An overweight mum-of-one who refused to fly because she was scared of getting stuck in an aeroplane seat has won a slimming title after losing more than 16 stone.
Sue Thompson has slimmed down 10 dress sizes from being a 32 to a 12 - and she's now conquered her fear and will jet off on holiday to Spain with her husband and daughter later this month.
The 40-year-old from Chester-le-Street, County Durham, has been named Slimming World Consultant Slimmer of the Year 2013 after reducing her weight from over 27st to 11st, 5lb in three years.
Sue had been overweight since school but after having her daughter Jessica-Ray, 15, with husband Shaun, 44, she began to worry about her size.
She said: "I knew I wasn't one of the skinny girls at school but it never affected me when it came to friends or boyfriends and I wasn't bullied or anything like that.
"As I got older I started to gain more weight but even embarrassing situations, like the time I cracked a sunbed at a tanning salon, didn't motivate me to lose weight.
"It changed when I had Jess, I hated the idea that I might be an embarrassment to her or Shaun.
"They never said anything and I know they loved me whatever my size but I always worried about how my weight impacted on them."
Sue, who used to work for the NHS, pretended to be afraid of flying but it was actually the dread of being wedged in a seat which put her off.
She avoided school plays and parents evenings, worrying other parents would judge her for being fat. She also stopped socialising with her husband to avoid embarrassing him.
"I'd sort of accepted that being overweight was my fate," she said.
"I genuinely believed that my weight would be what killed me - which is scary looking back now because I was only 37.
"I used to go to bed at night and wonder if that might be the night I didn't wake up."
That changed in March 2010 when she joined Slimming World, though she kept it a secret from family and friends for weeks.
She swapped takeaways for home-cooked simple dishes and a family favourite is now baked salmon with a jacket potato and vegetables. She now works as a consultant for Slimming World.
She said: "I always say I'm not on a diet, I just eat healthily now. I've got a completely different relationship with food.
"It used to be a battle, but now I know how to eat healthily and that I can still have treats if I want them so there's nothing to fight any more.
"If I want a treat I have it, but I've found that a lot of the time you only want it because you think you can't or shouldn't have it."
She now goes walking, has been horse-riding, attends music festivals with her daughter and even had her eyes lasered so she could ditch her glasses.
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