After losing nearly 11st, Sara Fremantle is feeling fit and fabulous in her fifties. The 54-year-old has a new figure, new career and a new man – and she wants to tell people that it’s never too late to lose weight.
Overweight for more than 30 years, Sara thought she was destined to stay that way for the rest of her life. But following a soul-searching summer holiday in Ibiza, she decided she wasn’t ready to give up on herself just yet and pledged to make her fifties fantastic.
Sara, from Putney in London, says: “I’d gained weight steadily over the years. Working in advertising, business lunches and entertaining were part of the job, and when I started my own marketing consultancy from home I found the fridge a constant temptation. My weight went up and up and I didn’t know how to stop it. It was like I was programmed to ‘self-destruct mode’. On that holiday I realised that if I didn’t help myself no one else was going to help me. I was unhappy with so much of my life, so I decided that at 52 I would do something for myself for a change.”
On her return from Ibiza in September 2010, a leaflet about Slimming World fell onto her doormat and Sara took it as a sign. The mum-of-two joined her local group and, with the support of her Consultant Hannah McNeil, she began following the club’s Food Optimising healthy eating plan.
She says: “I’d tried lots of ways to lose weight before, slimming clubs, diet shakes and even hypnosis, but this was completely different. It was wonderful to be able to enjoy real food and plenty of it – as much of healthy foods like fruit and veg, pasta, rice, potatoes, lean meat and fish as I needed to satisfy my appetite, so for the first time I was losing weight without feeling starving hungry. I started cooking more healthily – using low calorie spray instead of oil and fat free alternatives to cream, and now I always make sure I have lots of vegetables with every meal.
“The group was great too. I thought I’d feel ashamed about my size but everyone made me feel welcome right from day one. Over the weeks and months I realised how important their support was to keep me motivated and their friendship helped me to believe in myself again.”
Since then Sara has lost 10st 11lb in 20 months and gone from a size 26-28 to a size 12. After losing weight Sara was ready to embark on a new challenge, so she decided to train with Slimming World and open her own group in nearby Wimbledon. Sara says: “I couldn’t believe how losing weight had brought about changes in me so quickly. Not only was I slimmer than I was before having my children, I’d rediscovered my confidence, and for the first time in 20 years I felt good about myself and I was happy. I wanted to share my secret with people.
“I love seeing my members reach their dream weight, it’s so rewarding to support them along the way and they help me to maintain my weight too – I’m always picking up new recipe ideas or tips from them. I still go to the group I joined nearly two years ago every week as a member because I know how important group support was in helping me to lose weight and will be in helping me to keep it off forever.”
Sara says: “I joined Slimming World to try and lose a little bit of weight, but instead I got the figure I’d always dreamed of and a new career that I love. I’ve separated from my husband after 20 years of marriage and even met a new man, and my children are hugely proud of their ‘new mum’. I’m living proof that it’s never too late to make a change or even start over. People say 50 is the new 40 nowadays but I disagree – I feel much younger than 40! I’m looking forward to making up for lost time and all the years I’ve spent feeling unhappy.”