done before and I was starting to have pains in my feet after being on them for too long.”
At 19 she became the youngest Slimming World Consultant in West Yorkshire. She’s now in a size 12 dress, something she hasn’t done since she was 13.
FACTFILE ON SLIMMING
Childhood obesity figures now show that nearly 1 in 3 children in the UK is obese. That is one third of the child population. A new report from the National Obesity Forum to coincide with National Obesity Awareness Week, this week, warns that half the UK population will be obese in less than 40 years, with a total cost reaching £50 billion.
Helen Turner’s Slimming World session is on Thursday at 7.30pm at Farnley’s, Hill Top Community Centre. For more information call 07428527996.