A super slimmer from Chester-le-Street has reached the finals of a national slimming competition.
Laura Dunn was congratulated on losing 13st 7.5lbs by Emmerdale actor Anthony Quinlan.
Her weight loss earned her a place as one of just 10 women – out of all of Slimming World’s 800,000 members across the UK and Ireland – to make the finals of Slimming World’s Woman of the Year 2015 competition.
Anthony, who made his name on TV as Gilly Roach in Hollyoaks and is playing Pete Barton in ITV1 soap Emmerdale, visited the organisation’s head office in Derbyshire to help Laura and the other slimmers celebrate.
Twenty-nine-year-old Laura joined the Chester-le-Street Slimming World group, which meets every Wednesday at 5:30pm and 7.30pm at Garden Farm Pub, Carlingford Road, in March 2013.
She has since gone from 24st 1.5lbs to 10st 8lbs, and earlier this year her transformation inspired members of the group to vote her as their representative in the annual Woman of the Year competition.
After winning the regional heat and triumphing at the national semi-finals, she was in the running to win the overall title of ‘Slimming World Woman of the Year 2015’ and a holiday to Dubai. Along with the other nine finalists, Laura was invited to the annual Slimming World Awards but unfortunately missed out on the top prize.
She says: “I’d tried losing weight before – I’ve done pretty much every diet there is – yet I always found the plans that I followed too hard to stick to because they left me feeling hungry and deprived, which made me miserable. Slimming World was completely different.
“With Slimming World I still enjoy all my favourite dishes like sweet potato curry too. The meals I cook taste great, so my family and friends are always happy to tuck in as well, which means I don’t have to spend time preparing different dishes for everyone and they’ve benefitted from eating more healthily without even trying.
Laura says she couldn’t have achieved all she has without the support of her Slimming World group: “I can remember the first time I walked into the group I felt very self-conscious and so nervous, everyone was really friendly though and made me feel really welcome. Now I look forward to it every week. We swap recipes and advice, and it’s a lot of fun. The best thing is great support though and I don’t think I’d have been able to get to where I am today without my Consultant Julie and the rest of the Chester-le-Street group.”
Julie Melvin, who runs the Chester-le-Street Slimming World group, said: “Laura hasn’t only changed how she looks, she’s a different woman on the inside too. She’s blossomed into a happy, confident person and it’s been a pleasure to share in her journey. She’s already such an inspiration to so many of us in the Chester-le-Street group.”