Claydon: Star-crossed lovers lose 11st as they help each other shed the weight

CLAYDON: Joining a slimming group proved life-changing in more ways than one for this trim couple.

Between them they lost 11st through Slimming World, but what they gained far outweighs the losses.

Love blossomed as the pair helped one another inch ever closer to their target weights and last night Helen Smith and new love Karl Hope celebrated their first Valentine’s Day together – by tucking into a low-calorie romantic meal.

Helen, 28, of Great Blakenham, said: “When I first joined I was really nervous, I didn’t even think I would stay. Karl made me feel so welcome and then I started deliberately asking him for ideas and pretending I didn’t understand to strike up a conversation with him.”

Newly separated from her husband and tipping the scales at 11st 5lbs, Helen was struggling with her confidence and hoped that joining her local Slimming World meeting, at the Village Hall, Claydon, would give her the boost she needed to start up a new hobby.

“I thought if I could lose some weight I would then be able to join a cookery class or a mechanics course so I could broaden my circle of friends and possibly meet a man.

“I didn’t expect to meet Karl at Slimming World.”

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Helen and Karl, also 28, and of Bramford, officially starting dating in December and the future is looking rosey.

“Karl is at his target weight now, he has gone from 21st 4lbs to 14st 7lb,” said Helen, who works for Morrison’s, in Felixstowe. “And I can now go into a shop and pick up a size 12. It is fantastic, I no longer have to search to the back looking for a size 20.”

The couple are determined to maintain their new svelte figures despite their obvious contentment.

“We are able to help each other out,” said Helen. “We are definitely going to keep the weight off.”

Karl, who started losing weight after being diagnosed with a liver condition, added: “I am ecstatic about losing weight, I can actually go into normal shops now and buy clothes that fit me.

“Meeting Helen was a huge bonus, and one that I am very grateful for.”

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, she prepared a candlelit meal of garlic mushrooms, chicken and fruit fondue.

“It is all low fat,” said Helen.

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