A mother-of-two who lost almost half her bodyweight after struggling to keep up with her children has been named Slimming World’s Woman of the Year.
Hollie Barrett, from Blunderston, Suffolk, weighed 17st 11lb at her heaviest and feared her children, Ethan, 11, and Imogen, four, would be bullied because of her size.
She felt that her weight was holding her back as a mother and once became so breathless chasing her daughter up the stairs she could not read a bedtime story.
The 30-year-old, who had been overweight for most of her life, turned to food for comfort after she lost her mother to breast cancer in 2013.
After joining the Beccles Slimming World group in May last year, the Tesco worker dropped six dress sizes, from a size 20 to an 8, and now feels “like the person – and the mum – I was meant to be all along”.
She said: “After we lost mum I started to really think about my health and my future. I wanted to be around for my kids and to be able to do all the normal things that mums do while they were still young.
“I didn’t want them to be bullied at school because their mum was so overweight either.”
Ms Barrett now weighs 9st 5lb and said her partner Tom loves her “new figure and new-found confidence too”.
She said her family is now more active, adding: “We love going on long walks and enjoy more active holidays. I walked 40 miles in four days and climbed a mountain when we went away recently.
“I’ve started jogging and even had the confidence to put on a swimsuit and take my children swimming for the first time since losing weight, which was an amazing experience.”