A nurse aims to help people enjoy better health after recognising her own failings – and taking action to lose weight.
Debra Blenkinsop, 52, admits her expertise in care – including most recently working in cardiology – could not stop her indulging in fattening foods.
Confronted by a reflection of herself she did not like in her mirror on the eve of an overseas holiday, she vowed to slim.
She has now trimmed down by a stone - and qualified to become a diet and healthy eating consultant.
The mum-of-two, from Mowbray Road, South Shields, had now launched her own Slimming World group, aiming to support others to shape up.
She said: “I didn’t want to go into my fifties feeling sluggish and unhealthy.
“I was due to fly to Florida and New York for my birthday celebrations, but when I looked in the mirror I didn’t like what I saw.
“I rarely cooked, choosing convenience foods and takeaways, and snacking on crisps and chocolates at work. I had tried dieting, which little success. I just knew I needed something more.”
With national figures showing around one in four women in the UK are severely overweight, Debra believes there is no time like the present to change eating habits.
She added: “I tried lots of different diets but they usually left me feeling hungry or miserable – or both, in fact.
“With Slimming World, I never have to miss out and I don’t have to get hung up on weighing and measuring everything I eat.
“I’m the slimmest and the happiest I’ve been for a long time.”
“I’m more confident and I like the slim, happy, positive person I see in the mirror, and I see this as a great opportunity to help others change their lives.”
David Ducasse, manager of Slimming World South Tyneside said: “I’m so proud of Debra.
“She’s a huge inspiration and I hope she inspires other women – and men – in South Tyneside to change their lives in the same way.
“It can be hard to admit that you need to do something about your weight but Debra has shown just what’s possible when you do.”
Her classes run at 7.30pm on Wednesday at St John Baptist Church Hall, in Nairn Street, Scotch Estate, Jarrow.
More information is available from Debra on 07950 266 955 or on Facebook.