West Sussex family loses 15st with Slimming World
A family who has lost around 15 stone between them is hoping to inspire others on a weight loss journey.
Gavin and Jan Chapman, and their daughter April Chapman, have been helped by Slimming World and they say it has been the group support that has made all the difference.
Gavin, 44, was crowned Greatest Loser 2021 at Steyning Slimming World last month, after losing 7st 7lbs in eight months.
He joined the group with Jan in October 2019 after hitting 'rock bottom', following the advice of April, the apple of his eye.
Gavin said: "I had to hit rock bottom to make me do something about it.
"We spent a year in France and they love their wine and bread. When we came back, April was on her journey anyway. With what she had achieved, she said 'just go to Slimming World and I will come with you'.
"I got hooked and thought I have to do this. April was the proof of the pudding and I said 'if you can do it, Dad can do it'. It has literally changed my life."
With the support of group leader Sarah Mealing, Gavin started losing weight and then he began thinking about exercise. He took to swimming, building up to 64 lengths per session, but after losing 3st 7lb, lockdown happened.
Gavin said: "There was only one way I wanted it to go. A friend said 'let's go walking up on the Downs'. It's all about the hills, not the distance. He was really good.
"I stuck with it and within four months I had lost the other four stone. My fitness levels are amazing now.
"It is a pretty amazing journey we have all had. It was pretty tough but I had the support to get me through."
Gavin said the main thing he had to tackle was drinking.
He explained: "My problem was drink. I wasn't drinking every day but what I have done is change what I drink and cut down. I am pretty strict. Jan loves to eat healthily anyway and we have stuck to it."
Losing weight in lockdown was not easy but group support continued remotely and, of course, the family was there for each other, too.
Gavin said: "Everyone has suffered in the past year in different ways. This has been my focus. It hasn't been easy. It's as hard as anything I have every done in my life but now I am reaping the rewards. In the space of a year, I have changed completely. I've gone from sitting on the sofa to doing a 32-mile walk for charity."
Jan is also with the Steyning group and lost 1st 1lb to reach her target weight, while April has been with a Worthing group since September 2018 and lost 6st 10lbs to reach her target in the summer of 2019.
Sarah, who runs Slimming World groups in Worthing, Steyning and Dial Post, said: "I remember doing my new members' talk to them and looked across to Gavin, who was just in disbelief with all the food you can eat on plan and yet still lose weight beautifully.
"Convincing him didn't take long because he believed in me and the plan. Gavin got to target during lockdown and is like a completely different man.
"I've been a consultant for nearly eight years and when I see success stories like this, it makes me so proud to do the job I love.
"The current climate we find ourselves in, although there is some light at the end of the tunnel, we are seeing more and more past and present Slimming World members suffering. The story of these members could give those who aren’t feeling great about themselves the lift they need."