Chris Ackerman was crowned the winner of the first ever virtual competition that Slimming World has held in its 50-year history, after going from weighing over 22 stone to just over 16 stone since joining the group with his wife, Donna, in October of last year.
At a special celebratory evening, all members would usually vote for their group’s winner, however this time, in lockdown, the celebrations were held online as part of the organisation’s new temporary virtual service.
He said: “Deep down I’d been unhappy with my weight for some time but it took me a long time to face up to it, and then when I did admit to myself that I wanted to lose weight I still didn’t want to ask for help.
Like many men, Mr Ackerman initially thought that slimming clubs were aimed at women and said he will be just on ‘diet’ food, however, he decided to give it a try when he and his wife decided they needed to change their eating habits together in order to lose weight.
He said: “My wife suggested we try Slimming World and after exchanging messages with Emma, the groups consultant, we decided to give it a go, We’re so glad we did.”
He was pleasantly surprised to discover all the support provided by the group members which encourage him a lot and it quickly became part of their weekly routine, he also enjoyed following Slimming World’s food optimising eating plan.
“It was nerve-wracking walking through those doors for the first time but I wasn’t the only man there and the group immediately put me at ease, everyone was so supportive, My wife and I did this together”
He continued: “I’ve realised now though that far from being weak, asking for help takes strength of character and getting support to make changes has given me a sense of confidence that is benefitting every aspect of my life.”
Slimming World introduced its new virtual service in March, after announcing it was temporarily suspending its local groups in response to the coronavirus outbreak, but the Chirk couple confirmed that they continued to receive support and encouragement in their virtual sessions which has helped them to stay on track with their weight loss journey.
In fact, Mr Ackerman achieved his weight loss target and is now a free lifetime member.
Emma Thompstone, who runs the Chirk and Oswestry Slimming World groups stated that she is incredibly proud of Chris.
She said: “He has done brilliantly and we’re all in awe of his transformation, and while so much has changed in the last few months his determination and motivation has remained the same – he’s a real inspiration to the group.
“His wife Donna has become a whizz in the kitchen and every week the group loves to hear about what they’re cooking up, I couldn’t be prouder of everything they’ve both achieved.”