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Student transforms life during placement

Posted 20 January 2015

Paula, as she is today

University has proven to be a transformational time both academically and personally for final year Harper Adams food student, Paula Lobb.

Before starting her placement with Dalehead Foods, the 22-year-old vowed to make a series of life changes, which have led to her securing a graduate job and becoming the person she always wanted to be.

One of these changes was to apply what she was learning in lectures to her own life, losing around five stone in the process. Paula from Bristol said: “I've always been big and thought ‘I'm just meant to be bigger than all my friends’, but coming to university and living on ready meals meant that my weight increased further.

“One night, I watched a programme about weight loss which made me think, I have a year to change my life during my placement, as well as really focusing on working towards my career and gaining experience.

“So I joined a slimming club at the same time as I started work at Dalehead, which meant making several changes all at once, but it worked really well for me.”

As well as making changes to her diet, Paula also joined her local gym and found a new passion for exercise.

Through these changes, she found herself more energised and far more confident as a person, which then reflected in her work.

The BSc (Hons) Food, Nutrition and Well-Being student said: “I developed tremendously through working at Dalehead, I came back to university in September as a completely different person.

“I was able to apply the modules from my course practically whilst also gaining interpersonal and communication skills, improving my critical reasoning and developing my leadership skills.

“And thanks to my enthusiasm and knowledge, I was offered a place on Dalehead’s graduate scheme for when I complete my degree.”

Not only has Paula’s weight loss had an impact on her confidence and well-being, but she now has a renewed interest in her course subject, particularly nutrition.

She added: “I sometimes felt a little hypocritical as in lectures we were taught about the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle, but I just wasn’t applying it to my own life.

“I’m now proud to say that I practice what I preach and have even chosen to study a module that’s about advanced aspects of human nutrition.

“I know first-hand how hard it can be to eat healthily and make changes, which I think brings a new perspective to things.”

She hopes that the changes she has made will be here for stay as she continues to strive towards her dream job as a Technical Manager within the food industry.

Paula, who co-established and ran a pork pie business during her second year of studies, said: “I’m going to continue with my new lifestyle well into the future, but really hope to achieve my target of reaching goal weight by graduation.

“It sounds silly, but that photograph is going to remain on the wall for a long time, so I want it to be one I’m happy with.”

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