Slim pensioner with a weight off her mind

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At the age of 67, Patricia Leigh often hears people say they are too old to lose weight, or they can’t because of health problems.

Her own experience is very much the answer. In just over a year, she has shed the weight of a whole person, more than eight stone.

With her weight ballooning to more than 18 stone, Patricia’s way was to join a gym and a slimming club.

“Until the year 2000, I had always weighed no more than ten and a half stone,” she said.

“But I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, which resulted in having both knees and hips replaced, a foot rebuilt and partial artificial shoulder and elbow put in.”

The weight piled on because she was immobile for such a long time and she didn’t change her eating habits.

“At the end of 2011 the conditions hit my spine and that was what triggered my decision to do something about my weight. I couldn’t walk or swim very well, so I decided to try my local ladies-only gym, Ladyzone on Ecclesall Road, and that first day I hobbled in with two crutches.

“Although I still have medical conditions, losing the weight has made them much easier to live with. I hear people say ‘I‘m too old to lose weight’ or ‘I can’t exercise because I’ve got health problems’. Well, I’m nearer 70 than 60 and registered disabled, so if I can do it, so can you!”

Patricia, who lives with husband Jeffrey in Banner Cross, said: “This gym isn’t like an ordinary gym, it’s a ladies-only gym. I can’t go to a normal gym because of my disability. This was different and easier for me. The members were really helpful.”

The retired secretary continues to go to a slimming club at the Red Lion in London Road. And it is a combination of the two that has proved successful, although she still has mobility problems.

“Unless I have a bad day, I walk with a cane. I still can’t walk any distance. I’ve got dogs, but I can’t walk them.”

But her message is: “If you are older and disabled you can do something about it.”