A YOUNG woman who followed in her mum's weight-loss mission to shed more than four stone has been inspired to set up a group to help slimmers in Chester.

After gaining weight while at university, Slimming World member Laura Curtis was running low on confidence and clothes that fit her.

After graduating in a size 20, she joined Slimming World alongside her seven stone lighter mum.

Now, one year on, Laura has lost over four stone and wears a size 10, and is brimming with confidence.

She has now also trained as a Slimming World consultant and is holding groups every Monday in Newton, Chester.

Though she didn't realise the weight she had put on at university, Laura did notice the impact on her confidence.

She said: "I slowly disintegrated from happily getting lunch on campus on my own, to only getting a coffee if I had a laptop to hide behind, to avoiding campus cafes unless I was with a friend."

She admitted to binge-eating cookies and multipacks of crisps whilst revising, knocking her mental and physical health.

She explained: "The 15 minute walk to campus became a struggle. Any friend that I was walking with would start a long story about the events of the night before so that I didn't feel bad about being so out of breath that I couldn't hold a conversation."

It was only when shopping for job interview outfits that Laura's mum Lynn grew concerned about her weight.

Laura said: "I had found a size 20 jumpsuit in New Look - it hid my stomach as well it could, had sleeves to cover my arms and was the last of the size on a rack that didn't go any higher.

"I was completely oblivious that as a 20-year-old I would soon be unable to buy high-street clothes.

"A few nights later mum asked my to try on her friend's size 16 jeans to see if I wanted them. When I couldn't get them over my knees the penny dropped."

Dieting on her own Laura had only lost 3lb in two months and, as her mum was heading off to her Woman of the Year taster session, she tagged along to see what Slimming World had to offer.

She said: "They were all so friendly, and the taster was filled with chips, pate and crackers, crisps and fake Pimms. Mum won Woman of the Year, and I filled out the joining form.

"I can still eat pizza, chips and loads of my favourite foods, even cheese and onion crisps! The only difference is that they are made by ourselves rather than the local takeaway, or controlled within my 'syn' allowance."

Speaking of her growing confidence and energy levels, she said: "I started to enjoy fitness a lot more and in the time I would have spent eating I was learning how to do a sit up."

Laura lost half a stone in the first two weeks and, after reaching her target in a few months, she decided to keep going.

She said: "I lowered my target, stuck to plan and was getting fitter and happier."

Seeing how well Lynn and Laura were doing on Slimming World, and how much they were bonding over food and fitness, her dad Barry also joined on a seasonal offer.

Come the new year, Slimming World was now part of their family.

In February Laura was a size 16, could run for 5 minutes and had won Young Slimmer of the Year.

Laura added: "Mum came home before group and asked if I was ready to go, as I had very minimal makeup on.

"I thought she was shocked that my confidence was so high that I could go to a room full of people without hiding behind layers of foundation on; her shock was actually that I was about to have photos taken without make-up on."

In June this year, Laura moved to Chester and in with boyfriend Harrison.

Laura said: "Moving to a new city tested my confidence, but you can now often find me in a coffee shop on my own on my lunch break.

"Some of my spare time is spent at the gym, where I am most likely in a circuits class not worrying if push-ups will be one of the stations, or on the treadmill for half an hour or so."

After moving, Laura joined her local Slimming World group. Harrison chose to join in support of Laura, and has now lost over two stone in two months.

Laura said she is thrilled to support others in their journey as she reopens the Monday group in Newton.

Laura’s Slimming World group will be held at Kingswood, Kingsway, Newton every Monday at 6pm from November 18.

For more information or to join, either attend the session or call 07772 670933.