KEEPING off those excess pounds is not always easy particularly with festive food available to tantalise the taste buds.
Some people may be already considering a New Year’s resolution involving diets.
So, when Ellis Bates decided he was packing more pounds than felt comfortable he took steps to do something about it.
Nothing too unusual about that but Ellis was only 12 when he walked into a Slimming World meeting in Shaw almost 12 months ago to make his conscious lifestyle change.
Nearly a year on the Hollingworth Academy pupil is still a Monday evening regular at the Royal British Legion club on Newtown Street, where the group meets.
In that time Ellis has lost a stone and a half but gained a mass of self-esteem and confidence previously missing.
And in a borough where 35 per cent of 10-11-year-olds have excess weigh issues and three in 10 adults are obese (according to the 2017-19 Oldham Obesity Improvement Strategy), Ellis is determined not to become a worrying statistic.
His efforts have been applauded by local Slimming World group co-ordinators and delighted proud mum, Claire.
She took Ellis to his first SW meeting shortly after joining herself.
Describing her son’s mood as ‘down in the dumps’ before his participation, she now says: “I have noticed a big change in him.
“He is definitely a lot more confident in everything he does.”
Having already moved up a set in PE at school, Ellis plays badminton twice a week, including with his dad.
“Slimming World is predominantly a women’s environment but after the first couple of weeks all the ladies made him feel very welcome and he loved it,” explained Claire.
“It probably made it easier for him going with his mum because it was still a big thing as he is not 14 until April.
“However, everyone takes him under their wings and is really supportive if perhaps one week he hasn’t done as well as he wanted.
“They don’t set children targets but I haven’t been as good as Ellis.
“He has stuck to the plan like glue, he is really good.
“On Friday, he has school dinners which is pie day. But he is very good and cuts the pastry off.
“Just little changes like that and he has been motivated to stick to it.”
A spokesperson for Slimming World said: “Ellis has learned through being in group that he can still have his treats.
“He knows nothing is forbidden but now chooses healthier options.
“We welcome young people from age 11 with a parent or guardian and our aim with them is not focused on weight loss, it is all about helping them learn healthier habits for life which Ellis definitely has.”
• Find out more about Slimming World and your local groups online: www.slimmingworld.co.uk