A Craigavon woman who lost more than 10 stone in two-and-a-half years has won a major Slimming World accolade.
Ann Martin (45) beat eight other finalists to claim the Northern Ireland west category of the Woman of the Year competition.
She will now go on to represent the area in the national semi-finals in London on October 4.
At her heaviest weight of 21 stone-plus, the mother-of-two had only one black skirt she could wear and couldn’t even put on her socks as she was unable to bend over.
The weight had also led to her experiencing chest pains - resulting in hospital tests - and she also suffered from dropped arches in her feet.
She said, “Since I lost weight, I have had no problems, I feel great.”
Ann, who lives in Moyraverty, had piled on the pounds due to “different stressful circumstances” and had tried several types of diets before joining Slimming World.
She said, “I went to the meeting in the Seagoe Hotel and it’s the best move I ever made.
“The food you eat is not restricted in any way - you can still have your meat and fish and pasta - it’s just that you cook it in a healthy way.”
Despite working the night shift at Moy Park, Ann has not only managed to fit in her healthy eating but also never misses her Thursday morning Slimming World class, where she has made a lot of new friends.
She said, “I just eat whenever I feel like it. I have had stew at 4am in the morning and I bring my own soups and lunches to work with me.”
Her diet now is a far cry from the days when she survived on chips, Chinese take-aways, crisps and chocolate.
She has also taken up exercise and has her own treadmill and cross-trainer at home, as well as attending a weekly shape-up class.
And she is proving a good role model for her sons, with the youngest having joined her at Slimming World and the other involved in body building.
Ann was one of a number of Slimming World members from the area who were selected for the final in Belfast last weekend. The others were Emma-Louise Hamilton who lost seven stone and Annette Woods who lost five stone, both ladies from the Portadown Rugby Club group, and Sophie Woods (Annette’s daughter), from Portadown’s High Street Mall group, who also lost five stone.
She said. “Sliming World should be prescribed on the NHS. It would solve mental and physical problems.”
And she has some advice for anyone struggling with their weight - “Slimming World is the best door you could choose to go through - there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.”