Gallery: Women from Ipswich and Sudbury receive slimming awards after losing total of 21 stone
12:56 07 January 2014
Two women from Suffolk will pick up national awards for their slimming success on Monday at the National Slimmer of the Year Award show.
Rosemary Conley CBE will present both women with the awards, who have lost 21 stone and six pounds between them.
The biggest weight loser is Nicky Pengelly from Sudbury, who has picked up the Health Professional of the Year award.
The 46-year-old nurse’s weight ballooned after suffering a traumatic childhood, and she reached a weight of 21 stone and seven pounds.
The mother-of-two felt that her weight was getting out of control. In 2003 she began training as a nurse and when the XXL scrubs didn’t fit she had to have them specially made.
On one occasion a patient told Nicky she was getting bigger every time she saw her, and her daughter-in-law introduced her to a weight loss class.
Hollie Bennington had herself won the award for Slimmer of the Year before she brought her mother-in-law along to a class in October 2011.
Nicky now weighs just 10 stone and one pound and fits into a slim dress size 10/12.
She said: “I’m over the moon. It’s something I never thought I’d actually say; that I’d lost so much weight.”
Nicky said the weight loss had transformed her life: “I used to be a couch potato and never did any exercise. I have now run a 10k last year in London. I’ve run two 3Ks last year and I’m waiting to hear if I’ve got into the Great North Run. I can now do my job without struggling.”
She advised others hoping to lose weight: “It’s never too late to try. There are plenty of people out there who are struggling but to have support from friends in the group and sharing experiences is the best way forward.”
The second winner is Sophie Whelpton from Ipswich, who has picked up the Student Slimmer of the Year award.
At the age of 18 Sophie was working in a call centre where she would sit for eight hours a day. During her childhood she would spend her money on sugary snacks.
Feeling unfulfilled in her job she went to study at Essex University and despite shining in lectures, felt out of place amongst other slim 18-year-olds. She weighed 21 stone and 10 pounds and was wearing a dress size 26/28.
With the support of her mum Sophie joined a weight loss class and dropped four pounds in her first week, losing five pounds in her second week. Over the course of two years Sophie lost 10 stone and now fits comfortably in a size 10/12.
Sophie said winning the award was “fantastic” and “the icing on the cake”, adding that losing weight had changed her life, “in more ways than you can imagine. Obviously I’m physically fitter, I’ve more energy and I’m active, I’m more confident and just happier.”