A Hartlepool mother and son have had a dramatic transformation.
Super slimmers Jan Steele and her 24-year-old son Adam have lost over 12st between them since starting their Slimming World journey just over a year and a half ago.
Adam is autistic and his mum worried about his weight, their reason behind joining the group with consultant Gill just 10 minutes from their home.
“We had two holidays planned, bless him he has to get the extra strap, and he looked uncomfortable in the bath so I’d bought him a bigger bath.
“When he got to the top of the stairs he was huffing and puffing,” Jan said, and she struggled to find Adam’s sizes in most clothes shops.
Worried about his weight and health, they joined the Slimming World group together to work towards a healthier lifestyle.
“I asked do you fancy joining Slimming World with me, I looked at myself and thought I could do with losing some myself,” Jan said.
When joining and at his heaviest, Adam weighed in at 22st 1.5lb at 23 years old, but through his hard work and determination he has lost almost 7st and now weighs 15st 2lb.
Adam’s Christmas goal was to be within the 15st range, which he achieved, and Jan has lost 5st 10lb overall and is now at her target weight, which she reached during lockdown.
Their joint goal when they started was just to improve their fitness and they had their holidays in mind, although they were cancelled due to covid-19.
“I said if we could lose a stone in a year we’d be happy,” Jan said.
Adam is autistic and Jan warned Gill when she first enquired about the group that Adam can sometimes have vocal outbursts, but the group were very accepting and Adam soon fit in.
If he needed to step away and take time on his own he could, but he quickly became an involved member of the group.
With a fascination for numbers, Adam used this to his advantage and quickly became an expert with syn counting and meal planning.
“He picked up everything, it’s a feeling like gold dust to feel that accepted.
“Other than caring for our Adam, it’s opened doors to meet new people, everybody has been so welcoming, it’s like another group of friends,” Jan said.
And Jan was surprised and impressed with how easily Adam adapted to the new lifestyle and changes with his food.
She’d had concerns about his eating habits in the past, even taking him to the doctors to see if he had Prader-Willi syndrome as no matter what he ate he was never full and would always want to snack.
“I took him to the doctors because he wouldn’t stop, he constantly grazed, he was even hitting the sugar bowl and I thought that’s not normal.
“The doctor’s scales weren’t measuring his weight,” Jan said, and they hadn’t for a few years prior.
Although the doctor confirmed Adam didn’t have Prader-Willi or diabetes, Jan knew he needed to get into better eating habits.
As a family they began trying new recipes, eating tons more veg and falling in love with new foods and flavours.
One of Adam’s favourite breakfasts is now toast with spinach, salmon, poached or scrambled egg and peppers on top.
“He’s stopping now, he knows he doesn’t have to finish the plate.
“What he loves is he’s never hungry, he sticks to three meals a day.
“How he’s taken to this plan is amazing,” Jan said.
For their efforts, Adam has been awarded Mr Sleek twice and Man of the Year, and Jan has dropped an impressive six dress sizes from a 24 to a 12.
Adam is a student at Catcote Futures, a SEN college where he learns life skills as well as taking part in fun activities from woodwork to pottery.
He recently won an award at college, recognised for his healthy lifestyle changes.
He makes his own meal plan while he’s at college too, which they support him with, even bringing his own Slimming World meals if there isn’t a healthy option he would choose.
In terms of setting new goals, Jan is happy where she is and plans to maintain, and Adam is now only half a stone away from his ideal weight.
“He sees it as a life skill now, this plan’s been perfect for us,” Jan said.
Although for many, a few pounds might have crept on during lockdown, Jan and Adam have used the pandemic as extra motivation.
“We’ve stuck to taking the dog out, the Marina is a good walk.
“We’re not going to put the weight back on, it’s been bad enough already, we’re not going to put the weight back on and feel bad,” Jan said, and the family are hoping to reschedule their holidays plans after lockdown.