Mother-of-two Sharmen Firth-Hemmings has lost five stone in less than a year – and now wants to help others who are fighting a battle against their weight.
Sharmen (42), from Burnley, has gone from a size 22 to a size 12 after starting with a community group in June 2013 and now she has set up a Community Weightloss Challenge in Asda in Colne so she can inspire others to do the same.
I hated the way I looked, I hated going shopping as nothing looked right on me. I tried to stay upbeat and positive but inside I was dying.Sharmen Firth-Hemmings
Sharmen, who works full-time. said: “I have struggled with my weight all my adult life and got up to a size 22. Seven ago, at the age of 35, I was diagnosed with breast cancer but thankfully I have now got the all-clear.
“After two years of vigorous treatment, I was left physically exhausted and in constant poor health due to a damaged immune system.
“I was unable to do things with my children and I would take them on holiday and was too tired to do activities with them.
“I hated the way I looked, I hated going shopping as nothing looked right on me. I tried to stay upbeat and positive but inside I was dying. I was a size 22 and desperately wanted to change this.
“In 2013, I was told by my GP that I was pre-diabetic and needed to lose the weight.
“I was so scared of going back to get the results of the blood test that would ‘seal my fate’ I began searching for some serious help.
“After trying several methods and groups to lose weight and be healthy, I was introduced to a community group (fit camp) at Barden Mill where I was given the tools I needed to kick start my healthy lifestyle.”
Sharmen learned about nutrition, the right foods to eat along with exercise and how to change her health and body shape.
“I received lots of support from the coaches and other members of the group and was never judged because of my inability to perform most of the exercises.
“For the first time, I was genuinely recognised for my efforts even though I felt that my achievements were minimal. “The support and recognition made me start to feel good about myself and I started to believe that I could be healthy again instead of the death sentence that I felt I had been given.
“I continued in this group week after week, session after session, and before I knew it, I had lost five stone and had gone down to a size 12. To this day I continue to receive support from the coaches.
“I am proud of my achievement and, because of this and how far I have come on my journey, I want to help others achieve a healthy active lifestyle.
“If I can inspire just one person to do that then I would have accomplished this.”
Sharmen set up a Community Weightloss Challenge at ASDA Colne andstarted a new programme on Wednesday.
“We have nutrition topics, weekly weight and measure sessions and also exercises to get people moving. It is a small group and they have fun while learning and getting healthy.
“So far as a group we have lost more than 40lbs and more that 150 inches. I want to continue to provide this service to help my community and hope that I can help more people.”
Sharman is at at Colne Community Room every Wednesday from 6-30-7pm.
She can be contacted on 07861 736722 as places on the programme have to be pre-booked.