LIFE changing support which has helped people lose weight is being offered by North Yorkshire county council.

Vital face to face sessions had to be abandoned when Covid-19 restrictions were imposed last year, but the adult weight loss service which stages the free sessions continued online with virtual support.

Ash Arnett, a 49 year-old father of three said it had helped change his life after being shocked into action when his young daughter drew a picture of him as a large circle.

"When I asked why I was a circle they said because you have a gig tummy. Children show you a reality you don't necessarily want to see," said Ash. After 25 years of unsuccessful attempts to lose weight and on the advice of his doctor he signed up.

"I feel a lot happier now. We're going on a family holiday to Cornwall in July. I'm confident by that time I'll be closer to where I want to be with my health than I have in 25 years. I won’t be the fat dad who can’t go on rides with the kids and join in."

It also helped mother-of-one Katy Wood, 38, who found it hard to leave the house due to insecurities about her weight. She said: "I struggled with my mental health for a long time. I began to feel I had no motivation. I didn’t like to go out because I felt self-conscious so I would try to avoid people."

But with the help of the course Katy signed up as a vaccinator and is doing a course in child and adolescent health. She added: "It wasn't all about sharing how much weight we'd lost as we covered a range of topics related to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I have a different mind-set in that losing weight doesn’t feel like I’m punishing myself. I'm so proud of myself that I signed up."

Louise Wallace, North Yorkshire’s Director of Public Health, said: "Despite the restrictions we are extremely proud that the North Yorkshire adult weight management service, funded from our Public Health Grant, has continued to support people who need specialist advice to improve their health and wellbeing."

Councillor Caroline Dickinson, Member for Public Health, added: "The adult weight management service continues to provide people with tailored, specialist advice with the highest possible flexibility according to individual circumstances and needs."