Why trim Patricia of Carlton Colville now loves shopping!

AS a size 24, Patricia Collins always lacked the confidence to wear the clothes she wanted.

But the mother-of-two is now looking forward to healthier and happier 2013 after shedding six stone and dropping to a slimline size 12 in less than a year – putting her on course for a big cash prize.

Patricia, 36, of Beccles Road, Carlton Colville, began last year feeling overweight and lacking self-confidence, but she then signed up to join the local Slimming World group, and embarked on a more disciplined diet.

After weighing in at 16st, 13lb, the pounds began falling off – and she is now 10st 13lb.

Her achievement led to her being crowned the group's Miss Slinky for 2012, and she is now waiting to hear if she has scooped the national title and the top prize of a �2,000 shopping spree.

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'I couldn't believe it when everyone voted me as 'Miss Slinky',' she said.

'I've never felt 'slinky' before but I'm now so much more confident.'

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Patricia, who works as a part-time residential carer at Stradbroke Court in Lowestoft, said her weight-loss had also benefited her partner Matthew Hines, and children Elinor, four, and Roman, aged two-and-a-half.

'It has made a huge difference not only for me but for my children and Matthew, who love the new me and it feels great,' she said.

'I've always thought of Christmas as the time of year to dress up in something gorgeous and sparkly, but I didn't feel confident enough to wear something like that last year and had to avoid certain shops and styles because of my size too. Sometimes I felt so unhappy about the way I looked I didn't even want to go out. This year has been so different. I've had lots of fun finding that perfect party outfit and I love shopping.'

Patricia is confident that, with the help of her fellow members at the Slimming World group at Grove Primary School, Carlton Colville, and its consultant Claire Bond, her new 'slinky' self is here to stay.

'With Slimming World you don't follow a diet temporarily and then go back to your old habits when you get to the weight you want to be,' she said. 'I've got a completely new lifestyle now. I've learned how to make delicious and filling healthy meals and I never feel deprived because I can still have a glass of wine or a bar of chocolate if I fancy it. I'm much more active too – I love spending time playing with my children now.

'Everyone in the group has been so supportive, especially Claire. I can't imagine not going to my Slimming World group nowadays, I've made so many friends there and we have such a laugh – it's a great night out!'

Slimming World's annual Miss Slinky competition recognises members who have undergone a huge transformation by becoming slimmer and more confident, and Claire said Patricia's achievements made her a role model for other people in the Lowestoft area who were keen to improve their health and fitness.

'There are 14.6m overweight or obese women in the UK and that picture's no different in our community,' she said. 'Women and men who are obese are at risk of suffering from illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. I hope Patricia inspires lots of other people in the town to improve their health by losing weight and shows them that whether you've got a little or a lot to lose, slimming down can make a huge difference.

?The Carlton Colville Slimming World group runs every Monday at 5.30pm and 7.30pm at Grove Primary School. Call Claire Bond on 01502 471839 or visit www.slimmingworld.com

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