During the winter blues, it can be difficult to stay motivated when working towards our health goals, so The Oxford Mail wants to help  readers to stay committed.

People around the county have shared with our readers the huge transformations they have made by sticking to their weight-loss plans.

So, whether you have started snacking again, or have not been to the gym in a while, you can always pick yourself back up and continue making that dream body a reality.

We also spoke to a personal trainer from Oxford who shared some of his top tips to get fit.

ALSO READ: 7 top tips on how to keep fit


Ricky Delve, 69, Piddington

Ricky Delve recently completed a 35 mile run after a change in diet and exercise saw him lose almost seven stone in weight. 

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His desire to change came after he developed type 2 diabetes in March 2010 and was put on a cocktail of drugs to control his blood sugars.

He said: “I wouldn’t say the food I ate was unhealthy, but I had a ferocious appetite.  I had been in a sedentary job for many years and the weight had crept up on me. I was getting older and didn’t like where I was heading.

“My moment came when I saw my reflection in a shop window. Add that to my newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes and I decided to do something about it.” 

There are currently over 28,000 people registered as having diabetes in Oxfordshire and about 2,200 are newly diagnosed each year. 

Over the next few years, Mr Delve dropped from over 19 stone to 12 stone 11lbs.

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Mr Delve’s GP discovered that there was a change in his blood three months later.

He said: “My GP said, that on reflection, my blood results had been consistently good for a while now and suggested that I try coming off the metformin. I may have been diabetes-free for a while but since then I haven’t looked back. I am now free of the sugar curse.”

He completed the Gower Ultra challenge where he ran and walked a 35-mile circumnavigation of the Gower Peninsula in Wales last October.

Claire Ryman, 45, Chipping Norton

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Losing weight can sound daunting but a lot of people have managed to cut the pounds by doing simple things like walking.

Claire Ryman, a 45-year-old woman from Chipping Norton, started losing weight when she was invited by a friend to go dog walking with him and his dogs.

She said: “I never really walked anywhere and really started to enjoy it as we talked whilst walking and had fun with the dogs. My friend also probably pushed me more than I would I have done myself.”

She managed to lose four stone 2lb by herself between May 1 and September 1 weighing 14 stone 11lb, after which she joined Slimming World and lost a further two stone 9.5lb.

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She said: “I feel so much better and I have just recently had a check-up at my local GP and my blood pressure was down. I feel fantastic now - like a new me - and I still walk nearly every day with my friend and his dogs. I think nothing of doing four to five miles with them.”

Cheryl Charlton, 52, Wantage

A woman from Wantage who has a passion for dancing lost seven stone after being in a car crash.

Cheryl Charlton, 52, was in a severe car crash in 2010 and had to have her pelvis reconstructed and hip relocated.

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But because of her weight, she suffered from a lot of pain after the operations and decided to change her life around and get back into dancing.

She said: “I was devastated, even more so because I feared that I would no longer be able to indulge in my passion for dancing. So in 2013 I joined my local WW studio at the Beacon in Wantage, in an effort to do something to change what was happening.

“I learned to alter my way of thinking. If you are not in the right mindset, your heart won’t be in it, which is a vital component of any weight loss journey. The support helped me refocus when facing challenges. I downsized my portions and I cooked from scratch instead of reaching for ready meals.”

By January 2014, she reached her goal of losing seven stone and dances again.

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She said: “I am fitter and healthier now than I have ever been. Before the accident, a couple of dances would see me completely out of breath. But now, I dance at every opportunity. My partner, Nick and I are regulars at our local rock and roll dance group, and we dance all night long.”

Shaun Kendall, 50, Kidlington

Another super-slimmer, Shaun Kendall, from Kidlington, lost weight when he noticed how he couldn’t keep up with his brother’s children and was worried that it would affect his mindset.

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The 50-year-old scout volunteer, who weighed almost 27 stones, said: “My brothers has children and as they grew, they wanted to play, but keeping up was difficult. I didn’t feel fit enough. I began making excuses so I wouldn’t have to.

“Clothing for work had to come from places like ‘Big and Tall’- I couldn’t just buy off the rails. I hated the thought of being stereotyped or labelled, and it was beginning to affect my mindset.”

When Mr Kendall’s 50th birthday approached last year, he wanted to celebrate by going on a helicopter ride but was told that he needed to be under 18 stone.

He decided to set himself a challenge to volunteer for the 24th World Scout Jamboree taking place at the Summet Bechel Reserve, in West Virginia in America.

He said: “This was no little commitment. Apart from the cost at £3,000, I was committing to be the best version of me. I needed to be healthier, fitter and carrying a lot less weight to be able to do what was required of me. 40,000 young people from more than 120 different countries would be relying on 10,000 volunteers, and I wanted to be one of them.”

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By his 50th birthday in November 2018, he was eight stones lighter and has just 10lbs to g until he can book his first helicopter flight.

He said: “I am so proud of what I have achieved. My 50th has gone and I am no longer the sweaty man I was. I dress with pride and no longer feel my weight is what people look at when I speak.”

Our physical health is just as important as our mental health.

Selina Steele, 23, Banbury

One young woman from Banbury who was struggling with her mental health, started going to the gym to start the ‘process of self-love’ again.

Selina Steele, 23, said: “I decided I needed to start looking after myself, so I changed my diet and started going to the gym. At first, I felt really overwhelmed and I think I thought that because I was overweight, I didn’t belong there - when really it was the opposite.”

Miss Steele had a personal trainer to guide her at the beginning of her weight-loss journey until she eventually became comfortable going to the gym herself.

She said: “I started to maintain my weight instead of losing but knew I had to switch from doing heavy cardio-based workouts, and circuits to a more weights and resistance workout and I started losing again.”

Miss Steele has some advice for people who may be struggling to stay motivated.

She said: “It’s really important to not weigh yourself everyday if you want to lose weight because you just get obsessed with the numbers and not your progress. I weigh myself at the gym every two weeks and do measurements every month; you have to give yourself time to see the result.”

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Now, when Miss Steele sees someone that she hasn’t seen in a while they congratulate her on how well she looks and point out how much weight she has lost.

She added: “Sometimes they say they wish they had my determination, and commitment. It feels amazing, I feel so confident, and I’m not scared of wearing certain clothing or even going shopping anymore. I am just so proud of myself and my body even though I still have a little way to go.”

Lorraine Bennett, 48, Chipping Norton

Another woman from Chipping Norton lost over 100 lbs after combatting her sneaky snacking habit.

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Lorraine Bennett had a crippling pain shoot through her knees dropping her to the floor one day while at work.

She said: “It was a disaster. I couldn’t walk properly. The heels had to come off and I was not happy.

It was only then that I realised that carrying around an extra 100 lbs while walking in heels was crippling me. I didn’t even bother going to see my GP, I knew he would just tell me to lose weight.”

She joined a WW workshop group in Woodstock and kept her weight-loss journey a secret from everyone so that if she slipped up, she wouldn’t get any negative comments which would make her comfort eat.

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She said: “Having lost 108 lb, I feel so proud of myself and the achievements I have made. I no longer have painful knees or do secret snacking. In June last year I was wearing a size 20 and now I am wearing a size 8.

“For each pound I lost, I put £1 in a jar and have now spent it on a silver bangle to remind myself how far I have come.”