Mum who gained weight after donating kidney to son sets up Welwyn Garden City slimming group

PUBLISHED: 17:00 14 September 2019

Karina Ridgewell is setting up her own Slimming World in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Karina Ridgewell

Karina Ridgewell is setting up her own Slimming World in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Karina Ridgewell

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A mum who gained weight after donating an organ to her son is starting her own slimming group in Welwyn Garden City.

Karina Ridgewell gained weight after donating a kidney to her son. Picture: Karina RidgewellKarina Ridgewell gained weight after donating a kidney to her son. Picture: Karina Ridgewell

At age 23 and after just finishing university in 2015, Douglas Ridgewell was unexpectedly diagnosed with renal failure and in need of a kidney transplant.

His mum Karina Ridgewell stepped up to save his life, and for the surgery to be successful she had to be fit and healthy.

However, Karina took longer than expected to recover from the operation, piling on the pounds after long periods without exercise.

She said: "Like a lot of slimmers, I had tried to lose weight so many times before by following numerous diets but they were never sustainable because I'd always get tired of restricting what I ate.

Karina Ridgewell lost more than a stone through Slimming World. Here she is supporting Kidney Research UK. Picture: Karina RidgewellKarina Ridgewell lost more than a stone through Slimming World. Here she is supporting Kidney Research UK. Picture: Karina Ridgewell

"I thought I was destined to struggle with my weight for the rest of my life."

Karina then joined a Slimming World group in Codicote and has now lost more than a stone in 18 weeks.

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"Support is really the most important thing. It all starts with a feeling that you're not alone. I couldn't have lost my excess weight without the weekly help, encouragement and understanding of my own consultant and group," she said.

Karina Ridgewell is setting up her own Slimming World in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Karina RidgewellKarina Ridgewell is setting up her own Slimming World in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Karina Ridgewell

The 57-year-old has now become a qualified consultant for Slimming World and is setting up her own group in Welwyn Garden City.

She said: "Slimming World isn't just about changing what you eat. Becoming more active is important too.

"Our Body Magic programme takes the threat out of activity by showing people, many of whom have unpleasant memories of being forced to take part in activity at school, how they can build activity into their daily routine without having to take up traditional forms of exercise like going to the gym or running.

"Everything counts, from walking to gardening to washing the car. As a consultant it is my role to create that warm, supportive atmosphere to get people sharing their ideas and experiences to help others - it's going to be great fun."

Slimming World consultants are all former members who contribute their own franchise to the micro business chain - there are currently 4,000 in the UK and Ireland who run 15,000 groups.

Karina's groups will take place at Welwyn Garden City United Reformed Church in Church Road every Saturday from 8.30am and 10.20am.

The first session will be on September 21. For information, call Karina on 07950 934185.

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