Andrea loses an amazing 16 stones and says a big yes to dress shopping!

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A civil servant from the North West who was once so self-conscious about her size that she used to hate being seen in public has lost an incredible 16st 7lbs and achieved 3rd place in a Slimming World ‘Greatest Loser’ competition.

Andrea McClintock, 40, isn’t hiding away any more, though. In fact, after dropping from a size 32 to a slim 10-12, shopping is Andrea’s new favourite pastime and she’s a far cry from the woman who had to have her wedding dress specially made because bridal shops didn’t stock any dresses which would fit her 28 stone frame.

Andrea McClintock is unrecognisable from her former self after shedding 16 st.

Andrea McClintock is unrecognisable from her former self after shedding 16 st.

“Even when I got married 13 years ago I struggled with my weight,” says Andrea. “I did try to shift a few pounds for the big day but I didn’t really get anywhere and I couldn’t choose the dress I wanted off the peg; it had to be custom made to fit me. When I was at my biggest I became really dependent on my husband, Maurice. When we went food shopping I’d just send him inside with a list while I waited in the car because I felt too embarrassed to walk around the supermarket.”

Andrea had been overweight since childhood and blamed her size on her genes, as she explains: “I just thought being overweight was hereditary and that there was no way around it. I had so many embarrassing moments because of my size. The worst was probably when I stayed with friends at their mobile home and I actually went through the steps up to the front door because I was so heavy. I was utterly humiliated.”

It was shopping for a Christmas outfit which proved to be the final straw for Andrea, who vowed that her party outfit in a year’s time would not be a size 32 because this was the year she was going to lose weight for good.

Andrea joined the Sion Mills Slimming World group in County Tyrone in January 2014 and soon got to grips with the Food Optimising eating plan. She says: “I think my dad realised how determined I was this time, so he offered to pay for me to attend my Slimming World group every week as a way of showing his support. Of course, I didn’t want to let him down, so I stuck to my word and joined Slimming World after Christmas.

“It took a lot of courage to attend that first night, although I shouldn’t have worried because it was exactly where I needed to be. Everyone I met was so warm and friendly and the fact that we were all on the same journey meant that I felt a sense of belonging that I’d never quite experienced before.

“I worried that I’d have to survive on ‘diet food’ but I couldn’t have been more wrong. We could still enjoy all of our favourites like curries, roast dinners and even chips! Both Maurice and I loved how varied and satisfying the plan was and sure enough, by the time next Christmas came around, my size 32 outfits were long gone. That little bit of extra encouragement from my Dad really motivated me, and it’s wonderful to see how proud he is of me now. Losing weight has transformed every aspect of my life. My relationship with my husband has improved massively because I’m so much more confident and we can actually go out and do things together now. Losing weight has made me feel a lot more active and I feel as though I can take on the world now.

“My health is so much better too – I used to struggle with high blood pressure and acid reflux, both of which are no longer an issue. And these days Maurice doesn’t have to go shopping on his own, although maybe he’d prefer it as I spend a lot of time in the clothes section now!”

Andrea now runs her own slimming world group every Saturday at 9.30 and 11.30 am in All saints Clooney road contact Andrea on 07595 549826 for further details .