A woman who has lost more than 11 stone is looking forward to being able to ride a roller-coaster for the first time in her life.
Rachel Conroy, from Drogheda, Co Louth, has dropped from a size 32 to a size 16 since starting on a Slimming World diet three years ago.
The 31-year-old has earned her high-octane reward and she admits she can’t wait.
“I’ve never been on a roller-coaster before because I couldn’t fit. Now I’m really looking forward to it,” she said.
Rachel isn’t finished losing weight yet, and is determined to drop two more stone before she heads for the Spanish sun in Port- Aventura in October.
“The last time I remember being a healthy weight was when I made my Holy Communion in 1995, when I was eight. Even on my Confirmation I had a lot of weight on me,” she said.
“I had tried multiple times to lose weight before I joined Slimming World in 2014. My head had not been in the right place before then.
“I’m a determined person and, when I set about it and my head was in the right place, the weight came off. I’ve had my ups and downs, but I stayed with it.
“I cried in the dressing room in Penneys when I fitted into my first pair of jeans.”
Even when her weight was fluctuating, Rachel kept going to her class – and it paid off.
“I’ve done a lot of comfort eating over the years. I used to have a ‘c**p bag’ which was full of sweets and I would keep it out of sight as much as possible,” she said.
“My mam knew about it – I wasn’t very good at hiding it. She was always trying to get me to go out and exercise.”
Rachel, who has lost 11st 5lb in total, still eats sweets, but follows a balanced diet and has become an avid runner.
“I started walking and did 10km walks but did too much too soon. Then I began Bokwa, where you dance to the letters of the alphabet. It’s really good,” she said.
Last September she ran 5km for charity and then did a Couch to 5k plan, which got her hooked.
“I did my first competitive 5km in December. I really enjoyed it. I’ve got my time down from 42 minutes to 33 minutes,” she said.