The rediscovery of my love for sports contributed to my net loss.

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Although I was always considered a “big girl” throughout my teenage years (I’m 5’9″ and was a size 14 /16), I was always active, played on all school sports teams and was a member of both the local netball and athletics clubs during high school.

The love of netball and a healthier lifestyle led to Gemma’s whole new perspective

When my relationship ended, and in an effort to rebuild a social life, I began attending Simple Netball sessions at my local sports center. After my first one-hour session I was bright red, sweaty and could barely breathe, but I still had the netball bug again.

After my studies I got into a long-term relationship that upset my already unhealthy lifestyle (wine bottles, meals for two, sundaes) and I kept growing.

At university I started to lose control of my weight for the first time. Living away from home, eating in snack bars and constantly drinking and socializing had a significant impact on my weight. In addition, I also stopped doing sports or doing any kind of sports.

I began to crave to play at a more competitive level and I knew that my weight was one of the things that held me back. Beyond that

At first, a kind of regular exercise started to have a positive effect on my weight.

However, as my body got used to the minimal movement and my preference for snack bars persisted, any weight I lost soon crept up again.

Eventually I came to the conclusion that if I wanted to lead a healthier lifestyle and achieve some of my athletic goals, I needed to deal with my weight.

I also began to have problems with my back. After I visited my family doctor, he said that losing some weight could only help my situation.

I was completely scared when I attended my first class in July 2015; and I was very discouraged when I tipped the scale near the stone 16½. However, at the end of the session I felt excited and determined.

After doing some research, I decided that Slimming World seemed to be the best option for me.

Everyone in our group made me feel so welcome and our counselor Kerry is a total inspiration.

I have never really looked back since that first day. In the first two weeks I lost half a stone, and three weeks later I lost my first full stone.

I am a vegetarian, but I never really enjoyed eating vegetables and I was never a good cook. Everyone in the group shared their favorite recipes and talked about how I could change things so that they tasted vegetarian.

Although the plan allows people to lose weight even if their health does not allow for an active lifestyle, our consultant Kerry believes in exercise massively.

Over time, as the weight continued to drop, I found that I could do more and more activities and my fitness level changed. On the weekend of July 2-3 this year, I completed two 5 km runs for charity.

Since then I have been losing weight continuously every week and reached my target weight (a total of five pounds of 9½ stones) in just over 12 months.

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