Dromore woman Julie Boyd was full of confidence this Christmas after losing an amazing eight stone with the help of her local Weightwatchers class in town.
Julie (20) admits to having had little or no self confidence for years because of her weight problem but it was the loss of her father that inspired her to shed the pounds, just as he did when he was her age.
“Ever since I was little my dad always tried to get me to lose weight, but year in, year out, the weight just kept piling on,” explained Julie.
“He had lost a lot of weight himself when he was 21; he knew what it was like as a young person to be overweight and did not want the same for me.
“Dad did everything in his power to try and persuade me; he even stooped to bribing me with £250 per stone. Now, any normal person would have jumped at that challenge and put their mind to it, but it just wasn’t enough to motivate me.
“In April 2014 my father was in a fatal car accident ,which devastated me. To ease the pain in my heart I comfort ate for a solid five months.
“My mum was really concerned for me and dragged me to my first Weightwatchers class in September.
“I thought because I was younger than most in the class that I would feel like the odd one out. However, I was made to feel so at ease I never once felt awkward and actually started looking forward to my classes.
“Bernie, my leader, is inspirational and so motivational with a wild sense of humour; she makes the classes fun. I lost seven pounds in my first week and really found the programme easy to follow.
“I thought about my dad a lot through my weight loss journey; I knew he would be proud of me, which in a way spurred me on.
“I think the classes really gave me something to focus on. I took up exercise and pushed myself to the limits. I would go as far as to say my weight loss became my coping mechanism.”
Bernie, who takes the class in St Colman’s Hall in Dromore, can’t speak highly enough of Julie.
“I remember Julie coming in on her first night to my class,” she said. “She was a very shy nervous girl who could hardly look me in the eye.
“The transformation in just over a year is simply amazing, not only in her physical appearance, which is evident from the photos, but her whole attitude has changed. She stands tall and I can see she actually likes herself now.
“She has been a fantastic member and never misses her class. She has motivated so many of the other members when she speaks in class; she shares her tips and encourages anyone who is having a rough time. I know Julie’s daddy would be very proud of her, just as I am.”