If Christmas is a time of indulgence, the new year is clearly that time for reflection when we think about getting back in shape and shedding a few of those extra pounds.
After a glut of rich foods at Christmas, many of us will be thinking about ways we can get back in shape.
Losing weight and staying healthy is no easy business however. While determination can see us lose weight in the new year, the key is to keep that enthusiasm up throughout the year.
Here we take a look at some of the inspirational stories of weight loss from 2018.
Many of these stories come to us through weight-loss groups, such as Slimming World, which offer many people the motivation and support to lose weight.
The super slimmer from St Austell , who lost more than 9 stone, was named one of Slimming World’s Women of the Year in the 2017 competition.
Cressida, who dropped from a weight of 20 stone, was nominated by members of her Bethel group to be their representative in the national Woman of the Year competition.
Cressida, 32, said: “I’ve found losing weight always seems such a struggle. If I wasn’t feeling hungry or deprived, it was the mental battles – like feeling as though I was missing out because I couldn’t socialise with my friends, go out for a meal or do things with my family.
“After I joined Slimming World it was as though my eyes were completely opened and I found a new way of eating that easily fit around my life.
“The changes I’ve made were so simple – little things like switching white bread for wholemeal and using low-calorie cooking spray instead of lots of oil. I noticed a change on the scales though – in my first week I lost 6lbs! I couldn’t believe it.
“What made it even easier was the fact that others – including family and friends – could eat the same meals. Favourites like spaghetti bolognaise, chicken tikka masala and even chips were all on the menu.
“I picked up loads of tips in my Slimming World group too. Everyone is full of ideas and advice, and their support really helped me to believe in myself and my ability to make a change. I honestly don’t think I could have done it without them.
“Losing weight has encouraged me to think about how active I am too, so I’ve started walking to and from work every day – which is a total of two hours a day. I also have more energy to run around and play with my little boy. It’s completely changed my life.”
The mum-of-two and wedding planner from Bodmin, who used to hide in large clothes and have health problems, completely changed her life when she cut her weight in half.
In 2016 Emma weighed 28st 3lbs, but now she’s just 14st thanks to her incredible determination.
The inspirational 33-year-old mum explained that she decided to change after painful health issues on Christmas 2015.
She added that deciding to lose weight completely transformed her.
“Now I eat and drink at least 1.5 litres of water a day, lots of fresh fish and lean meats. I still treat myself to chocolate just in moderation and I make Chinese instead of buying it.
“I started my local running group in November 2016 and I’m absolutely addicted.”
She also attends a local piloxing class and likes to go swimming with a friend, walk and get to 15,000 steps a day.
Losing half her initial weight has transformed her life and has had consequences she was not expecting.
She said: “I have met new friends and I have a completely new life.
“Waking up, I am ready to start a day, I’m not tired anymore, I’m awake, alive and kicking with the most energy I’ve ever had.
“I love exercise – I never thought I’d say that.”
She explained that even though it is sometimes challenging to work and keep a healthy lifestyle, everything is about planning.
The Probus mum turned her entire life around by beating depression, finding love after divorce, boosting her low self-esteem and dropping six dress sizes in the process.
Chrissy, 46, was within the 60% of the UK population that was obese, she was a size 24 and weighed more than 18 stone.
She realised her weight was spiralling out of control, but at the time, Chrissy was also battling depression. She was on medication for her mental health problems and used food as a way of making her feel better.
Chrissy was in a “vicious circle” that she didn’t feel strong enough to get out of, but one day she decided to make a change and joined her local Slimming World group.
Chrissy said: “It takes great courage walking into a room full of strangers, into the unknown. I certainly think that weight can come hand in hand with [mental health issues] and for me and my sister that has definitely been the case.
“It’s my experience, of course, and I don’t want to put a blanket statement for everyone but you can lack a feeling of self-worth [when you’re overweight] and lose all self-esteem and confidence. But then you find the courage to come to the group and you realise that you’re not alone. You sit and listen to everyone and you think, ‘yea that’s me’, ‘I hear you sister’.
“Friendships can extend from that too. Three years ago I walked into a room full of strangers and now they’re lifelong friends. It’s all part of the comradery and fun of it.”
After going to the classes and finding healthy alternatives to the sugary foods that Chrissy craved, her husband and four children all came on board, helping their mum to achieve her goal.
She said: “It took about 18 months for me to lose the majority of the weight. It was a whole lifestyle change and it’s life-changing. Everyone’s on board. My sister has just joined and my eldest daughter is doing it now too.
“It’s important to try to find the positives, there’s always something around the corner for inspiration.”
Chrissy has now gone from a size 24 to a size 12, dropping six dress sizes and from weighing more than 18 stone, to weighing 11.
The Hayle mum, who lost a whopping five and a half stone, confessed that she didn’t even know what a courgette was prior to joining her weight loss group.
Emma’s life has been completely transformed since joining Weight Watchers, and she now enjoys a healthy body and mind.
She conceded that previously she struggled to run and previously thought nothing of eating a McDonald’s for breakfast, Subway for lunch and a takeout for tea.
Emma, 25, said: “Basically I got really fat. I have two kids and didn’t feel there was anything wrong with me.
“A friend introduced me to Weight Watchers and I haven’t looked back.”
Emma says that despite being apprehensive about her first meeting she went and everyone was lovely.
She added: “Nobody was judging me, it was great.
“I never used to cook and ate a lot of fried food, chips and takeaways. Sometimes I’d have McDonald’s for breakfast, Subway for lunch and then grab something in the evening. I was always eating out so I didn’t have to cook.”
Emma says since joining Weight Watchers she lost five and a half stone in about a year, saying it makes her feel “a completely different person”.
“It’s the simple things really, the other day I went to the park and got in a swing that I’d never have got in before.
“It’s also a confidence thing, not just how I look but how I think. Now I look and feel better and am more positive about life. I do pretty much all my cooking from scratch using lots of different ingredients, before I didn’t even know what a courgette was.
“It’s also great for the kids as they see what I’m having and want some too.”
Emma says that Weight Watchers doesn’t forbid foods, it just stresses moderation via a method whereby slimmers have a certain amount of points to use a day.
She states that when she does eat something not so healthy, she balances it out by cutting points consumed for the rest of the day, but on the whole the plan “gives you a reason to eat better stuff”.
Kerry, from Newquay, shed an astonishing 13 stone – or the equivalent of 20 dress sizes.
For so long she was publicly berated by people she didn’t know, hearing whispering and giggling about her wherever she went.
The not-so-subtle stares and sly grins were beginning to drain her emotionally, and Kerry knew she needed to change.
In November 2014, she took the first brave steps to becoming a healthier, more confident person.
But it took courage. When Kerry first walked through the doors of her local Slimming World group, she was so anxious she almost left.
“Many tears were shed in the new member talk but there was a ray of hope too. Jo told me to focus on the small steps.
“There’s no way anyone could lose 13 stones, but I could lose 7 pounds for a sticker. So that’s what I’ve done ever since, sticker by sticker.”
More than three years later, Kerry finally hit her target. She lost a mammoth 13 stone, or using Kerry’s measurements, 26 stickers worth.
“I’ve gone from a tight size 32 in clothes to a 12,” she added. “I’ve been both on the motorway to start with when the weight basically fell off then a country road detour or two, stalling at a roundabout at the end before finally getting there.
“It’s been both incredibly easy and incredibly hard. It’s an utter lifestyle change.
“Slimming World has changed my life. I love the food I eat now, there’s no on or off-plan, this is life.
“I may have lost weight but I’ve gained so much more – our Saturday family, friends, confidence, and a totally new way of life.”