Slimmers at a Carlisle weightloss group are celebrating after losing a combined total of more than two tonnes this year – the equivalent of four grizzly bears.

Together members of the Warwick Square Slimming World group are over 347 stones lighter than they were in January this year, when consultant Emma Davies took over.

There are between 80 and 90 members who attend the sessions at New Waterton Hall, in Warwick Square, every week.

Emma became a Slimming World consultant following her own weight loss journey. She said she wanted to help others become happier and healthier - particularly at a time when obesity is causing so many problems.

Members follow Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan, which encourages them to fill up on foods such as pasta, rice, potatoes, lean meat and fish, pulses, fruit and vegetables.

One member, Elisha Stuttard, has lost 3st 5.5lb since joining the group in May - dropping from a size 18 to a 12/14. She said: “Filling up on lots of satisfying foods means you’re never hungry, so I’ve never felt as though I was on a diet. Before I joined Slimming World I thought losing weight meant going to the gym and counting calories. But now I know it’s about making healthier choices about food and becoming a bit more active.

“Reaching this milestone as a group just proves the huge change that we’ve all made to our lives. Some people who’ve lost big amounts of weight have probably even saved their lives.

“It’s brilliant to celebrate together because that’s how we’ve been losing weight – together. Every week we support and encourage each other and share tips and recipes, and on top of that we have a lots of fun.

“The support and inspiration we get from Emma has also been integral to our success. Because she’s lost weight herself, she understands the ups and downs and can offer us help and advice based on her own experience. Without her I don’t think we’d have achieved nearly as much.”

Emma said: “I’m delighted that my members have lost weight so beautifully. It has made a big difference to their and their whole families’ lives, and all of them are happier and healthier now.

“Slimming has never been more important - 62.4 per cent of people in north west England are overweight and obese. I just want to help even more people to make real changes for life. There’s no better job satisfaction than that.”

Emma’s Warwick Square group is held every Thursday at 5.30pm and 7.30pm. It was so successful she also launched a second group in April, held every Tuesday in Botcherby Community Centre at 7pm. For more information or to join call Emma on 07712285590.