Fran: Why I will wear bikinis well into my 80s
Lost: 2st 8lb
Height: 5'2" Start weight: 11st 5lb
Current weight: 8st 11lb
Fashion has always been a love of mine. When I was PA to a managing director, I had a wardrobe full of suits, dresses and stiletto heels. But when I retired at 57, I stopped going to the gym and my weight began to creep up. I stopped wearing make-up and started wearing shapeless jeans and T-shirts. I felt quite lonely and my self-esteem began to plummet. When I did go shopping, I’d go for plain leggings or jumpers instead of the bright colours and prints I used to love.
Even worse, I’d taken a step backwards in confidence. I’d beaten skin cancer at 38, after I discovered I had malignant melanoma on my right leg. I had to have a serious operation – but I was very lucky. Getting through that changed my attitude; I became more outgoing and adventurous – who knew what life was hiding around the corner?
However, as my weight increased, I hid away at home and hoped no one I knew would see me if I did go out. I started to feel quite ill and realised life was passing me by. I wanted to spend more time with my parents, help look after my grandchildren and enjoy my retirement, so I joined WW.
The day I joined, I bought skinny jeans two sizes too small and promised myself that I’d eventually fit into them. They were hanging up for ages, but one week they zipped up without any trouble. I couldn’t believe it! I pulled all my clothes out of my wardrobe, trying on old favourites for a mini fashion show. After years of wearing frumpy clothes, it felt amazing.
Now, I love wearing the latest trends and go into shops like H&M, Next and River Island. I love skinny jeans, pretty tops and fitted dresses. I enjoy showing off my legs, especially after beating skin cancer. I don’t care if the clothes are ‘right’ for my age – if people don’t like it, that’s their problem.
Best of all, I don’t feel self-conscious about my figure any more: on my last holiday, I wore 10 different bikinis! I’ll wear bikinis well into my 70s and 80s, and, as long as I can still walk, you’ll never catch me out of my stilettos!