Young Chesterfield woman rediscovers her love of swimming after losing six stone

A young Chesterfield woman who has lost more than six stone has rediscovered her love of swimming.

Thursday, 5th September 2019, 1:20 pm
Ruby Hardy had dropped from a size 18 to a size 10. Images: Paul Buller

Ruby Hardy had weighed 16st 12½lbs before trimming down to 10st 5lbs after attending Slimming World's Boythorpe Community Centre group with consultant Sandra Oldfield.

The 22-year-old, who has dropped from a size 18 to a size 10, said: "As soon as I took my first strokes, I remembered how much I had loved swimming as a child. Being in the water was such a wonderful feeling."

Like many people who want to lose weight, Ruby had been put off swimming by the idea of wearing a swimsuit while her body confidence was low.

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Ruby Hardy now weighs 10st 5lbs after previously weighing 16st 12lbs. Images: Paul Buller

Slimming World nutritionist, Jenny Barber, said: "While swimming can feel intimidating, once you overcome those initial emotional blocks, it’s an ideal exercise if you want to lose weight. No one can see you in the water, you can take it at your own pace, and the water supports your body taking the impact off your joints and feet."

Ruby was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which causes pain all over the body, and scoliosis, where the spine curves to one side.

Ruby Hardy joined Sandra Oldfields Slimming World group in Chesterfield to help her lose some weight.

She had turned to food as a way of dealing with the pain and her weight had crept up.

Ruby was offered 12 free weekly swimming sessions on GP referral, to help manage her pain and support her weight loss.

"I hadn’t been in a pool for years," Ruby said. ‘Now I was excited – yet terrified – to give it a go."

"I had expected to struggle more, as I usually found exercise tiring. In fact, she spent a whole hour in the pool, stopping to rest every few minutes. And as the weeks went by, it got easier and I found I could swim for longer between breaks."

Ruby added: "Swimming improved my fitness, supported my weight loss and helped me manage my pain, so I didn’t feel the need to comfort myself with food. And that was just the start. Losing weight improved my confidence so much that I applied for – and got – two promotions at the restaurant where I work. And each time my swimming costume started to feel baggy, I’d hit the shops with mum to buy a smaller one, which showed how far I’d come. I would encourage anyone to try it – I’m so glad I did."

Ruby’s full story is featured in the latest edition of Slimming World magazine.

Images: Paul Buller

To find your nearest group, visit or call 0344 897 8000.