A WREXHAM resident has been named Slimming World’s Man of the Year after losing six stone.

Chris Ackerman, from Chirk, was crowned the winner of the first ever virtual competition that Slimming World has held in its 50-year history, after weighing over 22 stone to just over 16 stone since joining the group with his wife, Donna, in October of last year.

Members would usually vote for their group’s winner at a special celebratory evening at their in-person group, however this time around the celebrations were held online as part of the organisation’s new temporary virtual service.

Like many men, Mr Ackerman initially thought that slimming clubs were aimed at women and assumed the focus would be on ‘diet’ food, however, he decided to give it a try when he and his wife decided that they needed to change their eating habits together in order to lose weight.

He was pleasantly surprised to find that the support provided by the group was practical and encouraging and it quickly became part of their weekly routine where they would attend the group together every Monday evening.

He also enjoyed following Slimming World’s food optimising eating plan.

He said: "Deep down I’d been unhappy with my weight for some time but it took me a long time to face up to it.

"And then when I did admit to myself that I wanted to lose weight I still didn’t want to ask for help.

"My wife suggested we try Slimming World and after exchanging messages with Emma, the groups consultant, we decided to give it a go.

"We’re so glad we did.

"I’ve realised now though that far from being weak, asking for help takes strength of character and getting support to make changes has given me a sense of confidence that is benefitting every aspect of my life.

"My wife and I did this together and she is also less than a stone from achieving her target after losing over three and a half stone too.

"It was nerve-wracking walking through those doors for the first time but I wasn’t the only man there and the group immediately put me at ease, everyone was so supportive."

Slimming World introduced its new virtual service in March, after announcing it was temporarily suspending its local groups in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Chirk couple say that the support and encouragement they have continued to receive in their virtual sessions has helped them to stay on track with their weight loss journey.

In fact, this week, Mr Ackerman achieved his weight loss target and is now a free lifetime member.

Emma Thompstone, who runs the Chirk and Oswestry Slimming World groups stated that she is incredibly proud of Chris.

She said: "He has done brilliantly and we’re all in awe of his transformation.

"And while so much has changed in the last few months his determination and motivation has remained the same – he’s a real inspiration to the group.

"His wife Donna has become a whizz in the kitchen and every week the group loves to hear about what they’re cooking up.

"I couldn’t be prouder of everything they’ve both achieved."

The national title winner for Slimming World’s Man of the Year 2020 competition will announced in the coming months, with the overall winner receiving a £4,000 cash prize.

For further information on Ms Thompstone's Slimming World virtual groups, contact 07581458656.