Suffolk super slimmer lost almost half her body weight
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
A Suffolk woman lost half her body weight to become one of the country's top slimmers.
Sandie Francis, 56, from Aldeburgh was a finalist in the 2020 Slimming World Slimmer of the Year competition after she lost over nine stone in weight.
Mrs Francis, a self-employed curtain-maker, said she had always struggled with weight and had been reluctant to join groups like Slimming World in the past.
"I have always been big," said Mrs Francis.
"I have always dieted, yoyo diets."
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Mrs Francis and her husband are regular volunteers at the Aldeburgh Carnival.
It was when Mrs Francis was left unable to help at the carnival in August 2018 because of ankle problems, likely caused by her weight, that her friend Elaine told her about the group.
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A little wary Mrs Francis went down to a meeting with her friend and it immediately changed her outlook.
"I loved it so much," said Mrs Francis.
"It was like I had a coffee morning."
So motivated was she by the first meeting, Mrs Francis lost around six or seven pounds in her first week alone.
"I had achieved something and I enjoyed it," said Mrs Francis.
Mrs Francis kept losing weight; in 36 weeks she had made it to her initial starting goal of 12st 7lb.
However, Mrs Francis decided to continue to lose weight and re-set her goal four more times. After 66 weeks she weighed just 9st 2lb.
She had gone from a size 26 down to a size 8.
"I am still the same person," said Mrs Francis.
"I have to look in the mirror to realise I have don't look the same."
Mrs Francis' dedication led to her being named the top slimmer in her group and top couple along with her friend Elaine.
The nod put Mrs Francis up for Slimming World's Slimmer of the year 2020 in which she placed in the top three.
Mrs Francis said the secret to her success had been "changing bad habits."
"I used to drink coffee with a piece of cake, now I have a piece of fruit," said Mrs Francis.
She still attends Slimming World meetings to help others with their weight loss.
Mrs Francis said she wouldn't have achieved any of it without the help of her friend who encouraged her to join in the first place.
"I'm eternally grateful to Elaine for taking me along," said Mrs Francis.