Teresa and Paige Comer have just reached their eight and six stone awards respectively by carrying on their dieting during the lockdown. They are both members of Ruth Mahaffey’s group, normally held every Monday and Tuesday at Braunton Academy and still meeting now in cyberspace. With the onset of coronavirus Slimming World has launched a new temporary ‘virtual’ weight loss service. The idea is to enable its members to continue to enjoy – in a virtual environment – the vital weight loss support, but also the friendship and community spirit, they find in their local group each week. Teresa said: “We had both just achieved awards of five and seven stone when large groups of people had to stop meeting due to corona virus and luckily within a week or so Slimming World had arranged Zoom groups. “At first it seemed strange but it turns out virtual is ‘almost’ just as good, if not better, because we can turn up in our pyjamas and still get the same help and support that we need as well as seeing the faces of the people we miss. “We dread to think what we would do left up to our own devices and almost certainly wouldn’t have lost as much, maybe even gained.” Teresa is currently furloughed while Paige works as a domiciliary carer in Braunton, supporting the elderly and vulnerable. Paige added: “Losing weight is not all sunshine and roses, there has been loads of good weeks and plenty of bad weeks - we both have another two stone to lose so are using it as a competition as to who can get there first, currently we’ve received the past three awards in the same weeks by complete coincidence - so game on! “We now thoroughly enjoy our Monday night group, it’s some time just for us, the best thing about slimming world are the people, the other members have become like our second family, there for us in good times and bad with support, encouragement and lots of great tips along with Ruth, our amazing consultant without whom a lot of us would struggle. “The plan is easy and liveable as nothing is frowned upon, just a little of everything in moderation. “It has taught us both to cook a lot of new recipes (extremely helpful now with everything closed and ingredients sometimes scarce or unavailable) and has persuaded us to try different things that we may not have tried before.” Consultant Ruth said: “The new online package includes access to a weekly ‘virtual’ group using video conferencing. “I host a group and invite members to join from home to continue to get support to make healthier food choices and find new ways to stay active indoors.” Ruth runs her virtual Slimming World groups on Mondays and Tuesdays – for more details call 07786 324081 or go to www.slimmingworld.co.uk .