A super slimmer is a title winner after losing almost 4st in just 14 weeks.
Lauren Driver has been crowned South Shields Young Slimmer of the Year for her successful weight loss at the Whiteleas Slimming World group.
Now, as well as looking fab and feeling fitter, happier and healthier, Lauren could reach the national finals of the competition, where she will be in with a chance of winning £2,000.
The competition celebrates Slimming World’s younger members, recognising 16 to 21-year-olds who have transformed their lives by adopting healthier eating habits and getting more active.
Life was very different for Lauren just 14 weeks ago. She was unhappy with her size, her self-confidence was at rock bottom and she felt like the odd one out among her friends.
Then in January she joined the group at Whiteleas Community Centre, which is run by Glynis Carr.
She said: “While I’d been unhappy with my weight for a while, I was nervous about joining a slimming club. I felt as though people would judge me for being overweight at such a young age.
“I shouldn’t have worried though, everyone was really lovely and through the group I’ve made friends with people of all ages.
Lauren began following Slimming World’s Food Optimising healthy eating plan, which encourages slimmers to fill up on healthy foods and make small changes to the way they shop, cook and eat that make a big difference.
She said: “I thought I would only be allowed to eat salad, so you can imagine how happy I was when burgers, chips, curries and pasta were still on the menu.
“I was worried about being hungry all the time, but Food Optimising isn’t like that at all.
“I never used to think about how food was cooked before, but now I’ve learned so much about healthy eating and I love trying out new recipes and sharing ideas in group.”
Lauren’s confidence has soared since dropping from 15st 2lb to 11st 7.5lb and she no longer feels like ‘the odd one out’.
She added: “Sometimes I used to feel my weight stopped me doing things. I didn’t like shopping with friends because I wasn’t happy with the way I looked and I’d worry nothing would fit me.
“Now I love hanging out with my mates and I’ve got loads more energy to be more active and I love walking instead of getting the bus.”
Recent reports have found that overweight and obese children are more likely to become severely overweight adults and have a higher risk of developing conditions like diabetes and heart disease, so it’s more important than ever that young people learn about healthy eating and the benefits of being active.
Glynis Carr said: “Everyone in the Whiteleas group is so proud of Lauren. She may be one of the youngest in the group but she’s still a huge inspiration to other members.
“She’s learned healthy habits that will stay with her for life, so worrying about her weight is definitely a thing of the past.
“Obesity in young people is such a huge problem and it affects how they feel about themselves as well as their physical health.
“Now Lauren has the skills to make healthier choices and is much more confident too.
“I hope she’ll inspire other young people in South Shields by showing them that there’s no better time to take control of their weight than right now.”
Everyone from the age of 11 upwards is welcome at the Whiteleas Slimming World group at Whiteleas Community Centre every Tuesday at 5pm and 7pm or Saturday at 9am.
Young people aged 11 to 15 can attend for free when they are accompanied by a parent or guardian and have the approval of their GP.
Youngsters aged 16 to 17 also receive a discounted rate.
For more information visit www.slimmingworld.co.uk or call Glynis Carr on 07949 227161.