Andrea Morris, 35, from Llanelli, was fed up of being the fat friend.
‘I’ve been overweight as long as I can remember. After getting married I struggled to conceive. I had PCOS and hadn’ ovulated in over a year. I was advised by my GP to lose weight so I did! I managed to lose 2 stone and I got pregnant, regaining the weight after giving birth. I repeated this cycle of losing weight to get pregnant three times and ended up heavier than I’d ever been.’
In January 2019, after seeing some photos of herself in a Christmas dress Andrea decided that enough was enough.
‘At the time I thought I looked nice in that dress but looking back on it I really disliked the way I looked. Not only that, I was fed up of being the fat mam at the school gates. I was self-conscious, had no self-esteem and no energy to chase my three children. I felt worried I was going to put myself in an early grave by piling on the weight.’
On 3rd January 2019 Andrea joined WW (formerly Weight Watchers) with WW Coach Catrin Morris in Llanelli, weighing 18 st 2.5lb.
‘My first workshop was fab! I came out feeling amazing. Catrin made me feel so empowered as she asked me what my ‘why’ was to lose weight. Even though I knew why I needed to, I hadn’t thought hard about it. It made me realise that I wanted to wear clothes that I liked, not just ones that covered my lumps and big bumps. I wanted to make my children proud and set a good example for them. I didn’t want to die young from weight related illnesses.’
The WW plan is based on a SmartPoints counting system, where all foods and drinks have a value. Each member has a personalised budget to spend on the foods that they love and fit in with their lifestyle, depending on which plan they are following; Blue, Green or Purple. Within each plan there zero point foods that don’t need to be counted to help stretch the budget. The plan also incorporates mind-set and activity.
Before she knew it, Andrea, a busy mum of 3, was losing weight. As her weight dropped, her confidence grew which encouraged her to become more active and take up Couch25K and join exercise classes like Boogie Bounce.
‘I love the WW App, which is included with a subscription membership plan. The app makes sticking to budget easy. There is a barcode scanner to scan every day foods to find out the SmartPoints value. In addition to this there are 1000’s of recipes which help me to plan my meals with ease. I can grab food on the go and still feel like I’m in control knowing I can have zero pointed food if I’ve used my entire SmartPoints budget.’
Andrea finds eating out is absolutely doable with this plan.
‘Nando’s is one of my favourite places to eat. I use the Restaurant section in the App to help me find the lowest point option. I usually choose butterfly chicken, macho peas and corn on the cob. A Subway chicken tikka sub for 6 points fits in perfectly too when I’m on the go.’
By October 2019, Andrea has lost an amazing 4 stone 5lb.
‘Recently, while I was sorting breakfast for the family, my 7 year old daughter weighed herself on our bathroom scales and announced proudly that she was 4 stone 5 lb. This was something that she hadn’t done before as I don’t encourage my children to weigh themselves. The WW ethos is that it is more than just the numbers on the scales and as such I don’t ‘worry’ about the numbers. It is more about how I feel, getting healthier and the changes in my behaviours to achieve this. What hit home was that this was how much weight I had lost!’
For Andrea this weight loss and change in her outlook wouldn’t have happened without the support of WW Coach Catrin and the weekly WW Workshop.
‘The workshops have helped me think about my relationship with food and encouraged me to become more active. Each week we explore a different technique to help us change our behaviours. Recent topics have been how to manage stress, how to sit less and eat more fruit and veg, all things that I need help and advice with. The group support is brilliant.’
‘My life has changed for the better. I’m happier and more outgoing. Simple things like taking the children to Legoland are so much more enjoyable as I don’t have to worry that I won’t fit in the rides! I have gained friends from attending the workshop and with my new found body confidence I have bought a dress that I would never have worn before for my friend’s wedding. I’m not quite where I want to be yet but I can see the end is achievable. I’m so motivated and watching the scales go down each week is amazing. I’d recommend WW to everyone!’
Christmas savings worth £245 from Boundless for Llanelli families
WITH just over two months before Christmas, now’s the time to start thinking about wonderful ways to entertain the family in the run up to the festive period. Thanks to a new selection of days out and discounts from Boundless, worth up to £245*, it’s easy for people to make the most of their free time with family and friends for so much less.
Added to the club’s already impressive roster of activities, getaways, holidays, group activities and savings are four new deals that promise to inject much-needed affordable and magical moments into everyone’s lives after a tough couple of years.
Darren Milton at Boundless said: “We’re thrilled to be able to offer our Llanelli members new fun and inventive ways to enjoy the precious time they spend away from work and with their families and friends.
“Our members have been working especially hard over the past 24 months, and we want to give them the chance to switch off and make memories with the people that matter to them most.”
The four new offers are included in the overall Boundless membership deal, which is open to all public sector employees and civil servants, working and retired, for just £29 a year.
They include access to the expansive WWT Llanelli Wetland Centre in Carmarthenshire, and other sites throughout the country, at no additional cost, thanks to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, which offers complimentary family admission to include the member plus an adult guest and up to six children.
Members also have 12-month access to Kids Pass, which offers 2,000+ savings at a wide range of days out including zoos, aquariums and all the major theme parks with ‘kids eat free’ offers too.
Taking everyone out for a delicious meal needn’t mean forking out over the odds either. Thanks to Dine, there are impressive discounts – such as 50% off and 241 on mains – for all members at thousands of restaurants and coffee shops nationwide, including several throughout Llanelli, with a focus on local, quality, independent venues.
For those travelling further afield, what could be better than a trip to the magical Kew Gardens in Southwest London or Wakehurst in West Sussex? All Boundless members can take advantage of unlimited complimentary admission to both venues, plus 50% off for an adult guest per member, and free entry for up to five children. To get ahead with the Christmas shopping, there’s also a 10% discount at the onsite and online gift shops.
It’s a wonderful opportunity to explore Kew’s 320 acres of flora and fauna and Wakehurst’s 500 acres of diverse woodland, and to experience the beauty of nature with the whole family while learning about biodiversity and the work that this organisation does to protect the Earth’s delicate ecosystem.
For more information on membership and all offers, visit boundless.co.uk/benefits
17-year-old rescue dog finds love again
A GOLDEN OLDIE who is over 100 years old in dog years finally knows what love is after being rescued by the RSPCA.
Akita Duke – who is 17 years old or 104 in dog years – was rescued by police and taken in by the RSPCA in August after he was left inside a property in South Wales.
Inspector David Milborrow was called to the home on 23 August by South Wales Police who found the dog in poor health. Duke was taken in by the RSPCA’s South Cotswolds branch.
Haley Medlock – digital and community fundraiser for Cotswolds Dogs and Cats Home – said: “Poor Duke was in quite a state when he arrived here. He was underweight and very unsteady on his legs. He was suffering from severe muscle loss, knuckling of his hind limbs and sores on his back legs. Walking is a real struggle for him.
“Despite all of this, he is full of love and adores cuddling up to our staff and snoozing in the sunshine. Realistically we don’t know how long this lovely lad has left but we’re determined to ensure his final weeks or months are the best they can be.”
The team placed him up for adoption or fostering but had no interest in him due to his age and his failing health. That is until first-time fosterers Kate* and her family got in touch to offer him a foster home to live out his days.
Kate said: “We lost our dog in January and when we saw Duke’s advert on Facebook we were so sad that he hadn’t had any applications. We felt every dog deserves a loving home, especially in those later years and, being a vet student studying at home, I felt we could offer him a suitable home.
“He’s getting on so well and settled in straight away. His personality is really coming through now, he’s doing much better with his mobility around the house and he barks when we get his harness out for a walk. He gets so excited when my parents come home from work and wags his tail.
“Considering all he’s been through it is lovely to see that he can still trust people and that’s testament to the work of the RSPCA and his wonderful carers at Cotswolds Dogs and Cats Home.”
“Duke is so happy in his new foster home and is loving the home comforts and attention he deserves,” Haley added. “We can’t thank his new family enough for providing him with a safe and loving space to enjoy life.
“Now we’re looking for wonderful supporters to sponsor Duke and help him in his new home. He has costly daily pain relief, medication for his joints and cream to treat his sores. We’d also like to buy him a high-quality harness and walking aid to help him get back on his paws.
“The cost of his ongoing care is expected to be around £550 so we’re appealing to local people who have followed his story and fallen in love with this old lad to help us support him so he can have the best retirement possible.”
Small Grants Scheme launched by Police and Crime Commissioner aimed at reducing acquisitive crimes in Llanelli
Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn has today launched the Safer Street small grant scheme for projects aimed at reducing acquisitive crimes.
Up to £2000 is available through the scheme for charities, voluntary organisations and community groups in part of the Elli Tyisha wards of Llanelli. (Map of eligible area is available in guidelines document – link below.)
The small grants scheme is part of the Safer Streets initiative whereby funding was secured earlier this year by the Police and Crime Commissioner in partnership with Carmarthenshire Safer Communities Partnership from the Home Office.
The funding will support the development of projects that have a direct impact on these local communities in Elli and Tyisha that will make residents feel safer and reduce demand on the police.
In 2020, Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn launched a small grants scheme for an area in Glanymor and another area of the Tyisha ward of Llanelli. Following this additional funding from the Home Office, the Commissioner is now able to launch a separate grants scheme for part of the Elli and Tyisha wards.
Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said; “I am delighted to announce this additional small grant fund today that is part of the Safer Street funding scheme that I secured earlier this year.
“Ensuring the security and safety of residents is a priority of mine – everyone deserves to live safely, and free from harm.
“Acquisitive offences are the crimes that the public are most likely to encounter, and they are estimated to cost society billions of pounds every year. There is strong evidence that these crimes can be prevented by tactics that either remove opportunities to commit crime or act as a deterrent by increasing the chances of an offender being caught.
“I have invested significantly in the area over recent years with community grants I made available in addition to the new CCTV system that is in place across the town. This new additional funding will further build upon my work over recent years and I hope the residents will feel a positive difference in their communities.”
Cllr Ann Davies, Executive Board Member for Communities and Rural Affairs and Chair of the Safer Community Partnership said: “The Council and Safer Communities Partnership are really pleased to have been able to work with the Police and Crime Commissioner on securing this funding. We are delighted to be part of this initiative to help our residents be safer and feel safer, building on our ongoing work in these communities to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.
“The Partnership is made up of local partners that all aim to make Carmarthenshire safer, including the Council, Police, Fire and Rescue Service, Probation and Health. We will be happy to support local organisations to help us all achieve that aim, so please contact us with your ideas before 17 September.”
Closing date for applications is the 17th of September. Funding guidelines and application form can be downloaded from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s website here.
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