After leaving school and landing a job working for the NHS, Fran’s relationship with food continued to impact her life.
She attempted to lose weight, but her yo-yo diets didn’t last.
As the 5:2 fasting diet and cabbage soup plans both failed, the patient services employees decided to embrace her body.
She said: “If I couldn’t change myself physically, I was going to change myself mentally.
“Just because you’re not a size 8 doesn’t mean you can’t be happy in yourself.”
For a while after, Fran was happy with her curvier figure.
As her confidence grew, she started dating her partner Matt in 2011.
She revealed: “Bagging myself a fit man really reinforced the idea that I could be happy in my own skin without losing any weight.
“I was never confident when it came to dating before I met Matt.
“I always ended up with men that didn’t appreciate me and I thought I didn’t deserve any better because of my weight.
“But the problem was that after settling into a happy relationship and feeling more confident in myself, I started to eat more and more.”
As Fran enjoyed the blossoming relationship, she binged on 3,500 calories a day.
This led to her weight ballooning to 22st, which led to strangers cruelly commenting she was “punching above her weight” by dating her slimmer boyfriend.
In 2016, Matt and Fran booked a trip to Walt Disney World.
It was this holiday that changed the NHS worker’s life forever – as it’s when she realised how overweight she’d become.
Flicking through snaps from the trip, Fran admits: “I don’t know what it was about those particular set of photos, but it suddenly dawned on me that if I didn’t change now, my weight was going to kill me.
“It all finally hit me, and I decided to overhaul my lifestyle there and then.”
Fran made moves to overhaul her lifestyle and signed up to her local slimming group in April 2016.
She ditched junk food for home-cooked meals and started hitting the gym three times a week.
In the last few years, the super-slimmer has shed a mammoth 12st.
She’s also found the strength to pursue her dream career and now works as a firefighter.
After a gruelling eight weeks of training, Fran found out she had passed the Dorset and Wiltshire fire service test in May this year and will be spending the next two years working on the job to become a fully-fledged firefighter.
She said: “It was pretty intense getting this far. I had to haul equipment weighing up to 40kg (6st 2lb) and was taking part in a bleep tests – something I thought I’d left behind in my school days.
“It’s all been worth it though, and I feel like after almost 20 years of being nothing more than the fat girl, I’m finally going to be giving something back to the community and keeping fit at the same time.”
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