Marianna is Miss Slinky 2004
AFTER years of strict calorie counting and fad diets, Marianna Labella Croft had finally had enough.The hair stylist had just given birth to her second daughter, Ilanya, and at almost 15 stone, had sunk into a deep depression.
AFTER years of strict calorie counting and fad diets, Marianna Labella Croft had finally had enough.
The hair stylist had just given birth to her second daughter, Ilanya, and at almost 15 stone, had sunk into a deep depression.
But now, thanks to 16 months of sheer determination, the mother-of-two has shrunk from a size 18-20 to a svelte size ten and has just been crowned Slimming World's Miss Slinky 2004 - after losing an incredible four stone and nine pounds.
The hairstylist, who owns the John Oliver salon in Ipswich with her husband Steve, had faced years of disappointment on a string of lose-weight-quick diets.
As well as suffering five miscarriages in a short space of time, Marianna had numerous medical problems associated with her weight.
But the 34-year-old, of Beechcroft Road, Ipswich, decided to join Slimming World in August 2002 and has never looked back since.
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"I feel amazing and on top of the world. It's like I'm 18 again," she said.
"I'm so much fitter and my little girls have their mummy back again."
"I couldn't believe that this amazing system let me eat as much as I wanted and I still lost weight. Food optimising has taught me healthy eating habits that I can maintain for life, so I know the weight will stay off – it's such a liberating feeling.
"I have to pinch myself when I look in the mirror and see a petite woman looking back at me.
"My confidence has gone through the roof. I feel like a new woman, and I feel so much healthier too."
Marianna's family ate the same foods at home to support her and any visitors for dinner were treated to the same healthy foods.
Even Christmas dinner was prepared using healthy oils and cooking techniques.
As part of her prize, Marianna and her husband were treated to champagne and a night at The Ritz in London and £1,000 in cash.
Marianna admits she still has three pounds to lose before reaching her dream target but is still planning to attend the weekly meetings to help her stick at her new healthy lifestyle.
"I still go to group with my mum. We have a great time there - in fact, it's become a family hobby. My two sisters have also lost weight with Slimming World - between us, we've lost more than 10 stones," she said.
"It's like a support group and I've made so many friends.
"I no longer suffer from aches and pains from carrying around excess weight and I'm enjoying being active – I love going to the gym and being able to walk for miles without getting out of breath."