When Zahra Parker made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, it became a real family affair.
Inspired by the slimming success of her mum, Frances, Zahra joined her and sisters Louisa and Amanda at a local branch of Slimming World.
Together the quartet have lost an impressive 18st, and now Zahra has made it her resolution for 2013 to help others achieve the same slimming success.
Conscious of her size, the 27-year-old footcare assistant from Clayton was fed up of staying in while her friends were out enjoying themselves.
“I have always been big ever since I was a child,” says Zahra, who had attempted diets before. “I lost a few stone and put it back and I just got really fed up.
“It kept me down and basically it ruined my life because I wasn’t socialising, I wasn’t getting out.”
Eventually, she thought, “enough is enough”.
“I wasn’t getting any younger and I was sick of hiding away from the world. I thought if I don’t change now, when am I going to change?
“It was my resolution to change and I have never looked back. I am onwards and upwards.”
When Zahra joined Slimming World two years ago she weighed just under 20st and was wearing size 22 clothes.
With the support of her consultant, Kirby Barker, and her family, Zahra adopted a sensible, healthy eating plan.
Zahra has lost more than 6st and is now wearing size 14 clothes, but she says she isn’t quite at her target weight, which she aims to reach soon.
“I would still like to lose a bit more, but health-wise I am walking up steps and hills and I feel so much healthier. I’ve got more get up and go. Nothing is holding me back now, and if I want to do something I am going to do it,” she says.
“It’s been more of a slog but they say it’s better to keep it off if you do it slower,” she explains. “And you can eat so much, you never go hungry.”
“If you want chocolate you can have chocolate. You can have crisps. It fits in with your life and you don’t feel it’s a short-term thing. It is basically a way of eating healthily, which is what we all aspire to do.”
Zahra is now passing on that aspiration to others by starting this year as a Slimming World consultant. “I had let my weight stop me from doing things, and I thought, ‘I’m not going to do that this time’, so I thought I’d go for it,” she says.
“Slimming World is such a friendly environment. It is something which is easy to do and it will change your life for the better.”
Zahra Parker’s classes are at Allerton Congregational Church on Tuesdays. Call 07528 926580.