MUM-OF-FOUR Suzanne Bentham is half the woman she used to be - after shedding more than 13 stone in body weight!
The Swinton woman has dropped from 26 stone 2lbs to 12-and-a-half stone in three years thanks to a new healthy lifestyle.
And she is now hard at training for a fun run in April.
The 36-year-old used to live off coca cola and biscuits - draining as much as four litres of the fizzy pop a day.
But she decided to make changes to her life, after weighing herself on her birthday in December 2007.
She said: “I was shocked when it said 26 stone 2lbs. I knew then that something needed to change.
“I never used to eat that much, but drinking cola used to keep me going.
“I had tried various diets before, such as Weight Watchers and the Atkins diet, but they didn’t seem to work for me.
“Ihe problem was I changed what I was eating, but I didn’t do enough exercise.”
She took inspiration from one of her three sons, who runs for the Rotherham Harriers Athletics team, and started to join him for training sessions at Herringthorpe Athletics Stadium.
She said: “At first I could not walk around the 400m track, let along run it.
“But one of the coaches put me on a trianing plan where I started walking 30 minutes, then I gradually increased it to 40 minutes and then introduced jogging into my routine.
“I also changed my diet. For breakfast I have a yoghurt, piece of fruit and a cereal bar.
“Then it’s soup or jacket potatoes for lunch, then its usually a portion of rice and fish for my main meal.
“It took me about two years to get down to around 20 stone and then I reached a plateau.
“But my training was intensified and in the last year or so I’ve gone from just over 20 stone down to 12-and-a-half.”
Her training schedule now consists of six runs a week, covering a total of 17 miles.
She has also qualified as an athletics coach with Rotherham Harriers.
And such is her new found fitness and self-esteem, Suzanne is aiming to cap it all off by competing in the Rother Valley 10k run on April 2.
She said: “It was my coach at the Harriers that challenged me to do it.
“Ive just started the new training regime and so far I’ve managed to keep up with it.
“It is a bit of a slog, but I’m motivated to do it. And it helps having the run in April to aim for.”
Suzanne added that she also has a target ideal weight to aim for.
“I’m 5ft 6-and-a-half ins tall so for me to be at a healthy weight I’ve got to get down to 11 stone 8lbs.
“So I’ve got a bit more work to do yet, but I’m confident I’ll get there in time.
“The coaches at the Harriers have been great. I do feel much better about myself, because now I can do things that I could not do before.
“My advice on weight loss is make sure you exercise alongside making changes to your diet, because the two go hand in hand.”