The belly dancer who wants to help you lose yours

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WEIGHT loss certainly hasn’t gone belly up for this dancer.

It’s more a case of belly down for Julie Thompson as she shed more than three stone to feel more slinky in her belly dancing outfits.

Julie Thompson lost weight and started her own Slimming World group in Washington to help her feel more comfortable in her belly dancing costumes.

Julie Thompson lost weight and started her own Slimming World group in Washington to help her feel more comfortable in her belly dancing costumes.

The 41-year-old feels so great about dropping from 17st 9lb to 14st 2lb that she’s opened her own slimming group in Washington.

Julie, 41, from Penshaw, said: “I really needed to do something. I was on high blood pressure tablets and I’d buried my head in the sand about my weight for too long.

“There was also the fact I wanted to be confident in my dancing costumes. I’d look around the dancing class and all the other girls are slim and I felt so much bigger next to them. I feel so much better about myself now.”

Julie, who attends dance classes in Boldon and at Dance City in Newcastle, managed to shift the excess pounds through Slimming World.

“Exercise alone wasn’t shifting the weight,” she explained.

“But the Slimming World plan changed the way I look at food and the way I eat it.

“I was stunned when I lost 5½ lbs in my first week.

“I still have things like curries and Chinese food but I make it myself from scratch so I can make sure it’s healthy.

“My blood pressure medication is now a thing of the past too.”

She added: “One of things that made me join Slimming World was that one day I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in 23 years but I was too embarrassed to go up to her because of my size.

“I got in touch with her after I’d lost two stone and now it’s like we’ve never been apart for all those years.”

Keen to share her experience, Julie has now started her own Slimming World group which meets at Washington Village Community Hall on Tuesdays at 7pm.

Hip gyrations scandalised the Victorians

BELLY dancing, which came to Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, shocked Victorians through revealing costumes and gyration of the hips.

In the Middle East belly dancing was typically used as a folk or social dance or as performance art.

Although it was common for anyone to dance like this at social gatherings, professional dancers were not seen as respectable.

The dance was popularised in the West during the Romantic movement when Middle Eastern Countries began performing at various World Fairs.

In 1893 Sol Bloom referred to this dance as ‘danse du ventre’ which translated to English means ‘belly dance’. It was here the dancers gained attention and from then on the appearance of belly dancers became more common.

The costume, known as the bedlah, is typically covered in beads and sequins and allows the material to move rhythmically with the dancer.

As this is a non-impact weight bearing exercise it is suitable for all ages and has fast become a popular way to exercise and tone muscles.