Zoom helps slimmers deal with Lockdown

Many of us have been dipping into the contents of our fridge far more than normal during the COVID-19 Lockdown.

Thursday, 28th May 2020, 4:55 pm

It has been difficult for some to cope with the isolation and, with many of us struggling to get the day in, we have raided our cupboards and ate constantly.

Helping with the comfortfood epidemic has been a group of consultants from Slimming World who have reorganised their meetings to online with more than 1,300 members in the Portadown, Craigavon and Lurgan areas taking part via Zoom sessions.

Health care workers, including doctors and nurses, are fitting in online classes between shifts as are workers on furlough as well as regular clients.

Annabelle Merriman.

Many are praising the groups for helping with isolation and depression as well as helping them achieve weight loss and fitness.

With 16 consultants before lockdown running 60 classes a week, the groups supported more than 2,000 members in the Portadown, Craigavon and Lurgan areas.

Among those who have joined and flourished during Lockdown are healthcare worker Annabelle Merriman and grandfather Sid Irwin, who even admits to having ‘a few meltdowns’ during the pandemic.

Annabelle lost a whopping two stone four pounds during lockdown.

The Portadown slimming world consultants Letty McCann, Ellie Corey, Phyllis Sneddon, Amanda Girvan and Patricia Nolan.

Despite working long and arduous shifts during the COVID-19 pandemic, Annabelle, who is in her 20s, says ‘delighted is actually an understatement’.

She and her husband are not long married and have moved to Portadown from Scotland recently.

Annabelle joined Slimming World and has thoroughly enjoyed her online classes via Zoom.

“Group has been very important to help both of us feel part of the community,” she said. Her husband Mark has also attended meetings and has reached his target weight.

Sid Irwin.

Annabelle said: “I am delighted that since joining in February I have officially lost more than two stone. I’ve met some wonderful people - people who I will be friends with for life and I’ve made some wonderful memories (you all know who you are).

“Since joining I’ve made some wonderful meals and enjoyed every minute of it, I’m still trying new meals every week and it’s great to eat such a variety of food.

“We have shared laughs at our meetings and virtual meetings and looking back I’m so glad that I joined because I definitely couldn’t have lost that weight without the support of group and now our virtual groups.

“I will never go back to how I was before Slimming World and I will continue to stay at group as it’s such a big part of my life now.”

Geraldine Haughian.

Sid Irwin from Portadown admits to having a few moments of ‘meltdown’ during lockdown and believes his Slimming World group meetings helped him through.

Despite struggling with mental health, Sid achieved his three and a half stone award while attending the virtual groups last week.

The 59-year-old’s focus is to ‘stay around a while longer to see his 12 grandchildren grow up’.

“I had a few moments during lockdown where I had a meltdown. I’m a very sociable person, love chatting, so being told to stay away from everyone especially grandkids, isn’t easy. I miss my church and coffee shops.”

Sid, who only started group in November said: “I honestly feel like a new person. I feel I have more knowledge of food groups - knowing the foods to avoid. Definitely one of the benefits would be more energy.

“Even in this unique time with COVID-19, having our Slimming World groups set up online and our virtual meetings is definitely something I personally appreciate. It helps me to stay focused, knowing that when you hit a wall so to speak Letty (my consultant) is on hand to help you through it, and still being able to weigh and have it sent in and recorded keeps me on track. I know for certain I definitely would not be where I am at today only for my consultant.”

Slimming World consultant Geraldine Haughian said: “The Slimming World team is a multi-award winning team in the company and achieved a silver award in February the month before lockdown.

“At present the award winning team have the highest virtual members in Northern Ireland and Ireland. They are supporting an incredible 1,300 members who have joined our virtual groups.

“When the announcement was made that meant we couldn’t run groups, we were devastated.

“Slimming World and its consultants’ first thought was how we were going to be able to support our members?

“We contacted every one of our members who were also feeling lost and worried about how they were going to cope. So we knew we had to find a way and it wasn’t long before we had our virtual groups organised so we could see and be able to support all of our members.

“Within a few days we were being trained on how to run our groups virtually.

“A virtual package was put in place for all members. They provided all the support from before, the only difference was a change of venue - in the comfort of members’ homes.

“Like everyone, our members were dealing with a whole range of issues, worrying about family and friends becoming ill, whether they could work or not, feeling isolated and comfort eating as a result.

“The turnaround in just a few short weeks is amazing and so lovely to see,” said Geraldine.

“Members are back on track with their weight loss but probably just as important we are back together in our Slimming World families and that sense of community and support from one another.

“Being able to chat and catch up with friends is wonderful and it’s what is helping everyone deal with our new normal and be able to have a more positive outlook for what lies ahead.”

Geraldine says Slimming World has given members a focus, keeping them healthy at a time when it’s important to keep well.

“Members are loving the zoom Slimming World meetings as they get to see their friends from group. It has lifted so many members who have been very depressed and lonely in this pandemic. The members can’t thank the consultants enough.”

And she has advice for anyone who is struggling during Lockdown.

“It’s very normal during this pandemic to feel isolated, worried and emotional. All of these can have a negative effect on making healthier choices with food. The Slimming World plan isn’t a diet. It’s a heathy lifestyle change.

“It’s a fantastic plan not just for adults but the whole family can enjoy.

“What makes Slimming World virtual groups amazing is you can join from the comfort of your own home. The groups haven’t closed and are welcoming new, existing and previous members.”

For information go to www.slimmingworld.co.uk and all the consultants telephone numbers will be there.

Also check out their Facebook page - just search Slimming-World-Co-Armagh-Virtual-Groups

You can also call Amanda on 07515 945 461 or Geraldine on 07587 254 669.

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