A super skinny Yorkshire has been named “Woman of the Year” for her local group Slimming World.
Married mother of six Melissa Dannatt, 40, of Dalton, Huddersfield, has lost almost eight stones, going from just over 18th to around 10th 4 pounds in just 20 months.
And now, she has been chosen to represent the Dalton Slimming World group in the National Slimming World Woman of the Year competition.
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Mel, who has gone from a dress size 24 to a size 14, says: “When I first joined Slimming World, I never dreamed that I would be in the position I am now.
“Losing weight has made such a big difference in my life.
“My health has improved, I have more energy, I am happier and I feel more comfortable in my own skin.”
Mel, who works as a caregiver, joined Slimming World in January 2020 after feeling unhappy with her size.
She had started gaining weight five years ago after giving birth to her sixth child.
“I didn’t eat as healthy as I should and used to pick things like chips and chocolate.
“Since joining Slimming World, I have quit snacking and planned my meals so that they are healthy and filling enough that I don’t start sorting again.
“I got involved because I wanted to lose weight and be healthier for myself and my family.”
She added, “I have tried a number of ways to lose weight, but they usually left me hungry or miserable – or both, in fact.
“I couldn’t play with my kids or grandchildren and I just didn’t like the way I looked.
“With Slimming World it’s completely different. I always eat all of my favorite foods, like cooked breakfasts, hearty dinners like steak and mashed roots.
“I cook them and cook them differently now – and they taste so much better.
“I should never miss anything and I don’t have to worry about weighing and measuring everything I eat.
“I know it might seem like a big step to join Slimming World because you don’t know what to expect, but
from the first moment I entered my group I felt comfortable – and I
made lifelong friends.
“The support I have received throughout my journey has been incredible, especially over the past few months when my group has gone virtual.
“And being able to catch up through my online group every week was a lifeline that kept me going through the lockdown.
“I gathered so much advice from other members of my group and really enjoyed getting creative and trying new recipes.
“There’s nothing quite like being in a band together and I’m so excited to now see everyone in person.”
Mel lost several pounds in her first week and was blown away that the changes she made had such a big impact so quickly.
Over time, the changes became a regular habit and as the weight started to drop, she began to think about her level of physical activity.
Now Mel enjoys walking and Zumba and is not so short of breath.
She says, “I remember feeling like I would never be happy in my own skin again.
“I feel like a different woman than the one who entered Slimming World 20 months ago and realized that when people believe in you as my consultant Jo and the other members – and you believe in yourself – you can do whatever you want your mind to.
“Winning the Woman of the Year is a real honor because there are so many amazing women (and men!) In our group.
“And being able to celebrate with all my new friends around me, after months of absence, made this victory even more special.”
Mel will now move on to the next stages of the competition.
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The National Slimming World Woman of the Year 2021 award will be announced in November and the winner will take home a cash prize of £ 4,000.
Jo Kain, who runs the Dalton Group, says: “I couldn’t be prouder of Mel.
“She’s a fantastic ambassador for Slimming World and what she’s accomplished – especially over the past few months which have been incredibly difficult for many of us – is just amazing.
“I am constantly inspired by Mel’s determination every week and have come this far since she first joined my group – she now radiates confidence and has made changes for life.
“Given the links between Covid-19 and obesity and the impact of confinement, I know a lot of people
are worried about their weight more than ever, so I really hope Mel’s weight loss can
inspire people to embark on their own journey and show them that there is a whole group of
people waiting to support them every step of the way – and absolutely no judgment. “
Dalton Slimming World is held at Dalton St Paul Methodist Church on Wakefield Road.
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