A Newthorpe nurse has won a prestigous award after shedding 13 stone – over half her body weight.
Kim McAree picked up the Diamond trophy at the recent Slimming World National Awards Ceremony, where she was handpicked out of 6,500 entrants.
“I couldn’t believe I won it,” said Kim.
“It didn’t sink in at first.”
Kim – who dropped from a size 30 to a size 10 – won the award becasue she has kept her weight off for five years and because her life has changed so much as a result of her weight loss.
The super slimmer joined Slimming World in Eastwood back in 2007.
She lost six stone in her first year, six in the second year and then continued to shed another one stone and five pounds over time.
Kim – now 11 stone – said losing the weight had changed her life.
“I feel like a different person,” she said.
“I’m very happy. I can’t put into words how much my weight loss has changed my life for the better. It’s given me a whole new lease of life. I’ve been over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter, I’ve been in a hot air balloon in Egypt and I’ve even zip wired over the jungle in the Carribean.
“I’ve got a love of designer jeans now too, and I never even wore jeans before,” she said.
Kim’s consultant April Ellis – who has run the Eastwood group for 13 years – said she was a role model.
“It’s absolutely amazing. She is inspirational and motivational. A true role model to everybody who wants to lose weight and keep it off for good.
“There are 800,000 members of Slimming World nationally and only seven awards are handed out each year. I think that puts her success into perspective.”
Kim had been overweight since her teens.
By the time she got married she was a size 22, and from there the weight gradually piled on.
But she said she saw a photo of herself back in 2007 and decided things had to change.
“I couldn’t believe the woman in the picture was me and I definitely didn’t want to look like that anymore. I was lucky not to have had any health problems at that point, but I knew that if I stayed the size I was it would inevitably affect my wellbeing.
“I’m very strong minded and determined and I just got on with it. I needed to do it,” she added.
Kim said she was proud of herself, but did not realise how big the achievement was until she picked up her recent award.
“I’m very proud of myself, but I didn’t think about it really.
“After winning the award I realised it’s a bigger deal than I gave myself credit for.
“I know I’ve given myself the best chance of a healthy retirement when the time comes. I’m looking forward to spending many years to come with my 10-month-old granddaughter, too, which is something I might not have been able to say if I hadn’t made that change eight years ago.”
The 54-year-old said she still attends the group in Eastwood.
“I still go to the group each week. Having the support is great. I find it really motivating. I love picking up recipe ideas so I’m never bored with what I’m eating and everyone’s advice helps me to stay on track.
“It’s nice to support other people as well. They can see that it really does work.”