An architect from Oxford has been crowned one of the UK's slimmers of the year after losing six stone in less than a year.
Anneltje Hacquebord, who juggles her day job with teaching flamenco dance classes in the evenings, picked up the Rosemary Conley Diet & Fitness Magazine Career Woman Slimmer of the Year 2012 prize. Anneltje, who used to weigh 15st 11lb and wear a size 20, now weighs a slimline 9st 11lb.
The 34-year-od received her award, along with a £1,000 cash prize, from Rosemary Conley CBE at the London Marriott County Hall Hotel on Wednesday. Anneltje joined her local slimming club February 2010 on the advice of her GP.
She said: “I liked the sound of the Rosemary Conley class as there was fitness involved as well as dieting because, despite my size, I have always liked exercise. I am so delighted with what has happened and getting this award simply endorses what it means to me, it’s an external acknowledgement of what I have achieved.”
South African-born Anneltje had been overweight for the past 20 years but it was while she was at university tht she really piled on the pounds, when stress made her turn to food for comfort.
When she came to the UK in 2003, Anneltje said she lived a young and single lifestyle that involved lots of eating out and socialising, and her figure jumped from a size 16 to a size 20. With working long hours, the young professional often had to grab junk food on the go and she now admits that her diet was really bad.
It took Anneltje one-and-a-half months from joining the club to lose her first stone and within 10 months she had totally transformed herself. “I really couldn’t believe how achievable losing so much weight would be. I was completely re-educated about food and what to eat, and being disciplined is easy when you can see for yourself the success it brings,” she said.
“I am fitter and healthier than I have ever been and I have even started running. Living in Oxford, I fell in love with rowing but at nearly 16st I couldn’t have even considered getting into a boat. Now I’ve lost so much weight I row regularly and have just won my second race.”