Abi Hollyoake had always wanted to follow in her dad’s footsteps and become a firefighter.
So the 32 year old spent two years trying to pass the fitness test while shedding weight.
Before she started, Abi weighed over 16 stone an wore a size 22, revealing she constantly opted for frozen meals as she didn’t like cooking.
However, her dream of becoming a firefighter like her dad was always in the back of her mind, but her weight stood in the way.
However when she moved to Cornwall, the mum of two decided to make a change.
She said: “My dad was a firefighter so it has always been in my family. It was always something I wanted to do but, having two children, family life got in the way.
“When we moved here I wondered if it was a possibility and made enquiries about it at my local station.
“It was a bit of a challenge overcoming the bleep tests because I’d never done them before.
“For two years I kept going back and attempting it – it took a while because you have to wait three months to take the test again once you fail it.
“Every time I improved and I kept going and going until I got it. It was surreal but that was the first stage of it really – I had more tests, exams and interviews.”
Abi is now a slim size 8-10, dropping seven dress sizes to achieve her dream.
She added: “Initially I started doing the Couch to 5k app but I used to do it at night or early in the morning, before there was anyone around, because I didn’t like being watched running.
“By week three or four I noticed results. I was losing weight and feeling better about myself and achieving the levels. I then started doing home workouts.
“When we moved I went to the gym. It’s a nice gym because I didn’t like the idea of big mirrors and everybody looking amazing. It is massively a self-confidence thing.”
After nailing her exercise down, Abi then focused on her diet.
She said: “Then I went to Slimming World and started tweaking my diet. With the exercise I’d hit a bit of a wall and I wasn’t losing much more weight.
“I made some swaps like using the spray rather than cooking oil and sweetener instead of sugar. It helped massively and now I cook a lot more.”
By the time Abi started applying for the fire service she felt amazing.
Abi explained: “You do have to have some sort of fitness to join. By the time I was applying I was going to the gym but I needed to work on that a bit more.
“Even now I still improve myself everyday because it’s constantly a physical thing.”
She finished: “It’s not impossible. I am proof that it can be done. It was good to have that goal to work towards. You really do have to want it and keep preserving.”