a SUPER slimmer who was bullied from the age of 10 for being overweight is now hoping to make her dream of becoming a model come true after shedding eight stone and dropping a whopping six dress sizes!
Dominique Bellas from Sandygate, Sheffield, has now been named Slimming World's Miss Slinky 2011 after losing more than 10 inches from her waist to become a svelte size 12.
The transformation ends years of unhappiness with her weight for the 26-year-old, who says she was bullied from being a youngster about her size.
"I remember a boy in my class saying I should join 'fat club'," she said.
Although she slimmed down for a brief time, at 18 came university in Manchester and along with it nights out and takeaways which took their toll.
Her weight hit 17 stone which increased to more than 19 when she moved to London in 2008.
The former drama student, who studied at the Arden School of Theatre, said she believed her size held her back.
"With a big, bubbly, outgoing personality I seemed confident but deep down I was unhappy with my weight and I think it definitely hindered my chances," she said.
"I had a few successful acting jobs and I was even approached by a modelling agency after they saw my headshot, but I knew that as soon as they realised how heavy I was I wouldn't stand a chance so I didn't pursue it. Now I've lost weight, I've got so much more confidence in the way I look and I'd love to get into modelling."
The motivation behind Dominque's dramatic weight loss came in August 2009 when her brother was diagnosed with a heart condition called left ventricular cardiomyopathy - and she was warned she could have it too.
She said: "I knew that being overweight was putting extra strain on my heart so I had to do something about it. I'd been in denial for so long and it was time to face up to it.
"My decision to lose weight was a big one because I knew I needed to make a change forever. I was a bit of a diet veteran having tried detoxes, low-carb plans and even slimming pills, all without success, so I knew I couldn't just 'go on a diet' because as soon as I came off it, any weight I lost would come back on."
A month later she joined her local Slimming World group.
And although initially apprehensive - she didn't tell anyone except for her mum - she is now proud of the group which helped her to change her life.
Out went the takeaways and the creamy pasta sauces, and in came healthy, balanced home-cooked meals like chicken and vegetable stir-fry with noodles and spaghetti bolognese.
After losing four stone, she joined a badminton team and signed up to her local gym.
Dominque said: "I love cooking now and my boyfriend really enjoys my food too. The really great thing for me is that there isn't anything you can't have.
You can still have delicious and filling meals, still eat out, still go for drinks with friends and, best of all, still lose weight.
"I didn't do any exercise before I joined Slimming World because I was embarrassed about my size but losing weight has given me so much energy. I never thought about it before but I was carrying around the weight of another person, now I finally feel as fit as a 26-year-old should.
"I love going for walks by the sea and I'm even thinking about a skiing holiday, which is something I would have shied away from before.
Dominique, who now works in communications at Lambeth Council, London, added: "For the first time my confidence is 100 per cent real and I feel good from top to toe!"
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