A PAIR of South Tyneside super slimmers delivered a knockout blow in their weight loss fight after shedding a staggering 9st between them.
Katy Benjafield, and Reece Lyons, won places in the finals of Slimming World’s Young Slimmer of the Year competition for their astonishing efforts – grabbing a chance to meet Olympic gold medal winning boxer Luke Campbell.
The dedicated South Shields duo, who both attend the same class, made it through to the final 33 of the competition, which is open to more than 10,000 Slimming World groups across the UK and Ireland.
Reece, 17, joined the South Shields Slimming World group in January 2012, and 21-year-old Katy signed up for the same group in July of the same year.
Katy, who has lost 5st 1lb, said: “I used to feel like I was different to all my friends. I felt like I stood out because I was bigger and I couldn’t always do the same things or wear the same clothes as them.
“It affected my confidence, and I didn’t want to be like that for the rest of my life.
Reece, who has lost 4st 2½lb, added: “I was really nervous but everyone was friendly and helpful.
“It was much easier than I expected to start making healthy choices.
“I soon realised that I didn’t need to make drastic changes, just small things, like swapping white bread for wholemeal.
“Starting to cook instead of having junk or convenience foods made a big difference.
Their fellow members in the South Shields group voted for the pair to represent them in the Young Slimmer of the Year competition and they were invited to the semi-finals, which were held at Slimming World’s head office, in Derbyshire, where they met boxing star Luke Campbell.
Luke, who won gold at the London 2012 Olympics for Great Britain in the 56kg bantamweight division, and received his MBE in June, was delighted to meet the young slimmers.
He said: “The reason the Olympics were so special to me was that it wasn’t just one fight, it was the result of years of hard work and I’m sure it’s the same for Katy and Reece.
“They didn’t achieve this weight loss overnight, it takes real dedication to make such a change, but it’s great that they’ve now got a happy healthy life ahead of them. It shows true fighting spirit!”
Pop star David Ducasse, who runs the South Shields Slimming World group, which Katy and Reece attend, said: “Everyone is so proud of them both. What they’ve achieved is so much more than just losing weight.”
The South Shields Slimming World group meets at St Margaret’s United Reform Church every Monday at 5pm and 7pm.
Call David on 07949 196324 for more information on signing up for the class.