Over the past decade slimmers attending popular weight loss sessions in Knowle West have shed over 31,000 stone between them – inspired by their consultant Kim James Coggins.
Now Kim – who has been running Slimming World groups since 2012 at Filwood Community Centre – will be setting aside her scales this week and moving on to a new job as a fundraiser.
At one time, before the pandemic, she was seeing 260 people a week and held four classes on Mondays and one on Friday mornings.
Over the years, members have braved all weathers to attend sessions and stay on track. And many of those who have reached their target weight still continue coming along to help maintain it – and because they have made good friends.
To ensure success, groups are held 52 weeks a year so attendees don’t fall by the wayside – including bank holidays and over Christmas and Easter. And when COVID-19 restrictions meant face-to-face sessions had to stop, they continued online.
“It’s been the most incredible journey…”
Local resident Kim says she has loved her time with the groups and knowing her work has made such a difference to people’s lives.
She told The Knowledge: “I have met so many amazing people, seen so many goals be achieved. Members who have changed their lives through weight loss – becoming parents, reducing and stopping medication, reversing their diabetes, getting married – it’s been the most incredible journey.
“I’ve lived in Knowle all my life and have loved being able to work here as well. There is nothing like the community feel and my members always brought that to group, supporting each other through really tough times as well as celebrating all the good times…”
As the slimmers arrived with gifts this week to say farewell, they spoke of how much the sessions had meant to them – with many long-term attendees.
Members follow a Food Optimising eating plan and classes include sharing recipes, strategies and money-saving shopping ideas to help eat healthily on a budget as well as weekly weigh-ins.
But Kim’s groups have also stressed it’s the ongoing support and care which has made all the difference – and kept them focused on their goals.
Resident Jayne Roberts (55) said: “I’ve been coming here nine years, Kim has been amazing, she’s inspired me and encouraged me all the way and told me not to give up.
“I’m now a target member and keep coming because it helps me maintain my weight, I’m 10 stone 5.5 and I was 12 stone 3 when I started. I also come for the social aspect…”
And Tracey Johns (48) said she had been a group member for six years and during that time had managed to lose six stone.
She said: “In the six years I reached my target but after COVID put weight on again. I haven’t stopped coming because I love it. She’s brilliant and the group is lovely.”
“I hope that I’ve helped people believe in themselves more…”
Kim, who has also organised a number of fundraising events for charity – from walks to local bingo nights – will now be starting her new job as a Community Fundraising Engagement Officer for children’s charity Jessie May.
She adds: “But I’m still living in Knowle and will still be part of the community. I’ve made friends for life and will be keeping in touch.
“I hope that I’ve helped people believe in themselves more and to know nothing is impossible when you want it enough. I want every member to continue their journey and not stop until they have achieved their goal.”
Kim’s Slimming World classes will be looked after by other consultants until a permanent replacement is found for her. Sessions will still take place at Filwood Community Centre on Mondays at 10am, 5pm and 6.30pm and Fridays at 9am.