A WOMAN who struggled to bend down to tie her shoelaces due to being overweight is planning to trek across the Sahara Desert - after shifting a massive six stone.

Sandra Barr, 49, will embark on the once in a lifetime challenge this February after overhauling her lifestyle to shift the weight.

The Parkhead woman has become an inspiration to others in her community where she is now an advocate for a healthy lifestyle.

And she achieved all this by just making small changes to her lifestyle almost two years ago after looking at holiday photos.

Evening Times: Sandra Barr from Parkhead before weight loss pictures

She said: "I had seen photos of myself after I had been on holiday in Spain and I just didn’t realise how big I had got.

"I couldn’t bend down to tie my shoe laces without getting out of breath and at that point I realised I had to do something about myself."

At just 5ft 4 inches, Sandra weighed at her heaviest 17 stone and determined to shift the pounds she joined a Slimming World class in Parkhead.

Sandra then got in touch with the Celtic FC Foundation who put her on a 12-week fitness programme. And through the programme, Sandra started her journey to fitness by running up and down all the stairs within Parkhead stadium.

Now she walks, cycles and attends the gym regularly at the Emirates Stadium - and her enthusiasm for fitness has even got her a special title.

She said: "I am ambassador for Nextbike and I took on that role to encourage people to hire bikes in the community."

She added: "Now I am into fitness and I think more about my health.

"My health is now the most important thing. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink and I don’t take drugs.

"I used to do all that but I don’t do that now. There was a time in my life where I took drugs and alcohol but I have been free for many years."

With the right mindset over her lifestyle, Sandra will now join her friends on the four day trek which is being done in memory of Paul Bryce.

Paul died at 47 from an undiagnosed heart condition two years ago, and Sandra will join his wife Annemarie on the trek to raise money for The British Heart Foundation.

She said: "I am going to Sahara Desert trek in February, and we have been training and trying to fundraise.

" I am excited but I am a bit scared. I just need to go with it."

Engagement officer Sandra, who helps people back into education, training or employment, also wants to continue to inspire others into losing weight.

Now that she continues to maintain, she has set a new goal but she wants others to realise that weight loss is possible.

She said: "There is always people there to help you and understand where you coming from.

"You may look at me as being slim today but I haven’t always been that way.

"I was the greatest loser in my class and people can't believe what size I was.

"I want to encourage others to do it and keep achieving weight loss myself."

To donate to the fundraiser, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/a-bryceteampablo?utm_id=26